Mind Control - or - Welcome to the Machine

Adam, 22, American College Student

Recently I have had a great deal of dreams that deal with conspiracies within the government or some secret society. I recently had a dream where a secret group of people could read my thoughts and they were being printed out on a TV screen. There were a group of people watching these "printouts" like it was a form of entertainment, for example a sitcom. There is a huge amount of paranoia when I awaken as well as if I am still dreaming when I wake up. Do you have any insight into these dreams?

Mr. Hagen's Reply: Mind Control or Deny Everything

Dream Research and Entertainment

The International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) studies and investigates the individual and collective communication dynamics of dreams and dreaming patterns. The biotopographic research method involves the study and exploration of the language of dreams by reviewing them as biographical documents much like letters or diaries. Dreams provide data from which we can measure the unconscious social dynamics of individuals, families, societies and nations. Informing the public of the Institute's findings is a primary goal.

Although dreams can be viewed as a form of nightly entertainment, the influences that underlie a dream may have more insidious motives. As Freud already discovered, censorship in dreams is a reality. The development and causes of censorship can be attributed to numerous factors both internal and external. Mind control can be used to restrict freedom of expression of individuals and communities; censorship is the primary vehicle to exercise control over the production of thought. Freud, in "Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious", believed jokes have the ability to bypass the censorship imposed upon the dreamwork and its underlying thoughts.

The Communal Dream Screen and Media Effects

In your dream the "printouts" of your thoughts projected on the TV screen seems to have the narrative structure of a sitcom.

Dreams can be seen as movies, with images projected onto the mind's dreamscreen. As with literary narratives or screenplays, dreams can be categorized into genres. By looking at many individual dreams, one can identify patterns, common themes and symbols which are indicators of collective narratives for the groups to which the individuals belong. Mass media influence and effects are real. Dreams provide access to understanding the collective dynamics of mass media effects in the global village.

Other dreams received by the IIDR can be associated to yours, include;

American Culture: Paranoia, Persecution and Conspiracies

The American anthropologist Abram Kardiner, author of "Psychological Frontiers of Society", believed that culture patterns provide the dreamscreens onto which the basic personality orientation of a society is projected. When trust in our fellow human beings and government fails, a sense of betrayal is the inevitable outcome. When the Dream is betrayed, paranoia becomes a reality.

The Iron Cage -or- Freedom, Censorship and the Kafkaesque

American democracy was founded on certain basic principles, which have been copied and adapted by all subsequent democracies. One - perhaps the most vital - of these principles is the right to freedom of expression.

Your dream addresses the topic of freedom and attempts to make it painfully clear that freedom is an illusion or at best a scarce commodity. For the philosopher Georg Simmel there is no freedom, we live in an "Iron Cage" from which there is no escape. The iron cage of bureaucracy was the literary target of much of Franz Kafka's work, which today finds the dystopian label of the "Kafkaeque". The Kafkaesque can be found circulating in many dreams sent to the IIDR, which include; General Hospital:The Kafkaesque and The Kafkaesque of Everyday Life.

The catastrophic history of the 20th century is based on the paranoid attitudes of the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Idi Amin. Total control of a society's thoughts and behavior is the brainchild of an anxious and authoritarian mind. Such visions see the need to cleanse that which they deem to be poisoning the well-springs of community life and undermining their authority. Reportedly even U.S. President Richard Nixon had an "enemies list".

Another characteristic of the 20th century was its increasing technological perfection of censorship for totalitarian purposes.

Charlotte Beradt, in "The Third Reich of Dreams", discusses the dreams of individuals living in Nazi Germany. Beradt felt that their dreams represented "parables par excellence on how submissive subjects of totalitarian rule were produced."

One dream reported by Beradt bears an uncanny resemblance to your dream, yours being an updated version. I cite it verbatim:

"I am sitting in a box at the opera, dressed in a new gown, and with my hair beautifully done. It was a huge opera house with many, many tiers and I was enjoying considerable attention. They were presenting my favorite opera, The Magic Flute. When it came to the line "that is the devil certainly" a squad of policemen came stomping in and marched directly up to me. A machine had registered the fact that I had thought of Hitler on hearing the word "devil". I imploringly searched the festive crowd for some sign of help, but they all just sat there staring straight ahead, silent and expressionless, not one showing even pity. The old gentleman in an adjoining box looked kind and distinguished, but when I tried to catch his eye he spat at me."

As we move into the 21st century, currently characterized as the Information Age, the danger remains that freedom will be extinguished. The gathering of information by those in power has never been so easy; we may all be connected into one enormous information web. Governments' paranoid surveillance of their citizens will control the entrances and the exits of society, control those who enter and leave.

With the end of freedom, there will be nothing will be left except to indulge ourselves in except fictional entertainments.

Media, Machines and the Betrayal of the American Dream

The American stage imprints a distinct language and socialization pattern on its children. The distinct communal framework of political, economic, religious, domestic and ethnic institutions shapes the everyday drama of American life. The American communal dreamscreen reflects the folk-ways and the unique social problems of the life-cycle of Americans. Media imperialism has shaped the thoughts, emotions and dreams of Americans and their way of life.

Daniel Boorstin, in "The Image or What Happened to the American Dream" (1961) discusses the media's increasing "Management of Illusions". For Boorstin the management of the consumption of images of staged-reality has created a mis-informed public and destroyed the authentic fabric of the American Dream. This message was echoed twenty-five years later by Neil Postman in "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business".

Thought, Surveillance and Censorship

Governments have always sought to censor the spread of ideas considered subversive to their authority. The justification for surveillance and censorship is the regulation of public communication, especially subversive ideas. Concepts that are considered too dangerous are denied currency in the marketplace of thought.

After the invention of printing, governments quickly realized the power of the printed word to spread sedition and heresy. Henry VIII in 1529 made a proclamation against seditious and heretical works. As well in the 16th century, the government established censorship controls over theatres, plays and performers.

Lewis Mumford: The Military Megamachine

Lewis Mumford's "The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power" attempts to expose the "Secrets of the Temple". He argues that the technical inventions of the 16th century laid the foundation for the "myth of the machine" and, much later, science fiction narratives. The constant surveillance and control of the public by the collection of intelligence data created the need for maintaining "sealed in" knowledge. Secrecy became valued as a military badge of authority and enforcing control.

Mumford wrote that the military "with the pusillanimous aid of Congress has extended [its] tentacles through-out the industrial and academic world ... With the computer [it] will be able to find, to locate and to address instantly any individual on the planet: exercising control over every detail over the subject's daily life by commanding a dossier which would include parentage, birth and education record, an account of illness and medical breakdown if treated, his marriage, his sperm bank count, his income, loans, security payments, taxes and pensions and the disposition of organs" upon death.

"In the end, no action, no conversation and in time no dream or thought would escape the wakeful and relentless eye of this deity (the megamachine). Every manifestation of life would be processed into the computer and brought under its all pervading system of control." (Mumford) "This would mean not just the invasion of privacy, but the total destruction of the human soul."The prototypical machinery of paranoia from the ancient Greeks to Nazi Germany, Communist Russia or America has as its basis the same underlying nightmarish and dystopian vision.

Conspiracy in Theatre and Hollywood Films

Theme of paranoia and government conspiracy have pervaded popular culture from music to Hollywood films to TV. A well-known example is the play "A Few Good Men". In the film version (see video), Tom Cruise plays a naval lawyer attempting to expose secrets and the corrupt authority that enforces it. Another film is Sandra Bullock's portrayal of a computer hacker in the "The Net" (see movie trailer) which deals with the ability to control identity.

Further examples include:

  • "JFK" (see film trailer), starring Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison, a New Orleans District Attorney attempting to expose the plot behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
  • "Three Days of the Condor" (see film trailer) features Joe Turner (Robert Redford) who reads books for the CIA to uncover covert operations and works at the "American Literary Society" (a front for the CIA). Turner sends a report to CIA headquaters about the suspicious connection of books he had read. Turner while literally and covertly "out to lunch", all seven people who worked at The American Literary Society are murdered to hide a secret. Turner had uncovered what turns out to be a power struggle within the CIA.
  • "Capricorn One" (see video clip), a fictional story where NASA and the U.S. government stage a mock flight to Mars with astronauts James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson making believe to be in outer space and landing on the planet. The Pentagon releases a story that the ship crashed on reentry to the Earth and all three men were killed. Elliot Gould is the reporter who uncovers the deadly charade.
  • "Underworld", the dystopian novel by Don DeLillo, presents a world of international capital, transnational media, hostile takeovers and electronic sex. Individuals and communities are unprotected amidst a high-tech bombardment more sinister than the nuclear threat. Skin and mind have become flayed, exposing the insides to penetrating and manipulating electronic signals leaving the individual feeling excoriated, invaded and violated.
  • "THX 1138", is a dystopian science fiction film by George Lucas that presents future society as one that will be dominated by mind control techniques.
  • "The X-Files" (see TV clips), where FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully entertained viewers on a weekly basis for nine years, attempting to uncover conspiracies and unmask conspirators. The X-files cult of paranoid plots ranged from religious confrontations with evil to the paranormal to alien abductions and government conspiracies.

Some literature and videos of interest includes:

  • Ian R. Dowbiggin, "Suspicious Minds: The Triumph of Paranoia in Everyday Life"
  • Eli Sagan, "The Honey and the Hemlock: Democracy and Paranoia in Ancient Greece and Modern America"
  • Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics and other Essays"
  • Sam Keen, "Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination"
  • Andrew Bard Schmookler, "Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds that Drive Us to War"
  • Nesta H. Webster, "Secret Societies and Subversive Movements"
  • Michael Howard, "The Occult Conspiracy: Secret Societies--Their Influence and Power in World History"
  • Johnathan Vankin, "Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes: Political Manipulation and Mind Control in America"
  • Patricia A. Turner, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture"
  • Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore, "The Roswell Incident"
  • Daniel Pipes, "Conspiracy: How the paranoid style flourishes and where it comes from"
  • Michael Kaufman, "Mad Dreams, Saving Graces"
  • James Kirkwood, "American Grotesque"
  • CIA MInd Control Video
  • Psychological Warfare video (see video): Operation Paperclip
  • "Mind Control", Warner Brothers Video, narrated by Donald Sutherland

And for the most famous documented case of a genuine government conspiracy, see "All The President's Men" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein or the film (see video trailer) starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Bernstein and Woodward's secret informant "Deep Throat" revealed himself in 2005 to be William Mark Felt Sr former deputy director of the FBI.

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.