The Evolution of Consciousness With Peter Russell

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For years Western Science has relegated consciousness to an epiphenomenon created by the brain. There are, however, serious problems with this approach and an alternative worldview is emerging in which consciousness is an essential quality of the cosmos.

With human beings, this universal consciousness has evolved to the stage of self-reflective consciousness — we are aware that we are aware — opening us to new realms of imagination and innovation. Yet, at the same time, our newfound powers are also threatening our survival as a species. We are being asked to step beyond a limited ego-centric consciousness and awaken to our true nature, to discover for ourselves the inner peace and freedom spoken of by mystics the world over.

Peter Russell is an author, public speaker, and multimedia producer who is recognized as a leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He coined the term “global brain” with his 1980’s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the Internet and the impact it would have on humanity. He is the author of nine books, including Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.

His principal interest is the inner challenges of the times we are passing through. Peter believes if we are to navigate our way safely through these turbulent times we need to listen to the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, as well as to our current scientific understanding. For more information on him visit: peterrussell.com

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Psychedelics and Religious Experience

by Alan Watts

  1. The Psychedelic Experience
    1. slowing down of time
    2. awareness of polarity
    3. awareness of relativity
    4. awareness of eternal energy
  2. Opposition to Psychedelic Drugs
    1. danger
    2. escape from reality
  3. Footnotes

(Originally appeared in the California Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 1, January 1968, pp. 74-85.) Copyright Alan Watts & California Law Review.

The experiences resulting from the use of psychedelic drugs are often described in religious terms. They are therefore of interest to those like myself who, in the tradition of William James,1 are concerned with the psychology of religion. For more than thirty years I have been studying the causes, the consequences, and the conditions of those peculiar states of consciousness in which the individual discovers himself to be one continuous process with God, with the Universe, with the Ground of Being, or whatever name he may use by cultural conditioning or personal preference for the ultimate and eternal reality. We have no satisfactory and definitive name for experiences of this kind. The terms “religious experience,” “mystical experience,” and “cosmic consciousness” are all too vague and comprehensive to denote that specific mode of consciousness which, to those who have known it, is as real and overwhelming as falling in love. This article describes such states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs, although they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine mystical experience. The article then discusses objections to the use of psychedelic drugs that arise mainly from the opposition between mystical values and the traditional religious and secular values of Western society.

The Psychedelic Experience

The idea of mystical experiences resulting from drug use is not readily accepted in Western societies. Western culture has, historically, a particular fascination with the value and virtue of man as an individual, self-determining, responsible ego, controlling himself and his world by the power of conscious effort and will. Nothing, then, could be more repugnant to this cultural tradition than the notion of spiritual or psychological growth through the use of drugs. A “drugged” person is by definition dimmed in consciousness, fogged in judgment, and deprived of will. But not all psychotropic (consciousness-changing) chemicals are narcotic and soporific, as are alcohol, opiates, and barbiturates. The effects of what are now called psychedelic (mind-manifesting) chemicals differ from those of alcohol as laughter differs from rage, or delight from depression. There is really no analogy between being “high” on LSD and “drunk” on bourbon. True, no one in either state should drive a car, but neither should one drive while reading a book, playing a violin, or making love. Certain creative activities and states of mind demand a concentration and devotion that are simply incompatible with piloting a death-dealing engine along a highway.

Read More:  Psychedelics and Religious Experience.

Spiritual Freedom in the West: Are We Drifting Into a Culture of Suppression?

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David Gardner, The Conscious Reporter

Increasingly in the West practitioners of alternative spirituality are subjected to discrimination and censorship. It’s sobering to look at the possible outcomes of living in a society where spiritual freedoms are heavily restricted. This article looks at the Chinese government’s oppression of spirituality as an example, to illustrate why we should not take our spiritual rights and freedoms for granted.

There is a dark agenda currently threatening spiritual freedom throughout the world, and it seems to be progressing at an alarming rate.

As recently exposed here on The Conscious Reporter:

In the mainstream media alternative spirituality is frequently illegitimately portrayed with a negative bias as our greatest fears are turned against us in order to manipulate our view of alternative spirituality as a whole.

Despite this, there are many people who feel that standing up for our right to access and practice the spirituality of our choosing is either not necessary or the wrong thing to do. It seems we have been convinced that to resist a problem means perpetuating it, and that external censorship is okay as we will simply evolve spiritually in order to circumvent it.

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A painted stone at Wenzhou’s “Anti-cult Theme Park” tells visitors to “Worship science”

The reality, though, is that it takes sustained effort in order to evolve spiritually, and if we do not have access to the tools and techniques required for internal transformation, there is no way we will evolve spiritually as a matter of course.

If we don’t stand up for our rights and for spirituality now, is there the possibility that we could lose the opportunity completely?

A closer look at the state regulation of spirituality in China, and the links and parallels to policies in Western countries,  paints a sobering picture of how things could end up if we take our spiritual freedom in the West for granted.

When State-sanctioned religion is the only type allowed

Living in the West it can be hard to imagine that people are routinely incarcerated, tortured and even murdered for their spiritual beliefs, and yet this is happening all around the world right now. In some countries religion is oppressed completely in favour of an atheistic state, and in others a State religion is propagated while other beliefs are persecuted.

One country with strong limitations on spiritual expression is China, whose government see spiritual minorities with the ability to mobilise their devotees in direct action (most recently in peaceful protests) as a threat to state control. This fear may stem from a history of “religious and spiritual uprisings that had catastrophic effects on the country.” Source

Often initially supported by the regime, groups which come to be seen as threatening are persecuted and regulated through law enforcement, media propaganda and a network of anti-cult associations.

There are over 1.3 billion people in China but only five religions approved by the Chinese government:

  • Buddhism
  • Taoism
  • Islam
  • Catholicism
  • Protestantism

However religious experience is not free from bias – all forms of religion are expected to be “patriotic government associations”.

In Tibetan Buddhism the Panchen Lama (second highest ranking Buddhist next to the Dalai Lama) was taken into “protective custody” by the Chinese Government at age six when he was named, and replaced by a Chinese-endorsed Panchen Lama.

For Chinese Christians there are two options: attend a government-approved church, where clergymen are trained in state-sponsored seminaries, or attend illegal underground churches which are often subject to crackdowns and persecution.

Those who find themselves the subject of persecution, may not find much support from their countrymen. Recently when a Chinese blogger took to social media about his Christian pastor friend being repeatedly arrested he found that many people supported the persecution, with one commenter even remarking, “The cops have done a beautiful job!”.

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The Chinese government employs an army of internet trolls to propagate and defend the party line Source

Whether this sentiment is genuine or not is hard to tell. The Chinese government employs millions of professional trolls to back government propaganda known as the 50 cent brigade (because they are paid 50 Chinese cents for each comment made on youtube, forums and blogs around the world that distorts or deflects opinion towards government propaganda).

The mainstream media in China is also a tool of governmental control and oppression of religious minorities.

Recently when a 28-year-old woman was tragically beaten to death in a McDonald’s restaurant, state TV blamed the act on members of an “evil cult”.

A few days later the government published its list of 20 active “cults.” From then on, events unfolded with a ruthless and familiar logic: Every TV channel and newspaper issued warnings about the dangers of “evil cults.” Community organizations, village authorities and schools got in on the act.The anti-cult campaign extended to more mainstream religious practices. The People’s Daily website and the Global Times, a government newspaper, opened a barrage of attacks on China’s underground Christian churches. An article in the Global Times said “underground churches and evil cults are spreading like mushrooms … the problem is very urgent.” source

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The destruction of Sanjiang church in Wenzhou Source

What does a crackdown on underground churches look like? In Wenzhou – known colloquially as the “Jerusalem of the East” for its concentration of churches – religious buildings are being destroyed supposedly because they exceed building standards. But practitioners feel this is a smokescreen for religious oppression, pointing as an example to the world trade tower in the same city that exceeds standards by 29,000 square metres but was able to retroactively be approved.

Other Christians are fearful of speaking openly about this:

“You must be careful whom you talk to,” cautioned two women from a Beijing-based religious publication in town to investigate the demolition. “There could be government spies among the people here.” source

Incidentally it appears that the use of spies by anti-cult establishments in the western world is also a regular occurrence.

China’s anti-cult movement

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A section of a mural from Wenzhou’s “Anti-cult Theme Park” depicting why and how so-called “cults” should be resisted – with deadly force? Source

Wenzhou is also the home of China’s first “Anti-cult Theme Park” (franchises coming soon to a city near you?).

Don’t expect rides and fairy floss – this a place of “exercise and indoctrination”, complete with a sign telling visitors to “worship science” and quotes such as “Cults are religious poison, they are the pollution of human society.” There is also a hand-painted mural explaining why “cults” should be resisted and how to go about it.

But state indoctrination does not stop there. In fact the Chinese government even has it’s own anti-cult office, the “Office of the State Council to Prevent and Handle Cult Issues”. The purpose of this office is a mystery to many, although they influence policy and strategy in both state and party spheres and are “believed to be in charge of developing targeted strategies for the party and government on preventing and dealing with incidents stemming from cult activities, including controlling education and issuing propaganda aimed at deterring and “reforming” [spiritual] enthusiasts”. source

There are also a myriad of anti-cult associations smattered throughout all levels of Chinese society. And it seems they’ve been hard at work.

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Anti-cult themed Opera in Huagu Source

Take for instance this Anti-cult themed Opera in Huagu found on a Chinese tourist website and organised by the Hunan Anti-Cult Association. The write-up says:

Cults are like poisonous weeds do harm to the society. It blows one’s money, and worse, ruins families. In order to raise people’s awareness and enrich their spiritual life as well, modern Huagu Opera Awakening organized by Hunan Anti-Cult Association was staged in Taoyuan County Theatre on Sept.17thwhich received high appreciation.The opera reveals the danger of cults through a typical case, assembling moving plots and skillful actors, and overall it represents local culture, meanwhile shows a strong impact of alarming people against cults. [emphasis added]

An exhibition marking the banning of Falun Gong titled “Oppose Evil Cults, Uphold Culture”, was visited by over 200,000 people in 10 days. The exhibition detailed gruesome images of Falun Gong practitioners and comparison of Falun Gong to Nazi Germany and carried a simple message: “Healthy, intelligent people who begin practicing Falun Gong go crazy and hurt themselves and their families.” Source

Visitors to the exhibit had the following to say:

“A very convincing and effective anti-cult show.” — Han Juyin from Chongqing.”I will bring the materials back home to enrich the contents of the anti-cult bulletin on our campus.” — Visitor Zhu Xiaoping from the No. 5 Middle School in Xiangfan, Hubei Province.”Falun Gong is not only the enemy of the Chinese people, but also a common enemy of those who love world peace and respect knowledge and science. It deserves vigilance and lashes from all righteous people,” wrote visitor Qiao Chunhong. Source

But a New York-based spokeswoman for Falun Gong said, “It’s all lies. It’s all propaganda. The reality is that this (Chinese government) is a totalitarian regime relentlessly persecuting millions of its own people.”

This point of view appears to be backed up by the initial response to the banning of Falun Gong, when the Chinese government began to see their growing number of practitioners as a threat to state control:

Falun Gong was outlawed as a threat to public safety. Tens of thousands of members were arrested and sent to labour camps without trial, and many were tortured. The Department of Propaganda launched an immediate media assault on Falun Gong. In the first month after the ban The People’s Daily ran over ten articles a day denouncing Falun Gong, and several TV stations ran marathons of special features 24 hours a day for days on end (Kutulowski, 2004; Yu, 2004). Newspapers, magazines and broadcasting stations published lurid stories of members dying from suicide, and cutting open their stomach to find their inner falun. The blood and guts footage was especially compelling because criminal acts and suicides are usually underreported in China. Source

But in the Western World, we live in a free society… right?

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Is this the general consensus towards alternative spirituality? Source

If you think that such a mentality toward spirituality would never make its way into the “free” western world it might be worth thinking again.

In the West, it is not uncommon for commercial web filters to target and block “alternative spirituality”, and even filter this material in the same “adult” category as subjects like drugs, gambling, weapons and pornography. Web filters are widely used in public schools and libraries in the USA where alternative beliefs are often blocked in a discriminatory way, while only a narrow list of religious beliefs can be accessed. In Australia, the Queensland State Government currently blocks Alternative Spirituality/Belief throughout its public schools using the Blue Coat web filter.

In the UK, web filters used on mobile phone networks and public WiFi providers have been found to block alternative beliefs.  Disturbingly, when David Cameron proposed placing network-level web filters on fixed-line ISPs in the UK to “protect the children” he praised TalkTalk which was using a filtering system controlled by Huawei, a company with close ties to the Chinese government, whose own web filtering system blocks among other things“superstitious” material and anything related to Falun Gong.

At an “anti-cult” conference in Australia a senator who has used parliamentary privilege to attack a new religious movement also spoke of his plans to raise the idea of “incorporating cult education into the new national curriculum“.

The Chinese Government itself uses examples from the Western anti-cult movement to support their own campaigns of spiritual oppression, and have hosted prominent Western anti-cult campaigners in China to speak in support of their cause.

Will enough people stand up for spirituality before it’s too late?

While Western governments are obviously not persecuting spiritual minorities to the same extent as governments like China, there are disturbing signs that we could be heading in that direction.

The question is, will enough people stand up for spirituality before it’s too late? Or through apathy will we risk a future similar to those experienced by spiritual seekers and aspirants in countries where spiritual freedom is heavily restricted?

About the Author

David has a deep interest in spiritual development, but has discovered there are many forces in the world working to keep people asleep. His recent interest has been researching the psychological tactics and techniques used to limit people’s spiritual potential, writing about his discoveries here at The Conscious Reporter. twitter.com/wakeupbefreenow

**Please visit ConsciousReporter.com where this article was originally published.**

How Fear is Used to Turn You Against Spirituality

Overcoming-fear3
Fear is a weapon of social control used to manipulate thoughts and actions without people even knowing it. Today it’s used to control and alienate would-be practitioners of alternative spirituality. How has this happened and who stands to gain from it? By understanding how fear is used we can be free of manipulation in our choice of spirituality.

If you were an early Christian (back when it was still an alternative religion) you had to be careful not to become food for a lion. Once Christianity was established, if you were ‘pagan’ or a ‘witch’ you had to be careful not to be burnt at the stake. Nowadays, unless you live in China where Falun Gong practitioners – who were once supported by the state until they gained too much influence – are still victims of false imprisonment, torture and live organ harvesting, or in a strict middle-eastern country where you might be hung for expressing alternative spiritual beliefs, it’s somewhat safer to be on the fringe of religious belief.

Free from the fear of impending death, one might think that we have much more spiritual freedom. Unfortunately however in the Western world, physical abuse has been substituted for fear inducing propaganda, and we have long been studied as a humanity to discover the most effective psychological triggers with which we can be controlled. Rather than physically stopping people from practising spirituality, these techniques insidiously influence social attitudes so that people avoid exploring alternative spirituality to begin with.

For a greater understanding of modern day manipulation, let’s step back in time to the early 20th century and the birth of propaganda and social engineering.

Fear responses can be conditioned

The fight-or-flight response is one of the most basic instinctual mechanisms we are born with. Fear has an impressive history of helping us to avoid harmful situations, and as we listened to it and survived by running from predators, these instincts were probably reinforced through generations as those who survived through fear brought their children up to survive in the same way.

But fear can also be used as a mechanism to control us and scientists have long been fascinated by fear reactions, conducting many studies trying to understand how fear becomes conditioned. The greatest developments in this field have been in the realm of ‘Behaviourism’; the theory that animal and human behaviour can be explained through conditioning.

John B Watson – “The driving force in society is not love, it’s fear” 

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In the early 20th century, John B Watson began experimenting with fear-based conditioning. He wanted to know if phobias could be conditioned in humans.Watson conducted the “Little Albert” experiment, showing an emotionally stable baby:

  • a fire;
  • a monkey;
  • a dog;
  • a rabbit; and finally
  • a white lab rat,

all of which Little Albert responded to without fear. Watson then began making a loud noise every time Little Albert reached out to touch the rat. With increasingly loud noises, Little Albert became more and more distressed when the rat came near.

Watson then showed Little Albert stimuli which had similar characteristics to the rat, including other animals, a fur coat and a Santa Clause mask. Each time Little Albert (although previously calm) responded with fear, leading Watson to determine that fear is most likely a conditioned response in humans.

Watson completed many more experiments with young babies, famously stating “Give me a baby and I can make any kind of man”. Can you guess what he turned his understanding to later in life?  Advertising.

BF Skinner – “Human behaviour is predictable and therefore controllable”

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Burrhus Fredric Skinner felt that there is no such thing as free will and that all actions undertaken are pre-determined by our environment. As part of his studies in ‘Radical Behaviourism’ he infamously created the Operant Conditioning box (nicknamed the Skinner Box) which used negative reinforcement in the form of electric shocks to create escape and avoidance learning in animals.‘Escape learning’ is the behaviour exhibited when an animal (or human) learns that they can escape pain through completing a certain action, for example, a rat becoming conditioned to jump off a platform into water (something they would not normally do) if the platform became electrified.

‘Escape learning’ can be turned into ‘avoidance learning’ by adding an associated stimuli, eg. a light bulb turning on before an electric shock is administered. The rat would begin to associate the light being turned on with an impending electric shock and learn to pre-emptively jump off the platform for protection.

The scary thing about ‘avoidance learning’ is that it’s self-reinforcing – once the avoidance behaviour is conditioned, it will continue even when the shock is turned off. The reinforcement then becomes relief from not getting an electric shock, and the test subject will continue the behaviour due to the perception of a threat rather than an actual threat whenever the pre-shock stimuli is presented.

The use of fear in propaganda

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind – Edward Bernays

Possibly no one has been as influential in changing public opinion by understanding and manipulating the human psyche than the ‘father’ of public relations and propaganda – Edward Bernays.

Bernays was the double nephew of Sigmund Freud, who theorised that the driving force behind people’s actions was their inner turmoil, instincts, and unconscious desires. Based on his uncle’s work, Bernays understood that people could be made to act irrationally if you stimulate their subconscious desires and impulses, and he successfully did this for a huge list of wealthy backers.

He was responsible for (among many other things):

  • Making it acceptable for women to smoke – backed by the tobacco industry;
  • Making bacon and eggs a staple breakfast food in America – backed by a meat packing company;
  • Causing a consciousness harming chemical to be added to water supplies – backed by a company producing aluminium; and
  • The overthrow of a democratic regime by US forces – backed by a company that grew bananas.

Bernays paved the way for some of the greatest human rights violations in history, and was later quoted as an inspiration by Joseph Goebells, the infamous propaganda minister of Nazi Germany. He was a master of fear-based manipulation.

Creating moral panic to sway public opinion against the ‘shadowy stranger’

In 1951, the CIA staged a coup to overthrow President Arbenz, the head of a democratic government in Guatemala. The events that led to this coup were engineered by Bernays and backed by the United Fruit company who were using masses of land in Guatemala to grow bananas.

Why was Arbenz such a problem for United Fruit? He was standing in the way of their profits.

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President Arbenz wanted United Fruit to obey the Guatemalan constitution, and pay export duties and fair prices for the land they acquired. When they declined he decided to redistribute their land to 100,000 Guatemalan families, paying United Fruit what the land was worth based on their (falsified) tax returns. Bernays was brought in to fix the problem. Can you guess what his solution was? Fear.

To most of the American public, Guatemala was an unknown entity, a ‘shadowy stranger’ on which all manner of fears could be projected. Bernays created a propaganda campaign that depicted President Arbenz at the head of a communist-backed regime that would be used as a launching place for an imminent invasion of the US. He even created his own fake media organisations in order to help spread propaganda.

At a time when communism was seen as a great threat, Bernays caused enough fear in the American public as to engineer consent for the CIA overthrow which put Guatemala back in the hands of a violent dictator. This dictator was backed by the United Fruit Company and his instatement started a chain reaction which eventually led to the deaths of over 200,000 Guatemalans.

What has all this got to do with spirituality and why should you care?

What if I told you that the same techniques used to:

  • make Little Albert afraid of rats;
  • reinforce avoidance learning in animals; and
  • garner support in the Guatemalan overthrow

Are the same techniques used today by governments, anti-cult organisations and the media to create an unnatural fear of alternative spirituality in almost everyone? Even in people who think they are open minded towards spirituality.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Wikipedia lists 263 New Religious Movements (the term preferred for new spiritual groups by scholars of alternative spirituality / religion over the widely used “cult” which has strong negative connotations). There are probably hundreds or thousands more alternative spiritual groups of varying sizes that could be added to this list.

Unfortunately there are a small percentage of criminal groups (of which there are already appropriate laws to deal with), and an even smaller number of groups with high profile mass suicides which are given widespread media coverage.

So why is it that this small group of criminal New Religious Movements (NRMs) has come to represent how we perceive alternative spirituality in general? And how does it affect our ability to pursue our spiritual yearnings?

Have you ever learned of an NRM that holds values that may not be completely in line with our modern day consumer society and felt fear towards them? Have you been sceptical of their teachings or motives and thought to yourself or out loud to others that they “must be a cult”?

If yes, then you have probably been affected by this manipulation (most likely without being aware of it), and you’re probably affecting others too.

Altruistic fear and the fear of crime in alternative spiritual groups

In the Guatemalan example above, the American public were manipulated – despite reality – to fear an impending communist attack. Would they have feared only for themselves, or would they also have feared for those close to them?

When I was in my teens I came across a newspaper article that talked about ‘satanist’ groups operating in the hills near my house. With no more than a passing interest, I told my mum about the article and she freaked out. I’m sure she had images of devil worship, child sacrifice and whatever else people think satanists do – she was afraid I would be in danger and the idea threatened her mainstream Christian beliefs.

In the British crime survey of 1982, only 35% of respondents who replied that they were worried about crime were worried about being victimised themselves; their fears were projected on to significant others in their lives. (Maxfield, 1984, quoted in Possamaï & Lee, 2004)

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This effect, where the fear of victimisation is projected onto significant others (partners, children, friends) is known as altruistic fear – it’s been used in propaganda campaigns at least as far back as World War One and some scholars believe that it is a main motivating factor in the anti-cult movement. NRMs and alternative spirituality are often unknown entities and being sensationalised by the media they become an easy target for projection of all sorts of fears, often by distraught family members who are afraid that their significant other may be caught up in something harmful and beyond their control.

When altruistic fear can be created in people against a segment of society, it can then be used to encourage them to willingly give up their human rights and freedoms.

Want to introduce a national picture database of all American citizens? Make them afraid that their jobs are unlawfully being taken away by illegal immigrants and tell them that a national ID card will fix the problem.

Want to censor web forums and esoteric material in the UK? Make people afraid that without default-on censorship their children will be exposed to harmful adult material and shape public opinion against the esoteric by putting it into the same category as drug use, terrorism and other deviant behaviour.

Fearing for themselves and their loved ones, with the propaganda being repeated by key influencers in society, people will rarely think twice about what it is they’re giving up for a false sense of security.

Key influencers in a spiritually fear-full society

The world today is a web of disinformation about alternative spirituality promoted and sustained (whether consciously or not) by vested interests in many areas of society including:

  • the anti-cult movement and moral entrepreneurs;
  • some religious organisations (others are pro-freedom of spiritual choice);
  • mass media journalists, news and current affairs programs;
  • celebrities; and
  • governments.

Where to start?

The anti-cult movement and information-terrorism on the world wide web

The anti-cult movement is a strange place. Paradoxically it has been referred to as a “cult” itself.

It is a place of:

  • debunked theories (eg. “mind control”);
  • a criteria for defining cults that is so broad it could apply to Alcoholics Anonymous and most mainstream religions;
  • the strongly religious who have a vested interest in keeping people away from alternative spirituality; and
  • moral entrepreneurs; psychologists and self proclaimed “cult experts” that have made a living out of “cult” deprogramming (sometimes known to be done in an illegal manner on unwilling participants).

In Guatemala, Bernays relied on mainstream media channels to rouse enough fear in the American public to justify an incursion.

We see this same technique today as the anti-cult movement plays a strong role in the amplification of fear against religious minorities, assisting the mainstream media as a “repository of information for the public, the press, and governmental agencies […] aim[ing] to put pressure on ‘cults’ by enlisting the support of political, economic, religious, media, and educational institutions which have access to greater resources and sanctioning power.(Chryssides, 1999, quoted in Possamaï & Murray Lee, 2004)“.

However when the internet became part of our everyday lives, the anti-cult movement gained a new weapon with which to spread anti-cult propaganda, using forums and discussion lists to disseminate material aimed at demonising and dehumanising alternative spirituality and those supporting it.

It is paradoxical to note, especially since NRMs are claimed to use the Web to attract new membership […] that Opponents of New Religious Movements appear to have been more active and more aggressive in cyberspace than many of the movements themselves. (Hadden & Cowan, 2000, quoted in Zoccatelli, 2001, quoted in Possamaï & Lee, 2004)

Despite the dubious background of the anti-cult movement, the media (often being uninformed of the benign nature of the majority of NRMs) continues to rely on them for “expert opinions”. The anti-cult movement is also strongly influential in the government sphere, having played a pivotal role in influencing the 2001 French “anti-cult” legislation which has had strong consequences for religious freedom and diversity in France and abroad and has assisted in creating a strong climate of religious intolerance.

The role of the media in amplifying fear of alternative spirituality

When was the last time you saw a news story about an alternative spiritual group integrating well with society and uplifting the lives of those practising it? My guess would be probably never.

Rather you might see something like this highly emotive current affairs piece:

This information gives a one-sided view of a minority of NRMs, so why is it that all we see, over and over again in the realm of mainstream media and infotainment are stories of dangerous “cults” and “sects”, their supposed negative influence on society, and the measures being taken to curb them?

It’s a sad fact that fear of spirituality has reached the stage where it’s now a commodity, and is used to sell stories and entertainment in the world of sensationalist media. Feel-good stories (except the ‘mindless cute dog who has learnt how to ride a skateboard’ type of stories) are just not profitable or entertaining enough.

People are programmed through centuries of hunting and gathering to be on alert for threats, and hard-wired to protect themselves from signs of danger. Sadly, humanity in general also seems to have developed a morbid fascination with the misfortune of others. In some way, seeing others suffer seems to make us feel better about our own condition.

Those behind the media understand our deeper psychological needs and desires. They program what they think people want to watch, and as we affirm their judgement by continuing to digest stories demonising alternative spirituality, the cycle of persecution continues.

The anti-cult movement willingly assists the media to further their own agenda, providing information, “expert” commentary and personal testimony for news stories, conveniently highlighting the more extreme behaviours of a small number of NRMs and ignoring the features which make them more like the rest of society. Just as in the news piece above, the media amplifies the stereotype that all NRMs are dangerous despite the opposite being true.

“…it is clear that there is a campaign ongoing to sensitize public opinion against minority religions by labeling them indiscriminately as ‘dangerous sects’ thus marginalizing and attempting to criminalize them. This manipulation of public opinion is done almost daily at the moment with press, radio and television articles centering on the supposed dubious activities of sects whilst interviewing the main opponents of minority (and majority) religious movements.” – quote from the human rights office of a large alternative spiritual group in the late 1990s

Since the inception of propaganda, its practitioners have known that with enough repetition, it’s possible to convince the public that almost anything is true – just ask Goebells or Hitler.

A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche, but the more we are bombarded by anti-cult sentiment, the more likely we are to believe that what we’re being told is true.

Each time we turn on the television to catch an update on the latest “cult” scare, we train ourselves and those around us to believe that alternative spirituality is dangerous, and in doing so we become our own governance tool.

Fear of alternative spirituality as a governance tool

Just like BF Skinner’s rats would learn how to avoid electric shocks, we are programmed to avoid alternative spirituality by seeing it repeatedly associated with danger and pain (physical, financial and emotional) in the media.

This avoidance behaviour can become self-reinforcing, as we may never take the opportunity to explore alternative spirituality, being so afraid of the personal danger we are repeatedly told we would be putting ourselves in. We become “fearing subjects” – people expected to govern their own risks through media-induced fear.

The more we fear NRMs and the more they are talked about in a negative light, the more they become a risk in the eyes of the public, and the greater the benefit for government institutions to be seen to be managing them. Despite there being many pressing issues to tackle including:

  • health;
  • education;
  • the environment; and
  • the economy,

it’s often fear of crime that drives public interest and legislation rather the risk of crime itself.

scapegoat-224x300

Because NRMs are depicted as threatening and bizarre, by sympathising with the anti-cult position and restricting the liberties of alternative spiritual groups, governments appear to be working in the best interests of the safety and personal freedoms of their citizens, while actually taking personal freedoms away.

At the same time, public attention and any aggression related to poor management of other issues can be easily deflected towards the unknowable “shadowy stranger” of alternative spirituality and NRMs become an easy scapegoat for the ills of society.

It is ironic that government institutions should legislate against NRMs using the fear of crime as justification when governments themselves have been responsible for the worst death and destruction in history. Yet government actions can often be justified as people generally believe (whether it’s true or not) that government institutions are working in their best interests.

Government violence has even been directed towards NRMs themselves.

Creating a fear feedback-loop that engineers consent for spiritual oppression

Such regular exposure to negative depictions of alternative spirituality throughout society creates a vicious cycle of fear. As a result:

  1. Alternative spirituality and NRMs are shown as harmful in the mainstream media and on the internet;
  2. People are bombarded with so many negative depictions that they naturally begin to fear alternative spirituality and project their concerns onto harmless groups;
  3. Being afraid, people develop avoidance conditioning, restricting their own interest in spirituality, and often the interest of those close to them;
  4. Governments take an interest in censoring and legislating alternative spirituality
  5. Individuals unknowingly consent to the oppression of spirituality as they feel it is in their best interests
  6. Without ever seeing the beneficial side of alternative spirituality, continued negative depictions of NRMS from authority figures throughout society reinforces the perception that the public is justified in their fear

Once people are made to fear alternative spirituality, it is much easier to engineer consent for oppression and justified violence against its practitioners.

The Branch Davidian property after it was set on fire by tanks.  Attribution: wiki user Carolmooredc

Compare the happenings of the 1993 WACO massacre with the incident engineered by Bernays in Guatemala.Although maintaining some uncommon beliefs, the Branch Davidians were held in high regard by those who lived around them – even the Waco Sherriff. They believed in the right to bear arms and had a number of firearms, all purchased in accordance with the law.

Under the justification that the Branch Davidians might have had illegal weapons and explosives on their property, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and later the FBI staged a 51 day siege on the property with military style weapons and tanks, despite it being against the US constitution to use military force in domestic situations. The siege involved methods of psychological torture including among other things sleep deprivation with flood lights and the sounds of rabbits being slaughtered. The siege ended in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians (men, women and children including their leader David Koresh), and 4 ATF agents with many others wounded. After the Branch Davidian complex was set on fire it was then bulldozed to the ground (to destroy the evidence?)

Why didn’t the government agencies accept Koresh’s invitation to come to his property and look at his inventory of weapons?

Why didn’t they just send a couple of agents to their door with a warrant and the town Sherriff?

Why didn’t they arrest David Koresh for questioning when he was in town buying groceries?

Maybe because of the involvement of anti-cult activists and the cult awareness network who had made media appearances in the weeks preceding the raid, popularizing a harshly negative image of Koresh as a dangerous and deviant cult leader?

Maybe it had to do with the ATF creating a publicity stunt in order to secure future funding against a group the public had already been trained to see as deviant and fearful?

According to religious scholars Phillip Arnold and James Tabor who made an effort to help resolve the conflict, “the crisis need not have ended tragically if only the FBI had been more open to Religious Studies and better able to distinguish between the dubious ideas of [anti-cult activist] Ross and the scholarly expertise” – Wikipedia

Unfortunately it appears that lessons are not learned and the media are as biased against NRMS as ever; here’s an article from a year ago who’s title says it all: “The Waco massacre, a fiery end to a whacko cult”.

Make people afraid and they’ll find a way to do or justify almost anything you want.

What to do if you’d rather practise spirituality than be afraid of it

Learn how fear works to overcome it and follow your spiritual yearnings without reservation!

Fear of alternative spirituality is a bit like a virus – get exposed to it enough and it’s very hard not to be infected. It’s pretty contagious too – once you’ve got it you can easily pass it on to others. But there’s a way of naturally innoculating ourselves against it, and negating its affects in our psyche if we’ve already succumbed to it.

If we want to be free to pursue the spirituality of our choosing without crumbling under society’s negative representation of NRMs, we have to understand the propaganda and methods used to turn public opinion against it.

But an intellectual knowledge is not enough. Propaganda is intended to bypass thought, creating an emotional reaction before an intellectual one. In order to truly protect ourselves we need to understand how our emotions are collectively manipulated and how they influence our thoughts, actions and all the choices in our lives.

Only then can we truly overcome fear towards alternative spirituality and take it up without reservation. Free from self-reinforcing fear and avoidance behaviours, and using our common sense to break through limiting beliefs and misconceptions, we can experience life freely in every moment, uncovering the amazing potential that personal spiritual exploration brings.

References:

[1] Maxfield, M. Fear of Crime in England and Wales. London: HMSO, 1984. quoted in Adam Possamaï & Murray Lee (2004): New religious movements and the fear of crime, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 19:3, 337-352

[2] Chryssides, G. Exploring New Religions. London: Cassell, 1999 quoted in Adam Possamaï & Murray Lee (2004): New religious movements and the fear of crime, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 19:3, 337-352

Along with the embedded links in this article, if you would like to further research the information provided the free online documentary Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century by Metanoia Films and the article New Religious Movements and the Fear of Crime are both excellent resources.

About the Author

David has a deep interest in spiritual development, but has discovered there are many forces in the world working to keep people asleep. His recent interest has been researching the psychological tactics and techniques used to limit people’s spiritual potential, writing about his discoveries at The Conscious Reporter.

**This article first appeared on TheConsciousReporter.com.**

Belief vs Gnosis

load-of-crap

Yup, I’m going there again. Always my most unpopular posts are about the Jesus myth. This says more about the masses than this little post could ever say. I’m not politically correct and do not care if I hurt someone’s feelings. Feelings are the problem. OK, I believe that the mythical Jesus Christ being changed to an historical person was a deliberate Roman political invention to be used as a diversion and/or distraction that keeps humanity from true spirituality, and from working on and evolving our own souls. The fictitious character of “Jesus” was invented from spiritual CONCEPTS originating in the Far East, such as spiritual alchemy, the kundalini energy, Buddhism, Krishna, and what is known as the “vril” “chi” “life-force” and Astrotheology STORIES from the Old Testament. Judaism was very astrological. This bit about the exoteric story hiding the esoteric from the ”profane” is a bit of nonsense. It wasn’t until the Inquisition drove the true message underground that it became esoteric. I believe it was at one time common knowledge that these myths meant something much deeper than the Vatican would allow people to know, that we are Gods, we are the Jesus character and by following his Initiation example we would become aware that we are indeed ”God.” Truth be known, one saves one’s own soul through advancing spiritually. In this way I think Jesus is a mystical representation of each of us, but this Christian god-man, along with biblical Literalism, is a deterrent to gnosis of the mystery and therefore keeps humanity from doing anything spiritually, keeping mankind enslaved to living a totally material existence, separated from God, nature and everything else (even each other). Christians cannot argue with this, because they do not know true spirituality. They have not experienced it. They are programmed to ”feel” Jesus as an emotional truth and become trapped in the Empirical political/material deception.

Once one’s eyes are opened and one is aware of the black magick concept, they can clearly and easily see how and why this Literalism/Orthodoxy was invented, but those with fear based egos and beliefs will never see it. That is just the way it is. (And I guess that’s OK, although as a member of the human race I think we’d evolve quicker if beliefs were replaced with knowledge and fear replaced with love). I also think the art of meditation should be taught in school, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Most parents probably don’t meditate thus wouldn’t be able to teach it to their kids, but what a better world it would be if it was a part of daily life in the whole world. Those who are a member of the mainstream, and who take network news as gospel truth (pun intended) are too involved in the fictional game of life to experience intuitive knowledge. These people are great in number and an angry bunch, prepared to kill for their belief in their ”loving” God. As George Carlin said: “Our God has a bigger dick than your God.” These people will use the most ridiculous arguments to ”save jesus” from the trash can. They don’t understand how history is invented, dates are incorrect and that their brains are thoroughly washed by the thought police.

The fictitious character of Jesus Christ:

The “Jesus saves” baloney [ad nauseum] and the “born again” phrases have been twisted and incorporated into this fictitious Matrix (Or paradigm, or culture. Words are always just symbols so take all this with a grain of salt, but not literally with a grain of salt, that would be …. weird). In other words, deluded ones have been deceived into believing this Jesus character will take care of everything spiritual as long as they conform to the ”agenda.” This deters one from working on one’s own spirituality. There is nothing at all spiritual about this Jesus thing, or the Roman invented Christian program. It’s emotional ego crap, and somewhat arrogant to think a God loves you and all you have to do is pray to another person (Jesus) that He (God) killed to forgive you from sins that He Himself created, but only if you stroke His massive ego with meaningless ritual and worship. Prayer doesn’t work, there’s no one to pray to, meditation is what works. Intent, intuition, self improvement takes work on one’s self from a position of knowledge, not belief. Consider one who does good because they believe it’s the right thing to do. They’re still doing something good, right? But is it coming from the heart or from a belief? If one knows that actions here will effect their future karma and the evolvement of the Consciousness of the human race, rather than just acting on belief, how much better the good deed will be.

The “Jesus” character has acted as the thought police for ultimate control. Wars have been fought repeatedly over beliefs and ideas. When the enemy controls what is in the mind of humanity, the enemy then controls humanity.

Since Jesus is fictitious, he can be anything to anyone. He is whatever the current system claims and dictates. He changes with the times and conforms to any agenda, with the Bible which that has verses and contradictions to suit any argument or purpose. (See the oldest bible, the Sinai Bible, to view for yourself  later additions, many omissions, editing, and interpolations that suited the dogma of the times).  The ancient wisdom of that day was hijacked by politics and rewrote. What the ancient teaching were about is really not important as far as us learning any actual truths from them. They are mythical literature from days gone by. Truly we can write a new myth and live our own gospel in the present time. (I like the simulated reality/virtual reality analogy presented by Tom Campbell, Peter Russell and other scientists breaking away from mainstream science dogma and talking about their experience with Consciousness.

Gnosis is a word that is beyond man’s ability to define — and it indicates Spiritual Knowledge revealed directly to man by ‘God’ (I am beginning to have issues with the word God. It never bothered me before because I knew what it meant to me, and understood it meant something else to others. I just dealt with that fact, but now I feel it’s a word that is harmful and shouldn’t be tossed about as if there really was an egotistical entity that is the one and only God. I prefer Consciousness to God. Consciousness doesn’t have an ego, doesn’t need to be worshipped and is not separated from us). As for the bible, gnosis cannot be conveyed to another in a book. It can’t be taught by one person to another. Gnosis was deliberately suppressed by the Church. Gnosis has nothing to do with the wisdom of this world. It is impossible to study Gnosis in a school, college or university. The Gospel of Thomas portrays this world as dwelling in a state of abject poverty, because the wisdom of this world is devoid of the essential elements of what can be portrayed as Higher Spiritual Knowledge — the ‘Divine Manna of the Kingdom’ — or, in the Greek language what is portrayed as Gnosis.

It is impossible to enter the Kingdom in the manner that the Orthodox church teaches, without possessing the Knowledge of one’s true self and your relationship to Creator-God-Consciousness and receiving Knowledge (Gnosis) directly from Consciousness. The original objective of the Gospels was to alter and evolve the Initiate’s mind and body in the process of spiritual transformation that would enable the Initiate to achieve and bring about the necessary subsequent stages of birth — to learn directly from Source (instead of dependency on the organized church) — and become restored as a child of Consciousness, or whatever you want to call it. (In fact the Church had no other choice than to do this as it would have quickly died without using deception, murder, genocide, torture and trickery – but like the Scribes and Pharisees they are truly not needed and better off avoided. They just don’t want YOU to know they aren’t needed. For fellowship, join a poker club or something less mundane than Church). You can learn from wiser people without making them gods. How can any other human being be better than yourself? Give me a break!

 

SPREADIN’ SOME ORTHODOX BIBLE LOVE:

“I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces!” (Malachi 2:3)

”Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock.” (Psalm 137:9)

”I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over man; she is to keep silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

”And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat the flesh of their neighbors.” (Jeremiah 19:9)

”This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)

 

 

In fairness, there is a spiritual meaning to these and other such quotes, but Literalism kills spirituality. Saul calls it ”the Letter that killeth.” Jesus tried to convey this and was crucified by religion and politics. Stupid ass Rome left some hidden treasures in the bible, too bad Christians don’t get it. LITERALISM KILLS SPIRITUALITY! To this day the Church does not pay taxes, they’re in bed with govern (means control) ment (means mind). Government by literal definition means ”mind control.” I mean how ”in your face” does it have to get?  Orthodox religions serve the Machine only, and the Machine is broken and hell bent on destruction. It’s a mass of ego induced lunatics with a perverted world view driving us all over the cliff. Counter culture always worked best for me. So yes, I went there again. No Historical Jesus as described in the bible ever lived ;) And remember, Jesus was a Greek name, it was never a Hebrew/Aramaic name. Now a days, when people pray to Jesus, they’re praying to some guy in Puerto Rico. How lame is that?
 
I end with;
Amen (Ra) Amen and Amen-Ra, Egyptian Gods. They still use the Egyptian God’s name to end a prayer to a fictional person, this cracks me up. Life is a comic book.

The Brain Does NOT Create Consciousness

Flickr-space-and-time-NASA

In a recent interview on Waking Times aired on The People’s Voice Network, Dr. Eben Alexander, Harvard Neurosurgeon presents compelling scientific research in the field of consciousness that examines the unfolding reality that the brain does NOT create consciousness. Misleading concepts that focus on reductive materialism have kept us in the dark about the true nature of the human soul and its integral part in our evolution as spiritual beings.

“The old paradigm of birth to death represents an outdated concept that is woefully inadequate in defining the unfolding reality of expanded awareness,” he stated in the interview with Waking Times. “Materialist science is at the end of its days as most scientists are changing their views. The old concepts are soon to be relegated to the same dust bin as ‘the earth is flat’ as we develop a more mature understanding and transcend old beliefs.”

Supported by worldwide research that is now delving into the concepts of string theory that involves a complete reworking of our outdated and limited views of space/time means that we are now entering a phase where science will greatly expand its boundaries. The foundation of the research begins with the clear understanding of the “Soul”, or conscious spirit, that exists outside of the body and is eternal.

“Consciousness is at the core to unfolding all of reality”, states Alexander.

The brain operates the body based on input from the personality, but the higher intelligence, or subconscious, is the mechanism that controls the body, and that is the soul that we have yet to acknowledge or even begin to understand. That is the free will component that exists long after the body stops. Near-death, paranormal, mysticism, past life memories, and akashic records are now a common thread that drives home the conclusion that there exists a soul within the human body that transcends the human experience. As we acknowledge the essence of our soul, we let go of the limitations of the illusional earth-based mentality and reach out to the greater cosmos of life. Many additional realms exist beyond the earth and in other dimensions of time/space. As spiritual beings, we can easily access these places.

Edgar Cayce, the father of holistic medicine, pioneered the concept in modern times that we are indeed “spiritual beings having a human experience”, but this is only a reemergence of what our ancestors already knew.

This time on earth will be one where we all transcend the false boundaries that convince us that we are separate entities and develop the understanding of the oneness that we all share, meaning that we don’t have to be either scientific or spiritual. Merging science and spirituality creates a new foundation for our peaceful coexistence in the greater cosmos.

Read Deborah West’s columns at The New Era Times for her personal views.

References:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/10/29/science-now-proves-reincarnation-a-look-at-the-souls-journey-after-death/

http://www.sott.net/article/271933-Scientists-claim-that-Quantum-Theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death

For more about Dr. Eben Alexander: http://www.eternea.org/

For more about Sacred Acoustics: http://www.sacredacoustics.com/

About the Author

Deborah West worked in corporate public relations and media for over 20 years and is currently a freelancer, reporting on a wide variety of topics including disclosure, ancient and multidimensional civilizations, the the shift in humanity’s consciousness and brings truthful reporting to topics ranging from healthcare to energy. She writes a column called Lost Knowledge at The New Era Times and has a weekly radio show called Lost Knowledge on Tuesdays 3-5pm CST. To see her articles go to:  http://www.tnetimes.com/contributor/deborah_west/92/

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

SOURCE: Waking Times.

Gnosis

Spirituality Is Always Gnostic

Those Who Read The Letter Of The Written Word Of Scriptures

Are Spiritually Dead

All Scriptures Are Gnostic, And Have A ThreeFold Nature

Only The True Prophet Within You,

Can Reveal The True Meaning

Those Who Reject Gnosticism

Reject Spirituality

 

When rightly understood, the term BC (Before Christ) with respect to the beginning of our Common Era, should be reevaluated to indicate Before Constantine.