Society and the Brain in the 21st CenturyFrom here on we begin the journey into the psychology of the Societal Mind. There is enough information available here at dgswilson.com to really gain a thorough understanding into what makes the whole process work, or not work. The entire purpose of this site is to engage people on the "Self Determined Path". But to start let's take a look at the relationship between each individual brain and society.
The Societal BrainEver hear someone say, "If he had any Brains he'd be dangerous"? Well its true, having a brain can be dangerous. In fact "brains" are the source, the cause, of all dangerous things. Again, it sounds simplistic. It sounds sort of meaningless. But the simple truth about society is, it's a collective personality. A collective brain. If a society looks crazy, it's because the people in that society are crazy. The crazy things that people dream up have caused all the torment and suffering since the dawn of civilization. The first buggered up thought was probably that's mine. The "me" that's not "you" has this and it adds to my me-ness. Its mine and if I lose it I will be less than if I had it. This causes a lot of our individual trials and, in turn, most of the trouble that plagues the planet. We don't have to look any farther in the search for, "where to begin addressing societies problems". We are societies problems. As always, the first thing we need to address is ourselves. If we refuse to do this, we are of no help at all.
We have several different parts in our brains that perform different functions. We are born with a few reactionary functions. Most babies don't like loud noises. We are born with a hand or two that is capable of going to our mouths. We don't reach out and get stuff very readily but once got we sure enough get it to our mouths. So that's one aspect of the brain. The other is its ability to assimilate data. When we're born we don't know the difference between us and our Moms, or the wall or water. When we look around we don't see depth or shape or difference. Its all flat. lighter, darker maybe but more or less just a big thing. Trees don't have other sides. We need to run into things to understand qualities like around and over. This is all compiled as we travel along amongst the things. We learn heavy and sour and all the rest and it takes a while. The more intelligent the creature, the longer it takes. The more developed the animals brain the longer it stays with its mother. The lower brain animals, like alligators, hatch, blink and start hunting. There might be some rudimentary improvement in skills for hunting but nothing that would be classified as learning. For the most part they're born finished.
We, on the other hand, have a lot to learn. The amount of neuron connecting and pathway building is really huge in these formative years and we go from navigating objects to navigating society in about five years. After this we are just putting the finishing touches on our personalities and figuring out how best to get along in the societal arena. Generally speaking, from ages ten to thirteen and up most development is physical. We pretty much have our minds made up. The adolescent brain makes a final adjustment in the mid to late twenties. The tendency to react first and analyze later should be tapering off sharply by the age of thirty. Every grown up person you see is very much like the child they were in middle school. The same things that were important to them then are important to them now. The thoughts of how to get those things are, for the most part, the same. There is always some navigational adjustments, some polishing of social skills but most people are just kids in big bodies.
This is why its so important to have good mentors from an early age. It's why its so detrimental to have your head filled up with stories based on nonsense. Cultures have, in the past, used stories with archetypal characters to inspire and encourage their youth to greater heights. In the U.S. we raise consumers. We do this the same way we raise crops, then the crops are harvested and taken to market where they are turned into cash. In the land of consumerism that's the purpose for having people. We have one of the worst records for education, infant mortality, health care, diet and income of any developing nation and we're constantly told we live in the greatest nation on earth. We have more lawyers than any other nation and most kids want to grow up and be celebrities. If we don't start cleaning the propaganda from our brains, and start using them for some other purpose, as a society, we've had it. And it will be our fault.
An observation by Philip K. Dick, 1978The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. George Orwell made this clear in his novel 1984. But another way to control the minds of people is to control their perceptions. If you can get them to see the world as you do, they will think as you do. Comprehension follows perception. How do you get them to see the reality you see? After all, it is only one reality out of many. Images are a basic constituent: pictures. This is why the power of TV to influence young minds is so staggeringly vast. Words and pictures are synchronized. The possibility of total control of the viewer exists, especially the young viewer. TV viewing is a kind of sleep-learning. An EEG of a person watching TV shows that after about half an hour the brain decides that nothing is happening, and it goes into a hypnoidal twilight state, emitting alpha waves. This is because there is such little eye motion. In addition, much of the information is graphic and therefore passes into the right hemisphere of the brain, rather than being processed by the left, where the conscious personality is located. Recent experiments indicate that much of what we see on the TV screen is received on a subliminal basis. We only imagine that we consciously see what is there. The bulk of the messages elude our attention; literally, after a few hours of TV watching, we do not know what we have seen. Our memories are spurious, like our memories of dreams; the blank are filled in retrospectively. And falsified. We have participated unknowingly in the creation of a spurious reality, and then we have obligingly fed it to ourselves. We have colluded in our own doom. Philip K. Dick
No atrocity ever came to this planet that originated apart from man. Literally millions upon millions of people have been tortured, dehumanized and killed because some "me" that's not "you" wanted some thing to add to its me-ness. All of us compete for things that are owned by someone else. People are after the stuff. There are people that have made, and are making, laws that will enable them to own the planet. All money is conjured (See Video Playlist. Also See: Capitalist Conspiracy Video) and lent and the only real money is the interest paid on the loans. Every one in this nation ( U.S.) owes around a quarter of a million dollars because of loans made to our government from banks. There is no more real money now than there was a hundred years ago but somehow we owe more money than all the money there was a hundred years ago. Does it seem that some one is pulling a fast one here? Its a big global game of bait and switch and we are the dupes. In the end it will amount to nothing. No one will have lost or gained anything, no one will have won. We'll just go on and on from one stupid thing to the next until there is no plausible maneuver to be made and it will simply vanish into the nothingness that it is. Then all the stuff that the brain programmed by society held dear will cease to be. Maybe then we can have some fun.
"Say what you will about such tribal societies, the record shows that they were (and in some places still are) units of cohesion and solidarity, of harmony and regularity, devoid for the most part of crime or addiction or suicide, with comparatively few needs and those satisfied with a minimum of drudgery, putting in on average maybe four hours a day per person on tasks of hunting and gathering and cultivating, the rest of the time devoted to song and dance and ritual and sex and eating and stories and games... No they did not have the power of five hundred servants at the flick of a switch or the turn of a key, but then they did not have atomic bombs and death camps, toxic wastes, traffic jams, strip mining, organized crime, psycho surgery, advertising, unemployment or genocide." Kirkpatrick Sale, Rebels Against the Future
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come." Joseph Campbell
"People deny reality. They fight against real feelings caused by real circumstances. They build mental worlds of shoulds, oughts and might-have-beens. Real changes begin with real appraisal and acceptance of what is. Then realistic action is possible." Michael Crichton
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. Noam Chomsky
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. Russell Baker
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate. Oliver Wendell Holmes
A great city is that which has the greatest men and women. Walt Whitman