Most people unconsciously believe that there is truth and rightness in consensus. Most people believe the power of group consensus is the power of discerning right from wrong and true from false. In reality, consensus is nothing more than the experience of many people sharing the same perspective. That perspective, which everyone shares, may be wrong and may be false instead of right and true. Remember that in recent past, most people believed in the morality of slavery. Slavery was the consensus. So don’t be afraid to ask yourself, what is the new harmful consensus? And remind yourself not to look for truth in consensus.
So much of my purpose here on earth is centered around authenticity. And so, I find that over and over again, I am put in places where I am called to expose what is REAL about someone or something. There is so much beauty in what is real. There is so much that can be done with what is real. However, sometimes what is real is not positive. And no one thanks you for exposing those things. The conscious mind has learned that negative is bad. It therefore must be avoided, denied, suppressed and hidden. It is this aspect of us that pretends to be different than we really are so we can be accepted as part of the group and backed up by the group.
When people are especially dedicated to hiding their shadow from view, they do not hide only part of ourselves. They hide all of their negative side. It is at this point that they literally transform into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They become a master of deception. They become so adept at winning the game over perception that every one of the sheep whose perception they are trying to control, falls for it. They have not developed the capacity to “feel” below the surface appearance. It is at this point that the ‘consensus’ of the group of sheep is that they are not a wolf, they are a sheep. It is not right or true. But it is the consensus.
If one sheep ‘feels’ below the surface of things and notices that this individual is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and exposes this fact to the group, they are shamed for it. Because the accepted consensus is that this individual is truly a sheep, their egos have become completely identified with this perspective. Now, they are threatened by their perception being challenged. And so, as a group, they turn on the sheep that claims there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the flock. They begin to think that the one that cries wolf is in fact the wolf. And thus, the real wolf’s identity is concealed even more. Their level of deception has just gone up a notch. It is one thing to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is another thing entirely to convince the flock that someone other than you is in fact the wolf in sheep’s clothing and get the group to turn on them.
There is so much danger in consensus. There is so much danger in consensus being reached as a result of not peering beneath the surface of things and relying on the face that people put forward. The image they are putting effort forth to portray. This causes people to rely entirely on proof. It is understandable. It is an attempt to avoid the danger of false allegation. But the reality is, if you are dealing with a master of disguise, you will not have any proof. You will not have anything other than your own experience with the person who is very different behind closed doors than they are in public view. It’s the age-old Jekyll and Hyde conundrum. All you have to back up your truth are the things you and you alone have seen, heard and encountered. And when you are dealing with a master of disguises, they will make sure there are no witnesses other than you. The despair and terror and desperation that comes as a result of being in this situation where the consensus is in direct opposition to something that you, yourself have witnessed or experienced is crazy making. It is the most invalidating experience in the world and it makes the world completely unsafe. It has been enough to lead some people to suicide.
It is a common theme in movies because it is an emotional experience we all have at some point. Someone sees a truth that the consensus doesn’t see and so they are punished for it. I remember watching a movie where a man had found a wormhole allowing him to travel back in time. Because the consensus was ‘no one can travel back in time’, not only did they not believe the man, they threw him in a mental institution. His heart broke. He ended up going crazy as a result of the invalidation and mistreatment there. During the whole movie, the viewer is on the edge of their seat, rooting for this man. We want everyone else in the movie to realize that he is right; he actually did travel back in time. The relief we feel at the end of the movie when they all realize he is right, is intoxicating. But guess what? We never consider that in our own lives, we might just be playing the role of ‘the other people who didn’t believe there was a way to travel back in time.’ We might be part of the consensus that is neither right nor true. And when we are not questioning or seeing beneath someone’s carefully crafted image in search of what is real, we run an especially high risk of being a part of a consensus opinion about someone that is neither right nor true.
On one hand, I am happy that no one can be convicted without proof. I am happy because it dramatically reduces false accusation. I’m the student in the philosophy class who would rather no one be falsely accused and someone guilty get away with it than have all the guilty men be accused but one innocent man be accused. On the other hand the likelihood of justice is made obsolete by this. My own life has been made a hell by this.
We have all experienced the horror of this situation to varying degrees. I have experienced this to all degrees. Beginning with something as ‘typical’ as my brother running up and hitting me when he was four and I was eight. When I chased him, he began crying and screaming uncontrollably to make my mother immediately register him as the victim. She punished me for it. Then she comforted and cuddled my brother. She picked him up to carry him out of the room and he stopped crying for two seconds to stick his tongue out at me. A triumphant celebration of his win. And then when my mother looked towards him, he went back to fake crying. He had succeeded at mastering the art of deception so as to use my mother (a bigger opponent) to hurt me.
When we hear this story, we almost laugh. So many of us have experienced this exact scenario with our siblings. And despite the fact that it sets up a vibrational imprint/wound that reappears in our adulthood, we can say it is relatively benign. But this behavior does not stop in childhood. The master manipulator of perception plays a different game when no one is watching; when there is no way to prove what went on. Only to switch their game up entirely when people are watching and turn it back on you when you accuse them of this two faced behavior. They weave the perception of the people around them that they are the victim. Once they are successful at getting this perception to be the consensus, the collective believes they are defending the underdog by siding with them and turning against the one accusing them of deception.
People who fall on the Narcissist and Sociopath (anti-social personality) spectrum are absolute masters of disguise. Their needs were not met and so they had to find manipulative ways to meet them. Manipulation became their only way to survive in the world emotionally. It is such a practiced behavior that it is largely subconscious. And one of these manipulations that is essential to master for them is the ability to manipulate people’s perceptions of them. The people on this spectrum are highly intelligent. They appear successful, presentable, often charismatic, rational and good. They appear to be however they need the group that they are manipulating to see them. It is behind closed doors that the other part of what is real about them is exposed. The consensus about this person is rarely challenged.
Ted Bundy was a serial killer in the 70s. He confessed to 30 killings, but the actual count is most likely much higher. He disposed of three of the bodies in an area ten minutes away from my house in fact. It is always interesting to watch the footage from this case. Ted Bundy was a classic sociopath. His sociopathic tendencies graduated to psychopathy. He was charismatic and many said handsome. He was highly educated. He majored in psychology and then went to law school. People perceived him as being “kind, solicitous and empathetic”. They perceived him to be a good person because he did things such as taking a job at a national crisis hotline and campaigning for political candidates on moral ground. He was a good Samaritan. When he was charged and brought to trial, the pews of the court house were full of furious people. All of them simply could not believe that Ted was capable of such crimes. The consensus was that he was falsely accused. He was in fact the good guy. Over the course of the case, as more and more evidence came forward and he began eventually to confess to his crimes, the number of dedicated and supportive people in the pews slowly dwindled. Those that remained began to look almost dissociated with the shock and disillusionment that came on the heels of realizing that he actually did do all of these horrific things in secret while portraying the complete opposite persona in public view. It is a perfect reflection of the truth that when it comes to a person whose aim is to hide something behind a crafted image, the consensus that people come to is often false. And if you oppose this perspective, you will be standing alone for as long as it takes the image to dissolve, which is potentially forever.
The saving grace with many psychopathic serial killers is that they begin to eventually want to be caught. They get progressively more risky and more risky with their crimes. The side of their ego that desperately wants significance and power and control is strengthened by seeing their crimes and eventually themselves in the news. Many eventually get a rise out of the fear they evoke in other people when people realize they are capable of doing such things. It makes them special to be able to do things that other people could never do. With a person who does not fall into such an extreme on the spectrum, a textbook narcissist for example, you will never get this lucky. Their life goal is to never be seen beyond the façade that gets them the most personal gain. To discover what is REAL about them, to see what they are doing when people’s backs are turned and to reveal their true motives and true game, one has to be superbly adept at seeing the façade instead of falling for it. One has to become adept at feeling for what is real beneath what is being presented at face value. And unless you have personally suffered at the hands of such a person, you will most likely never have awareness of this dynamic. You will not see it when it is right in front of your face.
Some people wonder why being on stage in front of an audience of hundreds of people makes my heart rate slow down and puts me at peace. My answer is, privacy is the primary enabler of perpetration. Crime happens in an atmosphere of secrecy. And all too often, the right to privacy becomes the justification for masters of disguise to hide themselves. It is why what is ‘real’ about them is never seen.
The thing that sucks the most about gaining awareness is that you will become aware of things that other people are not aware of. Opinion is based on your level of awareness. And so, you will often find yourself in direct opposition to the consensus. You will expose things that people do not want to look at because it contradicts their current perspective. Exposing those things will be an invalidation to them and so they will respond by going into a state of defense and invalidate you instead. They will turn against you. And it isn’t often until years later, when their own awareness expands to include the perspective that you tried to expose to them, that they come back and admit to the fact that their ‘perception’ was limited and that their truth was based on illusion.
So, yet again I will say that most people unconsciously believe that there is truth and rightness in consensus. Most people believe the power of group consensus is the power of discerning right from wrong and true from false. In reality, consensus is nothing more than the experience of many people sharing the same perspective. That perspective which everyone shares may be wrong and may be false instead of right and true. Look beyond the surface. Consider that what you are seeing may in fact be a façade that everyone has mistaken for something real. So don’t be afraid to ask yourself, what is the new harmful consensus? And remind yourself to look beyond consensus for truth.