By Todd Howe
“I found that [symbols] are an integral part of the unconscious, and can be observed everywhere. They form a bridge between the ways in which we consciously express our thoughts and a more primitive, more colourful and pictorial form of expression. It is this form, as well, that appeals directly to feeling and emotion… Because, in our civilized life, we have stripped so many ideas of their emotional energy, we do not really respond to them any more… Something more is needed to bring them home to us effectively enough to make us change our attitude and our behavior.” [Emphasis added]
- Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols, pps. 32-33
In the first two installments of this article , the intention was to explore the reasons and means by which ideas are propagated through the mass media to persuasive effect in what is commonly referred to as the ‘war on terror’. The thought of early masters of public relations and propaganda, aspects of contemporary and wartime psychology, and investigations into the ultimate beneficiaries of these ideological campaigns were woven into the service of an argument which may be most easily summarized as follows: the feelings of both attraction to the familiar, and antipathy to the unfamiliar, are readily manipulated since these feelings strike close to the root of what it means to be secure.
Like the good cop playing off of the threat of the bad cop in some cinematic interrogation, or the stage magician that directs the attention with banal chatter on the one hand – only to spring some surprise upon the darkened theatre from within the other – real proficiency in persuasion depends upon immersion in the familiar before shocking the mind by offering it something to which it is unaccustomed. It is at this point at which we are prepared to be amazed, and we’re open to the show, waiting for the resolution of the third act. The stage sets the scene, and offers the familiar frame within which we interpret the events that unfold. We suspend our disbelief and we are entertained as, from underneath a white kerchief, a single white dove slips into view – a winking secret, an understanding shared between the performer and the audience.
What power, then, the masters of stagecraft have over our perception: as we sit in the theatre, we are unaware of the walls to our right and left unless we make the conscious effort to turn and look. The ornate murals and chandeliers go unnoticed also, if we are in one of the reliquaries of the stage. In the more mundane movie house or cineplex, the stickiness of the floors and the muted trill of a phone may barely enter our attention. All that matters, for the moment, is on the stage or screen – and the collective experience of viewing the spectacle is itself mesmerizing, for that which lies outside the glow of the limelight also lies outside of our shared experience.
And what an appropriate metaphor the stage is, for our fully stage-managed media. Scripted and honed, we are entertained nightly by staged wrestling matches, staged ‘reality’ television, and staged news, all of which we consume voraciously. One recent example of stagecraft involved a ‘spontaneous’ White House press conference in which soldiers were prepped with the questions they were to ask:
“’for 45 minutes prior to the President’s involvement, the soldiers practiced their answers repeatedly with a Pentagon official who stood where the President would later address the troops and, in her own words, quote, ‘drilled them on questions he was likely to ask,’ along with what she called their own, quote, ‘scripted responses.’” 
The article, from the Accuracy in Media site, goes on to state that “staging the news is commonplace”.
In his landmark 1994 book “Media Virus”, author and media analyst Douglas Rushkoff compared the content of such broadcasts, of any broadcast in fact, to a virus:
“Media viruses spread through the datasphere the same way biological ones spread through the body or a community … The protein shell of a media virus might be an event, invention, technology, system of thought, musical riff, visual image, scientific theory, sex scandal, clothing style or even a pop hero as long as it can catch our attention. Any one of these media virus shells will search out the receptive nooks and crannies in popular culture and stick on anywhere it is noticed. Once attached, the virus injects its more hidden agendas into the datastream in the form of ideological code”
If this is so, and if (as it seems) more than a handful of reasonably intelligent people are aware of this, then why do we pay any attention to the media at all? And what is the nature of the revelatory payload hidden within the sticky shell of the event we witness before us on the stage, on the screen, or in the daily headlines?
Tell Me a Story: The Necessity of Myth
“’We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” 
This quote, typically attributed to Karl Rove (the ‘senior advisor to Bush’ in Ron Suskind’s New York Times expose of fundamentalist thinking in the White House) neatly summarizes not only the arrogance of power but also a dynamic which any performer understands – the necessary reciprocal relationship between the performer and the audience. It is one of the first relationships that we experience, and is bound up in our nature – the need to relate to each other and to reality through stories. As seminal American author and essayist Reynolds Price put it:
“A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo Sapiens – second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day’s events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths.” 
Stories are as pervasive and as vital as the air we breathe – they are not merely the media, but the medium in which human consciousness exists. And like fish in a vast ocean, this medium flows around us and through us without any necessary conscious awareness on our part.
Air and water, once viewed as irreducible, may be analyzed in terms of their constituent parts, placed in bell jars, subjected to reactions and tests. Similarly, we may dig beneath the surface of stories and unearth patterns, themes and symbols. It is common knowledge that water reduces, via the process of electrolysis, into the highly reactive elements hydrogen and oxygen.  The constituents of stories, of myth and legend – the themes and symbols common to and reflective of the sum of human experience – are no less explosive in the wrong hands. We have already touched upon the place of Gustave Le Bon in the development of public relations theory. In 1896, he wrote:
“The great upheavals which precede changes of civilisations such as the fall of the Roman Empire and the foundation of the Arabian Empire, seem at first sight determined more especially by political transformations, foreign invasion, or the overthrow of dynasties. But a more attentive study of these events shows that behind their apparent causes the real cause is generally seen to be a profound modification in the ideas of the peoples. The true historical upheavals are not those which astonish us by their grandeur and violence. The only important changes whence the renewal of civilisations results, affect ideas, conceptions, and beliefs. The memorable events of history are the visible effects of the invisible changes of human thought.”  (7)
In regards to the personal sphere, McLuhan might agree: “Radical changes of identity, happening suddenly and in very brief intervals of time, have proved more deadly and destructive of human values than wars fought with hardware weapons.”  (97)
Ideas wrapped in stories change history, and this has been known for much longer than Le Bon’s work, though his restatement and expansion of known media theory was felt in the tectonic shifts of the twentieth century. Before the advent of the mass media, the carriers of news were the aoidos, the oral epic poets of ancient Greece and the bards of medieval Europe. Highly trained, these individuals fulfilled what we would regard today as a stunning multiplicity of roles – journalists, entertainers, chroniclers and genealogists; and yet at root their role was to promote social cohesion, for their stories travelled with them and were shaped by their audiences.
One of the existing repositories of this ancient folklore are the stories that we tell our children. In the collections of the Brothers Grimm, for example, the “Children’s and Household Tales”, we find the story of Hansel and Gretel. In this story, two children are abandoned in the deep woods by their parents. Encountering a witch with cannibalistic intentions, the brother and sister discover that they must work together if they are to survive. After a period of incarceration, they turn the witch’s plan on its head, cooking her in the stove, and attain their freedom (but not before looting the witch’s house of treasure). 
Many such ‘fairy tales’ follow a similar pattern. They are concise, they offer simple themes, and, like a three act play, are structured with a well defined beginning, middle, and end. The reason for this is that they fulfill a specific teaching role:
“Children… live in a world of terror in which the fragile illusion provided by the safety of the family is always at risk… Bruno Bettelheim (1977) suggested that fairy tales provide the opportunity for children to experience evil and terror as a part of life. A child can identify with the characters in a fairy tale and feel reassured that although evil and feelings of terror are an integral part of life they can be controlled.”  33
Here then, we may begin to see some of the symbols of the story and the way they are interwoven to contrast the familiar with the unfamiliar. The theme of abandonment, the symbols of the stranger and the woods, even the bread which the children scatter to leave themselves a trail home – all are recurrent in myth and legend. See: Little Red Riding Hood, the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur, and Snow White for other examples of the symbolism of the forest, the trail home, and the witch – for starters.
Though some of us may be all grown up now, it is still possible to identify with the plight of the children, for adults, too, have quests and obstacles to achieve every day before the journey home. In his book “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Campbell outlined the proposition that world myths of the heroic self share an underlying structure, beginning with the call to adventure:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”  (30)
Through his work in comparative mythology, Campbell sought to abstract away the differences that exist in individuals and the specifics of the cultures in which they live, in order to lay bare the shared aspects of psychology that are common to each and every one of us. These are the themes and symbols that resonate at the deepest level of our psyche.
The Greatest Show on Earth! Our Complicity as Symbol Consumers
What, then, is a symbol? In Carl Jung’s words, “A word or an image is symbolic when it implies something more than its obvious and immediate meaning. It has a wider “unconscious” aspect that is never precisely defined or fully explained.”  (4)
The reason that a symbol’s meaning cannot be fully defined in practical terms has to do with the dual structure of the human psyche itself. In broad terms, one may view the mind as being subdivided into two sections with overlapping boundaries – the conscious mind, which is the set of all those experiences presently in the limelight of one’s current awareness, and the unconscious mind, wherein your memories and the sum of your past experiences reside.
But this, too, is a simplification. Your unconscious is not merely a storehouse for forgotten events like some dusty attic of the mind. It also captures things half-seen, things half-heard – nearly everyone has had the experience of being in some crowded, noisy area in which a number of conversations are occurring, only to be alerted to the fact that someone has said something interesting or vital just after they have finished speaking – in which case you are compelled to ask them to repeat it. Your unconscious is a massive filter for experience and a processing powerhouse without which we would be unable to accomplish anything more demanding than the simplest tasks. Jay Ingram, host of the Discovery Channel’s science magazine show Daily Planet, offers this example:
“Think back to when you learned to drive: every single step had to be considered. Put the key in, turn it that way, take off the parking brake, look carefully at the automatic transmission to be sure that you’re about to shift into drive and not reverse or neutral, check both mirrors – have you done everything you should? Ease your foot off the brake – it was endless and harrowing. And that was before you even pulled out into the road! After driving for a few weeks or months, the process was totally different… you no longer paid conscious attention to [the details].”  (65)
And so it is with the dexterity of the pianist, the balance of the bicyclist, and the sudden insights of great mathematicians. In many ways, your unconscious mind is a great undiscovered country lying in twilight, teeming with activity, and you have but one small flashlight – the light of your reasoning consciousness – with which to explore it. Or, like the shifting landmasses of the living alien world in Stanislaw Lem’s science fiction masterpiece ‘Solaris’, we can only see the shapes of our mind’s terrain when they break the surface of the deep unconscious ocean. They remain in our view for but a little while then, having exhausted whatever power keeps them afloat, they sink beneath the waves once more. 
We’re familiar, each to one’s own degree of ability, with the way that our conscious mind processes ideas. But does the unconscious mind operate on the same principles? This would not appear to be the case. Rather than categorizing objects based on their specific similarities and differences of type, the unconscious mind deliberates in its own peculiar, associative dream language. Julian Jaynes, the freewheeling intellectual and psychologist responsible for the idea that the evolution of consciousness may have occurred on far shorter time scales than we may like to think, put it this way: “It is by metaphor that language grows… In early times, language and its referents climbed up from the concrete to the abstract on the steps of metaphors, even, we may say, created the abstract on the basis of metaphors.”  (49-51) For evidence, Jaynes directs the reader to the pages of any etymological dictionary, or offers a wealth of his own examples: the leaf of a book, the tongues of shoes, the teeth of a comb. Notice that, with the metaphor, we are also relating the unfamiliar to the familiar.
Jung speaks of a similarly associative quality of the unconscious mind in its generation of the dream image. “The unconscious… seems to be guided chiefly by instinctive trends , represented by corresponding thought forms – that is, by the archetypes. A doctor who is asked to describe the course of an illness will use such rational concepts as “infection” or “fever”. The dream is more poetic. It presents the diseased body [in the dream of one patient] as a man’s earthly house, and the fever as the fire that is destroying it.”  (67) Further, Jung connects the underlying patterns of archetype to the images produced in dreams, poetry, and art by generating his own unique metaphor: the symbol is the flower, the unconscious archetype its root.
“As a plant produces its flower, so the psyche creates its symbols. Every dream is evidence of this process.”  (53)
Symbols, then, are something that may, at least for now and for the purposes of definition, only be glimpsed out of the corner of the mind’s eye. Their full meaning is highly contextual and depends upon an understanding of the individual and the particular ways in which their unconscious mind gives rise to the symbol. However, this is not to denigrate the universal aspect of symbols – and so I feel compelled at this point to introduce you to a metaphor of my own devising. Allow the author to be your temporary guide, and I will take you on a magic carpet ride – to a different kind of stage right here on this page; a circular bullring in Sevilla, jewel of the Andalusian province of Spain.
You are in the top level of the stadium, and beyond the heads of the crowd, you see a maze of narrow, twisting streets full of homes in the Moorish style. In the distance, the sparkling ribbon of the Guadalquivir glistens in the sun. You feel moderately dazed, displaced – could it be the heat? – but you decide that this disconcerting feeling will pass in time.
Suddenly, a trumpet sounds – the matador and his procession file into the arena, followed by El Toro – the bull – an elemental force, a burly, stamping dynamo of power and confusion, moving like the wind from one side of the arena to the other, confused of its whereabouts.
And so the game begins, wrapped in the now-familiar three act structure: the lances third, the flags third, and the death third. In each, the human combatants emerge from their protective barricades and seek to pierce the mass of muscle in the withers of the beast, the place from which the mighty head of the bull gains its power. Weakened and bloodied but unbowed, the bull increasingly seeks a place of refuge in the ring – you, a resident of Sevilla, call it the querencia.
This location is a place of temporary solace for the bull, and in choosing to return to this place, the bull overplays its hand – for as it becomes increasingly distressed, its actions become more and more predictable. The bull will seek to return to its comfort zone again and again while harried by the matador, who seeks to prevent this return and to destabilize the bull’s sense of security.
The final stage of the bullfight, the tercio de muerte or ‘death third’, is that with which we are most familiar. The matador re-enters the ring, resplendent in his embroidered ‘suit of lights’, with the muleta (the small red cape) in one hand, and a sword in the other. In a series of challenges and passes, the matador seeks to baffle the dazed, charging animal with the distracting, billowing cape, escape personal injury, and administer the final blow with the sword – a deadly strike between the shoulder blades and into the heart.
As a spectator to this event, ask yourself: what is the meaning of the events you have just witnessed? This is an important skill. You’ve seen a man kill an animal in a highly stylized, ritualistic way. The crowd has applauded the skill of the torero and his assistants, although the outcome of this seven on one contest is rarely in doubt: instead, it is the pageantry of the spectacle to which they are attracted. For on the one hand, you have the torero, armed with the sword and cape – symbols of power and concealment, evoking perhaps the idea of the carrot and the stick as a means to control the servile animal, or the weapons of the gladiator in the Roman coliseum. Then there is the bull, which any decent dictionary of symbolism will define along the following lines:
“In many ancient cultures, a symbol of great importance… in ancient Cretan ritual the bull was used in athletic/artistic leaping dances in which humans sought to demonstrate their superiority as they overcame the supposedly dull animalistic nature of the ‘beast’. Such rituals are also related to the efforts of the human race to domesticate cattle… The bullfight of southwestern Europe should not be understood as a sporting event but rather as a stylized version of the bull rituals of the ancient Mediterranean world, which ended with the sacrifice of the equally respected and feared symbol of the forces of untamed nature.”  (51-52)
The answer is that the bullfight is itself a symbol, a symbol of the ageless dance between the agency of the conscious mind (represented by the matador and his sword) and the agency of the unconscious, the bellowing, charging animal instinct. In such a battle, victory must go once more (as it always will) to the contestant that manages to maintain the initiative and define the terms of the battle. It is worth noting, however, that those rare bulls allowed to survive the fight as the result of an exceptional performance, are never allowed back into the ring – for the expectation is that the bull will have learned the game, whereas the “entire strategy of the matador is based on the assumption that the bull has not learned from previous experience”. 
Bulls, it seems, are quick studies and may only be fooled once by the distraction of the torero’s veil. If given a second chance, they will make short work of the bullfight and all its vainglorious apparatus.
How does this reflect, then, upon the crowd of spectators, or any such crowd – here at the bullfight, the circus, the theatre of the evening news, willing to see this ritual play itself out once more to the same end? Are we the bull, the spectator, or the matador? Perhaps we are all three. The irony is that, though we may only fool the bull once, we ourselves return as a species time and again to the same pageant of collective trust and betrayal, a ritual we may rightly call “The Greatest Show on Earth”.
Apotheosis: Emerging from the Dreamtime
“In former times men did not reflect upon their symbols; they lived them and were unconsciously animated by their meaning.”  (69)
The aboriginal tribes of Australia speak of a time that existed both before the creation of the world and in parallel with it. This concept may be roughly translated as being the ‘Dreamtime’, or the ‘Dreaming’. In the Dreamtime, past, present, and future were/are one. It was/is the ultimate ‘once upon a time’, and indeed the words used in the Aranda language to describe it blur the concepts of the state of dreaming, the past, and the time when tribal ancestors walked the earth.  In the Dreamtime, the ancestors lived among the animals and plants and in some cases, were indistinguishable from them, for they were able to shift their shapes.
The Dreamtime bears striking resemblances to the creation myths of many aboriginal cultures the world over and is not wholly unlike the Christian concept of the Garden. In fact, almost every culture has such a utopian concept, and it is in this primordial time before time that many of our myths are set.  The history of the world’s great mythological and religious concepts chronicle the yearning of millennia to return to this source, this Paradise Lost:
“No voices now speak to men from stones, plants, and animals, nor does he speak to them believing they can hear. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied. This enormous loss is compensated for by the symbols of our dreams.”  (85)
This, then, is the primal veil: the tantalizingly insubstantial barrier, the maddeningly one- way passage, the deep Stygian river which separates us for ever from the world of childhood, the world of dreams, the utopia of legend, and the chief object of our inquiry. It is this great divide, the boundary between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of mind, that provides the dynamic tension which motivates us as individuals and as a species. It is the open secret: that distance between our ascendant consciousness and its attendant unconscious realm which separates us from our own infancy and from the natural, instinctual world carries with it an attractive charge. It is as though the orbiting poles of our psyche might fuse together with an explosive, or rather, implosive, electrical discharge if given the chance.
Civilization appears to provide for just such an opportunity on a regular basis, with bloody results:
“Where [symbols] are repressed or neglected, their specific energy disappears into the unconscious with unaccountable consequences. The psychic energy that appears to have been lost in this way in fact serves to revive and intensify whatever is uppermost in the unconscious – tendencies, perhaps, that have hitherto had no chance to express themselves or at least have not been allowed an uninhibited existence in our unconscious. Such tendencies form an ever-present and potentially destructive “shadow” to our conscious mind. Even tendencies that might in some circumstances be able to exert a beneficial influence are transformed into demons when they are repressed… Our times have demonstrated what it means for the gates of the underworld to be opened.”  (83)
Writing as he did in the aftermath of World War II, Jung recognized the danger in priming the pump of the unconscious by cutting oneself off from its symbolic, emotional realm. Ignoring a problem, he is saying, will not make it disappear – and an attempt to strike it down will only exacerbate and enlarge it, so that when it re-emerges in the conscious realm, in an argument, in a neurosis, in anxiety, or in the ‘social turbulence’ identified in the socio-psychological theory of the Tavistock Institute, it will have become more powerful than before.
Evasion, in the conscious realm, is equally devastating. The philosopher Ayn Rand identified evasion as being the opposite of reason, and the primary human vice;
“…which is the root of all other human evils: irrationality. This is the deliberate suspension of consciousness, the refusal to see, to think, to know – either as a general policy, because one considers awareness as too demanding, or in regard to some specific point, because the facts conflict with one’s feelings.”  (222)
Speaking in the climactic courtroom scene of her novel Atlas Shrugged, the hero John Galt puts it this way:
“Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think – not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgement – on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.” Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say “It is,” you are refusing to say “I am.” By suspending your judgement, you are negating your person.”  (935)
One of the great tragedies of Western civilization has been to regard the conscious mind and its vital, active partner the unconscious as opposites – when in fact they are two inseparable halves of a unified whole. This apparent ‘unity of opposites’ is expressed elegantly in the familiar Eastern yin-yang symbol. It is interesting to observe the repeated ordering by the human mind of nature into such apparently contrary groupings, dualisms which define what it means to be human and experience the world: inside/outside, man/woman, life/death, sun/moon, above/below… this tendency to organize our experience into groupings of ‘this’ and ‘that’ is a universal and this tendency may be said to be one of the fundamental Jungian archetypes, of which one of the chief symbolic expressions is that of the two complementary pillars. From the Dictionary of Symbolism:
“Pillars. Not merely functional components holding up massive structures: they are of great symbolic significance. They often flank the entrance to a shrine or temple (or to an inner sanctuary, the holy of holies) and are associated symbolically with the “pillars of the earth” (see Axis Mundi). Greek mythology preserves the notions of the “pillars of Hercules” standing at the edge of the oecumene, or inhabited world. In the Bible God alone has the power to shake the pillars of the earth (see Job 9:6) on judgement day, like the hero Samson at the entrance to the temple of the Philistines. Paired pillars are reminiscent of the Egyptian use of paired Obelisks as gateways to temples. Among the most famous pillars, especially because of their importance in the traditions of Freemasonry, are the bronze pillars [Jachin and Boaz] of Solomon’s Temple.”  (266)
The conscious and unconscious minds are the twin pillars which hold up our psyche, framing the entrance to the ‘temple’ of our minds. Jung and Rand, then, are both correct to point out the destructive powers of repression and evasion – to deny either aspect of self, or to block communication between the conscious and unconscious, is to negate your person – is to destroy the self by shattering it in half. Instead of a unified thinking, feeling human being you will have created on the one hand, a shining, robotic automaton intelligence, a potential killing machine – and behind the veil, an equally ferocious snarling, slathering beast. What you will have on your hands is a bullfight. What you will have is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
What you will have is the blinded hero Samson , demolishing the temple at the cost of his own life by bringing its infrastructure down upon his own head.
Certainly, these parallels are not lost upon the framers of the tragedy of 9/11. Examples have already been provided of the flood of assurances we’ve been given in the media that the world changed on that day, as though we’ve passed between the pillars of Hercules and left the inhabited world behind.
And so, it seems, we have. As we sit in the darkened theatre and watch the curtain rise, we see amazing things transpiring upon the stage. Instead of the artistic endeavours of the past three thousand years of human culture, we see the bickering infantilism of ‘reality television’. Instead of the cohesive power and pride of the human spirit in its ability to transcend difference, we see torture’s use rationalized as a legitimate tool in the new war of terror. Instead of the projection of the hero and his or her mythic quest for self actualization, the hero is sneered at, and we are presented, instead, with the anti-hero as a model for behaviour – fools, puppet presidents, and countless examples of callow, snivelling adults stumbling through their meaningless lives in Fox sitcoms. We see news panel show hosts that no longer know if the world is flat or round , and beauty pageant contestants that wouldn’t be able to find America on a map of America, much less the world.  Although, perhaps she could be forgiven for this mistake, given that there is so very little of it left.
There is hope, of course, that these are the exceptional cases – but these are the actors on the stage. The problem, then, is to bridge the gulf between the stage and the audience. And a culture where drunken heiresses are exalted as demigods by fans capable of simultaneous ironic adoration and revulsion presents a unique opportunity. These personages are the symbols and icons of the new cultural narrative.
Joseph Campbell’s ‘monomyth’, the hero’s quest, the story of all the myths in the world, the greatest story ever told, is the story of the discovery and emancipation of the unconscious mind. The hero discovers the underworld and brings its truths to light in a radical expansion of understanding. It is the story of the achievement of one’s own identity and a broad knowledge of the workings of the world. It is not the ridiculous dystopic fable of 9/11 and a world in decay, beset by invisible enemies and subject to the demands of ‘state security’. It is not the story of you, sitting in front of your television, watching American Idol and having your consciousness chipped away. That would be the story of regression, of a movement backwards towards the Dreamtime. We’ve been there – and this point cannot be emphasized enough – we’ve done that already.
It is not that we need another hero. Siegfried has slain the dragon, Inanna has escaped the underworld, Dorothy has been to Oz, Luke Skywalker has defeated the Empire, Neo has undergone ego-death to be reborn with knowledge of the matrix, and Frodo has rejected the Ring of power, casting it into the maw of the volcano. What we need is a culture of heroes – or at least, a culture of awareness – each one of us undergoing our own personal apotheosis and sharing our gifts with those around us. WAKE UP.
Bjork sings: Declare independence. Don’t let them do that to you. Raise your own flag. Yes, and hack the system as though your life and liberty depend on it – it only has limited bandwidth, and cannot sustain itself if its channels are overloaded. The traditional networks were only ever intended as a one-way symbolic distribution channel – they can be taken down under reverse load.
Information flooding, truth-telling, and education in a rational philosophy is one way to reach people. But this approach is not the whole solution, because these messages may never reach those who are now dreaming, those who are under the ‘spell’ of the media. Apart from the few distinct tasks in which they have developed conscious proficiency, their unconscious mind is doing the driving. The key is that they must be spoken to in the language they understand, the language of dreams – the language of poetry and song, stage and screen. So generate and translate your own content – metaphors must adapt to survive, and showing up on stage with a new one is going to seriously mess with the existing script. The tools are now in your hands.
The curtain of the mind’s theatre is the final veil that must be torn because there, in the holy of holies, it’s always just small men pulling the big levers of power. 
Once that’s finally been established, then maybe we can leave the theatre and get outside for a bit, to see the world with open eyes. Perhaps a trip to the beach would be in order?
Are you such a dreamer/ to put the world to rights?
I’ll stay home forever/ Where two and two always makes a five.
From the Album, Hail to the Thief
 Tearing the Veil Part One: Misdirection – The Proliferation of Media Terror
Tearing the Veil Part Two: Manipulation – The Marketing of Security Culture
 How the Media Stage the News
 Excerpt: Media Virus! Hiddem Agendas in Popular Culture
 Karl Rove (reputedly), to NYT Journalist Ron Suskind, Summer 2002
 Wikipedia: Storytelling
 Wikipedia: Electrolysis
 Gustave Le Bon: The Crowd
 McLuhan, Marshall and Eric (1988) Laws of Media: The New Science Toronto, University of Toronto Press
 Wikipedia: Hansel and Gretel
 Holloway, Harry C., Fullerton, Carol S. (1994) “The psychology of terror and its aftermath” Individual and Community Responses to Trauma and Disaster. Ed. Ursano, Robert J., McGughey, Brian G., Fullerton, Carol S. New York: Cambridge University Press
 Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949.
 Jung, Carl G. (1964) “Approaching the unconscious” Man and His Symbols. Ed. Jung, Carl G., M.-L. von Franz: London: Aldus Books, Ltd.
 Ingram, Jay (2005) Theatre of the Mind: Raising the Curtain on Consciousness. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
 Wikipedia: Solaris (Novel)
 Jaynes, Julian (1976) The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company
 Beidermann, Hans (1992) Dictionary of symbolism: cultural icons and the meanigns behind them. New York: Penguin Books
 Wikipedia: Spanish-Style Bullfighting
 The Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime: (Its History, Cosmogenesis, Cosmology and Ontology )
 Wikipedia: Golden Age
 Peikoff, Leonard (1991) Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Penguin Books
 Rand, Ayn (1957) Atlas Shrugged. New York: Penguin Books
 Wikipedia: Samson
 Huffington Post: New “View” Co-Host Sherri Shepherd Doesn’t Know If World is Flat
 YouTube: Miss Teen South Carolina 2007
 YouTube: Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain!