My Spiritual Journey — 8 — The Power of Collective Thoughts and Beliefs
Many esoteric books deal with the “power of intention” (as the award selling book from Wayne Dyer). It is clear that human intentions affect reality, as exemplified by the experiments on water by Masaru Emoto. His research showed that simply by “projecting” positive thoughts or negative thoughts (love vs. hate) on a glass of water changed it’s propensity to produce water crystals when frozen. Similar experiments were done later on plants to stimulate their growth or on rice and delaying/accelerating it’s decay.
I have touched on the power of intention in my article “Beyond Good and Evil” (article 6) which deals with transcending this duality in order to avoid creating “vibrational imbalances” which contribute to keeping this duality alive.
In this article, I will explore more generally the power of the human mind, and how humans, in like minded communities, can shape reality via their collective/shared thoughts and beliefs.
The power of human belief is far greater than one might suspect. For instance, one might think that science, and scientific models about how the Universe works, are “neutral”, and merely explain how things work with no judgments attached. This could not be farther from the truth.
First, let us pose an important premise: theory creates facts, especially, but not exclusively, when dealing with human behaviour.
Theories dealing with human behaviour have a special “self-fulfilling” quality to them. Indeed, it is not clear whether they emerge solely from the observation of human behaviour or if they create an “ideal model” based on preconceived ideas (or ideologies). Given the complexity of human interactions, it is most often the second case. Also, every theory about human behaviour comes with some logical implications which, in turn, shapes reality/the social context and thereby, human behaviour.
A prime example is the debate about whether humans are naturally “good hearted” or “evil”. Both theories will yield certain political systems and social structures which in turn, will influence human behaviour. For instance, the well known political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who describes man’s “state of nature” as being chaotic and violent, justifies, via this premise, the need for a powerful ruler, the Leviathan, thereby nearly justifying the need for an autocratic regime.
Humans will, in turn, react to an autocratic political system in a manner which, very often, justifies and legitimizes the theory. For instance, violence from the State triggering violence from the population, justifying even more violence from the State and “proving” that the premise of humans being “evil” and violent is true.
This applies to large scale political philosophy, but also to individual beliefs. If in a neighborhood, every single neighbor distrusts every other neighbor and believes the others are thieves or want to harm them, it will not take long for one of the neighbors to initiate hostilities either as a “pre-emptive” measure or as a illusionary “copy cat” (if others are doing it, why shouldn’t I) type behaviour. A prime example is that of littering. If everyone believes that the other is carelessly littering (regardless of whether this is true or not, and can only be based on hearsay or rumors), it won’t take long for more people to litter because “why should I make an effort if everyone else is doing it”.
Of course, esoteric books go further by saying that your thoughts are ultimately a “vibration” which attracts into your life people and events which “match” this vibration, but one does not need to go that far to understand how this principle applies even using basic social sciences principles. Beliefs are contagious and contribute to shape the global “consensual” reality that people experience.
This is why positive thinking and positive behaviour is so important since merely by changing your expectation about how others will act or react changes your own behaviour. If you believe that people are violent and cruel, you might over-react to any sign of such violence, cruelty… thereby cementing this type of behaviour or even encouraging it in a self-reinforcing type loop. This is especially true between two individual who share negative expectations.
One especially problematic conclusion from this phenomenon is that your beliefs/theories and your actions based on those beliefs/theories will create facts. This completely reverses the typical process of “empirical science” where you first collect data and then draw conclusions. If you look at any progress in our societies, nothing has ever been based on empiricism, rather, certain ideologically driven decisions and actions have been retro-justified afterwards. The prime example of this is human rights.When these were originally (re)introduced in the last few centuries, they were based on the ideas/ideals of certain western political thinkers like John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and others. But where was the impact assessment, where were the thorough studies and research which justified their application? Which justified that these were objectively, measurably necessary? There was nothing of the sort. These principles were applied on a purely intellectual, ethical and moral basis. And there is, of course, nothing wrong with that! The “positive” measurable, empirical evidence that this decision was “correct” only came afterwords, and it took a long time (as, arguably, the French Revolution, following the declaration of human rights, did not immediately yield “good” results; in fact, it took more than a century for these rights to be “operationalized”, to have tangible effects). Many other examples exist: for instance, the ideas of anarcho-syndicalists which had to be first tried out and put in practice before anyone could study how these ideas/ideals were applied (for instance, examining the 1936–1939 self-organization in Catalonia, Spain, or the Zapatista community in Mexico). These are clear examples where a community, sharing a common belief, acts based on those beliefs which, in turn, generate observable facts. In other words, theory or belief create facts, or in other words, shape the collective experience of any human society.
More controversial is the claim that hard sciences have the same effect. Let’s start with some obviously erroneous theories and show that regardless of whether they are true or not, they nevertheless produce profound effects on the human experience. For instance, the belief in the flat earth theory. To us, obviously, this theory seems ridiculous. But even though it was objectively false, because it was a collective or shared belief, it had some profound effects on people since they acted as if it were true, which means that it produced the same effects as if it were true. For instance, sailors didn’t sail too far from the shores and sailed along coastlines. In other words, once a theory becomes a belief that people act upon, it doesn’t matter whether it is objectively true or not, it produces the same effects as if it were true!
Now, as new theories emerge, they also bring with them unintended consequences. For instance, as the Copernican revolution spread, and it was more and more clear that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, suddenly all of the morals and societal structure based on religion and a fear of Hell and the punishment of an almighty God also gradually subsided, leaving a vacuum where the moral compass of many societies was broken. Nietzsche and Dostoevsky wrote extensively on the subject, arguing that humans were not “ready” to kill God yet, given that we had not found a satisfactory replacement for religious morality, and that this would lead us straight into a dark age of totalitarianism (which took the form of Nazism, Fascism and Stalinism).
Subsequently, every new idea in science also had an impact on human behaviour, for better or for worse. For instance, the discovery of the properties of air and airborne bacteria/viruses ushered in a new understanding of diseases which were no longer a form of “punishment from God”. On the other hand, a gradual belief in the 19th century in the theory of a “mechanical”, clockwork Universe, set forth very crude and cold philosophies such as utilitarianism, which sough to assess human decisions in a detached, “objective” way. It also brought into question the notion of free will as many biologists of the day approached biology from a similar “mechanical” point of view as physicists, claiming that any human action can be explained in a purely “mechanical” way (for instance, with the idea of social conditioning), which also seemingly justified any type of human behaviour and ruled out personal responsibility.
So a quick recap: our theories and models about human behaviour, the functioning of the Universe or answers to big questions like “why are we here”, directly shape the way humans act. In other words, theories create facts. For instance, racist theories create the fact of discrimination experienced by people in real life, based on those theories. Also understand that facts can only exist in light of a theory. For instance, gravity and it’s effects existed long before Newton formulated the theory. But they were not facts, but only rough human intuitions that objects tend to fall when dropped. In science, especially in hard sciences, a “fact” is not created out of observable repeatable and reproducible measurements (because you could do that forever since there is no limit to the number f times you should repeat an experiment to arrive at a “Universal Truth”) but only once that phenomenon can be explained in light of a theory. Until then, they remain statistically likely recurring events, but by no means “facts”.
Now that the “basic” social science explanation is covered, we can move on to the more “esoteric” or spiritual part.
Even if our beliefs contribute to shaping our reality, they only contribute to shaping a small part of it. If you read my article about the “true nature of reality”, where I explain that the world as we see it only exists in our mind, then you understand that we could potentially alter reality in a much more radical way (think Neo in the Matrix). Thankfully, these capabilities are inhibited and only manifest at the time when we are ready to use them responsibly.
First, the “law of attraction” is very clear: there is not only a “delay” between the time we “vibrate” our desires, thoughts, beliefs and the time when they materialize, but our ability to manifest anything is linked to the consensus between our conscious selves, or subconscious and our “super”conscious or unconscious. So for instance while our conscious self thinks “I want/have lots of money”, our subconscious self thinks “but what about the poor” and our superconscious self thinks “money brought a lot of misery upon me in my other lives”. The result will certainly not make you rich. But this is by design. Our conscious self might want something which is socially conditioned and does not resonate with who we truly are. It also is a safeguard against “irresponsible” or reckless thoughts. Just imagine what a chaos the world would look like if anything anyone desired manifested in exactly the form that they originally imagined. Our consensual reality would completely break down and the Universe would have to start over from square one. For instance, imagine if the collective beliefs of “flat earthers” was allowed to reach “full power”, that is, the power of all three levels of consciousness combined. The Earth would flatten… and we would instantly cease to exist. Rather, our collective beliefs have the power to create a reality nested inside a wider reality.
Eventually, however, various collective beliefs are bound to confront each other to reach a more global consensus. This is exactly what colonization or evangelical crusades looked like: a match up of two conflicting collective beliefs and representations of reality. Now, these need not be violent, but I would argue (see my article “Everything is Perfect”) that some collective beliefs are more naturally “aligned” with this Planet’s and more generally, this Universe’s purpose and story and thus are bound to survive, whereas others are bound to disappear.
In our everyday lives, we can see how collective beliefs peacefully co-exist and multiple realities co-exist without conflict. One example is the miracles happening in Lourdes. For those that have an unwavering belief in the healing powers of that place, those waters are magical, while for those that believe that they are merely a nice touristy trip, will gain the same benefit as visiting an ordinary open-air spa. Neither is mutually exclusive. It is only in very crucial moments that some collective beliefs are “naturally” evacuated, in the same way as some biological life forms ill adapted to natural change became extinct. The peaceful coexistence of contradictory collective beliefs also depends on whether these include an “associated” belief of competition and survival. For instance, two contradictory religious communities will not necessarily enter into conflict, it is only if their collective beliefs include the fact that these can only survive if they crush the other, or that they are under siege/attack, under competition with the other. Each set of collective beliefs also have a multitude of ways to “combat” others. For instance, in economics, you currently have a battle between the “orthodox” economists (neo-liberal “laissez-faire” the market is king types) and “non-orthodox” economists (which include a mixed bunch like neo-marxian or neo-keynesian economists). While they don’t throw physical bombs at each other, they fight and compete in other ways (capture and control over University boards and positions, political influence and media presence…)
Going into more spiritual and esoteric ideas, collective beliefs are extremely important as they set a global vibration which will manifest one potential future rather than another potential future. For instance, imagine that a majority of people believe firmly that tensions in the world have reached such levels that we will inevitably have a third world war followed by a nuclear winter. Such a belief ironically attracts this “future potential” to actually manifest in reality! Thankfully, what our conscious selves believe is always balanced with what our “higher selves” believe/want/vibrate (sub-conscious and superconscious) and thus limits the power of collective beliefs rooted in fear.
The same logic applies to all the predictions made by various “mediums” and channelers. They have channeled predictions which are merely one potential future that they have deemed more likely to be experienced based on the current and projected collective beliefs (on all three levels of consciousness) of human beings. Of course, these predictions are always subject to change. While our subconcious and superconscious selves are more “stable” in what they want/vibrate, our conscious selves can change very fast. Also, going full scale esoteric, one could argue that regardless of what we manifest in this reality, we will inevitably reincarnate to face the same obstacles on other planets until we have “remembered” who we are (mini-Gods who should act as such). For instance, if we experience a nuclear winter apocalypse on this Planet, for those of us who have triggered it or manifested it via their collective beliefs, their souls will reincarnate on another planet as another civilization, faced with the same dilemmas, until they learn to avoid such a cataclysm and learn to live in peace, advancing towards “unconditional love” and spiritual enlightenment. And these souls can play this game an infinite number of times. This third dimension “simulation” exists for that purpose specifically! Train us to act like mini-Gods before we are allowed to enter higher dimensions, where we could wreak havoc if we are not “ready” (for instance, granting us the power to manifest things instantly in the fourth dimension, the “world of ideas”). Those who have awakened spiritually but have been dragged into experiencing such a nuclear apocalypse, will simply gladly “die” (their souls leaving their physical bodies just like you when you take off your clothes) to be reincarnated into a world/civilization which matches their spiritual level.
Of course, there is absolutely no judgement of “good” or “bad” here. A caterpillar can remain a caterpillar as long as it wants to, even when there are no more leaves to eat and it suffers immensely. There are no obligations to transform into a butterfly. Only, it has to accept the suffering which comes from remaining in it’s caterpillar form as it deals with the same limits and obstacles again and again, which would be easily overcome if only it decided to turn into a butterfly.
To finish, I would like to stress the importance of aligning our collective beliefs with the purpose of the Universe, which is simply, to MANIFEST ALL THAT IT IS. You can imagine God or a Universal Consciousness to be a person sitting in an immense room full of shelves and on each shelve rests an idea: the idea of the atom, of a chemical element, of a planet, of a biological cell, of each and every plant, animal, of a human being and all that might follow/transcend our current human condition and which we cannot imagine. Now, that person knows that he IS all of it. But he does not know what it FEELS to BE all of it. And so that person (God, Universal Consciousness, the All…) creates a three dimensional Universe, bound by the laws of cause and effect, which allows to string all these ideas together, to assemble them in such a way that each and every idea manifests itself at a certain point in time, being a bridge to another “higher” idea, which gradually becomes more and more a reflection of ALL THAT THE BEING IS. As “time” advances in this third dimension, the number of ideas which were “manifested” slowly matches the number of ideas on the shelves and in this way God knows what it feels like to be him/her/itself. As one of the “latest” ideas being manifested, we are getting closer and closer to being God (remember, we were made in his/her image).
So what am I trying to say? That we need to adopt collective beliefs which are part of the potential future which manifests the “next” greatest idea on the shelf. And this potential future is not one where humanity goes to war with itself, where it is exterminated by climate change, or invaded by hostile aliens.
My “intuition” in this regard, is that each civilization on every planet is similar to various parts inside our brain. Imagine if one civilization is God’s pre-frontal cortex, another civilization is God’s limbic system. If you were to be given the possibility to get rid of or lobotomize a part of your brain, which part would you choose to get rid of? If you’re smart, you won’t get rid of anything, as you understand that your brain works best as a whole. Even if sometimes you wish you would act in this or that way, you understand that taking away a part of your brain would forever limit your self-expression, to manifest WHO YOU ARE. In a similar way, each civilization on every planet in the Universe is like one global organism and all of those civilizations, once they will make contact, will start weaving ties and links between each other which will resemble the neural network within our brains. It is well documented that each part of the brain is connected to each other part in very complex and intricate ways. Once all the civilizations of the Universe will have linked up, the “mesh” representing their connections in a much more complex way than just our idea of communication (something along the lines of telepathy, or imagining that each brain of every single human/alien in the Universe is one neuron in “God’s brain”), then our collective “processing power” will be sufficient to “freeze time” and simulate a “new Universe” in this way. So if we are visited by aliens in some near future, let’s agree to align our collective belief on these premises, which will directly “manifest” the right types of relationships instead of manifesting a Hollywood movie type fiasco.
The way I see things, is that once the “processing power” of our collective consciousnesses will be able to match the speed at which every single Planck unit of space “oscillates”, or experience consciousness at a rate of above 10 to the power of 45 per second, it will freeze time and allow to build a new, much more complex, Universe on the basis of the three dimensional one. This will be the “ultimate singularity” which serves as the bridge between the third and fourth dimensions, even though, since time does not exist, all of this already pre-exists (as an idea somewhere on one of the shelves of God), but our “role”, is to “navigate” through all the potential futures to reach that ultimate and inevitable future for the third dimension. There are no obligations of course, but we may as well set our course for that future since there is no escaping it, the alternative being to have our soul reincarnate over and over again until we get it!