1.2 The cult of consensus reality

You cannot escape a prison
if you do not know you are in one.
— Vernon Howard

Being enslaved to the consensus reality is a new frontier of oppression that humanity has yet to overcome. Consensus reality is the groupthink thoughtform that shapes a particular society or culture. When a large group of people believes in their thoughts, they form a culture. That is, they form a society that believes in those particular thoughts. These thoughts form the reality that this society believes in.

While societies need to have organizing principles and their role should not be overlooked, groupthink or consensus reality always has a negative component — because it has all the characteristics of a cult. (Not surprisingly, culture is what we call the cult of consensus reality. The same root is shared by the words cult, cultivation, and culture.)

Unsurprisingly, consensus reality uses the same mind control techniques as utilized by all cults to zombify us into unconscious behaviors that reduce or kill our potential for intellectual freedom, emotional aliveness, and the resultant creativity. Few people are aware of the extent of this brainwashing.

Mind control is a kind of self-hypnosis (thought-stopping) that defines how people in a society think, feel, and act. Mind control is a product of our attachment to the thoughtforms of culture and language, and like any tool, it is not inherently good or evil. A society, however, shows its destructive component when its thoughtforms are used to undermine a person’s ability to think and act independently, in order to blossom his or her soul’s mission to full bloom.

Each society uses a system of rewards and punishments to modify behavior, both positive and negative. Whatever they say to you, each society implicitly discourages individualism and encourages groupthink. That is why the path to liberation, which ultimately only can be spiritual, is always at odds with the prevailing groupthink.

Cultures engage in information control, usually through conscious or unconscious withholding or distorting of information, minimizing or discouraging access to impartial information, and through subtly discrediting dissent. A common way of preventing people from having time to think and investigate, from self-inquiry, is keeping them busy with work that is deemed meaningful within the groupthink of the culture but is meaningless on deeper analysis or to their soul.

Societies promote religions to encourage members to internalize cultural doctrines as truth, promote simplistic ideas about good and evil, organize people into insiders and outsiders, impose the groupthink’s views on transgression and forgiveness, and use banalities to narrow knowledge, discourage critical thinking, and reduce complexities into buzz words.

Inspired by religion or not, societies manipulate us emotionally. They narrow the range of our feelings by postulating some emotions as evil, wrong or selfish, by making us feel that problems are always our own fault, rather than a natural reaction to society’s mind control, and by promoting feelings of guilt or unworthiness if we disobey. Societies will gang up on you if you question their ideas about this. People will shun you if you question the groupthink ideologies, which is a manipulation via fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family, a typical behavior within a cult.

Of particular interest to serious seekers of Mystery, persons who are looking for deeper attunement to their soul, is that societies subtly inculcate false ideas about happiness and fulfillment. They strive to replace your own soul-based aspirations to meaningful, purposeful, and significant life with narrow, usually materialistic or religious, ideas that have meaning only to the groupthink’s survival.

The process of becoming aware of Mystery is the path to spiritual freedom, because tuning to Mystery is the only permanent freedom that is possible while living in the world defined by impermanence. Being a follower of a cult, religious, social, or of consensus reality, does provide a form of temporary, fickle stability. A wise person would reject the capricious comforts that slavery to consensus reality provides because it is temporary and contrived, by its very nature. He or she would pull on the chains, seeking to break it, even if that means losing a foot.