Here are two basic way to operate: with natural power or with a learned restriction of natural power. We’ll explore that contrast soon (as well as how to go from restricted power to “full power”).
First, note that when the natural capacity to be perceptive is not very developed, that is just a lack of wisdom, as in ignorance. However, there is a much more challenging possibility: arrogance.
Ignorance vs arrogance
Ignorance is the potential to learn. Arrogance is the distressed refusal to even risk the possibility of learning.
Arrogance is a kind of social distress that involves a desperate, anxious refusal to examine some “sacred” presumption (instead insisting on some specific dogma as being “an idea that is fundamentally better than all other alternatives”). Again, ignorance is simply not knowing. In contrast, arrogance is pretending to know for certain when in fact one is terrified of the possibility of being inaccurate (or even merely imprecise). Note that the behavioral animosity and antagonism that is associated with arrogance are just symptoms of the underlying state of hysteria.
“You do not respect my claims as much as you should… and they are not just claims, either! Obviously, they are fundamental truths, which is why I am terrified by the idea of anyone examining them… I mean disturbed by… no, ashamed, not disturbed… well, actually…. just offended, not ashamed. Right, I am definitely not ashamed. I am NOT that kind of person. I am very confident and I have like seriously a whole lot of faith, so yeah basically that is why I will totally freak out if you examine my presumptions… I mean, not presumptions… um, hey, look at this cute picture of an upside down dog!”
So, when someone has been intimidated in to closing their mind (so they refuse to “open their mind” out of terrified loyalty), what is that like for them? Then they are like someone who has forgotten that they have been wearing a blindfold.
The blindfold is familiar. They are comfortable with it.
Maybe they even insist that they can see “just as well as anyone else!” But to whom exactly are they comparing themselves?
“If the blind are following another blind person, then eventually they will all fall into a pit together!”
– Jesus Christ (From Matthew 15:14)
Minds are naturally open, right? Generally speaking, people do not need to learn to open their minds. What may be relevant is to learn to stop closing the mind.
Anyone can learn the value of focusing attention toward a specific thing (to “close” their minds to other alternatives). Anyone can learn the value of re-opening the mind to “the unfamiliar” (or even to things presumed to already be familiar).
One of the main problems for people who are terrified of learning is that there are other people who may not have the same learned refusals to learn. Again, note that no one would naturally refuse to learn about any subject. We only refuse to learn about things that we have learned to refuse to learn about!
So, if someone is desperately avoiding learning, then other people can be a big problem, especially young children. Young children have not learned to politely suppress displaying curiosity and intelligence.
For the arrogant, being around young children may seem great in small doses, but having them around all day long is likely to result in being exposed to a flood of direct questions. Those questions can be embarrassing intelligent.
“If being fat is so bad, then why do bears always get so fat right before winter? Also, if it is so bad to eat things that have a lot of fat (like fresh milk from a cow), then how did cows get so fat? Did they get fat by eating a lot of fat in their food?
Also, if eating fat is so bad, then why would a cow make a bunch of fat and then put a lot of it in to their milk to feed the baby cows with that milk with lots of fat? When mommies make milk to feed their babies, is there any fat in the mother’s milk?
Are you saying that your own mother made milk that had fat in it? Did her mother make milk that had fat in it, too? Are there any animals who naturally make fat-free milk for their babies? So, do a lot of babies die from overdoses of fat???”
I mentioned that simple questions of logic can be embarassingly intelligent. Why would intelligent curiosity be embarrassing, though?
Let’s review my prior comment about arrogance:
“Arrogance is pretending to know for certain when in fact one is terrified of the possibility of being inaccurate (or even merely imprecise).”
Young kids that ask smart, simple questions can reveal the intellectual insecurity of an adult. Many adults have memorized many doctrines about science, but some of those adults are absolutely terrified of actual scientific inquiry. They are embarrassed by their hysterical fear of science (and paranoid that their pretenses of scientific credibility will be revealed as “only pretending”).
So, perhaps fat is not itself inherently “poisonous.” Perhaps eating fat is not the only way for the amount of fat in an organism to increase (since organisms also manufacture fat). In fact, maybe fat is valuable… somehow.
However, cholesterol is a very dangerous substance, right? Isn’t that one of the demons that can possess an organism and then spread all through it from the inside and consume it?
Or, is that a tumor? That is one of those living things that demonically possesses an organism and causes cancer right? Or is cancer a parasitic demon that causes tumors? Or is cancer just a label for demonic tumors that possess people and then….
Let’s focus now on germs. Germs are inherently dangerous, too, right? Healthy creatures will instantly die if they come in to contact with unsterilized dog slobber, right? Dog slobber is a leading cause of death for dogs, right?
But what about the slobber of a dog that has been sterilized (made unable to reproduce)? Is a sterilized dog’s slobber safer than slobber from an unsterilized dog?
Note that I am not arguing that people who have severely compromised immune systems can safely be exposed to dog slobber. Maybe physical contact with dog slobber would be quite deadly for some portion of humanity (unless they somehow improve their health)….
Researchers at the University of Scientific Infallibility recently found that pigs who were forced to avoid anything dirty would, after the initial stage of the research was complete, gleefully dive in to a puddle of mud at the first opportunity.
Eventually, you may notice that words are things that we can use playfully. We can talk about sterilized dogs with unsterilized slobber. Why? To play with the idea of sterilization.
We could play with absolutely any idea. So, let’s focus now directly on the topic of language itself.
“See that a massive ship is directed by a very small rudder. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it is like a small spark that sets an entire forest on fire. So, the tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – The Apostle James (in James 3:4-6)
Does everyone burn with rage? What about infants?
They may protest. They may even bite. But do they burn with envy or jealousy or hatred?
Do they experience lasting contempt? Do they suffer the self-perpetuating torments of hell, such as “I simply do not deserve these UNJUST consequences” or, to an even greater extreme, “I actually deserve much WORSE than this, plus I did not ever deserve the GOOD things that I once had and that I have let slip away!”
Here’s another ancient scripture (Titus 1:15):
“To the pure, all things are pure. However,…”
To the one who is internally ashamed and holding in latent rage and hysteria, many things will trigger distress, justify outrages, and provoke shaming and persecution of others.
“Look at how foolish they are! Look at how hysterical they are! They are like little children who are waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap and are too excited to use logic.
Yes, they are like arrogant children embarrassed by the idea that they have been so easily deceived by their elders. They are like fools who furiously insist that their elders have NOT conspired to deceive them about Santa Claus.
They dismiss it as obviously just a conspiracy theory to trick them. But they have already been tricked!
Then, they insist that there was a conspiracy to secretly attack a military base in Pearl Harbor, but they label that theory of a conspiracy as “not a conspiracy theory”… because if the holy authority on TV says that it is not a theory (but just a conspiracy), then that must be true! Yes, there was at least one conspiracy to destroy the world trade center buildings, but when the infallible newscaster theorizes about that that conspiracy, that is not a conspiracy theory either because I would be so embarrassed by the idea that I had ever been deceived that I would burst out in rage and deny it.
I know it must be true because I was programmed by a school teacher to focus on certain doctrines and then memorize them for blindly repeating on a test in exchange for social approval. But that programmed doctrine is not a theory, but a proven scientific fact!
Obviously, I am an expert at science because I memorized a bunch of scientific doctrines and then was encouraged to repeat them without critically comparing those ideas to any alternatives. Plus, now I am a member of the holy priesthood with that doctorate degree in the frame on the wall, so now I don’t need to respect other people who apparently do not know that I have a magic document that makes me infallible.
These arrogant skeptics come along and dare to say that they have questions about whether Santa Claus can really know about that very shameful thing that they did when you were briefly unsupervised the day before Christmas. I did my doctoral research on psychic telepathy, so of course Santa knows!”
For some, the painting of Jesus could remind us of a model of bravery and intelligence. For others, we may respond as if a living person is actually watching over us, so it helps us to relax and fall asleep.
For others, Jesus is like the guardian to “the other world” (which many Christians associate with Saint Peter, although the same function was served by Osiris and many pre-Christian figures). The painting of Jesus reminds us to do the things that Santa Claus will reward and to avoid doing the things that Satan will punish.
The re-emergence of natural power can happen in a sudden disorderly way (like a the top of a mountain exploding as a volcano erupts). The ancient story of Pandora opening her magical box is about the potential complications of unsupervised explorations of one’s own unconscious mind. Again, the big problem with hysterical reactions of avoidance is that they are hysterical (not calmly attentive) and also that they are reactions of avoidance (as in denial or intense shame).
Or, the re-emergence of natural power can happen in a gradual, orderly way (like a ripening or blossoming of a flower). If I interact with someone who is perceptive and devoted to my healthy re-calibration of my natural power, that can help the process be orderly, fast, and fun.
Is it easy to recognize the kinds of consequences that can result from operating with a conceptual blindfold? Also, isn’t it easier for someone who is not blindfolded to see how to remove the blindfold? If the knot is very tight, they might be able to get in a position in which they can easily untie the knot (or simply cut it).
In contrast to interacting with someone perceptive enough to help you to find conceptual blindspots (unexamined presumptions) and to remove conceptual blinders, you may interact with people who tend to encourage you to stay in your same familiar mode. They may even disorient you and distract you from your own learning process.
Some may be in a state of disorientation and I may try to help them but instead end up getting confused and frustrated and exhausted. They may throw tantrums and I, without recognizing it, may end up feeling that I am tangled up in their stress. I may be more stressed after interacting with them.
How did we learn to avoid our natural power? We begin curious and eventually we will get hurt accidentally, so we learn to be cautious. But that is not really avoiding natural power. That is simply learning to use it carefully.
In some cases, there are even massive social conspiracies to deceive the naive and manipulate their perceptions and actions. An example is adults telling children that there is a magic creature that knows their actions or even their thoughts. That mysterious creature could be Saint Nicholas or Saint Peter or Osiris or even, in some Asian cultures, deceased relatives.
That image above is from a Temple of the Free Masons in a city named after the person in the statue (George Washington). The person who was speaking to the gathered audience was Grandmaster Harry Truman, who was also a President of the USA.
Here is a different massive statue of George Washington. This one is underneath a huge dome.
What is depicted in the dome? The central figure is the holy savior, George Washington, with an angel on his right.
Various ancient gods are also shown, including a god famous for his three-pointed weapon. Some call him Neptune, some Poseidon, some Shiva, and some “the Devil.”
In red below is Mercury or Hermes or Odin. The middle day of the week is named after him and is called Wednesday (or Wodin’s Day, Mercredi, etc).
I believe the goddess shown below is Athena (or Diana). She is depicted as directing the activity of the founding fathers of this organization.
So, as the simple reality of social programming is recognized, it can be related to in a few ways (such as furiously condemned, hysterically glorified, hesitantly respected, or discretely practiced). Is it even possible to actually avoid programming others socially?
Consider that the word programming is not only about influencing other people’s attention and interpretations (use of language), but their behavioral responses to what they are programmed to perceive. So, if you speak to someone, such as your child, that is an instance of social programming. Also, if you buy something or sell something (such as selling your time as an employee in exchange for money), that is also an instance of programming other people’s actions (of influencing them in predictable ways).
To condemn all social programming (or any instance of it) is, ironically, for the purpose of attracting social approval. We condemn socially as an exercise of influence (to program our audiences).
The same is true for the activity of socially glorifying something or someone. We influence, primarily through the instrument of language (though through art as well).
Ultimately, the two main options in regard to socially programming other people are these: to do it inattentively (according to our habits of inherited programming) or to do it attentively (without preoccupation or negligent presumptiveness). In the latter case, there is a second potential issue of exactly how to program others.
Realistically, there is a spectrum of attentiveness. Some of us are extremely negligent about our presumptions, our purposes, and our practices. Some are a bit less negligent. Some are notably attentive. Some are exceptionally focused and precise.
Some individuals and groups invest a lot of time and energy in how to influence the attention, values, and interpretations of large numbers of people. First, however, it is more common to focus on how to effectively influence the attention, values, and interpretations of much smaller numbers of people, like one or two or three. We could call that “the study of effective communication.”
“You see the speck in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam in your own eye. When you cast the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
“It is to those who are worthy of my mysteries that I tell my mysteries.”
– Jesus Christ (Gospel of Thomas)