The Mad Cult of the World

June 16, 2011 § 42 Comments

By Tai Carmen

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives.” John Lennon

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Edgar Allan Poe

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” William James

Imagine how our world would look to an alien observer. The notes taken by an evolved and sensitive species might look something like this:

Humans appear to be creatures of routine — the majority wake up before they have rested sufficiently, needing a loud beeping alarm to prematurely stir them from their slumber, and a liquid stimulant to force them into unnatural alertness. They then get into small metal vehicles, which emit toxic gasses and were assembled by mostly miserable factory workers.

A large number of humans take these small metal vehicles to small, sterile cubicles, where they stare at a small rectangular screen for eight hours, pressing buttons, with one hour off to eat.

For their time in front of the screen, they receive tokens (some people have their own private cubicle and receive more tokens than the rest,) which they exchange for shelter (which is left empty most of the day, while they go off and earn the tokens which obtained it in the first place).

Other items of interest requiring tokens are packaged food of mostly poor quality and various large unnecessary upgrades to their stronghold of posessions, the desire for which is stimulated by large rectangular screens in their shelters, for which they exchange a large amount of tokens willingly.

On these screens (which most humans watch, mesmerized, for hours at a time, when they are not staring at the screen in the cubicle) they see images designed to simulate reality (a form of entertainment which has all but replaced the experience of reality) and stimulate covetousness, which seems to mesmerize them into exchanging their hard-earned tokens for items which appear to have social significance for them.

Another large percentage of the population goes to work in factories which produce (or stores which feature) these coveted and mostly useless items.

This exchange is considered desirable. The rationale is that it creates more jobs and keeps the economy in good health. No one seems to question the point of this self-perpetuating wheel of psychological enslavement, and those who do are deflected and dismissed.

The primary activities expected to be carried out by these adult humans seem to be almost unanimously joyless, but the tokens received appear to be incentive enough.

Individuals who refuse to conform and pay homage to the tokens are almost unanimously ridiculed as lazy, good-for-nothing, mentally unsound, losers, etc. Unless individuals can find some way to earn tokens, they can not afford to buy or rent shelter and as a result become cemented in their roles as social pariahs.

Often these pariahs abused liquid downers to numb their misery in the world described above. Their status as shelter-less social rejects only fuels their need for this numbing agent. It seems reasonable to blame the numbing agent, or the individual’s inability to cope with reality. However, few blame the reality which made them have to cope to begin with.

Such probing strikes close to home: as every socially functional person is aware, there is no escape from the need to conform to the all-consuming demand of the token. And so those who do put forth the effort to work are forced to ennoble their enslavement, calling it a good hard day’s work.

Though hard work is a virtue, there is a stickier truth surrounding this truth, which is more convenient to ignore.

If our ET observer were to have read up on the nature of cult indoctrination, he might notice what writer Bettina Drew observes, “[…] there are similarities between corporate indoctrination and what’s thought of as organizational brainwashing.”

In her interesting article on the mind control techniques of cults, writer Amy Sillup elaborates:

“The victim must first be isolated from society, so that the cult or other coercive entity need not compete with outside influences. Access to outside information must be eliminated or at least rigidly controlled; the information is then reinterpreted according to the precepts of the cult. Questions from the victim are not be tolerated, nor are replies given.

During the early isolation period, certain psychological pressure or even physical torture techniques are usually employed. These measures can include […] sleep deprivation […] humiliation […] and constant repetition of indoctrinating ideas. 

Repetitive tasks may be assigned to dull the senses and reasoning skills, while also hastening the breakdown of the will. Threats of violence, death, or destruction of the victim’s soul if she rebels against the “groupthink” are frequently utilized. A period of punishment followed by the doling out of small rewards or privileges keeps the victim off-balance.” 

Sensory overload, such as drugs, flashing lights and overwhelming visuals, she notes, are also employed.

To our old friend the alien observer, the Westernized world itself could seem like a kind of cult.

Repetitive tasks? Check. Small rewards? Check. Sensory overload? Check. Drugs? Check (Prozac anyone?) Sleep deprivation? Check. Limited access to information? In a sense: while the modern world does have access to international media in most cases, the information itself is limited to the focus of our contemporary culture. Those with ideas not in line with the accepted reality face the threat of social rejection — in the past they have even been put to death, and still are in some parts of the world. Threats of death? Check.

Studies show that “the same regions of the brain that become active in response to painful sensory experiences are activated during intense experiences of social rejection.” So in a very real way, the threat of outcast status can act with the same coercive force as threatened physical violence. Threats of pain/humiliation? Check.

The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day, which adds up to two months of non-stop TV-watching per year. By age 65, that person will have spent 9 years watching television. 99 % of American homes own at least one television. Sensory overload and repetition of ideas? Check.

As social media mogul Joe Summerhays points out:

[During the advent of the industrial revolution] gin carts filled the street of London, numbing the dehumanizing pain of mindless factory work into submission. The 1800′s lacquered workforce lubricated the march of industry […] As the efficiency of industrialized society produced more free time, the gin cart became television. This new lubricant oiled things into the late 20th century.

And so our sensitive and saddened extraterrestrial anthropologist would have to report that humans have essentially cornered themselves into having to conform to an insane system, where they are required to spend the majority of their lives gritting their teeth through joyless activities to earn tokens to support their enslaved existence.

We have built a society where, in order to survive, we must, in effect, build our own cages, even paying to consume our own propaganda.

Our interplanetary visitor might feel obliged to make one final note in his evaluation of 21st century human culture:

It appears, none the less, that some individuals are not entirely hypnotized. They still turn inward to the private flickerings of their dreams, which whisper of possibilities greater than the reality before them.



See “The Role Of The Dreamer & The Falseness Of Civilization.” 

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§ 42 Responses to The Mad Cult of the World

  • It’s OK.

    Everything is OK

    (Who are the Love Police?)

  • Alex Woodby says:

    Found you on stumbleupon, just read through your entire blog and look forward to more. Thank you for writing!

  • Sandra says:

    Oh! What a fabulous blog, writing style, thought process and point of view you have 🙂 I, too, found you through StumbleUpon, and have proceeded to read every single entry you have ever written. I love it all! It’s as though you speak to my experience directly. I am constantly questioning and contemplating life, meaning, purpose, spirituality, and this strange, unhappy reality we have created in our modern world, and it feels ccomforting and lovely to read such similar thoughts to my own. I wish you lived nearby, as I think we would be friends! 🙂

    • taicarmen says:

      Oh, that warms my heart, Sandra. I definitely labor over each entry with love, so it means a lot to hear. One of the amazing things for me in writing this blog is hearing back from people like you, who resonate with my perception and my curiosities, questions and critiques . . . it makes me feel hope for the world that there are indeed so many seekers who do see through the facade of the strange, modern consumer culture we have created (and yet we ourselves have not created it, and the ill-fitting cloth of its chafes our skin.) It feels comforting and lovely to get feedback like yours. 🙂 The ancient questions are still the important questions, and it gives me such a thrill to be able to revisit them and feel that it strikes a chord with others, like yourself. It is truly an honor to add in some small way to the feeling of unity between seekers. Dreamers unite! TC

  • Craig Manske says:

    Incentivise them and they will come.

  • Karol Beatty says:

    Wow, this is WONDERFUL – so reaffirming when one starts to question life and not feeling ‘in step’. You are that writer that touches and changes lives.

  • Amazing. Thanks from Lebanon.

  • […] The Mad Cult of the World […]

  • David says:

    I usually never “Like” a page on Stumble but when I stumbled across your blog just recently, I spent the last hour reading your previous entries and “Liking” almost all of them.


  • I’ve just gone through your blog… really great stuff. Not only do you have a wonderful, flowing style, you speak on the most interesting things. Many times I found myself thinking, “wow, I’m not the only person who’s thought about this?” or “wow, how have I never thought of this?”.

    • taicarmen says:

      Thank you for such a kind note, Corinne! I pretty much just let my own curiosity be my guide, in terms of themes and topics, so that is music to my ears that my own interest reflects that of others’. When I first started posting these things, I wasn’t sure what the theme would be, apart from what fascinated me, but it all seems to feel very connected, as though something is emerging from it all. I’m truly excited about where it will go! 🙂 Thank you for writing!!! TC

  • R-1245 says:

    It’s simply amazing to meet someone who utters so beautifully what I’ve always thought but lacked the words to say (or write!)

    Un abrazo!

    • taicarmen says:

      That is probably the most inspiring thing you could say to me. That is what a writer should do, in my book: say what has not been said, but has been felt. Thank you, So much! TC

  • Damien F says:

    great stuff, keep up the insightful thinking and writing

  • Nick R. says:

    First thank you, second please keep up the excellent work, the world needs more inspirational words like these to give us hope and strength to face all the nonsense.

    • taicarmen says:

      It is my honor to serve that cause, my friend, and it means so much to hear that you feel I am doing that! It is certainly my intention. So thank you for your thoughtful and meaningful note! Seekers unite!! TC

  • […] recently I stumbled upon an article, which discusses “The Mad Cult Of The World“. Describing the day to day life of most people, working to earn “tokens” to […]

  • Arion says:

    One of the best articles I have ever read for a long long time. I am also reading through all your articles and I deeply appreciate your thoughts and your writing style! I encourage you from the bottom of my heart! We need your writings! THANK YOU!!
    Kindest Regards from Tunisia,

    • taicarmen says:

      It makes my heart sing that my words are reaching so far across the world! That they may do a little good is deeply satisfying for me to hear. Thank you for the thoughtful encouragement. 🙂 Dreamers of the world unite! TC

  • Almost ashamed to be human says:

    Pan-human nationalism and the dynamic utopian potential perfect future, it’s progenitor the pan-national humanist movement and subsequent form pan-sentient nationalism.

    Surprisingly there actually is a religious truth, the probability that God simply exists is equal to the probability that Existence simply exists.

    The incorporation of entities which do not recognise money as a commodity.

    If a couple of billion people thought more on these we might just break free.

  • […] soon and they can get to the task of rebuilding a thoroughly damaged country. No 9-5 job for him! The Mad Cult of the World – Many questions my logic in not chasing success and money, this is a pretty good description […]

  • […] of the DSM-IV describes diagnosis as warranted when anxiety “interferes significantly with work performance” (italics mine) or if the sufferer shows marked distress about […]

  • Hawbes says:

    You sound like my former soul, before discovering that this, too, was a style of groupthink.

    Despite my ‘critical’ approach, your writing style is on my plane of communication – i.e. I get almost everything you say from an empathic point of view. Cool beans. Stumbleupon ++

  • K says:

    I recently read an article where my generation (those of us currently in our twenties) are whiny, lazy, spoiled, children who will never make it in society. Why? Because we work to live and not live to work. Because we would rather wait till we get the job we want instead of the job we can get right now. Because we want to work flexible hours and dress down. Because we want to have meditation or yoga rooms at work to take a break. Basically because we don’t want to be part of the society you talked about in this article. Thanks for writing this, maybe it will open some people’s eyes.

  • Trevor says:

    I’m from an extremely small town in Michigan, known as Tekonsha. I went through high school everyday wanting more out my experience, not only of learning, but of social and environmental interaction. My grades started to suffer and slower started to question my attachment to this world and why I felt so apart from everyone; never sharing similar ideas or feeling any level of emotional connection, though I had always been popular. A foreign exchange student attended my school my senior year. We bonded like I’d never bonded with an individual in my life, with a male or female. She quickly became my best friend and I had the greatest year of my life, finally feeling a connection to someone, and bringing hope that I wasn’t the only individual. The hardest part was the day I realized that she was going to leave at the end of the year, and with my financial situation, we might never see each other again. Spiraling down from my mountain top, my life started to skip. Things became more remedial and unneeded: I started to question everything and had no tolerance for ignorance, though I pushed through…
    I ended up graduating in the midst of my 23 student class and going to a small, but prestigious college close to my hometown. Coming off a rough summer lamenting the loss of my best friend, I had high hopes for my first year of college. But yet, the depression from my loss got the best of me, and I slipped into a severe state of depression. College was nothing like I though, making me learn the same garbage, just to be spewed back up in a mindless fashion. Nothing was deeper, nothing had changed; relationships still meant nothing, nothing was important, society was unneeded for me. I felt lonely to everyone and everything, I didn’t care, I couldn’t care. One thousand and six hundred college students and I felt I related to none, on a level that had any personal/deeper meaning. My grades slipped, I lost friends, and I lost who I was. I had no idea about anything; my mind constantly implored about the world around me. Fuck friends, fuck school, fuck what you tell me, fuck everything, but even that meant nothing to me.
    I wasn’t a rebel, I was just lost, lost in a world of complexities and mindlessness. I began a bad habit of smoking weed to not only deal with the pain of loneliness but also because I felt it provided some “inner truth” to things. I seen through everything around me. Never able to be apart of something without seeing through its intent. Social situations became extremely awkward because I was angered by how generalized my peers were. I almost got kicked out of college due to the poorness of my grades and the lack of attendance to class. None of it mattered to me. I finally received help for my depression that next semester but I still haven’t been the same.
    After being on the medication for awhile, I started to slip out of my “happiness” and started to question why I was happy and why I was conforming to things I would have never done last semester. This conflict in my brain, brought me to a feeling of insanity for a week. I thought that any moment I was going to snap and lost conscious control of my actions. Darker became lighter and lighter became darker, meshing in the middle. My perception of the everyday became different. I still to this day cannot explain any of it. Its as if my brain was completely separate from my physical body but I was just controlling it. It was me and my body, not just me.
    I ended up taking a test to see if I was insane, but it came out negative, though I feel as if I read through the test. I returned to normal after I decided to stop taking the anti-depressant. I ended my freshman year with better grades, riding a spurt of extreme happiness right after my moment of insanity, sparked by the meeting of another.
    She went to my alma matter (Tekonsha, for a reminder) and I had never really talked to her in high school. She brought hope to me, making me happier than I had been in a while. She was as well an individual, that had all of her own unique, quirkiness. No she didn’t watch Jersey Shore, she didn’t listen to played-out pop music, and she hated being labeled by people that didn’t know her. It was all to surreal, I connected to another person in a way I hadn’t since my senior year. We talked everyday on random things and it was fantastic. I met someone else. No not just in romantic fashion, in a sense of deeper understanding of one another.
    Eventually though, I grew to not appreciate her as much. I seen some of things she initially had led me to believe, where not so, and it aggravated me on a deep level. I started to plunge into my conscious as the days of summer drug on. By the end of summer, I had started to cop with my thoughts by living in a simplistic fashion. Reading, sleeping, drawing, eating natural food, and so on started to help against my natural negativity, but yet, event that too stopped working.
    Enter my sophomore year. Returning to a place that I once thought would be my savior, but now was something I knew was not. I tried to start the year with a positive, “patience is key” attitude, but to no avail. I had been living that mantra for the past three years, yet only now was it beginning to wear thin. Waiting for people to connect with, waiting for happiness, waiting for an answer.. to anything. My mind wandered to the questioning of everything once more. What does life mean? Why am I conscious? ect. I thought of it all day everyday, finding no one to bounce my ideas off and converse with. Was there anyone? Was I the only one?
    I had started hanging out with a group of kids that I hung around some my freshman year. You can consider them my friends I guess. We would hang out late at night and just talk about anything, which I found extremely stimulating. I thought that I had finally found a group of people that were the same. Constant thinkers, constant questioners. I was pleased.
    This group helped me to start to see some answers to my unhappiness. I hang with them less and less now, but they brought me to a deeper thought process, or maybe just more questions?
    I can’t stand living in this cult world. Go to school, go to college, then work, work, work, for things that don’t actually matter. You don’t have dreams, we have your dreams. Your dreams are T.V. Your dreams are big houses. Your dreams are money. Your dreams are materialistic and mindless. Learn what we tell you, work where we want you, eat this, drink that, wear this, do that. Why. What about my dreams. Why can’t I just live, why does my everyday have to be a cluster fuck of stimulation and meaningless interaction? Why can’t I just not do anything and not have to worry about my grades, or my loans, or having money for food? Why am I not allowed to go get my own food, to be a part of food chains be part of nature? Why must I do so many unpleasing things to end up with a fake happiness that I never actually wanted in the first place? Why can’t I just experience life everyday with real people, not sheep. I have dreams. I want to see the world, I want to meet everyone. I want to live among the land. I want to live my life, not afflicted by outside judgement or materialistic individuals that do nothing more than fuel there cult. I feel I’ve waited long enough and experienced enough to know whats good for me. I don’t need others to tell me I cant do this and that stepping out of line is ‘crazy’ to them.
    As I look over what I just typed, I feel more like an individual than ever, but, Tai Carmen, the experience and pure joy I received when reading over this blog’s posts is extremely exciting. I found sooo many of thoughts both helpful and extremely similar to mine. I felt you’ve shared so much with me, that I should share alot with you. I feel I can reach nature and simplicity through many of the means you have suggested or referred to through out your postings. I hope you take what I’ve typed as a trade off of info and possibly, as I have, a sense of companionship.
    Thanks doesn’t seem like enough, because I doubt my life will ever be the same after this.
    Yours truly,
    A lost 18 year old

    • R-1245 says:

      You might never live to see change in the way the masses think. Ever. But if you can experience and give “love” in the full sense of the word, by being patient with those who cannot think for themselves, by uttering a kind word, smiling as you walk on the street, by showing gratitude for the opportunity of going to college, all this is “attacking the system from within”. No one listens to a moody, dark individual, but when you radiate peace, love and gratitude from within, people will listen to you. And you can make them think… actually think for themselves and in so doing, you might change a life.

      I was very much like you. I still am. I question everything. I used to be painfully disaffiliated with the world. Harsh even. But in love, I found a better way. By being kind, by smiling, by listening… I have found that people open up and slowly but surely there is an exchange… and yes, I have spoken my mind with kindness and yep, I’ve influenced some folks to view what the media feeds them as just that. Lies.

      In love I have learned the art of gratitude. And gratitude ennobles the spirit and lets you live a fuller, deeper reality.

      I have a very demanding high-stress job as a management assistant and interpreter. I work for a family business. My job doesn’t define who I am. I am grateful that in this system, I have the opportunity to pay my house, pay my food, help my family. I am still disaffiliated, yes. But content. At peace.

      One day the owner of my company said that I was the kind of person who was content staying where I was and just doing what I did, albeit excellently. I had no drive to move ahead.

      No drive to make a lot of money to purchase stuff. I get it. Because if I had drive, perhaps I could become a manager or something and make the big bucks. And that would be moving ahead.

      I could have felt hurt but once again I realized how people in the world feel, how they think.

      And it’s sad.

      But I stand rooted in my sense of self. And most importantly, in the sense of self I experience everyday in Christ, the ultimate revolutionary. What I have accomplished within my soul is my own personal revolution, at my own personal velocity: this sense of knowing the world is screwed up, of feeling disaffiliation yet of understanding that it is “love” in action that changes realities and opens eyes…

      When you radiate light, people will listen.

      I totally get where your coming from and your story moved me. I loved it. But remember. Light trumps darkness every time.

      Live in the world, but be not “of the world”. You know?

      If you touch one life, just one… if you open up a pair of eyes, just one pair… well, that’s your purpose right there.

    • taicarmen says:

      Thank you for the heartfelt share! I think your experience is one that a lot of sensitives and deep thinkers can relate to. An underlying feeling of “not right-ness” and dissatisfaction with the world, to me, is the mark of someone who has the potential to go far, because you see beyond the fence, gazing at the mountain and wondering what is behind it; where others don’t feel driven to gaze beyond the fence. As the poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy so eloquently said:

      We are the music makers,
      And we are the dreamers of dreams,
      Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
      And sitting by desolate streams;—
      World-losers and world-forsakers,
      On whom the pale moon gleams:
      Yet we are the movers and shakers
      Of the world forever it seems.

      It can be easy to go down the dark road of despair, after all, the world is not easy for those who see through its pleasant facade, but, I agree with our other reader who commented, it’s important to keep guiding ones focus in the direction of uplift, asking oneself what we can do to improve our own relationship with the world, asking how can we open our hearts to what’s going on here, and be the light we seek in the world.

      Like the poet, the outsider is the true potential visionary of his/her generation. Whether this amounts to worldly success or simply a few people’s lives being touched, the role is vital: society must be questioned, existence must be contemplated, we would not move forward if this type of person did not exist. It’s important, I think, for ones sanity and well-being, to recognize that with the isolation of being a unique thinker comes a tremendous gift…the gift to go within and truly excavate what dreams and feelings lie there that need to be expressed, because trust me, the fresh perspectives of those who see beyond the status quo are vitally needed.

      Even if school itself didn’t prove tremendously inspiring for you, self-education can be a lifelong source of sanity and inspiration. Try to pinpoint your vague feelings of anxiety and unease, and look into what’s behind them. Research, research, research. Knowledge has the power to transform vague feelings of discontent into an area of expertise. If your philosophic obsession, for instance, is the question of “Who are we? What is consciousness? check out the philosophical field of Ontology…the study of being. If the consumer culture gets you down, look into that — lots written about the ugly facets of capitalism. For me it’s been a matter of analyzing what bothers me, and this giving me clarity, purpose and perspective.

      There are others who have wondered and written about these subjects extensively, and I find that reading them and researching their ideas empowers my own thoughts. It can be hard to know where to begin, but a little key word googling can render wonders.

      I think a post on “The Outsider” is immanent. I am reading “The Outsider” by Colin Wilson right now and I highly suggest you get it. Intellectualizing the problem can help. Distancing oneself from the emotion of it and analyzing what exactly is going on…particularly helpful to connect with fellow dreamers, outsiders, visionaries, nonconformists….apart from the gems we can come upon in our everyday life, in the physical world, online, etc, there is also an immense wealth of literature written by and about outsiders…literature constantly deals with this archetype, since most writers are natural outsiders with original takes on the world. Anyway, Wilson explores this rich heritage of writers and philosophers who have dialogued over time about this very subject we are discussion. Highly recommend for someone exploring the identity of being apart from society, but recognizing value in that role. 🙂

      Be well on your journey…!

      Of the world for ever, it seems.

  • Apeiron says:

    Dreamer reporting in, Sir!

    • taicarmen says:

      YESSS!!! The more the merrier!! 😀

      • Tai Carmen says:

        Thank you so much for the comment, Kenneth. And being for part of the conversation. 🙂 I love Rumi & Sufi Mysticism, but am unfamiliar with Shah’s work! Thank you for the recommendation. I will have to check out the “Islanders!”

        I’m so glad you found our little corner of the internet. Love the Jung quote! It really summarizes exactly my intention for Parallax, so it brought a smile to my face.

        Dreamers unite. Welcome!

        On on,


  • Kenneth Haag says:

    Happy indeed to have found this Parallax Place. Reminds me of Jung’s words, that “…the best antidote to the menace of the times is in the cultivation of a more comprehensive consciousness”. Also, though you may well already know of it, I think you would find the tale of “The Islanders” (in Idries Shah’s work, The Sufis) to be a worthwhile read. Many thanks for your Blog.

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