Monday, November 24, 2014

Choose Your Trances Carefully

Cultural Trances
I. Introduction

One has to be as careful as possible when choosing a cultural trance to live by.

Assuming, of course, that a choice is even available, is economical, and is worthy of contemplation.

Trances come in all shapes and sizes, are commercially traded on the stock market and commodity exchanges, and are even put on sale from time to time (some of those sales occasionally being fire sales).

Some trances, such as the "good world war" trance, are very difficult to sell on the open market (so, you may have to go over to the black market for that particular trance), yet other trances are "free" and abundant, especially the fear induced trances, such as the fading 911 trance or the recent Obola trance (Obola: Art Thou Dying Properly?).

II. Why Choose Carefully?

One reason for the notion of being careful about the cultural trance you choose is that a cultural trance has all the components of the lowly psychotic trances:
Group-mind trance does not occur only in highly charged temporary gatherings, such as riots or lynch mobs. Group-mind trance is a part of the everyday life of each one of us. We belong to various kinds of groups--families, work groups, churches, and other organizations. Each has its own group mind that entrances us, perhaps more subtly than a lynch mob, but every bit as effectively. And in the group-mind trance, we experience all the features of other trance states.
(Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala). The part of that quote I want to focus on here is that quote's section: "in the group-mind trance, we experience all the features of other trance states."

(One has to wonder what other trance states the author is talking about)

Mainly, being careful in trance selection is important because there are matters of degree in trances, from mild all the way to severe:
Trance Zero examines the trances that we go in an out of every day of our lives, concentrating on our cultural trance, the group-mind trance of our society that is so pervasive that it is virtually invisible. He advocates establishing what he calls "Trance Zero," and intuitive state of being in which one is fully awake to the real condition of our existence. Such a state of nothing less than a new paradigm of personal immanence and is the very essence of optimism.

"Adam Crabtree seems to me to be one of the most interesting minds in the field of modern psychology....In some ways this is his most challenging book so far. What makes it so stimulating is that he takes a basic and simple idea--that we all spend more time in "trance" than we realize-and then develops it in wholly unexpected ways....Crabtree suggests that our culture induces a trance state ...
(Trance Zero, emphasis added). Our first big trance state is "freely given" to us by our culture through our parents (whose lives have been carved, molded, and fashioned by that culture and its particular trances).

We wake up at birth with a pat on the ass, we cry, then we enter into our culture as if it was the only reality to concern ourselves with (which it is at that time).

III. So How Do We Choose?

This begs the question of whether or not we can choose, so let's examine a mild trance so as to give us a fair go at grasping it:
Nevertheless, I believe we all live our lives going in and out of trances; that trances are behind what is the very best and very worst in human beings; and that it is possible to become aware of our trances and gain greater control of our lives.

To illustrate, let me ask you a question. At this moment are you in full possession of your faculties? If you are really concentrating on this question, you are probably already slipping into a trance. As you continue to read this page you become less aware of the sounds and sights around you and you generally lose touch with your environment. If you are really focussed here, you lose track for the moment of the other roles or identities of your life--the fact that you are a "teacher," "salesman," "lover," "friend," "mother," etc. Also, if you began reading with a slight headache or some other minor discomfort, the pain may disappear as you concentrate. All in all, through the experience of reading and becoming immersed in what you are reading, you lose touch with who you are and where you are. You find it hard to gauge the passage of time. You don't notice your body. You lose track of your relationships and your surroundings. These are typical features of the state called "trance."

This "reading trance" is so commonplace it escapes notice. Yet it can be a truly engulfing experience. As you become progressively more absorbed in reading, your trance could become so profound that you would fail to notice important things--such as the fact that you have reached your subway stop or that the pot is boiling on the stove.

But if something suddenly shocks you back to "reality"--if the subway lurches unexpectedly or you spill coffee on your lap, you snap out of your trance. Your attention again broadens to include a wider spectrum of impressions. You are once more aware of the place, the time, your body, the environment. You are awake from your reading trance.

This "reading trance" is just an example of a multitude of trances. Taken together, the trances of everyday life form the fabric of human existence. Their effects are important. They can enhance our experiences, but they can also rob us of freedom and fulfilment.
(ibid, from the book Trance Zero). Whew ... good thing I put an end to that quote, just to break you out of the "quote reading trance" --huh?

See, some trances are mild, but it would seem that The Cultural Trance is the biggie, the most intense in terms of impact on us, and perhaps a trance we can't grasp with mild inquiry, mild discovery, or mild pondering.

No, like the Matrix, it takes intense inquiry, intense discovery, and intense pondering to finally envision the big one.

So, how do we choose not to consensually be within the realm of control of the big one, The Cultural Trance (i.e., how do we choose to break any bad hold or bad sway of that trance)?

One suggestion is to experience multiple cultures in as many effective ways as possible.

Perhaps (from different cultures) music, art, empathy, intellectual discoveries, history, poetry, and whatever else might ease us into a better grasp of "When The Truth Is Found To Be Lies?"

IV. An Intense Example

Be careful with this section, because there is no way I can please everyone when I give an example that challenges some of the pillars of cultural trances.

If you are like me, you will suffer some if you shake the trunk of the tree of culture, and take a look inside some of the sausage making back rooms where the fruits of the cultural tree are manufactured.

One event (which took place just after the book being quoted from was written) is worthy of close consideration.

The book (Trance Zero) was written in 1999 shortly before our U.S. culture went into "the 911 trance."

A trance said to have "changed everything."

A trance in which wars started, economic problems arose, conspiracies abounded, loss of freedoms surged, NSA madness grew to the point of spying on the world, U.S. torture escapades galore became official, and "conspiracy theories" went far and wide (all of which are still ongoing).

Yes, a 9/11 trance that many people in our culture can't seem to get out of --even to this day.

Others, who at first were overcome by that trance, like most everyone else, have snapped themselves and perhaps others out of it, but still feel, see, hear, taste, and otherwise sense lingering aspects of its "presence" around them (the many lies about events did not and do not help).

Thus, whether or not we can shake one trance, but not another trance, is going to depend on our own personal experiences, diligence, and abilities.

V. Some Other Intense Examples

I will now offer the "foreigner trance" (you can think of a better name if need be) which has been in our culture for a long, long time:
The "foreigner" is, moreover, outside the principal immediate system of law and order; hence aggression toward him does not carry the same opprobrium or immediate danger of reprisal that it does toward one's "fellow-citizen." Hostility to the foreigner has thus furnished a means of transcending the principal, immediately threatening group conflicts, of achieving "unity" —but at the expense of a less immediate but in fact more dangerous threat to security, since national states now command such destructive weapons that war between them is approaching suicidal significance.

Thus the immense reservoir of aggression in Western society is sharply inhibited from direct expression within the smaller groups in which it is primarily generated. The structure of the society in which it produced contains a strong predisposition for it to be channeled into group antagonisms. The significance of the nation-state is, however, such that there is a strong pressure to internal unity within each such unit and therefore a tendency to focus aggression on the potential conflicts between nation-state units. In addition to the existence of a plurality of such units, each a potential target of the focused aggression from all the others, the situation is particularly unstable because of the endemic tendency to define their relations in the manner least calculated to build an effectively solidary international order. Each state is, namely, highly ambivalent about the superiority-inferiority question. Each tends to have a deep-seated presumption of its own superiority and a corresponding resentment against any other's corresponding presumption. Each at the same time tends to feel that it has been unfairly treated in the past and is ready on the slightest provocation to assume that the others are ready to plot new outrages in the immediate future. Each tends to be easily convinced of the righteousness of its own policy while at the same time it is overready to suspect the motives of all others. In short, the "jungle philosophy"-which corresponds to a larger element in the real sentiments of all of us than can readily be admitted, even to ourselves-tends to be projected onto the relations of nation-states at precisely the point where, under the technological and organizational situation of the modern world, it can do the most harm.
(ibid, Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala, emphasis added). In future posts of this series we will consider the foreigner trance (composed of self-righteous exceptionalism, etc.) more closely, and how one state's aggression thereby "tends to be projected onto the relations of nation-states" around it.

The foreigner trance also seems to be wired to grow its circuits continually.

Eventually, if not diminished, it manifests violence within its own culture domestically, that is, it makes dislike, distrust, fear, hatred, and even violence an everyday reality within our culture.

It feeds upon the perception of "those who are different from us" ("foreign") in the context of concepts of race, politics, gender, ideology, religion, ethics, and the like.

Our culture foments and perpetuates this foreigner trance above all others in many ways that are not always readily apparent to those of us enveloped in the culture.

But, the trance is visible to other cultures around us on this globe, since we are now seen as the greatest threat to peace on the planet:
The 12 Steps to regime change, employed by [MOMCOM] as outlined in the video:
  1. Dispatch CIA, MI6 and other intelligence officers as students, tourists, volunteers, businessmen, and reporters to the target country
  2. Set up non-governmental organisations (NGO) under the guise of humanitarianism to fight for “democracy” and “human rights” In order to attract advocates of freedom and ideals
  3. Attract local traitors and especially academics, politicians, reporters, soldiers, etc., through bribery, or threaten those who have some stain in their life
  4. If the target country has labour unions, bribe them
  5. Pick a catchy theme or color for the revolution. Examples include the Prague spring (1968), Velvet revolution (Eastern Europe, 1969), Rose revolution (Georgia, 2003), Cedar revolution (Lebanon, 2005), Orange revolution (Ukraine), Green revolution (Iran), Jasmin revolution, Arab Spring and even Hong Kong’s Umbrella revolution
  6. Start protests for whatever reasons to kick off the revolution. It could be human rights, democracy, government corruption or electoral fraud. Evidence isn’t necessary; any excuse will do
  7. Write protests signs and banners in English to let Americans see and get American politicians and civilians involved
  8. Let those corrupted politicians, intellectuals and union leaders join the protests and call upon all people with grievances to join
  9. The US and European mainstream media help continuously emphasize that the revolution is caused by injustice thereby gaining the support of the majority
  10. When the whole world is watching, stage a false-flag action. The target government will soon be destabilised and lose support among its people
  11. Add in violent agent provocateurs to provoke the police to use force. This will cause the target government to lose the support of other countries and become “deligitimized” by the international community
  12. Send politicians to the US, EU and UN to petition so that the target government will face the threat of economic sanctions, no-fly zones and even airstrikes and an armed rebel uprising
(Regime Change Anonymous). This particular circuitry of our cultural amygdala has been exposed in various Dredd Blog series (Series Page).

The trance reality can be a hard pill and difficult to swallow, but failure to face the medicine now means facing an epidemic eventually.

VI. Some Unusual Sources of Trances

In addition to trances formed by culture, in future posts we will consider or revisit some other interesting trances that are formed by other entities in our environment.

Let's consider, for starters down that road, two altered states of mind, two trances if you will, one caused by a tumor, and one caused by pathogenic microbes.

Remember, however, that these two following examples are rare compared to the ordinary, everyday trances we experience:
... [Whitman] killed a receptionist with the butt of his rifle. Two families of tourists came up the stairwell; he shot at them at point-blank range. Then he began to fire indiscriminately from the deck at people below. The first woman he shot was pregnant. As her boyfriend knelt to help her, Whitman shot him as well. He shot pedestrians in the street and an ambulance driver who came to rescue them.

The evening before, Whitman had sat at his typewriter and composed a suicide note:
I don’t really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I can’t recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.
By the time the police shot him dead, Whitman had killed 13 people and wounded 32 more. The story of his rampage dominated national headlines the next day. And when police went to investigate his home for clues, the story became even stranger: in the early hours of the morning on the day of the shooting, he had murdered his mother and stabbed his wife to death in her sleep.
It was after much thought that I decided to kill my wife, Kathy, tonight … I love her dearly, and she has been as fine a wife to me as any man could ever hope to have. I cannot rationa[l]ly pinpoint any specific reason for doing this …
Along with the shock of the murders lay another, more hidden, surprise: the juxtaposition of his aberrant actions with his unremarkable personal life. Whitman was an Eagle Scout and a former marine, studied architectural engineering at the University of Texas, and briefly worked as a bank teller and volunteered as a scoutmaster for Austin’s Boy Scout Troop 5. As a child, he’d scored 138 on the Stanford-Binet IQ test, placing in the 99th percentile. So after his shooting spree from the University of Texas Tower, everyone wanted answers.

For that matter, so did Whitman. He requested in his suicide note that an autopsy be performed to determine if something had changed in his brain — because he suspected it had.
I talked with a Doctor once for about two hours and tried to convey to him my fears that I felt [overcome by] overwhelming violent impulses. After one session I never saw the Doctor again, and since then I have been fighting my mental turmoil alone, and seemingly to no avail.
Whitman’s body was taken to the morgue, his skull was put under the bone saw, and the medical examiner lifted the brain from its vault. He discovered that Whitman’s brain harbored a tumor the diameter of a nickel. This tumor, called a glioblastoma, had blossomed from beneath a structure called the thalamus, impinged on the hypothalamus, and compressed a third region called the amygdala. [metaphor: can a cultural amygdala get a tumor?]

-------------------/ next example /-------------------

The parasite my lab is beginning to focus on is one in the world of mammals, where parasites are changing mammalian behavior... Toxo instead has developed this amazing capacity to alter innate behavior in rodents... If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they're going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-
"Complex" Is An Understatement
infected rodent, and they're no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat's stomach. Toxo's circle of life completed.

... part of my lab has been trying to figure out the neurobiological aspects. The first thing is that it's for real. The rodents, rats, mice, really do become attracted to cat urine when they've been infected with Toxo. And you might say, okay, well, this is a rodent doing just all sorts of screwy stuff because it's got this parasite turning its brain into Swiss cheese or something. It's just non-specific behavioral chaos. But no, these are incredibly normal animals. Their olfaction is normal, their social behavior is normal, their learning and memory is normal. All of that. It's not just a generically screwy animal.

You say, okay well, it's not that, but Toxo seems to know how to destroy fear and anxiety circuits. But it's not that, either. Because these are rats who are still innately afraid of bright lights. They're nocturnal animals. They're afraid of big, open spaces. You can condition them to be afraid of novel things. The system works perfectly well there. Somehow Toxo can laser out this one fear pathway, this aversion to predator odors... Toxo preferentially knows how to home in on the part of the brain that is all about fear and anxiety, a brain region called the amygdala... Toxo knows how to get in there.

Next, we then saw that Toxo would take the dendrites, the branch and cables that neurons have to connect to each other, and shriveled them up in the amygdala. It was disconnecting circuits. You wind up with fewer cells there. This is a parasite that is unwiring this stuff in the critical part of the brain for fear and anxiety... It knows how to find that particular circuitry... Meanwhile, there is a well-characterized circuit that has to do with sexual attraction. And as it happens, part of this circuit courses through the amygdala, which is pretty interesting in and of itself, and then goes to different areas of the brain than the fear pathways... Toxo knows how to hijack the sexual reward pathway. And you get males infected with Toxo and expose them to a lot of the cat pheromones, and their testes get bigger. Somehow, this damn parasite knows how to make cat urine smell sexually arousing to rodents, and they go and check it out. Totally amazing... So what about humans? A small literature is coming out now reporting neuropsychological testing on men who are Toxo-infected, showing that they get a little bit impulsive... And then the truly astonishing thing: two different groups independently have reported that people who are Toxo-infected have three to four times the likelihood of being killed in car accidents involving reckless speeding... Maybe you take a Toxo-infected human and they start having a proclivity towards doing dumb-ass things that we should be innately averse to, like having your body hurdle through space at high G-forces. Maybe this is the same neurobiology... On a certain level, this is a protozoan parasite that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders... But no doubt it's also a tip of the iceberg of God knows what other parasitic stuff is going on out there. Even in the larger sense, God knows what other unseen realms of biology make our behavior far less autonomous than lots of folks would like to think.
(those two quotes are from: Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala and Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power - 6). Note that these now rare events could become less rare if our cultural trance continues in a business as usual manner to up-end the Earth's environment (The Real Dangers With Microbes & Viruses).

VII. Conclusion

This post is getting a bit long, so for today I will stop here and begin to gather more data via more research for future posts in this series.

Happy trails and happy trances until we meet again in the Matrix.

The next post in this series is here.


  1. Some of the circuits of U.S. political trances are being probed by soldiers who have morphed into university students: link

  2. "Birds born in cages think that flying is a disease." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

  3. Creeping normality and landscape amnesia are trances. (link)