Consensus trance

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Following up to “Most people seem content to sing an endless round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat …”” and “Why do so few unwrap the gift of Santa Claus?” and “Why art matters, and how literature professors could, too“.

According to Wikipedia about Charles Tart

In his 1986 book Waking Up, he introduced the phrase “consensus trance” to the lexicon. Tart likened normal waking consciousness to hypnotic trance. He discussed how each of us is from birth inducted to the trance of the society around us. Tart noted both similarities and differences between hypnotic trance induction and consensus trance induction. He emphasized the enormous and pervasive power of parents, teachers, religious leaders, political figures, and others to compel induction. Referring to the work of Gurdjieff and others he outlines a path to awakening based upon self-observation.

Concept sounds reasonable, but the mention of Gurdjieff is worrying. And Wikipedia also mentions that

He supports Joseph McMoneagle’s remote viewing claims that McMoneagle has remote viewed into the past, present, and future and has predicted future events.

Hmmm. See also the Wikipedia entry on “Consensus reality“.

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4 responses »

  1. Travel makes salient the existence of a consensus trance, because there are different consensus trances in different societies.

  2. According to academic David Graeber

    Something about the experience of grad school, the job market, and pre-tenure trials ends up rendering 99 percent of even the most secure academics utterly incapable of meaningful rebellion. It’s a matter that surely deserves sociological analysis. The tenure system is ostensibly there to give professors the security to experiment with potentially dangerous ideas. Yet somehow the process of obtaining it reduces a good proportion of the most perceptive and sophisticated human beings our society produces to a state in which they can’t imagine what a dangerous idea would even look like.

    He says, “It’s a matter that surely deserves sociological analysis.” As if preventing dangerous ideas weren’t precisely the point of it all!

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