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Metaphysics & Psychology

Where Did Picasso’s Genius Come From?

A visitor pauses to study Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The 1907 painting is credited for the birth of the Cubism style of painting, and is said to be Picasso’s most tortured, and most successful, painting.

Photograph by Fausto Giaccone, Anzenberger/Redux

Genius: Picasso premieres Tuesday, April 24th at 9/8c on National Geographic.

On April 24, Antonio Banderas will strut his stuff as Pablo Picasso in the latest installment of the National Geographic Channel’s Genius series. As an appetizer, this week’s Book Talk features a new book, Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World, which tells the story of how an impoverished Spanish painter from Barcelona exploded onto the Parisian cultural scene and changed the course of modern art with a single painting.

When National Geographic caught up with the author, Miles Unger, at his home near Boston, he explained Picasso’s complicated relationship to money and fame; why his treatment of women was so awful; and how his masterpiece “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” took art in a revolutionary new direction and would become the cornerstone of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The term genius has become debased through overuse today. But Picasso seems to genuinely merit it. What’s your view?

I’m a little uncomfortable about the term genius because it does seem to be denuded of content. He was incredibly innovative and had enormous artistic courage. That’s one of his qualities. Fewer famous people have painted as many horrible paintings as Picasso. That was intentional. He was not afraid of ugliness; in fact he was much more afraid of prettiness. He feared most of all to adhere to formula, to do something safe. He said that art had to be dangerous, to be offensive, to push boundaries, and he had an enormous drive to do that. If you can call him a genius—and he certainly transformed the course of art, so in that sense it’s valid—what it consists of is his enormous courage and defiance of rules.

One of the keys to his particular form of genius was that he knew the weaknesses of the “enemy” because he had been one of them. He’d been brought up in a very academic tradition by his father and given a classical training, going through all the stages, from etching to classical sculptures. It’s not that he discarded these tools, but he used them for very different purposes. You see his gift for draftsmanship and knowledge of the tools of art, but he took them apart and put them together in unexpected combinations. What distinguishes him from other iconoclasts, though, was that he didn’t simply tear down; he tore down in order to build up again.

We have to address Picasso’s chauvinism, especially now, in the age of #MeToo. How should we view his attitudes and behavior toward women?

He came from a patriarchal family and part of the world in which women were expected to stay at home and take care of their husbands and children. Your social life revolved around men. Men were your intellectual and drinking companions. For sex, you went to the whorehouse, and occasionally came home to your wife. So, as a lover and husband, I think he was horrible. He bullied and domineered the women in his life. He famously said that women were either goddesses or doormats. Usually, they went from being goddesses to doormats.

Some people, when confronted with an artist like Picasso, say he was a great artist but a terrible human being, but that the two have nothing to do with each other. I think that’s a mistake, particularly in the case of Picasso, because his attitudes toward women were so much a part of his art. If you look at “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon,” the fury and conflicted feelings about women all come through. That doesn’t mean we should forgive his treatment of real women. But one should also recognize that art can often come from a very dark and furious place, just as Matisse’s art came from a joyful, sensual, much-less-conflicted place.

One of Picasso’s contemporaries, Andre Salmon, said “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” was “The incandescent crater from which emerged the fire of present art.” Talk us through the creation of this iconic work.

In 1906, Matisse paints “Bonheur de Vivre,” or “Joy of Life,” which was a smash success and propelled Matisse to the forefront. So Picasso starts thinking of a masterpiece to rival Matisse’s great work, but in his own, unique style. In 1907, he begins to create this counter-masterpiece, based on the image of a whorehouse, which is larger than life and full of demonic figures. If Matisse’s painting was the “Joy of Life,” Picasso’s might be called “The Horror of Sex.”

He gets his patrons, the Steins, to buy him another studio in his apartment in the Bateau Lavoir and sets down to recreate art from the ground up. Picasso is famous for the rapidity with which he painted, but he labored over this work for months, filling notebook after notebook. He is trying to reinvent western pictorial modes, drawing on primitive sources like Iberian art, which he was very influenced by. Later, he visits the ethnographic museum in Paris, where he sees African and New Hebrides sculptures, and Native American works, and is blown away by this completely different approach to form, which is much more conceptual. It is not based on trying to recreate the world that we see, but a symbolic, almost shamanistic approach to the human form.

What he creates after eight agonizing months of struggle is a completely new pictorial form. If you stand in front of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” the impact is incredible; it’s enormously in your face. He pressed everything up to the front of the canvas. There is no empty space, just jagged forms, these horrifying creatures who stare right back at you, the viewer. It creates a completely different way of relating to a painting than the traditional notion of a painting as a window on the world. It’s as if the window had been turned inside out, pressing outward into outer space.

Picasso eventually became fabulously wealthy. But the Bateau Lavoir, or Laundry Barge, the building where he painted his masterpiece, sounds more like a stage set for Les Miserables. Put us inside this world of art, STDs, and squalor.

The Bateau Lavoir was a former piano factory on the top of the hill in Montmartre that was converted into artist studios. There were a bunch of cramped little rooms with flimsy walls and dirt all over the place. There was one toilet at the bottom. It was so hot in the summer you couldn’t wear clothes, but in the winter the tea froze in the cups.

It was mostly artists and their various mistresses and hangers-on. Many were opium smokers. One German artist Picasso invited to be his neighbor in the Bateau Lavoir ended up hanging himself in an opium-induced binge. Picasso lived with a menagerie of cats and dogs, and even had a pet mouse. He claimed he slept with almost every one of his models. His first serious mistress, Fernande Olivier, was originally the mistress of a sculptor who also lived in the Bateau Lavior. It all became very complicated, with bitter arguments, jealousies, and rages, partly fuelled by alcohol and drugs.

Picasso described it later as the happiest time of his life, even though he often didn’t know where his next meal was coming from. He told the story of trekking across Paris in the snow with a painting that he made specifically because he thought it would sell; it was more cheerful than the other stuff he was doing. But he couldn’t even get a sale from his dealer, Berthe Weill, and had to trek back hours through the snow in boots with holes in them. Whenever he did make a sale, he immediately spent his money going into the Lapin Agile, a cabaret in Montmartre, so by the next morning he had no money again. He often resorted to stealing from friends. He once snuck into another artist’s studio and took some money and food off the table. He and his friends cheated the local baker. They’d order from him, then pretend not to be home when the order arrived, so they would not have to pay. They hid from creditors. It was a very difficult life but, in many ways, a very romantic one.

Today, perfumes, pens, and cars are marketed under the Picasso name. The painter would have been appalled, wouldn’t he?

I’m sure he would have been totally disgusted by it. He felt art came from a very dark place, and didn’t like to be branded. He fought for fame all his life and when he finally got it, he treated it with contempt. He hated the phonies who came up and kissed the ring of the great man. Anybody who called him a master would be shouted out of the room. One time, he got so fed up he took out the revolver he’d inherited from Alfred Jarry and began shooting it in the air. He was a belligerent and feisty guy [laughs] who didn’t put up with nonsense. He craved adulation, but he loathed sycophants.

He once said you have to be rich to live like you aren’t interested in money. He had a complicated relationship with his own fame and success. For a while after he married the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, she tried to make him into a proper gentleman, but he soon got totally disgusted with her and with it, and returned to his Bohemian friends. He was also an incredible miser and paranoid about money. He kept all his money safety-pinned in a little pocket inside his jacket and was constantly accusing people of having opened it up and stealing his money.

“Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” now hangs in MOMA in New York. Tell us the story of its journey across the Atlantic and what its legacy is today.

The strange thing about “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon,” which is usually regarded as the key work in the modern era, is that it was almost invisible for many decades. After Picasso painted it in 1907 it was shown a few times to his friends, but the reception was so terrible and people were so shocked and appalled by it that he rolled it up and put it away and it was not seen for many years.

It had already launched a revolution, though. People like Georges Braque and André Derain were blown away and began to paint in that style. Eventually, in a year or two, we have the full-blown movement known as Cubism. Though the painting is buried away, it has an almost cult status but nobody ever sees it until 1916 when André Salmon has a show and it finally gets its name. Then, in the 1920s, André Breton, the inventor of surrealism, rediscovers it and calls it the key work in the history of the modern movement. It spoke to him with its surrealist interest in sex and violence.

Eventually it travels across the Atlantic and Alfred Barr, who is founding the Museum of Modern Art, realizes this is going to be the key work around which he will build the museum. But its meaning has shifted drastically over the years. First, it was seen as the founding work of Cubism. In the 1970s, people began to see what was there all the time, which is a savage, violent sexuality. Today, after more than a hundred years, it’s hard to put oneself back in time and feel the sense of shock that people originally had. But I still think it’s a pretty tough, aggressive painting. It radiates a savage power even to this day.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Simon Worrall curates Book Talk. Follow him on Twitteror at simonworrallauthor.com.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

The Philosophy of the Free-Range Human

“I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ~Robert A. Heinlein

The path from status-quo junkie to having a higher perspective is a difficult one. No doubt. Similarly, the path from soft-slave statist to free-range human is difficult. But as Spinoza said,“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” The philosophy of the free-range human is an attempt at being excellent despite the difficulty.

First let’s define the differences between a soft-slave statist and a free-range human.

A soft-slave statist is anyone who believes they need a ruler to rule over them, who thinks they need permission to be free, who blindly worships a flag, and who believes violence is the answer to solving problems.

A free-range human, on the other hand, rules over him/herself, does not need permission to be free, does not worship a flag, and thinks that violence is only necessary when used in self-defense or in defense of those not capable of defending themselves. Besides that, free-range humans practice the following core principles…

The Golden Rule

“Live simply so that others may simply live.” ~Gandhi

Nobody exists in a vacuum. We are social creatures. As such, we need each other to be free in order to remain free. I remain free for you and you remain free for me. We maintain our freedom and the freedom of others by being kind, compassionate, tolerant, and by treating others the way we would like to be treated.

The golden rule is in alignment with the universal laws that dictate what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy for human survival. As social creatures, we need each other more than anything else other than oxygen, water, food and shelter. So it behooves us to keep each other healthy, despite unhealthy man-made laws. And the first step toward remaining socially healthy is keeping and maintaining a good conscience.

Nothing maintains a good conscience better than practicing the golden rule. The best way to practice the golden rule is to live in moderation. If everyone lives in balance with nature, and each other, and only takes as much as they need, the tragedy of the commons can be avoided. Otherwise, it leads to structural violence.

The Non-Aggression Principle (and the Art of Fighting without Fighting)

“Absolute freedom mocks justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. To be fruitful, the two ideas must find their limits in each other.” ~Albert Camus

That which violates the non-aggression principle (the state) tends to be unhealthy, immoral, and unjust. That which honors the non-aggression principle (the free-range human) tends to be healthy, moral, and just.

Whether it’s an overreaching individual or the overreaching state, violence seems to be the dividing line. Freedom is primary up until the point that a person, or a group of people (like the state), becomes violent and thus violates the non-aggression principle. Freedom trumps justice up until the point someone uses their freedom in a violent way, then justice must trump freedom. “Your freedom to swing yours fist ends an inch from my nose.”

At that point one must either decide to be a coward/slave, and just take the abuse, or practice courageous self-defense, and rebel against the abuse. The ideal is to practice the art of fighting without fighting up until the point that you absolutely must fight to defend what you love. As Gandhi said, “When there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

Freedom must find its limit in justice and justice must find its limit in freedom. Otherwise, we either find ourselves living in a free-for-all state where anybody can do anything without any consequences (think the movie The Purge), or we’re living in a violent authoritarian state with oppressive laws and little freedom (think statism). Ideally, freedom balanced with justice and justice balanced with freedom is the healthiest way.

Radical Forgiveness

“If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, you’ve got it (a life well-lived) half licked.” ~Henry Miller

Radical forgiveness is forgiving yourself for having once been deceived. It’s also proactively forgiving others for their own deception.

Free-range humans understand that most humans are not free. They realize what it takes to become free and how difficult it is to maintain. Cultural conditioning must be re-conditioned. Societal brainwashing must be washed off. Political claptrap must be transcended. And the residue left over from a profoundly sick society must constantly be cleansed.

Radical forgiveness is proactive forgiveness on the fly. It’s a deep, visceral acceptance of the way things are, regardless of our need for it to be a certain way. It’s a decisive acceptance of what we can and cannot control. It gives us permission to authentically and sincerely deal with the world the way it is, despite what we’ve been conditioned and brainwashed into believing.

It creates a fearlessness and a willingness to transform whatever negative, counterproductive, unhealthy, violent shit gets thrown at us into something positive, progressive, healthy and nonviolent. It gets us out of our own way so that we can finally get down to the nitty-gritty of creating meaning despite meaninglessness.

It is a giant sigh, saying, “Okay. Time to make the best of it.” It gives us the insurmountable courage to transform demons into diamonds, fear into courage, anger into strength, and wounds into wisdom.

Radical Interdependence

“It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal––carries the cross of the redeemer––not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Radical interdependence is the deep understanding that everything is connected. Free-range humans are keenly aware of this, because they have overcome their own nature-deprivation (and all the anxiety, neurosis, and stress that comes from it) by becoming free-range. They are in sacred alignment with the universal laws that govern all things and dictate health.

Radical interdependence is eco-conscious surrender. It’s being keenly aware of the process of self-awakening: from codependence (soft-slave statist) to independence (egocentric freedom) to interdependence (eco-centric freedom).

Where independence was necessary for the self to break away from codependence, interdependence is necessary for the ego to regroup with the cosmos in a healthy and empowering way.

We can use this re-conditioning strategy to update almost any precondition. From statist indoctrination to worldly cosmopolitanism. From fear-based perspective to courage-based perspective. From irrational belief to rational thought. From an unhealthy stagnant lifestyle to a healthy progressive lifestyle. From a fixed and rigid psychology based on outdated ideals, to an open and flexible psychology based on updated ideas.

From codependence through independence and into interdependence, free-range humans are constantly in the process of self-overcoming. They realize that the very evolution of the species is at stake, and they are willing to die to make that evolution a healthy one.

About the Author

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

This article (The Philosophy of the Free-Range Human) was originally created for The Mind Unleashed and is published here with permission. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Why Intelligent People Fear the Truth

Julian Wash, Contributor
Waking Times

Today I would like to return to your awareness an aspect of the Human condition that bargains with uncertainty and finds comfort in denial. Every so often we must deal with an unpleasant truth we wish would just go away. Sometimes the truth can be very shocking and we find ourselves inadequately prepared to handle it. That’s when denial comes to the rescue— and what can’t be denied can always be rationalized away.

Perhaps we take for granted our gift of expression and ability to interface in such a complex world. It’s a wondrous thing really. Our curiosity and appetite for adventure are tempered only by the fear of death. We fancy ourselves as intrepid beings willing to brave most any course and face the great unknown. Be this as it may, there are limits. There are places where even the most courageous will dare not venture.

In the following paragraphs I intend to wrestle on a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes that are way too tight. You see they’re stylish, expensive and give a good impression. The blister forming on my big toe is of no consequence. I need only convince myself that it’s me and not the shoe that’s the problem. As usual, I’ll put on my best face and it’s off to the party I go.

Ignorance is Bliss

As we walk in this light of consciousness we find ourselves on a narrow isthmus just above the churning waters of doubt and confusion. Should we fall into these tumultuous tides, we risk succumbing to their cold and relentless currents. But there are times we would rather jump than confront a scary truth that beckons before us. When truth is more frightening than the lie that conceals it, denial can become a welcomed place of refuge.

We’re aware that jumping away won’t solve anything. What it will do is provide an opportunity to avoid something we really don’t want to face. So we dive into the swirling abyss and dismiss the matter as hopeless and irresolvable. We wash-up somewhere downstream clinging to the slippery banks of evasion. Happy to now see it all behind us, we make a vow to never pass that way again. And yet, the memory lingers.

Avoiding truth is not so much a function of ignorance or intelligence but rather conditioning and programming. Being able to convince ourselves that a pertinent truth is neither relevant nor important is a feat worthy of some note. We’ve all been thoroughly schooled on how to do just that. We’ve been told repeatedly in our lives how to think and what to believe and so it becomes somewhat natural to impose these same edicts upon ourselves. If something seems too dangerous to handle we simply label it as such and avoid it at all costs.

Many of us would rather admit the “shoe” fits just fine if it makes everything else that much easier. So we brush off the undesirable stuff and continue onward pretending once again that we’re an intrepid soul. If something doesn’t match our sensibilities and reasonable expectations we are quick to dismiss it. For those who decide to accept a difficult truth, they are torn by decision and run the risk of changing the way they see the world. For some it can create a paradigm shift or an awakening. They might begin to question all that they once held as true. Everything would then fall under doubt and scrutiny. How many people are truly willing to upset the proverbial apple cart to this extent for a glimpse of bitter truth?

I have found this number to be few. Most would rather accept the status quo and not make ripples in their world. There are logical reasons for this and I would be challenged to dispute such a mindset. But truth has a way of anchoring deep within us even when it comes uninvited. Whether we like it or not, truth is truth.

Being naive and unaware may have a blissful quality to it. But it does not represent who and what we are. If we are indeed the intrepid souls we fancy ourselves as being then there is little we can’t do. We have powerful minds and an even greater will, so we are very equipped to handle the most difficult of matters. Living in denial or rationalizing away our fear offers no ultimate remedy. We are merely jumping into those murky waters of evasion where we find other wayward “swimmers” who are also struggling to just stay afloat.

Breakup and Heartbreak

No one wants to face a breakup. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in a troubled relationship. If, for instance, one suspects the other of being unfaithful there are a number of avenues they may choose to take. Denial is certainly one of them. It is much easier to convince yourself there isn’t a problem, even when compelling evidence suggests otherwise. Instead of diving deeper into the issue, some will choose to simply continue along as if there’s no problem at all.

In the end this serves no one. When two people are in love, an intuitive bond is formed. If the bond is broken, so goes the relationship. As painful as this may be, it also affords an opportunity to rediscover oneself, move on and grow from the experience. By denying the bond is severed, one is doomed to live a life of mediocrity, shallow love and empty promises. But gosh, don’t these shoes look great.

Sometimes we feel intimately connected with an institution or belief. If we love, for example, our country or religion, then we are likely to only see the good things about it. We don’t want to know about the dark side. This is not important. More apple pie and ice cream please. Ah, such a good life. If and when presented with an uncomfortable truth, many will simply dismiss it. The lie they believe is more attractive than the truth they’ve been served. In conversation they may offer cursory lip service and feigned interest, but when it really comes down to it they can care less about this truth you bring. It’s water under the bridge for them —the same water which they swim in.

It can be heartbreaking indeed when one realizes the institution they so ardently believe in is not what they thought it was. Now as we near the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11, our sensibilities and intuitive knowing are once again feeling challenged. There are many “truths” people have dismissed because it defies all that they hold on to. Yes, and so a life of mediocrity and illusion is chosen above reality. More apple pie please.

Chess and Deduction

There was a time I was a pretty good chess player. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was rarely beaten. But that was a while ago and most any state level player would surely make me eat my words along with my tinfoil hat. That being said I do know the rules of the game and how to play to win.

Chess is a strategy game. An expert player utilizes many tactics ranging from logic and deduction to deception. One of my best moves with less experienced players was to make them think I didn’t know what I was doing. I use to call it my “Colombo” maneuver after the detective show from the 1970’s. Deception is an interesting aspect to the game indeed. Sometimes I would forgo my queen as a ruse. Only a dummy would lose their queen early in the game. But you have to give up something really good to make the ruse work.

The powers that (want to be) are master chess players. I am both humbled and appalled by their methods. I play an aggressive game—but all I can think about is knocking my opponent’s “king” right off his little Masonic square. The master players are patient and will think long and hard between each move. They rarely make mistakes. Every move has purpose and meaning. Sometimes they too will sacrifice a major figure on the board to move their plan forward.

When I reflect on the events of 9/11, I see a whole lot of chess playing. This was a carefully orchestrated game indeed. And while I’m not prepared to point fingers at any particular group or organization, I am aware of the “sacrificial” pieces that were set in play. They weren’t queens or knights, pawns or rooks— they were skyscrapers. One chess player can’t fool another. Whether on a board or played in real life, I know these moves from a mile away. But not all the pieces fell like they were supposed to. Something clearly went wrong. There was one piece that stood alone and had to be taken off the board in a very brash, inexplicable and self-destructive way. This is the chess equivalent of the illegal move of simply grabbing the piece from the board as a frustrated child might do. Ah yes, the cold chess master blinked as there was no errant plane (or whatever else) to cover the ruse of the collapse of Building Seven.

Final Thought

Who among us has not awakened to this clarion call? I ask and wonder. What else does one need? She fell in front of us for all to see, to bear witness and to comprehend. Forty seven stories of exceptional construction, metal and concrete, yielded to a simple fire—so they say. Eighty-one vertical columns, forty-seven stories of steel-framed perfection dropped into its own footprint in nary 6.5 seconds. Perfectly normal, of course, assuming laws of physics and reason don’t apply. World Trade Center Building Seven should resonate at the core of each and every one of us. If it does not then perhaps the lie has gotten the best of us. The sleepwalkers would rather jump into the murky water than face a truth of this magnitude. I would offer them a safety line if I could, but it seems they would rather drift away into their sea of mediocrity and indifference. And it is so — and so be it.

I cannot live in that world of make-believe. Like so many others, I’ve been accosted by truth and I have found that truth has indeed that magical quality of setting us free. So agonizing over a bitter reality seems a small price to pay when it comes right down to it. And so as I pick up the pieces of Seven, I pause and reflect about the meaning of it all. You see, that building spoke in ways hard to describe. I love what she stood for, not because she was merely a building, but because she woke so many of us in the thunderous roar of her climatic fall.

And yet there are those of admirable intelligence that still cannot see or will not see. Their paradigm simply won’t allow it. But to what end does it affect me? It does. This is not merely a battle rooted in science and logic but rather in the heart, mind and consciousness of Humankind. The non-seers and the “won’t- seers” seem to shirk their duty of an enlightened Human. To jump off the path and swim beyond this towering spectacle of resonate truth seems inexcusable and unacceptable to me. Where are we as a race when we dismiss such a trumpeting call to wake? Do we simply forget how this building fell before us?

I decided to take off those shoes because the pain was getting ridiculous. Seems I started a fad though. Everyone at this formal affair has now slipped off their shoes, taking delight in the grounding experience. They tell me they “feel free” and of course that’s exactly what I like to hear. And so now I must ask—how free is free enough?

-Until next time

About the Author

There is a certain obscurity that follows Julian Wash. After all, any writer that starts off with “Dear Humans” might be a little hard to nail down. We sense he’s benevolent, a little crazy and we think rather enjoyable to read. Email: jwash@rattlereport.com

**This article was originally published at The Rattle Report, and is reprinted here with permission.**

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Metaphysics & Psychology

The 5 Main Cultural Influences Controlling Your Subconscious Mind

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~Carl Jung

Flip this quote from Dr. Jung around and it suggests that once you become aware of the unconscious forces directing you, you will experience freedom and gain newfound control over your own life. This realization gives us extraordinary power.

Based on what we know about the brain, mind, and consciousness, most of our decisions are made without conscious thought, that is, we are driven by low-level mental activity which happens automatically. This level of thinking is the product of the subconscious mind.

“Contrary to what most of us would like to believe, decision-making may be a process handled to a large extent by unconscious mental activity. A team of scientists has unraveled how the brain actually unconsciously prepares our decisions. “Many processes in the brain occur automatically and without involvement of our consciousness. This prevents our mind from being overloaded by simple routine tasks. But when it comes to decisions we tend to assume they are made by our conscious mind. This is questioned by our current findings.” [Source]

In other words, most of the time we are basically on autopilot.

The fact that subliminal advertising can alter the buying habits of consumers is well-established and this is a widely used practice in the advertising industry. It is, perhaps, the most overt form of directly tampering with the subconscious minds of individuals. But there a great deal of other things all around us which interfere with our subconscious programming on a daily basis.

1.) Beauty Programming – In 2017, Forbes magazine estimated that the beauty industry is worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year in the U.S. The industry is so lucrative because of how body image is used to manipulate people and their sexual identities, especially women. An ideal, largely unattainable representation of beauty is projected throughout our culture, causing a major disruption to self-identity. Over-sexualization of even the youngest members of society is everywhere.

2.) Violence Programming – This one is everywhere, from the nightly news to the vast majority of television shows and movies, and even throughout the music industry. Violence is presented as the solution to any problem, darkly coloring the subconscious mind with images of death, torture, fighting, destruction, war and violence against nature.

“Have you ever noticed how television and print media will scream themselves hoarse in news documentaries, editorials and heavy analytical pieces about ‘rising pornography, crime, violence, gunplay’, etc? And yet in the same TV Guide announcing the latest special on ‘The Crisis of Sex and Violence’ will appear an advertisement for Miami Vice, the ‘show that brings you the action and excitement you’ve come to expect’, etc. Or your newspaper will condemn sex and violence in the loftiest terms but there in the entertainment section is a half-page advertisement for a new ‘action’ movie accompanied by a photo of women in string bikinis and high heels fondling automatic pistols and machine-guns.” Michael A. Hoffman,  Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare

3.) Occult Symbolism – Classic occult symbolism is ubiquitous in our culture now. Appearing throughout entertainment media, the spiritual symbols of the occult present a constant reminder that dark forces are at play in our world. They trigger the deeply subconscious fear of death, which is thought to be the main driver of all human behavior, as well as submissiveness to base level forces, such as fear, greed, and lust.

“The themes are applied in so many productions that it utterly defies coincidence, which means there must be some greater unifying message or purpose to it all. Based on the type of symbols and when looked at in the historical context of esoteric religious movement, Egyptian theology, Babylonian mythology, Satan worship and so on, Hollywood and the movie industry is clearly working to serve a particular idealogical movement.

The worship of dark and satanic forces has historically been linked to human sacrifice, pedophilia, sexual perversion, ego worship, celebrity worship, fragmentation of the individual psyche into controllable parts, mind control and corruption of the soul. The use of the occult and its symbols is a methodology employed to weaken the power of the individual and to create psychological slaves. It is a serious form of mind control.” ~Buck Rogers

4.) The Hypocrisy of Church and State – Stoking extreme cognitive dissonance, the most influential institutions in our world, church and state, are perpetually engaged in behavior that defies their stated objectives, creating an environment where otherwise would-be virtuous people develop a warped sense of reality.

The Catholic Church is mired in evil child-abuse scandals all the time, but they still put on the air of righteousness. The government is pretty much always engaging in scandal, murder, corruption and every other evil things, while, again, presenting itself as an organization that brings justice and equity to our world.

5.) Victim Consciousness – If you believe you are a victim, then you also believe that you have no control over your choices and fate. Church and state love for people to play the role of victim, because they know it leaves a power vacuum in one’s life, causing them to look outwardly for direction, while giving up their power.

Final Thoughts

The subconscious mind doesn’t speak the same language as the conscious mind. It works on the level of visualization. Many of the influences mentioned above operate as mental images within the minds of many in our culture. A form of daydreaming. A trance like state. Waking up to this awareness is exceptionally liberating.

About the Author

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for humankind.

This article (The 5 Main Cultural Influences Controlling Your Subconscious Mind) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sigmund Fraud and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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