Truman Burbank and Christof Syndrome
written April 20-2017 rev. March 13, 2018
Posted Mar 18, 2018
© Futurescapes 21C All Rights Reserved
“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” (Anti-war activist, Rosa Luxemburg)
In the 1997 movie, The Truman Show, insurance salesman, Truman Burbank discovers that his idyllic hometown of Seahaven Island isn’t what it appears to be. There are simply too many anomalies. His curiosity is aroused one morning when something that looks like a TV camera falls from the sky to the street. The closer he looks, the more anomalies he sees. Truman is the unknowing star of a long running TV reality show set in Seahaven where his every move is captured by hidden cameras.
Once he awakens to the reality that he is a captive of Seahaven, Truman plots his escape. He has dreams of exploring the wider world. It isn’t easy however. The creator and director of the TV show, Christof, throws obstacles in his way each time he tries to leave the island. And his wife and best friend try to dissuade him. Finally, Truman takes a sailboat and attempts to flee in the dark of night. Christof spots him and unleashes a vicious storm on the water. Pursuing his dream of freedom has become a life and death struggle. 1
Before Truman ever realized that he was a prisoner of Seahaven, Christof, the director of reality TV series, was asked by a reporter why Truman never came close to discovering the true nature of his world. Christof’s explanation is a revealing comment on human nature and the premise underpinning his entertainment venture. He responds simply, “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.”2
This, it seems, is our perceptual Achilles’ heel -- a natural inclination to uncritically assume that the world presented to us is real. I've dubbed this human tendency, the Christof Syndrome.
For some, the movie likely offered no more than light entertainment. For the more reflective, it was a powerful allegory laden with symbolism, and perhaps ominous signs about our emerging future. I'm one of those in the second category.
Seahaven's parallels in the West today
Several comparisons can be made between Truman’s circumstances in Seahaven and our lives today in the West (Canada and the US in particular). I’ll begin with the premise that Christof Syndrome is a near universal human condition that predisposes us toward trusting acceptance of the majority worldview. As humans we are predisposed to embrace the world presented to us at birth, and potentially for the rest of our lives, as reality.
Truman Burbank grew up in the community of Seahaven Island. It looked like a typical town in almost every respect. Its activities mirrored the patterns of life and work one would see in any small town in America. The sun rose, people got up, ate breakfast, went to jobs downtown and returned to their homes and families at the end of the day. Everything looked normal, but it wasn’t. Life in Seahaven was a complete fabrication. The island town was actually a massive domed TV production set surrounded by water.
Christof, the director of The Truman Show, along with a staff of hundreds, controlled almost every detail of Truman’s life and life in Seahaven. Truman, the star of the show, went about his daily routines not knowing that his every move was captured on cameras and televised to an audience of millions. The devious Christof had gone to great lengths to ensure that his captive star was never tempted to leave the island. By staging a boating accident in which Truman’s father drowned, Christof infected a traumatized Truman with a life-long fear of water.
Clearly, deception was an integral feature of the entire enterprise. Truman’s family members and best friend were actors playing their roles. The people populating his neighbourhood and his workplace were actors. Many of the structures in the town setting were facades and studio props. And studio technicians engineered the weather, rain or shine.
Truman Show viewers comprised a dedicated international audience addicted to their daily fix of “reality” TV. Along with their entertainment, audience members were presented with an endless array of consumer products. The products were marketed via product placement, other forms of passive advertising and scripted pitches from the show’s actors.
My research over the last three years has confirmed there are many parallels between The Truman Show and our lives in the West today. To begin with, much of what we consider real is manufactured -- a carefully managed illusion. And most of us are also unaware of our captivity within the illusion and complicity in the scheme. Westerners, willingly it seems, inhabit a social-political construct sustained by widely propagated myths.
An example of one such a myth is that of a benevolent America. We are constantly told that America is a powerful force for good in the world, bringing democracy and freedom to the world’s oppressed. The reality is far different. In reality, America is a global bully, intent of maintaining its one time status as the world’s sole super power. Sadly, we are captives of this sprawling American Empire sustained by military might. America’s political and economic hegemony is enforced world wide by NATO alliance members and 800 or more military bases occupying some 70 countries around the world.
Powerful financial and political interests orchestrate the big show worldwide from behind a curtain of secrecy. These Powers that Be (PTB) select, groom and place men and women of their choosing in leadership roles as presidents and prime ministers. They are the king makers and puppet masters. And just as Truman’s every activity was monitored and guided, the PTB and their minions similarly monitor and manage the lives of the Empire’s citizens. (See Exposing the Empire of Lies in the blog archives)
Thus, Truman had his Seahaven Island and we have our 21s century Matrix3 4 in the American Empire. Both are engineered realties and functional prisons. These are the worlds with which we have been presented. The question is: “How long will we hold unto our collective delusion" and why does it exert such a powerful hold over us?”
Herding the sheeple
Christof Syndrome is disarming and ultimately debilitating. Like the naïve Truman, most in the West unquestioningly accept the reality of the world marketed to them. Our conditioning is such that we the “sheeple” seldom look beneath the surface of this world of managed perceptions. So, the anomalies and contradictions go largely unnoticed. And in time, we grow numb to the warnings coming from our internal alarm system – a gnawing gut sense that something is wrong with this picture
How are our perceptions “managed” by the PTB? Suffice to say, the PTB possess and continue to develop a wide variety of methods and tools for herding the populace within the bounds of official illusions. Some of the most common are:
Consider this exemplary false flag attack. On April 7, 2017, the President of the United States ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat Airfield in Syria. President Trump justified this aggression, a war crime in itself, as a move “to deter the use of deadly chemical weapons,” claiming Syrian President Assad used them against his own people in Idlib province.5
The Empire’s mainstream media dutifully aligned with the President and the US State Department condemning the "Assad regime” for the atrocity. Fawning MSNBC broadcaster, Brian Williams was moved to reference the Leonard Cohen lyric, “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.”6 And the US Ambassador to the UN indulged in a self-righteous show-and-tell routine featuring pictures of injured children, the supposed victims of the gas attack.
This military aggression won Trump high praise from Washington Neocons and chicken hawks, Israel, European allies, and an assortment of US-supported jihadists.7 Remarkably, the summary conviction of Syria’s President Assad required no supporting evidence whatsoever.
There’s just one problem. There’s solid evidence that the gas attack, rather than implicating President Assad, pointed instead to the jihadi’s and their US-UK financed PR assets, the White Helmets. As of this writing, some analysts also point to evidence of US-Israeli and Turkish complicity. MIT professor emeritus of Science and Technology and National Security, Theodore Postal, has examined the evidence and concluded Assad wasn’t responsible for the attack.8 The most thoughtful analysis of what transpired has come from independent media.9 In short, the world witnessed another example of the West feigning sympathy for the victims of a false flag event that the Empire itself orchestrated. It's 24 carat duplicity. And it’s another masked aggression in America's long-running campaign to achieve regime change in Syria dating back as far as 1991.10
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. (See Exposing the Empire of Lies, Parts A and B) It’s also hard evidence of a government manufactured deception and manipulation of credulous publics. And yet, it seems that despite America’s naked aggression, millions of its citizens remain blind to it. It’s as if they are trapped in a "see-no-evil -- hear-no-evil" trance. The collective delusion defies reality. It’s as dystopian as the life portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984. 11And it’s a powerful testimony to the captivating effect of The Christof Syndrome and the ease with which we are herded.
The ties that bind and blind
My guess is that a significant segment of the population is now somewhat aware it is being played, and yet it hasn’t abandoned the Matrix. Why not? I can think of several “good” or not so good reasons why the masses remain captive. They all have to do with human nature.
We grow to love our corrals and pens too much
A life-time of observation has taught me that people, like sheep and other domesticated critters, readily adapt to the corals and pens into which they are herded. I grew up helping my family raise cattle on the Canadian Prairies. For several of our long cold winters, we housed our beef cows and their calves in an old horse barn. Groups of several nursing calves were enclosed continuously in pens measuring approximately 15 feet by 18 feet for four to five months of cold weather. Yet, when spring came, these same calves were hesitant to leave the confines of their pens.
Outside the barn door, warm April breezes, sunshine and fresh green grass beckoned. And yet, the calves hesitated. They would lock their front feet stiffly in front of their bodies and lean back away from the open barn door as my brothers and I would literally push them out into the bright sunshine. Once outside, however, after some careful sniffing around, the calves would drop their concerns and joyfully bolt across the paddock at full speed. In a matter of a few minutes, their wariness evaporated, and they took to cavorting in the pasture beyond the barn door.
My conclusion: otherwise creative and insightful human beings, like young calves, grow too attached to their pens. Sometimes, in our readiness to adapt to our circumstances and be good citizens, we suspend critical thought. We suspend our objectivity regarding the nature of our circumstances, and we make unacceptable sacrifices. And denial sets in. Is it because we’ve been long been taught to “count our blessings” and be content?
There are comforts in conformity
The citizens of the Empire derive tangible benefits from unquestioning conformity and compliance. And also, even briefly considering the possibility that what we think of as real is fake can be very stressful. Cognitive dissonance hurts the head. It also explains why most people ignore the widening cracks in the Matrix. Their minds simply can’t go there.
As to the benefits of trusting acceptance, citizens who play along can make a living as workers or “professionals” within the confines of the Matrix. Conformity assures them of a paycheque. A paycheque in turn provides for food, clothing, a home, education, and if they are fortunate, an annual vacation. (Often this means assuming significant debt loads committing individuals to decades of work into the future.) Their work confers a degree of respectability and status among peers and fellow citizens. And there’s always the prospect of moving up the hierarchy to greater status and income.
Perversely, however, these same benefits become the ties that bind and blind citizens to the reality of their lives within the confines of the Matrix. It's the same effect that the proverbial golden handcuffs exert over high paid executives. These benefits demand our allegiance to great myths like benevolent national governments and multinational corporations, a “free” market economy, and ever-upward human progress. Strangely, the more the evidence exposes these as agreed-upon fabrications, the more desperately adherents cling to them.
The risks in rebellion
There are real risks in rejecting the official narrative and its illusions. Most citizens are well aware that the Powers that be (PTB) are hostile to those who question the existing order. They may also have noticed that despite the denials, whistleblowers that attempt to expose abuses by the establishment are generally treated as traitors. They are not celebrated or protected as promised. More often, they are criminalized, ostracized and persecuted for their lack of loyalty. Just ask Bradley/Chelsea Manning12 and others who have exposed the overreach of the Empire and its puppets.
Our lives within the Matrix are managed, often by brainwashed servants of the PTB. Sometimes dissident social groups are "manufactured" for specific roles in public "theatre" or inducing chaos. Millennials are said to be members of the most peer-oriented generation in history. Herein lies the key to their management. Millennials have been co-opted by Identity Politics with its third wave feminist-cultural Marxism mantras and form of social justice justice, not real justice.
Author, Shadi Hamid, describes the behaviour-shaping influence of a form of political theology with its constituent elements of ritual, purity atonement and excommunication.13 As such, this faux religion serves as a powerful means of control. Apostates and those who stray from “the faith” can be targeted for harsh discipline. This could take the form of a public rebuke, smearing or shaming on social media for failure to check one’s “white privilege,” for example. And if that doesn’t bring repentance, the religious police or social justice warriors could condemn you to digital assassination or call for all out destruction of you and your family's future by “doxing”14.
Our awakening is long overdue. It’s time to awaken to the reality of our captivity and the possibility that our overseers, like Christof, don’t have our best interests in mind. If they did genuinely care for us, do you think the array of tools and measures for covertly monitoring, shaping and controlling our behaviour would multiply by the day? Why, for example, have alert journalists discovered US patents filed on the subject of: Nervous system manipulation by electromagnetic fields from monitors.15 Why is censorship of conservative on-line citizen journalists increasing by the day on social media? Why is the demonizing of Christians and white-skinned people the sport du jour?
There’s an important choice to be made by each one of us. We can either meekly accept the imaginary world with which we have been presented as real, thus demonstrating the power of Christof Syndrome. Or, we can deconstruct the state-promoted paradigm and craft an authentic worldview based on personal observations, experiences and insights. While the first approach is clearly more convenient. The second, as demanding as it is, offers an alternative to the prison of enforced consensus and the prospect of dignity and freedom.
I see the grip that the “managed” reality of the Matrix has on millions, including many members of family and wonder, what if? What if this generation like Truman, awakened to the true nature of its circumstances? What if it, like Truman, determined that it would redefine the boundaries of its conceptual world? What if it demanded a look behind the curtain, glimpsed the props and outed the puppet actors? What if this generation, like Truman, persisted in a quest to reach the wider world beyond Seahaven?
Would-be resisters can expect their commitment to seek freedom to be severely tested by the devious and controlling PTB. Truman's moment of truth unfolds in a scene reminiscent of Satan's mountain top temptation of Christ. After surviving a vicious studio-engineered storm at sea, Truman confronts his tormentor, Christof, face to face in his control room atop the dome. Christof remains unapologetic and unrelenting in his efforts to prevent Truman's departure.
“There’s no more truth out there than in that world I crafted for you.”
“You can’t leave, Truman. You belong here with me.”
The tradeoff was clear. Truman could accept a questionable promise of security at Seahaven, something amounting to continued enslavement, or pursue his freedom in the wider world with its inherent risks and uncertainties. The citizens of the American Empire face a similar choice.
What Truman taught us
We all begin as Truman Burbanks, born into the cozy cocoon of a fabricated worldview handed down to us by the big people in our lives. The important question, however, is whether we will awaken as Truman did and find our way to freedom within the wider real world. And will we serve as a hopeful examples to others seeking daylight? Or, will we work to perpetuate the illusion.
In moments of self-doubt, I wonder if I have somehow failed my children by over emphasizing obedience and conformity to the system. Could I have done a better job of teaching them the critical importance of skepticism and of strategic disobedience? We Christians, it seems, are conditioned to obey from Day One. Historian, Howard Zinn, described our societal problem as one of civil obedience.
“Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem …people are obedient, all these herdlike people.” 16
Ultimately, family and friends will have to assume responsibility for their choices. I can only hope and pray that they find some inspiration in the example of Truman Burbank and his rare real life counterparts. It's been more than twenty years since the release of the movie, and yet its lessons could hardly be more relevant. Never underestimate the importance of:
Truman taught us something else about how to remain whole in our struggle against darkness and tyranny. In that final scene, when he confronts his nemesis, Truman may have wondered what response to Christof's final, near-fatal attempt to thwart his escape was in order. If it were me, I might have gone for Christof’s throat. Remarkably, Truman remained uninfected by Christof’s predatory nature. He didn’t engage in debate with Christof, and he didn't hesitate. With characteristic good humour and a twinkle in his eye, Truman turned and blithely bid his adieu in the same fashion he greeted his neighbours each morning.
And if I don’t see you, good morning, good afternoon, and good night.
Clearly Truman understood another, deeper truth. Had he adopted Christof’s aggressive tactics and responded in kind, he would always remain Christof's captive. It was far better that he remain true to his better self; that he remain a “true" man.
1 The Truman Show, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Truman_Show
2 The Truman Show Quotes, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/quotes
3 Matrix, yourdictionary.com, matrix, http://www.yourdictionary.com/matrix
4 The Matrix, Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
5 Live Updates: Trump orders missile strike on Syria military targets, CBS News, April 6, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/live-updates-us-bombs-syria-missile-strikes/
6 Brian Williams marvels at how ‘beautiful’ the deadly missiles that struck Syria are, TheWeek, April 7, 2017, http://theweek.com/speedreads/690877/brian-williams-marvels-how-beautiful-deadly-missiles-that-struck-syria-are
7 Radical Islamists cheer Trump administration’s missile strike, the Daily Caller, April 7, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/07/radical-islamists-cheer-trump-administrations-missile-strike/
8 MIT professor debunks National Security Council “evidence” on Sarin attack, Intel Today, April 13, 2017, https://gosint.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/mit-professor-debunks-national-security-council-evidence-on-sarin-attack/
9 A multi-level analysis of the US cruise missile attack on Syria and its consequences, The Saker, April 11, 2017, https://thesaker.is/a-multi-level-analysis-of-the-us-cruise-missile-attack-on-syria-and-its-consequences/
10 The West created and perpetuates the Syrian civil war, Mint Press News, May 24, 2015, http://www.mintpressnews.com/MyMPN/the-west-created-perpetuates-the-syrian-civil-war/
11 1984, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four
12 United States V Manning, Wikileaks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Manning
13 Bari Weiss and the Left-wing infatuation with taking offence, Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic, February 17, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/bari-weiss-immigrants/553550/
14 Doxing, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing
15 What you need to know about the end game, Youtube, February 27, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=411&v=snpt0SLbPNo
16 Howard Zinn on the problem of obedience and the folly of American exceptionalism, Words of dissent, January 29, 2015, http://wordsofdissent.com/howard-zinn-on-the-problem-of-obedience-and-the-folly-of-american-exceptionalism/
Futurescapes 21C, 2018, All rights reserved
For the better part of the last four decades, I have been encouraging people and organizations to anticipate the shape of their futures and plan accordingly. It can be daunting, but it can also be immensely practical. It can be as practical as using a set of binoculars to scope out a distant slope when hiking or winterizing your car before winter’s onslaught. Organizations that develop foresight capabilities are, among other things, creating a kind of organizational radar. This enables them to integrate discernible elements of tomorrow into today’s strategies and decisions.