A Conscious Decision

Decisions I made

There are quite some things I changed within the last year. For some time I had been searching for alternative cosmetic goods such as shampoo since, let’s face it, it’s not hard to recognise that your regular off-the-shelf shampoo (especially if it’s Head&Shoulders Lemongrass) is basically liquid poison. I consciously decided to switch to a local manufacturer of affordable organic soap and was delighted to learn that the appropriate types of soap can also be used as tooth paste, shampoo and shower gel. For me it eliminated the need for any other cosmetic goods as I also stopped using any moisturiser and perfume. I am amazed by how my skin felt more alive just as if it could breathe again after only a few applications. However miraculous, this article is not about soap.

I also started to become more conscious about the food I eat. Since most meat produced today is swamped with drugs and chemicals I’d rather not have in body, I consciously decided to mostly eat vegetarian. I think it really helps not to be dogmatic about it – if I should really crave some meat or it’s a special occasion, I will simply eat it. I recently discovered the taste and vitality provided by raw vegan food and currently plan to develop my eating habits in this direction. You don’t even have to miss out on the most delicious chocolate. [1] Looking at people who have been doing this for longer periods, the long-term viability seems to be given and health benefits appear tremendous. However delicious, this article is not about food.

As I had attended Yoga classes before, I finally took it upon myself and consciously decided to do Yoga regularly. Mind you, it’s not every day and it’s not especially consistent, but I manage to create time and space for it about 1-2 times a week. I find that the best time to do it is after refreshing sleep and before breakfast. The feeling of energization and calmness accompanies me the whole day. I try to become aware of my breathing more often and to ensure that I take deep breaths into my abdomen, as they are much more vitalizing and relaxing than the shallow stressed-out breaths many are used to. Taking five deep breaths can turn most situations around. I also decided to take the stairway instead of the elevator when coming home. However beneficial, the thoughts I want to share aren’t about physical exercise either…

What do all these little episodes of my life have in common? They are about the choices I made which enabled me to live as I desire. Therefore I strive to act in a way to increase the number of choices, both for me and other beings. Being able to consciously choose means having more freedom in your life. Having choices also means bearing self-responsibility – if you made a particular choice, you your-self are to be responsive for the consequences of your choice. This is why many people are afraid of responsibility – because it means they can be held accountable. Therefore mankind created a society where it is easy to lay off responsibility – to some superordinate in the various forms of hierarchy [2] or to our invention of objectivity exemplified by reductionist science. As von Förster points out: Objectivity wants to take the perception of the observer out of the description. If the observer’s perception is deemed invalid – then who is left to describe the phenomenon? The conundrum becomes obvious – without observer there can be no description. [3]

The Refusal to Believe and a Thinkable Alternative

What are the choices you made in your lifetime so far? Have they been your conscious choices or did you simply do as told? Making conscious choices requires the mental freedom to choose. Even before the act of choosing, a choice must become thinkable. No matter where you turn – TV-channels, political parties, supermarkets – you get a number of pre-assorted choices. By deliberately obscuring some possibilities and making you afraid about all kinds of things, your choices are further being limited. People in your social environment, conditioned by the dominant forces of society, often simply adopt such a limited world-view and becomes stuck in it. They regard those who see more possibilities as weird or even crazy. Has it not been the visionaries, who saw a world of possibilities, that have prepared the way for the most marvellous achievements? Isn’t everything you say or do a thought form first, whether conscious or conditioned, and only then born into the world as a word or an action? Therefore, if you want to increase the range of choices you have – which represents the degree of freedom you can claim within your life – you must first decide to think about all those things you would rather not be bothered with. This is an act of becoming aware, acknowledging all the inconvenient observations and thoughts crossing your mind. This means descending into your fears and everything you dislike in order to understand yourself better. Every bit of understanding evaporates the potential to paralyse, manipulate and control you – and transforms it into a vista of conscious choices. When faced with a new situation, a paralysed person can only remain petrified, but a person making a conscious choice may remain calm and move into any direction they desire.

I would argue that eschewing self-responsibility through the denial of free will is ultimately a way of avoiding ourselves. This has led to the construction of a world-view in which people see themselves as nothing but a “persona”, a social construct. They see themselves as merely adapting and responding to the environment, much like a calculator giving the expected solution to a mathematical problem. This is a materialistic world-view, proposing that everything comes out of matter. It assumes that if we would know all variables in this moment, we could calculate the future. At its core, it means that free will is an illusion – after all, where should it come from if we are merely biological machines? This ideology reveals itself in all forms of so-called inherent necessities. It is manifested every time you hear about something as “the only (viable) option” (like saving banks from bankruptcy), usually accompanied by collateral damage (like mass unemployment) justified through this supposed necessity. This tactic only serves to shield the perpetrator from responsibility. If there is only a single course of action, you can’t blame anyone – there was simply no choice! [4] Yet this rhetoric reveals the non-existent freedom such people have through believing in such a mechanistic world-view – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and they consider themselves to be victims, constantly violated by their environment. This lets them become very fearful and their response is most often to take control of their material surroundings and fellow men in order to protect themselves. This easily leads to controlling and tyrannical behaviour as they attempt to gain power over others.

I didn’t know what to do when I was first confronted with this world-view and reading publications by neurologists interpreting that there is no (material) basis for free will or consciousness. I remember watching the news as a teenager when the reporter spoke about subsidies for companies while social welfare was lacking – I neither knew what to do about that. However – and this is where it all starts – I refused to believe it. Having stared at my own hands often enough, wondering if I was my body, becoming aware of my thoughts, observing them, I intuitively felt that these explanations can’t be right. As I refused to blindly believe, I had opened my eyes to the gateway leading into another world. Every time you refuse to believe something, even if you are not sure what else to believe, you can choose to make an alternative thinkable.

It is a long and ongoing journey to discover an alternative and I am exhilarated to share my understanding with you. As I refused to believe to be a pre-determined machine, I chose to make an alternative thinkable. Researching related fields for several years and making small steps, as I had chosen to take life into my own hands, I am grateful for ever more amazing experiences and marvellous revelations. Personal experience tells me that making conscious choices and becoming self-responsible improves my quality of life and allows me to learn more and more each moment along the way.

I have recently learned about Tom Campbell’s Big Theory of Everything [5], which provides a scientific basis for a diametrically different world-view while upsetting notions about Newtonian science. Many so-called progressives, techno-utopianists and transhumanists believe reductionistic science to be the path of salvation. Campbell’s theory proposes a scientific, although radically different framework for understanding the world. It requires fewer assumptions and provides better predictability than the current mainstream understanding, yet it also integrates Newtonian science. It postulates the existence of consciousness and evolution. It provides the framework for a statistical reality and shows that conscious will can influence not only your inner mind, but the outer material world – consciousness manifesting itself in matter. The easily verifiable double-slit experiment [6] is the acknowledged example of this phenomenon. It shows that a wave (a probability distribution, a range of possibilities) collapses to a particle (a concrete manifestation) only if it is being observed. Given historical consistency, it explains how the application of conscious will can influence information over any distance and even across time within a statistically significant range.

An easy way to verify this concept for yourself is to attempt Masaru Emoto’s rice hado experiment, whereas thoughts determinate how a physically isolated sample of cooked rice degrades. [7] Being something so counter-intuitive to the materialist world-view, thoughts alone changing matter, this is something only you can prove to yourself. However, it is important that you carry out any related experiment with diligence and pure intent, since your thoughts change the outcome. Accepting this theory might be difficult, but your results would otherwise be skewed. [8] Through this experiment, an important reason for praying and being thankful before eating becomes apparent, while also potentially explaining many religious and paranormal experiences. My desire to understand this existence leads me to accept the theory which uses the fewest assumptions and axioms, explains the most phenomena and has the least exceptions. Which should thus be considered the prime source – matter or consciousness? I choose consciousness.

Accepting a different explanation is an act of transformation. As the world-view is transformed, so are you. Your view is your framing of existence and what you consider to be possible experiences in your life. For me, the refusal to accept a manufactured belief has become an ongoing systemic inquiry [9] into the nature of existence. I gladly share my current understanding, but only you can give yourself an answer to the questions of existence. What are you? Where do you come from and where do you go to? What is the purpose of all this? I am astounded by how many people are hardly bothered by these questions, yet they set the stage for the sense-making of every single experience! I believe it comes back to the basic question of whether you consider yourself to be consciousness bestowed with free will. This extends into whether you can choose to build an understanding of these profound mysteries. Those who say that it will never be solved, why do they have so little faith in the power of their own understanding?

The Power of the Mind

Learning about language, neurology, psychology, sociology, religion, occultism and systems theory has brought me to the study of consciousness itself. The more understanding I gain, the more I believe in the power of my mind. A self-understanding as co-creator puts one into a vastly different mind-set than a self-understanding of being the constant victim of circumstances. Understanding that I can greatly influence my interpretation of the world – and thus my experience – enables tremendous self-empowerment. [10] With great power comes great responsibility. [11] While there are great guidelines on how to act in a way to further love and unity, [12] making mistakes and failing allows us to pay attention to what we still need to learn as part of the process.

My current understanding as basis, I consider the mind to be tremendously powerful. All that can be conceived by our imagination can become reality. While it might take time until a concept, for example of a composition, is transferred into musical notes so it may be played: However fleeting the thought form, it already exists in front of the mind’s eye and is thus already being experienced! As proven by mathematics and imaginary numbers, the realm of imagination can help us to create results in the material world as well. [13] The story of Pema and ancient Buddhism suggest the possibility of creating thought forms which take on a life of their own and manifest in the material world as deities. The conclusion is that just like the deity is an illusion, so is the whole of what is believed to be real. [14] Hypnosis is able to re-create the same phenomenon for both pleasure and spiritual advancement. [15] Are these our children’s so-called imaginary friends? What about the myriad so-called paranormal phenomena (including ghosts, apparitions, UFOs and aliens) which could be simultaneously observed by more than a single person? What about any and all phenomena which cannot be properly explained by the materialistic scientific framework? Both ancient mystic knowledge and modern consciousness research suggest that it is conscious will and desire which bring about our reality, both individually and collectively. One of the reportedly most potent ways to mould reality is through the directed awareness of a group of people, focusing their intent in harmony. This allows to affect the results of random number generators, make plants heal, levitate tables and conjure ghosts with more intimate knowledge of Victorian history than the conjurers could collectively possess. [16]

Assuming conscious choices bring about self-responsibility and thus a more aware, considerate, kind and enjoyable existence within this life-time, the most important task becomes the creation of the freedom to think. As mentioned above, this may be accomplished by facing your own fears and being honest about your desires. After all, if there is a thought within your life you are not comfortable with, how to better do away with it once and for all than to carefully examine and subsequently change it. Thus facing your fears seems to be the best way to understand and thus transform them for good. [17] If your ability to positively influence your life depends on the power of your imagination and your scope of conscious choice, would you not want to make sure that your mind’s eye has a view unobstructed by fear, doubts and pre-conditioned concepts? The clearer the sky in front of your mind’s eye, the better you are able to conjure thought forms and manifest your dreams – from initial conception to eventual realisation – whether in the spiritual, mental or physical realm. We see only what we believe and we believe only what we see. The quantum leap in reflexivity is exemplified within systems theory. From believing that systems exist out there to be eventually understood in their entirety (ontological view), to believing that we actually create the systems as intellectual constructs through our very act of understanding (epistemological view). The more we understand, the more we create through our understanding, the more there is to understand. Thus our inquiry into both the inner world of our mind and the outer world of matter will both be unending. An eternal cycle.

Reality Frames – Mind Frames

As a way of both exploring and avoiding ourselves, we have created many common understandings – reality frames collectively agreed upon. So the world allows us to perceive an illusion of stability. People believe that the material world is real and identify with it. They even believe that their being depends on it. Within the theory of consciousness, our experience of the world and ourselves could be likened to the Matrix as depicted in the 1999 movie. [18] Basically, it is about an illusory experience we believe to be real and important. Previously, I had believed that the matrix was the idea of politics – that a society would necessarily need to be organised through a top-down divide-and-conquer system, along with man-made positive law used to oppress. Then, I thought it was about economy and the idea that demands and debt need to govern human relations. Later, I believed it was about understanding the world’s hidden structures and special interest groups along with their totalitarian ideologies and occult agenda. It is through this path that I came to the study of sociopathic behaviour. I was able to recognise that the issue relies within the individual psyche – yours, mine and society’s mind as the collective reflection. Considering all identification with the material world and our experience we believe to be so real as an illusion is a more radical step, yet one I am happily willing to take if it allows for a more enjoyable life. The process I personally went through, which might very well be far from finished, could be similar to the dream-levels shown in the movie Inception. [19] You wake up to a truth and believe that you are now experiencing the “real” reality, yet you are still dreaming. You wake up to another truth, yet you are just in another layer of your dream. Grand realisations aside, it helps to simply strive to be aware of all the reality frames and dream-layers we constructed: The media with its manufactured version of the world out there. Politics with its ideologies on how the world should work – along with its fake alternatives to stay in control of potential dissidents. Movies and popular culture creating scenarios and proposing specific possibilities – of course only those which ultimately serve the interest of extended control. [20] Video games as alternate realities so extensive some people practically live in the virtual world. The internet, the cyber-space as a representation of our consciousness, yet also heavily censored by the dominant powers. When was the last time you put on your go(o)g(g)les to search for something?

Who created all these realities and what interests do they serve? Can you extract the elements which further your personal freedom and reject those which try to artificially restrict you? Are you aware enough to make the conscious choice to use these reality frames – and not become trapped inside their conceptions so you remain controllable? Many politicians and economists pretend or even believe the world would end if the current system of economic governance collapses – some people even buy into this. Why shouldn’t so-called hallucinations, drug-induced perceptions, [21] altered states of consciousness, extensions of awareness, spiritual experiences and the power of imagination be real? Which reality frames do you allow to frame your mind and thus construct your world? Are they of your own making or did you just blindly accept them? How is your judgement based on your personal understanding of your existence and the fact that you are aware of it?

Consciousness as Eternal Creation

I believe that every perception is an act of creation, every memory an act of imagination.” – Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman

Isn’t everything we do, from the seemingly most irrelevant blinking of the eye to the greatest feats of art an act of conception? Isn’t every thought, every emotion, every move, every word, every perception an act of imagination brought about by our mind?

Can we be anything less than eternal co-creators, endlessly re-imagining the dream we call life? [22] Are we not consciousness embodied in mankind, soul fractals incarnated within the material world of time and space, yet always connected to the absolute unity of consciousness beyond polarity? As consciousness within this dense sphere, having forgotten our own nature in order to experience all aspects of existence, what could be more important at this critical juncture then to re-gain our awareness? Choosing to believe that everything is made of the same substance – the subtle, sentient energy we call consciousness. Consciousness is Awareness is Everything is Consciousness becoming aware of itself. Understanding the profound connection between us, which I describe as our common connection to the absolute unity of consciousness, means we are all the same entity experiencing itself from myriad perspectives. We are one yet many. [23] Both ancient Greek philosophy and modern systems theory show how the whole is greater than, or at least different from, the sum of its parts. [24] What could be the purpose of an all-powerful unity of consciousness – being pure love – to conjure these worlds and throw us in it as its parts? I imagine it to be the interaction between its constituent parts – it is thus life itself. The purpose is to learn and to love, as only love allows us to approximate the absolute unity of consciousness beyond polarity. Loving is the process by which the unity is being brought into and re-created within this material world. Thus I believe loving to be the most purposeful act of consciousness. Thus, given the right frame of understanding, I can rephrase: Consciousness is Awareness is Everything is Becoming Aware of Myself as Being Consciousness. I Am that I Am. [25]

You are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.” – Sufi mystic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Is this the reason why both psychology and mysticism tell us to look within ourselves if something bothers us in the other? You see yourself reflected in your world, and often our human companions are our most perfect mirrors. Searching within yourself, acknowledging, accepting and understanding the issue, transforming it, brings resolution and furthers unity: Unity within your personal psyche, unity within your natural and social environment, unity within the whole of consciousness – for it is all you, and as such every manifestation is a fractal of the absolute consciousness. [26]

If you realise yourself to be eternal consciousness incarnated within a temporary body rather than a temporary body having developed consciousness – everything is changed and have new eyes to see. As consciousness, you have the great responsibility of conscious choice – deciding where to go – where to project yourself. As consciousness, everything you direct yourself to – everything you pay attention to – can be transformed or re-inforced by you, for it is (part of the same) consciousness itself. The modern so-called attention economy proves the point that your awareness, yourself as directed consciousness, is what is actually being fought for on the market. Within the control game, it is the only thing that matters and indeed, the only thing capable of creating matter. Only a consciousness which is not losing itself within identification with the material world will not be distracted by the irrelevant promises of power and fame. Such a consciousness can realise its full potential to love through its own creation. Therefore, it is wise to be conscious about yourself as consciousness – being truly self-aware means being yourself.

“Dont ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman [27]

With this great power and responsibility also comes great freedom – the freedom to decide. Whatever you do, you may choose to act out of fear or out of love. This is the only relevant choice. I have found that the realisation of being an eternal soul is certainly not necessary, but proves to be very supportive in choosing love over fear. As I realise my immortality since my source is the realm of spirit beyond – nothing in this existence can truly threaten me. Even the death of fear is accomplished as I realise that the fear of death is unfounded. The seriousness, severity, heaviness of existence within the material world is en-lightened. [28] Life ceases to be a struggle and starts to be an experience of learning and loving. It’s just a ride. [29]

This freedom enables us to do whatever we want – yet the truly en-lightened have always chosen the path of love over the path of fear, no matter what price they had to pay within the material world. There are interests among us – and thus still within ourselves – which want us to believe that it doesn’t matter what we do, since every decision supposedly serves the great plan. I contend that while even the worst atrocities need to be acknowledged, understood and thus ultimately transformed into goodness, it does not mean that they are at all necessary in the first place. Becoming aware is a choice in itself and being aware means you can consciously choose to do the right thing right away. Unfounded extensions of ethics in order to justify the unjustifiable should be abandoned for the most ethical, compassionate decision. Written and institutionalised rules and law are dead and can never bring about living ethics. Only conscious deliberation and compassionate intuition at every decision-making point is truly ethical living. [30] I consider the ideology of moral relativism, stating that every behaviour is acceptable, not only misleading but also very dangerous. It attempts to disable your individual moral compass, luring you away from trusting your own conscience (consciousness) in order to accept whatever the dominant culture considers to be the most respectable choice. [31] Listen to your inner guardian protecting you from committing spiritual hara-kiri [32] – you will intuitively know what the right decision is. My choice is to regard the mystery of experience as art-in-fact, realising myself to be an artist, co-creating and thus bringing about life.

The most visible creators are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible – without brush, hammer, clay, or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt. Their medium is simply being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see, but don’t have to draw, because they are the artists of being alive.” – Donna J. Stone

My desire remains – to fulfil my own potential and inspire others to do the same – all the while enjoying this marvellous experience. Creating freedom for thought permits me to see more possibilities. Making conscious choices enables me to stay on the right track to realise my potential. Constantly inquiring into the meaning of existence and the nature of consciousness, the nature of myself, is the process of becoming self-aware and allows me to take steps towards a different frame of mind: Loving comes easily and my dream manifests. As consciousness, it is your choice and yours alone. The world you create for yourself – the world I create for myself – the world we create for us. For we are everything experiencing and expressing ourself in infinite refractions. All it takes to realise the miracle of creation and awaken to your life’s purpose: A conscious decision.


 [ 1] I recently tried this recipe for vegan chocolate. All it takes is cacao powder, liquid coconut oil and agave syrup. It is absolutely delicious.

[ 2] I wrote an extensive article on the Principle of Hierarchy as a reference.

[ 3] The famous cyberneticist Heinz von Förster talks about the issue of the observer, self-responsibility and his life in this interview. The concepts of embodiment and the validity of subjective accounts are also a recurring theme in phenomenology.

[ 4] The mystic scholar and philosopher Armin Risi writes about free will, world-views and the nature of consciousness in his book Licht wirft keinen Schatten (in German). I think I have never read a German book written in an accessible fashion while revealing such profound insight. If you are interested in understanding how our world-views determine our actions or the mysteries of life, please do read this book.

[ 5] Tom Campbell provides extensive documentation for his Big Theory of Everything in a trilogy of books, but the gist is contained within his lectures.

[ 6] The fundamentals of the double-slit experiment are documented on Wikipedia. This experiment has been widely reproduced and is generally accepted. It serves as the microcosmic example of Campbell’s theory. It is Max Planck, the founding father of quantum theory, who supports the assumption of consciousness as primal source: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” As quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)

[ 7] Masaru Emoto’s rice hado experiment is taken from the Russian documentary Water, which reveals many interesting properties of the element our bodies are mostly composed of. These findings are completely in line with Campbell’s theory and I was able to reproduce the results myself. The experimental set-up is very easy and many people have successfully done this experiment . If you are a scientifically minded person, I think this is one of the best ways you can convince yourself of the primacy of consciousness.

[ 8] The concept of second-order cybernetics, from the field of systems theory, explains how the experimenter is always part of the experiment himself and is unable to separate himself from it. The experiment influences and vice versa. Understanding the power of conscious intent elevates this consideration to another level.

[ 9] I consider systemic inquiry as a fancy description of never stopping to question everything. I encountered it during my academic study of systems theory. Taken from Ray Ison: “With awareness systemic inquiry invites a consistent way of being within an on-going inquiry process (e.g. living life as inquiry).” You can download the first chapter of this book here.

[ 10] Banal as it sounds, belief in self-efficacy is something which needs to be (re-)learned. Yes, you are infinite potential.

[ 11] This quote is prominently featured in the 2002 Spiderman movie and initially appeared in the first spiderman story by Stan Lee.

[ 12] Armin Risi provides most excellent explanations about the differences between “God’s law” and “God’s will” in Licht wirft keinen Schatten. It deserves its subtitle as a “spiritual-philosophical manual”.

[ 13] James Bechrakis wrote a paper on the concept of imaginary numbers as a modern from of astral magic: I, Squared.

[ 14] The story of Pema is featured as Chapter 3 of Magical Use of Thought Forms but can also be accessed here. I recommend reading this highly fascinating and inspiring story.

[ 15] If you are interested in creating thought forms, you might want to visit the website of hypnotist Talmadge Harper. He seems highly competent, his products are reasonably priced he is praised in many testimonials.

[ 16] These examples are taken from both Thomas Campbell’s work and the book Magical Use of Thought Forms by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and J.H. Brennan.

[ 17] While psychiatry and yoga/bodywork have different approaches, the both require the afflicted to re-live an experiment in order to change its definition. I think this process can be likened to accessing a specific part of the matrix (your mind), going into it and re-programming it. Therefore you must face your fears if you wish to defeat them. I won’t tire to recommend the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

[ 18] Max Planck spoke about the mind as the matrix of all matter: “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” Excerpt from Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

[ 19] I recommend the movie Inception. It offers Hollywood’s interpretation of the power of our minds and the idea of both living in and creating dream-layers. Within the plot, as agents change the environment within the dream of their victim as they try to fool him, his unconscious, represented by the pedestrians in his dream, becomes increasingly suspicious of the intruders and eventually tries to stop and kill them. It is this kind of vigilance we require within our own minds as foreign thoughts, concepts and ideologies attempt to invade it. Make sure the general population within your mind is well-armed against potential intruders – it is mental defence that is most required these days.

[ 20] This review of The Political Economy of Culture by Sut Jhally neatly summarises this point.

[ 21] As probably most great philosophers, Aldous Huxley also actively sought out experiences which enabled him to perceive the world in a new way. He describes his experience with peyote/mescalin in the essay The Doors of Perception.

[ 22] I can recommend the book The Tree of Knowledge written by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, applying the science of neural systems to questions of perception and knowing, ultimately arriving at the concept of self-creation as Autopoiesis. The profundity of this consideration was also recognised by von Förster in Ethics and second-order cybernetics, as reported in the aforementioned book by Ray Ison: “Am I apart from the universe? Whenever I look, am I looking as through a peep-hole upon an unfolding universe? Am I part of the universe? Whenever I act, am I changing myself and the universe as well? He then went on to say: “Whenever I reflect on these two alternatives, I am surprised again and again by the depth of the abyss that separates the two fundamentally different worlds that can be created by such a choice. Either to see myself as a citizen of an independent universe, whose regularities, rules and customs I may eventually discover, or to see myself as the participant in a conspiracy [in the sense of collective action], whose customs, rules and regulations we are now inventing.””

[ 23] Derived from the teachings of Sri Chaitanya, Armin Risi descirbes this unimaginable state of God and God’s energies being simultaneously both different and not-different: “Mit anderen Worten, wenn man sagt: „Alles ist eins”, ist dies eine einseitige, nicht vollständige Betrachtungsweise des Absoluten. Denn alles ist eins und verschieden, und zwar gleichzeitig. Diese differenzierte Erkenntnis (tattva) lautet im Sanskrit: acintya bhedabheda-tattva, „das unvorstellbare (acintya) gleichzeitige Verschiedensein (bheda) und Nicht-verschiedensein (abheda) von Gott und Gottes Energien”.”

[ 24] See the principles of emergence and swarm intelligence, whereas complex and entirely unexpected behaviour can arise through the collaboration of seemingly simple agents. This notion was popularised in James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds.

[ 25] I recommend this short but very inspiring lecture by Alan Watts on the Way of Waking Up. On a similar note, as he insightfully attested a crisis in consciousness and called for the real revolution, I would allow Jiddu Krishnamurti to ask “Who are you?” and “Why don’t you change?”.

[ 26] This is most likely what is called God by most religions, seen and interpreted from their different viewpoints. It is also strongly related to Carl Gustav Jung‘s idea of the collective unconscious, which is also being referred to in the aforementioned Magical Use of Thought Forms as the astral plane where thoughts can be transmitted. I am still highly impressed by the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. The series has (at least) two alternate endings through its Human Instrumentality Project. One exemplifies the return to the absolute unity of consciousness, the other shows the continued material embodiment of soul fractals within the world of polarity. There is also an interesting analysis of the series’ characters according to the sephirotic tree of life.

[ 27] A modern embodiment of this principle of “doing what you love to do“ is Mitch Altman, a prominent member of the Hackerspace movement. Watch his TEDx Brussels talk and be inspired to do what you love to do and find the support you need.

[ 28] I stumbled across this short video entitled The Universe is an Illusion, But Consciousness Isn’t. Profoundly inspiring.

[ 29] The comedian Bill Hicks pointed this out as the conclusion to one of his programmes.

[ 30] Albert Schweitzer extends on this point and describes his view on ethics in Reverence for Life.

[ 31] Armin Risi de-constructs the fallacies of moral relativism in Licht wirft keinen Schatten.

[ 32] This useful piece of advice is taken from the aforementioned Magical use of Thought Forms.

Image rights belong to their respective owners.

The Hierarchical Principle

In 2012 AD, as it is plain to see, we live in a world built on the principle of hierarchy. Yet precisely because civilization, according to the record of consensus mainstream history, is based upon hierarchical organisation in most social, religious and political matters, it becomes a self-evident phenomena which is not scrutinized as much as it should be. Its method of operation does not only dominate the physical world, but it has also been internalized by our minds and even structures our very patterns of thought. Many consider the hierarchical mode of organisation to be a constant and a given in all natural and human relations – this goes so far as it being considered the only option. Within the constructed mainstream consensus, alternatives are unthinkable and those who utter such ideas are deemed to be dreamers or fools.

I consider it is the most fundamental and most relevant unchallenged assumptions of these times, which is the reason why its effects on the planet as well as individual and collective human consciousness are rarely discussed. We tend to see its various incarnations within the different hierarchies of religious organisations, bureaucratic structures and companies, yet we usually fail to see the concept of hierarchy as their common denominator – it is hidden in plain sight.

I feel that it is necessary to recognise the prevalence and analyse the inner workings as well as outside effects of the hierarchical principle in order to understand the world today. This article shall contribute to this understanding and provoke further discussion.


The Purpose of Hierarchy

What is the purpose of hierarchy? A hierarchical structure is generally established to serve the interests of the highest entity within the hierarchy. [1] While the “servants” are often made to believe that they act in the interest of a higher principle such as freedom or the will of God, this entity is most often simply comprised of a single individual or a group of people. One purpose of the hierarchical structure is the protection of the superiors from all forms of harm, which ensures the perpetuation and continued operation of the structure. Its second purpose is the expansion of control of the hierarchical structure in both intensity and scope. The subordinates are expected to work towards these goals. This can be exemplified through the employees of a company, which will be expected to protect its public image and its managers as well as to increase its financial assets. It should be noted that even within this relatively simple structure, disregarding the wider economic system, we are often led to believe that the managerial caste represents the highest entities, yet they are merely executing the will of the shareholders which usually remain in obscurity.

Control and Dependency – A Vicious Cycle

A hierarchy allows the superiors to exert control over those below. Just as employees submit to the orders of their managers, citizens submit to the laws and the executive forces of their country such as police, while patients submit to the medical treatment of the medical establishment represented by their doctors. [2] Furthermore, the subordinates willingly become dependent on their masters – an employee is to rely on the employer’s payments for the provision of his livelihood, a citizen becomes dependent on the state for protection against bodily harm and injustice, a patient becomes dependent on the doctor’s expertise. All of these agreements constitute a transferral of responsibility from the personal to the collective – important powers, skills and expertise become centralised within certain institutions and elite groups. Employees are encouraged to become highly specialised in order to maximize their profitability and thus loose time and energy to develop other skills. Citizens are encouraged to rely on police and rescue services, thus loosing the ability to defend and help themselves as well as others. Patients are encouraged to rely on the judgement of the doctor and do therefore not listen to their own bodies or independently build up medical knowledge. You can substitute these examples for any master-servant relationship as they are re-created in all hierarchical structures. The profound implications of people becoming physically, mentally and spiritually dependent on centralised, hierarchical structures was summarised by the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville as he wrote on Democracy in America in 1840: “It is in vain to summon a people who have been rendered so dependent on the central power to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.” [3]

As dependency on these centralised entities increases, the ability and readiness to withdraw and re-take responsibility decreases. The hierarchical structure recognises the servant’s dilemma and further tightens its grip on them, opening up myriad possibilities for violating the initial agreement and abusing the subordinates: Employees are treated badly and are expected to work overtime, executive forces violate citizen’s rights, doctors administer unnecessary or harmful drugs in the pursuit of personal profit.

The Ideology of Hierarchy

An important method to increase the dependency on the hierarchical structure is to make the servants believe in a number of myths. The infiltration of the mind by the hierarchical principle is paramount to its perpetuation – through a constant strengthening of the dependency, the servants shall believe that they would ultimately hurt their own interests by severing the master-servant relationship. The hierarchical structure wants to spread the myth that the control of one human over another is anchored in ancient tradition and therefore part of the natural order. Ideally, alternatives shall become unthinkable and its dominance of human affairs shall be accepted as the way things are “supposed” to be. The ideology of dominance does indeed have historic roots, reaching back at least as far as the time of the Egyptian priests of the Pharaoh Akenathon. [4] The goal of these masters is to confuse their servants in order to ensure that they remain pre-occupied with trivialities such as entertainment and immerse themselves in the artificially constructed conflict of various ideologies (religious, political or otherwise). People fighting each other and thus falling for the age-old “divide and conquer” strategy have no time to reflect upon the unspoken assumptions of the system they live in. Most importantly, they have no time to realise that they share a common interest in abandoning dominance-submission relationships in human affairs altogether. This principle of the “good shepherd” has been exercised by an elite caste within both the religious and the political sphere. A more recent incarnation of this caste within the political game can be found in the crowd psychologists of the 20th century [5] just like the nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, who proclaimed on the very first page of his book Propaganda: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. […] we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.”[6] He goes on to rationalise why this invisible government has the duty to limit and essentially control the voter’s choices, assuming that the exercise of self-responsibility by the people would result in chaos. Of course, the millennia of entrainment and acculturation to this modus operandi – which indeed make it difficult for the modern ‘civilised’ human to act self-responsibly – are not considered.

Rebellion or Submission? Understanding the game.

The historian Barbara W. Tuchman writes in her historic biography “A Distant Mirror” about spirituality outside of the Catholic Church in the 14th century: “Voluntary self-directed religion was more dangerous to the church than any number of infidels.” [7] This emphasises that a hierarchical structure such as the Catholic Church may well be able to ensure compliance within its own ranks, and it may even be able to control an organised opposition through various means. As long as the people are organised in power blocs, they can be easily manipulated and their actions may be predicted. However, the greatest danger to any hierarchical structure arises if the formerly submissive servant or fervent rebel starts to look within oneself for direction, rather than deriving his ideology and action from the hierarchical structure, whether he stands in submission or rebellion to it. Thus Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Non-violent Communication, makes perfect sense when he says: “Never give them the power to make you submit or rebel.” The game of roulette may serve as an analogy: It is not a question of whether you bet on red or black – it is a matter of understanding that the green field always ensures the eventual outcome to be in favour of the house. It is not about choosing sides, but about being perceptive enough to recognise that the game is rigged and thus refusing to play along.

The Myths of Democracy

Of course the sphere of party politics is one of the major sources of distraction for the public, successfully applying the aforementioned divide and conquer strategy. While people continue to fight each other over political ideology, they fail to see the obvious: While the eagle has a left(-)wing and a right(-)wing, it only has a single head. In Bernays’ terms, the eagle’s head represents the invisible government which successfully controls the public mind. The importance of symbolism within our society is ignored by most. Confucius says: “Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.” Notwithstanding, it is plain for anyone to see that just as companies and bureaucracies are organised as hierarchical structures, so are the governing bodies of schools, religious institutions, the media, the military, fraternal organisations and most other organisations. Those who have the power are not elected, while those elected simply have nothing to say. Even if there was a relevant difference between political parties, it would not be able to bring about fundamental change. In 2012, this is exemplified by the financial crisis – no matter what kind of government, it openly admits that its actions to be directed towards appeasing an obscure market of investors, which have certainly never been publicly elected. A lot more could be said on this, but the most relevant point is to recognise that the modern democratic structure is equally built on hierarchical principles. Furthermore, the democratic process of opinion formation is based on the publicised opinion of the hierarchically organised as well as highly centralised media. It is thus never neutral nor representing any type of informed public opinion. Therefore, unless actual (rather than astro-turfed [8]) grass-roots organisations and the public at large does indeed discuss and influence decisions, it is a travesty to ask for “the democratic process” to come up with a solution – if its participants are merely an elite caste of politicians, opinion-makers and hand-picked experts.

The Pinnacle of Hierarchy – Hidden and Secret

Secrecy is an element crucial to the functioning of any hierarchical structure. Governments have state secrets and companies have business secrets. It can be argued to what extent doctors deal in secrets, but by having studied medicine they certainly possess knowledge unknown to most. Hierarchical structures have a competitive advantage over those not privy to their secrets, as those who know more can easily deceive and manipulate others – knowledge is power after all. Servants are thus instructed to keep and protect the secrets of the structure they are subordinate to. Within the reasoning of hierarchical structures, the most highly guarded secrets are its own methods of maintaining and expanding power: how it remains protected from harm and how it manipulates people into wilful submission. The best protection for the hierarchical principle is never to be questioned as mentioned above. However, as the flaming desire to understand and thus ask questions seems to be an inextinguishable human trait, it needs to come up with various ways to protect its interests. These include the aforementioned distraction games of a “bread and games” kind and locking you into a submissive/rebellious state, or using the problem-reaction-solution dialectic and making promises as will be elaborated on further below – all of which can be facilitated by the use of hidden structures. Within this discourse, it is helpful to remind oneself of Goethe’s words: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe to be free.” [9] Following the age-old tradition, occult (meaning hidden) knowledge about manipulation is exercised by and within secretive and occult societies.

These are able to successfully guard their secrets while also shrouding their existence in mystery, and thus constitute the pinnacle of successful hierarchical structures. Until today, they successfully managed that the public remains ignorant if not of their very existence, then at least about their power and ambitions as well as their intricate layering, ensuring that even members are informed on a need-to-know basis or even purposefully misled. [10] Therefore it might well be argued that within a compartmentalized pyramid of nested hierarchical structures, they should be located above the more obvious and transparent entities of governments and companies. The membership within a society such as the Freemasons is not publicly disclosed. This puts them at a distinct advantage as members may occupy offices in both companies and the governmental regulative bodies which are supposed to watch them – thus becoming only accountable to themselves and their interests. They may also occupy leading positions within different political parties or even the belligerents of armed struggle – making it easy to control the eventual outcome. An official occurrence of an effective shadow government was Italy’s masonic lodge “Propaganda Due” in the 1970’s. Leaders in politics, intelligence agencies, business and media conspired to further their own interests. This nation-wide corruption became public and was officially purged. Considering that former lodge member Berlusconi dominated Italian politics for many years, this may well be called into question. [11] As complex and expansive as the topic is, Britain’s first Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli put it bluntly: “The governments of the present day have to deal not merely with other government, with emperors, kings and ministers, but also with the secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments’ plans.”. Forthcoming publications by network scientist Albert-Laszló Barabási show which power centers need to be commanded in order to control an entire system. Heavily centralised organisations are easier to control, his research showing that transnational organisations are especially vulnerable. [12] The rabbit hole is deeper than you think. One way to attain greater understanding about the details of hidden hierarchical organisation is to cautiously extrapolate from well-sourced incidents and conduct independent research.

The Promises of Hierarchy

Nobody would submit to hierarchies if they wouldn’t promise something which is desired. Companies promise material well-being, governments promise protection, the medical establishment promises health. A promise becomes necessary because the service provided is to be delivered in the future. Those who submit to the hierarchy – whether employees, citizens, patients… usually need to fulfil their part of the deal up front. This means submitting to perform a certain work, obeying the laws, paying money and undergoing treatment. However, there can never be a guarantee – either because the other party is unwilling or unable to keep the promise. Companies can cut back on payroll expenses or go bankrupt, governments can de-prioritise its citizen’s protection or simply withdraw it from political dissidents, the medical establishment may see a cure to be unprofitable or a disease to be untreatable. Still, it is of vital importance to the continued existence of hierarchy that you remain in submission and accept a new promise – even if the last one wasn’t kept. Persistence has its virtue, but being persistent in making agreements which ultimately damage you is neither virtuous nor intelligent. Making consecutive agreements may constitute a ladder of engagement – once we start, it’s hard not to involve oneself further and break the habit. [13] Who doesn’t hope for a better future? Hoping, instead of working for a better future, is mankind’s favourite escape after all. It takes quite a lot of frustration or a revelatory event to realise that although we want to believe that these hierarchical structures can ensure us a better life and have our best interests at heart – their track record and everyday observable actions betrays that they probably don’t. I am astonished by the degree of cognitive dissonance [14] many people are willing to bear only to remain inconspicuous and conform to norms which remain unquestioned. This excessive tendency to conform to social norms at the expense of self-expression is recognised as normopathy. [15]

In exchange for your collaboration, the hierarchical structure usually promises material comfort, intellectual gain or spiritual advancement. It promises to give you all the things – among them respect, power, recognition and even love – you have been systematically deprived of since birth. [16] The German author Marianne Gronemeyer [17] gives a list of common promises: saving of time, security, comfort and recognition. These are the basic needs the power (the hierarchical structures) promises to fulfil which lure us into wilful submission. She warns us about fundamental mistakes in thought through which we fool ourselves into believing that we are to benefit from an ever tighter relationship with the hierarchical principle, rather than withdrawing from it: We mistake being trapped inside a tight web of regulations as taking part in the system. We mistake being functionalised – being a cog in the machine – as having part in the system’s power. We mistake the cession of responsibility – and thus decision-making power – as load being taken off. We mistake the over-regulation of our lives as an increase in security. In Gronemeyer’s terms, instead of becoming claustrophobic, we feel cosy and arrange ourselves with the ever-increasing restrictions of our actionability.

The Pathology of Hierarchy

As the hierarchical structure continues to maximize its options by limiting those of its servants – how can any reasonable, informed human ever be interested in entering such a relationship? In line with the definition or normopathy above, it seems that those who are unwilling or unable to listen to their inner selves are especially susceptible to become the champions of hierarchical structures. The work by Joel Bakan [18] has shown how the best and most prominent servants of hierarchies today – chief executives of large corporations – have sociopathic traits. Just like the corporations they represent, many CEOs lack the social skills of empathy and compassion. It thus logically follows that the degree to which you can be selfish, inconsiderate and unscrupulous determines your suitability and success within the hierarchy. A lack of self-control, inner order and self-given purpose is compensated through the manic attempts at controlling the outer world – often resulting in tyranny and destruction. Instead of creating and empowering oneself through the recognition of one’s inner purpose, one submits to the outer order of the hierarchical principle and becomes its embodiment, a crazed emissary hell-bent on maintaining and expanding his control over the outside world. [19]

Gronemeyer gives the everyday example of a restaurant, where her requests for lower music volume (in spite of few guests) and a partial breakfast were denied by the waiter. He triumphantly explained that, being part of chain of system restaurants, the music volume and the breakfast being served as a whole only were ordained from above. The waiter’s inability to make self-responsible decision made him feel empowered and happy to function as a cog in the machine, protecting it from “interference”. Within the movie The Matrix, an allegory to the modern matrix of control, the character Morpheus states that “‎…many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.” [20] The servants of hierarchy may develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome – a psychological protection mechanism whereas traumatic bonding occurs in the face of overwhelming threat and abuse. [21] As Gronemeyer attests, the majority of ambitious people don’t want to get out, but rather integrate themselves and get deeper into the hierarchical principle. Instead of being afraid to be consumed, they are afraid to be spewn out. The maximisation of options becomes to be thinkable only within the centers of power – the top of hierarchical structures – rather than outside of them in the offside. This psychological dilemma can also be found in grass-roots movements, which often assume that only once they have come “to power” can effective change be brought about through the mechanisms of control. Rather, it should be realised that effective change can only come from within, to which one can empower oneself and be the change you want to see in the world”, as Ghandi is quoted saying. [22] Of course, the hierarchy does its part in demonizing everything outside of its reach (while also creating fake offsides in the form of controlled opposition as mentioned above) and instrumentalises that space as a means of disciplinary action to ensure mass loyalty and uphold the system morale. The insightful commentator and former priest Richard Thieme [23] offers his classification of masters, humplings and dredges with similarities to Huxley’s Alphas, Betas and Gammas. [24] Most people are humplings, hobbling within the tracks laid out for them by the masters, dreaming of becoming masters themselves. They are willing to hobble ever faster, afraid of ending up to be like one of those pityful dredges, which are themselves of course a social caste invented by their masters. You wouldn’t want to be one of this miserable jobless under-achievers, would you? So everybody wants to be well integrated – or possibly even worse – help all those under-privileged (whether they be women, immigrants, racial minorities, the sick or the useless) to integrate within this hierarchy we call society, without ever questioning what that exactly is, what it does or what it means. Everyone shall be modified until they conform to the norms, since everything that doesn’t conform (being sick, making mistakes, getting old, taking time…) is considered a lesser form of being. Every “No!” and all defiance is considered an irrational early form of a “Yes!”, a globalised agreement. [25]

The State – Illusion of Control and Hegelian Dialectic

The hierarchical structure of the state provides a good study case for understanding the mechanism of control. The citizens are led to believe that their interests are preserved by the modern democratic state. That belief is so fundamental that they allow the state to even exercise the monopoly of coercion. Its proper use shall be established through the separation of powers and various controlling institutions. Many continue to believe that an independent judiciary system ensures that the rule of law is upheld. Without deeper questioning of the purpose of law and the idea of positive law in particular, the impossibility of the modern state to serve the interests of its people can be shown on mere technical grounds. Whether they are official political parties or secret fraternal organisations, there are plenty interest groups which conspire in pursuit of expanding their power, obviously transcending any official separation of power within the state. While there is no reason to assume that the supervisory bodies remain untouched by political power play, it would still be impossible for them to successfully control the different elements of government due to Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety: “The larger the variety of actions available to a control system, the larger the variety of perturbations it is able to compensate.” [26] This means you are only able to completely control a system if you are able to have it controlled by a system that is at least equally variable. For a large and complex system such as a state, the only feasible method would thus be self-control. However, no incentive for self-control exists within the hierarchical principle upon which the modern state is based. It should not be forgotten that the primordial promise of the state is the protection of its citizens and upholding public order. While anthropologists and historians speculate about the reasons for the rise of hierarchically organised societies [27], the modern state needs to constantly re-affirm that it is required to ensure safety and order. The same reasoning also serves as an excuse to extend its control over its citizens in times of severe crisis and disorder. The Problem-Reaction-Solution framework is a Hegelian dialectic which can be observed by all hierarchical groups attempting to increase their power. [28] A problem or threat, whether real or artificially created, is instrumentalised to scare the public. The citizens are so scared and confused that they beg the establishment to save them from that threat at any cost. The establishment promises to protect its citizens through new regulations which increase the centralisation of power and the citizen’s dependence, while diminishing their rights at the same time. The attacks on the World Trade Center on the 11th September 2001 are a fitting example of this strategy. The attack on the towers provided an excellent opportunity for instigating mass panic and feelings of insecurity. The previously prepared PATRIOT Act was accepted by a scared public as it was promised that it would protect them in the future. Furthermore, it could be instrumentalised as an excuse to start the invasion campaign in the Middle East. It should be noted that many alternative theories about the 9/11 (which, incidentally, is the phone number of emergency services in the US) attacks are called conspiracy theories, the official theory espoused by the government assumes a conspiracy by terrorists. [29]

The Alliances of Hierarchy

The hierarchical principle has come to dominate the world through suppression and corruption. Marianne Gronemeyer likens four primary pillars of modern society to the four riders of the apocalypse. Their claim to power and interlocked relationships allows them to constitute monopolies in their respective spheres while dominating society as a whole.

The bureaucracy, charged with keeping order in society, claims the world regulation monopoly, ensuring conformity through the ideal of mechanistic functionality, calling “Thou shalt not disturb!”. The natural sciences, charged with researching nature, claims the world interpretation monopoly through manufactured consensus, calling “Thou shalt be within my spirit and trust my conclusiveness!”. The economy, charged with managing the stock, claims the world distribution monopoly through the ideal of competition, calling “Thou shalt desire to defeat your next!”. The technology, charged with facilitating productivity, claims the world design monopoly through consumability and consumption, calling “Thou shalt let machines work in your stead – let yourself be served and taken care of!”

The interlocking of the natural sciences and technology combine the desire to control with the means to achieve it. The addition of economy allows for profitability through commodification of the world. The annexation of bureaucracy enables the construction of “irresistible inherent necessities”, making resistance to their combined superpower seem impossible and foolish. Their combination knits a web so tight that their monopolistic demands turn into dictates with the desire to enforce their claims for world domination, obliterating and assimilating everything that stands in their path. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”, command the riders of the Apocalypse. One should consider that the merger of government and business control is the essential element of facism. [30] A perceptive eye will recognise the prevalence of fasce symbolism from the Roman Empire to the United States and see that, due to the nature of the hierarchical principle, the unholy alliance of government and economy has always existed while feigning independence from one another. Yet the public remains so inattentive that even when the same corporations sponsors the electoral campaigns of both candidates, they continue to naively believe that their vote has any weight. [31] Perhaps one should heed the engraved words of one who must have been quite apt at the game of power and control, the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial states: “They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers… call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.” He was possibly talking about the Nazis and their assumed desire for world conquest. The first FBI director Edgar J. Hoover spoke of communism when he said: “The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” Once we understand that these apparently different systems of government were all founded on the hierarchical principle just as our world is today, we are able to draw parallels and recognise that while the names have changed, we essentially live in the same system hell-bent on dominating mankind. I personally believe that the time of apocalypse, the “coming down of the masks”, is indeed dawning on us. No matter how ugly the real face of the gods we worship, to those who have eyes to see, it shall be revealed. Some may be rather shocked.

The Lock and Key of Hierarchy – The Human Mind

Given what we understand about Ashby’s Law, that a complex entity can only be completely controlled by another entity of equal or greater complexity – how can hierarchical organisations successfully control humans to such a great extent? Manly Palmer Hall, one of the greatest scholars of the occult living in the 20th century, elaborates: “To repress rebellion is to maintain the status quo, a condition which binds the mortal creature in a state of intellectual or physical slavery. But it is impossible to chain man merely by slaving his body; the mind also must be held, and to accomplish this, fear is the accepted weapon. The common man must fear life, fear death, fear God, fear the Devil, and fear most the overlords, the keepers of his destiny.” [32]We have discussed different methods by which the public shall remain confused and ignorant to prevent such a revolution not of superficial change, but of organising principle. The transcendentialist Henry David Thoreau, incidentally talking about slavery, makes this keen observation: “It is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself. […] See how he cowers and sneaks, how vaguely all the day he fears, not being immortal nor divine, but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” [33]

Could it be that the mechanism of control employed by the hierarchical principle is more ingenious than we would assume, yet infinitely more fragile once we dare to confront it with an inquiring mind? We have given away our responsibility of thinking, feeling and acting for ourselves in exchange for the promise of protection from all our fears – a promise that is broken every day and which could never be held in the first place. We allowed the hierarchical principle to infiltrate our mind, so that we willingly submit to any master put before us, who proclaims he may save us from our fears. But could it be that for the hierarchical principle to survive, it has to outsource the actual control mechanism to each human individually? Have we not developed a schizophrenic personality, are we not our own slaves and our own slave-drivers at the same time? It is said that “You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.” Who would drink out of a poisoned fountain that brings slow and painful death, however addictive the taste may be? It becomes time to realise that only we ourselves can overcome our fears – through dealing with them and facing first and foremost our own shadows – however uncomfortable that may be. The psychologist C.G. Jung must have spoken out of experience when he attested that: “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to stop from facing their souls.” Yet, facing ourselves means facing our fears, and it may well be the only thing which can put a definite end to our bondage and free us to experience the endless possibilities of life, unencumbered by any who claim to hold the truth. “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land […]”, says the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. [34] To embark on a journey where we each have to walk alone and where all the beaten paths curl up to circles, takes the courage to forfeit the soothing yet empty promises of any and all which claim to be able to take away your fear and enable you a cosy life. It is a courage so great it must spring from a flaming desire to understand the meaning of existence itself. It is no small feat to admit to one’s own ignorance and cowardice in order to humbly face the challenge which is the journey into one’s soul, dealing with and accepting one’s innermost fears. The fictitious Bene Gesserit order offers this litany: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” [35] The abandonment of fear indeed seems to equal the state of freedom, as The Buddha is quoted saying: “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.” It is thus your individual choice whether you live to remain in a golden cage at the whim of the masters of your choice, or whether you withdraw your consent, reject all help and experience the freedom of a life that you truly lead yourself. Your own mind is both lock and key indeed.

It is time to understand the underlying patterns which structure our own minds and consequently determine the society we create. It is not the structure of society which we try to protect when we claim that the abhorrent instances of exploitation, abuse, corruption, torture and brutality are isolated incidents – we attempt to protect our own minds by refraining from facing our shattered selves. If we are to admit that the very foundation on which our society is built – the hierarchical principle – is at the root of this great misery and that the impulses which breed these atrocities are emergent properties of this system, then we can no longer afford to look away. Society is but a mirror of man. It is the tyranny within that we have to come to terms with. The inner mind is the place where the war is thought and fought – the outer world merely reflects its outcome. Once we decide to take responsibility for our inner disorder and allow our inner slave and master to reconcile and re-emerge as a self-directed consciousness, then there shall be no more need nor desire for any man to dominate another. That is the world I strive to create, within and without.

For more information as well as workshops on these interrelated topics, please contact me.


 [1] This article is heavily inspired by the work of Michael Tsarion, an alternative historian and scholar of the occult as well as the dimensions of psychology and consciousness. I highly recommend to visit his website and take a look at his numerous contributions throughout the web and YouTube. For a light start, I recommend his documentary Architects of Control.

 [2] The reports on the experiments by Stanley Milgram popularised the notion that obedience to authority to the point of inflicting pain on a third party is usual. However, a closer look reveals that situation and setting effect compliance considerably. Furthermore, most of those complying were suffering as well, suggesting empathy and consideration. However, Milgram’s notion of an authority-executor-victim triangle whereas the executor justified gruesome actions through calling upon a higher authority (economy, security, order etc.) may indeed apply.

 [3] Quote by Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amerique (1835/1840). I found his book on the French Revolution, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856), quite illuminating as it shows that the revolution was primarily a well orchestrated business rather than an uprising for human rights. His works are available at Project Gutenberg.

 [4] See Michael Tsarion’s interview on Akenathon and the Cult of Aton. The philosopher Armin Risi proposes that Akenathon sought to further theistic spirituality among his people. Tsarion views Akenathon as a tyrant, Risi sees him as an early harbinger of higher spiritual insight.

 [5] The excellent documentary the Century of the Self by Adam Curtis illuminates the ideology and history of mass psychology. I consider this caste to be one of the more recent incarnations of those who work to manipulate and deceive in order to facilitate control of the masses.

 [6] Quote from Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928).

 [7] Quote from Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror (1978). This book took me some time to read, but the biographical nature and the detailed accounts make it quite enjoyable. A historical distance allows us to see the events more clearly, while a critical mind will be able to draw many parallels to the world today.

 [8] Astro-turfing describes the attempt to construct an appearantly grass-roots neutral organisation which serves a particular agenda. A common ploy with parallels to False Flag Operations and  COINTELPRO.

  [9] Quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities (1809). Interestingly, it is possible that Goethe uncovered a plot by fraternal organisations to assassinate Friedrich Schiller, an information he encoded in his work. Philosopher and occult scholar Armin Risi elaborates here (in German).

 [10] This is exemplified by a quote from Freemason Albert Pike, as he writes in Morals and Dogma (1871) : “The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. […] Masonry is the veritable Sphinx, buried to the head in the sands heaped round it by the ages.”

 [11] Wikipedia entry on Propaganda Due including Silvio Berlusconi‘s receipt of membership.

 [12] See Albert-Laszló Barabási‘s website and the presentation he gave at the Heinz von Förster Summit in 2011.

 [13] For more information on the ladder of engagement, manipulation techniques and wilful submission, I recommend Petit traité de manipulation à l’usage des honnêtes gens (2002) written by Robert-Vincent Joule and Jean-Léon Beauvois (in French).

 [14] Cognitive Dissonance essentially describes the physical discomfort we experience by holding two conflicting ideas in our mind or when our thoughts and actions or experiences do not align. This makes us ignore or resolve the issue as quickly as possible, without closely considering both possibilities. To understand human behaviour, it is essential to recognise this important phenomenon in oneself and others as it occurs. One possible scenario is denial, as experienced by some when exposed to alternative information about the 9/11 incidents [29].

 [15] See Joyce McDougall, Plea for a measure of abnormality, International University Press, New York, 1978, p. 156.

 [16] See the work of Michael Tsarion on The Age of Manipulation.

 [17] The elements of Marianne Gronemeyer’s work I intertwine with this article were conveyed to me at a symposium on Monasteries of the Future in June 2012 (in German), where the idea of how the monastic idea might be re-constituted into physical space to enable the re-emergence of high culture undisturbed by suppressive power relations was discussed. Her notions about the offside and her positive connotation of “Ohnmacht” (loosely translated as syncope, blackout or impotency) as a viable defense mechanism sparked quite a controversy.

 [18] Joel Bakan wrote The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power in 2004, which sheds light on the sociopathic behaviour of both corporate entities and their human champions. The book was also turned into a movie currently available on YouTube.

 [19] Michael Tsarion deals with this topic in depth in his work.

 [20] The quote is taken from The Matrix movie – a powerful allegory to perception management in our world. Interestingly, this movie might take inspiration from the documentary The Matrix of Power. This documentary was created by Jordan Maxwell, a scholar of the occult, well known in Hollywood for his work on occult symbolism in popular culture.

 [21] See the article on Wikipedia about The Stockholm Syndrome.

 [22] As recorded by Wikiquote. There are doubts as to whether he actually said these words. Obviously, nothing written in this article should be considered valuable due to some kind of authority, so whether he said this doesn’t matter. I consider it remains worth to meditate on these words and truly understand what they mean and implicate, and how they make sense.

 [23] I briefly met Richard Thieme at eComm 2011 in San Francisco, where he delivered a wonderful closeout keynote, showing that no techno babble in the world can surpass a meta-insight encompassing socio-psychological expertise and spiritual wisdom. Even all the nerds and industry professionals in the audience honored that, as his talking time was extended by popular request. He connects the exploration of the inner mind with observations of the outer world. I can highly recommend his book Mind Games, a collection of non-fiction fiction stories, discussing perception management, UFOs and alternate realities. People from the intelligence community seem to love it, too.

 [24] See Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1931)

 [25] The attitude Marianne Gronemeyer ascribes to those who remain unwilling to co-operate with or be co-opted by the hierarchy is summarised by: “You may destroy me, but you can’t control me!” No matter how strong the enemy, the will stands firm. It may indeed take such great determination if one is to resist the hierarchical principle.

 [26] Ross Ashby studied complex system and self-organisation from a cybernetic point of view. He developed the Law of Requisite Variety, which I came across during my studies of Systems Theory with The Open University, the module which constituted the prime reason for me to enroll.

 [27] A particularly interesting non-mainstream theory is espoused by James DeMeo. The Saharasia thesis states that famine has forced a peaceful, prosperous and technologically advanced human civilisation into savagery until today. It also detects a psychological problem, the emotional carapace, at its root.

 [28] The Problem-Reaction-Solution framework, under that name, was put forward by David Icke, an author and public speaker researching on how society is being controlled and by whom that control is exercised. I should probably note that I don’t necessarily agree with all the ideas of the people I reference, but that doesn’t diminish the valuable contributions which have been made. The Hegelian Dialectic can be employed at any and all levels, so it often becomes difficult to discern when one has really stepped out of the game.

 [29] Some people, when coming into contact with information conflicting the original 9/11 conspiracy theory, attempt to avoid the extreme cognitive dissonance and enter a state of denial as explained by psychologists in this video.

 [30] The Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini was probably wrongly attributed saying: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

 [31] Please see the reports on the 2008 United States presidential campaign contributions for Barack Obama and John McCain. While the contributions were officially made by the Political Action Committees, they still publicly associated with their organisations.

 [32] I can highly recommend the work by Manly Palmer Hall. I read his excellent esoteric encyclopedia The Secret Teachings of All Ages, which offers a succinct yet expansive overview on the most important mysteries of the occult, while providing plenty of illustrations and sources for further study. If you can make time, read the Conclusion. If you have genuine interest in the occult sciences, this book provides an excellent vista.

 [33] Henry David Thoreau‘s Walden is an excellent book on self-reliability and self-sufficiency, providing keen insight into both the practical and the philosophical dimensions. Usually not concerned with politics he takes a stand against slavery in his essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Interestingly, it is very possible that the Northern states invaded the Southern states during the American Civil War for economical and political reasons, using the good-willed activists as useful pawns while the idea of protecting human rights served as a superficial excuse. This tactic has been overused in recent times. Traditional slavery, where the master had to provide food and housing for the slave, was abandoned in favour of wage slavery, where the master does not need to be concerned with the well-being of his slave at all. Competition for work will furthermore ensure that he will pay a lower price for labour and be able to dispose of a seemingly endless supply of willing new slaves from the slave-market. This direct comparison and use of terms might be called overstated, but I would like to make the parallels most obvious.

 [34] This quote was given by the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti in a speech concluding the dissolution of his personal order which was created by the Theosophical Society when he was 13 to prepare for the coming of the World Teacher. Rather than accepting this title, he disavowed any association with Theosophy and proclaimed that truth can only be approached individually. I read Freedom from the Known, a transcription of some of his speeches. It took me some time and a second read until I begun to understand the profundity and relevance of his words. I highly recommend his work, as it is most inspiring.

 [35] The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear is part of the Dune series written by Frank Herbert. By many considered to be one of the best science fiction novels, it also deals with topics of power politics and the inner mind. It also emphasises the importance of understanding ecosystems and systemic implications.

Image credits (as available):

The Industrial Worker – The Pyramid of the Capitalist System

William Blake – The Ancient of Days

M.C. Escher

The Great Seal of The United States

The Matrix Movie

Freakingnews.com – I Want You To Destroy Infidels Poser

Albrecht Dürer – Apocalypsis cum Figuris, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

F. Dielmann – Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia by the Colored Peole, In Washington (April 19, 1866)

The Spice Must Flow

Parallels between Libya and Frank Herbert’s Dune

After having read Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic Dune (written 1965) and learning more about Libya and its history due to recent events, I couldn’t help but notice quite a few similarities between the novel and actual politics surrounding the country. I am no expert on Dune nor Libya, but since there is virtually no information available on this topic and the stories, both fictional and actual, are very intriguing, I will share my thoughts with you. I am particularly interested in this issue as it relates strongly to my research on the mechanics of power and decentralisation. Both in Dune and Libya, the issue of power struggle and decentralisation in politics and economy as well as the all-pervasive dialectic are important topics.  I rely on you to maintain an open mind in investigating these parallels as well as to make up your own mind about the recent events in several Arab countries and Libya in particular.

Natural Resources and Power – The addiction to Spice and Oil to control the known Universe

Within the Dune universe, the story’s main planet Arrakis is of paramount importance because it is the only place where the resource known as Spice Melange can be produced. Spice is an addictive drug required for interstellar trade, as it gives the pilots of the universal transportation company, The Spacing Guild, the prescient abilities required to safely navigate the universe. The native people of Arrakis, the Fremen (free men?) eat spice and are thus familiar with its growing cycle. They exhibit parallels with the Bedouin people, both having a tribal structure and strict honour code. While the Fremen live in camps (sietches) by the time of the Dune novel, they formerly were Zensunni wanderers from another planet. The similarity in naming between the still-relevant religious Senussi order of Libya and the Zensunni religion should also be noted.

Countries with oil reserves such as Libya are crucial to the functioning of global trade, as most current transportation and energy production depends on it for fuel. Both in fiction and reality, a single resource holds the key to control the economy of the whole known, inhabited universe. Within the Dune novels, efforts are made to synthetically produce Spice, just as humans have conducted research on abiogenic oil generation. In Dune, the economy of the known universe is regulated by the CHOAM (Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles) company. Its vast influence may allude to the power of companies within the real world, especially the pivotal role of energy and banking corporations.

While oil might currently be relevant for the economy, water is the resource relevant to all life – both in reality and fiction. In Dune, this is recognised by the Fremen through their extremely cautious handling of this resource and the ritual significance they attach to it. They even recycle their own perspiration through specifically designed “still-suits” which remind us of how precious water actually is. The Fremen carefully collect water in underground reservoirs, vast reserves which they intend to use for the terraforming of the desert into a lush oasis. This is eventually accomplished through the preparations of a Fremen native, Imperial Planetologist Liet Kynes, and the policies of Paul Atreides government after his rise to power. In Libya, Gaddafi ordered the construction of the Great Man-made River project, which currently draws sweet water from Libya’s vast underground water reserves. This allows for terraforming and agricultural use of land which was previously part of the desert.


Authority and Government – Revolution and Decentralisation

Revolution is a central theme in both cases. In 1969, Gaddafi overthrew King Idris I, who was backed by the west, the United Kingdom in particular (as exemplified by his membership in the Order of the British Empire). Opinions on the structure of the government Gaddafi established vary. Particularly as the civil war of 2011 drew closer, the western media would have him depicted as a crazy de facto dictator. In official statements, he considered himself as a mere figurehead of the Libyan state, having overseen the changes towards a Libyan form of socialism and direct democracy through the General People’s Committees as outlined in his Green Book published in 1975. While it is implausible to assume that Gaddafi, as “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya”, would ever cease to exercise any influence on government, the view of the crazy dictator should be equally called into question, considering how living standards were raised as well as the implementation of direct democratic elements and efforts towards decentralisation. I think his speeches before the Arab League and the United Nations show his insight into political matters and his interest in the well-being of his people as well as Africa as a whole.

The protagonist in the Dune novel, Paul Atreides, is forced to flee and live with Arrakis’ native Fremen (similarly, Gaddafi grew up as a Bedouin). His father, Duke Leto Atreides, was killed and control of the planet conferred to Duke Vladimir Harkonnen, all under the patronage of the Emperor of the Known Universe, Padishah Shaddam Corrino IV. Paul is recognized as the Fremen’s Messias, bound to free them from tyrannical subjugation by foreign powers. He eventually succeeds in overthrowing both Duke Harkonnen and the Padishah Emperor through support of the Fremen using guerilla tactics, first disrupting the vital spice mining operations and finally seizing the capital. Paul’s prescient abilities had him set a “golden path” in order to ensure the survival of mankind, resulting in the necessary sacrifice of many. A main theme within Dune are the dangers of over-centralisation, in the words of Frank Herbert: “Dune was aimed at this whole idea of the infallible leader because my view of history says that mistakes made by a leader (or made in a leader’s name) are amplified by the numbers who follow without question.” “The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes. Much better [to] rely on your own judgement, and your own mistakes.” Paul’s son, Leto II, even attaining the status of God-Emperor (understandably, given that he had perfect prescient abilities, turned the whole desert into fertile land and had the appearance of a huge human-sandworm hybrid), made a point in deliberately centralising power so as the people would never make the same mistake again and learn to rely on themselves.

In both fiction and reality, the initial goal of the revolution was to reclaim the country’s resources for their native people rather than having them being exploited by foreign powers. Establishing access to Water was crucial as it allowed for fertile lands and prosperity. While Gaddafi made moves towards decentralisation and direct participation, Leto II tried to teach his people a lesson through deliberate over-centralisation.


The Spice Must Flow – Autonomy as Taboo

Both Arrakis and Libya have been subject to outside rule by proxy and economic exploitation. Paul made sure that CHOAM profits would help the people of Arrakis, Gaddafi used the oil companies’ dividends to improve living standards (e.g. through housing and education for all Libyans).

In both fiction and reality, the effects of economic power are clearly shown. As the Padishah Emperor deploys his troops in the initial struggle between Harkonnen and Atreides forces on Arrakis, he chooses the banner of neither of the belligerents but instead of the universal development company CHOAM. This serves as a symbol that the economic interests transcend any conflict within the political dialectic of opposing parties, whether real or artificially created. It should also be reminder to us that the politics of Arrakis might not be all that different from those of Earth. As the Spacing Guild’s motto goes: “The spice must flow”.

The western media’s opinion on Gaddafi took a stark turn within a relatively short amount of time. The appearance of the rebels was foreshadowed by the actions he took towards economic autonomy: His chairmanship of the African Union and efforts towards a stronger, united Africa through the introduction of the gold dinar, a gold-backed currency planned to be required for the purchase of African oil. This move would have had a tremendous and potentially devastating effect on the value of the dollar as prime exchange currency. All entities wishing to procure African oil would have had to buy reserves of a potentially stable currency backed by actual resources rather than mere belief in consumerism and productivity. As it would be based on gold, inflation could not simply sky-rocket through quantitative easing as it happens with purely belief-based currencies. Of course, this gold-based currency would require the belief in the value and scarcity of gold, but at least it would be backed by an actual physical resource and be controlled by the African Union.

A plausible scenario is that the so-called rebels did not represent a significant portion of the Libyan population but rather the interest of hegemonic power in instigating civil war and thus preventing an increase in Libyan-African economic independence. In the “globalised” world, economic autonomy is the absolute taboo and deemed to be backward, isolationist and narrow-minded. While religious and humanitarian reasons have often been used as fronts, virtually all wars have been fought in the interest of preserving or expanding power. By controlling vast oil reserves, having access to an abundant water source, funding the construction of an African communications satellite and protecting local wealth through the introduction of an appropriate currency as mentioned above, the Gaddafi government might have become too autonomous for hegemonic “western” power to tolerate. It is telling that, 100 days after NATO started bombing Libya, a huge demonstration was held by the Libyan people in support of their government. If its policies had been so detrimental to the well-being of the people and their freedom repressed to the extent portrayed by the Western media, would they have fought against the “rebels” for such a long time even as the overwhelming force of NATO was against them?

As an outside observer, it is difficult to attest to which extent freedom of speech and direct democracy existed under the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. However, it is telling how the rebel’s National Transitional Council regarded those striving to create an autonomous Libyan state (with potential control over oil reserves) to be remnants of the Gaddafi government. Is it possible that the tribal elements of society cannot be properly managed outside of direct democratic non-partisan structures, maybe contributing to why Gaddafi installed them? Isn’t the first premise of democracy that people are entitled to determine their own fate? Yet, the National Transitional Council would not allow a secession now that Libya has been “united” under a (party-based) democracy. A contradiction, as the Libyans would now oppose each other politically through the party system as in all western democratic countries.

Can the overthrow of the imperial rule on Arrakis be likened to the ousting of Kind Idris I in Libya? Are the motives of Paul Atreides similar to those of Muammar Gaddafi in striving to free their native people from economic exploitation by foreign powers? Have the both had a genuine interest in the well-being of their own people? Have they both been aware of the problems that centralisation bring and thus tried to show that another way is necessary? Have they both contended with the overwhelming economic and military strength of imperial forces hellbent to control the known universe? Have they both been designated as terrorists, as they struggled to achieve autonomy, that which is forbidden in a time when mankind’s love of power over others still triumphs over his love of humanity?

Image credits:

Libyan Desert Oasis by Globeimages.net

Frank Herbert’s Dune First Edition Book Cover

CHOAM by Giant Ideas

Libyan Dunes by Luca Galuzzi