Defining a movement
Catalyzing revolution through the use of keywords
I write a great deal on the topic of consciousness.
It’s hard for a layman like me, or perhaps anyone for that matter, to be taken seriously on the topic. Because consciousness is a loaded term.
It’s a term that triggers us to think of touchie-feelie, New Age psychics and mediums, or Timothy Leary and psychedelic tripping. We ignore the calmness of our Joseph Campbells, instead preferring the unhinged religious rants against yoga. Or maybe it’s the fearful, superstitious sneering about either God or the devil who’s going to come marching into your town at any moment and unleash death, drought, disease and destruction because of gays, abortions, short skirts, movies, child slavery, rich people, poor people, or anything remotely socially-minded.
Inside our own heads, in our infrequent quiet moments, we seem to focus on these rather odd kinds of echo chambers, don’t we? We end up lassoed by the kind of thoughts that amp up our personal and collective fears and anxieties, which in turn rear up whenever we first start thinking more freely, more independently.
I read an essay by Caitlin Johnstone, in which she states,
As we’ve discussed previously, propaganda as we understand it today has been a developing science for about a hundred years. Think about how much innovation has happened in other fields over the last century, and you get a feel for how much these powerful manipulators have developed their craft during that time. That’s how advanced the establishment propagandists are. That’s how much of a head start they have as we begin to figure this thing out.
For this reason, it’s not enough for us to change what we think; we’re going to have to change how we think as well. As long as we can be manipulated, they will find ways of manipulating us. If we’re ever to beat the people who wield the immense power of the establishment propaganda machine, we will have to find some way to become more difficult to manipulate.
I am speaking about a total transformation in humanity’s relationship with thought. I know that sounds like a far-fetched and idealistic suggestion, but I just don’t think we’ll be able to survive as a species if it doesn’t happen. The best case scenario if this doesn’t happen is an Orwellian future dominated by the elites who control AI technology which will make the current propaganda machine look like child’s play, and the worst case scenario is extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos. All of these things are pressing concerns right now, and we’ll probably have our answer as to what our fate will be within a generation or two. We are at evolve-or-die time.
If we’re to evolve, this will necessarily entail an overall shift in our species’ relationship with thought and belief. — from Johnstone’s article
To be clear, Johnstone is generally avoiding trigger words like ‘consciousness’, focusing more on belief and how our thoughts are being manipulated. But consciousness is a word that people gravitate toward when discussions about global transformation of human relationships begin to get traction. And our beliefs about words, including our preconditioned belief sets that we associate with them, can unthinkingly tip us straight into biases that prime us for manipulation, disagreement and division.
Sometimes, belief can close our minds when we most need them open.
sometimes, belief can close our minds when we most need them openmedium.com
In my experience, consciousness is a deeply loaded word, and far too easy to hijack. Even within the respected worlds of quantum physics, psychology and philosophy, the use of ‘that’ word sends shudders through their academic mainstreams.
And, yes, I use the word myself. And yes, improved awareness and deeper consciousness is the goal. But in baby steps.
So all that being said, I think we are better off finding and using powerful, readily identifiable keywords, words that have undeniable universal appeal.
We’ve used them before. Words that were appropriate, that fit the time and place. Liberty. Equality. Freedom… from Tyranny, Oppression, Taxes.
What are some words that work in this time and age? Words that could appeal to both sides of the aisle? Words that work in the Red Church, the Blue Church or in no church? Words that could ignite a profoundly healthy and deeply sustainable revolution?
Single, powerful words.