Truthiness, Brands, Lies and Alternative ‘facts’
February 14, 2017 § 4 Comments
The core psyCommons proposal emerged from enquiries into how it was that three quarters of the UK population have no need for the professional services of the counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatric professions.
I became convinced that we survive, navigate, enjoy and struggle with life more or less successfully via three elements, rapport, chat and learning from experience, presented, together with the psy professions context, in psyCommons and Professionalised Wisdom.
Such perspectives are never complete and recent inquiries for another movie, currently in production, sharpened up my sense that in addition to the first three capacities in play in our daily lives, there might be another one, trance-induction, that can shed light on the truthiness, brands, lies and alternative ‘facts’ that presently seek to enthrall us.
Comments, enhancements and feedback are welcome.
Trance induction, aka hypnosis, is a well-understood psychological intervention in which we are invited to give intense attention to a single sensory input, so that the context of where we are is suppressed. While entranced we are likely to be highly suggestible.
This innate human capacity through words and gesture and presence, to entrance others and be ourselves entranced by a desire, a belief, of what counts as desirable or a necessity, has recently become weaponized by political interests.
Benefits of trance-induction
Humankind is primarily a wilderness of bodyminds in relationship, bodyminds that are made up of an internal wilderness of bone, muscle, nerves, neurons and grey matter. Trance induction helps us cohere psychically, interpersonally and socially..
Disadvantages of trance-induction
Our bodymind wildernesses have been vastly extended by the rapidly accelerating growth of technologies in recent decades. The scale of both our ability to communicate with others and the scale of how much we do communicate has been astonishing, the global village throbs with a 24/7 plethora of files, messages, images and video.
This TV, phone, text and image-based chat is great and it acts to create and sustain new forms of relationship between humankind wildernesses across frontiers and different languages.
However, the benefit we get from them is always accompanied by amputation, especially the loss of context. We see and hear a video or read a message but we don’t engage with the sender’s presence. The clues from feeling and intuition we would pick up if we met in person are missing. These clues are an essential element of trust.
To repeat: focusing narrowly, so as to concentrate on a sound or an image or a thought while its context is side-lined or absent, is the basis of hypnotic trance-induction.
Being entranced is commonplace, it’s a basic human capacity that, coupled with frequent reality-testing, means that we can navigate through life reasonably well.
A huge part of what minds do in our daily life is the generation and interplay of trance-inductions, opinions about people and products, for example where we work and where we play, and the trance-inductions of music. Alongside this, a key feature of getting on with other people, is fielding trance-inductions, checking out how far we can trust somebody and checking out what they are offering or what they are demanding.
Abundant messaging but missing context
In the global village all of us now inhabit, while messages are more than abundant, context in our communications tends to more and more scarce. This means that we can be way more susceptible to predatory trance-inductions, lies, manipulation, coercion, ‘alternative facts’, ‘spin’ and ‘brands’.
Examples would include claims that something is ‘inevitable’, ‘natural’, ‘evil’, ‘the truth’, and ‘essential’ as a means of focusing attention away from the wider context of what is being proposed.
Along with the local subtleties of our daily relationships, trance-induction has become a core part of political ‘spin’, and business, advertising and marketing and how they work. The Trump presidential and Brexit campaigns have provided signal examples, ‘lock her up’, ‘fake news’, ‘take back control’, ‘enemies of the people’.
The elimination or suppression of context from the signals, images and messages we receive mean that we become very susceptible to trance-inductions that intend to manipulate us, or to coerce, control or persuade us. When context is absent, messages in the form of appetising lies can be difficult to refute. What goes missing is trust.
Capitalism and trance-induction
Capitalism continues to be a potent source of trance-inductions and interrupting its trance-inductions and those of its families and friends is very tricky. It means interrupting its ethos – that wealth does not equal righteousness – that capital accumulation may not be just or essential – that they are mistaken about the need for unlimited growth and unlimited debt – that the planetary damage and dissolution of trust this entails does matter.
Becoming trance-savvy seems to mean becoming alert, even to begin with, hyper-alert, about recognising trance-inductions when they are pointed at us, so as to have more choice in whether we follow what they are suggesting, plus diligently reality-testing those trance-inductions (such as this blog) that we generate.
Perhaps most important, when someone tries to insist that something is ‘natural’ or ‘inevitable’, this is likely to be a trance-induction, if so, look for the missing context.
The psyCommons and the richness of everyday relationships
April 22, 2013 § 1 Comment
The psyCommons notion is a statement about the ordinary wisdom and shared power of our daily relations with others. it is about recognizing and valuing the myriad forms and instances of these relations as a commons resource in company with the air we breathe, the rivers, the oceans and the radio spectrum.
The psyCommons is alive and well. It is a wilderness reverberating with the ironies and contradictions, the delights and derelictions of the human condition. And, as throughout history, it is perpetually under threat due to distortion and exploitation from enclosures, the capture and sequestering for profit or advantage of various forms of our wealth.
The psyCommons blog aims to give attention to both of these dimensions of the psyCommons it provides a space for inquiry, for work in progress. Contributions are invited.
Recommended as a way of getting to know the psCommons, is a recent talk I gave, reprinted in the April 2013 issue of Therapy Today, entitled the ‘Richness of everyday relationships’, podcast