I was a very lucky child. I was lucky to be born into a family that love me unconditionally and I equally love them all back. I was lucky I never went hungry or wanted for anything. I was lucky I was never truly unhappy throughout my early years. That is until my reality was suddenly torn asunder.
It was not a devastation like war, disease, famine or death, thankfully, only a simple statement. Just a small nugget of information, that managed to turn my world upside down and burst entirely the bubble I had been living in. It was simply the words "Santa does not exist". It was not only those words, because I had heard those words uttered before. It was from whose mouth those words were uttered; my mum.
Whilst I was intelligent enough at that age to understand that the physics of Santa's annual trip around the world was impossible, or so I thought, but because my parents and close relatives insisted that his existence was real, I found myself having to make a clear choice: believe my mind or believe my heart. Believe what i knew was physically impossible in the world I experienced, or believe in my family and love ones and trust that they wouldn't lie to me. I am assuming most people in the Christian western world can empathise the dilemma. Although I pretended to admit he was fake, I still believed deep down.
Then that fateful day arrived like a thunderbolt. It obliterated everything. Suddenly, I was cast from a world safe in the knowledge that all the truth, honesty and love that I was told were the highest values in life, into another world full of doubt, uncertainty and fear. How could this be? The person you trust the most in the world is your mum and she, and other loved ones, have mislead you all this time. I don't blame her, of course. She was coerced into accepting this "tradition" and she genuinely believed that it was to make me happy and it did. Mention Santa to any kid and watch their eyes light up with mystery and excitement. I think for me this is the moment I realised something was not quite right with the world. Obviously you hear stories of starving children in other countries and wars past and present, but they are in a far off land. And of course I knew about lies and lied myself, but this was different. This was bigger. This required something deeper. It required a belief of the fantastical over the physical.
That too was probably the day I stopped believing in God or at least believing his existence a possibility. I have a friend who experienced a similar situation, only hers was being told in school about evolution and the "truth" that we descended from a monkey instead of a creation from God.
I do know for certain that that was the day my reality was shocked to the core. It was only many years later, though, that my reality was truly blown apart, or to be exact, my perception of reality. And these questions of "what is reality?" and "what is the truth?" have plagued me since that day. If what I perceive to be true is based upon the extent of my beliefs, for example if I were a devout monotheistic I would not consider a reality where there are many gods, how do I know my beliefs are true? What if there are many gods and I'm worshipping the wrong one?
If all my beliefs are untrue, then I would be perceiving a reality that was completely false, and if some were true and others false, then it would only be quasi-real. There is simply no genuine way to know my core beliefs about my world around me are true. This "revelation" has been instrumental in transforming the way I now perceive the world. This has led me to question whether the entire or partial nature of my reality is not as it first seems...
Information about the world around us we get from our parents, our peers, our neighbours, our friends, our respective country's media and leaders and heads of state. We get it from school, in which we are told we must learn in order to understand the world and become successful in it. We know about our history from ancient writings and paintings, fossils and archaeological finds, and of course from word of mouth passed down through generations. What if some, or all of that, information is untrue? Or certain truths kept from us, by people who we trust, are providing us with the correct knowledge to allow us to perceive reality as it is truly is, and a distorted reality is being imposed upon us without our consent? Would you be happy with that particular arrangement? Well, this is exactly what I believe is being enacted upon us now.
Ever wondered why you buy a certain product brand over another? Ever wondered why you desire a certain car or a certain way of life? Ever wondered why a majority of us are invested in a lifestyle and way of life, that is not only destructive to ourselves and our environment but also our future generations, without as hardly a convincing "tut" over the problem during breakfast?
"Alas, my dear readers, reality will never live up to the promise of the parallel universe created by me and my fellow advertising executives, in our attempt to profit from the unfulfillable yearnings of our fellow man." - Alan Wolan MBA, CEO GoMedia Advertising Agency.
"The ideal of behaviorism is to eliminate coercion: to apply controls by changing the environment in such a way as to reinforce the kind of behavior that benefits everyone." - B. F. Skinner
I would like to replace one word from those quotes, by changing Skinner's "everyone" to "some". It is to the benefit of some that we live the lives we do and we don't even realise it. It is almost staggering in it's simplicity yet it's complexity. I could almost admire it, if it weren't for it's ruthless "evilness". Everything we see, hear or read has been manipulated over generations. From the invention to the printing press, to radio, television and now the internet, we have been bombarded with images and thoughts subconsciously, that are literally altering the reality we perceive.
In her 1995 book, Cults in our Midst, Margaret Thaler Singer explores in detail the methods and processes of coercive persuasion. These methods are used not just by cult leaders, but by anyone who manipulates the behavior of others in order to promote a hidden agenda, often involving the consolidation of power.
According to Singer, the tactics of a thought reform program are organized to do three things: destabilize a person’s sense of self; get the person to alter his or her worldview and accept a new version of reality; and develop dependency in the person, turning him into a deployable agent for the controller or the agenda.
Singer also lists six conditions that create an atmosphere conducive to coercive persuasion:
- Keep the person unaware that there is an agenda to control or change the person and their thoughts
- Control time and physical environment
- Create a sense of powerlessness, fear, and dependency
- Suppress old behavior and attitudes
- Instill new behavior and attitudes
- Put forth a closed system of logic
The atmosphere of coercion is reinforced by peer-modeled behavior. Basically, this means that in a room full of people who whisper, you will likely whisper too. Or if you are exposed to a slogan often enough, you will repeat it, even if you don’t understand what it means.
"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions." -Albert Einstein
An example of controlling the physical environment and deliberately controlling our perception comes from the controversial topic of chem trails. According to the chem trail conspiracy theory, long-lasting trails left in the sky by high-flying aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed for sinister purposes undisclosed to the general public. Believers in the theory argue that normal contrails dissipate relatively quickly, and contrails that do not dissipate must contain additional substances. Now here are two pictures of the opening credits of Wimbledon from an annual BBC TV broadcast of the Wimbledon tennis championships. The first of Rafael Nadal is dated 2012 and the second is dated 2013.
Notice the chem trails in 2013's picture but not in 2012's? Is this a tactic of subliminal brainwashing to make us think they are normal in the sky and have always been there?
A further example of this is the very opening scene to "This is England '90". The scene, which lasts only a mere 3 seconds, is the first view the eager fans are greeted to.
Now, call me cynical, but is this a deliberate ploy to condition the minds of the people into believing that this "phenomenon" has been with us since, oh, at least 1990?
There is no greater example of altering a nation's reality as can be seen in North Korea. We laugh and realise the ridiculousness of their beliefs in the "Great Leader" and his so-called powers, that include even registering a hole-in-one for his very first golf shot. We think the people must be stupid to suffer such brutal conditions all because of that one fundamental, quite obviously ridiculous, belief. Yet, what if someone is laughing at us, for being so complicit and ignorant of our own control system that is in place for us?
"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - Adolf Hitler.
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Vladimir Lenin.
The United Nations' Human Rights Committee states that "it does not permit any limitations whatsoever on the freedom of thought and conscience or on the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of one's choice. These freedoms are protected unconditionally". Similarly, Article 19 of the UDHR guarantees that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference".
Can you really say every country that recognises and "abides" with the declaration of human rights has the right to claim all it's citizens have unconditional freedoms of thought and conscience, without interference? This is clearly impossible, as all we soak up from the environment around us, influences everything we think and do. The only way to compensate for this would be to have the two, or more, sides to every argument, unbiased and uninfluenced in any way. Can we honestly say our mainstream media allows us this privilege? Do we have the time to even allow these thoughts to take root and grow?
The extremely quickening speed of life we are exposed to, the crippling pressure placed on us all to work long hours, whilst simultaneously juggling life, work and leisure, forever chasing the dollar, or dragon (whatever your vice), social pressures to fit and belong, to look a certain way or act in a certain manner, all this takes time and effort. There is scant time left to explore anything but what is directly in your path in the present. We live in a pressure-cooker world, where material progress is buzz, and humanist progress is scuzz.
Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist who made significant contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, once said: "if quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet." Quantum physics has left scientists all over the world baffled, especially with the discovery that our physical material reality, isn’t really physical at all. "Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real."
This is not mere theory, either. This has been quantified and tested in the real world. It has stood up to the rigours of the scientific method and found to be staggeringly true. This is proof that consciousness creates reality. If, at first, like me, this seems impossible and is so far-fetched that it does not even really compute, do not worry. This is quite a staggering and profound discovery and pretty much turns everything we knew on its head. The implications, though, I believe, could be extraordinary.
If each of us is armed with the necessary understanding that the world really is what we make it, imagine the possibilities if we all come from a place of love. The greatest antidote to the disease is us. Ourselves. And, suddenly, those fairy stories we listened to our parents read us at bedtime, don't seem so inconceivable. Perhaps all those goblins and fairies are/were real, only we are unable to perceive them.
Who knows, maybe in one reality Santa does exist, and all those children do grow up in a world of magic and wonder? Maybe in their dimension, every person is treated with the same dignity and respect as each other, instead of being persecuted for their faith or race. Maybe in their experience, people are encouraged to take time to get to really know themselves and each other, and discover and pursue their passions without prejudice, and are not coerced through life like automatons to the benefit of others.
Maybe, just maybe, one day we will all come to the enlightenment that we can all have the reality we crave and deserve. A reality of unconditional peace and love worldwide.
And if someone has the temerity to question it, and declares that reality sucks and will, henceforth, forever more continue to well and truly suck, just ask them the simple question, "what is reality?"
"Forgive them, for they know not what they do." - Jesus.