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Journal of Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology (OP/NAE)
Project NatureConnect Akamai University Institute of Applied Ecopsychology
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2011-2013 Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Editor
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Response to a Link from the book Revolutionary Wisdom
The Anatomy of Institutions
Who stole our ability to reason in ways that benefit all of life and how did they do it?
Charley, a philosophy major, drove to an isolated natural area to find and develop a campsite that he and his family could occupy for the summer and invite guests to visit.
During his first day there, nature called, he had to move his bowels. He carefully walked through the woods away from the stream to a secluded grove that felt inviting, dug a proper hole, relieved himself, and returned to the campsite.
The next day when nature called again, Charley retraced his steps to the grove he visited the previous day. As he returned to the campsite he mused that he was a different person this day than the day before. To himself he said “Yesterday, I trusted my natural senses to connect with this area and find the right place for a bathroom. Today my same senses don’t relate to the area. They relate instead to my memories of where I went yesterday and how I got there. I took the same path and went to the same place. I know why. My natural senses had a good experience and have begun to bond to the story of yesterday. That story feels more comfortable and takes less energy and risk than to find a new place and dig another hole.
I have no idea of the long term effects of using that place as a bathroom, or if an even better place exists. I’m already attached to it because my past experience fulfilled many of my natural senses, it rewarded
me and my need to defecate so I repeated it and deepened my bonds to this place and this way.”
A week later Charley’s wife and family arrived. They came to the same location but to a different place because now it had a story, Charley’s story, attached to it. The place had been developed, it looked different.
One difference was a path that now led to the quiet grove. The
story had imprinted on the land and changed its nature. The family’s natural senses attached themselves to the story as well as the place. How different this was than when Charley first arrived seeking answers rather than living out stories.
The family further developed the campsite with a substantial tent site, fire pit, and table. They grew to know and love the site as a temporary home.
When guests arrived, it was easy to tell who had been there before and who was a first time visitor. Previous guests knew and could explain where things were located and the right way to get from one place to another. The campsite had become a statement in their minds and on the land. There was a customary right and wrong way to use it. If a guest mistakenly used it incorrectly, they were made aware of the customary way. An outhouse of sorts now stood in the grove.
The senses of previous guests had been directed and rewarded by using the old trail. They found the outhouse and they also survived another day, so why change? Survival is a powerful yet overlooked reward until, of course, it is threatened, then we fight for it. As part of their Other Body (the storyless/mute life of Planet Earth) and their sensible desire to survive, the senses of Direction, Exploration, Place, Community, Trust, Reason, Language, Distance, Motion and others had bonded/fixated to the old trail.
If the trail had been found to be toxic, those who insisted on continuing to use it would have been identified as being addicted or socialized (brainwashed) to it through past repetition and rewards.
For the previous guests, the old trail had changed from being a discovery experience to an authority of its own, an Institution rather than an exploration or a reasonable choice. This was true, too, of much of the original wildness of the original campsite. It was replaced by social and technological structures such as the table, fire pit, tent sites, clotheslines, camping equipment, garbage storage, their placement and the rules for using them.
Charley became stressed as he recognized that artifacts and rules had replaced some of the campsite's excitement, discovery and wilderness values. The sound of talking, of stories from and about elsewhere, replaced bird songs, hanging laundry replaced the wonderful view. These were all sense grabbers in that he was unaware that his Other Body had been captured and become accustomed to them. He thought it was progress until he noticed how stressed he was. It was exactly what happened to each of us in early childhood as our Other Body was “socialized” into adulthood.
Charley could imagine if it continued the campsite could become the nature-disconnected stories, discontents and impact of “civilization” and our bonded dependency on the questionable ways of its institutions and excessiveness. Some freedoms of thought and speech would transform into fixated ideas one automatically followed.
At the end of the summer Charley noted that it was, in some ways, nice that the guests were leaving. Some of the excitement of discovery and the unknown had gone from the campsite. It had been replaced by social structure. Some of his natural senses originally attracted to the area,'were
now attracted or directed to set ways or “rules” of relating to it. When the kids disobeyed the rules, he and his wife became rule enforcers, when visitors arrived they needed to educate them about how to be there.
Charley sensed the possibility that, in time, this lovely natural area could become overwhelmed by civilization’s institutions, stories and discontents. He recognized that every city and mall at one time had been a lovely natural area. Charley and his campsite were on their way to becoming institutionalized.
Like a robust religion, organization or corporation, the army is a good example of how a strong institution works. Its inroads, trespasses and sensory rewards are found, more or less, in every institution. Keep a look out for them if you don’t want them to secretly control your life in a destructive way. As part of Industrial Society, they are often dedicated to make you into a cultural object that dances to the isolated will of fame, greed, progress and economics that capture and injure our Other Body. You lose your last name as it changes from “Jones” to Consumer, Constituent or Member.
• The Dogma of the army ties our Triad of the senses of Language, Reason and Consciousness to the army’s stated purpose, its story, real or imaginary and its role in our culture
• Army Commandments, Rules and Regulations focus our natural senses of Reason Fear and Pain into behaviors that fulfill the dogma
• The Hierarchy of the army, it officers and rule enforcers, actively restrict and direct senses of Nurturing, Language, Community, Pain, Motion and Reason to respond to army dogma.
• The Credo encapsulates the Dogma to capture the senses of Literacy and Consciousness
• The Uniform captures our natural sense of Self, Camouflage, Color and Design; we are what we wear.
• Army Rituals habituate most of our natural senses to army dogma, via repetition and rules.
• Army Terminology holds the natural senses of Language and Consciousness to terms exclusive to the army, not to society at large.
• Army Schedule captures our Other Body sense of “Now” Time and directs what we will do when.
• The Paraphernalia of the army ties most natural senses to materials that fulfill the dogma
• Martial Music attaches our senses of Music, Motion and Rhythm to respond to army spirit and dogma.
• Army Colors and Logos attach our senses of Sight, Design and Color to army insignias and hierarchy
• Army Heroes attach our sense of self and community to individuals who have gone beyond the ordinary as enactors of the dogma.
• Army Economics attract our money (survival) to support Army Dogma.
• Army Doctrine and Dominion culturally influences our senses to its Dogma during early childhood as well as makes political inroads often in conjunction with army economics and propaganda.
• The army Value Symbol, the flag, captures many natural senses and their spirit so that, when stressed or commanded, our Other Body automatically depends upon and responds to the army as a story or institution. We almost worship the Value Symbol as a logo; we often wear it, defend it and may go as far as die for it.
Some institutions don’t have all these characteristics or their full intensity, but all institutions have some of them. The institution of formal Education is one that prepares us to accept and join the others as human objects whose Other Body is psychologically enslaved to them.
Too often we don’t choose to join institutions; rather we’re born into them. Try and change yourself or anybody else that’s in one if you want to see how intensely an institution affects a person. This even takes place in recovery groups when Nature as higher power is criticized as a replacement of God or Jesus, even though the guidelines say you may turn to higher power as you know it to be.
Nature is wonderful in this regard for, being non-literate, it has no dogma other than its attraction to seek and build natural attraction relationships amongst all things.
The Value Symbol of an institution is most frightening because it gives directions to many of our institution-connected senses without us knowing it, like fixated attachments. People wear value symbols as decorations and fashion whose symbols are often "hidden dictators" that seek our money and spirit, but not necessarily our, or our planet's well-being.
Soon we'll have to salute our t-shirts before we wear them. <grin>
August 6, 2007: Researchers gave a group of 3-5 year old children two identical servings of many different kinds of food. The only difference between the two servings was that one was wrapped in a McDonald's wrapper, the other in a plain wrapper.Now, ask yourself these critical questions:
Overwhelmingly, the children said the identical food placed in the McDonalds' wrapper tasted better. Their psyche had been misled and corrupted. At this early age, their natural senses and sensibilities had already been prejudicially socialized by the money-making Value Symbol, story and images conveyed on the McDonalds' wrapper. That story, along with its questionable values and effects, had distorted and stressed the children's natural ability to think and feel appropriately with respect to their natural sense of Taste. Their healthy natural attachment to healthy food had been polluted and disturbed. They were partly delusional. They had been robbed of part of their vital natural intelligence and its joy. One of their attachments to the life of Earth, their Other Body, had been "McBurgered."
McBurgering occurs in children because being inexperienced and very dependent the nature of their 54 natural senses is as vulnerable to the established ways and authorities in their lives as were the adult subjects of the astonishing Milgram studies of 1961 (and the Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971). In the former a supervisor committed its subjects to administer increasingly painful electrical shocks to people who answered meaningless questions incorrectly. The subjects could listen to the recipients in another room but could not see them. They could hear them cry out in increasing pain and anguish as the experiment progressed and the shock voltage increased, sometimes until the recipient died.
The subjects did not know that the alleged recipients did not actually receive the shocks and that their cries were recordings.
What was not predicted was that although some subjects cringed and objected, most would not stop hurting the shock recipients as the voltage and responding cries increased and the supervisor urged them to continue. The subjects, instead, responded to the authorities. It was as if the subjects were insane, they could not act reasonably.
This experiment was recently repeated and the results were the same.
We are in much greater trouble today than were the Milgram and Stanford subjects and participants fifty years ago. This is because today the authority phenomenon is not a study. It is a real life story. It is true to the lives of all web-of-life members including human infants who are completely vulnerable to the stories of established authorities.
The life that our authorities have us shocking and hurting is the life of our Planet and Nature, in and around us. This is authentic. We know it full well and we see and feel the disastrous personal, social and environmental effects, including climate change and rampant species extinction.
Where are the institutions whose Dogma is to re-connect our Zombiness, -our Toxic Triad senses of Reason, Consciousness and Literacy- back to our Other Body in a good way to help us reverse our disorders?
Who is helping us create moments when our Other Body (the life of Earth) teachs us to be its representative as part of our recovery from Industrial Society’s undeclared war to conquer our Other Body?
Has the thinking of some people been so institutionalized that they feel they must hassle folks who know that Nature is their higher power?
Now, visit a powerful antidote for destructive institutional thinking and relationships
Enjoy further information about Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology:
- Key Page Index<http://www.ecopsych.com/annotatedpages.html>
- Publishable Article<http://www.ecopsych.com/hallucinatearticle.html>
- Process Synopsis<http://www.ecopsych.com/transformation.html>
- Fundamentals <http://www.ecopsych.com/mjcohen22.html>
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