As former neuroscientist we have a fascination with human psychology and cognition, and are amazed at how well some forms of influencing work. For instance the suit, a neat suit, can protect the most horrendous people. Neatness, looking clean and untouched, seems to have a hypnotizing effect on people such that they think they can never touch the individual that is neat.
Where does this reverence and respect come from? We think, we will propose, that most animals including humans have a mental state that we could call prey hypnosis, there must be a better name for it. It is the passive attitude when we find ourselves captured by a superior force. It happens in animals who are calm when they get captured by a predator, it has been described in humans who where mauled by lions and tigers and bears.
The truth is, death is not horrible, you don’t experience it. We can fear a predator when we can outrun it, we must fear it then, and do our best, but when we are caught the fear loses its purpose and is only likely to evoke aggression and thus pain. Pain is something all animals try to avoid, and if they can’t avoid it try to hide and ignore. In short we would be inclined to believe all animals including humans have a pleasant passive behavioural/mental state between fear and death, and we can be tricked into believing we should enter that state.
The only think that can save us in that state is beauty, youth, and perhaps pleading. Tigers have been known to capture young animals and let them go and even try to care for them. Pleading has of course helped in humans, but animals also plead, cry, and this may also help them escape this limbo between life and death. Often if a human captures a falcon or eagle that got stuck, the bird will do nothing as it is handled. This calmness and surrender rings a bell. How would one evoke it in humans, and what will humans do in such a situation?
First example is the church, what does the Roman Catholic Church do? It traches us to fear hell and hope for heaven, as we place ourselves in the hands of its ministers. There we can pray, plead, for mercy, forgiveness and help, but we also experience comfort and peace of mind as we navigate our way -in that state of submission-. By whom? The almighty and his dressed up minions. Our mind is shocked by the frock, it goes blank, and if we believe we in God we believe we are captured and destined to suffer or be shown mercy depending on how we interpret and follow the minions or the word.
When leaders project weakness they inspire their followers to feel weak, which makes it even more easy to keep them in their prey hypnosis (hint : Corbyn)
Second example is the economy, how does this economic system present itself? It shows itself by people in suits who everyone believes wield great power, who manage and control a beast that can build and destroy our lives. We hear them speak about “this will stimulate the economy” or “this will hurt the economy” as if they are feeding and taming Baäl. They are already superior to us, they fight the fight for us, we are not in the hands of the monster but in the cradle of those that fight it. We are asked to do our part : Work hard.
Sanity by one definition is the state of mind in which we respond only to actual cues in our internal or external environment in relation to our needs. A man who starts singing the national anthem loudly in the toilet or starts to undress in the kitchen we think is crazy. We’d ask : “Why?”. It is actually almost impossible to do something without any cause, our physical body has no inclination to suddenly commit to random behaviour, and rightly so. This means that we have to be cued to do most things we do. We can be hypnotized by situations that do not provide us with a cue, internally or externally, and then we will wait for one to occur. Fear can make us reject cues, so it is easier to hypnotize a fearfull person, and believing we are in a situation where no action is needed will also desensitize us to cues.
Our mental state is : We are not predators, we are cared for in our predicament, we should not show initiative, we would only hurt ourselves. Those who do are “Risk takers”, not like us!
The people that want to keep earning income from fossil fuels, that want us to be hard workers, are using all the means at their disposal to keep us in the submissive state, the state in which we are waiting for cues. Of course they will never provide them, they will not remind us of something that may trigger exploration or action. We see this with Scott Morrison in Australia, he only talks about money, his body language projects nothing, his internal state must be one of resentment of people and their idiotic worries, and when you hear him speak you really don’t hear anything else but calming pragmaticism in his voice. His facial expression is one of oblivion and torture, he is suffering more than you yet he’s not aware of anything to worry about.
At the same time people are pleading him to do things. The citizen of Australia believe they are in the hands of this government and need to plead, ask for help. They can not overcome the belief that they are in the hands of their government, that the system of neat calm people has power over them. They think it has. The fires in Australia have devestated many lives, people who are now in need of help. Morrison has allied with the fires by not showing any emotion of compassion other than with his own fate. He has used the fires like a religious leader would use a solar eclipse. It is said he believes the fires fit in his system of beliefs about an end time and rapture, a process where individuals will suddenly disappear because God took them up to heaven. The irony would be that Morisson himself is a hypnotized submissive person.
We need to snap ourselves out of this hypnosis, there is no force field around neat people in suits, they are not more powerfull than you and me, they should not stop us from responding to our reality, which will become a lot more harsh if we decide to explore it. The economy is not going to save us, not one that builds infrastructure and only looks at money, not human lives, as a measure of achievement. Why do those banks with neat people manage our money? What gives them that right? On every level we need to decide if we still need to be passive, if we need to pray, plead or take other measures. Who is served by our passive attitude, what can we do to improve our chances today. Because only when we are actually in the claws or a tiger or lion or being mauled by a bear, we should be passive.