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Power & Freedom

PPFE Part #2

Fundamental Question: What Revolutions are Necessary and How Can They be Engineered?


There are three PPFE pages:

If you haven't yet done so, you may want to quickly scan all three pages to get an overall idea of what's on them.

When Governmentologists prohibit certain activities, they may create Gaps. Resourceful entrepreneurs -- including PPFEs -- may be able to Mine these Gaps by enabling customers to perform the prohibited activities in ways that are difficult or impossible to stop -- see Online Poker Report.

The Internet, particularly YouTube, can be used to reach millions of people. For example, millions of people have watched "911-truth" videos online. Irrespective of who the real 911 perpetrators were, 911 can be used as a "Wedge Issue" -- see Potential Market Leverage Segments.

Statistics obtained through Google searches make it very easy to do crude market research to determine the popularity of certain topics. YouTube can be used to contact certain activists with considerable influence and "reach" to their audience.

Ann Coulter can be used as a role model for PPFEs on how to get publicity and improve your impact. If you can attract attention you can "monetize the attention" -- e.g., by selling books, T-shirts, getting advertisers to pay to advertise on your websites, etc. PPFE projects can become profiable.

The "Blasphemy Challenge" could be used as a model for creating a "Political Equivalent Challenge."

The section on "Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds" may provide some pointers on how to "convert large numbers of people to higher levels of freedom and competence.

It's important for PPFEs to recognize that, in addition to Governmentologists, certain people in "corporate business and finance" may be major enemies of freedom -- see Pecking Order Bully System (POBS), Big-Finance & Big-Business. What if most "key politicians" are owned by "corporate masters?"

It may be vital for PPFEs to create several alternative currencies along the lines of e-gold. (Unfortunately, e-gold set themselves up as a "sitting duck." Starting in 2005, Governmentologists were able to raid e-gold offices and servers, and steal millions from e-gold and some of its major customers. It seems that e-gold is no longer a viable business from a PPFE perspective.)

Key Question: In a contest between PPFEs and Governmentologists and their corporate masters, what would make it possible for PPFEs to gain the upper hand?

Grasping the concept of "Pretendities" is most important.

This page suggests certain specific strategies with the intention of "firing up the imaginations" of PPFEs. The idea is to stimulate a wide range of liberation activities all over the world. See also:

More potentially useful questions:

  • What resources do freedom activists have available to them?
  • To what extent do freedom activists typically utilize their resources to strengthen the hands of Governmentologists?
  • How can freedom activists SHIFT the utilization of their resources from strengthening Governmentologists to promoting freedom?

See Economic Means To Freedom, particularly Is the Private Sector Really Part of the Public Sector?.

By accident and/or design, Scientologists, Godologists, and Governmentologists take advantage of aspects of "human nature." It may be necesary for PPFEs to gain a superior understanding of human nature. See:


PPFE Central
& the Perfectors

The Grand Perfector of PPFEs:
The Flying Spaghetti Monster

"PPFE Central" is the secret headquarters for PPFEs. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the "Grand Perfector of PPFEs."

Anyone can be appointed a "Perfector of PPFEs." Historical figures can be "resurrected" as "Revenants" or "Benevolent Pretendities."

If Ann Coulter's activities can be profitable, maybe some PPFEs can emulate her!

The Church of the SubGenius is the Official Church of PPFE Central.

Online Poker Report
-- 60 Minutes
-- 30th November, 2008

According to the report, about half-a-million Americans play online poker at any given time, even though it's "illegal" for them to do so.

"We should tell you that this $18 billion industry is illegal in the U.S., but the ban is almost impossible to enforce since the Internet sites and the computers that randomly deal the cards and keep track of the bets are located offshore, beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement...

The virtual poker games are actually run on computers servers from a Canadian Indian reservation outside of Montreal. It's all licensed by the sovereign tribe of the Mohawk nation, which has no experience in casino gambling and doesn't have to answer to Canadian authorities.

The grand chief is Mike Delisle.

Chief Delisle says Internet gambling is illegal in Canada, but tells Kroft, "We're not Canadians. We're a member of the Haudenosaunee Five Nation Confederacy. And we're Mohawk Kahnawake people. We're not Canadian."

And that legal distinction has allowed the Kahnawakes to rake in millions of dollars a year by licensing Internet gaming sites and housing their computer servers on the reservation. They now register and service more than 60 percent of the world's Internet gaming activity from a highly protected and nondescript building that used to be a mattress factory..."

What can PPFEs learn from this when it comes to providing and operating alternative currencies -- and providing other useful services some Governmentologists might declare "illegal?"

Can "Virtual Worlds" be set up with their own real-word currencies... that could eventually replace the so-called "US dollar" if it's completely destroyed via hyperinflation?

See also Some Important Statistics.

Ann Coulter is a Secret PPFE (Personal Power & Freedom Engineer) with the official titles:
Perfector of Godless Liberal America and
Perfector of Jews.
Her strategy of making controversial claims (no matter how satirical) is the essence of "PPFE Ridicule Strategy!"

Don't tell anyone: Ann Coulter is a PPFE Secret Agent and Mole. (If you ask her if she's really a Perfector of PPFEs, she will deny it.) Her main job is to make Conservative Governmentologists and Christian Godologists look ridiculous. She's been doing a great job and PPFE Central is very proud of her! See Suggested Strategies to Assist Ann Coulter. (Note: "BEING EXTREME MAKES MILLIONS!")

Potential Market Leverage Segments

Google web/video search results (Nov-Dec 07) indicate potential PPFE project participants -- particularly "outside mainstream" -- people already at least partially broken free from "Subjective Social Agreement," or ready to do so. (Note: "15,400,000 / 28,446" denotes 15,400,000 web results and 28,446 video results.)

The significance of these statistics is that there are thousands (sometimes millions) of web pages and hundreds (sometimes thousands) of online videos related to certain topics. Some of the videos have been watched by millions of people. Many of these people may be prospective participants in PPFE Projects.

That certain videos have been watched by millions of people demonstrates that someone can make a video and then use the Internet to get millions of people to watch that video.

YouTube provides information you can use to identify (and often contact) people who like a particular video.

Because they ridicule both Godologists and Governmentologists, anyone who appreciates George Carlin and/or Bill Maher may be a prospect for PPFE Projects.

(Items preceded by an em-dash (—), below, added during Nov-Dec 08.)

  • Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut - All time views: 7,503,308 (Real perpetrators of 911 not necessarily important to PPFEs -- see Confessions of an Ex-Truther, Screw Loose Change Blog, Screw Loose Change Video, and Debunking 911 Conspiracy Theories).
  • ZEITGEIST, The Movie - Official Release - Full Film - All time views: 5,280,841 (During Dec 07, was often among top 10 Google videos.)
  • — Blogging: 91,000,000 / 1,490,000.
  • — "Video Game": 74,100,000 / 553,000.
  • — Obama: 329,000,000 / 353,000.
  • — Mafia: 57,300,000 / 116,000.
  • — Propaganda: 58,300,000 / 89,400.
  • — Corporation: 410,000,000 / 65,000.
  • — "Global Warming": 35,800,000 / 54,500.
  • — Depression: 90,700,000 / 47,300.
  • — Oprah: 27,500,000 / 38,800.
  • — "Second Life": 4,720,000 / 35,000.
  • "The Secret": 49,500,000 / 31,793.
  • — "The Secret": 58,300,000 / 95,700.
  • Atheist Atheism: 15,400,000 / 28,446.
  • "Elvis Presley": 21,800,000 / 18,810.
  • "Ron Paul": 1,880,000 / 18,100.
  • — "Ron Paul": 11,300,000 / 53,700.
  • "John Lennon": 16,200,000 / 15,333.
  • — Geronimo: 9,490,000 / 14,400.
  • — "Mind Control": 6,100,000 / 13,700.
  • — "Al Gore": 14,800,000 / 12,300.
  • — "George Carlin": 6,130,000 / 10,800.
  • — "Leonardo DiCaprio": 7,770,000 / 9,590.
  • Anarchist Anarchism: 246,000 / 9,568.
  • — Pocahontas: 7,290,000 / 9,260.
  • "Alex Jones": 1,530,000 / 8,051.
  • "Law of Attraction": 1,190,000 / 7,006.
  • — Brainwashing: 2,150,000 / 6,490.
  • — "James Dean": 4,520,000 / 6,440.
  • — "John Wayne": 7,930,000 / 5,620.
  • — "Online Poker": 17,100,000 / 5,160.
  • "Howard Stern": 7,050,000 / 4,174.
  • — "Cosa Nostra": 2,580,000 / 3,450.
  • Scientology: 7,400,000 / 3,211.
  • "Blasphemy Challenge": 165,000 / 3,174.
  • "Jerry Springer": 3,490,000 / 2,832.
  • "Bill Maher": 2,240,000 / 2,795.
  • Libertarian: 10,900,000 / 2,793.
  • "John Denver": 2,960,000 / 2,681.
  • "Muhammad Ali" 4,050,000 / 2,297.
  • — "Mark Twain": 12,600,000 / 2,260.
  • — "Benjamin Franklin": 8,050,000 / 1,940.
  • "Richard Dawkins": 1,480,000 / 1,932.
  • "Ann Coulter": 2,970,000 / 1,728.
  • "Martin Luther King Jr" 5,030,000 / 1,696.
  • — "Martin Luther King": 17,800,000 / 13,100.
  • "William Shakespeare": 8,550,000 / 1,541.
  • — "Paul Revere": 1,540,000 / 1,310.
  • Discordian: 458,000 / 1,292.
  • "Guy Fawkes": 765,000 / 1,289.
  • Malcolm X 3,540,000 / 1,272.
  • Cthulhu: 6,830,000 / 1,041.
  • — "Russell Means": 911,000 / 1,030.
  • "Ayn Rand": 2,620,000 / 1,011.
  • "Mahatma Gandhi": 3,410,000 / 932.
  • — "Boone Pickens": 1,010,000 / 865.
  • — "Arianna Huffington": 1,160,000 / 857.
  • Objectivism: 984 / 838.
  • — "Will Rogers": 2,050,000 / 831.
  • — "John Pilger": 651,000 / 803.
  • — Gurdjieff: 842,000 / 821.
  • Coluche: 1,630,000 / 785.
  • — "Flying Spaghetti Monster": 705,000 / 737.
  • — "Ted Turner": 1,080,000 / 709.
  • "Christopher Hitchens": 798,000 / 695.
  • "George Orwell": 4,710,000 / 693.
  • — "George Orwell": 5,630,000 / 1,690.
  • — "Greg Palast": 654,000 / 683.
  • — Deprogramming: 244,000 / 581.
  • — "Jane Goodall": 874,000 / 529.
  • — "Thomas Paine": 1,520,000 / 515.
  • "Aaron Russo": 326,000 / 510.
  • — "Daniel Quinn": 242,000 / 492.
  • — "Sitting Bull": 1,190,000 / 439.
  • "Kurt Vonnegut": 2,140,000 / 426.
  • — Antipsychiatry: 117,000 / 420.
  • "Timothy Leary": 798,000 / 385.
  • "Milton Friedman": 1,120,000 / 307.
  • "Robert Anton Wilson": 622,000 / 291.
  • "Bob Dobbs" -"Lou Dobbs": 72,000 / 224.
  • Transhuman: 670,000 / 222.
  • — "Chief Joseph": 433,000 / 201.
  • — "Jonathan Swift": 1,570,000 / 197.
  • — "Louise Michel": 1,680,000 / 194.
  • — Sacajawea: 311,000 / 194.
  • Booker T. Washington 285,000 / 176.
  • "Friedrich Nietzsche": 3,580,000 / 172.
  • — "Emma Goldman": 574,000 / 168.
  • "Alan Watt" -Watts: 78,200 / 149.
  • "George Bernard Shaw": 2,560,000 / 146.
  • — "Beyond Civilization": 37,700 / 141.
  • "Emperor Norton": 242,000 / 139.
  • — "Rachel Carson": 671,000 / 138.
  • — "Dian Fossey": 287,000 / 116.
  • Pastafarian: 187,000 / 115.
  • "Church of the SubGenius": 110,000 / 108.
  • "Jiddu Krishnamurti": 269,000 / 106.
  • FreedomainRadio: 45,100 / 97.
  • — "Mary Ruwart": 50,300 / 88.
  • — "Mafia Death": 25,200 / 88.
  • "Stefan Molyneux": 47,500 / 69.
  • Bokonon: 156,000 / 62.
  • — "Jane Jacobs": 636,000 / 54.
  • — "Lysander Spooner": 74,100 / 38.
  • "Murray Rothbard": 168,000 / 27.
  • — "Carol Moore": 60,900 / 27.
  • — "Max Stirner": 168,000 / 20.
  • — "Paul Polak": 18,500 / 20.
  • "Robert Heinlein": 741,000 / 19.
  • "Doug Casey": 62,500 / 19.
  • — "Virtual World Platform": 13,700 / 16.
  • — "Chief Pontiac": 44,800 / 15.
  • — "Bill McDonough": 26,000 / 15.
  • "Harry Browne": 153,000 / 12.
  • Extropian: 148,000 / 12.
  • "Buckminster Fuller": 557,000 / 10.
  • — "Buckminster Fuller": 647,000 / 464.
  • — "Rose Wilder Lane": 63,300 / 7.
  • "Celestial Teapot": 12,200 / 6.
  • "Neo-Tech": 68,500 / 5.
  • — "Wendy McElroy": 99,900 / 3.
  • — "Claire Wolfe": 48,700 / 2.
  • "Arthur Janov": 37,800 / 2.
  • Anticivilization: 12,500 / 2.
  • — "Voltairine de Cleyre": 36,500 / 1.

(Note: "12,500 / 2" denotes 12,500 web results and 2 video results from Google searches. Items preceded by an em-dash (—) above, were added during Nov-Dec 08. The others were added during Nov-Dec 07.)

The above numbers can be used to get an idea of what people are interested in, and what they are sufficiently interested in to make videos and post them online. You can use them to design a PPFE Project, to get an idea of how many people might be interested in a particular PPFE Project, and to decide how to present and promote the project. You can get statistics of how often any particular video has been viewed.

Some people upload large numbers of videos to YouTube. Some of these people have significant numbers of subscribers.

As as an example, a PPFE Project could be designed to appeal to Ron Paul supporters (note how "his numbers" have grown from Nov-Dec 07 to Nov-Dec 08). The Internet, particularly YouTube, can be used to contact Ron Paul supporters. Many Ron Paul supporters may be disappointed with his 2008 election results, and my be open to participate in other projects.

(The numbers for "The Secret" may reflect the prevalence of magical thinking and the gullibility of the "Oprah crowd.")

Gerry Spence Quotes

In Gerry Spence's book From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America, Chapter 5 is titled: "The New King -- The Tyranny of the Corporate Core," from which we quote below. We've replaced Spence's term "entities" with "pretendities", which we regard as a more apt term.

"In furtherance of our conclusion that Earthlings suffer bizarre aberrations of the mind, we report the following: There exists on earth a host of controlling pretendities called "corporations." However, try as we may, we have been unable to demonstrate that these pretendities are alive, that they breathe or feel or that they physically exist. These corporations appear to have no life as we understand life. They seem interested in but one thing, a lifeless paper symbol that measures the worth of all things and all Earthlings -- something Earthlings call "money."

Although corporations do not breathe, they are said to breathe money. Although they have no blood, their blood is said to be money. Although they have no brains, they are said to think money, and although they have no visible mouths, they speak only in terms of money. Although corporations do not live, their lives are devoted to the gathering of money, and although they are soulless, their souls are said to be composed totally of money. It remains an enigma to us that any but the insane could devote the labor of their entire lives to such non-beings. By means of the corporate-owned media, closely censored information is disseminated that portrays the corporate oligarchy as honest and just and also convinces the people it is proper for non-living pretendities to own or control the entire wealth of the earth while the living should be allowed only that which "trickles down." So convinced are the Earthlings of this religion called "free enterprise" that they willingly lay down their lives and the lives of their children to protect the oligarchy that continues to exploit them. ["Oligarchy" denotes a Pecking Order Bully System (POBS) with a small number of bullies at the top. "Plutocracy denotes a POBS with rich bullies at the top.]

...the people are not aware that a New King reigns. They are vaguely cognizant, of course, that there are clusters of monstrous corporate pretendities that seem to control them, but they are no more sensitive to the ubiquitous nature of their enslavement than they are of the unrelenting pull of gravity. In fact, they seem to unconsciously fear their independence of these corporate pretendities, this New King of theirs, in the same way they might fear the loss of their subjugation to the gravitational pull of the earth -- that if gravity were extinguished they might suddenly find themselves flying free with no means by which to affix their feet to the soil."

Chapter 9 of From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America, Chapter 5 is titled: "Redesigning the Human Mind -- The Tyranny of the Media," from which the following is quoted:

  • "Ratings are what television is about, not freedom, not truth."
  • "Corporate America controls our major networks, magazines, and newspapers."
  • "The selection of news, its focus, its emphasis, its clarity, all deal with a more insidious censorship, one more difficult to detect, one hidden behind scanty details and unimpassioned words that flash quickly by."
  • "In the end, the media prints and broadcasts in accordance to its business requirements."
  • "It is, indeed, a quite incredible, yet uniformly accepted phenomenon, one akin to hiring the wolf to guard the farmer's flock of sheep, that the media, owned by our corporate masters, is the sole voice charged with guarding our individual freedom. But in a society dominated by corporations, the people's power to speak freely and effectively and be heard is the last freedom corporations whish to deliver to the people. The history of corporate resistance to freedom began with the Church itself, the first successful international corporation known to the world, and still today the world's largest. Pope Leo XIII said it plainly: "The liberty of thinking and publishing whatever one likes... that is the fountainhead of many evils.""
  • "Few social psychologists doubt that redesigning the human mind has become the long-term objective of corporate America." [See the "Psychological Control" videos.]
  • "We love our servitude. But why not? It often feels as good as freedom, and we can enjoy it without the risk that always accompanies the struggle for freedom."
  • "The corporate oligarchy understands that its power is safe only so long as the people believe they are free, and corporate America has the means -- the exclusive means -- by which to create and sell that fantasy."
  • "In the end, the most deadly trap of all is a brainwashed mind, for the brain, washed against itself, is powerless."
  • "The brainwashing has dehumanized us."
  • "Our minds have also been reformed to adopt a single virulent philosophy, a supposed wisdom -- that to prosper, Americans must support a dribble-down theory of the New King, that to survive, Americans must abdicate their power to the corporate conglomerate."

Pecking Order Bully System (POBS), Big-Finance & Big-Business

Consider the possibility that practically all humans have a powerful and deep-seated "Pecking Order Bully System" (POBS) program, inherited from our animal ancestors. If so, it would be automatic behavior for most people to create hierarchies and to position themselves within these hierarchies. Many people might feel lost if/when they're not part of a POBS hierarchy.

An aspect of the (POBS) program may be: "The word of the top bully is law." This may be so deep-seated and entrenched that it's very difficult, if at all possible, for most humans to let go the absurd notion that, "government makes laws" -- see Smash the Idols of Civilization in your Head!.

Now, consider the possibility that many top Governmentologists are effectively positioned in POBS hierarchies where the top bully is someone in Big-Finance and/or Big-Business. If so, then some of the "Biggest Bullies" would be in Big-Finance and/or Big-Business, and some top Governmentologists would really be "Lesser Bullies" in their respective POBS hierarchies.

The "corporate media" can be regarded as an important "speaking mouth" of Big-Finance and Big-Business. Many journalists are situated in POBS hierarchies -- and they follow orders from the bullies above them.

Author and filmmaker John Pilger has documented a great deal about journalism and the world's "corporate masters." He also writes some interesting things about Obama.

Psychologists and Psychiatrists

Some psychologists and psychiatrists can be regarded as enemies of freedom. A leading author on this topic is Thomas Szasz. In the Introduction to his book Ideology and Insanity: Essays on the Psychiatric Dehumanization of Man he writes:

"Where conventional psychiatrists saw themselves diagnosing and treating mental illnesses, I saw them stigmatizing and contolling persons; where they saw hospitals, I saw prisons; where they saw courageous professional advocacy of individualism and freedom, I saw craven support of collectivism and oppression. In a word, where psychiatrists saw themselves as pioneering leaders of the most glamorous of the helping professions, I saw them as representatives of an especially alarming new breed of agents of social control -- orchestrators of the typically modern medical dehumanization of man and leaders of the hindering professions who peddle therapeutic control in the name of personal liberation."

Szasz coined the term "The Therapeutic Sate" in 1963, and has written a book with this title -- Google: "The Therapeutic Sate" for more details.

See also: the "Psychological Control" videos.

There is an "antipsychiatry movement" -- for some numbers, see "Antipsychiatry" under Potential Market Leverage Segments.

To their credit, some Scientologists (including Tom Cruise) have attacked the "psychiatric establishment" -- see Project Lord Reincarnated Hubbard (LRH).


One or more blogs could be a major element of any particular PPFE project. "Blog" is short for "weblog." It's basically a website where an owner can post articles and have visitors contribute their comments.

To get an idea of the extent of the "blogging phenomenon" or "blogosphere," see the numbers for "Blogging" under Potential Market Leverage Segments.

Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post is reportedly the most linked-to blog on the Internet. There's a book titled The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.

The Alexa traffic chart below provides an indication of the popularity of the Huffington Post blog. When the chart is "above 500," the blog is among the top 500 most popular of all websites on the Internet.

Nick Richie (a.k.a. Hooman Karamian) launched TheDirty in 2007 "as a way to distract himself from his banking job."


"Pretendity" is a new word formed by combining "pretend" and "entity." A "pretendity" is a "pretended entity."

A "unicorn" might be an example of a pretended entity.

Below is a picture of a "unicorn skeleton." Is this sufficient evidence to convince you that unicorns really exist, or that they once existed but became extinct?

You might be skeptical. You might realize that someone can find a skeleton of a horse, attach a fake "horn" to it, take a photograph, and claim that unicorns either exist or existed in the past. You might also realize that someone can take a photograph of a horse skeleton, and then "doctor" the photograph by adding a fake horn.

Never having seen an actual unicorn, nor having come across any physical evidence that unicorns now exist or existed in the past, we proceed on the basis that "unicorn" refers to a "mythical animal" and can be regarded as a pretendity.

A "Santa Claus" might be another example of a pretended entity or pretendity.

Would you regard the above picture as proof that Santa Claus exists? If you were to go to a mall during December and you saw a man dressed in a way similar to the above picture, would that convince you that Santa Claus really exists? If not, why not?

Would you regard someone dressed in the same way as in the picture above as the real Santa Claus? If you saw several people dressed in the same way, would you believe that each one of them is a real Santa Claus? If not, why not?

What would it take for you to believe that Santa Claus really exists?

Have you ever seen Santa Claus and his reindeer flying through the sky on TV? If so, did this convince you that Santa Claus really existed?

If a man were to dress up as "santa," get into a real sleigh, pulled by real reindeer, would this prove that "santa" actually exists?

We hope at this point you think that "Santa Claus" is a pretendity -- no actual physical existence -- just an "imaginary entity!" If this is what you think, why do you think so?

Above is a picture of a woman dressed as a "queen." As far as we know, her name is Elizabeth Windsor. How is this different from a man dressed as a "santa?"

Could "queen" be a pretendity in a similar way as "santa?" If yes, why? If no, why not?

Can the fancy clothes, the hat with trinkets, and the shiny stick magically transmogrify the woman (Elizabeth Windsor) into a "queen?"

When a man puts on santa clothes, does this magically transmogrify him into a "santa?" If not, why not? If yes, how?

Now imagine a naked man. Imagine that he puts on a "santa costume." Does he remain the same man? Or do his clothes magically transmogrify him into something else?

Now imagine a naked woman. Imagine that she puts on a "queen costume." Does she remain the same woman? Or do her clothes magically transmogrify her into something else -- a "queen" with the "divine right of kings")?

Now imagine that this same woman gets into a real carriage, pulled by real horses. Does this magically transmogrify her into something else?

If any other woman were to put on a fancy costume, travel around in a horse-drawn carriage, and claimed that she was "the queen." would you regard her as crazy? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Now imagine that a woman lives in a fancy mansion and calls it a "palace." Does this magically transmogrify her into something else?

Did Jonathan Swift understand the issue 300 years ago, when he had Gulliver "piss on the queen's palace?"

Maybe Lewis Carroll understood the issue 150 years ago, when he wrote in Alice in Wonderland:

"'Off with her head!' the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

'Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) 'You're nothing but a pack of cards!'"

And later in Through the Looking-Glass:

"She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a shop? And was that really -- was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter?"

Obviously, there's a fundamental difference between a man dressing up as a "general santa" and a woman dressing up as a "specific queen." Does this affect our contention that in both cases pretendity is involved? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Below is a picture of a man with the name Joseph Ratzinger. Do his fancy clothes, hat, and stick magically transubstantiate him into a "pope" ("representative of god" with "papal infallibility")?

Can you see that the notions of "santa," "queen," and "pope" are all pretendities? An ordinary man puts on a costume and calls himself "santa." An ordinary woman puts on a fancy costume, wears a hat with trinkets, carries a shiny stick, and calls herself "queen." An ordinary man puts on a fancy costume, wears a yellow hat, carries a silly stick, and calls himself "pope."

We're not kidding when we tell you that there are some people who receive bread and wine from this "pretend-pope" (or one of his pretend-appointees), and believe that the bread and wine are magically transubstantiated into the physical flesh and blood of a long-dead dude supposedly named "Jesus Christ." The recipients then eat the "pretend-flesh of Jesus" and drink the "pretend-blood of Jesus." Does this make them "pretend-cannibals?" Is it a stretch to regard these superstitious people as gullible civilized savages?

The pretendity phenomenon can get quite weird and absurd.

[missing file: agmadigan.jpg]

[missing file: rod_blagojevich.jpg]

Lisa Madigan ("pretend-attorney-general" of "pretend-state-Illinois") and Rod Blagojevich ("pretend-governor" of "pretend-state-Illinois").

On 12/14/08 Lisa Madigan appeared on the TV program Meet the Press. Madigan said that, "The state of Illinois is paralyzed because Blagojevich is incapable of governing!"

Nobody on the program pointed out that her statement might be weird and absurd. Is she part of the "state of Illinois?" If so, was she paralyzed? How did she get out of bed that morning and how could she be talking on TV?

Exactly who or what was "paralyzed?" How does the "governing" by the "governor" bestow volition upon the "state of Illinois?" While the "pretend-governor" is asleep at night, is he capable of "governing?" Is the "state of Illinois" paralyzed whenever the "governor" sleeps at night?

How many viewers thought the "Madigan TV farce" was weird and absurd? Probably fewer than one in a thousand!

"People who believe [religious & political] absurdities will commit atrocites." -- Voltaire

Is this related to the 300+ million people murdered by civilized Godologist and Governmentologist savages during the 20th Century? "For God & Country?"

Core Truths

On 12/16/08, there was an article in The Arizona Republic by Thomas L. Friedman, titled "3 woes for Obama: Cars, Kabul, banks." Friedman started with, "If there is anything I've learned as a reporter, it's that when you get away from "the thing itself," the core truth about a situation, you get into trouble." [emphasis added]

(The book Golf Swing Secrets... and Lies by Michael Hebron can be summed up as "an attempt to identify the core truths or fundamental knowledge about golf, and how to learn them.)

Consider the possibility that the core truth about Elizabeth Windsor is that she's an ordinary woman (with red blood), and that all the "queen stuff" commonly associated with her is quite absurd. The same may apply to the "pope stuff"commonly associated with Joseph Ratzinger.

We can speculate that civilized humans believe the "queen nonsense" and the "pope nonsense" because they have deep-seated, unconscious pecking-order bully system (POBS) programs in their brains... just like primitive baboons in the wilds of Africa. If someone dresses up as "queen" or "pope" -- particularly if accompanied by supporting rituals -- then gullible, civilized humans swallow the pretense hook, line, and sinker and regard it as real -- so real that they obediently kill and get killed "for god, queen, and country!"

A related phenomenon may be that when civilized humans are dressed in uniforms and given rifles, they may become "wanton civilized killers" -- see Dehumanization. Philip Zimbardo calls this the Lucifer Effect.

The above may be core truths.

Ferdinand Mount wrote an interesting book called The Theatre of Politics. Consider the possibility that all coercive political systems are basically fictional plays in theaters, and have been such from the outset -- or, simply, hoaxes to subjugate, dominate, control, and live off the production of gullible suckers.

Malignant Pretendities

Consider the possibility that "country," "nation," "state," "king," "queen," "president," "prime minister," "governor," "secretary," "general," "constitution," "law," "judge," etc. are all malignant pretendities, and that regarding them as real involves "get[ting] away from "the thing itself," the core truth" and leads to trouble. See The Anatomy of Slavespeak.

Pretendities can be analyzed in terms of what value they add to your life, and/or what value they take away from you or how they harm you. You can also look at a pretendity in terms of how it might be used to separate you from your mind, your knowledge, your wealth, your health, your happiness, your freedom... and your life itself.

For example, although "compulsory government schooling" (one of the 10 planks of The Communist Manifesto and a most malignant pretendity) may provide some minor learning benefits, typical victims suffer a profound separation from their minds and from knowledge -- see Dumbed Down by "Education!. Receiving even minor learning benefits is debatable, because in the absence of the "compulsory government schooling" pretendity, most children would most likely learn much more and much faster.

Consider the possibility that civilized primitives who argue that, "Government, law, etc. are necessary otherwise there would be chaos, crime, etc.," are really like dumb baboons with deep-seated pecking-order bully system programs who believe that there must be a bully to keep people in line. You could just as well argue, "If there's government, law, etc., then chaos, crime, mass murder, etc. are highly likely, if not inevitable!"

Typically, when civilized primitives "explain" what they think would happen in the absence of malignant pretendities like "government, law, etc.," they provide a list of things that happen in spite or because of malignant pretendities!

Whatever good is seemingly done by pretendities is actually done by individual humans. They can do the same good -- most likely much better -- in the absence of malignant pretendities.

Benevolent Pretendities

PPFEs may be able to utilize benevolent pretendities such as "Emperor Norton" to great effect. (People who "return from the dead" to serve as PPFEs, or to assist PPFEs, are also called "revenants.")

Websites, including blogs and pages in social networks can be set up. For example, see Emperor Norton on MySpace.

"Gandhi" could be "resurrected" as a benevolent pretendity or revenant who declares himself the "Libertor and Perfector of all peoples in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, the Maldive Islands, etc." While in Heaven, the FSM cured Gandhi of his masochism, and the Carvakas (who were more advanced in their philosophical thinking 2,600 years ago than many modern philosophers!) cured Gandhi of all godology, mysticism, spiruality, etc. They taught him to use his senses to perceive reality so he became a Great Meat-Eating Materialist and can now live joyfully without stupid and unnecessary sacrifice or suffering!

Gandhi Quotes:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

"Be the change that you want to see in the world."

"Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position."

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

"If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide."

In many parts of the world, PPFEs can "resurrect" historical figures as benevolent pretendities and use them to provoke attention and get their messages into the limelight.

In the same way that Mormon Godologists "posthumously baptize" Jews slaughtered during Hitler's Governmentologist Holocaust, and "convert" them to Mormon Godology, PPFEs have the magical ability to "convert" anyone (dead or alive) into a Perfector of PPFEs." Any historical figure can be "resurrected" as a Revenant Perfector of PPFEs.

This is similar to the way George Goodman "resurrected" Adam Smith, enabling him to write under the penname "Adam Smith."

A "resurrected character" such as "Emperor Norton" could also be an "avatar" in a "Virtual World."

The late Bruce Evoy used to dress up as Patrick Henry and deliver the "give me liberty or give me death" speech at libertarian events. As a gimmick, a real person could dress up as Patrick Henry and claim, "I am Patrick Henry reincarnated" (wink)! This "Patrick Henry" could perform all kinds of stunts -- and make videos -- to attract attention and to get his message heard.

Similarly, a real person could dress up as "Emperor Norton," have an office in San Francisco, issue press releases, appear on TV, etc. (Elizabeth Windsor and Joseph Ratzinger use stupid tricks to pass themselves off as "queen" and "pope." PPFEs can use similar tricks in satirical ways to mock and expose the Windsors, Ratzingers, and Obamas of the world!)

A significant benefit of "resurrecting" historical figures like Gandhi on web pages is that search-engine traffic could be generated. A "resurrected Gandhi" could also make videos and post them on YouTube, Google, and elsewhere. Such "tricks" can be used to get the attention of potential PPFEs. There may be tens of millions of people ready to move "beyond civilization."

See "Daniel Quinn" and "Beyond Civilization" under Potential Market Leverage Segments.

Daniel Quinn Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind and Spirit, by Daniel Quinn

Suggested Strategies to
Assist Ann Coulter

Some PPFEs could set up the "Ann Coulter Perfection Society" (ACPS). ACPS could launch a number of projects inspired by Coulter's most profound pronouncements (or not):

#1: "The God Perfection Project" -- ACPS believes that God should be taught Conservative Values and Principles so He can wake up stupid Liberals, teach them Conservativism, and make them more intelligent. To this end, Ten God-Training Lessons have been compiled -- the top 10 things Ann Coulter should teach God to teach Liberals! The fact that Liberals are stupid and don't believe in Conservative Values and Principles indicates that out of ignorance God has neglected His duty to teach Liberals. ACPS is correcting this godawful godflaw by providing the God-Training Lessons Ann Coulter can use to teach and perfect God so He can teach Liberals and perfect them also!

#2: "The Cross Christian Jewish Exchange Project" -- ACPS believes that Christians can perfect themselves by becoming Jews and vice versa. Religious cross-fertilization will make the world a much better place. For every Christian who becomes a Jew, ACPS will do its best to persuade a Jew to become a Christian, and vice versa. It's important to maintain religious balance!

#3: "The Emperor Norton Project" (Ideally operated by PPFE-ACPS Representatives in San Francisco) -- ACPS has been appointed the spokesperson for Joshua A. Norton, who has returned from Heaven to Earth to resume his duties as "Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico" and to marry Ann Coulter.

While in Heaven, Emperor Norton was instructed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) to marry Ann Coulter. ACPS has also been appointed by Emperor Norton to help consummate this Perfect Union.

Video: Robert Anton Wilson on the Subgenius Hour of Slack with Ivan Stang talks about Emperor Norton - August 7, 1986. (Note that Emperor Norton offered to mediate between Lincoln and Davis to prevent the Civil War, but they stupidly ignored him.)

In Heaven, Emperor Norton also spent some time with Lysander Spooner -- see The Constitution of No Authority.

FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster) instructed Emperor Norton to expose the "US Governmentologist hoax." Because he was appointed by FSM, Emperor Norton is now the only "legal authority" for the United States and Mexico.

Periodically, ACPS will be issuing on behalf of Emperor Norton: Marriage proposals to Ann Coulter (until this Perfect Union is consummated); and Official Decrees, Proclamations, Declarations, Letters of Praise, Letters of Reprimand, Honorary Appointments and Promotions, and Dishonorable Demotions and Dismissals to his subjects.

In 1966, Emperor Norton appeared in an episode of Bonanza.

Seeing that Emperor Norton is also the "King of the Jews," he could provide guidance to Anne Coulter on how to perform her job as Perfector of Jews. Emperor Norton could also help formulate Strategies for Jewish PPFEs.

Seeing that Emperor Norton was born in Cape Town, he could declare himself "Liberator of Southern Africa." Among other things, he could expose how Nelson Mandela betrayed his fellow blacks by "selling out to white corporate pretendities" as described in the chapter "Apartheid Did Not Die" in the book by John Pilger: Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire. (There may be some videos on this topic on YouTube and/or Google.)

Emperor Norton could periodically instruct Obama to... (use your imagination!)

See also:

Suggested Strategies for Spanish-Speaking PPFEs

Seeing that Emperor Norton is the"Emperor of the United States" and the "Protector of Mexico" and the only "legal authority" in the United States and Mexico, he could issue a series of Proclamations:

See also There's No Such Thing As an "Illegal Alien" by Marc Stevens.

Simon Bolivar and Manuela Saenz could be "resurrected" as "characters" to liberate citizens (and everyone else) in Central and South America from Governmentologists and Godologists.

El Cid Campeador could be "resurrected" as a "character" to liberate citizens (and everyone else) in South-West Europe from Governmentologists and Godologists.

Suggested Strategies for Italian-Speaking PPFEs

Garibaldi, Enrico Malatesta (anarchist), Galileo, Machiavelli, da Vinci, Michaelangelo -- any of them could be "resurrected" to liberate Italian speakers from Governmentologists and Godologists.

From a BBC Report:

The Mafia's "Ten Commandments" The original Ten Commandments
1. No-one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it. 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Never look at the wives of friends. 2. Thou shalt not make for thyself an idol
3. Never be seen with cops. 3. Thou shalt not make wrongful use of the name of thy God
4. Don't go to pubs and clubs. 4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife's about to give birth. 5. Honor thy Father and Mother
6. Appointments must absolutely be respected. 6. Thou shalt not murder
7. Wives must be treated with respect. 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth. 8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families. 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
10. People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values. 10. Thou shalt not covet

PPFEs reject the initiation of violence.

There was a report on BBC World News on 12/1/08, claiming that the Italian Mafia ("Cosa Nostra") earned $300 million a day -- "6% of the Italian GDP" -- and that it was much easier to get loans from the Mafia than from banks.

Maybe the important lesson is that people can create a "world of their own" with their own rules, and the Governmentologists cannot stop them. Alternative non-violent worlds -- like Second Life -- can be created, where Sovereign Individuals can flourish.

Some PPFEs could launch the "Nonviolent Freedom Antimafia" (NFA). When asked if their purpose is to combat the Mafia, they can reply, "The Mafia is just a minor nuisance compared to the Governmentologists, who are much more violent and kill vastly more people!"

There's a Mafia party game, also known as Werewolf or Assassin.

There's an online game called "Mafia Death". For more details on online games, see Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds.

Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds

"Second Life" is a "virtual online world" -- see Second Life on Wikipedia.

The above Alexa traffic chart shows Second Life as among the top 4,000 most popular websites. According to Wikipedia:

Second Life demonstrates that a virtual online world can be created, that it can attract large numbers of users, and that it can be used as a medium to provide a range of services.

According to Wikipedia, the "Metaverse" is a virtual world, described in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world. The word "metaverse" is a compound of the words "meta" and "universe."

Wikipedia provides a general description of virtual worlds, including an extensive list of virtual worlds. Following are some examples.

"Runescape" -- Runescape on Wikipedia.

"Club Penguin" -- Club Penguin on Wikipedia.

"Nicktropolis" -- Nictropolis on Wikipedia.

"World of Warcraft" -- World of Warcraft on Wikipedia.

"IMVU" -- IMVU on Wikipedia.

In terms of usage, Runescape, Club Penguin, Nicktropolis, World of Warcraft, and IMVU are much more popular than Second Life.

"Meez" -- Meez on Wikipedia.

"Habbo" -- Habbo on Wikipedia.

"Red Light Center" -- Red Light Center on Wikipedia.

"There" -- There on Wikipedia.

"Kaneva" -- Kaneva on Wikipedia.

The best way to enable people to acquire and develop the thinking skills to cure themselves of the Godologist and Governmentologist diseases -- and to live as practicing Sovereign Individuals -- may be through the means of video games. This may make Kaneva of special interest to PPFEs.

According to Wikipedia, Kaneva was originally founded to develop a Massively Multi-Player Online Game (MMOG).

"A Tale in the Desert" -- A Tale in the Desert on Wikipedia.

According to Wikipedia, Emerging Virtual Institutions are patterns of organized culture; such as forms of government, business models, or social norms, that develop endogenously within a virtual world. Just as real world institutions are introduced to virtual worlds by their users and designers, virtual institutions are carried back into the real world when those people "log off."

A Tale in the Desert could be of great interest to PPFEs. It could provide some pointers for PPFEs on how to structure an MMORPG ("Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game"). (According to Wikipedia, "MMORPGs are very popular throughout the world. Worldwide revenues for MMORPGs exceeded half a billion dollars in 2005, and Western revenues exceeded US$1 billion in 2006.")

Several companies provide "Virtual World Platforms" (VWPs) -- Google: "Virtual World Platform" -- there are at least 30 VWP providers.

PPFEs could create an MMORPG with levels or layers that enable players to successively gain understanding and acquire skills related to:

Brainwashing, Snapping,
Gullibility & Mind Control

Snapping Explained

Imagine that there's a way for people to "snap" their minds so they shift from the way they previously perceived and experienced reality, to a different way of perceiving and experiencing reality.

For an example of such a shift, we invite you to watch the Brian Willson videos. Consider Willson's state of mind, as he describes it, before he was drafed into the military. Now think of his state of mind when he saw the dead civilian bodies in Vietnam and he threw up. Think of his state of mind as having shifted. The change or shift can be regarded as a form of "snapping."

Timothy Leary Neuropolitics:

"Guilt, innocence, punishment, forgiveness, law and order, rehabilitation -- all constitute the mythology that masks the simple reality of badly-wired robots bumping into one another..."

"Brainwashing is happening to all of us all the time. Knowledge of brain function is our only protection against it. The solutions to our predicament are neurological. We must assume responsibility for our nervous systems. Our robothood can remain static if we endlessly repeat the imprints of infancy to adolescence, or it can be drastically altered by brainwashers without our consent, or we can take control of our nervous systems. If we don't assume this personal responsibility, somebody else will..."

In his videos, Willson describes how he shifted out of "subjective military agreement" into a new state of mind. This can be regarded as a form of snapping. Note how his thinking and behavior changed as a result of the snapping.

John Taylor Gatto:
State Controlled Consciousness

Click to Watch Video!

If you went to school, can you appreciate that the schooling caused certain shifts in your state of mind? What do you think of Gatto's statement at the end of the above video about schoolchildren's minds being colonized so they become their own policemen? (Steven Biko: "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.")

The Psychological Control Videos

These videos focus on how Sigmund Freud's ideas have been used by politicians and business people to control, manipulate, and exploit the public (click the links (highlighted orange) to watch the videos):

In 1978, the important book Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman was published. (A second edition was published in 1995. My qoutes on this Page are from the original edition.)

Conway and Siegelman describe "snapping" as a "sudden, drastic alteration of personality in all its many forms... in which intense experience may affect fundamental information-processing capacities of the brain."

If you're eagerness oriented, the reward circuit in your brain will be activated more often, than if you were vigilance oriented -- as explained in Activate Your Why-Can-Do Booster. So it looks like Conway and Siegelman hit the nail on the head with, "...intense experience may affect fundamental information-processing capacities of the brain!"

Subjective Social Agreement

Click to Watch Video!

Someone who hasn't become "adapted to subjective social agreement" (or who has recovered from the experience), can be regarded as being in a natural or native state. Before the snapping experience, children use their senses as their primary way to discern reality.

Notice how many of the specifics mentioned in the "Social Reality" video happen to children in school. Children are not allowed to be independent. They are taught to think, feel, act, and dress in the right way. Their ability to think critically is caved in.

Notice what was said about the "creation of subjective reality" and the "power of cognitive control" -- making it possible for "subjective agreement to override objective facts." This is a form of snapping, also called "dissociation" -- or "disconnection from reality."

Chapter 2 of The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychpathology by John F. Schumaker is titled "The Mechanics of Dissociation and Suggestion." Dissociation tends to render its victims more gullible because their ability to test propositions against physical reality is impaired.

Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance): "Little children were trained not to do "just what they liked," but... but what?... Of course! What others liked. And which others? Parents, teachers, supervisors, policemen, judges, officials, kings, dictators. All authorities. When you are trained to despise "just what you like" then, of course, they become a much more obedient servant of others -- a good slave. When you learn not to do "just what you like," then the system loves you."

Krishnamurti: "Your parents are frightened, your educators are frightened, the governments and religions are frightened of your becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the prison of environmental and cultural influences."

Stefan Molyneux:
Fearing Our Parents

Click to Watch Video!

After the snapping experience (of "adapting to subjective social agreement"), children use "subjective social agreement" as their primary way to discern reality, particularly in areas such as religion and politics. They are taught to believe things because their parents, teachers, and other "authority" figures (all bullies) say they are true. One of the obvious consequences of this "snapping of the mind" is that the victims become much more gullible.

Asch's Conformity Experiment -- "Subjective Social Agreement" Trumps Personal Perception

Click to Watch Video!

"The subject denies the evidence of his own eyes and yields to group influence."

Conway and Siegelman: Snapping, as we have come to understand it, may be summed up in a very simple definition: it is a phenomenon that occurs when an indivual stops thinking and feeling for himself, when he breaks the bonds of awareness and social relationship that tie his personality to the outside world and literally loses his mind to some form of external or automatic control. In that sense, the moment of snapping, when the mind shuts off, remains a moment of human decision. It takes place as some invisible switch is thrown in the infinitely flexible human brain, whether volutarily and in good faith or unwittingly and in a state of confusion, as individuality is surrendered to some religion, psychology, or recipe for living [Including "subjective social agreement" and "political ideology"] that requires no real conscience and no consciousness, no effort or attention on the individual's part."

The "snapping" we've been talking about most likely occurs over a longer period than the "snapping" described by Conway and Siegelman in the above paragraph. It's probably a "gradual snapping" as a child is progressively brainwashed into accepting more and more aspects of "subjective social agreement" as valid, because parents, teachers, etc. say, "Because I say so!"; "Everbody knows it's true!"; "If you don't agree and conform, you won't fit in with society!"; etc.

Conway and Siegelman: "In the wake of snapping, after an individual surrenders or lets go, whether in a sudden moment or gradually, he may possibly slip into a level of reduced awareness in which the disorientation and confusion that follow the snapping moment become part of his everyday manner of experiencing the world. This trancelike limbo state represents the suspension of a person's response as an individual and is the first stage in the reorganization of personality."

The "disorientation and confusion" referred to above can also be described as "dissociation" or "disconnecting from reality."

Snapping as a Mind Control Mechanism

Conway and Siegelman: "But what value can there be in engineering these experiences to shut down the workings of the mind altogether, to stunt the process of thought and leave people numb to their own feelings and the world around them? Throughout history, this kind of attack on human awareness has proved an efficient method of controlling members of tribes, societies, and whole nations in which little value is placed upon individuality. The state of mind it produces has a tradition that dates back to the dawn of civilization... We can describe the process as one of shutting off the mind, of not-thinking... What kind of cultural environment breeds this widespread need to shut off the mind? ...This shift in our basic attitudes, opinions, lifestyles, and relationships has fed into a social and cultural environment that in its own tacit way offers heady rewards for not thinking... Shutting off the mind in this way provides instant relief from anxiety and frustration. It evokes pleasure by default, salvation through surrender, and even better, its simple happiness is self-perpetuating."

"Capture-bonding" (also called the "Stockholm syndrome") may be central to snapping. Among our ancestors it was common for tribes to capture members of other tribes. Our ancestors who were captured by hostile tribes had a better chance to survive if they submitted and reduced their awareness to their plight, including to experience less pain from wounds. So, shutting down your mind could have had survival value and could have been selected for. Those with a better "shut-down-your-mind" ability survived and passed this trait on to their offspring.

If the reports are true, John Smith (a Jamestown settler) and two companions were ambushed by native Indians in 1608. Smith's companions were killed and Smith was captured.

The chief of the tribe who captured Smith was Powhatan and Pocahontas was the chief's daughter. After about two months in captivity, Smith was to be killed during a ritual ceremony. Pocahontas objected to the killing. Instead of Smith being killed, he was "adopted" by Powhatan as his son (and as the brother of Pocahontas).

We can reasonably assume that Smith felt great relief. We can speculate that he experienced at least some love for his captors. This could have been an example of capture-bonding (a.k.a. the Stockholm syndrome).

Conway and Siegelman basically explore the snapping that occurs when "normal" people "fall under the spell" of cults and the like. We think they may also have noticed that the "conversion" from "natural or native state" (where you primarily use your senses to discern reality) to "normal" person (where you surrender to "subjective consensus agreement," "subjective religious agreement," and/or "subjective political agreement") is also a form of snapping. They may have realized that "normal" people -- with their possibly pathological paranormal, religious, and political beliefs and superstitions have snapped minds, but didn't want to frighten off their readers by saying so outright. (Or, perhaps their publisher asked then to "water down" their original manuscript!)

Conway and Siegelman: "Throughout our society, the unconscious control of human beings has become the focus of some of our most powerful institutions. It is taken for granted in education, where the principles of behavior modification govern teaching, not only in school but also in the home. It is the subject of continuing experimentation in factories and other work environments. It has burgeoned in the seventies in a spate of best sellers advising readers how to exploit the tactics of "power," "assertiveness," and "winning through intimidation" to turn the unawareness of others to their own personal advantage."

What if most politicians, preachers, teachers, business leaders, and others in positions of power and influence are more interested in turning "the unawareness of others to their own personal advantage" than anything else? If you haven't done so yet, you may want to watch the "Psychological Control" videos.

Voluntarily Relinquishing Awareness and Thought

Conway and Siegelman: "In America today, aware, intelligent individuals of all ages are being persuaded to stop thinking voluntarily... not thinking becomes the norm, and with it there is a reduction in both feeling and awareness. Moreover, once a person's brain enters this state, the individual may be incapable of coming out of it... may bring about changes in individual personalities, making us less aware, more vulnerable to manipulation, and ultimately, less than fully capable of thinking and acting as human beings... Everyone, without exception, is susceptible to snapping... The physical stress which has been singled out as the potent tool of "brainwashing" in cults is so much a part of our daily lives that its impact on each individual's ability to think and feel may be easily overlooked. ...[M]ost of us can go for days, even weeks, and save scarcely a moment for reflection... This propaganda urges him to surrender to the seductive enticements of our consumer society, to the manipulation of his opinions and beliefs, and the overpowering weight of new and traditional images, roles, and rewards, which, in the seventies, make promises of fulfillment that our society cannot keep. ...[O]ur culture seems to be embarking on a destructive new course of manipulation and escapism, of human abdication."

There's a great deal more on "propoganda" and "manipulation" in the "Psychological Control" videos.

"The Blasphemy Challenge"

Click to Watch Video!

The "Blasphemy Challenge" is operated by the atheist group Rational Response Squad.

Bible verse Mark 3:29: "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven" -- the only "unforgivable sin." Imagine you're a Godologist and you find videos with people "comitting the one unforgivable sin." No doubt, the strength of belief among Godologists varies from weak to strong. The "Blasphemy Challenge" probably induces some marginal Godologists to start questioning and thinking.

Check out The Blasphemy Challenge, Richard, and do a Google video search for "Blasphemy Challenge." You may be surprised by the scope of the activity! On 12/12/07 a Google search for "Blasphemy Challenge" showed 96,600 web results and 3,179 videos. Do your own Google video search and notice how many times the videos have been rated. Thousands of people are watching these videos! It looks like the project started in December 06.

Significant media coverage has been generated, including TV. The media likes controversy, sensationalism, and spectacle. It could be compared to protesters burning their draft cards... What might the political equivalent of the "Blasphemy Challenge?"

Maybe some PPFEs can launch a blog that, among other things, encourages freedom lovers to post videos online, that express their "political equivalent of the Blasphemy Challenge!"

The Church of the SubGenius

To get an idea of the principles, practices, and widespread influence of our Church, see SubGenius on Wikipedia.

The Church of the SubGenius is the Official Church of PPFE Central.

Official Home Page: The Church of the SubGenius. More links below.



Click to Watch Video!

TURN UP YOUR BRAIN WITH: The Bobacatto (Mark Mothersbaugh/SubGenius Foundation) - 3 minutes.

Stellar Garbage Redux (SubGenius) - TURN UP YOUR BRAIN WITH: 23 minutes of psychedelic eye candy with techno music... sponsored by the Association for Consciousness Exploration...

SubGenius - ARISE! Chapter 01 - Instructions.

ARISE! Chapter 05 - The Life of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs - 7 min - Dec 10, 1991

ARISE! Chapter 10 - The Church and You - 7 min - Dec 5, 2005

CoS: Something New to Die For 1/4 - 9 min - Jul 22, 2006

CoS: Something New to Die For 2/4 - 6 min - Jul 22, 2006

CoS: Something New to Die For 3/4 - 5 min - Jul 22, 2006

CoS: Something New to Die For 4/4 - 5 min - Jul 22, 2006

If they cant take a joke - Scientology - 3 min - May 8, 2007.

Suggested Strategy for German-speaking PPFEs

Announce that "Max Stirner Nietzsche" has returned to Earth to save Germany and the rest of the world. Max Stirner Nietzsche is a "two-in-one character" with the combined wisdom of Stirner and Nietzsche -- "two egos in one body," if you like.

(Max Stirner is the Perfector of Smashed Idols and Friedrich Nietzsche is the Perfector of dead Gods and Übermenschen.)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) thinks that practically all "modern" humans (including most Germans) are really "Urmenschen" (primeval or prehistoric people), as demonstrated by their primitive religious and political institutions. In fact, their religious and political beliefs and superstitions are so primitive that they can only be understood as a form of "Urdummheit" (primeval stupidity)! Max Stirner Nietzsche will help all "Urmenschen" (as well as "Luftmenschen") become "Übermenschen!" A website that utilizes this theme could stir some controversy and attract many visitors. Consider calling it "The German Perfection Society," with the goal of helping Germans become "Perfect Übermenschen!" so they can rescue Earthlings from the savagery of civilization. Such a strategy could generate considerable media coverage.

See The Ego and His Own by Max Stirner.

Suggested Strategy for French-Speaking PPFEs

French-speaking PPFEs could "resurrect" a "three-in-one character" comprising Coluche, Voltaire, and Éttiene de La Boétie -- "three egos in one body" called "Coluche Voltaire de La Boétie."

(Coluche is the Perfector of Politics, Cops, the Poor, and Motorcycles. Voltaire is the Perfector of Freethought, Humor, Revolution, and Swiss Watches. Éttiene de La Boétie is the Perfector of Voluntary Servitude.)

Among many possibilities, Coluche Voltaire de La Boétie could teach the French how to become more sophisticated than apes; why the best politicians do nothing; how cops can stop riots; how the poor can eat cakes; how to ride motorcycles without crashing; how slaves can choose their idiot-master-politicians; how the French can use their watches to intellectually move forward from the year 1500 to today, and politically from the year 1100 to the present; etc.

Speculation: If Voltaire's level of intellectual development in the year 1750 is taken as a standard, then how do typical "modern college-educated humans" compare? Is 1500 unrealistic? I.e., are typical "modern educated humans," in terms of intellectual development, 250 years behind where Voltaire was in 1750?

How about political understanding? De La Boétie probably wrote his Discours de la Servitude Volontaire in 1552 or 1553. If 1550 is taken as a standard, then how do typical "modern college-educated humans" compare? Is 1100 unrealistic? I.e., are typical "modern educated humans," in terms of political understanding, 450 years behind where de La Boétie was in 1550? Do the "Rummel numbers" have any bearing on the question?

In 1981, Coluche ran for "President of France" with the promise that, if elected, he would do nothing. He loved ridiculing politicians and cops. Before he pulled out of the political race, some polls indicated he would get as much as 10-15% of the vote. There's been some speculation that his death in a 1986 motorcycle crash wasn't an accident, but murder -- Google:coluche assassin.

Maybe the term sauvage sophistiqué ("sophisticated savage") can be used in humorously effective ways: "The French are sophisticated savages, compared to the unsophisticated savages in the rest of the world!" (Maybe there are French equivalents for the German Urmensch and Urdummheit -- see Suggested Strategy for German-speaking PPFEs.)

See Discourse on Voluntary Servitude.

Suggested Strategies for English-Speaking PPFEs

Jonathan Swift, Guy Fawkes, Robin Hood, Braveheart, William Shakespeare, George Bernhard Shaw, James Dean, John Wayne, George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Benjamin Franklin, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Paul Revere, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Tucker, Pierre Proudhon, Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner, -- any of them could be "resurrected" to liberate English speakers from Governmentologists and Godologists.

Jonathan Swift on Immortality

"...I had frequently run over the whole system how I should employ myself, and pass the time if I were sure to live forever.

...I would first resolve by all arts and methods whatsoever to procure myself riches... in the second place, I would from my earliest youth apply myself to the study of arts and sciences, by which I should arrive in time to exceed all others in learning... by all which requirements, I should be a living treasury of knowledge and wisdom...

...I would entertain myself in forming and directing the minds of hopeful young men... but, my choice and constant companions should be a set of my own immortal brotherhood, among whom I would elect a dozen from the most ancient down to my own contemporaries...

These struldbruggs [immortals] and I would mutually communicate our observations and memorials through the course of time, remark the several gradations by which corruption steals into the world, and oppose it in every step, by giving perpetual warning and instruction to mankind; which, added to the strong influence of our own example, would probably prevent the continual degeneracy of human nature so justly complained of in all ages."

-- Jonathan Swift (A Voyage to Laputa)

Suggested Strategies
for Female PPFEs

Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane, Louise Michel, Voltairine de Cleyre, Carol Moore, Mary Ruwart, Wendy McElroy, Claire Wolfe, Melanie, Kennedy, Sharon Presley, Sharon Harris, Leah Lail, Ilana Mercer, Barbara Amiel, Virginia Postrel, Christina Sommers, Norma Jean Almodovar, Barbara Branden, Esther Dyson, Joan Kennedy Taylor, Karen Kay, Lauren Royal, Tyffany Million, Camille Paglia, Frances Kendall (with Leon Louw), Joan of Arc, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Virgin Mary.

The possibilities are infinite. Tyffany Million is actually Virgin Mary reincarnated, and...

Because she is so well known, "resurrecting Ayn Rand" could be a particularly powerful strategy. In Heaven, Rand met up with the FSM, who helped cure her from the vestiges of Governmentology she failed to eradicate from her brain during her first life on Earth... The "new Rand" could confess the mistakes of the "first Rand," e.g., her "limited-government nonsense," "tabula rasa mistake," "endorsing Goldwater for president," etc. Lawyers representing Rand's estate might threaten to sue the "new Ayn Rand." This could be used to generate publicity.

Suggested Strategies
for PPFEs of ALL Colors

Free Your Mind...
and the Rest will Follow!

Jack Johnson, Steve Biko, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Malcolm X.

MLK went to Heaven where FSM (the Flying Spaghetti Monster) and Jack Johnson helped MLK cure his Godologist and Governmentologist diseases! Imagine the controversy and media coverage that could be generated by "MLK reincarnated as a PPFE!"

See also:

Suggested Strategy for Russian-Speaking PPFEs

Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Rasputin, Tolstoy, Bakunin (anarchist who inspired Kurt Vonnegut's Bokonon -- Google: bokononism), Kropotkin (anarchist) -- any of them could be "resurrected" to liberate Russian speakers from Governmentologists and Godologists.

Suggested Strategies
for Native-American PPFEs

Geronimo, Pocahontas, Will Rogers, Sacajawea, Russell Means, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Chief Pontiac

Quotes by Will Rogers:

If the white invaders are too stupid to save themselves from Godologists and Governmentologists...

The Power of Disobedience
(& the Perils of Obedience)

Brian Willson wakes up from "Governmentologist Cult Brainwashing" -- The Politics of Obedience: Breaking the Habit of Voluntary Servitude -- The first 8 minutes of the video are about Ricky Clousing's press conference, announcing his refusal to obey orders to go back to Iraq and his surrender to the military in Ft. Lewis.

Brian Willson:
Waging Unconditional Peace
(Reasons for Addiction to War)

Click to Watch Video!

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong... No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger." -- Muhammad Ali (1966)

"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end." -- Muhammad Ali (1967)

"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." -- Henry David Thoreau

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason." -- Eric Fromm

"Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." -- Oscar Wilde

"It is contrary to our manhood if we obey laws repugnant to our conscience." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"No duty, however, binds us to these so-called laws, whose corrupting influence menaces what is noblest in our being." -- Benjamin Constant

"Conformity means death. Only protest gives a hope of life." -- Bertrand Russell

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." -- Steven Biko

Conformity, obedience, and mediocrity are "close relatives." If you're like most people, when you grew up you were effectively forced to believe all kinds of "unreal nonsense" by your parents, teachers, preachers, etc. "Unreal nonsense" refers to ideas and beliefs not rooted in objective reality. You were not explicitly taught to use your senses as your primary means to test ideas and beliefs to determine if they represented physical reality.

Some psychologists use the term "unreflective socialization" to describe this kind of acceptance of ideas and beliefs without thinking about their validity, or testing them against objective reality. Sadly, most young children have a great deal of "unreal nonsense" shoved down their throats before they have developed the ability to decide for themselves what's real and what's nonsense. For more details on this, see Molyneux's video: "Fearing Our Parents."

You were effectively taught that you had to believe what you were told by older, bigger, and stronger people -- "authority" figures. The only way you could believe the unreal nonsense was by "disconnecting from objective reality" and surrendering to "subjective social agreement." This involves a "snapping of the mind." So guess who teaches that "obedience is a virtue?"

Erich Fromm wrote an essay, "On Disobedience," published in his book On Disobedience and Other Essays. Fromm wrote that "human history began with an act of disobedience." He was referring to Adam and Eve whose act of disobedience in eating the apple of knowledge set them "free and opened their eyes."

Fromm further wrote: "Man has continued to evolve by acts of disobedience. Not only was his spiritual development possible only because there were men who dared say no to the powers that be in the name of their conscience or their faith, but also his intellectual development was dependent on the capacity for being disobedient -- disobedient to authorities who tried to muzzle new thoughts and to the authority of long-established opinions which declared a change to be nonsense."

Fromm continues: "...[W]hile we are living technically in the Atomic Age, the majority of men -- including most of those who are in power -- still live emotionally in the Stone Age; ... while our mathematics, astronomy, and the natural sciences are of the twentieth century, most of our ideas about politics, the state, and society lag far behind the age of science. If mankind commits suicide it will be because people will obey those who command them to push the deadly buttons; because they will obey the archaic passions of fear, hate, and greed; because they will obey obsolete clichés of State sovereignty and national honor."

If you haven't yet done so, this may be a good time to watch Asch's Conformity Experiment

Fromm continues: "Obedience is the root of much evil... [I]n order to disobey we need courage, and the capacity for courage depends on our state of development. When we are fully developed individuals, having "emerged from mother's lap and father's commands," and having acquired the ability to think and feel for ourselves, then we have the courage to say "no" to political coercion."

In Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View Stanley Milgram writes: "Obedience, because of its very ubiquitousness, is easily overlooked as a subject of inquiry in social psychology. But without an appreciation of its role in shaping human action, a wide range of significant behavior cannot be understood. For an act carried out under command is, psychologically, of a profoundly different character than action which is spontaneous.

The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and assault may find himself performing these acts with relative ease when commanded by authority. Behavior that is unthinkable in an individual who is acting on his own may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders.

...Obedience, as a determinant of behavior, is of particular relevance to our time. It has been reliably established that from 1933 to 1945 millions of innocent people were systematically slaughtered on command. Gas chambers were built, death camps were guarded, daily quotas of corpses were produced with the same efficiency as the manufacture of appliances. These inhumane policies may have been originated in the mind of a single person, but they could only have been carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders.

...Though such prescriptions as "Thou shalt not kill" occupy a pre-eminent place in the moral order, they do not occupy a correspondingly intractable position in human psychic structure. A few changes in newspaper headlines, a call from the draft board, orders from a man with epaulets, and men are led to kill with little difficulty. Even the forces mustered in a psychology experiment will go a long way toward removing the individual from moral controls. Moral factors can be shunted aside with relative ease by a calculated restructuring of the informational and social field."

Milgram conducted some experiments to determine the degree to which people are obedient to authority. In a typical experiment there is a "teacher," a "learner" and the "authority" (experimenter) who conducts the experiment. The teacher asks a series of questions to the learner. If the learner gives an incorrect answer the teacher presses a button that supposedly administers an electric shock to the learner. Actually no shock is involved, but the learner is an actor who pretends that he suffers pain from the shock.

Milgram Experiment

Click to Watch Video!

There's a series of buttons to administer a range of shocks, starting at 15 volts and going up to 450 volts in 15-volt increments. Every time the learner makes a mistake the teacher is to administer the next higher level of shock. The teacher is told that high levels of shock will hurt the learner and may even kill him.

Prior to a typical experiment people were asked what they thought would be the maximum shock applied. Among 39 psychiatrists, one predicted that the strongest shock would be 300 volts, two predicted 195 volts. All the other predictions were lower. Among 31 college students, the highest prediction by one student was 210 volts. Among middle-class adults, the highest prediction by three people was 300 volts.

In the actual experiments, generally, about two-thirds of teachers administered the maximum shock, despite the learner's screams of pain and demands that the experiment be stopped. In some variations of the experiment over 90 percent of the teachers administered the maximum shock. The degree of obedience to authority was vastly higher than anyone expected.

Milgram concluded from his experiments that obedience to authority is a "danger to human survival inherent in our make-up." His experiments revealed something very dangerous: "[T]he capacity for man to abandon his humanity, indeed the inevitability that he does so, as he merges his unique personality into larger institutional structures.

This is a fatal flaw nature has designed into us, and which in the long run gives our species only a modest chance of survival...

Each individual possesses a conscience which to a greater or lesser degree serves to restrain the unimpeded flow of impulses destructive to others. But when he merges his person into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority."

Our conclusion: It may be people whose minds were severely damaged by their parents and by "compulsory schooling," who most easily succumb to "authority." The cognitive connections between their behavior and the consequences of their behavior may have been greatly weakened at home and in school. It may be these dependent, obedience-trained, relatively powerless people who submit most readily to "authority."

If you haven't yet done so, this may be a good time to watch a More Recent Version of the Milgram Experiment. Obedience must be just about the greatest of all human flaws. Obedience is the surrender of personal choice, power, and responsibility.

Milgram concludes his book by quoting from an article by Harold J. Laski, titled "The Dangers of Obedience": "...[C]ivilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain. Within the ambit of that definition, those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men."


The Stanford Prison Experiment

Click to Watch Video!

Phillip Zimbardo's "Lucifer Effect" video includes a series of Abu Ghraib pictures. The parallels between these images and those from the "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971 are quite striking.

Phillip Zimbardo: Lucifer Effect
-- Psychology of Evil

Click to Watch Video!

Both the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrate that under certain conditions, seemingly "normal good people" can perform actions extremely harmful, even deadly, against innocent fellow humans. In the Milgram Experiment, when "teacher A" sat next to a "teacher B" who went up all the way to administer a shock of 450 volts (which could kill the "learner"), 90% of the "teacher As" also went up all the way to 450 volts. This indicates that the presence of someone performing destructive and even deadly actions, makes it "easier" for those around him or her to also perform similar destructive and even deadly actions. This is an aspect of conformity.

The most important thing to learn from the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment is that when people are put in positions that enable them to exercise coercive powers over others, there's no telling what atrocities they may perpetrate. And if one of them performs potentially deadly deeds, then the chances are higher that those around him or her will also perform potentially deadly deeds.

"Dehumanization" has to do with the "removal" of human qualities like freedom, independence, individuality, thinking for yourself, compassion, respect for others, and morality. When people get into a situation that enables them to exert coercive power over others, they tend to dehumanize themselves. This was demonstated by the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment -- as well as by Abu Ghraib.

When parents force their children to believe unreal absurdities, they dehumanize their children.

When children are forced into "schools" and compelled to believe, obey, and conform, they are dehumanized. When "teachers" get into situations that enable them to exert coercive power over their students, they are likely to dehumanize themselves. "Compulsory schooling" can be described as "institutionalized dehumanization."

What other dehumanizing institutions can you think of? How about prisons and jails that serve primarily as "dehumanization factories?"

When soldiers put on their uniforms, are they trained to obey and kill without thinking; do they tend to become dehumanized killing robots?

What do you now think of Muhammad Ali's refusal to go to Vietnam? Was it a refusal to become a dehumanized killing robot, forced to kill people who had done him no harm?

Notes on the Stanford Prison Experiment

The following extracts are from two articles -- one by Kathleen O'Toole (Stanford Report) and the other by Meredith Alexander (Stanford University News Service).

Strip searched, sprayed for lice and locked up with chains around their ankles, the "prisoners" were part of an experiment to test people's reactions to power dynamics in social situations. Other college student volunteers -- the "guards" -- were given authority to dictate 24-hour-a-day rules. They were soon humiliating the "prisoners" in an effort to break their will.

Using realistic methods, Zimbardo and others were able to create a prison atmosphere that transformed its participants. The young men who played prisoners and guards revealed how much circumstances can distort individual personalities -- and how anyone, when given complete control over others, can act like a monster.

"In a few days, the role dominated the person," Zimbardo recalled, "They became guards and prisoners."

"At that point, I felt there was something wrong with me, thinking here I am, I'm supposed to be a psychologist, I'm supposed to understand, and I was having a hard time watching what was happening to these kids." [Observing the Stanford Prison Experiment for the first time on the fifth day.] "I was sick to my stomach. When it's happening to you, it doesn't feel heroic; it feels real scary. It feels like you are a deviant." -- Professor Christina Maslach, UC-Berkeley, to psychologists gathered in Toronto, Aug. 12, 1996.

...Maslach would take actions that made her a heroine in some circles as "the one who stopped the Stanford Prison Experiment." She was involved in a romantic relationship with Zimbardo, the experiment's principal investigator... Yet she had difficulty resisting the group pressure to be enthusiastic about what was going on in the name of science.

...[T]he Stanford Prison Experiment made news in a big way. It offered the world a videotaped demonstration of how ordinary people middle-class college students can do things they would have never believed they were capable of doing. It seemed to say, as Hannah Arendt said of Adolf Eichmann, that normal people can take ghastly actions.

Those assigned to be guards were given uniforms and instructed that they were not to use violence but that their job was to maintain control of the prison.

From the perspective of the researchers, the experiment became exciting on day two when the prisoners staged a revolt. Once the guards had crushed the rebellion, "they steadily increased their coercive aggression tactics, humiliation and dehumanization of the prisoners," Zimbardo recalls. "The staff had to frequently remind the guards to refrain from such tactics," he said, and the worst instances of abuse occurred in the middle of the night when the guards thought the staff was not watching. The guards' treatment of the prisoners included such things as forcing them to clean out toilet bowls with their bare hands and act out degrading scenarios, or urging them to become snitches "resulted in extreme stress reactions that forced us to release five prisoners, one a day, prematurely."

Zimbardo's primary reason for conducting the experiment was to focus on the power of roles, rules, symbols, group identity and situational validation of behavior that generally would repulse ordinary individuals. "I had been conducting research for some years on deindividuation, vandalism and dehumanization that illustrated the ease with which ordinary people could be led to engage in anti-social acts by putting them in situations where they felt anonymous, or they could perceive of others in ways that made them less than human, as enemies or objects," Zimbardo told the Toronto symposium in the summer of 1996.

"I wondered, along with my research associates Craig Haney, Curtis Banks and Carlo Prescott, what would happen if we aggregated all of these processes, making some subjects feel deindividuated, others dehumanized within an anonymous environment in the same experimental setting, and where we could carefully document the process over time."

Maslach walked into the mock prison on the evening of the fifth day. Having just received her doctorate from Stanford and starting an assistant professorship at Berkeley, she had agreed to do subject interviews the next day and had come down the night before to familiarize herself with the experiment.

...[S]he had a pleasant conversation with a "charming, funny, smart" young man waiting to start his guard shift. Other researchers had told her there was a particularly sadistic guard, whom both prisoners and other guards had nicknamed John Wayne. Later, when she looked at the monitor of the prison yard again, she asked someone to point out John Wayne and was shocked to discover it was the young man she had talked with earlier.

"This man had been transformed. He was talking in a different accent a Southern accent, which I hadn't recalled at all. He moved differently, and the way he talked was different, not just in the accent, but in the way he was interacting with the prisoners. It was like [seeing] Jekyll and Hyde... It really took my breath away."

Several prisoners engaged in a debate with John Wayne, she said, in which they accused him of enjoying his job. He said that he wasn't really like that, he was just playing a role. One prisoner challenged this, Maslach said, noting that the guard had tripped him earlier when he was taking him down the hall to the bathroom. No researchers were around to see the act, the prisoner said, which indicated to him that the act reflected the guard's true disposition. John Wayne disagreed, saying that if he let up, the role wouldn't remain powerful.

Later that evening, Maslach said, she suddenly got sick to her stomach while watching guards taking the prisoners with paper bags over their heads to the bathroom before their bedtime... After leaving the prison with Zimbardo, she said, he asked her what she thought of it. "I think he expected some sort of great intellectual discussion about what was going on. Instead, I started to have this incredible emotional outburst. I started to scream, I started to yell, 'I think it is terrible what you are doing to those boys!' I cried. We had a fight you wouldn't believe, and I was beginning to think, wait a minute, I don't know this guy. I really don't, and I'm getting involved with him?"

Zimbardo was shocked by her reaction and upset, she said, but eventually that night, "he acknowledged what I was saying and realized what had happened to him and to other people in the study. At that point he decided to call the experiment to a halt." [Zimbardo, without realizing it when it happened, had automatically abandoned his role as "research director" and shifted into that of "prison superintendent."]

Maslach married Zimbardo in 1972 and became a full professor at Berkeley, studying the processes of dehumanization. "I started interviewing prison guards, real ones, and also people in emergency medical care. Out of that grew a lot of the research I have done over the years on job burn-out," she said. Her work has looked at "how people who are responsible for the care and treatment of others can come to view those they care for in object-like ways, leading them, in some cases, to behave in ways that are really insensitive, uncaring, brutal and dehumanizing."

Zimbardo and Maslach say they feel an ongoing responsibility to communicate about and apply the research beyond the academic world, which is why they generally agree to do interviews about it.

For Zimbardo, the prison experiment also has led to research on a range of social situations that generate pathological conditions. He has studied the social psychology of madness and cults, shyness as a kind of self-imposed prison, and time perspective the way people come to be controlled by their overuse of past, present or future timeframes.

The experiment has not, however, brought about the changes in prisons or even in guard training programs that he would have liked. In fact, prisons have been radically transformed in the United States in the last 25 years to make them less humane, Haney told the Toronto symposium audience. Voters have increasingly voted for politicians who take a tough public stance in favor of prisons as places for punishment, rather than for reforming social deviants. Long, determinate sentences are part of the new trend in policy, he said, as are an increasing number of prisons, like California's Pelican Bay, that put prisoners in long-term isolation.

"Psychology and other social science disciplines have been moved out of any kind of meaningful participation in debates over criminal justice policy," he said, urging the academics in his audience to "figure out ways in which we can re-involve ourselves in this debate." In Zimbardo's view, prisons are "failed social-political experiments" that continue to bring out the worst in relations between people "because the public is indifferent to what takes place in secret there, and politicians use them, fill them up as much as they can, to demonstrate only that they are tough on crime... They are as bad for the guards as the prisoners in terms of their destructive impact on self-esteem, sense of justice and human compassion."

In Milgram's 1965 experiment, the subjects were led to believe that they were delivering ever more powerful electric shocks to a stranger, on the orders of a white-coated researcher. Most were distressed by the situation, but two-thirds delivered the highest level of shock labeled "danger - severe shock." Like some of Zimbardo's guard subjects, some of Milgram's were anguished afterward by the revelation of their dark potential. When asked about the ethics of such research for a 1976 magazine profile, Zimbardo said that "the ethical point is legitimate insofar as who are you, as an experimenter, to give a person that kind of information about oneself. But my feeling is that that's the most valuable kind of information that you can have and that certainly a society needs it."

But it was unethical, he said, "because people suffered and others were allowed to inflict pain and humiliation on their fellows over an extended period of time... And yes, although we ended the study a week earlier than planned, we did not end it soon enough."

Steadily increasing levels of incarceration in the United States also have fueled interest in the experiment. Between 1986 and 1997 alone, the male adult prison population increased by over two-thirds and the female population doubled.

Zimbardo has strong opinions on the harmful effects of harsh prison sentences. "Prisons are evil places that demean humanity... They are as bad for the guards as they are for the prisoners," he said, pointing to results of his experiment showing that both guards' and prisoners' personalities were warped by their given roles.

What drives much of the fascination with the experiment is the sense that any individual could become a brutal dictator if given the chance. Zimbardo is still surprised at how quickly the participants changed their stripes. "These guys were all peaceniks," he recalled of the students chosen to be guards. "They became like Nazis. It shows how easy it is for good people to become perpetrators of evil."

"It's this old thing that has legs," Zimbardo remarked about the experiment. For him, those legs took him to the next level in his career. Zimbardo explained that his 1971 discoveries led him to examine another type of prisoner-guard situation: the voices that shy people hear when confronted with social situations. Shy people, he realized, act as their own guards. "The shy person is the quintessential combination of one's own prisoner and guard," said Zimbardo, who went on to found the Shyness Clinic at Stanford in 1975.

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