“Truth” and why conspiracy-theories often involve alien or reptiles

I met a drug dealer once in a bar in the US and described him to my friends the next day as a hyena-like type with sneaky smile, thick throat and flickering look. To which they all laughed, and felt was “spot on” because they all knew him.

People have probably always kept a watchful eye on others don’t seem to have the best of the group, village, team or country in mind, but rather act out of self interest. Historically, these have always been described as something not really human but rather inhuman, predator-like, blood sucking or as some kind of reptile. Disney for example often uses metaphors to describe different types of people and human behavior. Robin Hood is a sly fox. The king’s calculating but cowardly helper is a snake. etc.

Regarding conspiracy theorists, that’s exactly what they’re doing. He / she sees destructive forces in society and often expresses these through metaphor that speak some truth, even if what they say is not true in a rational, objective sense.

The story of Snow White is obviously not true, but can still speak the truth about human jealousy (and a lot of other things). Similarly, a power-hungry, predator-like group of reptiles that play with and exploit ordinary, vulnerable, hard-working humans can speak a certain truth.

Looking at Hollywood, I think this feeling of powerlessness for the inhuman (the Predator?) runs as a backbone through all human storytelling whether including tales like Little Red Hood or Erin Brockovich (Lonely mother fighting big corporate), Sleepless in Seattle (Small book store fights against major corporate), Ratatouille (Small rat fights against oncoming frozen food empire), Wall-e (Earth and and greenery against AI and machine).

We see the same theme in all art and storytelling, as well as among eccentric conspiracy theorists – the small human against the big and blood sucking. The human versus the less human.

In fact, for a predator (Great White, Lion), a person is reduced to calories, or fuel. In society, you may similarly feel reduced to fuel for other people’s predatory instincts, perhaps as a consumer, employee, slave, prostitute, instagram or spotify musician – you’re something to be utilized, consumed and spit out when exhausted. And the analogy of being lab-rats on a Alien mothership (nothing but an older version of the Matrix-story) is probably something that will increase among conspiracy theorists (and in art) as that’s how it feels in today’s algorithmically controlled and digital society. The “Mother Ship” is Silicon Valley, the “experiment” is our screens, dopamine and behavioral-science – to the extent that many in the valley don’t let their own children use many of the behavior-optimized technologies that they themselves developed. They simply keep their own children away from the predatory, blood-sucking “beast” they created.

The drug dealer I met at the bar likewise had something very well-studied and calculating, almost prowling in his behavior that to me instinctively aroused machine, robot or predator images. Of course, wasn’t a Hyena, but according to my friends, that picture was more true than the objective and scientific description of his height, weight and hair color.

Why we are moody

We become moody when we are tired. Children get very moody when they’re tired. That’s why it’s important to prescribe oneself some rest at times. If one doesn’t, one becomes depressed, which is an extended form of tiredness that never seems to leave.

Kids don’t seem to have the extended form of tiredness that’s so rampant among grownups. Either they’re ecstatic or they are miserable – nothing in between. When children are tired and miserable, they tend to become unreasonable, for instance if they can’t stack six-hundred building blocks on top of each other. The same goes for us grownups, when we’re tired we tend to become unreasonable. We get very tough on ourselves, when in fact we need a good nights sleep.

A good thing to keep in mind is that it’s not only our body that needs rest, but also our mind and soul. Sleep naturally calms all of these by relaxing our body, calming our mind and assimilate some of the things that pertain to our soul by means of dreams.

Being moody therefore is perfectly normal, and useful in the sense that it’s a canary in the coal mine for fatigue – on all aspects of our being.

The difference between vision and imagination

Imagination is the tool your heart uses to get what it wants. It does so by producing a vision that is motivating enough for you to act upon. A visions basically mobilizes your mind and body for action. Not only that, a vision allows you to act coherently and with focus and determination over long spans of time.

Compare that to a Baboon.

Baboons don’t have much imagination or therefore vision. They loose interest in objects as soon as it leaves their line of sight. Sure, they can imagine bananas in the bag of a tourist, but that’s pretty much it.

Humans however sustain long-term goals by means of a vision. That is how we make airplanes, eiffel towers and particle accelerators.

In other words, imagination facilitates vision. The quality of imagination determines the quality of vision. The more imagination you have, the more outrageous, bold, and brilliant can your vision (and accomplishments) be.

Language on the other hand is the means by which we communicate our vision.

“Language has made us more than a group of pack-hunting monkeys – it’s made us a group of pack-hunting monkeys with a dream.” Terence McKenna

The most common “mistake” of the highly intelligent.

The most common “mistake” high-intelligent people make is that they think like Einstein, questioning the question before answering. This is of course good if you are a philosopher, entrepreneur or at a certain level as a researcher wrestling with big questions and have the luxury of spending time with the basic theses of a question or a problem definition.

However, most of us do not have that luxury.

As part of projects, we’re often forced to find answers to lazy, unnecessary questions, and provide obvious answers through sometimes expensive and complicated processes, etc. Something that frustrates even the moderately intelligent. Those who question the basic tenets of claims and arguments however are often considered to be difficult, hardworking, tough and unwilling to do work.

That’s exactly how it was for Einstein who allegedly spent 95% of his time understanding the problem, and 5% finding an answer, something I would assume is foreign to the less intelligent, who prefers complicated answers which make them look more intelligent than they really are, and legitimize budgets and high fees.

Moreover, Einstein tried to avoid problems instead of solving them, which is even worse, as companies, consultants and research projects and grants presuppose that a problem exists and must be solved. Imagine a consultant at company X who finds a way for a customer to avoid the problem company X gets paid to solve. It goes without saying that he won’t be a popular at the watercooler.

Avoiding a problem by spending 90% of their time on the problem and not the solution is therefore the “mistake” that the highly-intelligent often make, and contributes to them being mocked, costs them their reputation and sometimes work among the less intelligent.

On the other hand, it’s exactly this quality that makes them “winners” in the long-term, as long as they have the courage to pursue their ideas, and maybe they are lucky enough to meet other highly intelligent individuals, or should we say, others with common sense.

Why meditation needs to be adapted to modern life

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Ancient people lived very different lives than we do today.

They got much more exercise than we do.

They also ate way less.

And were more social.

Meditation was a nice diversion from a physically demanding, active, and richly social life.

That begs the question. Is meditation really useful for someone who suffers from anxiety, depression or any other health problems that are due to a lack of diet, exercise or social life?

And to what degree do we need to update the single focus on meditation, as a panacea to our wellbeing, to a more holistic, and realistic picture of health?

Is it time for some updated form of meditation that includes more aspects of our being?


How to meditate with ease

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Something that makes meditation infinitely easier is to get some energy out of your system before you meditate. Think of it as a cat dozing in the sun after a long night of hunting, a relaxed and meditative state is as natural to them as it is to us.

 Sure, they are not “meditating” in the traditional sense by counting breaths, but we shouldn’t forget that what we call “meditation” is just a tool to enter a meditative state, and not a goal in itself. You can read more about this fact in Adyashanti’s book Falling into Grace.

 If you have read any literature by OSHO you discover that he too noted that, especially westerners, had a hard time meditating, let alone reaching the meditative state. To deal with this he prescribed some exercises, jumping around and breathing frenetically, that would help people calm down and blow off some steam before they sat down to meditate. You can read more about it in this book.

Another example of someone suggesting to blow off steam before meditating is Sadhguru who keeps a large underground pool of cold water that he recommends people take dip in before praying and meditating. And we know cold water calms the nervous system, and makes your heart race, plus floods your system with feel good chemicals much like a runners high. You can read more about the pools here.

Once you sit down to meditate, you’re calm and collected because your body and circulatory system had its exercise.

Remember that back in the day when meditation came about as a tool to calm the mind and reach bliss, people led a much more physically active lives than we do. So it could be as simple as you sitting down to meditate after a long sedentary day in front of your computer eating donuts and your body is saying “ – what the hell are you doing? get up and move around for christ’s sake!”

Which is nothing but your body (and mind) trying to keep you healthy – and happy.

What do we do? We tell the mind to shut up because we want to sit and meditate so that we can be healthy and blissful. Doesn’t sound right, right?

You see, what a lot of meditators forget is that you can’t meditate away anxiety, worry and depression brought about by a lack of exercise.

Meditation is just one part of health, not “everything” and if you neglect the other parts, it will be infinitely harder meditate, and rightfully so. 


The best way to meditate is to not meditate at all

I never forget the wise advice given to me from a Zen master when visiting Kyoto in the late 90s.

Imagine you are standing crystal-clear river of fresh water in the middle of a forest. As you are standing there, you are pushing the river with your feet, whipping up all kinds of debris making the river opaque and water dirty.

See the river as your mind. The river has a natural flow, so has your mind. The river doesn’t need you to help it flow, quite the opposite. Kicking the water hurts more than it helps. To stop you from kicking the water, we have meditation.

See meditation as a stick given to you to beat the grass, a distraction from you kicking the water. As you beat the grass, your feet keep still and allows the river to slowly recover its clarity and return to its natural flow. That’s the meditative state. That’s what you are seeking.

Watching the breath or mantra is not an end in itself – it’s a stick. A means to reach the meditative state. And once you’re in the meditative state you can abandon your mantra (or breath-focus), much like you can abandon the stick, and just enjoy the silence. That makes sense right? Once the river has settled, you can stop beating the stick and just stand there and radiate peace, joy and tranquility.

The best way to meditate is to not meditate at all, but to be in a meditative state. But if you have to meditate to get there, then take your pick your stick.