Studies in human behavior show that we can become strongly influenced by others demonstrating our need to belong. This may seem acceptable depending on the modeled behaviors or attitudes we observe, but on closer inspection, deeper implications on the kinds of messages and perspectives we pick up and internalize from others are evident.
Do we subconsciously conceal our true natures with the incentive for acceptance into other groups? And if the values differ, did we subdue our previously learned values because of societal pressures, or because our current psychological and/or physical needs are not being met? Was it a process of subjugating our once valued ideals to align with the pressures of the social contexts we placed upon ourselves if indeed the values are not in alignment? If we turn to the finding in the Stanford Prison Experiment, it may shed some light onto these questions.
Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo in 1971 conducts a psychological experiment to test the hypothesis that the personality traits of prisoners and guards are the chief cause of abusive behavior between them. In the experiment, Zimbardo selects twenty-four male students to participate in a 7–14 day prison simulation to take roles as prisoners or guards. They receive $15 per day. The experiment is conducted in a mock prison located in the basement of Jordan Hall, the University Psychology building. The students who are guards become abusive, as does Zimbardo himself. Two students who play the role of prisoners quit the experiment early, and the entire experiment is abruptly stopped after only six days. The U.S. Office of Naval Research provides the funding for the experiment and U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps both show interest in this investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners. The implications of these experiments show how multitudes of human interactions can impose and influence peoples behavior given specific sets of circumstances established in social settings.
If we look at the countless examples of how children rebel against their family mores and go off on another direction when they become teens, or if we look at the cultural phenomena of how the rise of punk rock was reactionary to the classic rock era, then we may draw conclusions upon the underlying psychological factors that impel the changes in the newer generations?
The question I often ask is when these changes of expression occur, are people consciously aware of their motivation? Is it because there is something missing and not fulfilling the people willing to change the course of their psychological values? This is of course a very broad stroke to make in assuming that these values are different. Perhaps it is in the expressions of the person that differ, but not the underlying values of those expressions? Perhaps they can be mutually exclusive and co-exist? The point of contention is really the cases of people who are not artistically seeking new directions, but rather those who change their values to become a part of a divergent group. The direction is clearly different and easily distinguishable for others to see in many cases that involve dramatic physical changes.
This scenario would include someone who dramatically changes their appearance to fit into another group of newly formed friendships. Tattoo’s, implants and piercings for those who are decorating their bodies with ornamentation that in many instances their parents would not approve if done in extreme measures might be the example to study.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), also termed body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome, is a mental disorder via obsessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in one’s own appearance, viewed as so severe as to warrant exceptional measures to hide or fix it. If the flaw is actual, its importance is severely exaggerated. BDD is categorized in the obsessive–compulsive spectrum.
Usually starting during adolescence, BDD is a fairly common mental disorder, affects men and women roughly equally, and may occur in some 1% to 2% of the population.In fear of being thought vain, persons experiencing BDD tend to keep the preoccupation secret, and BDD is severely underdiagnosed.Severely impairing quality of life, BDD can lead to social isolation and involves especially high rates of suicidal ideation. Clearly the cases below would indicate that these people have no secrets to the expression of their selves.
But more interesting still are those who do not consciously know they are changing their values. Those who form new friendships, become involved with new organizations of people personally and professionally sharing something maybe familiar, yet some forms of differentiation are not openly shared. The individual in them withholds overtly shown behaviors and personal information as to not disrupt the status quo from within a group. For the average person, this may seem to be subtle and is the primary purpose for this post. Questioning the very natures of those that are seeking some kind of alternative experience begs the question about wanting to belong. The changing process they undergo during this transition is something worth investigating. Do their values change during this transition?
But of course there is a pendulum swing that goes all the way to the other vantage points; those that are out of the ordinary. Like those seeking alternative lifestyles as depicted in the Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. This film goes deeper than just those just looking out for new ways to spice up their relationships, or new ways to express themselves sexually.
Not only is this film about a mysterious, perhaps murderous, secret society, it is drenched in allusions to the New World Order cabal. Occult symbols like the pentagram can be found throughout the film, as well as multiple references to rainbows and looking glasses… Eyes Wide Shut, the phrase itself, is a calling card among secret societies, meaning ‘my eyes are shut to your misdeeds, brother.’ This anonymity is required of the participants, otherwise the society’s wealthy elite would be revealed. For as one character in the film says, “If I told you their names I don’t think you’d sleep so well.”
[Kubrick] died only days after submitting the first cut of the film to Warner Brothers. At this point, the film was commandeered by Warner Brothers and heavily edited… Is it possible that this scene and others originally contained images and/or dialogue that illuminated the New World Order in a way that was dangerous to their privacy? Was Kubrick trying to out the secret society, or at least toy with their heads?
It’s clear that Eyes Wide Shut is about a secret society, though the film is up for interpretation about whether they are truly dangerous or simply wealthy, bored New Yorker’s looking for a good time. Whatever the true nature of this film expresses, it is only another expression of how we humans organize and sometimes put ourselves at risk when we pursue choices outside of our comfort zones. Choices that sometimes lead us down a path that will challenge our values, and possibly change the way we see ourselves. We may indeed compromise some trusted values only to replace them with a result that we may not have bargained for, or we may discover something that provided us with new insights on just who we really are.
But to know just who we really are, one must first ask those questions like…”What am I willing to stand for? What is it that I value?” When our friendships have lasted for many years with some people, I think the answer for the sustainability in the friendship is because we identify with them despite the years that have gone by. But we can also see that some of our friendships do not stand this test of time. Does this mean we have somehow become disenchanted from them because we either lack a frequency in contact, or maybe it is the distance between us, or possibly it is because of a difference in our values expressed? For me the interest lies in knowing if people indeed are aware of when these changes occur and how they represent them to other people in their lives.
Thus the seeds of charade begins to play out in their lives if they find that they still want to associate with some people, but find that the similarities become less and less as time goes by. The painful examples are evident in all the unhappily married couples that have grown apart, but co-exist to maintain the illusion of a family whether it be for the children’s sake, or for a financial decision that takes precedent over their happiness. To give the facade any legitimacy they must express charades of candor to others in their lives, and tragically they must express this quietly to themselves; a constant reminder of the state of being they find themselves attached and enslaved to.
How well our politicians subvert the populace and play this charade is all to evident in human history when they promise one thing publicly, but silently act differently with their powers. The reason politics has earned a bad name is precisely due to the secretive behaviors our elected public figures enact. But to me the tragedy is still in the realm of our friendships, and relationships on the interpersonal level of communication we see in day-to-day life. When was the last time you gave yourself a mirror check? What say you?
Are we authentic? Or are we acting? Do we see the world as a stage?
After putting some thought on my current everyday experiences, I reflected a great deal about just what the root cause for some of my current perspectives were bound to. Again the discovery of being “mindful” is an important factor in reexamining prior perspectives that may be operating in the background of our everyday thoughts. While we manage our day to day experiences, our possible misdirected thoughts are fed into our analysis for each and every day and if they go unchecked, they will skew our conclusions. The information we receive from the eyes don’t amount to much, if the mind is blind. Being “Mindful” is being aware of the false conclusions one can draw if one is misdirected by prior incorrect habitual modes of thinking that may not be accurate. They may indeed be formed earlier in ones life, but continue to influence that person through-out their lives if these principles in their analyses go unquestioned, unexamined, and unchallenged in the process.
The practice of attention enables one to wake up! Awareness transforms experience. There is no right or wrong way; there is only being more or less conscious. The goal is to become more fully conscious of ourselves, not to correct ourselves. Because they rely on memory, efforts at self-correction are always removed from the immediacy of the moment.
Jealousy – unconsciously give way to hatred. Struggle against it by thinking equates to guilt. We must instead examine the thought itself and attempt to understand the context. Thought and feelings can then become windows to awakening.
Right Thinking was examined by Gautama Buddha and incorporated in his Eightfold Path that reveals some of the challenges of how the mind can distort experience.
“Thoughts” as Emerson put it, “rule the world” for the simple reason that thoughts determine feelings and actions. We can think ourselves into happiness or a deep depression. Evidence can show that we can think ourselves into healthy state or into unhealthy illnesses.
We can think ourselves into a narrow, limited world characterized by procrastination and paralysis, or we can think ourselves into a noble creative life and the actions that give it shape and substance. If we only take care of our thoughts, our feelings and actions will take care of themselves.
For better or worse, we give to others the fruits of our own thinking by the same token, we are influenced by the thinking of those with whom we associate. It certainly helps to make friends with people who have made friends with their own minds. Observe people who are chronically bored or depressed, and you will find they dwell on negative thoughts. Observe people who are consistently happy, creative, and productive, and you will find remarkable similarities in the quality of their thinking. By our thinking, we create our individual and collective experience of reality. Changing our thinking for the better improves the quality of our own lives, and in doing, uplifts all around us.
The subconscious patterns of thought that can emerge out of an individuals upbringing, training, or exposure from a previous time in their lives to ineffective measures of dealing with their experience in the world can duly proselytize that persons mind set. What is even more difficult to circumvent is the dream states these people experience and are susceptible to unpleasant derivations of their conscious lives if the sleeping untrained mind continues to revert to the faulty subconscious training from an older learned program from the past when they dream. Since they are unconscious in a dream state, the mind will resort to programming fed from the unconscious mind that often takes hold of their dreams.
I woke up from a bad dream again today. Dreams when we are in fear of something cannot be a good thing if they continue to divert your energies. I used to have childhood dreams (sometimes recurring) that placed me on an endless steep hill that continued to steepen as I walked upon it trying to reach the top, or when I was trying to run away from some hideous creature, my feet would melt into the ground and my legs would become immobile in my frantic attempt to free myself from the monstrous pursuer. Funny how the factor that was in my power became shorted, or the attribute that would give me an advantage from my dream-state adversary would be progressively disabled as the dream turned into a nightmare. The mind can be very powerful as well when you can feel your body undergo the physical states in your dreams such as falling (lucid dreaming).
Why could I not incorporate having superhuman powers in these events to come to my aid and vanquish my nocturnal foes? I am capable of guiding my dreams, especially the good ones, where I am in a world of my creation, a world such as having a water filled environment with multiple ways of travel through my water filled city. I love to swim, so I think in my childhood I would have dreams that reflected some of my joys. Imagine a city like water park that had rivers of water take you where-ever you wanted to go. I also remember dreams of flying, very lucid and I was able to have good control over the path of my flight. I know at times I must have used this technique when I was semi aware of my dream states, but alas, I have not mastered this and still to this day sometimes fuse my reality to the dream I am experiencing. These fears may be tied to something from a time in the past. An earlier struggle with forces which at the time may have overpowered me on some level. When the mind continues to play out old themes, and puts the body under duress during a time when you should be rested and most relaxed is a troubling notion. Clearly something continues to gnaw at my memories.
Understanding the reasons behind the dreams, behind the self lies a depth that is difficult to penetrate. For what ever torment I may discover, I will find a way to overcome those earlier injuries. I will face them and defeat those fears. I know that they often result in my subconscious acting out on earlier learned programming from my childhood and it continues to surface from time to time. Understanding why these dreams sometimes happen, and investigating how one can achieve better sleep states I ventured to study deeper into how our conscious states can hold us captive, from earlier learned states in our childhood if we let them continue to operate subconsciously, even in our sleep. From disciplines like developmental, cognitive, analytic, comparative and cultural psychology we learn that the first 6 years of life are extremely important in shaping our consciousness and conscious habits. The training of our minds on how we approach the world is largely impacted in these years and embeds the programming of our consciousness. Also Enneagram theory provides us with some examples of ancient teachings supporting these findings.
We learn from the ancient mystics, as well as those who study Quantum Mechanics, that there is a connection between the disciplines. A theme that shares both realms is the idea that frequency, resonance, and consciousness are all interconnected. Matter is only subject to sensory perceptions, and the farther you travel down the path of physics in the quantum level, you ultimately find that there a fewer and fewer particles, and more and more space. This is the reason why Newtonian mechanics (gravity) fails to work at quantum levels. The forces I speak about are hard to imagine, but the evidence is building to support such claims about frequency or wave mechanics.
Understanding that we have the power to change our subconscious mechanisms and habitual thought patterns is the first step in reforming our conscious routines. Training on such a level is possible, but is difficult to do. Techniques can be found in the literature such as Zen Buddhist or Taoist teachings that breaks the mind from previous habits. If one looks at the wave patterns created by fear; they tend to have low sine wave forms. If one looks at the wave pattern created by love; they tend to have a very high sine wave form.
It’s sometimes hard to understand why I shift to these nightmares of my creation. The dreams are so real that I often awake in the middle of the night in a cold sweet and the sound of my voice uttering a plea like shout. I then try to analyze just what my dream was about, looking at the circumstances and again wondering why I was not quite able to change some of the attributes that I have been able to do so before. It’s interesting that our childhood nightmares are embedded into a perennial conscious memory of the event. There are details that we can remember about our worst nightmares, but conversely we cannot recall other personal information about our experiences that quite frankly should be more important to us.
I want to face these nocturnal demons of my consciousness, but to do so I must meet them in my dreams. They do not often come to me in everyday life during my conscious wakefulness. They come to me as cowards in my dreams, when my defenses are often subdued and ill-prepared to confront them head on. I have tried, on occasion, but I have found I need to train more to overcome their presence. I am looking forward to the day I subdue them. A good night’s sleep is enjoyable and should not be wasted on bad dreams that are avoidable, and controllable. I’d like to have my lucid dreams concentrate on more meaningful ideas.