“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” Comes to Life
by Paul Levy
Though I am no historian, I feel confident in saying that we are living through the strangest time in all of human history. Jung writes, “That the unconscious has come up and taken possession of the conscious personality is a peculiarity of our time.” The unconscious is the source of our dreams; it is more and more as if our species is collectively acting out—and dreaming up—our unconscious to manifest in fully materialized form in the world. To say this differently: It is as if we are having a collectively shared dream that is informed and shaped by—as well as being a direct expression of—our unconscious. To the extent that this process remains unconscious, however, we are fated to benightedly create an ever-deepening nightmare as is clearly evidenced by what is happening in the world today.
What is happening in our world is a living revelation, but what is taking place will only show its revelatory aspect if we consciously recognize what is being revealed to us. If we don’t recognize the light that is being revealed through the darkness, however, the nightmare will only become stronger and more horrific, potentially killing all of us in the process. The root of this whole process is to be found within the human psyche—where else could the source of our collective madness be found? A major part of what is being revealed to us is the central role, just like in a dreamworld, that the human psyche plays in creating events that are playing out in our world.
Our species is not only asleep, but it’s as if there’s something within us that is invested in keeping us in the dark. As Jung points out, under the circumstances it is imperative that we gain insight into “the spirit that is against us.” This spirit that seems to be obstructing our light is what the Native Americans call “wetiko,” which can be conceived of as being a mind-virus. Shedding light on the covert operations of this virus of the mind serves us beyond measure.
What is happening in our world is so sci-fi, as if we are living in a dystopian Philip K. Dick novel. It is as if the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” has come to life in our world. So many people, even close friends and family members, have fallen prey to the never-ending stream of lies, disinformation and propaganda that is fed to us on a daily basis through the media. Once someone has become influenced and has sufficiently been “taken in” by the mind-controlling propaganda, it is as if their minds become “taken over”—possessed—by something, such that, unbeknownst to themselves, they then become an outpost, a link in a dark chain, to further propagate the spell that they themselves have fallen under.
Due to its mind-altering function, propaganda itself is a form of black magic. When someone has sufficiently imbibed the propaganda and become entranced by the internal logic and seeming coherence of a false narrative, they typically are of the opinion that they are in no way under the propaganda, which is nothing other than the propaganda itself speaking through them. Convinced they are in possession of the truth, they have then become an organ of and mouthpiece for the propaganda to spread, all the while thinking that people who haven’t fallen under the spell of the propaganda are the ones who are propagandized. It is as if something has possessed them.
“Possession,” as Jung points out, is “the original condition of mankind.” To quote Jung, man “is necessarily possessed inasmuch as his consciousness is weak.” Jung is of the opinion that, developmentally speaking, our species’ level of consciousness is at the stage of an adolescent whose sense of both self and the world is still forming. As if beginning to emerge from a deep sleep, our species is evolving out of being identical with—and hence, blind to and possessed by—the unconscious, which is why our task as human beings is to make the unconscious conscious, i.e., to generate as much consciousness as possible. Our species is suffering from a form of psychic blindness, a peculiar form of self-created blindness that not only doesn’t know it is blind, but thinks it sees more clearly than people who are clear-sighted. Our task is to heal our blindness, which always starts with ourselves.
When people fall into—and become taken over—by their unconscious, something within their unconscious has been activated that they are unable to bring to consciousness, which results in their self-reflective consciousness being pulled down, as if by a magnet, into the unconscious and disabled such that it can even be dissolved in its depths. Becoming identical with—and hence, embodying—the unconscious, the person so possessed can’t help but to compulsively act out the unconscious in a destructive way. In this cursed condition, they have unwittingly become an instrument for the darker forces of the unconscious to act themselves out. Describing this very process, Jung says, “the person in question becomes a mere automaton. Such a person is no longer there.”. Truly vacant, they become a conduit for the darker aspects of the unconscious to come through them, while the person so afflicted is simultaneously the living revelation of these darker forces—if we have the eyes to see what is taking place in them.
It is as if such people have become hollowed out by psychic termites, resulting in a vacancy within them that becomes lodging for “something other” than themselves to take up residence within them. As if no longer home, the people so possessed—often by ideas and beliefs—become unself-reflective robotic automatons (with no creative potential operating in them), as they are compulsively driven by something that is riding them from beneath their conscious awareness. These people are so disconnected from their authentic selves and from their ability to think for themselves that “something other” than themselves, to which they are completely unaware, uses them as its unwitting instrument to think for and through them in order to fulfill its agenda (at the person’s own expense). This “something other” wants nothing more than to insert itself into a person’s mind such that the person so afflicted becomes the channel for this darker force to incarnate into our world.
People so taken over become programed like machines in order to spread the very same psychospiritual infection that they are possessed by in order to fulfill the underlying sinister agenda of the archetypal darker forces that are unconsciously driving them. As Jung points out, when someone has been taken over in this way—a situation in which their psyche has been hijacked and colonized by forces other than themselves—“It is one of the most invisible experiences we can have.” As if having blinders on, people so afflicted are utterly blind to their affliction.
Abnegating their own intrinsic power and agency, people so stricken have outsourced their own meaning-making to outside authorities. Fixed in a particular viewpoint, completely convinced they are in possession of the truth, they have a pre-existing, non-negotiable commitment to some idea, ideology or belief which forecloses upon their ability to consider that any other perspective (which they experience as a threat to their very worldview) has any validity whatsoever. Becoming solidified in their viewpoint is the diametric opposite of a fluid, flexible and more open-ended omni-perspectival awareness, which reflects upon what is happening in our world from as many different—and oftentimes contradictory—viewpoints as can be imagined, without snapping into a premature judgement that they know what is, in fact, happening.
Along with being rigidly entrenched in their point of view, their curiosity concerning any evidence that contradicts their concretized perspective goes out the window, not to mention their ability to discern truth from falsehood. Philosopher Hannah Arendt points out that an inability to self-reflectively think about ourselves—similar to how a vampire casts no reflection in a mirror—is one of the primary characteristics of evil.
Dialoguing with people who have fallen into this state is like talking to a single algorithm that is also running in millions of other similar people’s brains, producing a kind of collective hive-mind in which no original thought is allowed to take place. It is like a computer program has gotten implanted in their brains to automatically react to stimuli, turning them into automatons. In essence, they have become part of the machine. To quote Arendt, “the greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.” Refusing to be a person, the person so afflicted becomes more like a zombie than a human being.
When someone falls into this damned state, the psyche’s internal monitoring system (an inner reflection of the external regulatory agencies of the government), whose job it is to be on the lookout for external invaders, has been captured by the very forces that it is supposed to monitor and protect the person from. A shadow government gets secretly installed within the afflicted person’s psyche that dictates to the ego. The executive function of their psyche, which is supposed to be working for the best interests of the organism, has been co-opted and is secretly in service to the shadowy force that has, in Philip K. Dick’s phrase “usurped the throne.” It is as if the person has been replaced or deposed by something alien to themselves that has “taken on” their form. It is like there has been a coup within the psyche, with the psyche itself left in the dark about what has taken place.
The people so programmed are oblivious—they literally have no idea—about the insidious nature of the situation that they have fallen into, oftentimes convincing themselves that they have come to their viewpoint through their own volition. Not realizing how their perceptions are being manipulated and managed by outside forces, they can easily convince themselves that they have done their own independent research and analysis, while in fact they are simply parroting the very point of view that the powers-that-be—the very powers that are behind the evil that is playing out in our world—want them to have. When this is reflected back to them—a situation which one would think would get their attention—they typically react with disinterest, lacking any curiosity about the reflection being offered.
People who have internalized the propaganda within their own minds have a smug certainty that they are right—after all, evidence to that effect is continually supplied to confirm the rightness of their point of view by the never-ending stream of propaganda—while the truth is that few, if any of us are in a position to be absolutely certain about anything. Most people can’t wrap their minds around the pervasiveness and extent of the propaganda that we are swimming in 24/7, all designed to psychically massage our minds into the desired viewpoint that the powers-that-be want us to have.
In a real mind-warp, the people under the propaganda—as if looking in a mirror—are seeing their own reflection in those who reflect back to them that they have fallen under the spell of the propaganda, who, in an inversion of reality, they see as the ones’ who are under the propaganda. It is a horrifying realization to take in that those closest to us—oftentimes our siblings, parents, children and close friends—are actually out of touch with reality and aren’t interested in hearing about it.
People whose minds have been influenced in this way typically have never felt more themselves, while in truth the self they are imagining they are is an artificial simulation of themselves—an imposter—that they have taken to be themselves. They have unknowingly fallen under the spell of “the counterfeiting spirit” of the Apocryphal texts, which “puts us on,” (i.e., fools us), as it impersonates us—we then become impersonations of what it is to be a human being. People who have been sufficiently propagandized are living in the self-reinforcing echo chamber of their own programmed and stunted imagination, a limited, self-blinding and crazy-making scenario which they themselves are unknowingly buying into and thereby perpetuating in each and every moment. In essence, they have entranced and brainwashed themselves, putting themselves under a mind-created spell of their own making.
Jung refers to this process of pulling “the wool over one’s eyes” as nothing other than “black magic”—a form of this darker art-form that one is ultimately perpetrating on oneself. We have then tricked ourselves out of our own (right) mind. It is noteworthy that when we fall under our own self-deception, we necessarily lose contact with the real world. Jung repeatedly warned of the great danger that when a sufficient number of people fall prey to their own unconscious in this way, the result is invariably a psychic epidemic—a collective psychosis—which is exactly what is happening in the world today. This process, as Jung endlessly points out, starts with—and can only be resolved—within the individual.
Jung understood that the great danger facing humanity is for people to make what he calls “the great mistake”—to identify with what he calls “the fictive personality” or “the artificial self.” He points out that “if you think you are separated” (from others, as well as the universe itself), you are suffering from “a neurotic imagination,” which once sufficiently identified with, becomes self-generating, supplying all the evidence needed for proof of its own seemingly real existence. This mistaken notion of who you are implicitly brings with it the assumption of the corresponding abstract, supposedly rational (but actually flawed) worldview of scientific materialism, which further supports, feeds into and reinforces our sense of existing as a separate self, a process which can’t help but to further alienate us from our authentic self. This whole process is morbid beyond belief. It can’t be repeated often enough—No one else is doing this to us, we are the ones who are ultimately doing this to ourselves.
One of the chief features of this psychological phenomenon is that people’s beliefs, ideas and perspectives become unconsciously tied into and fused with their identity and very sense of self. To introduce them to another viewpoint that questions their way of seeing is experienced as an existential threat to their very sense of self or identity, which can activate their unconscious psychological defense mechanisms as if their ego—and more than that, their very life itself—is being put at risk. The root of this whole process is to be found within the psyche and nowhere else.
STUPIDITY RUN AMOK
Speaking of the mass brainwashing, mind-control and cult-like behavior that took place in Nazi Germany, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about his experience of encountering such people. In describing someone taken over by the wetiko spirit, he characterizes such people as suffering from a form of stupidity, by which I imagine he means people so afflicted are disconnected from their natural intelligence. Bonhoeffer writes, “In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.” Bonhoeffer recognizes that the person so possessed, by allowing themselves to be a conduit for unconscious forces to work through them, can easily become an instrument for evil, all the while believing they are on the side of truth, justice and goodness. The person so afflicted, completely unaware of their depraved circumstance in the slightest, becomes a puppet on a string—what Jung calls “the devil’s marionette”—a human instrument for these nonhuman darker forces of deception to act themselves out in our world. Bonhoeffer is speaking from direct experience—he was executed by the Nazis—about the incredible danger when a sufficient number of people become mindless tools of the state.
Evil needs groups of people to effectively spread itself. It is a well-known psychological phenomenon that when individuals mass together in a group, if the primary value of their coming together is something other than to expand their consciousness and deepen their self-reflective awareness, the collective intelligence of the gathering drops to the lowest common denominator, such that the group, in Jung’s words, becomes one big “fathead.” People under the spell of the unconscious continually reinforce each other’s deluded viewpoint, creating an impenetrable psychic bubble around themselves that deflects self-reflection at all costs.
Jung quotes Mark Twain, who in talking about the danger of this situation, says, “the greatest force on earth is mass stupidity, not mass intelligence.” Jung comments, “Stupidity is the extraordinary power and Mark Twain saw it.” Not just stupefied by fear (where people react based on unconscious conditioning, instead of consciously responding out of their own volition), people who have fallen under groupthink have become, to coin a new word, “stupidified” by fear—been made stupid. Fear, it should be remembered, is the most powerful superfood for wetiko that there is.
Jung emphasized that, due to our species’ suggestibility, we all have the potentiality to become taken over by and possessed by the unconscious such that we become stupid and act out—and hence, embody—darker aspects of the collective unconscious that we all share. This insight can open us up to being able to perceive the revelatory nature of what is happening in our world. The darker forces, by subsuming and incorporating people into itself, enlists them into becoming cogs in the wheel of a dehumanizing machine—people so taken over become its unwitting secret agents (their secret being secret even to themselves). In this situation, however, the darkness is becoming potentially transparent, as it is openly showing how it covertly operates.
The darkness in our world—through both individuals, our species as a whole and the systems we have created that structure our society—is itself its own self-revelation. This is to say that the darkness seemingly taking over our world is—in true quantum style, potentially—in service to the light, if and only if it is beheld by the light of conscious human awareness. Everything depends upon whether or not we recognize the light that is being revealed through the darkness. The inner workings of darkness are usually hidden under the cloak of darkness itself, which is why seeing the undercover operations of darkness is such a game-changer. We normally think of illumination as “seeing the light,” but seeing the darkness—in Jung’s famous words, “making the darkness conscious”—is also a form of illumination. This revelation, however, needs our conscious participation in order to unlock its gifts—we can call this a “participatory form of revelation,” as it requires our active and conscious engagement in order to fulfill its revelatory function.
It takes real courage to snap out of this spell, as there is a built-in counter-incentive to do so. As is well known, it is harder to snap someone out of their bamboozlement than bamboozling them in the first place. This is because it is painful—traumatizing—for someone to realize they’ve been had. It is a shock to realize we’ve been wrong about the very convictions we were so certain about. People don’t like to realize they’ve been fooled, but when you have been taken for all you’re worth, if you want to step onto the road to recovery, there’s no way around realizing to what degree you have given yourself away—it is the necessary first step in getting back to yourself. It is a horrifying but necessary insight to realize our complicity in the very evil that we’ve been thinking we’re fighting against.
Similar to having the strength to leave a cult, it is an extraordinary moment that takes incredible courage when we take off our blinders and snap out of the spell we’ve been under. Instead of seeing through the imagined eyes of others, we start to see through our own eyes, which is to connect with our intrinsic agency and the creative power of the true Self within us. We are then beginning to heal the self-induced blindness of wetiko within ourselves and the world at large. Seeing how the darkness covertly operates within us is the necessary step which empowers us to more effectively deal with the darkness that is wreaking havoc throughout our world.