How Your Brain is Turned Against You

Cultural, FREEPOM13 Comments

Filtering and Sorting External Stimuli

It was the early 1990’s and access to the World Wide Web was expanding at an exponential rate. During my graduating year in high school my parents brought home our first PC. It was setup in a spare room and the modem was plugged into the phone outlet. The dialup sounds bounced around the walls and the new world of the internet came to life at my fingertips.

Those early days were limited on quality of information but I quickly found my way onto conspiracy sites where the most bizarre and unthinkable things could be learned. Outside of porn, it was almost as if the internet was designed to spread conspiracy theories and manufacture virtual meeting areas for new forms of socializing.

It never occurred to me to ask how it was possible that so many alternative media sites rolled out almost simultaneously with the World Wide Web. Some of them are still around today in varying capacities and formats. Everything from aliens, government coverups, Omega groups, and secret rituals were packaged alongside more factual information about the Bilderberg meetings, the Bank for International Settlements, and material from those who genuinely appeared to search for truth.

The oppositional dialectic content and theme of the internet stood apart from the everyday normal world which most existed within. The nightly news was so different from what was on the web that the disorganized masses began to divide into different factions. Some divided themselves from who they wanted to be and who they really were. This personal allowance and distortion has evolved into the social media phenomenon which we experience now.

The impersonal nature of the internet allowed for some to roam around within the virtual world of the web and hide their true identity, or pretend to me someone else. This still happens today and is the number one method by which the insidious nature of the internet is hidden behind a curtain of self-obsessed delusion.

The internet is a personal experience. More personal than other media. As such, it serves as a massive potential machine of manipulation and subconscious coercion. It is much like reading a book. We process the information through our own internal filter and interpretation. Information presented this way has more success at getting past our natural logic defences, as does simple speech and verbal engagement. But unlike reading a book the internet engages back.

There is a part in our brain which is called the RAS. This stands for Reticular Activating System. The RAS is a complex system for sure, but in simple terms its primary responsibility is to filter information coming into the conscious brain and sort and file that information based on a predetermined set of filters and focus lenses.

Here’s where the internet serves a very specific purpose. It is the same purpose as the mainstream media which attempts to tell us what to think and create mental frames for us in which our RAS will filter and sort the incoming information.

When we are told what to watch for, or what to expect, our brain automatically puts RAS to work on those things. The video below serves as a great example of RAS and how it functions and can serve to distract us from other information and incoming stimuli. We are asked to count how many times the people in white shirts pass the ball.

Watch the video and we will continue our discussion.

Do you see how the RAS can be used against us. You we’re told to focus on the white shirts and ball passes and missed all the other things. Some of you may have caught the gorilla while others may have noticed that the curtains changed colour. But it is highly unlikely that any of you noticed the gorilla, the colour change, and the person in the black shirt leave the screen all at the same time.

This is how the internet and other forms of media have manufactured thought-forms which serve to distract us from other and more pertinent concerns. We are told what to focus on. The mainstream evening news tells us what we should be thinking about. If that doesn’t get you the alternative media which is disbursed across the internet will get you with the oppositional dialectic scripting. Either way, all those forms of media work in unison to engage your RAS and convince it of what it should be focusing on and filtering.

Movies, music, television programming in general, and even our educational curriculums all work to hijack our RAS so that it doesn’t focus on real world observations. Mass populations are not left on their own to tell the RAS what to filter and sort. The power of the RAS is too great for such chance to exist in a structured and engineered civilization.

Outside of our own individual RAS system we also function within a form of collective social RAS where we are told by peers and social trends of what we should filter and sort. This collective RAS builds on the structure of Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy, which is a theory that puts a prioritized structure to human motivation.

The theory goes that we are predominantly focused on food and shelter, and from there work our way through safety, love and belonging, pride and self-esteem, and ending with self-actualization.

The importance we can take from Maslow’s theory is that our own wants and dreams, which are manifest in our self-actualization, has the lowest priority. Food and shelter is the dominant concern. This is the functioning aspect of mainstream news and alternative media. Both of those medias are laced with constant fear. Food and shelter evolve naturally into safety. The market is going to crash so you better have gold. Society is going to collapse so you better have guns and stockpiles of food. The government is poisoning our food. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Tornados. Murder. Terrorism. Islamophobia. The twists and turns to logic and reason are as diverse as they are unreasonable and illogical.

We are willing to sacrifice our self-esteem to ensure that those basics are in place and that we belong within the larger social hierarchy which in turn builds our confidence that the basics are in place. So it is understandable that our RAS function can be hijacked with these base human patterns. We are told that our RAS should be focused on these things which sacrifices our own self-actualization.

It’s like a one-two punch where we are telling our RAS to focus on the base Maslow framework while all of our external stimuli, by way of all media, including the internet, is also telling our RAS what to filter and sort. Once the RAS is told what to focus on it will watch for exactly those things to filter and sort to the detriment of all other things.

When we think about the internet and the broad spectrum of alternative conspiracy information alongside the mainstream sources, we find that our RAS is seldom filtering and sorting information and stimuli which is pointed towards our own self-actualization and development.

While all of these outside external sources of information and stimuli are blocking our own RAS process from filtering and sorting we don’t even know what else we are missing. Like the gorilla, colour change and missing person, we may only catch one or two things which are passing by in the background of what we are being told to focus on.

The internet and conspiracy theories have evolved to meet the ever growing complexity of our material existence. These things are in fact tools which are engineering not only our cultural framework, but also our inner belief systems and visions of the future. Our world changed with the emergence of the World Wide Web. We are told of this vast conspiracy to rule the world when in fact the internet was one of the last acts which tightened the control grid over our lives and perceptions.

We need to reclaim our own brains and begin to filter and sort based on another set of parameters. What these parameters should be and how they should function is best left up to each of us as individuals. But understanding the fundamental structure and process of the RAS and how it organizes itself based on Maslow’s Hierarchy is the base knowledge which we first must master to begin re-framing our world.

Plan your life or someone else will plan it for you. – JC

JC Collins can be contacted at

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13 Comments on “How Your Brain is Turned Against You”

  1. Hi JC. Having perused your latest article, as usual it got me thinking. In recent years I have been reading the works of the English philosopher, John Gray. He has written extensively on the human condition, mainly focusing on the history of Western thought since the birth of Christianity. Without getting too deeply into it, he makes the observation that monotheistic religions believe in paradise, and that The Enlightenment is no different, in that it sought paradise in human reason and science. He certainly has a point. Just look at the idea of transhumanism! Even if my brain was given the opportunity to live on after my death, what would be the point. The Universe is far too complex for us homo sapiens to grasp anyway!

    Your article is touching on some of the same points Gray makes about science and religion. We allow ourselves to fall into particular belief systems and most of us never really question things.

    Your last sentence read, “Plan your life or someone else will plan it for you”.

    Gray makes the same point about the obsession with immortality. As he says, why can’t we just enjoy the sensation of the life we have. Just live in the moment.

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog.

  2. John Gray’s thought has received attention from disparate sectors. Both Hayek and Soros have spoken highly of his work. He seems to draw from the Enlightenment the same conclusion that students of Marx have drawn about communism: that the Enlightenment represents a secular religion, much in the same way communism does. Parenthetically, his book on Hayek is worth a read.

  3. For me, the whole idea is that TPTB leave nothing to chance, not even what they feed our brain with.
    So it´s up to each one of us to plan our own lives.
    And, looking at how the world really works and where we are heading to, I´m 100% convinced that this is the case.
    Those at the top of the pyramid want everything, everything, under their control.

  4. Man you are certainly on a roll JC! Thank you for being the icebreaker and allowing so many of us to see into this inward world.

    In the physical world we look at the almighty $ (dollar) as rising from our pockets up the pyramid to the top. As such there is much animosity towards the top of this cash pyramid from the masses. We could suggest that it is intentionally this way and perhaps this is why.

    In the psychological or inward world we have a pyramid for Maslow’s theory where Self-Actualization is at the top of this pyramid. This negativity towards the top of the physical cash pyramid most likely clogs, taints or misguides our Reticular Activating System (RAS) so we have the same animosity towards the top of our psychological or inward pyramid which blinds us, repels us or simply hinders us from realizing our own self-actualization.

    And the pyramid for Maslow’s theory is most likely not an accident either because it is most likely set up this way to impregnate our RAS so we can have this comparison in the first place.

    The RAS also regulates wakefulness and sleep-wake transitions. I wonder if when waking with a feeling of anxiety or uneasiness it’s because we went to sleep with our RAS cluttered with the programming of the day. Or if there is a way to mess with people’s dreams so upon waking the RAS is preprogrammed in the way we are supposed to see the day which would be in an anxious, fearful state.


    For most of us, freedom is an idea and not an actuality. When we talk about freedom, we want to be free outwardly, to do what we like, to travel, to be free to express ourselves in different ways, free to think what we like. The outward expression of freedom seems to be extraordinarily important, especially in countries where there is tyranny, dictatorship; and in those countries where outward freedom is possible one seeks more and more pleasure, more and more possessions. If we are to inquire deeply into what freedom implies, to be inwardly, completely and totally free – which then expresses itself outwardly in society, in relationship – then we must ask, it seems to me, whether the human mind, heavily conditioned as it is, can ever be free at all. Must it always live and function within the frontiers of its own conditioning, so that there is no possibility of freedom at all? One sees that the mind, verbally understanding that there is no freedom here on this earth, inwardly or outwardly, then begins to invent freedom in another world, a future liberation, heaven and so on. Put aside all theoretical, ideological, concepts of freedom so that we can inquire whether our minds, yours and mine, can ever be actually free, free from dependence, free from fear, anxiety, and free from the innumerable problems, both the conscious as well as those at the deeper layers of the unconscious. Can there be complete psychological freedom, so that the human mind can come upon something which is not of time, which is not put together by thought, yet which is not an escape from the actual realities of daily existence? Unless the human mind is inwardly, psychologically, totally free it is not possible to see what is true, to see if there is a reality not invented by fear, not shaped by the society or the culture in which we live, and which is not an escape from the daily monotony, with its boredom, loneliness, despair and anxiety.”

    – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    1. Thank you dane,

      I went to see the late Krishnamurti in England in the 80’s but I was so young and uninformed that his great wisdom did not stir anything in my mind but later in life I rediscovered him! This quote from this great man was a nice read and I believe we are not totally free partly due to the nature of this domain of duality where there is a constant battle of choices of this or that, black or white, left or right etc. etc. …and other constraints!

      In so many ways, we are actually slaves to a dimension of reality that is, Time. Some years ago I became fascinated with the French philosopher Albert Camus and his brilliant mind and ideas. In particular, I found his thoughts to be similar to other existentialist thinkers as my own ancient fellow countryman, the Omar Khayyam who was a mathematician as well as poet. Khayyam recommended drinking the best wine as a cure, a pretty face in your arms and watching the beauty of a stream – all at the same time off course 🙂 I think these are the best gifts life can offer, that is simplicity and beauty.

      Camus’s philosophy of the absurd and his bold words as to contemplating the act of suicide as a response to our human condition whilst defiantly exploring and searching for meaning of life, came to me as a breath of fresh air. Camus does not recommend suicide but to consider it as a rational option, and yet he in fact says to show the two fingers to life, we must live it fully and take every opportunity as a defiant way of defeating whatever limitations life has created for us. I felt, this idea to be so beautiful and inspiring but it really takes you to the lowest depth of one’s psyche that the opposite becomes crystal clear. That is death versus life to the full. In this way, the dualistic nature life and its contrast becomes meaningful.

      These thoughts and ideas are well over and above the classic theological teachings as in this way the boundaries and limitation of possibilities are shattered allowing us to rise above all the programing of our cultures and to rise above meanings.

      Camus and others like him have helped me to realize the limitations of my thinking is self-made. This can all help us in understanding a rational view about this world and our place in it and overcome linear thinking.

      This short clip provides a short introduction to this noble French thinker:

      1. Your welcome Carpe-Diem. I can’t take full credit for finding him because JC introduced us to him early on. What an opportunity to have felt his presence. Surely it made the later rediscovery more enriched to call on the memory of the atmosphere and such of “K” speaking. Often times while listening to him speak on audio I sense his frustration at some point when the realization that the audience isn’t thinking for themselves but simply listening to the speaker. Perhaps this was his curse, not being able to get people to think for themselves. Poor guy, wish I could have had a sit in front of him with the mindset I have today. He would surely kick me out with so many questions. Or would he? 🙂

        “If we are to inquire deeply into what freedom implies, to be inwardly, completely and totally free – which then expresses itself outwardly in society, in relationship – then we must ask, it seems to me, whether the human mind, heavily conditioned as it is, can ever be free at all.”

        Even when we free ourselves who is there to understand us after we are free? The masses are so programmed and engrained in believing the lies they have been fed that they would just as soon fight to the death than to change their belief of what freedom truly is.

        This puts me in a mood to see that mankind is the cancer of life itself and we need to go. But how to end mankind without ending or harming the ethics of nature itself. Perhaps man evolved as much as an animal could and we were at some point supposed to go silently into the night but we got frightened and have struggled to exist in a world no longer suited to sustain our species. Maybe we messed up so bad along the road that life itself is trying to rid itself of us, we are such a wretched species.

        When I look at time I realize we have the ability to speed it up or slow it down. Of course being a man made creation we should be able to manipulate it right? Ever notice how when we are having fun that time seems to fly by and is gone before you realize it? How about when we are doing something we dislike or we are bored and time seems to stop? This to me is manipulation of time itself.

        Perhaps when we invest into things that excite us we are attempting to speed time up because then this miserable life will be over faster. But then why hold on to life by trying to live forever? All I know is that in my own world I still have the ability to make it what I wish but at this point I lack creativity of thought so my creations are simply carbon copies of what my senses are conditioned too. That’s a second hand man. So I strive to find this freedom to create my own undiscovered thought forms for the everlasting world of thought that I will live through infinity in.

        1. Dane, I like this sentence your worte :

          “Maybe we messed up so bad along the road that life itself is trying to rid itself of us, we are such a wretched species.”

          I don’t who it was who said this (paraphrasing), “this world is other people’s idea of hell” or something to that effect. I think there is so much truth in what you said dane. On the other hand, our existence is not so dissimilar to this:

          “a blind man looking for a black cat in a dark garden that isn’t there”!

          (I think Rowan Atkinson, aka Lord Blackadder who said this) 🙂

          Khayyam informs of futility of life as follows:

          “Heedless man, your body is nought. Yon
          deep vault built up of seven heavens is nought.
          Enjoy yourself in this kingdom of misrule, for
          life is only a moment, and that moment itself
          is nought.”

          I take things from day to day as I have done my proving to this world, and all the remains for me is the Truths and I seek nothing else. I can agree totally regarding K’s frustration with people around him who could not really even ask him good questions. To be in his shoes must be a very lonely place.

  6. I missed the gorilla, I missed the color change, I missed the girl leaving the stage, I lost track of the count at 8! The girl with the unquestioned best butt, actually bumped into the gorilla. I see things others miss, I am a man of great vision and will not allow my great mind to be swayed.

    1. Hahaha Peter, same with me pal. But I did have this gut feeling that I should have been watching the ones in the black shirts I just couldn’t force myself to do it. It worked just as designed. I guess this is why I have to watch a movie three or four times until I’ve squeezed everything I can out of it. lol.

  7. Pietar Seagar spotted the woman with the nice arse. Dane comments on the wretchedness of our species, and Carpe Diem started it with a link to Camus. Hey Carpe Diem, methinks you certainly started a debate of your own.

    Many thanks for the link on Camus. I know very little about him, but having seen this potted intro I will look a bit more. I like his idea on the absurdity of human existence. As a member of the species I do a lot of pondering about this thing we call life. But all I can do is ponder, because I do not really know if there is, or are, alternative realities/deities/fairies…I could go on, but I won’t. I like thinking about it, but am also comfortable with the fact that my consciousness may also expire when my body does. It doesn’t really matter. Collective humanity leads an absurd existence, but all I can do is live in the moment and savour some of its beauty. Keep posting JC, and keep the comments coming in guys.

    1. You are welcome Dear Chancer,

      As the late Bill Hicks used to say, “I am only throwing seeds…” 🙂

      My mentioning such noble people as Camus is my hope that such noble men as Camus to be of help in others as who have found life to be at times harsh, unkind and even ruthless as I did and do from time to time. Camus, Omar Khayam, Nietzsche and many many other great minds alike have really helped me to come to terms with life and my intention of throwing names as Camus is exactly that to help others, so my apologies for going tangent from time to time but I am using opportunities to share hope. I have personally been helped by these great men and their thinking and ideas tremendously and it would be selfish of me not to share them.

      I believe, our minds are like a garden with trees, grass and bees. In order to make this garden a joyous space that can mean living a content and happy life one must look after this garden. The feed for this garden is hope and noble ideals and thoughts, great literature, inspiring music and good movies even. By cultivating one’s garden, we have beautiful flowers hence attracting bees to come pollinate the flowers in our mind garden. The bees from this garden will then travel to other gardens and will cultivate our next door neighbour’s garden, and so on. The more gardens around us the better our fruit and plants will be, so to share beautiful ideas is to help oneself in the end.

      Yet, THIS great garden is the POM which each one of us are now a happy neighbour and we are using the pollens of its beautiful flowers to enrich our garden. The gardener in chief here is our JC and he is the reason we are all neighbours now. Kudos to JC and his noble ideals in creating such a wonderful garden and I have used Peter’s garden that has stuck to my mind ever since he mentioned it. Kudos to our dear Pieter Segar for the inspiration and the seed of his garden he planted in my mind. Thank you Pieter!

      As it is my tradition to go in a tangent, I can recommend the last of Peter Sellers movies called “Being There” in which he appears out of nowhere and everyone calls him “Gardener”! Great movie and very esoteric! 🙂

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