If Wishes Were Horses . . .

Star Trek Deep Space 9 is full of parables. Episode 15 of series 1 explores the power of thought and imagination – individually and collectively.

I ended last time by saying “you or I can make anything happen” and “no thing happens without the original thought”. I’m taking it up from there and considering ‘cause and effect’.

It’s all very well when this happens individually and deliberately; when you or I think up something we intend to create, then go ahead and cause it to happen. I covered this last time.

But what happens when it’s not deliberate but accidental, and what happens when it’s not the thought of one but the thoughts of many?

The mind does what it perceives or believes you are telling it to do, which depends on the beliefs you hold, and as you and I know when we allow our imaginations to ‘run away’ with us anything can happen – and often does.

Even though it wasn’t quite what we’d imagined, perhaps something we didn’t desire or envisage at all!

But we did envisage it, and it manifested itself to us.

But was it real, or just in our imagination?

Of course it was real, if we believed it was real.

Everything we believe to be ‘real’ is real, as solid and tangible as you like.

You and I cause things to become real, first we believe they will and then we believe they are.

But what if we both believe something to be real, or what if one of us believes it’s real and the other doesn’t?

It comes back to belief. We are taught to believe in certain things.

We have a ‘common perception’ of the ‘reality’ around us. We believe there are such things as houses, cars, cats, trees and so on.

On the other hand, some people truly believe in entities such as fairies, leprechauns and unicorns. To them these are real, and they do exist, they have seen them, and maybe interacted with them.

And they know others share these beliefs, although most people don’t.

Which brings me to something I encountered in psychology classes a long time ago.

It’s called ‘groupthink’

In the DS9 episode the crew believed they were about to be swallowed up in a rift in space, because one of them thought it might be happening.

It happens when a person or group of people come up with an idea, a thought, about some situation they perceive as a threat or an opportunity.

They feel they need some form of support or agreement from others to counter this threat or exploit this opportunity.

So they make it real.

They make it real for others, lots of others, as well as themselves; by creating belief.

Those whose support they need, are led to believe what they are told, what the group who started this want them to believe.

It’s done by propaganda and manipulation.

We, the ‘people’, are bombarded with ‘information’ supporting the beliefs being instilled. Repetition leads to belief, however outrageous the idea.

Add manipulation, where people are convinced to behave in certain ways because it will be to their advantage, avoid the threat or benefit from the opportunity, and you have an unbeatable formula.

Provided of course you’re not expecting everyone to believe – after all dissenters can be ‘dealt with’. (Or at least, that’s the belief).

‘News’, advertising, ‘social media’, popular drama, reality and game shows are all used as tools in this along with ‘official announcements.

if you really wish to remain ‘free’ – free of the beliefs others are working to impose on you – avoid them all.

Freedom is sticking with your thoughts, ideas and beliefs, not being influenced by others.