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Hacking the mind… without technology?

Vector drawing of the five kinds of Zener card...

Vector drawing of the five kinds of Zener cards used for parapsychology research. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Backstory

After finishing my doctorate on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity at U Ottawa, I wasn’t overjoyed when the university library listed my thesis under the subject heading of parapsychology.

I was concerned that many years of serious study would be dismissed as fodder for fantasy fiction writers and sensational paranormal researchers.

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Also, my thesis doesn’t defend nor debunk the alleged truth of synchronicity. Instead, it offers a postmodern analysis of how Jung advances and legitimizes this fringe topic within the larger scientific community. The library might equally have listed my thesis under sociology, psychology, philosophy and religion.

Despite my initial misgivings, I came to accept, almost embrace the library listing. I’ll be an expert on parapsychology, my young enthusiastic self thought. This could be my niche!

Today, I’m neither a zealot nor a hard-nosed skeptic about parapsychology. I just want to learn more and share any discoveries for the common good.

Mind Hacks? 

Over the years I’ve come to wonder if the mind might be hacked without any direct technological link. Could a person (or spiritual power associated with that person) influence another person at a distance?

I’m not talking about the art of persuasion. That involves words, maybe images and music; some kind of physical or symbolic contact. Nor am I thinking about those headline news pundits concerned about tech interface and implant abuse.

No, I’m talking about parapsychology, just as the library suggested.

Two examples

Usually when we’re fed up with something or someone, the Jungian shadow emerges.

For example, once on social media I made a comment that might have contained some truth but also wasn’t too polite.

More recently, just before the solar eclipse I posted a headline that wasn’t terribly positive.

In both instances it was like the shadow momentarily eclipsed my usual positive attitude—a kind of ‘eclipse’ of my normal way of doing things. Almost immediately after, my total self re-emerged and I began to make amends.

So what happened? Did my mind/brain short from stress overload and accumulated resentment? Or was I hacked by a disruptive spiritual power? To me, it felt like both.

And possibly both scenarios are right. Evil could seize upon opportunities of perceived weakness in our psychological armor. Like hacker bots sensing firewall vulnerabilities, the devil might watch, wait and pounce when ready and, oddly enough, when permitted by God.

This perspective probably wouldn’t fly with most psychiatrists. And that’s unfortunate because, in my opinion, psychology and spirituality demand better integration. Not just the hopeful ‘save the world’ stuff. But also the darker, less admirable elements.

Jung believes that ignoring the shadow prevents us from mastering its powerful, collective energy, which then erupts when we least expect it.

English: Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld ex...

Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld experiment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think?

Spiritually speaking, is no woman or man an island? That is, are we all subtly linked? The light and the dark?

Or is humanity only connected through more verifiable factors like family, friends, society and the media?

I won’t say only the shadow knows but I suspect it has a pretty good idea.

 How to Live our Wildest Fantasies in the “Real World.” (elephantjournal.com)

 Embracing darkness and shadow that we might also be light and joy (beyondmeds.com)

 War games: South Korea undertakes anti-terror exercises, in pictures (telegraph.co.uk)

 Someone broke down the color psychology behind your favorite Disney characters (mashable.com)

 ‘MEET ITS TRAGIC DOOM’ NoKo says it’s ‘on standby to launch’ in new warning (foxnews.com)

 Psychological abusers don’t go for the weak – they choose strong people because they ‘like a challenge’ (businessinsider.com)

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Freudian Slips – Glitch in the machine or key to countless possibilities?

Most of us know about Freudian Slips. Many of us make them. Every now and then Freudian Slips creep into my own speech and writing.

Sometimes I’ll miss a typo and, on correcting it, consider what the apparent “mistake” might suggest in a bigger picture.

Critics to this worldview might say I have an overactive imagination or that I associate ideas because I want to fit them into my particular cosmology.†

That’s a good thing to keep in mind. Possibly some insane people can’t tell the difference between intuitive connections and imaginative fabrications. But that doesn’t mean that all intuitive connections are crazy. We have to apply reason, experience and humility to sort through it all. Catholics call this discernment. Other religions also try to separate insight from delusion.

So is your particular cosmology adamantly individualistic or about a greater connectivity? How about some intelligent combination of the two?

The other day I revised this earthpages.ca entry about Freudian Slips. It raises some questions that could become increasingly relevant in our collective future. — MC

† The word “cosmology” isn’t just about planets and stars; technically, it means how one sees and understands the world—inside, outside and beyond.

Freudian Slips – Glitch in the machine or key to countless possibilities?

FC&P New York Cocktail Party shoot: Is he envious of my ciggie?

Alexandra Xubersnak – FC&P New York Cocktail Party shoot: Is he envious of my ciggie? via Flickr

Parapraxis, the Freudian Slip

Parapraxis is an obscure word for a pretty common idea—The Freudian Slip. The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, was the first to try to analytically explain its occurrence.

In the Psychopathology of Everyday Life Freud says parapraxes are unintentional acts resulting from an unconscious wish, desire, attitude or thought.¹

This could involve forgetting names and sequences of words. But classic examples of parapraxes are slips of the pen or tongue.

Imagine a guest at a cocktail party accidentally saying, “I love your horse” instead of, “I love your house.”

For Freud, the hidden, unconscious meaning of the slip points to… Read More

 My déjà vu is so extreme I can’t tell what’s real anymore (businessinsider.com)

 Someone discovered an old book of kinky Victorian parlor games, and Twitter is screaming (theberry.com)

 Top 10 Crazy Facts About Psychiatry In The 19th Century (listverse.com)

 Doctor’s Diary: How to treat nightmares (telegraph.co.uk)

 Sheer Madness (shogoonoe.com)


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Today’s Top Tweet – Charlie, our paranormal witness

To start off the New Year I thought I’d discuss today’s top tweet using a fictional, gender-neutral person called “Charlie.” I’ll also use a literary device from my school days: S/he.

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So Charlie is a bit of nut. Or maybe not. It might depend on how we look at it.

S/he believes that “big picture” patterns appear over time, especially in the form of recurring numbers. S/he knows about Carl Jung’s idea of synchronicity, and that Jung gives the example of recurring numbers. Charlie also realizes that Jung never advocates actively looking for synchronicity. For Jung, synchronicity just happens after we make a choice.

Choice and the idea that synchronicity occurs after making choices distinguishes believers in synchronicity from

  • Religious fanatics who believe they see signs in everything and make choices on the basis of those alleged signs
  • Frightening mad persons who do bad things because they believe they see signs or recurring patterns telling them to behave a certain way
  • The paranoid who tragically hurt themselves or commit suicide because they believe they see patterns indicating that the world is out to get them

As for Charlie, s/he is only human and learns as s/he goes along. S/he used to believe that perceived recurring numbers were proof that s/he was on the right track, cosmically speaking.

But one day a friend said something that complicated things. The friend said “Charlie, what if you made a different choice and a different series of patterns came up?” This made Charlie think, which is usually good.

Maybe there is no single life journey or path, Charlie thought. And maybe every time I make a choice the universe splits and different Charlies live out parallel lives.

This idea makes Charlie a bit uneasy but s/he has read the Seth Books and all that subatomic physics, Dancing Wu Li stuff.

Charlie knows it’s a big mystery out there.

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Having read some psychology books, Charlie also considers the possibility that s/he is unconsciously selecting these numbers while ignoring or playing down a lot of other numbers that pass by.

“Of course,” most would say.

But Charlie doesn’t think it’s quite that simple. S/he still feels a sense of confirmation when numerical synchronicity arises, even after thinking and analyzing the phenomenon from different angles. Sometimes s/he even wonders if angels or other spiritual powers guide us toward meaningful coincidences.

After all, Charlie is just a person. Unlike the worldly wise, s/he tries to be humble and remember that there’s still a lot to figure out in this great mystery called life.

About the Author

Michael Clark’s PhD thesis is entitled, Synchronicity and poststructuralism: C. G. Jung’s secularization of the supramundane. He likes to think about things but believes that the intellect is, at best, an aid to spirituality. 


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Why I switched my major from Sociology to Religious Studies (not that that was the be all and end all…)

This morning I came across a tweeted story (below) that at first glance I liked. It reminded me of my sociology days at Trent university where many of the professors in that department were above average. Especially in sociological theory. John Hillman covered the classical thinkers with an admirable depth for an undergrad course. Frank Nutch was the fun, alternative professor; a real gem of a guy who introduced me to the sociology of science. Andrew Werknick covered contemporary sociological theory, mostly European. Coming from the UK, Wernick seemed to have a close connection to the European scene. And the late Alexander Wilson was one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet. Up from California, he talked about Disneyland as a microcosm for all the imagery and spin we see in the greater North American media. These guys and a few other professors, male and female, really opened my mind. And I thank them.

But it wasn’t enough and I had to move on to something more comprehensive. Hence my switch to comparative religion and then religious studies. Not surprisingly, I used a sociological method (the postmodern work of Michel Foucault) in my doctoral thesis on Carl Jung. I was happy to graduate but, to be honest, that work was the outcome of so many strange and unsettling political forces that I don’t see it as a pinnacle of personal achievement. In retrospect, I see my graduate studies as another bridge I had to cross.

Anyhow, here’s a quote from this morning’s tweeted story:

For Bahro, a peaceful eco-communist alternative to capitalism is both possible and essential, but the belief that capitalism offers a life that is desirable must first be overturned if this alternative is to flourish. Through a variety of psychological strategies subsumed under the rubric of ‘retail therapy’, capitalism promotes pseudo-individualistic lifestyles, drives the desires of the self-absorbed, and promises fulfillment from the menu of all-you-can-eat. Retail therapy locates meaning in life through clothes, cars, homes, holidays and furniture. (view in context).

So what’s wrong with this view?

Well, the overall piece talks about spirituality but it sets up a false conflict between capitalism and spirituality. For me, going out to shop can be a spiritual exercise. We don’t need to compartmentalize “spirituality” and “the world” as so many hack thinkers do. It’s not as if God closes his or her eyes the moment we decide to enter a Pizza Hut or Tim Hortons. Far from it. If we do not objectify other people, interacting with employees can be quite spiritual and an important part of one’s overall journey.

So why the sharp division between “capitalism” and “spirituality?”

A person with any spiritual depth understands that God is everywhere. He or She is not just locked up in monasteries or in the Green movement. Everywhere is everywhere. Period.

All we really have to do is open our eyes and see what’s already there. And I think this perspective, if anything, would help to make the world a better, fairer place. If we see other people as our human brothers and sisters, there is far less chance of wanting to exploit, lie, cheat or rob.

Sadly, the biggest joke is that religion often bolsters people into doing bad things. These people believe the end justifies the means. But in most cases that’s ass backwards. As the good book teaches:

A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matt. 7-17).

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Today’s Top Tweet – Every nation has a shadow, says Quartz author

Quartz just posted a Jungian article about how every nation has a shadow (or shadows), a topic I talked about here.

The tweeted article probably uses the singular “shadow” in the header because this reads better and is more attention grabbing than the plural, “shadows.” This usage seems simplistic but if we read on, the plural form arises:

Just as individuals have shadows, so do societies and nations. And, according to Jung’s theory, it’s important to be aware of your shadow in order to manage it. “If you’re aware of it, you can have more control over it instead of it controlling you,” says Bennet. “The more things are being repressed, hidden and denied, [the more likely] they will emerge in other ways.”

Not to imply that I am a die-hard Jungian. Far from it.

The shadow is an archetype in Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. But feminist scholars like Naomi Goldenberg have been questioning the Jungian idea of the archetype for decades.

Goldenberg says that ideas about an “Eternal Woman” can lead to and reinforce unfair sex role stereotypes. And I, myself, have questioned the idea of the archetype when New Age enthusiasts say that The Virgin Mary, Kali, Kwan Yin, and Isis (the goddess) are all the same.

Still, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that different nations respectively have something in common which comes out as national identity. On the other hand, with increased globalization we have to wonder if this is an idea subject to change.


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Some ‘peace loving’ liberals get violent and attack private property

Sometimes I wonder if people who get so angry about things are just projecting their own unconscious shadow. Not  all, mind you. But when some liberal protesters take to random, unfocused acts of violence in protest of a supposedly potentially violent man, one has to wonder.

Maybe old Carl Jung, the guy I did my PhD thesis on, was on to something. Actually, no. It was Freud who first formulated the idea of projection. Jung followed and expanded it.


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Psychic Spies – If true, they’d have a real edge because most people would think it’s crazy

English: Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld ex...

Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld experiment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russell Targ is quite well known throughout the parapsychology world. He’s a physicist who does experiments concerning psi phenomena. Targ has observed that results were more significant while conducting research with a pure heart, instead of just trying to make money. This is hardly surprising because, I would argue, any genuine psi (or insight) comes from God.

But there is another possibility. And that is of dark psi.

Could knaves and thieves possess a kind of twisted psi and use that to the detriment of the free world?

I’ve written about this possibility throughout earthpages.org and earthpages.ca. I still cannot say for sure. Psi is a tricky business. And if a hostile spy from a crummy regime were to try to infiltrate a good country, one of his or her advantages would be that most unsuspecting civilians would think the idea preposterous. And a truly cagey spy would try to make anyone who could blow their cover look crazy. They’d use psychiatric terms or anything else they had at their disposal to try to marginalize those in the know.

Why?

Because a hostile psi-spy, if you will, would be desperate and paranoid, like most people under the influence of evil.