The Pre-history of MKULTRA
BY MARTIN CANNON
The concept of mind control strikes most people as either futuristic or fabulous. In fact, human beings have employed effective thought-processing techniques ever since the first oligarchs sought to exploit their underlings, ever since the first mystics sought communion with their deities, ever since man first sought to understand his inner self. Mind control, broadly defined, has been with us in one form or another since the beginning of civilization.
The Mushroom Warriors
Arguably, the Russians really were the first brainwashers, just as the propagandists of the 1950s alleged. 4500 years ago, the Koyak and Wiros tribes of the central Russian steppes conducted what may be the first experiments in stimulating violence through the use of drugs. The Amanita muscaria mushroom provided them with a drug which reduced the warrior’s anxiety and fear while increasing his strength, stamina, mental acuity, and ability to withstand pain. The shamans first fed the mushrooms to reindeer, whose urine was drunk by soldiers on the eve of battle on the eve of battle, a practice later adopted by the Vikings. (Today’s soldiers should ponder this history before complaining about their MREs.) Combatants in India relied on similar drugs, as did Native American tribes of the Southwest. Incan warriors made use of the coca leaf. The tradition has, of course, continued into modern times: In Vietnam, soldiers sought relief in a veritable psycho-pharma-cornucopia, which offered everything from marijuana to heroin. The warring tribes of Somalia, Rwanda and Liberia all routinely partake of the locally-preferred narcotics.
Shamanism provided the origin point for all subsequent experiments in thought manipulation. In all ancient cultures, the shaman prepared for healing work by retreating to a cave, or some other quiet, intensely dark environment — a sensory deprivation chamber, if you will. Magic could occur only after prolonged sessions of drumming and chanting: rhythmic sound stimulation. The shaman would visualize descent into a lower world, just as a modern hypnotherapist might use “falling” imagery during trance induction. As William Sargant, a British psychiatrist, said of these ancient rituals:
“Some persons can produce a state of trance and dissociation in themselves, or in others, with a decreasing need for strong and repeated emotional stresses, until it may become so much a conditioned pattern of brain activity that it occurs with only minor stresses and difficulties; for example, in the primitive religious context, at the renewed beat of a drum, or the screaming roar of the rhombos… If the trance is accompanied by a state of mental dissociation, the person experiencing it can be profoundly influenced in his subsequent thinking and behavior.”
Students of occult history maintain that the heirophants of the ancient Egyptian mystery schools practiced a strikingly-advanced form of hypnosis, in which initiates entered profound trances, triggering what we would today call an out-of-body-experience. Even today’s scientifically-oriented hypnotists recognize their debt to the Aesculapian priests of ancient Greece, who practiced a hypnosis-based form of medicine and behavior modification they called “dream healing.” The oracles of ancient Greece, through the breathing of certain vapors and the imbibing of certain liquids, dwelt within an altered state, as did, to varying degrees, those who participated in the mysteries.
Western civilization, we are told, was founded on the Greek model — but to what degree was Greek civilization itself founded on mind control? Sargant does not hesitate to use the term “brainwashing” to describe the rites of the Oracle of Triphonius. During these mysteries, the initiate experienced sensory deprivation, sudden confusion techniques, selected auditory and visual stimuli, drugs — and possibly even the proverbial whack on the skull. Unsurprisingly, vivid hallucinations often resulted.
Mystery cults expanded throughout the ancient world, always centering (as Dr. Pierre Janet once noted) in the same types of pastoral locales favored by modern centers of Marian devotion. At Eleusis, as at Lourdes, the pilgrim entered craftily-designed alternate world, set amid grottoes, streams, caves and candlelight rites:
“Initiation ceremonies of secret cults of the mystery-type invariably in volve tests, sometimes most severe ones. The effect of certain experiences was a carefully worked program of mind training which is familiar in modern times as that employed by certain totalitarian states to ‘condition’ or reshape the thinking of the individual. This process produces a state in which the mind is pliant enough to have certain ideas implanted: ideas which resist a great deal of counter-influence.”
There is much more here:
The Pre-history of MKULTRAhttp://smileycoyote.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/the-pre-history-of-mkultra/