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Broadcasting from deep in the heart of the American Empire, join your hosts Elan Martin and Harrison Koehli, and fellow editors as they discuss everything from current events and the latest machinations and manipulations of the global elite to history, science, and religion, and how it all fits together.

This week we'll be looking at methods used in the cognitive sciences for personal development and their application for seeing and understanding global events. SOTT is an interactive platform for discovery of both internal and external realities, and as such we'll be looking at some of the cognitive tools that can be used to deconstruct myths, lies, and unconscious beliefs and rebuild new pathways towards a new way of living.

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Running Time: 01:58:00

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Shane: Hello everyone and thanks for joining us for this week's edition of The Truth Perspective. Today is March 5, 2016. I am your host Shane Lachance and I am joined today by my co-hosts Elan Martin,

Elan: Hello.

Shane: Harrison Koehli,

Harrison: Hi.

Shane: And fellow SOTT editor Cory Schenk.

Cory: Hello everybody.

Shane: So today we are talking about brains. Mmmm, brains. So we'll be digging into both the brain's capacity as well as its automated nature. Fortunately and unfortunately, the human machine comes equipped with highly self-regulated mechanisms and these mechanisms can make life easy and functional but these same workings also can lead to detrimental behaviours and perspectives. Understanding the operation of these things and knowing how to navigate them can help in re-mapping or re-wiring the brain for its more aware existence that responds to reality rather than acting against it.

And to that end we'll be discussing some of the techniques found in cognitive sciences that can be applied to our personal lives but we'll also be getting into how they relate to seeing and understanding events of global importance.

So I think we're going to kick off things by talking about the more individual level and then we'll work into the more global perspectives. At SOTT we look at a lot of the cognitive sciences in order to understand ourselves and how those processes tend to also relate to what's going on in the world at large. It's the microcosm versus macrocosm and often just the crazy nature of the world is also found in our daily lives.

I think we'll start by looking at some of the tools that we've discovered and investigate and research. One book that's been pretty useful I think has been, Redirect by Timothy Wilson. That looks at the narratives that we develop, often from traumas but it can be in normal everyday activity as well and one of the tools that he looks at is the Pennebaker writing exercises. That is a deconstruction of these narratives that we tell. He's looking at it specifically in trauma situations and often when these types of events happen it's hard to make sense of them. They conflict with the reality that we understand as safe and secure. So there's a lack of meaning in it for us and we assign, often unconsciously, these narratives that go along with it.
So the Pennebaker exercises are basically a deconstruction of these narratives that we tell ourselves and in that process of looking at the event, of recounting it, we can tease out what the meaning was for us and often re-write the narratives that we've told ourselves.

Cory: I think it's important when you think about this, when you re-write a narrative, that what you're doing is you're rewiring your brain consciously. You're consciously attending to these experiences and what's left of them in your body because every experience from conception onwards programs us in a certain way. We have different emotional systems in our body that are designed to keep us safe and to make sure that we survive so they're very alert. The entire bundle has been called the adaptive unconscious because it's always adapting to situations. It's trying to figure out what it needs to do in order to survive and it learns this largely through a process of association, what's good, what feels good, what's bad, and what harms you and what moves you forward in life.

When something really traumatic happens, your body takes that in and computes that, sort of on an unconscious or subconscious level and then it can create habits or create phobias or all sorts of things that just trip you up in life and by attending to that consciously and re-writing that narrative, you're getting in there and you're re-wiring your brain. You're re-wiring your system because all of these systems are wired together. They're very much a separate organism in your body that can take over on a moment's notice. You could just be going along and all of a sudden something could happen and you're triggered and you decide that you feel an emotion that you didn't want to feel and you act on it. And it happens all day long. Everything that we do, really, begins on an unconscious level, whether it's just seeking behaviours that we adopt in order to find warmth or food or shelter or love or safety, or if we want to turn on the TV so we can dissociate so we can feel better about ourselves, a lot of these things are wired unconsciously. So by sitting down and slowly re-wiring our narratives, re-writing them, we are able to take the wheel, so to speak.

Shane: You come across the saying "neurons that fire together wire together" and you can see that a lot in the literature. It speaks to this binding of associations that we have with different events, things that may have happened to us, particularly when there's trauma, so when 9/11 happened people were definitely wired to see Muslims as a threat, for example. It's like an instinctive program that's installed in us.

Elan: And I think part of the issue involved in this is that many people don't realize that we are very much like machines and there is such a thing as programming and PTSD and various forms of imprinting that have had these kinds of mechanisms set up within ourselves. It can be a scary thing but it can also be empowering to realize that we can look at them from a distance using such exercises as the Pennebaker exercises that you mentioned Shane and that we can give new meaning to these experiences and have them form new associations, new pathways into our minds, into our brains that allow us to see and experience possibilities where perhaps there weren't any before.

Cory: And I think a good question to ask ourselves is how much are really consciously aware of what goes on in our day. So many things can happen, like you said Elan, on a mechanical level. Our bodies are pretty much wired for survival and it's in our brains and the "reptilian" brain for very primal emotions and for making sure that you get basic needs met that you're able to function, move; you move your arm and that's a part of your brain operating, often reflexively. And then in the emotional arena with seeking out bonding relationships, just like our old mammalian ancestors do. We have that part of the brain in us. But then what about our human cortex? How often are we encouraged actually to use that, to really think critically and to engage our minds in our daily lives and act with real intelligence, to use our intellect to guide our actions, to be curious and to seek answers to questions that we have?

I think that it's so easy because for so long psychology has been mired in such mythology and Freudianism. It really took a couple of pretty bad turns there for a long time until this whole idea of the unconscious has been muddied so we aren't aware of how much our actions are conditioned by instinctual inheritance and by just basic mechanical reactions. But now that the science is out there, we can see that those things are real and they play a purpose in our lives in making sure that we can survive and we can act like good people or whatnot, but these higher functions deserve much more attention than just living on autopilot. You can pretty much function and live a normal life completely asleep, just 100% asleep, not even really aware, but thinking that you're aware because you feel these emotions and everything, but they are just driving you.

Shane: That normal life, when we live in such a pathological world, it's really an abnormal life and the double-edged sword here with this automated self is that it is very useful. We wouldn't be able to survive without it. We wouldn't be able to drive to work for an hour. There are so many functions that are useful about the automated self. However when it's all-encompassing and when it takes over our cognitive process, when it takes over our emotions, we're basically machines. I think a lot of people walk around feeling like there's a hole inside them, there's a void and I think in large part it is because there's this lack of meaning.

If we get to the core of what Pennebaker was writing about, or what these exercises are about, it's about finding meaning. The automated self can't provide meaning for itself. It needs to come from a more conscious process.

Harrison: Well the way I see it, as a kind of analogy, if you think about yourself or someone you know and different standards of cleanliness - you may have a roommate or someone - and you may notice something that bugs you and then you ask yourself "Why is that person so messy?" and you talk to them and they just won't even have noticed it. And I'm sure that we can see those things in ourselves as well where you might one day just suddenly realize that a picture on your wall is crooked or something and you realize that you hadn't noticed it for such a long time.

The thing about changing or reprogramming your mind and your brain is kind of like that dirtiness or that skewed picture where you can't change it and you can't do anything until you first notice it otherwise you're just going to be going through your life automatically. So you go through and the dust is piling up and you just don't see it because you're busy with other things, but you're not going to get the room clean until you actually notice that the dust is there or you're not going to fix that picture unless you actually look at it and see that it's crooked. You're not going to get anything until you notice that something's wrong.

Shane: And act on it, I think.

Harrison: Yeah.

Shane: This example that you gave is funny because I've been a fairly messy person in my life. It's just become apparent. You get messier and messier and messier. You may kind of see a little bit of your own messiness but you deny it by not acting on it and then you further push it out of your awareness. So once you start looking and seeing your own messiness and start acting on it then it becomes more and more apparent and you see it more.

Cory: That just makes me thinks about programs that people might have in general, programmed behaviour and the example that came to my mind was workaholism, like workaholics. There's a rising mortality rate for people who are workaholics. There are lots of people who die every year, work themselves to death. You could probably say a lot of it is because they literally have to, that's just the corporate environment that they're living in. From what I've read, there are a lot of people whose workaholism is so much a part of their identity and is so much wrapped up into them that they it entails the ignorance of their family and all other sorts of duties so that is their prime motivation in life. I think we all know what that feels like to a degree, that compulsion to work, where we feel like you have to move from one task to the other. You have to get this done, then this done, then this done. Do you have time to sit down and think about it? No! Of course you don't have time! Nothing will get done if you just sit down and take a moment to breathe and think.

But this is a really good example I think, of a system in your body that's gone haywire. Dr. Jaak Panksepp in his book Affective Neuroscience talks about the dopamine system in your body that regulates your seeking behaviours. So if you're constantly seeking something that isn't coming to you, you're constantly seeking, like the holy grail that you're looking for and you think that it's in work, or your body feels like there will be this release at some point but you just keep working and working like that hamster on the little hamster wheel and you don't notice it. Nobody points it out to you and then death is the result. I think that is a really dramatic example and a very tragic example.

Harrison: Essentially a workaholic has written themselves into this narrative for themselves about who they are and what they're doing. So I don't necessarily think it's that people lack meaning in their lives. They have some kind of meaning in their life but it's essentially and ultimately an unfulfilling meaning that they're pursuing and it's a narrative that goes nowhere. It's like you've written yourself into a search for the Holy Grail and you never find it. It's a dead end road and that shows in life and what you get out of it.

Cory: And that is almost more like rather than search for the Holy Grail it's like a war against Moby Dick.

Elan: A couple of moments ago Shane you shared with us your propensity to be messy. {Laughter} And not being a neat freak myself, but wanting some semblance of order I can identify. But along those lines, you said quite simply until you've made that choice to clean up your room or your desk or whatever it is, or to address something using your awareness and acting on it, until that action occurs nothing really gets rewired, nothing really gets resolved in any way.

A little earlier you mentioned the Pennebaker exercises and re-directing your awareness and applying meaning and purpose to things that assumed only one type of meaning prior to that. I guess this is more of a question; has anyone using those exercises in particular found any success in rewiring themselves or coming to a different place in their assigning of meaning to something in particular that was important? Or it may not have been a Pennebaker exercise. It could have been another form of cognitive redirection and work.

Cory: It seems to me like it's always helpful to take what's occurred in your life and to see what steps you've taken, what lessons you learned, and to be really honest with yourself. It seems to me that when I've done that in my life then naturally it seems like something clicks and you know what that next step should be. Either it presents itself to you or you just suddenly think "I could make this step now. I could try this out because I've been trying this and it hasn't worked or I've been doing this and it seems like this is actually what my calling is and I would love to try this."

Elan: So it sounds Cory, like what you're saying is that you use mentation or focus in thinking on redirecting yourself and making decisions that have shown themselves to be more productive.

Cory: Oh yeah! Definitely! Especially with how confusing everything is in this world, with jobs and relationships. We all have our own issues and everything, but once you are able to put it into a narrative and when you can see your life as a movie you think "Well what do I want this character to experience? What is the next scene? What's coming next?" And it starts to just gel together and you start to see almost the archetypal theme that's been running through your life and you start to say, "Okay, I've been doing this, I've been banging my head against the wall in this way" and you think "I'm an idiot here, so now I can just open my eyes to this, learn my lesson and plug it in and move on."

Harrison: Well even to get there there's still a struggle I think that we have to get into, before we get to that point. You mentioned movies. One movie that always comes to mind when having a discussion like this for me is Akiro Kurosawa's Rashomon, which is one of my favourites. I won't give too much about it but one of the basic premises of the movie is that it follows around a few different characters that experience the same thing but it shows the events in that narrative from each of their points of view; and not just from their point of view but also with the white lies or the darker lies that they tell about what they experienced. So you get some very conflicting eye-witness accounts of these events that have taken place.

Some critical reviews I've read of the movie say it's a great post-modern movie that breaks down the notion of truth {laughter} which is totally to misread the point of the movie because the whole point of the movie is that there is truth, but we see and colour it and change it to our own purposes and even unconsciously we do that. We'll experience something and then because of the way that we've been programmed through our lives, because of the ways in which we are used to seeing things or interpreting things, that will colour the way that we remember the past and the way we tell our own story.

So it's a great example of the starting point for people in everyday life who haven't yet gotten to that point where they will even look at themselves and realize that they are not objective, that they're subjective and that they have these things, if they want to be objective, that they have to start looking at and realize about themselves.

Elan: Harrison, when you mentioned Rashomon, I was reminded of an experience I had as a young person. I'm no longer young. {Laughter} It was kind of an epiphany, a strange experience, but it was an experience that showed me that I had something to learn with a little dot connecting. Basically it was this. I was a young man taking a walk one evening with a pal. I think we'd had a few beers and we came across someone we knew in the neighbourhood who had this really small head and looked weird. People would make fun of her and I knew her because she was also the sister of a guy I was in boy scouts with.

In any case, we said hello, we talked, said good night and I wondered why she was walking alone by herself so late at night and maybe I was a little worried for her. I had a good chance to look at the size of her head and it reminded me of this 1932 film called, Freaks by Todd Browning which is about these circus people with all kinds of malformations. I remembered when watching that film that I had been curious about what these debilitating or strange developments were in these people physically and had learned that they had microcephaly. And all of a sudden I pieced that together. "My god, this girl, sister of a friend, someone I went to boy scouts with, had microcephaly!" And she was no longer this weird looking girl who had walked around. She was quite nice. But she had this condition. And my whole perspective of her as a person, for some reason had completely changed. It was an, "Ah-ha!" moment.

It doesn't sound like much on the surface, but just putting a few of these dots together, not simply labelling her with this weird kind of brush stroke, made her whole to me in a way that she hadn't been before. She was not this village freak but she was a person who unfortunately had this condition that made her look really weird in normal terms, in average terms.

I thought about that a little earlier today when we were preparing for the show. Just having these pieces of knowledge that break down these assumptions that we make about other people, about ourselves, can open up a world of connectedness where there was none before maybe.

Shane: Yeah, a lot of these instinctive programs and things that have really warped our minds really do pull us away from other people and keep us from seeing the other person as a genuine human being. I'm reminded of a story that a professor of mine told when I was in college. He was speaking about a previous work experience where he was a hiring manager and he had a woman who came in and applied for a job who was fairly overweight. He denied her application and his manager came and said, "Why? Did you look at it? This woman's resume was incredible. Why did you reject it?" And he said, "Well she was a little heavy and I didn't think that she'd be able to fill the job requirements because if she can't take care of her weight, she's not going to be able to do this job."

And the manager was just stunned with him and he said, "John, you're a bigot!" And that completely shocked him and he said, "Okay, well I'll look it over again" and he ended up hiring her. She was a magnificent employee. That process of basically being shocked and also having somebody tell him "This is what you're doing". He thought it was more of a practical decision. He wasn't seeing himself as a bigot in that moment, but it was life-changing for him in that he was able to see that he was acting like a bigot, he was being a bigot, and that he wasn't seeing her as genuine human being and what her capacities were.

It just reminds me of this process of having all these biases that we're largely unaware of. We'll create these narratives around these biases, saying "It's for practical reasons", "it's for this or for that" and never really digging into the issues and the different false associations we have about people and about ideas and things.

Harrison: I think those are two really great examples of just a basic process of rewiring or changing your brain or positive disintegration because what happens in both of those stories, Elan and your professor there, you are presented with a new piece of information that on the surface, would ordinarily or could be uncomfortable because it exposes an uncomfortable truth about yourself. So imagine being called a bigot. There are a few possible responses to that, one which your professor took. But you can easily imagine someone just hearing that and then immediately coming up with their narrative and sticking to it.

So "Oh well no, it's just a perfectly practical reason. She can't do the job." "No you're a bigot." "Well no I'm not! It's a perfectly practical reason!" the hard-headed stubbornness of sticking to it. People don't like to think negatively about themselves. They don't like discomfort, but that process shows that that's really the essentially part of rewiring or changing your brain, which is to be able to withstand that little bit of discomfort because most people, I think, can't. We talked about this on last week's Behind the Headlines when we talked about Dabrowski's positive disintegration.

Cory: That reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut quote. I'm going to paraphrase it and butcher it in the process but he says, "My soul is that part of me that knows when my brain isn't working".

Harrison: Yeah. Just as an aside, I think that exposes one of the wrong philosophical bases of this whole idea of the brain that changes itself because that's a famous book about neuroplasticity, The Brain That Changes Itself, but it's really a misnomer. That's not what's going on. It's not the brain that's changing itself. There is you, the mind which is changing the brain as an active part that has some kind of will in order to do something. If you think about a brain that changes itself, its one part of your brain changing another part of your brain and it's just this completely mechanical process that has no direction to it and no differentiation between the higher and lower in Dabrowski's terms. It's just "Oh, your brain's changing itself." It's like "Your finger's wiggling back and forth. There's no meaning to it." I just think that that's the wrong way to look at it.

Cory: I think that when you make that distinction you open the fact that it's a challenge, it's a struggle and it's the higher part of you against the lower part of you. One of them doesn't necessarily have to win out in the end, but it's not easy. It's something that takes a lot of time and patience.

Elan: That reminds me of the Gnosis books by Mouravieff which is esoteric literature, fourth way literature, and something that he beseeches the seeker to do is to burn. And what he means by this is that you are allowing, for all intents and purposes, this kind of disintegration by acknowledging to yourself those things that are off about the way your mind, thinking and emotions are working. And there really is a physiological component to it. If you've ever felt a certain amount of shame or remorse over something you've done or that something's been pointed out to you that makes you feel bad, for lack of a better definition, there is a sensation in the back of your neck, a heat, a sweating.

He says, "Continue to feel that. Continue to do those things that will create that sensation." I don't know that it's something that you can necessarily seek out all of the time but certainly being open or receptive to those experiences and to the feedback that would create such a sensation and a realization in yourself is I think part of what may help us to grow and to burn away those programs or associations or wiring that is ultimately a part of our lower selves.

Shane: Another part of that process that Mouravieff wrote about was when we're experiencing these intense emotions, he called it "keeping it below the neck" and to not express it outwardly but to sit with it and to use your mind to understand what's going on. And that can be a transmutation of those emotional energies once we can sit with it. We're working with it while we're sitting with it and thinking about it and analyzing it and considering our different programs and when we do that we can achieve an "ah-ha!" moment where we can understand what's going on. That's very similar to the Pennebaker writing exercises. It's talked about in different terms and different ways.

Harrison: Maybe we can go to a clip as this is a recent example. Its two interviews that some guy did with some Trump supporters. He's reading out some quotes to them.
Interviewer: I wanted to read you a couple of quotes and kind of get your feelings on them and kind of see how you felt about what he was saying.
Interviewee: Sure
Interviewer: Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized. What are your thoughts on that?
Interviewee: Well there are a lot of people that should be sterilized according to Donald Trump, so sure.
Interviewee: Can you read it to me one more time?
Interviewer: Sure, sure, sure. "How fortunate for governments - so how good for the governments that the people they administer don't think."
Interviewee: You look at the Democratic Party and they prove that. That's why I'm voting for Trump.
Interviewee: He's got the world by the balls right now. He has a lot of money. He's very influential because of his money and what he's done with his empire.
Interviewer: The more economic difficulties increase, the more immigration will be seen as a burden.
Interviewee: Yeah! As soon as our economic system starts improving, we don't have to worry about the immigrants anymore. They'll go away.
Interviewee: Great liars are also great magicians. Wow! I think that he's going to lie in any way possible probably to, like, support the country, to keep the country going, they'll be good lies, you know.
Interviewer: So you support everything that he's kind of said in this pamphlet here and in these quotes, right?
Interviewee: Of course! I'm a Trump fan.
Interviewer: Good Trump fan. Do you support these quotes then? You support Trump.
Interviewee: I support him.
Interviewer: I actually changed them and they're all quotes from Hitler.
Interviewee: You made this pamphlet and did that? Oh my god!
Interviewer: And I just replaced them in this pamphlet.
Interviewee: I'd say you're lying to me.
Interviewer: There they are though. They're quotes from Hitler. So do you still support Trump?
Interviewee: Yeah! But I don't support Hitler!
Interviewer: But you support these quotes though right?
Interviewee: Well if Donald Trump said 'em I'd support 'em.
Shane: Sorry. I couldn't contain my laughter through all of that. It's funny and really scary at the same time, to see people's reactions and just complete automation. "Well if Donald Trump says it, yeah. I don't support Hitler though!" These are not random quotes that he took from Hitler. They're pretty overt in their pathology and yet it's just remarkable to see how willingly people are able to take them on and say, "If he supports it, I support it."

Harrison: Well it really shows I think, just some of the dynamics that we've been talking about. First of all you've got these preconceived biases, these preconceived notions about reality and life and the way you go about it and then that acts as a filter on anything that comes in. So these people are Trump fans, Trump supporters. So in their minds because they are Trump supporters, therefore everything that Trump says, they agree with. Right there there's just a complete automaticity, this mechanical acceptance of anything that Trump might say. So you could write anything and say that Trump said it and they'd agree with it because there's absolutely no discernment because any person with a working brain will realize and know that not everything that their hero or anyone says is going to be true 100% of the time or that you should necessarily agree with it.

I can theoretically imagine a smart Trump supporter - well maybe not - who would say, "Okay, yeah, I'm a Trump supporter but everyone once in a while he might say something I disagree with." That's the reasonable position, right? But there's no reason whatsoever in this; so even when they are confronted with the reality, that's the potential moment of a disintegration. Well that is the disintegrative moment, that they're experiencing some cognitive dissonance. They've just said that they supported this statement that Trump allegedly said. They find out that not only did Trump not say it, but Hitler said it; Hitler who they've been programmed all through life to hate for good reason.
Okay, so cognitive dissonance, so what am I going to do with this? And again ...

Cory: You're lying!

Harrison: Exactly. "You're lying". So they didn't take the route that Elan or your professor took Shane, of sitting with that for a minute and trying to learn something from it and reflecting on it. No, they took the automatic route and it results in some kind of comedic but really illogical, nonsensical results. "Okay, I don't support Hitler, but if Trump were to write Mein Kampf, I support Mein Kampf and it would be a great book because Trump wrote it." It's all about Trump and that's the standard or the measure that they're using for how they discern reality and that's it and it's a totally false one. It's got no basis in any kind of reason.

Cory: So that brings me to the thought of what is it that is drawing these people to Trump in the first place? What is it that's really motivating them to want to support him? Because a number of commentators have pointed out that he's this clownish buffoon like Hitler was that not enough people took seriously and the people started to rally around. What is it? Is it this pathological hunger?

Shane: I think it's his words. He has a lot of words. He knows a lot of them. He has some really good words.

Harrison: He's got the best words.

Shane: He's got the best words. {Laughter}

Elan: Well that very question actually, as answered by Shane and Harrison, in part is also responded to in a recent article by Chris Hedges in the piece that we carried on SOTT called The Rise Of American Fascism and the Revenge of the Underclass. He kind of identifies all of these individuals who are emotionally drawn to Trump as an underclass, as people who are given permission and freedom to hate, to embrace fascism. They're outsiders and they're characterized by actually being in isolation of a lot of the political processes and societal healthy norms as we would conceive of them.

He quotes Hannah Arendt who says that:
The fascist and communist movements in Europe in the 1930s "... recruited their members from this mass of apparently indifferent people whom all other parties had given up as too apathetic or too stupid for their attention. The result was that the majority of their membership consisted of people who had never before appeared on the political scene. This permitted the introduction of entirely new methods into political propaganda, and indifference to the arguments of political opponents; these movements not only placed themselves outside and against the party system as a whole, [which is really well illustrated by Trump in many ways] they found a membership that had never been reached, never been 'spoiled' by the party system. Therefore they did not need to refute opposing arguments and consistently preferred methods which ended in death rather than persuasion, which spelled terror rather than conviction. They presented disagreements as invariably originating in deep natural, social, or psychological sources beyond the control of the individual and therefore beyond the control of reason. [which is what we're talking about here today] This would have been a shortcoming only if they had sincerely entered into competition with either parties; it was not if they were sure of dealing with people who had reason to be equally hostile to all parties."
So these individuals are so outside of, I think, this capacity to think critically as you were saying Harrison, and to use reason because they're so overwhelmed with emotion and identification with what Trump represents to them, that there's really almost no speaking to them. There's no reception or receptivity to the other argument, to another piece of information, to another narrative or mapping to reality that presents an alternative to what they've been presented with.

Shane: Something else on that point where Trump is tapping into this population, I think Hedges really nails the issue when he's talking about how these Americans want a certain kind of freedom and it's a freedom to hate. They're so boiled over with anger and the anger in and of itself is justifiable in what many of these families are experiencing in terms of economic exploitation and trying to get by, just understandable frustration. But he channels that in a way where it's towards this hatred and it's come to that point.

Cory: You talk about them wanting this permission to hate and that makes me think a lot about America since 9/11 and the dramatic changes that we've gone through. I think in the neuroscientific research how they talk about how if you associate anger with something enough times, so you produce enough anger that people start to feel hate towards whatever object their angry at and there's reason to believe that that mood can persist if you keep initiating enough anger towards Muslims, towards immigrants, toward republicans, towards democrats, towards everybody. It's either anger or fear, anger or fear and it creates an emotional economy almost or if we have an emotional economy, it muddies it. It fills it with hate and fear and so these people have been brewing in it for so many years, the ones who have been watching Fox News and have been listening to Bill O'Reilly, who've been listening to this crazy hate radio where all they spew is hate by these pathological spellbinder types that know how to gather an audience that want to hear that, that is pathologically inclined.

So it seems like they want permission now to actualize that. It's been brewing and brewing and now it's coming out of the oven.

Shane: Yeah, they want permission to go beat up on some Muslim guy or girl, whoever. I think it's those emotions, like you said, are paired with a target, this frustration that people inevitably will have, can't be directed at the people who are actually responsible for the economy and the situation that many families find themselves in so they have to associate it with a target group, which like you said, will be Muslims. The end result is "These people have to die". That's the solution that comes about over and over in history. "Yes we have this targeted group of people who are responsible. Let's kill them!" That's Nazi Germany. And we're seeing it today on such a massive scale it's really horrifying to think what will come.

Elan: It's sort of like the redirect exercise only in reverse. There's this default way of thinking on certain things that we're being presented with here in the US and largely in the west that is self-reinforcing and growing and you really have to - if you've only been exposed to that type of thinking and those streams of information - you really do have to make an effort for instance, to read a website like and challenge all of your assumptions, your biases, your preconceived notions and all of these things that you have just been going through life assuming were true but which turn out not to be. I think one of the really useful things about SOTT in particular, especially as we look at these issues and a host of others actually, is that there is this kind of consistency that we're finding among a whole other set of people who are looking at information and helping us to map reality in terms that are very different from what we get in the west.

Cory: This conversation reminds me of Lobaczewski talking about people, when they're oppressed in whatever way, they come to value power. Power becomes the primary value because that's going to be their way to restore whatever conditions to what they should be, ignoring all the real problems, just power itself being the highest virtue. So when you think about it, in the cycle of ponerization, as pathological people start to move into positions of power, we've been watching them exercise this. We've been watching this, basically 'monkey see, monkey do' type scenario for all of America to see. Power is its own privilege. You don't have to obey laws. It doesn't matter if the mayor poisons an entire city. It doesn't matter. Leaked emails, they laughed about it. It doesn't matter if there's destruction of the economy and the rich get away with tonnes of money and everybody else is just left to suffer.

It's just power for its own sake and people become conditioned to that and they see someone like Trump and they probably just automatically assume "This is my chance to be a part of this power. This is my totem pole. I'll rally around it with all the other people." It's almost like a survival thing. In a very bizarre and twisted way, it's their way of trying to make it, if that makes any sense or if that gives just too much credence to that whole thing.

Harrison: Well it's like their way of coming in from the cold because when we were figuring out what we were going to talk about, relating this world social dynamic to individual personality and emotional things that go on with people, one of the things you'd said Cory was something like these seeking behaviours. So for example if you're too cold then your body naturally will seek a warmer environment and it's just this regulatory thing that's going on. And pretty much any kind of sensation or emotion has this purpose-driven dynamic to it, a process. So if you're angry, the way that anger plays itself out is that you get angry because something's been taken away from you or you're an obstacle has been put in the path of your goal so the anger is to remove that obstacle. Or if you're afraid then the object, the purpose, the way to fulfill that dynamic is to either run, fight or freeze, right?

So there are these programs that we run. These are emotional programs. So when we have someone like Trump, what's the program? What is it that people as a whole are seeking? What is this world making their bodies seek? So it's obvious that there is something wrong. There is a program that's being played out that does have a solution but like you said Elan - and I think what you meant by this - you said that this is almost like redirect in reverse because the way I see it, there's this bubbling cauldron of emotional discontent and what people like Trump and other spellbinders do is redirect that in a direction that suits their own aims. So they essentially exploit that.

So what Donald Trump is doing is exploiting the discontent and whatever feelings of either oppression or just apathy that individual Trump supporters are feeling. He's exploiting that for his own ends which will eventually lead to what inevitably happens, that ponerization process like we saw in Nazi Germany or in the Soviet revolution. That's what happens. So they are directed along this path that won't get them what they want. Again, it's that road to nowhere. It's the search for the Holy Grail that doesn't end there. But there's a lot of 'human resources' that can be put towards that aim, totally unconsciously.

Elan: When I think about what Trump is, it just seems like he is the perfect manifestation of this time and place, the very end of this American fascistic empire, not that the US hasn't been fascistic in many ways over the past 150 years. It has been. But it just seems that everything's culminating into this climax of an orgy of destruction and exploitation and xenophobia reflected in his level of discourse, the things that he's saying, who he is, this shyster, used car salesman, real estate mogul, reality TV personality, and demagogue all of these things. If you'd written a novel about this time and place. You read books by Philip K. Dick or by Octavia Butler, science fiction books, and you have figures in those books that are so analogous to Donald Trump, it's really quite incredible. He's such a two dimensional character. He's so obvious in his...

Shane: He's a cartoon.

Elan: He is a cartoon! And of the most frightening kind; it's almost as if the people of the United States and the west have somehow conjured him up out of their most elective, darkest psyche. What else can you say about the guy?

Shane: Made manifest. Yeah, I think part of what people are seeking - and it's a basic fundamental drive - we seek stability and this anger and frustration that people feel can be a disintegrative process but they want to seek stability and Donald Trump, in typical psychopathic fashion, projects this image of stability. That's what psychopaths do. They have this very stable internal structure. There's no doubt within them. They portray themselves to be very successful and hold a lot of power and people will latch onto that because they're feeling that inner turmoil so they bond themselves with these psychopaths.

Harrison: I think you can see it in the slogans and in one of the things one of the people in that clip we played said, "Oh, Trumps got a lot of money and he's going to use his money" and she put this emphasis on the word money. Okay well obviously a lot of Americans wish they had more money. So Trump gives them everything, right? He's the ideal American. He has no self doubt. He's a powerful man. He's got lots of money.

Shane: He's got a lot of words. {Laughter}

Harrison: He's got a lot of words and people like words. They like hearing words like "Make America great again", which is another thing. So make America great again, so he's projecting this image of greatness and his own ability to make America great, which of course implies that America isn't great, which is true. And I think that's what a lot of people are thinking and feeling. They see that America isn't great.

Shane: Oh-oh. America's not great. We need to be great.

Harrison: Yeah, so they support this guy who's kind of the epitome of American values which are essentially the lowest sort of values, which can only lead to complete and utter disaster.

Elan: Well something else that she said which was pretty interesting to me is that he would be willing to lie to us for our own good, something along those lines.

Harrison: Yes.

Elan: And I thought "God! How are you so shameless about being accepting of being lied to?"

Shane: Well you could see her discomfort when she was saying those things. So you could see the narrative coming up because she didn't like it when she found out this was Hitler and you could see a slight struggle going on within her, but she was still tied to Trump so it came back to Trump and how great he is and how much money he has and all that nonsense. But right after we introduced that clip Harrison, you mentioned there is no discernment. I'd like to get into that. How do we develop discernment? I was thinking about this a little bit and it's not an easy thing to develop. I was thinking about it in terms of experts in different fields.

There are some amazing minds that can really look into and dig into and find answers for various subjects that they specialize in. But when it comes to other fields they can be totally clueless. So this expert can seemingly have some discernment in their particular field, but how do you develop that in a greater capacity where it doesn't necessarily just apply to a specific thing that you've built up a lot of information on.

Cory: That reminds me of the book Defying Hitler - and I can't remember the author's name right now, is it Hoeffner?

Harrison: Sebastian Hoeffner.

Cory: Sebastian Hoeffner, talks about the ability to smell the lies. He could smell the lies in the air from the Nazi regime. So if you think of discernment and having a taste for things that are true and being able to smell the lies so to speak, or at least an intuition, something's off. I need to think more about this. I need to dive deeper into this. Is that what you're talking about?

Shane: Yeah. Intuition can be kind of a touchy thing because people can feel that their intuition tells them that Trump's great. So our intuition can be really muddied sometimes and I think it takes a lot of training in order to develop a proper intuition, if you could call it that.

Harrison: I think that humans are very compartmentizationable. We're able to specialize to such a degree. Just look at our bodies. You can get a body builder who can theoretically just work on one arm and will have a huge left arm but a totally skinny and puny right arm. Or he won't work on his legs and so he'll have these pencil legs and this giant upper torso and shoulders and arms. I think our minds are the same way. I've thought about this too and I don't know if this is right or not, but the only answer I can come to at this point is that just from my knowledge and experience in college and university, if you look at the way that scholars start out. They start out as students and most students after high school go into college or university and they enter a general program with no real clear idea of what they want to do. They may have a clear idea but if they do it's like "This is the job I want so these are the courses I'm going to have to take to get there."

But when you're talking about academics, specializing in a particular field of science or some kind of field where they do research and have to figure stuff out and really analyze data and put it all together and draw a conclusions from it, a lot of these people just start out kind of aimless and find themselves in whatever subject they did well at. Or they feel "I like that course more so I'm going to go in that direction." It is hard work to specialize in a field like that and you have to do a lot of reading and lot of research and I think that it's just the fact that they're able to develop some kind of discernment, it seems for me it's a natural product of immersing yourself so much in one particular field where you're confronted by so many facts that it's almost a foregone conclusion that you're going to find some aspect of truth in it because it's just staring you in the face because you're so familiar with the material.

Now it didn't start out with this general kind of aim for truth and meaning and "I'm going to get to the bottom of everything and I'm not going to let any of my personal biases get in the way". I don't think that's very often the case and oftentimes it's actually the complete opposite. That's where you get the scientists for example that just produce completely fraudulent results, they make up their results in order to get published and to become more prestigious and to get better positions and get tenure and they will take completely underhanded and anti-truthful methods in order to get there so that there's that too.

So when you have that person who's really trained in that field, I don't think that they've yet really made the decision on a deep level to look for truth everywhere. They can see a little bit of truth maybe, maybe not, in their particular field because there are tonnes of researchers in every field who just go completely in the wrong direction and it takes other people to point that out. I think it's a fundamentally different thing for someone to have a totally life-encompassing aim, to look for truth. When we're talking about discernment, I think it is difficult naturally, but that the first thing that you need is a really clear idea and acceptance that you do have biases and biases will except you and you're going to be wrong about things.
When I watch a video like those Trump people, I just want to ask "How many beliefs do you think you have? Just give me a number." "Well 10 maybe." Maybe you've got 10 beliefs which are totally unrealistic because we have thousands of beliefs from the most minor things to the biggest questions about life. But let's just put a number on it. Okay, so maybe 100 beliefs. "Now how many of those beliefs do you think you're actually wrong about?" I just want to see their faces when I ask that question because I'm pretty darn sure that first of all, they've never asked themselves that question at all and that the default answer without having answered it or asked it of themselves is going to be zero because people go through their lives as if everything they think and believe is right. It's just the natural way of doing it. We all do it in a sense. I don't go around thinking "Oh, I'm really proud that I'm holding all these false beliefs and I'm wrong about all these things. This is great!" {Laughter} We want to be right about things. But the problem with us wanting to be right about things is that it often makes us then convince ourselves that we're right about things when we're actually not.

So the first question or the first thing to let seep down into your bones is that there are things that you are wrong about right now. There's no question about it. That's the first kind of thing that you've got to accept. So when you get into discernment and ask, "Okay, how do I know what's true then if I've got one person telling me one thing and another saying this and oh I believe this or maybe I'm wrong about that", another very important thing about discernment is to be comfortable with uncertainty, first of all. People feel "If I'm wrong about something, if I'm wrong about this, then something really bad is going to happen to me." It's almost this religious belief that "I'm going to go to hell".

When people first question their religious beliefs or what they grew up with in their beliefs about god, to think "Oh maybe I'm wrong about god. Maybe that idea about god is wrong but wait a second, that might mean that I go to hell if I believe that."

Shane: I think we may have a caller so I'm going to go check and see. Hello caller. Are you there?

Caller: Just listening.

Shane: Okay great. Thanks.

Elan: Well that was really interesting Harrison. What I heard you say is that we all need to become our own scientists. We all need to be thinking about how it is we think. We don't need to do any of this but obviously if we want to find the truth or map reality to something that's closer to what exists objectively, then we have a little work ahead of us. There is a site, I was just reading this, this morning. It was kind of interesting. The title of the essay was, Model Building or Mapping Reality. The author of the site begins by saying that in a book titled Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Mind by Henry Bauer, he offered three metaphors to sum up the activities of scientists. Maybe this will be helpful in apply to ourselves a little bit.

So what three metaphors did Bauer use to describe the activities of scientists?

The puzzle: scientists are largely motivated by puzzle solving. They want to explain things that are strange or unexplained. They gain satisfaction from achieving new insights into how things work.
The filter: scientists start with lots of different ideas, particularly in frontier areas where there are puzzles to be solved. Many ideas are eventually disproved. Scientists try to filter out misleading and false claims.
The map: scientific theories are like maps. They preserve information about selected portions of reality. Like maps, they are schematic (incomplete or "skeletal") but extremely useful in particular situations.

The map metaphor is potentially very deep. It can be used to draw attention to several important facts about scientific theories:
Not even the best map is complete. Our theories never capture the full complexity of any system in the universe, nor are they intended to. No model contains as much detail as the system being modeled.

So when you were talking about having beliefs and this desire to be right about all of it, that would seem to be running in contradiction to what a real scientist does, and that is to have a basic curiosity for the sake of truth, period. What is true? What is not true? And if you could even include a sense of playfulness to the whole activity; why not? Finding out things for the sheer fact of knowing what is true? I think it gives us something. I think it helps us along and prepares us for finding other things that are true. Like your analogy about the weight lifter, obviously we want to exercise our legs as well as our upper body. {Laughter}

Shane: Why?

Elan: The analogy is we want to have an eye on several different things. We don't only want to be well versed necessarily on one particular thing. We'd like to be well-rounded. And one supports the other. One builds on the next. To use SOTT as an analogy, I really like Science of the Spirit even though my particular interest right now is in Puppet Masters, these two different sections of articles on SOTT. But hopefully one is supportive of the other.

Shane: I think when we're looking at specialization and experts in a particular field, it really stinks and I think it's a very western thing to have this myopic focus on a particular thing. Like Harrison said, we're generally compartmentalized. That in of itself can actually limit insights into your own field. By going into other fields and looking at the dynamics and the patterns in other fields you can kind of tease things out and apply those same dynamics to what's going on in your own field and discover new insights.

Getting back to why these experts can get off course, I think it can go back to this ego that is built from achieving some success. And in saying, "they" I'm applying this to human nature - when we have these successes and when we develop a particular field of knowledge, it's easy to translate or transpose the idea that "we're great at this/we're great at everything." The same processes that went into developing that expertise aren't necessarily applied to those opinions in other fields. There's not that same building of knowledge. I think looking at many different things and the basis for the show, for how SOTT is used, is to be able to look at the world in all its very many pieces and dynamics that are going on and learn from what's happening in these various categories and to connect the dots between all of them and get a larger picture. I think that in itself, once you gain knowledge from psychology and history and current events and politics and what's going on in society and pathology; all these various elements are intertwined, building them all up with each other from that knowledge base. I think that's a fundamental thing with building discernment.

Harrison: I'm thinking about a particular dynamic. I think it's really interesting to see when you have a researcher or someone who comes out of a particular field that makes a breakthrough and realizes that everything they thought they knew about their field was wrong. In just a few examples, I think of Richard Dolan who was a historian and then he got into UFOs and said, "Oh my god! There's actually a UFO thing going on here!" Or you might think of Lierre Keith who wrote The Vegetarian Myth who was a hard core vegan and then realized her entire vegan world view was wrong and she should actually be eating animal fat.

I can list off a tonne of examples and you can find them in pretty much any field. You can find them in history. You've got the people looking into Old Testament research. Then you have John Van Seters and Thomas Thompson come out in the mid-70s and totally take away the entire basis about what we thought we knew about the history of early Israel. They're like these little mini-paradigm shifts within every field but the interesting part about that is to see these people like this, not necessarily the individuals I mentioned, when they have these revelations about their own field and how they were wrong about almost the most fundamental things about what they thought they knew about medical science or physics or philosophy or whatever, when they're confronted with other ideas pointing out that their contemporaries, people just like them who have made similar discoveries in their field, their attitude is "Oh well that's just bogus". It's almost as if they think "I've made a really big discovery and it's that one-in-a-million shot, right? I have a pretty good belief that we have a good idea of what's going on in the world in all these different sciences but I just managed to be the person that found the one thing wrong with the whole system."

It's a big jump I think, for a lot of people to then make so many other jumps and say, "Hey, wait a second. We're actually wrong about pretty much everything! All of our standard beliefs in every field are probably wrong." It can get to the point of actually being funny when you have UFO researchers who are really big into UFOs and who won't even touch parapsychology with a 10-foot pole with "Oh well that's just nonsense!" Or the parapsychologists are like "Oh UFOs? That's just a bunch of fantasy."

It's kind of an extreme example because we've got those two out there fields but you find it everywhere. So you'll have New Testament scholars who won't look into things about the Old Testament or you'll have researchers into politics who will see the absolute corruption and evilness of one particular country but then they can't see it for another. Or they'll demonize someone who's actually doing quite a bit of good. It's so contradictory and I think that's one of those symptoms of specialization or compartmentalization where there's a threshold for how many sacred cows you're willing to take out to pasture.

Cory: When you were talking about the researchers and making these radical discoveries, I was also thinking about how they're treated then, by other researchers in their own field and the rejection that occurs. It's like "This is too much for us. We have our sacred cows. You're no longer allowed. We no longer want you in our conferences." You get exiled and this disintegrative process that occurs for people in that situation but then also for other people making similar discoveries, just in their own personal lives, in families where you realize "This person is like that" and "This uncle or whoever is not a good person" and you make this discovery and then pretty soon you're exiled. Or you're with a bunch of friends and they like to drink all the time but you don't. You make a discovery and you realize "I don't want to drink anymore. It's not for me" and you get exiled.
That's painful. It's not easy. We're hardwired to want to maintain our relationships with friends and family. There's a degree of faith in there that you take when you ask yourself "How much to I really love the truth? Am I really committed to the truth? And what is the truth?" And you go on this process. There's that dark night of the soul where you're like "I have to question everything?!?"

Shane: Yeah, that's the thing because the lies that we're told and the lies that we believe are also very much tied to one another. In a very similar way that we need to look outside various subject areas to discover truth, a larger and objective view of things, all the lies that we're told are all very much interconnected with one another too and once we begin to question one thing, that means yes, this is tied to this so I have to question this now too. And it's a big process and not everybody is going to want to undergo that process.

Cory: That leads me to this quote from P.D. Ouspenski. It's from his book Tertium Organum, the Third Cannon of Thought, and A Key to the Enigmas of the World. So he writes that:
The fate of that greater part of humanity which will prove incapable of growth depends not upon itself but upon that minority which will progress.
Just letting that sink in, if we're able to do this, we need to ask ourselves are we willing to.
Shane: Yeah. And who is making that choice? Because I think it does largely come down to free will, and the choice to go through that process and to question things and not everybody wants to make that choice.

Elan: Yeah, it's something that has to be really valued at all times. We affirm the value of that choice by engaging the process and allowing ourselves to question things, even the process itself at points when it might not be perfectly clear. This is really the thing. We're so automatic in so many ways. There's a security in that and it feels insecure, for lack of a better word, to take that next step into the unknown, to receive a bit of information that we didn't expect to receive necessarily. It's like walking a labyrinth. It can be in any case. But we can apply lessons we've learned from pervious walks through the labyrinth through previous dark nights of the soul that we may have experienced, moments of uncertainty, moments of disintegration, moments of struggle, and say, "I've been through that before and yes this is a different set of circumstances and perhaps a new piece of information but I can work with this. I've worked with prior pieces of information that were uncomfortable and I can apply those lessons or that muscle of will towards this new experience."

Cory: That makes me think of the whole idea of mapping to reality and a concrete example in terms of our economy. If you are willing to put in the work to figure out what's going on and to create your own mental map of what the economy could be like in three or four years, then your behaviours will naturally fall in line with that and you won't necessarily invest in that $300,000 house that you always wanted, that you were programmed to want, all of these cues and signals for success; getting the PhD or having the family and the 2.5 kids or all of these cues that we have that you feel like you need in order to be successful and to be valued as a human being. I'm not saying that any of those are bad whatsoever, but I'm just saying that once you have this information, all of a sudden in your mind you're creating a different future and you're able to connect these dots and see that it's not what we're told it is. Obviously the economy is not functioning well.

You might start searching. You might start renting books, googling these crazy terms like credit default swaps and figuring out what the heck they really mean. Then you start to get a new emotional reaction towards it. So rather than an emotional program that isn't yours, you reprogram it yourself so that you make it an ally of yours, if you know what I'm saying, so that your seeking behaviours become more in line with your own personal view of the world, which is object, compared to your seeking behaviours or emotions that are given to you by people who don't have your best interests at heart.

Harrison: Well just coming back to SOTT as a method to use to do these kinds of things, I think that's really what it can be used for. To set this up, I read recently an anecdote about Georges Gurdjieff. He wrote a book called Beelzebub's Tales which is really arcane and obscure. It's really hard to understand. The sentences are a page long. But apparently at a meeting where they were reading a chapter from this book, someone asked him "Should we believe what you've written in this one chapter?" So Gurdjieff breaks out laughing and then he says - and I'm closely paraphrasing here - he says, "The basis of belief is doubt." I think that's really something great to live by because it gets into the idea of discernment and that anxiety about being wrong and the acceptance of uncertainly, being uncomfortable with uncertainty because we are confronted with so much conflicting information and it's hard to know who to trust. So the easy thing really, is just to start out with doubting.

So when you hear something, immediately doubt it and then look into it if you've got the time, but don't get attached to something that you haven't looked into. I think the problem is that as human beings we are pretty much programmed to just accept something on the flimsiest of evidence, without looking into it for ourselves at all. So start out with that doubt.

But then you can take that in the wrong direction because if you think about a diehard Trump supporter, they might read something that goes against their deeply held belief and then they'll doubt that. They'll say, "What's the evidence for that? I don't have to believe that. It's not coming from the right place. It's not coming from a willingness, or desire, or drive to find out what the actual truth is. That doubt is simply there in order to reinforce a previously held belief.

I think one of the great things about SOTT is that you can come to SOTT and get those kinds of emotional shocks that may challenge your previously held beliefs about something and it creates that discomfort. It creates that cognitive dissonance. It may add that extra bit of information that makes you say, "Well wait a second! If that's true, that puts things in a whole different perspective. I have to re-look at what's going on. But I've got a whole lot of work ahead of me because I've got to look into this stuff."

Shane: Funny you brought up Beelzebub's Tales because one of the things he says in the beginning is that the purpose of the book is basically disavow or destroy all the beliefs that you have or all the notions that you have to be true. He said it in his own way, being mentation or whatever. But I think that's also one of the main purposes of SOTT that people can utilize. It can destroy a lot of the lies that we're told. I remember when I first started reading SOTT, I don't think I had read much news and it didn't come across to me as a regular news site that you go to just to get up to speed on current events or politics. The objective was to find the truth. There was an element of discovery in it and there were many things that I came into conflict with, especially when I first started reading, where I said, "Oh no! This can't be accurate!"

One of my big ones at that time, which was years ago, was the idea that climate change wasn't what it was purported to be, that global warming was basically a scam. At the time I think I was involved with some Green Party stuff.

Harrison: Maybe, maybe not. {Laughter}

Shane: You go through all of this black and white thinking. "Oh, this must be coming from oil companies. How can you not support..."

Harrison: "You must be pro-pollution!"

Shane: Yeah, exactly! You have all these things running through your head. But there was an element that I had of trust for SOTT and the material that was being put out so I'd sit with it and I'd read. I'd read what the articles were saying and what the details were and then you're blown away. Then you have that point where that belief is destroyed. I think the toughest part is the beginning when you're first faced with looking at these conflicting stories but if you can get past that and dig into things then it may be uncomfortable but you get over the hump a bit.

Harrison: It's only uncomfortable at first and then it just gets fun.

Shane: Yeah.

Elan: Well I might have something to say. It's a process and I've talked this year several times on The Truth Perspective about my coming to terms with Zionism in particular having grown up in a household of Zionist thinkers and believers. What you were saying Shane about earth changes and green house gases and global warming; that was for me, Zionism. I was presented with information that was really super uncomfortable and I knew it was uncomfortable but my only saving grace at the time before I was able to assimilate it and find other information that mapped to a different reality from what I understood, was I was honest with myself about it. I was like, "Sheesh! I am really uncomfortable with this. I have to sit with it a little while, admit that it's almost a little overwhelming and come back to it later". And that's what I did, bit by bit by bit. It's a process 18 or 19 years in the making.

But actually Harrison, I would say that now, seeing the truth of things, it has become for all intents and purposes, fun. There's a kind of a picture that is so mechanical and predictable that I could practically write the next line knowing how things are, in a certain way. And there's a desire to share that now that I see it, now that I know it and now that I've experienced a process of coming to this point. So yeah, SOTT's been very useful in that respect for me.

Cory: Just you saying that has got me thinking about the fact that when you're working on SOTT and you're really engaged in this kind of thing and you're listening to SOTT Radio, one of the most uplifting things can be a conversation, the insights that are sometimes just spontaneous and that come out as you're critically trying to understand someone who's on a higher level than you and you're putting yourself there. "I don't quite understand what they're saying but I'm going to try." It's like you're connected there for a second and by making that effort you're uplifted a little bit. You get a different view of the world. You see their view from the higher perspective and it puts a lot of things, for you, into perspective. So then when you go back down to whatever level you were at, you feel that you have that experience in yourself of what a higher perspective is, how someone thinks much more critically than you do or they have a completely different attitude about the exact same thing that you're both talking about. And it gives you this powerful motivation to search more and to try and understand what's going on in the world.

Shane: Yeah, I think that engaging in that process and then getting results from it, once you break through your own biases and the firmly held beliefs and so on, you get on the other side, it's like this whole new capacity to think about the subject appears. Then you can take that and apply it to other things. I think that when I was reading SOTT early on I would get results and there was a natural trust in the editors that I felt that would allow me to go through that process. So SOTT I think can be its own feedback network. There's the forum but not everybody is going to engage on the forum. The forum is for many people who really want to engage on a personal level but there's millions and millions of people who read SOTT and not everybody is going to come to the forum but it can still be used as a means of getting feedback about your own stuff and the beliefs that you've come to accept.

Elan: Absolutely Shane and that's something I wanted to comment on as well. Lest you think that SOTT editors have reached some kind of pinnacle of knowledge, there's a lot of robust feedback about the information that gets put out there, the comments that are made, everyone is in the process, hopefully everyone who is working on SOTT is in some stage of the process of examining their thoughts regarding things, of choosing and prioritizing types of information that are getting shared with others as important to know. So that in and of itself is a learning process as well. I think having worked on it for the past couple of years and written a little bit for it, it's been very rewarding and not easy by any stretch but really darned interesting to be a part of.

Shane: One other element that I'd add is that I think it's very easy to get caught up in your own stuff when you're doing this psychological work. The SOTT perspective of also looking at the external world and what's going on globally is an essential piece that's missing from a lot of methods of personal development. It's really essential because for one, it can bring you out of the places where you get stuck in your own garbage and it can help you see that there's this whole world around you and when you look at what's happening in Syria and you see the pictures and you can see the dynamics of what's going on and it brings you out of your own bubble.

Elan: Exactly! I think what SOTT and sites like SOTT do is connect us to events around the world that we quite normally out of some normalcy bias, separate ourselves from. It's only until for a lot of people, very similar events are staring us right in the face that they have some clue as to what other people have been experiencing for a very long time in other places. So there's immediacy and an urgency for this connection, this understanding, this empathy to be made with the "other", with those brown skinned people who are all terrorists according to the western media.
It's breaking through these manufactured perceptions which brings me to an article actually we just put up this morning on SOTT which was that a study shows that the New York Times portrays Islam and Muslims more negatively than alcohol, cancer and cocaine. This Toronto-based consulting firm revealed that the New York Times - which if you know anything about the New York Times, it's this bastion of western objectivity, right? It's liberal and its fair and it's all the news that's fit to print. But just scratch the surface of this rag and it is one of the most successful propaganda machines in existence and it's been around for a very long time.

In any case, the gist of this piece said that based on a sentiment analysis of online and print headlines spanning 25 years of coverage the study found "strong evidence that Islam/Muslims are consistently associated with negative terms in New York Times headlines." And key finding pertaining to 2,667,700 articles include that 57% of the headlines containing the words Islam/Muslims were scored negatively. Only 8% of the headlines were scored positively. They compared this to all other benchmark terms, republican, democrat, cancer, Yankees, Christianity and alcohol. Islam/Muslims had the highest incidence of negative terms throughout the 25 year period.

So there's this filter that's ubiquitous. It's pervasive and its name is the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and Der Spiegel and Jerusalem Post and Le Monde and how many other media organs that are shaping the way that we view reality and really doing a whole number of people in the world an incredible injustice.

Harrison: I just wanted to say one thing about this increasingly negative view of Muslims and not just for the past 25 years. I'm looking at this from even just the past year or less and the things that have happened in that time period. First we had the attacks in Paris; we've had this whole rise and expansion of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. We talked about it on the show previous. We had that incident in Cologne, Germany at New Year's and the response from that which has been huge, the whole idea of "rapefugees" has exploded on the internet. And then we've got the increasing popularity and - I don't know the word - accessibility in the news of these far right wing parties and groups and protests and the number of attacks on Islamic institutions or mosques. Things are just getting worse and worse.

But I just thought about it in a different way the other day. I was thinking about it and realized that if you look at who is most at risk from ISIS, it is not westerners, it's not Europeans. It's other Muslims because where is ISIS? ISIS is predominantly in Syria and Iraq. Who is ISIS killing predominantly? The Muslims, Christians and Arabs that live in the region; and concerning the body count, there's no comparison between the people who have died from ISIS outside of these select countries, within Canada and the United States. So just thinking about it in those terms just made me realize how wrong the belief is in the west and the fear in the west. We see a Muslim and we're programmed to be afraid. Just like in the states where a white person walking down the street seeing a few black people might get afraid and choose to go on the other side of the street.
Okay, so you're living in a western country and you see a Muslim and you're afraid and you're worried that they might be a terrorist. Well chances are your life isn't in danger, objectively, statistically. Statistically you're going to be alright and if anything, that experience should promote and bring out empathy for Muslims not only because they're being increasingly demonized unjustly, billions of people, but because they are the ones being killed and tortured and they're the ones under siege in these cities in Iraq and Syria. They're the ones that have to deal with this.

So they're really getting the short end of the stick. They're getting both ends of the stick on this one and I just think that that provided me with a bit more perspective I think on what's actually going on.

Cory: Yeah, and I think that it reveals the complete lack of the desire to fight ISIS and terrorist groups by the west that absolutely refuses to team up with these Muslim countries to go and actually help them fight ISIS. You could just talk for days on end about all of the evidence that just piles up about western support for terrorist groups. But I think that the point that you make is essential; Muslims are the primary victim of ISIS and all of these different "moderate" rebel groups that like to chop people's heads off. At the very basic level its programming. It's malicious, fascistic, genocidal propaganda. You can walk down the street and do people realize "Oh, my countries waging genocide today." It's not on the radar whatsoever. The people have just completely gone to sleep and like you said Elan, in their nightmare here comes Trump for all of us, parading around.

Shane: One of the talking points that really gets under my skin is when you hear commentators say, "Well why aren't the Muslims themselves speaking out against or fighting terrorism?" When you look at who's on the actual frontlines, the foot soldiers, Hezbollah and the Syrian Army, that's who is in the most danger and who are on the ground fighting these terrorists. I'm not speaking down about the Russian assistance because that's been extremely helpful, but when it comes to hand-to-hand combat type of stuff; it is these groups of Muslims who are doing the fighting.

Cory: And we don't get access to information on the ground about what's going on in Syria, what it's like to live in a village that's under siege by lunatic terrorist groups. We don't see that. We don't understand what it's like to be the sheriff of a town that has to try and somehow rally up a militia. They call them militias, but you've got to rally up the people, the men, everyone who is old enough and ready to fight. And that's what they did. Numerous towns rallied behind one another and rallied behind Assad despite the fact that they were promised, they were guaranteed that they were going to be killed for doing so.

According to Russian diplomats, the US went over to Russia and they were guaranteeing that. They said, "We're going to have ISIS in control of Damascus by October" of last year. These people on the ground, that's where that empathy comes in. It takes you out of your petty problems in your own personal life where you start to understand the global perspective of what's really happening on this planet and how, if you want to call them the puppet masters, psycho elites, these parasitic pencil necks, just ridiculous!!! What do they do!?!? Look at what they do! There's all these people suffering and now instead, since there is that sleepwalking towards the abyss, now they, like you said Harrison, are blamed for it.

They try and make it to safety. When they get to a place they think is safe, they're called rapefugees. They're called a threat. Just imagine being a normal young man, you're 18 years old. You flee home and then you go to Europe and you know nothing about these terrorist groups and their craziness until they are destroying your country and now you can feel it in the air. You can feel what they really think of you. When they look at you, you can feel it.

I remember seeing a video on SOTT not too long ago about a young man in a refugee camp who broke down in tears and fell to the floor just telling this refugee camp security guard who was screaming, "Fight me, fight me, why don't you fight me?!" And you don't get any idea of what the security guard said to the young man but you can almost feel it. He had a nervous breakdown and he busted down crying. And what did the media that reported on it say? Of course they said he was just probably lying. He was just lying to make up a show.

Shane: Well related to the stories coming up, the Cologne sexual assault, and two weeks ago it finally came out that there were only three out of the 58 suspects who were arrested in Cologne who were actual refugees; only three. Not 2,000 or whatever number that they initially said. It's ridiculous. It's looking at these details, these facts and seeing the actual suffering of these people and seeing them as human beings that I think can work against this mass bias that's being put on people.

Cory: I think you're right about that. We've got to make an effort to do that because otherwise there's so much propaganda out there. For a lot of people, we don't know how easily our machine is led to believe something and we don't understand what our beliefs really are. We are strangers to ourselves, essentially. If you're not making an active effort to think otherwise, to believe otherwise, to understand what's really going on, you're in default. Whether we know it or not, we're in default. We essentially believe what we've been told.

Shane: Well gentlemen do we have any more news stories that we'd like to cover for today? If not I think we'll wrap it up. We'd like to thank all of our listeners and chatters and don't forget to tune in tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. eastern standard time for Behind the Headlines and next week Friday at 10:00 a.m. for the Health and Wellness Show. So thank you everybody for listening and we'll see you next week.

All: Good-byes.