Questions of our time – can we finally heal our collective trauma?

‘A painted bird of paradise in a cage’ ~Aurobindo

Why are so many things going on in the world right now that are detrimental to our own well-being? It appears self-evident that there is something fundamentally wrong with how the world is – in so many ways and upon so many levels. We are a species with noble character, with a great spirit, and with a sacred soul. In our hearts most people wish only for the betterment of all others – for equity, compassion and communion. And yet what we see going on in the world is nothing less than complete madness. We have to say it exactly as it is – we are experiencing a collective trauma on a global scale.

In my recent work I proposed the possibility that some kind of mental and/or unconscious infection or contagion has produced a form of irrationality – or ‘madness’ – that has now become so normalized within us that we hardly recognize its presence.[i] Further, this ‘presence’ has embedded itself into various forms of social conditioning (or perhaps even produces this conditioning) in order to veil its existence. This normalized madness then usurps genuine thinking patterns, with the result that when everyone shares the collective psychosis then the madness of the world appears to be a ‘normal feature’ of human civilization. And those people who are ‘awake’ to the irrationality and madness are considered the ‘crazy ones.’ Here is an illuminating tale:

There was once a wise and powerful king who ruled in a remote city of a far kingdom. And the king was feared for both his might and his love of wisdom. At the heart of the city was a well whose water was cool and crystalline, and all the inhabitants drank from this well, even the king and his courtiers, because there was no other well in the city. One night, while everyone was asleep, a witch entered the city and poured seven drops of a strange liquid into the well, and said:

‘From now on, anyone who drinks this water will go crazy.’

The next morning all the inhabitants drank the water from the well, except the king and his lord chamberlain, and very soon everyone went mad, as the witch had foretold. During that day, all people went through the narrow streets and public places whispering to each other:
‘The king is mad. Our king and his lord chamberlain have lost their reason. Naturally, we cannot be ruled by a mad king. We must dethrone him!’

That night, the king ordered a golden cup of water from the well to be brought to him. And when they brought the cup the king and his lord chamberlain drank heavily from it. Soon after that there was great rejoicing in that distant city of a far kingdom because the king and his lord chamberlain had regained their reason.

The King and his love of wisdom (Genuine Mind) was corrupted by the poisonous drops of the witch’s liquid (infection/contagion) that resulted in the mass epidemic of craziness (irrationality/madness). This corrupted mind, we can say, has now become the dominant narrative that influences social behavior. This disease of irrationality is a contagion that infects individual and group minds as well as infuses the whole array of our social systems.

The collective ‘cultural mind’ is continually being shaped by dominant social-cultural narratives that normalize our mental and emotional behavioral patterns. These norms are then transferred into cultural myths that serve to transmit and reinforce these mass-minded belief systems. We end up validating our own corrupted thinking through unconscious affirmations. Once this seed of psychosis is planted then it aims to propagate and strengthen itself in order to legitimate its own ‘logical’ existence. Like a mental cancer it ingratiates itself into our own neural pathways as an insider rather than an outsider so that we fail to notice its toxic presence. Yet there remains a niggling sense of something being ‘not-quite-right’ deep within any sensible/sensitive person.

This corrupted reality then becomes internalized so that people adapt to a form of the ‘new normality’ and anyone who speaks up or questions this ‘paradigm of normality’ is considered either odd, eccentric or, at worst, a crazy heretic. A more recent category for such people is now to be designated as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ which is a quick brush to dismiss people with ideas or thinking contrary to this ‘norm.’ And those people who appear to accept and encourage such norms are quickly brought ‘into the fold’ and supported by the orthodox, mainstream systems. The majority of those supporting and propagating the disease of irrationality are not in psychiatric care but running most of our social, political, and financial institutions. A great majority of the asymptomatic, unknowing carriers of this mental contagion can also be found in the streets, in shops, and everywhere in society. Positions of great power, especially, represent this irrationality, and often knowingly so, as it supports and strengthens their own continuing structure of power. An irrational mind corrupts, yet an irrational mind in a position of power corrupts totally.

The Irrational Mind

The presence of the irrational mind is like a sickness of the soul, and it manifests as a disturbance in the collective unconscious. Just like any other virus or pathogen, it seeks to spread itself by infecting as many carriers as possible. Those people who carry the irrational mind (whether knowingly or not) act as transmitters and amplifiers for it, strengthening its frequency within the collective consciousness. A collective ‘possession’ can also be referred to as a psychic epidemic, or a disturbance in the field. Such disturbances can have varying affects upon people’s mental health and well-being. Over time, this off-kilter mentality stabilizes into a form of trauma which then is projected externally.

People who suffer from this may carry it as an ‘undefinable’ trauma within them, and it is common to turn to alcoholism, hedonistic pursuits, addictions, and other dependencies as a way of coping, or escaping, from a sense of ennui, apathy, or plain world-weariness. When a person feels traumatized, they are vulnerable to further mental programming and varieties of external influence and persuasion. It can be very subtle too. Our modern societies have been stealthily constructed on ways to exploit this vulnerability to outside influence and persuasion. The monk Thomas Merton said that modern societies suffer from a crisis of sanity:

‘The problems of the nations are the problems of mentally deranged people, but magnified a thousand times because they have the full-straight-faced approbation of a schizoid society, schizoid national structures, schizoid military and business complexes.’[ii]

If modern institutions are infected by a corrupted and irrational system of mental thinking patterns then, as Merton suggests, this instability will be amplified and made worse. Individual traumas are given institutional sanction and support within a culture that has based its social norms upon such irrationalities. The irrational has broken through and implanted itself as the ‘rational standard rule.’ It is perhaps little wonder that people are so susceptible to this mental corruption when it comes to us dressed up in sheep’s clothing. As is always the case, those people most vulnerable are usually those who are conditioned to authority and/or passivity. This trait, unfortunately, is one that is first implanted through compulsory schooling.

Likewise, people who are easily influenced by external opinions, and who are prone to group-thinking, are among the first to give away their mental independence to external sources. The irrational mind preys upon such ‘group-think’ individuals as the ‘mass mind’ of humanity helps in the transmission and proliferation of the psychic trauma. As the famous psychiatrist R.D. Laing once said – ‘The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man…normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.’[iii] Conscious awareness is perhaps our greatest antidote to the irrational mind.

If we are to gain a broader perspective here then it is important to view major events, human actions, propaganda, social disturbances, power struggles, and the rest, from the standpoint of the collective trauma of the irrational mind. Modern human thinking patterns have been conditioned around such traits as greed, competition, ambition, materialism, and selfishness. These are all traits that mark a lack of authenticity. The irrational mind seeks to develop greater degrees of inauthenticity and lack of empathy within the individual. The world stage is littered with such personalities.

The peril of the irrational mind is that resistance may also help to spread it. That is, people who start out resisting this corrupted mindset often find themselves adopting it’s values in order to survive. It is the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ type of thinking. It seems that humanity is collectively struggling to awaken against its very own condition of traumatic sleep.

Under the Irrational Spell

It has often been said – by mystics, sages, and wisdom traditions – that humanity is collectively asleep. The ignorance we have about this condition, and the absence of real knowledge of it, indicates we are asleep. The more we breed this irrational mind within our societies and cultures, the more people will behave and live like automatons. We will live within a tighter range of conditioned stimuli that programs specific opinions and thinking patterns that validate the control of the irrational over us. A person who is more conditioned to obedience is more susceptible to submission and external control. This indeed could be the reason for our systems of authority establishing rigid orders of control and obedience, such as when we travel, pass through airports, are track and traced, etc. It can be likened to a preparation for automated behavior as a requisite for an automated mind. The thinker George Gurdjieff wrote:

‘Contemporary culture requires automatons. And people are undoubtedly losing their acquired habits of independence and turning into automatons, into parts of machines…. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.’[iv]

By adopting the mentality of the irrational mind, we are participating in our own suppression and furthering the behavior of an automaton. We need to recognize that many of our incumbent social systems are set-up to corroborate and reinforce the consensus mind-set. Our genuine awakening to this trauma cannot come from any ‘mass movement’ but only from those persons who can think and act independently.

The first step we can take is to accept the possibility that the irrational mind contagion exists. The Gnostic text The Gospel of Philip says: ‘So long as the root of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized, it is dissolved. When it is revealed, it perishes…’ The danger lies in our distraction – in our unknowingness. It is now necessary to see the irrational mind for what it is – recognition and acknowledgement of it is key. If we cannot bring harmony and good sense to the world around us, then we should at least bring it upon ourselves. It is time now to awaken from this cursed slumber and to finally heal our individual and collective trauma.


[i] See Healing the Wounded Mind: The Psychosis of the Modern World and the Search for the Self.

 [ii] Cited in Levy, Paul. 2013. Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, p47

[iii] Cited in Levy, Paul. 2013. Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, xvii

[iv] Ouspensky, PD. 1950. In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, p316


By Kingsley L. Dennis / Author & Researcher

After graduating with a degree in English Literature & American Studies (BA, 2:1 Hons) I decided I wanted to pursue my ambition to be a writer of fiction. So I took some minimum wage manual work (factories, postal, courier) in order to keep my mind untouched for writing in the evenings.

Several years of living in a cold one-bedroom flat and having several novels rejected I decided it was time to reach out for the search to questions on my mind. I took a TEFL language training course in Ostrovo, Czech Republic, and then went to Prague to teach English and experience life. I met with several spiritual seekers, and many serious drinkers. After one year of intellectual pursuits, I felt I needed a more ‘heart’ environment. I landed in Istanbul, Turkey.

I stayed for five years. In that time, I undertook several courses in critical thinking and film. I moved to a private university and began giving courses in English & American literature. I also plunged deeply into Turkish life & lore. I learnt the language, met with dervish groups, explored intimately, and travelled widely. I crossed pathways with many seekers of Truth. I also travelled through Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian territory, Tunisia, and other domains. Yet still my questions remained unanswered. I wrote reams of poetry, though. I sensed the world was rapidly changing and I knew I had to keep up.

I moved back to the UK and gained an MA (Distinction) in ‘Globalization, Identity & Technology’ at Nottingham Trent University. My Masters thesis was on applying Ervin Laszlo’s ‘General Evolution Theory’ to new communications, specifically the Internet (‘An Evolutionary Paradigm of Social Systems’, 2003). Immediately after this I moved to Lancaster University to complete my doctorate in sociology. My research was on complexity theory and how it could be applied to new information communication networks, such as blogging and mobile phones (‘NEW COMPLEXITIES: converging spaces of connectivity, communication, and collaboration’, 2006). During this time, I also worked as a lecturer and seminar teacher in various sociology subject areas. Yet my understanding of the world was developing on a path congruent to how consensus thinking was viewing it. I knew this was all a matter of perception and that perception is an internal organ that grows in relation to one’s capacity.

“New organs of perception come into being as a result of necessity.

Therefore, O man, increase your necessity, so that you may increase your perception”

After finishing my doctorate I moved to the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University and began work on what would finally be published as After the Car (2009 – co-written with John Urry), a book that looked at post-peak oil societies and mobility. During this time I was researching deeply into how several major processes were shaping the future, such as resource depletion; climatic changes; digital technologies, and geopolitical events. How did this all fit into my own picture of our evolutionary imperative in relation to socio-cultural development? My own response was to take leave from the university and go my own way.

I left behind everything and jumped into the void.

I arrived in Andalusia in the last week of February 2009 with one 15kg bag of clothes and one hand-luggage full of books and a mini-laptop. This was to be my new life. I rented a lovely small apartment on the cliff top (literally!) of an Andalusian white town, with a little private courtyard. Here I sat down to write. My mind and intention was focused. I felt I had something to say; a perception to put into words . The result of this new direction in my life was the book New Consciousness for a New World (2011), with a generous forward written by Ervin Laszlo – the very same person I had written my MA thesis on many years previously. The universe, it seemed, was conspiring with my will.

My research and writing intensified. Shortly after I finished another manuscript which became The Struggle For Your Mind: Conscious Evolution and the Battle to Control How We Think (2012). The final book in this trilogy that burst forth became New Revolutions for a Small Planet: How the Coming Years will Transform Our Lives (2012). I am also the co-editor, with Ervin Laszlo, of The New Science & Spirituality Reader (2012).

In the meantime, I decided to move to a more permanent settlement. The Andalusian countryside had claimed me…

I entered a new learning curve – gardening and growing vegetables! I now spend a lot of time learning to grow and appreciate chemical-free vegetables. I also look after fruit and olive trees. I live off the water mains and rely on my own 30-metre water well, which also irrigates the land.

During the later phase of this journey I have written and published ‘Dawn of the Akashic Age‘ (2013 – co-written with Ervin Laszlo); ‘Breaking the Spell‘(2013); and ‘The Phoenix Generation: A New Ear of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousness‘ (2014). My next publication will be ‘The Sacred Revival – Magic, Mind & Meaning in a Technological Age‘ (2017 – October)

In 2012 I established my own independent book imprint BEAUTIFUL TRAITOR BOOKS in order to release a different stream of my writings. Under this imprint I have published ‘The Seeker,’ ‘The Custodians: A Play in 3 Acts’ (2016); ‘Reflections – A Tapestry of Thoughts’ (2016); ‘The Foundation’ (2016); ‘The Citadel’ (2015); ‘Meeting Monroe: Conversations with a Man who came to Earth’ (2013/re-issued 2016); ‘In Your Body is the Garden of Flowers ~ A Tapestry of Tales’ (2013); and several poetry collections, including ‘Beautiful Traitor: An Anthology of poems 1992 – 2012’ (2012); Forthcoming will be ‘Gaiya’ (2018) and ‘The Saffron Collectors’ (20xx).

I am now engaged on returning to my first love – fiction writing. I am currently working on several fiction projects – for both adult and YA/Children. In 2015 I published my first children’s book – ‘MUNDUS GRUNDY – Trouble in Grundusland’ which comes with a wonderful MUNDUS GRUNDY webpage!

I have also just released a new book for children called ‘Sophie’s Search for No-Where‘ which is illustrated with 31 full page original hand drawings.

And….? Well, I continue to research, write, travel, grow my own vegetables, and keep on seeking to understand life’s mysteries…after all, it’s only a matter of perspective…

Once while St. Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, “What would you do if you were suddenly to learn that you were to die at sunset today”? He replied, “I would finish hoeing my garden.”

(Source:; September 14, 2020;
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