Tribal Dynamics: Ancient Fear in Modern Society

H

umans have been evolving for 100s of thousands of years but it wasn’t until recently when modern society began taking the shape it is in now.

World populations began increasing around the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution, 10,000 years ago but the real boom occurred in just the past 500 years during the Industrial Revolution.

Within an evolutionary instant we went from 150 person hunter-gatherer tribes to million people cities. Our societies have evolved rapidly but the same can’t be said for our physiology.

Biological evolution moves relatively slow; even 10,000 years isn’t enough for significant changes to accrue in the human genome. 

Essentially, we’re the same creatures as we were before but living in vastly different societies. Our tribal brains have trouble dealing with this rapid change so they tend to short-circuit in certain scenarios.

It turns out, the most common trigger for this, short-circuiting of the brain, are social cues.

Social Creatures

As an individual animal, humans are fairly weak but in groups, we’re strong. For this reason, the ability to socialize was vitally important to early human survival.

Fitting in meant behaving in ways that were dubbed, socially acceptable, by the group.

The brain determines acceptable behavior by constantly monitoring groups for social status signals. It uses these signals to construct dominance hierarchies which help the person behave appropriately when it comes to interacting with each member of the tribe. 

Information about tribe-member status can discovered by directly interacting with an individual or through second-hand knowledge (gossip).

Second-hand information is fast, low-risk, and a reliable means of gathering information about group dynamics so the primitive brain naturally places a high importance on it.

Gossip may have played a vital role in the survival of early humans but in today’s crowded society, it can get quite unruly.

However, population density is only a small part of the problem we’re facing. We’re in the beginning stages of a new revolution that will likely change the way humans interact, forever.

The Rise of the Internet

It’s amazing to think that we were born at the very beginning of the internet age.

The internet has lowered geographic bounds to the point where we’re now living in a global society that can instantly transmit information from one side of the planet to another.

Your tribe has now expanded from millions of people in cities to billions of people online. Within your pocket is a direct line of contact between you everyone of these people.

You can now instantly message someone in Asia, from North America, using phone applications like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. These apps notify users’ phones with new message alerts that get displayed on the phone’s home screen.

Human brains love these alerts; especially the social ones.

Look down any subway rail-cart and you’ll see exactly where peoples’ attention is. 

People don’t know how to handle boredom so they habitually distract themselves with entertainment and gossip. 

At first glance, this habit seems harmless. However, overtime, it can quickly turn into an addiction and seriously limit our ability to function at peak performance…

Dopamine Addiction

We get a dopamine hit every single time a notification pings on our phones’.

The primal brain can’t help but want to look and find out who’s it from and what it’s about.

We open these social apps and fall down the rabbit-hole of news, ads, and opinions.

Basically, we’ve just stepped into the modern ‘public square’ and are greeted with the gossip of the streets; all of which, the social brain loves.

The brain releases a neurotransmitter called, Dopamine to reward the “social behavior” that may have helped keep you alive thousands of years ago but now lacks survival utility.

Trigger (notification) Action (checked phone) Reward (dopamine)

Travel the above mentioned path enough times and the sequence will become a habit.

The brain then becomes dependent on the trigger-action sequence to produce Dopamine. It begins to lose its own natural ability to produce normal levels of Dopamine without the help of the habit triggers.

Low levels of natural Dopamine production are correlated with depression and lethargy which perpetuate the problem since the individual lacks the willpower to resist the quick-hit Dopamine fix of mobile phone use.

This vicious cycle builds overtime leading to a deep dependency on instant gratification.

The problem doesn’t just show up psychologically but physiologically as well.

Since the mind reflects in the body, low mental states are communicated to the body through the use of chemicals called hormones.

Cortisol Drips

Potential threats, specially to status, also affect the body’s hormonal system.

Psychological stress causes Cortisol and Adrenaline to release which put the body in a survival mode. The muscles tense, the immune system is suppressed, and the brain is more likely to make emotionally-based decisions.

Threats are everywhere in the modern world (cities, news, the internet) so cortisol is dripped into our systems throughout the day

The buildup of tension and suppression of vital systems takes an emotional and physical toll on our bodies, which limits our ability to live at our full potential.

Crowded city environments, the internet, social media, and smartphone technology have all created very real problems for modern individuals.

However, I don’t wish to harp on the problem for much longer, so let’s move on to solutions.

Low-Stimulation Diets

That which we can’t see, we can’t change.

The buzz of our thoughts and emotional reactions get drowned in the noise of modern society. 

Turn down the noise and you’ll hear the buzz. Eliminate your phone and internet use for a few days and you’ll clearly see the dependency. 

The first step of the 12 step program, in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is acceptance and forgiveness.

In that case, we accept that our brains, on some varying degree, are addicted to the instant gratification of smartphones and the internet. Then, forgive ourselves by understanding it’s a natural response of the human brain in a modern world. With emotion aside, we can then think of ways to limit the negative effect.

Faced with any scenario, you’ll always have 3 choices:

  1. Accept it
  2. Change it
  3. Or remove it

We’ll likely need a mixture of all three.

The world we live in is highly populated and tech-driven so getting away from large groups of people and the use of internet may be out of the picture, at least short-term for most people.

There will be some aspects of our lives (jobs & location) that we can’t change immediately. In these cases, we’ll likely need to accept our daily lives will have some level of involvement with the internet.

However, the real problem seems to be with social media and smartphones so the better question is, is there anything we can change or remove in those categories?

One that I’m seriously considering is eliminating the use of smartphone devices. My Iphone 6s is cracked and old so now is a good time to switch back over to a basic flip-phone.

Switching to a flip-phone may get some weird looks but it will definitely stop the habit of unconsciously perusing the internet

However, I can see how even still this could be too radical a change for some people. In that case, those individuals may want to consider at least eliminating the initial triggers (first dominos) that spark random internet use. 

The triggers are likely app notifications and news feeds on some of our favorite social apps. These notifications and social news feeds are professionally designed for engagement (aka addiction).

You can turn off notifications as well as eliminate social news feeds (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram) using phone setting, app settings, and internet browser extensions.

No alerts and no news feeds means you can still use the apps but it’ll force you to do so consciously.

Spend some time virtually cleaning up your space by eliminating notifications, news feeds, email subscriptions, and even apps from your phone and desktop computer.

Focus on changing/removing negative triggers in any aspect of your life and these one-time changes will produce on-going benefits for as long as the new system’s in place.

Parting Words

The internet is a powerful force for both good and evil.

This article touch mostly on the downsides of excessive internet use but don’t get me wrong, the internet is a powerful tool that can create massive abundance if used correctly.

The problem is most people are being used by their devices rather than the other way around.

Once we see the negative impact unconscious use of media can have on our psyche, we can then put systems and discipline in place to counter our natural addictive tendencies.

With conscious use, the downsides of the internet turn into infinite possibilities.

Society is now in your pocket. How will you use it?

Cheers,

Ryan

The Law of Mentalism: How to Unlock the Universal Mind

 The Universe is Mental – Held in the Mind of THE ALL

THE KYBALION

The law of mentalism is the first principle of the Hermetic Philosophy which arose out of ancient Egypt.

These hermetic philosophers believed that our universe is one of many, originating from an infinite source referred to as, THE ALL.

The law of mentalism is the first principle of the Hermetic Philosophy which arose out of ancient Egypt.

These hermetic philosophers believed that our universe is one of many, originating from an infinite source referred to as, THE ALL.

Ultimately, THE ALL is unknowable and beyond explanation.

However, there are certain truths connected with its existence that help us better navigate this world.

These characteristics, or principles, of THE ALL underlie all of the known universe.

In order to master these laws, we must first understand the mental nature of the universe.

Characteristics of the universe

Characteristics of THE ALL

  • THE ALL is all that really exists. There is nothing existing outside of THE ALL, otherwise, it would cease being THE ALL.
  • THE ALL is infinite and eternal. THE ALL pervades all space and time; there has been nothing before or after THE ALL.
  • THE ALL is immutable (unchanging). It cannot be added to or subtracted from.

Since THE ALL is infinite, absolute, eternal, and unchangeable it must follow that anything finite, changeable, fleeting, and conditioned cannot be THE ALL.

Further, since there is nothing outside of THE ALL, then any and all finite things must not exist.

The Mental Universe

We come now to the question of, “what is the universe?”

the universe is mental

Since the universe is divided into many components and is constantly changing it does not seem to fit the description of THE ALL.

Our first thought, then, is that the Universe is nothing; it doesn’t exist. However, this answer is unsatisfactory since, from our personal experience, the Universe does in fact exist.

If the Universe is neither THE ALL, nor nothing, then how do we reconcile this dilemma?

If the Universe exists, or at least seems to exist, then it must have proceeded from THE ALL in some way.

The problem is, the Universe can’t be part of THE ALL, since, by the characteristics mentioned above, THE ALL cannot be subtracted from.

It turns out, we can predict the origin of the Universe by using the analogy of human creativity. This process of relating one aspect of life to another is known as the law of correspondence.

How Humans Create

There are 3 ways in which humans create that can help us understand the genesis of the Universe.

Humans create by…

  1. Using external materials
  2. Procreation – transferring a part of themselves
  3. Mental creation

Since nothing exists outside of THE ALL, #1 will not suffice. Further, since THE ALL cannot subtract or transfer a portion of itself, #2 will also not suffice either.

What we’re left with then, is mental creation.

Similar to how humans create mental imagery, the universe is created in the MIND of THE ALL.

The Divine Paradox

From what we’ve discussed, it’s easy to conclude that life is only a dream; that all material existence is an illusion.

The hermetics very clearly warn against this conclusion…

Beware of Half-Truths. Beware of the Half-Wise

For those who conclude life is only a dream, it indeed becomes so; they stumble through this world as sleep-walkers; walking in circles, never making progress, and eventually being forced into awakening from the bruises accrued from falling over the Natural Laws they ignored.

Keep your mind on the stars but your eyes on your feet, lest you fall into the mire from your upward gaze.

Remember the divine paradox that the Universe does not exist (Objective) and yet does exist (Subjective) at the same time.

Yes, the world is objectively an illusion; a cosmic show. And yet, here we are subjectively experiencing it.

Most people spend their days completely opting out of the game of life; pretending that nothing exists and they get nowhere. While others spend their days slaving away in the material world with no understanding of the insignificance of their actions.

We cannot escape the physical world – we must learn to play in it.

Vibrational planes of existence depiction

Vibrational Planes of Existence

The Hermetics believe everything in the universe is vibrating.

They also state that certain rates of vibration can be categorized into different planes of existence.

There are 3 planes of existence defined by Hermetic teachings:

  • Physical Plane
  • Mental Plane
  • Spiritual Plane

The universe is actually a spectrum of varying vibrations rather than discrete levels so the term plane can be a bit misleading here.

Diagram of THE ALL creating multiple universes

In general, all matter, energy, and force are lumped into the physical plane while higher rates of vibration are categories as mind and spirit.

THE ALL can be said to have infinite vibration.

Creative Process of THE ALL

The creation of the universe begins with involution (outpouring) of material and energy. The outpouring is equivalent to what science refers to as the big bang, or singularity.

This is a phase when the ‘consciousness’ of the whole, with infinite vibration, lowers it’s vibration which eventually settles into unconscious, undifferentiated, gross matter.

Put another way, THE ALL loses itself  in the process of creating matter similar to an artist who gets fully immersed in their project.

the creative process

Then, there comes a pivotal point in which the pendulum switches directions and the gross matter begins a process of returning to THE ALL.

This is the evolutionary phase where all the units of matter begin to vibrate at higher rates (ascend) back to the infinite vibration of THE ALL.

The parts of the whole begin to become conscious of themselves once more like an artist who steps back from his painting to enjoy the creation.

Universal Laws – THE ALL Within

It would be odd if the characters created by Shakespear claimed, “I am Shakespeare!”

So it is the same when a human claims, “I am God.”

However, the creations of Shakespear surely reflect the characteristics of their creator.

This is also the case with the creations of THE ALL.

The planes of the Universe are not THE ALL but reflect characteristics of THE ALL.

These characteristics permeate every plane of existence; all physical phenomena act according to a set of universal laws reflected from THE ALL.

The universal laws, also known as the 7 Hermetic Principles, have been defined for centuries and continue to be revealed by modern science.

Symbol for mental alchemyMental Transmutation

Mental transmutation, also known as mental alchemy, is defined by the Hermetics as the practice of increasing or decreasing vibrational energy through the use of the previously-mentioned, universal laws.

Humans exist on the physical plane but it is believed we can access higher planes through mental transmutation.

Our imaginations give us access to the mental plane and it is only here where we truly control the physical world.

It’s interesting to note that most of the theory of relativity was created entirely in the mind of Einstein and yet these equations map precisely with physical phenomena.

As science progresses, more is known about the vibrational activity associated with the brain.

The energy emitted from a person in euphoria or deep peace is far different than someone in depression.

What’s interesting is how telling the language we use to describe emotions is… he is feeling blue. The vibrational frequency of the color blue is relatively low compared to other colors so it’s no surprise we use it to describe a low vibration state of mind.

The Hermetics believe it is possible to consciously increase vibration of thought to counteract low moods. Further, the more you increase the vibration of thought the more access one gets to higher states of consciousness.

These higher states of consciousness provide access to information unperceived by the sense and allow an individual to master their own reality.

Purpose of Life

The Hermetics believe it’s the duty of all humans to actualize their potential.

This requires understanding and leveraging the universal laws to master our own realities.

We must use the higher planes of mind and spirit to turn undesirable circumstances on the physical plane into the desirable.

In other words, as budding units of consciousness, we must leverage the power of higher knowledge to shape the physical world and help the rest of the universe complete it’s upward ascent towards the infinite ALL.

Let me know in the comments below what you thought about the article and feel free to share with someone you think will enjoy the content.

Cheers,

Ryan

Tinted Reality: How the Mind Effects Your Experience of Life

Tinted Reality

What you’re experiencing this very moment is altered data.

The sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells in your awareness are only representations of what is real.

The universe (objective reality) is perceived through your senses, transmitted to your brain in electrical signals, and then interpreted through a variety of mental processes in order to create an image of life (subjective reality).

The original data is translated, during two major stages, before it reaches your conscious awareness.

Bits of information are lost and distorted during the translation.

Further, the sense organs, nervous system, and brain can be viewed as components of a light filter in which objective reality is projected through.

The processes involved within this, reality filter, distort the data in such a way that colors your field of awareness.

Keep in mind, color is just being used here as a metaphor to demonstrate the all encompassing nature of these distortions; which underlie every facet of your perception.

NOTE: It is interesting, though, that color literally seems to be paired with memories of past experiences. Imagine a time when you were depressed and the mental image will usually have a darker, underlying tinge. Memories of depression will also be paired with feelings of cold, heavy, slow, and dullness to them. The same can be said for memories you have of extremely positive events; they usually have vibrant (white) colors, warmth, a sense of peace, and sweet, crisp sounds.

The smallest changes, in any one component of the filtration system, will alter the way you experience the world.

Blindness, paralysis, and mental disorders will produce vastly different realities than what most humans are used to. However, these are extreme examples and even the slightest change in skin pigmentation, hair follicles, and mental wiring will have an effect on what you experience.

The above knowledge leads me to believe there are infinite realities and each person is living within their own unique simulation of life.

The Color of Gray Matter

We don’t have much control (on a daily basis) over how our sense organs and nervous systems function and interact with the world.

Therefore, let’s focus our discussion on the brain for the sake of simplicity and practicality.

The processes of the brain are influenced by two major categories:

  • Nature
  • Nurture

Both a scientific and intuitive approach is needed in order fully understand the way nature and nurture affect how the human brain interprets life…

Patterns of the Brain

Know the past and you will control the future.

Every human today shares a common ancestor with 14,000 Homo Sapiens that originated out of Africa around 200-300 thousand years ago.

Two-hundred thousand years is a relatively short amount of time for a species to evolve from such a small population.

This means, our genes have less genetic variation than one may expect.

All humans are unique but we tend to over exaggerate that uniqueness.

It turns out, we’re not that unique and there are actually well known patterns in the way most humans think.

There are ALREADY instructions manuals on how to use your brain.

Yet, no one is reading them…

Most people are unaware of (or undervalue) the fact that scientist have, and continue to develop a mental blueprint of how the human brain operates.

Countless generations of scientists, psychologists, and philosophers have dedicated their entire lives to understanding the theory of the human mind.

Insights to the inner workings of the brain have been compiling since the beginning of human civilization!

Science & Self Reflection

You can spot and control the tints of your reality by understanding the natural, evolutionary patterns that have evolved into the human brain.

These patterns can be discovered through deep research into neuroscience, evolution, anthropology, biology, psychology, and a variety of other disciplines.

The goal of researching scientific theory is to provide a base-layer of knowledge that helps you to accurately reflect on, and make decisions in, your everyday life.

You can then use this knowledge to more effectively self reflect on past, current, and future experiences.

Science-informed reflections reveal underlying belief systems, thought patterns, and recurring emotions that affect perceived reality, behaviors, and outcomes.

Philosopher Kings

The person who’s able to merge theory and practice is what we’ll referred to as a, Philosopher King.

A philosopher king is any human (male or female) who has gained mastery over mind and the material world; the inner and outer games.

This series is an attempt to compile the principles and practices of Philosopher Kings in order to give you the tools to alter your own reality