How Do Conspiracy Theories Arise?

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: How do we explain the prevalence of conspiracy theories?

A: We can look at this phenomenon from different perspectives:

  1. Targeted information triggers an innate tendency in the mind – this standpoint believes an “informational stimulus” interfaces with people’s karmic substrate and triggers an unconscious pattern. This position posits a stimulus-response mindset; if the tendency is already in the mind, the information will trigger it.
  2. Intentional influence – In this point of view, influencers manipulate people’s unconscious mind through specific words or images: they prey upon people’s desires, fears, hatred, guilt and shame to evoke emotions and to stir them to take action. You see this used in advertising; those with a political or religious agenda also utilize this strategy.
  3. Awakening negative character traits – This view holds that certain individuals only respond to the message of the conspiracy theory because it stirs innate character traits in them. The message draws out the mental aberrations of people with dark triad personality patterns—paranoia, antisocial, and Machiavellian traits—or borderline personality disorder. This perspective suggests that those who believe in conspiracy theories would have high levels of these associated personality disorders.
  4. Genetic substrate – This position holds that people’s response to a conspiracy theory is an inborn predisposition to process information in a non-linear, irrational way. In this perspective, people who believe in conspiracy theories potentially have different neurological wiring.
  5. Learned beliefs – This perspective holds that conspiracy theories are constructed. What people learn about a conspiracy theory consists of an array of beliefs that conform to their unconscious fears and desires. These irrational beliefs, with skilled intervention, can be deconstructed through psychotherapy or deprogramming.
  6. Splitting – In this stance, conspiracy theories evoke psychological splitting of people’s worldview into black and white, good and evil—and those who hold this mindset cannot reconstruct the whole picture of those they demonize. We see these dualistic mindsets in Zoroastrian, Manichean, Christian, and Islamic sects. These world views demonize those who are labeled alien, or non-believers; those who engage in religiously proscribed behavior; or those who support views different than their own. This same dualistic polarization and demonization of opponents can similarly be found in political ideology.
  7. Immersion in thought streams – In this outlook, conspiracy theories arise from listening to the thought streams of Occult Adepts, the purveyors of nonsense from the Psychic Realm, and those who misinterpret scripture in various religious groups. This same dynamics operate in religious cults, radical political organizations, and terrorist groups. This outlook perceives that people tune into a particular inner channel of information through intuition or outer information through the media—and this message resonates with what they have come to believe is true. This information stream (a) defines what is true, (b) gives people a rationale to believe it, (c) rewards them for believing it, and (d) it urges people to take action on these new beliefs.

People are exposed to the information from proponents of a conspiracy theory. Through whatever internal processing takes place for this information—through whichever explanatory perspective among one to seven—it changes their beliefs, reframes their perspective, and leads to new behavior. We can point to certain mental operations of the unconscious mind as contributing to the adoption of conspiracy theories; the cognitive behavioral approach (perspective five — learned beliefs) gives us hope that people who become enmeshed in these delusional frames can regain their rationality again.

Those who are interested in the dynamics underlying religious influence systems may find our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are Doing? helpful.

We take on these layers of false beliefs in our Cult Recovery Coaching Program, which is designed for those who have been involved in religious or political cults, and want to find their authentic inner compass again. We have several articles we have written about conspiracy theories in our web log: we invite those are interested in this topic to search for these articles.

When Your Intuition and the Internet Lead You Astray

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: What if your intuition tells you gonzo stuff?

A: What your intuition tells you is information. This information may be true or false. Where this changes you is if:

  1. You believe it
  2. You emotionally react to it
  3. You act on the basis of the belief

If my intuition tells me there is an abominable snowman that lives in the thicket outside my house, I might consider that my intuition is playing with me.

But if I believe this is true, it affects my emotions and my behavior:

  • I might be afraid to go outside because I fear the yeti might kill me and eat me, injure me so I need to go to a hospital, or drag me off to its lair so its children can eat me.
  • I might walk out the back door, so I avoid the thicket where the yeti lives.

At issue, I have not verified the statement is true—that an abominable snowman actually lives in the thicket. If I do an exhaustive search of the thicket, and there is no trace of Mr. Yeti or his offspring, I might conclude my intuition is tripping, and I might laugh at myself for my gullibility.

When people believe something that isn’t true, it engages their emotions, and may also change their behavior.

If someone is lying to them, they may carry out what the person who is sowing this false narrative wants them to do. We see people manipulated through this means through government propaganda; misleading advertising; the speeches and writing of demagogues, cult leaders, and leaders of hate and terrorist groups. This dissemination of misinformation is rampant on the internet: one “thought leader” can introduce these falsehoods and compromise hundreds—even thousands of people—with a tweet or social media post.

Finding Out What Is True

There are four positions I can take regarding a statement is true, whether I receive it internally from my intuition, or externally through others’ communication:

  1. The statement is true – I have verified its veracity. I conclude the information is reliable.
  2. The statement is false – I have analyzed its message and I have found logical errors, or attempts to deceive me. I conclude the information is not reliable.
  3. The statements truth is unknown – I cannot verify the truth of the statement as the evidence I need to verify it is not available to me. The information may be based on the statements, opinions, testimonials, or beliefs of others, but I cannot independently verify their claims. I conclude the information is not verifiable, and withhold my belief.
  4. The statement is non-sensible and clearly false – The information appears to be the product of fantasy, delusion, or irrationality. I conclude this information is not reliable, and I reject it outright.

Let’s review these four conditions:

In condition A, I am able to prove the statement is true. If I suspect that I have termites in my house, and I find an insect that looks like a termite, I can verify that I do have termites.

In condition B, I am able to prove the statement is false. If a politician tells me that he had the largest crowd size “ever recorded” for his inauguration, and historical records and actual photos of the crowd show that it wasn’t the largest crowd, I reject his statement.

In condition C, there is not enough verifiable information to prove the statement, so I hold it as an unverifiable hypothesis. If someone tells me that there are extraterrestrial bodies in a freezer locker in a secret air force base in the Nevada desert, I have no way of verifying this is true. Maybe this is possible, but I have no way to prove it.

I rather doubt if I ask the guard at the gate of the facility is going to let me in to view them if they were there. For example, if I showed up at the west gate of the base, and told the security officer, who is armed with a high-powered, deadly-accurate automatic weapon, “Oh hi! Hey, I’ve heard that you’ve got ETs in the freezer in here? Mind if I have a look? I promise I won’t take any souvenirs!”

In condition D, the statement is so clearly a statement of fantasy that I can reject it outright. For example, if I told you, “I am Spiderman and I’m actually from the planet Venus,” you would know that I sho’ be trippin’—and you wouldn’t believe me.

Sowing of the Seed

To set up misinformation, the one seeking to disseminate it must make you believe that condition B, a false statement, is actually condition A, a true statement—that something false is true.

This commonly occurs through giving you false proof based on spurious or distorted facts—what one of the press secretaries of the Trump administration famously referred to as “alternative facts.”

Sometimes in my leisure time, I watch UFO conspiracy shows on Netflix. I listen to these reports, and I conclude, “I cannot verify this hypothesis and I suspend my belief that it is true. This is condition C.

However, if the scout ship with the grey aliens—the ones with the large heads and prominent black eyes—lands on my lawn… Three aliens come out of their vessel… they come towards me and one of them gives me a high five—or in their case, a high four, as they only have four fingers—my belief that there are space aliens has been validated. I then can say, “yes, there are space aliens: they are parked on my lawn.” This is condition A.

When people get seduced by conspiracy theories; entrapped in cults, hate and terrorist groups; or deceived by propaganda—they believe something that is false is true—and this conditions their emotions and behavior. They believe the false statement, which should be recognized as false—condition B—is actually A, verified as true.

To bring people back from this alternate reality, these false beliefs that appear to them to be true must be shown to be false. The challenge of this is that they tenaciously defend these false beliefs as “the truth.”

The “Aha Moment”

The sudden insight or realization—the “aha moment”—that makes someone realize that something they believe is false and reject it, is the catalyst that enables someone to escape their alternate reality. For them to change, they must have this realization.

For a person who is committed to a false belief:

  • You cannot argue with them. They will not listen.
  • You cannot convince them through showing them other information. They will not believe what you show them.

They must discover that it is false. Then they emerge, and awaken from the dream.

To the degree that you can catalyze this realization, you can assist them to break the spell. Our best psychotherapists and coaches can do this, once in a while.

Going back to your original question, you must verify what intuition tells you, the same way you might check out something another person tells you, or something you view on social media.

If you can’t verify it, it’s conditional—an unverified hypothesis. Perhaps if people could learn to hold more things as an unverified hypothesis, instead of wildly believing them, we would have fewer people getting lost in conspiracy theories and cults.

Those interested in learning more about the dynamics that underlie religious and political cults, you may enjoy reading our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

Preaching and Satsang

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: What is the difference between preaching and satsang?

A: Preaching is communicated from the Moon Soul nucleus of identity. Satsang comes from the attentional principle, the spirit, or the ensouling entity.

The spectrum of preaching spans a range of communication: from material contaminated with human paranoia and ignorance to the channeling of the Holy Spirit and the Divine directly. We can sketch out seven levels of preaching:

  1. Dissemination of conspiracy theories and superstition – at this level, material from the preacher’s unconscious mind contaminates the message.
  2. Conversion message – the message attempts to instill fear, guilt, shame, or self-loathing to make someone become a member of a religious group. This messaging may point out sinful or adharmic behavior, describe its dire consequences, and then offer faith, prayer, or some type of contemplative practice as a solution. Those who play an evangelistic or “soul winner” role in an organization use this type of preaching.
  3. Practical advisement – in this aspect of preaching, the message communicates keys to success, prosperity, and happiness. The strategies advocated in this type of preaching include using scriptures to claim what people desire “by faith,” employing affirmations, or performing tithing to bring about personal rewards. New Thought ministers and those who preach the “prosperity gospel” adopt this approach. Pastoral counselors who utilize scriptural passages to give solutions to the problems of life also tap this dimension of preaching.
  4. Moral guidance – in this level of preaching, the message attempts to instill moral values and character change through metaphors, parables, stories, or testimonials. The homily of the Catholic priest and the testimonial of one who has been saved in Evangelical churches draw on this type of preaching.
  5. Exhortation – this type of preaching exhorts people to take urgent action. Some preaching makes use of this type of message to raise funds. Some clergy may exhort their parishioners to vote for a political candidate that shares the religious institution’s values.
  6. Revelation – This type of preaching explains the layers of meaning of scriptures. It may attempt to interpret the symbols and archetypes found in prophetic and mystical passages of scripture. It may attempt to use analytical strategies like Gematria or analysis of historical word meanings to tease out meaning from religious texts. Those who play a teaching role in the religious organization commonly exercise this communication style.
  7. Transmission of the gifts of the Spirit – In the core of the Moon Soul, where the Holy Spirit comes to dwell, in response to the believer’s fervent invocation and prayer, the Living Flame speaks directly through the individual. This can take the form of inspired preaching, prophecy, speaking in an unknown tongue (glossolalia), and anathema.
  • In inspired preaching, the Holy Spirit speaks through the individual, who takes no thought as to what he or she will say—it is revealed in the moment; the preacher gives voice to what the Spirit whispers within.
  • In prophecy, the Divine Spirit reveals what is to be in the future.
  • In glossolalia, the Spirit bestows a mantramic language upon the believer, which enables the believer to enter into union with the Holy Spirit in the core of the Moon Soul.
  • In anathema, the Divine commandment executes the karmic law.

Those who wish to study more about religious conversion and the dynamics underlying religion may value from reading our book, Religion, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

How Thought Streams Affect Others

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: How do thought streams influence others?

A: Thought streams are at the body of the Occult Hierarchy’s influence on humanity and the activity of Occult initiates. Thought streams may play a role in the adoption of conspiracy theories, and the hypnotic influence of cultic groups and leaders.

Thought streams have three parts:

  1. Transmission
  2. Reception
  3. Implementation

Thought stream transmission occurs when it originates from a source; it becomes a field which others are immersed.

Thought stream reception takes three forms:

Ensouling entities are immersed in the field of the thought stream transmission; it surrounds them in the astral environment in which they dwell, which we call the Plenum.

The spirit or the attentional principle may receive a telepathic impress from the thought stream transmission; they may feel it is important enough to implement.

The ego receives the communication of the thought stream through a verbal or visual means; the content of the thought stream may contain material that activates the emotionalized contents of the personal unconscious and motivates fear, worry, or anger. This level of message may stir others to take action on the message.

Thought stream implementation is a spectrum ranging from no implementation to complete dedication of life and mind.

  1. Notices content of the thought stream message, but does not enact it
  2. Thinks about the ideas of the thought stream message, but does not enact them
  3. Forms an emotional reaction to the ideas conveyed in the thought steam message, and may communicate them to others; they may argue with others in an attempt to change their beliefs; judges others are wrong if they don’t believe the content of the thought stream message
  4. Changes behavior based on the ideas of the thought stream message; may make new choices
  5. Generates rules, policies, or laws based on the thought stream message
  6. May attempt to actively influence and convert others to believe in the ideas of the thought stream message through giving talks, interviews, writing articles and blog posts, authoring books, or disseminating these ideas through social media
  7. Dedicates one’s life and resources to living the ideas of the thought stream message and spreading this message to others

Sources of Thought Streams

In Advanced Webinar 28, we describe the role of the thought streams emerging from the Occult Hierarchy as follows:

“When we study the Occult Hierarchy, and look at the work of the Occult Adepts and higher Occult Initiates, we find that Occult Adepts of certain degrees upon each of the Seven Rays are responsible for certain “projects” that are carried out in humanity. Some of these projects seem relatively benign; some bring great evil in their wake.”

“Each of these projects engages groups of Soul Sparks, who are carried on its powerful magnetic thought forces to enact its commands and suggestions. In some of these projects, the aim is to empower and liberate the free will of Soul Sparks from the influences that attempt to restrain their pleasure and their freedom; in other projects, certain individuals may be raised to the heights of worldly power, and enabled to rule over others with an iron fist.”

Other sources of thought streams—as we described in the article, “Levels of Thought that Impact Human Life”—include:

  1. Intuitive impressions from the Psychic Realm
  2. The voice of Wisdom
  3. Revelation of truths from the Revelatory Mind of the Holy Spirit
  4. The voice of the Mighty I AM Presence
  5. Ministerial thought, reflection on seed thoughts
  6. Illumined Mind, downpour of knowledge
  7. Attunement – intention driven thought to produce purification, healing, emotional release, counsel, and guidance, illumination and revelation, and initiation, imbued with the Divine Light
  8. Soul Realization (Enlightenment) – the experience of the Soul beyond thought

While many thought streams are neutral or even positive—many thought streams that come from the Lower Astral Plane, that convey conspiracy theories, or that entrap people in the toxic belief systems of spiritual cults, hate groups, or terrorist bands—are not.

If a thought steam is negatively impacting you, and you are beginning to act under its influence, there are several things you can do.

What You Can Do

There are seven key steps for dealing with thought stream influences. These include:

  1. Become aware that the thought stream is influencing you.
  2. Notice specifically how the thought stream is affecting your choices, your thinking, your values, your beliefs, your emotions, and your actions.
  3. Decide if you want to continue to act under its spell. If you decide you want to free yourself from its influence, you need to make the choice to walk away.
  4. Actively inventory how the thought stream is affecting your choices, your thinking, your values, your beliefs, your emotions, and your actions—and explore your alternate options.

Draw a line on a sheet of paper to divide it into two columns.

On the left hand side, write down the verbatim content you have learned as part of the thought stream’s influence on your life and your mind.

On the right side, write down what you can choose, think, believe, feel, or do instead.

  1. Extract yourself from involvement with the group that disseminates this material:

  • Get off their mailing list or email list.
  • Cancel your account on the social media platform that distributes this material, or un-friend them on Facebook.
  • Stop listening to radio shows or podcasts that promulgate these messages. Stop watching television programs or Internet videos that spread these views.
  • Do not go to their lectures or meetings.
  • Avoid contact with the people in your life who share these distorted messages; if you cannot avoid contact, assertively tell them that you do not want to hear about these topics anymore
  1. Commit to the alternate options you identified in step four. Live intentionally, mindfully, and thoughtfully. Identify who you are and what is your purpose for living, and align your choices, thoughts, beliefs, and actions with your authentic Self.
  2. Continue to monitor whether you are still acting under the influence of the thought stream messages in some aspect of your life, and root out these beliefs, so you can free yourself from any residual impressions from this source.

Those of you who have been acting under the hypnotic spell of these thought streams for a long time are impacted in a similar manner to someone who has been involved in a religious cult. We invite you to explore our Cult Recovery Coaching Program if this immersion in these thought stream influences has adversely affected your life. You may learn more about the dynamics operating in cultic groups in our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

Types of Religious Expression

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: Where does Mudrashram® fall on the scale of religious expression?

A: If we examine the scale of religious expression, we discover seven major categories of religious expression. These include:

  1. Complete theocracy – religion dominates every aspect of life; complete control of behavior and belief by religion
  2. Religious fervor – religion seeks to gain political control of government to enact its religious agenda through laws and usurp the rights of non–believers
  3. Reflective religion – religion follows a set of moral principles or commandments scrupulously, but encourages reflection, meditation, and discussion of religious ideas and principles to promote understanding and insight
  4. Ecumenical religion – reaches out to other faiths in good will; promotes tolerance and understanding; attempts to live a life of love, virtue, and service
  5. Hypocritical religion – espouses values but does not live up to them; clergy may engage in sexual impropriety; may treat those of the same faith with favoritism, and discriminate against those of other faiths or sects; participates in political advocacy for candidates that espouse their values and beliefs
  6. Corrupt religion – religion engages in corrupt practices to become rich and powerful; may use public shaming or litigation to intimidate and suppress those who question its doctrine or practices; may use bribes of public officials, they solicit large donations for religious favors or purported heavenly rewards; money buys access to a spiritual leader
  7. Demonic religion – forces religion on others against their will, embracing an attitude of ‘convert or die’; uses terrorism, violence, torture, and criminal activities to gain power through any means; requires absolute obedience to its doctrine and beliefs, and allows no dissent; does not respect human rights or international laws or conventions; holds it alone is the one true religion

Mudrashram® most closely resembles the activities of category three, in that we encourage reflection, meditation, and discussion of religious ideas and principles to promote understanding and insight. The scrupulous moral observances characterize those students who ascend to the advanced disciple, accepted disciple, and Initiate stages of the Path, when they begin to become instruments of the Divine Will and Grace.

We suspect you can find examples of modern religious and spiritual groups that appear to fall into each of these categories. Of these expressions, perhaps reflective religion and ecumenical religion have fewer drawbacks than the others.

Those of you who wish to explore the dynamics of religions, cults, and terrorist groups may enjoy our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

Those of you who may have been traumatized from your involvement in religious groups of types one, two, five, six, or seven—and you seek to heal and find your serenity and sanity again— you may find our Cult Recovery Program will help you find your way out of the morass and get your bearings again.