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The Potential Hidden Meaning & Messages Behind The Film ‘Divergent’

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The film Divergent is the newest installment of dystopia books turned Hollywood films. In what is sure to give the 1.5 billion dollar and counting Hunger Games franchise a run for its money, Divergent appears to either be a clever warning disguised as the next teenage obsession, or another Hollywood tool of predictive programming to acclimate us. Regardless, some of the movie’s parallels cannot be ignored. It’s curious to note that the author Veronica Roth claims that among her short list of life-changing books are non-other than George Orwell’s 1984 and Orson Scott Card’s Ender Game. Both of which, like Hunger Games, see a technological elite ruling over a lower class of peasant-like population. 

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When asked where the idea for Divergent came from, the author speaks specifically on the the clear trauma-based mind control found in the story by confessing: 

I was studying exposure therapy in the treatment of phobias. Exposure therapy involves confronting a person with the stimulus that scares them repeatedly, in a safe environment, until their brain rewires and they aren’t afraid anymore. ….I was also beginning to learn about social psychology and the Milgram experiment.” pg 6 (bonus material)

Stanley Milgram’s book Obedience to Authority states that his bases for his experiment (The Milgram Experiment) was to find the answer to the question of “Could it be that Eichmann (WWII Nazi War Criminal) and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders?”. Veronica Roth does nail Milgram’s theories home during scenes depicting the staged, military/trauma based mind control themed, initiation process of the Dauntless (brave) faction whose motto is “faction before blood.” Potential recruits, over the ever-present, watchful eye of ultra-psychopathic drill sergeant-like characters Eric and Four, are made to brutally fight one another, show no emotion/humanity while being forced past their limits in the name of the collective, and violently haze one another. This complete with being injected with a transmitter that sends information to a central computer for the purpose of controlling the brain’s fear response. Perhaps Roth had this quote from Milgram’s Obedience to Authority in mind during her creation process:

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

There are many glimpses in the story of Divergent that run chillingly parallel to an already announced planned society being resisted currently. In the story, society has undergone what appears to be a more strategic form of divide and conquer in which the population must choose between one of five factions to spend the rest of their life in (Hunger Games had 12 regions). This includes leaving their family except for a brief, emotionless exchange on Visiting Day (think prison). In a similar plot from the movie Hunger Games, those that don’t fit into a faction are deemed Divergent and cast outside the fence of the technologically advanced comfort of the city.

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“What if they tell me that I’m not cut out for any faction? I would have to live on the streets, with the factionless. I can’t do that. To live factionless is not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community” – pg 20 (RELATED MATERIAL)

This is where the factionless live. Because they failed to complete initiation into whatever faction they chose, they live in poverty, doing the work no one else wants to do” – pg 25 (RELATED MATERIAL)

The corporate farming we currently see devouring family and individual growers has run it’s destructive course in the story. Farms are spoke of as being few and far between. Most children have never seen one, and have to rely on stories from their parents of how things used to be.

Most of what we eat is frozen or canned, because farms these days are far away. My mother told me once that, a long time ago, there were people who wouldn’t buy genetically engineered produce because they viewed it as unnatural. Now we have no other option.” – pg 31 (RELATED MATERIAL)

The common historical theme of collectivism/socialism clearly presents itself many times during the course of the story. It is representing in the form of the Abnegation faction. This faction reflects historical ideologies of Mao, Stalin and Hitler in which the state is God and humanity exists to serve, if they are lucky. Telling lines from the book reveal this backdrop:

“Decades ago our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world. Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality- of humankind’s inclination toward evil, – pg 42 (RELATED MATERIAL)

Abnegations sees art as impractical, and its appreciation as time that could be spent serving other” – pg 89 (RELATED MATERIAL)

The idea of an abundant society that values and promotes the individual and free ideas is not a tone the author coveys in this futuristic novel. By extrapolating out the current path humanity is on, it is not a stretch to see this type of scenario playing out if our course is not diverted. Here are a few quotes from the book:

Your ranking serves two purposes,”he says “The first is that it determines the order in which you will select a job after initiation. There are only a few desirable positions available. – pg 71 (RELATED MATERIAL)

At home, my mother and I picked up nearly identical stacks of clothing every six months or so. It’s easy to allocate resources when everyone gets the same thing, but everything is more varied at the Dauntless compound. Every Dauntless gets a certain amount of points to spend per month” – pg 88 (RELATED MATERIAL)

Another typical theme of the modern dystopic stories is a closed society under hyper control of a watchful, militarized security force. Again, another scenario in which art is imitating life.

What do you think is out there beyond the fence?”…..We didn’t even have guards near the fence until five years ago.” – pg 122 (RELATED MATERIAL)

Why didn’t you get a government job…..working in the control room, where the Dauntless monitor the city’s security…The Dauntless have limited options. We can guard the fence or work for the security of our city.” – pg 125 (RELATED MATERIAL)

The Dauntless guards close the gate and lock it behind them. The lock is on the outside….It almost seems like they don’t want to keep something out; they want to keep us in.” – pg 128 (RELATED MATERIAL)

The system removes the threat of anyone exercising their independent will. Divergents threaten that system. It won’t be safe until they’re removed.” (RELATED MATERIAL)

You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you. They call it Divergent.

The real message is that we are all “divergent.” Humanities DNA holds the collective genetic information of our ancestors, and is waiting there to be activated by those with the courage to do so by their actions (Dauntless). In fact, we all have the capability to excel in honesty, intelligence, selflessness, bravery and peace if we simply take the field. No special traits are needed. No rigorous written tests, physical initiations, or divided factions to please. Know that every day is initiation, and the testing never stops. For each of us will be defined by our thoughts (intelligence/Erudite), beliefs (selfless/Abnegation), words (honesty//Candor) and actions (bravery/Dauntless). The real truth is that there are only two camps, those with empathy and those without. It is the rest of the world around you that will reflect those qualities and reveal the final camp in which there is an absence of aggression, as humanity attempts to find harmony and peacefulness (Amity).

*Director Neil Burger is a Yale graduate whose father-in-law was senior vice president in the corporate finance department of J. P. Morgan. In addition, Burger spent time working at Ridley Scott and Associatess (Blade Runner, Prometheus 1 and Prometheus 2)

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Alternative News

How The Education System Limits Your Consciousness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Higher Education has come under fire lately as being expensive, and students wonder whether or not it's worth it, from a financial perspective, to get a degree.

  • Reflect On:

    Does the system of education truly educate us? We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn't allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it.

The debate around whether or not a college degree is worth it has become ever intensified over the last few months as people begin to beg answers to the question: when will students pay off their debt? How long does it take?

Further to that question, I believe “how many students end up in a job or career they actually enjoy?”

But economics seems to be the big question here, and that’s fair given our world always seems to push us to consider those numbers as the height of importance in society as opposed to creating a society filled with passionately acting individuals who do what they love.

It’s all too often we hear that thinking we could all do what we love is ‘a pipedream’ or ‘not thinking like an adult.’ In these responses, if we pay close attention, we are actually saying we’ve come to accept that the way the world is should simply be accepted. Sure, in some cases these days we are working towards making a difference in areas of society like equality and poverty, but are we truly changing our system radically enough to make it so humanity can thrive? Or are we accepting enslavement?

In a recent podcast about my philosophy on how shifting consciousness and understanding conspiracies theories are intimately connected, I explored the system of education and how that functions. The education system seems to be a learning tool for us to accept the world the way it is. While we think we are educating ourselves, and we are in some ways with specific skills, there is something more to the story we aren’t exploring. We essentially are taking an ever expansive consciousness, with full capability, and molding it into a tiny tight system of living and being that doesn’t even support our ability to truly BE.

I truly believe we need to begin dreaming bigger and imagining bigger about what we are capable of changing in our society. We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn’t allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it. What if we could learn about the technologies we truly had and were capable of without having to hold them back because of commerce? What if we learned medicine without the influence of pharmaceutical money and drugs? What if we learned about how we could act as a global community creating abundance for all instead of learning how we’re all separate and we need an economy to operate? Are any of these things real? Or just a story? Why are we being told these things as if they are facts?

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Consciousness

A New Study Suggests People’s Egos Get Bigger After Yoga & Meditation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Study shows how Western practices of meditation and yoga can actually inflate the ego, rather than lower it — which is typically why people choose to do these practices in the first place.

  • Reflect On:

    What we do, no matter how spiritual it is, doesn't make you better than others. What is it that makes us want to feel or appear better than others?

In an attempt to try and limit our ego from running the show and move closer to our spirit and connection to the divine, many of us are on a path towards enlightenment.

This path generally includes a process of waking up to the reality around you, personal development books, plant medicine, yoga, and meditation can all be great tools along the way. We feel we are becoming wiser, more connected and sometimes even more evolved than those who are not on the same path as us.

A recently published study directly contradicts that approach and found that typical meditation and yoga practices can actually inflate your ego. Who knew?

We all know those spiritual types, that seem to have it all together, they are diligent in their daily practices and are the first to give you advice and explain what you are doing wrong and why you haven’t yet found peace within. Sure, these people generally have the best intentions, but the concept of being better, above or more enlightened than our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet is, believe it or not, pure ego! It is very easy to fall into this trap.

When I first “woke up” over a decade ago, I felt like I had so much information that no one else had yet awakened to, in this way I admittedly felt superior to many of my peers and put myself on a pedestal. This wasn’t an intentional action however, it’s just what happened.

Since, I have learned that the moment you think you have all the answers and have it all figured out is the exact moment that you need to take a step back and realize that in reality, you know nothing at all. What’s true to you may not be the truth for someone else. We are all on different paths, and different journeys, yes to the same place, but not a single one is better or superior to any other. No matter how off track others may appear to be.

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The Study

The paper was published online in the journal Psychological Science, researchers noted that Buddhism’s teachings that a meditation practice helps overcome the ego conflicts with the US psychologist William James’s argument that the practice of any skill at all ignites a sense of self-enhancement. So, the practice of bettering yourself does exactly that — makes you feel better, better than you were, but in many cases better than those around you.

There has already been a lot of evidence in support of James’s theory, but a team from Mannheim, Germany decided to test it specifically including the practice of yoga and meditation.

93 yoga students were recruited and over the course of 15 weeks, researchers evaluated their sense of self-enhancement. A few measures were used to monitor this. First, they asked the participants how they felt they compared to the average yoga student in their class. Next, participants completed an inventory that assesses narcissistic tendencies by asking them to rate how deeply phrases such as “I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done” related to them. Lastly, they administered a sort of self-esteem scale asking the subjects if they agreed with statements such as, “At the moment I have high self-esteem.”

An hour after their yoga practice the participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement than when they hadn’t done yoga within a 24 hour period.

Another study examined 162 people who practiced meditation, they were scouted through meditation groups on Facebook. These participants proved to have a similar impact on self-enhancement as those from the yoga study. Participants were asked to evaluate themselves in relation to statements like “In comparison to the average participant of the study, I am free from bias.” The results showed that the participants had a higher self-enhancement in the hour following the meditation practice than when they hadn’t meditated for a 24-hour period.

Participants level of well-being was also measured using two measures — the satisfaction with life measure and the eudemonic well-being measure, which assesses satisfaction with autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, environmental mastery and self-acceptance. They found that the level of well-being increased with self-enhancement, this suggests that self-enhancement correlated with an increased sense of well-being.

Authors of the study concluded that “Ego-quieting is a central element of yoga philosophy and Buddhism alike. That element, and its presumed implications require some serious quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits. In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost — in turn — elevates well-being.”

Another Theory

An alternate explanation for this study suggests that the participants may be in fact doing meditation and yoga all wrong. The participants were all based out of Germany and many academics have theorized that the Westernized practices of Buddhism fail to include an eye towards selflessness that would otherwise characterize the goals of these efforts.

Westernized versions of yoga and meditation marginalize the acts when compared to the more ‘pure’ forms, if you will.

What Now?

Should you stop doing yoga and meditation or laugh at those who are committed to these practices? Absolutely not! This study serves as a powerful reminder that regardless of your practice or lack there-of, not one person is above anyone else, regardless of the activities they choose to do. Yoga and meditation can be great tools to assist us along our journey and find the clarity and insight that we may be needed, but just remember to always keep that ego in check. It is fine to have an ego — we all have one and I hate to break it to you, we can never get rid of it. But a good question to ask yourself is whether or not doing these practices makes you feel superior to others, and if so, why?

We are all on a path to self-discovery, and we are all just walking each other home. We all face challenges, and some of these practices can help us to handle ourselves differently in times of struggle, but in reality, we are all one anyways!

Much Love

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Awareness

New Study Shows What Disrupted Sleep Does To Your Mental Health

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study showed that those with less distinction with activity and sleep were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder.

  • Reflect On:

    Your sleep is important. What are you doing to ensure you have good rest? Are you eating before bed? Using your phone? Both of these things contribute to poor sleep. You can use some of the tools below to improve your sleep.

We all know just how important it is to have a good nights rest, unfortunately for many of us, this is a fleeting dream. New research has emerged showing just how impactful a disrupted body clock and natural circadian rhythm can be for our mental health.

Researchers from the U.K. came to this conclusion after studying the circadian rhythm, which is our natural waking and sleeping patterns throughout the 24-hour sleep cycle.

Lead author of the study, Laura Lyall, a research associate in mental health and well-being at Glasgow University said in a statement, “In the largest such study ever conducted, we found a robust association between disruption of circadian rhythms and mood disorders.

“Previous studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythms and poor mental health, but these were only small samples.”

The Study

Scientists from the University of Glasgow studied data collected on over 90,000 adults between the ages of 37 and 73 years old in the U.K., between 2006 and 2010. Each participant in the study wore an activity tracker on their wrist for 7 days between 2013 and 2015.

The data that was collected was used to calculate what is known as the relative amplitude. Researchers took note of how active the participants were in the busiest 10 hours of each day and compared that to their least active 5 hours in the day. The people with less of a distinction between active and resting periods scored a lower amplitude indicating that they were either not active enough during the day while they were awake or too active during the hours that are generally intended for sleep.

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Those who scored a lower amplitude were found to be at a greater risk for mental illness. Factors such as age, sex, smoking, childhood trauma, and educational attainment were also taken into account.

The study, published in The Lancet, showed how they were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder. This particular group of participants were also more likely to feel unhappy, alone, unsatisfied with their health and even have slower reaction times.

Around one in 25 participants were about as active during the day as they were at night. These were “people who have very poor sleep hygiene, people on their mobile phones at midnight checking Facebook or getting up to make a cup of tea in the middle of the night,” Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, told the Times.

“It could be that there is a direct causal link where circadian disruption causes impaired subjective well-being and increases the risk of mood disorder. Or it could be the opposite, that this circadian disruption is a consequence of mood disorder and its associated risk factors,” said Lyall.

Despite these limitations, the researchers say accelerometry-derived relative amplitude is “relatively cheaply and easily measured and might be useful for identifying people at greater risk of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, or subgroups of patients who might benefit from therapies aimed at improving circadian rhythmicity.”

Can You Relate?

I don’t know about you, but when I am restless at night or don’t get enough sleep I definitely feel it more during the day, with some mental fogginess and I find it much more difficult to find motivation during the day. Aside from the fact that we are on average not getting enough sleep, we, generally are out of sync with our natural circadian rhythms by being up late or sleeping well into the morning, regardless of the sunrise and sunset. Throw cell phones, tablets, blue light and EMF’s into the mix and it’s no wonder we aren’t finding the time to sleep and when we do, to actually sleep deeply.

While it can be difficult to change your sleeping patterns, it certainly could provide you with an extra boost of energy, clarity and perhaps even joy throughout your day. A good night’s rest is essential, some of the things you can do to ensure you are getting a good sleep are as follows:

  • Limit screen time to no later than one hour before bed, and use a blue light filter, or blue blocker glasses anytime you are staring at a screen when it is dark outside.
  • Try to go to bed a little earlier and wake up earlier. It is essential that we expose ourselves to total darkness while we sleep, it may be worth getting some really good curtains or an eye mask. Depending on where you live, waking up at sunrise and going to bed at sunset might be worth a try.
  • Keep cell phones and if possible all electronics out of your bedroom. Consider turning off your wifi router while you sleep at night as well as these have been known to disrupt melatonin production in the brain, which is essential for a good night’s rest.
  • Be sure and get some exercise during the day, even a brisk walk in the evening can help you to sleep better at night, but the more the better as your body will truly be tired and ready for bed. When we don’t get enough exercise sometimes our bodies are left feeling restless during the day.
  • Nothing beats a nice hot bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil to help get you in a calm, relaxed and sleepy state of mind before bed.

What helps you get to bed at night?

Much Love

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

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