Glossary of Terms
In my book Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil I describe a contagious psycho-spiritual disease of the soul, a parasite of the mind, that is currently being acted out en masse on the world stage via an insidious collective psychosis of Titanic proportions. This mind-virus─which Native Americans have called “wetiko”─covertly operates through the unconscious blind spots in the human psyche, rendering people oblivious to their own madness and compelling them to act against their own best interests.
An inner cancer of the soul, wetiko flavors and manages our perceptions by stealth and subterfuge so as to act itself out through us while simultaneously hiding itself from being seen. Wetiko bedazzles, bewitches, and bedevils consciousness in such a way that we become blind to the underlying, assumed viewpoint through which we perceive, conjure up and give meaning to our experience of both the world and ourselves. A form of psychic blindness that believes itself to be sighted, this psychic virus can be thought of as the “bug” in “the system” which informs and animates the madness that is playing out in our lives, both individually, and collectively, on the world stage.
Being a disease of the soul, we all potentially have wetiko, as it pervades and in-forms the underlying field of consciousness. Any one of us at any moment can fall into our unconscious and unwittingly become an instrument for the evil of wetiko to act itself out through us and incarnate in our world. If we see someone who seems to be taken over by wetiko and we think that they have the disease and we don’t, in seeing them as separate we have fallen under the spell of the virus.
Wetiko induces in us a proclivity to see the source of our pathology outside of ourselves - existing in “the other.” Wetiko feeds off of polarization and fear—and terror—of “the other.” Seeing the world through a wetiko-inspired lens of separation/otherness enlivens what Jung calls “the God of Terror who dwells in the human soul,” which simultaneously plays itself out both within our soul and out in the world at large.
Wetiko subversively turns our “genius” for reality-creation against us in such a way that we literally become bewitched by the projective tendencies of our own mind. As if under a spell, we become entranced by our own intrinsic gifts and talents for dreaming up our world, unknowingly hypnotizing ourselves with our God-given power to creatively call forth reality so that it boomerangs against us, undermining our potential for individual and collective evolution.
Just as computer viruses or malware infect a computer and program it to self-destruct, mind-viruses like wetiko program the human biocomputer to think, believe, and behave in ways that can result in our individual and collective self-destruction. People so afflicted, like someone in the throes of an addiction or lost in a state of trauma, unwittingly create the very problem they are trying to resolve, clinging desperately to the very thing that is torturing and destroying them.
To the extent we are unconsciously possessed by the spirit of wetiko, it is as if a psychic tapeworm or parasite has taken over our brain and tricked us, its host, into thinking we are feeding and empowering ourselves while we are actually nourishing the parasite. Wetiko is a virulent, psychic pathogen that insinuates thought-forms and beliefs into our mind which, due to their misleading and false nature, when unconsciously accepted and acted upon, feed it, and ultimately kill its host - us.
Shape-shifting so as to cloak itself in our form, this mercurial predator gets under our skin and “puts us on” as a disguise, impersonating us as it fools us to “buy” into its false version of who we are. Bamboozled and hoodwinked by this imposter and copycat of ourselves, we then mime ourselves, becoming a copy, a false duplicate of our original and true selves. In the words of Gurdjieff, something that is not us “takes the place and plays the role” of who we actually are. We then simultaneously identify with who we are not, while dissociating from and forgetting who we actually are – giving away our power, not to mention ourselves, in the process.
Just like vampires, the wetiko virus has a thirst for the very thing it lacks─the mystical essence of life─the “blood” of our soul, our very life-force. A member of the “undead,” the vampiric wetiko virus is fundamentally “dead” matter “taking on” and mimicking life itself; it is only in and through a living being that it acquires a quasi-life.
Viruses like wetiko are all about copying—reproducing—themselves. A psychic vampire, the wetiko virus isn’t able to replicate itself through its own energy, however, so it is compelled to use us to propagate itself so that we can dissimulate, “pass on” and transmit the bug to others. The main channel of wetiko’s transmission is relational, i.e., through our relationships with ourselves, each other and the world at large. Like a vampire that literally can’t stand the light of day, the wetiko virus can’t stand to be illumined, however, for in seeing how it covertly operates through our own consciousness, we take away its seeming independence, autonomy and power over us, while at the same time empowering ourselves.
In wetiko there is a code or logic which affects/infects awareness in a way analogous to how the DNA in a virus passes into and infects a cell. Wetiko psychosis is highly contagious, spreading through the channel of our shared unconsciousness. Its vectors of infection do not travel like a physical pathogen, however. This fluidly moving, nomadically wandering bug reciprocally reinforces and feeds off and into each of our blind spots, which is how it nonlocally propagates itself throughout the field.
The greatest danger that threatens humanity today is the possibility that millions—even billions—of us can fall into our unconscious together, reinforcing each other’s madness in such a way that we become unwittingly complicit in creating our own self-destruction. To quote Jung, “To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution … modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.”
The most depraved part of falling under the thrall of wetiko is that, ultimately speaking, it involves the assent of our own free will, which is to say that no one other than ourselves is ultimately responsible for our situation. There is no objective entity outside ourselves who can steal our soul - the dreamed-up phenomenon of wetiko tricks us into giving it away ourselves. People under the sway of wetiko are implicated in and willingly subscribe to their own enslavement, to the point that when offered the way out of the comfort of their prison they oftentimes react violently. They symbolically—and sometimes literally—try to kill the messenger who is showing them the path to their freedom, Christ being one of innumerable examples.
Ultimately speaking, in wetiko disease we are not being infected by a physical, objectively existing virus outside of ourselves, but rather, the origin and genesis of the wetiko psychosis is entirely within the human psyche. The fact that wetiko is the expression of something inside of us means that the cure for wetiko is likewise within us as well. Though not objectively existing, the wetiko pathogen has a “virtual reality” that nevertheless can influence us in such a way that it can potentially destroy our species. The fact that something that only exists as a function of ourselves can destroy us is pointing at—and introducing us to—the incredibly vast, invisible, and yet mostly untapped creative power that is our inherent birthright. If not used consciously, however, this creative power turns destructive.
Wetiko is nonlocal, in that it is an inner disease of the soul that explicates itself through the canvas of the outside world. Not constrained by the conventional laws of third-dimensional space and time, wetiko nonlocally in-forms events in the world as well as our reactions to them so as to synchronistically express itself. Just like in a dream, events in the outer world are symbolically reflecting back to us a condition deep within the psyche of each one of us. If we don’t understand that our current world crisis has its roots within and is an expression of the human psyche, we are doomed to unconsciously repeat and continually re-create endless suffering and destruction in more and more amplified form, as if we are having a recurring nightmare.
The wetiko psychosis is a dreamed-up phenomenon, which is to say that we are all potentially participating in and actively co-creating the wetiko epidemic in each and every moment. Wetiko is literally demanding that we pay attention to the fundamental role that the psyche (the source of our dreams) plays in creating our experience of ourselves and of the world. Forgetting the crucial role that the psyche plays in creating our experience, we marginalize our own intrinsic author-ity, tragically dreaming up both internal and external authoritarian forces to limit our freedom and mold our experience for us. Jung pointed out that never before in all of human history has our species been forced to confront the numinous, world-transforming powers of the psyche on so vast a scale.
Speaking of the ongoing “catastrophe and retrogression without parallel” that is happening in our world, Jung comments, “it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that such an experience also has its positive aspect and might become the seed of a nobler culture in a regenerated age.” Although the source of humanity’s inhumanity to itself, wetiko is at the same time a potential catalyst for our evolution as a species, as the process of recognizing wetiko’s covert operations can become the impetus for us to awaken to the dreamlike nature of the universe.
We, as a species have co-operatively dreamed up the wetiko epidemic. Like a collective dream, wetiko is the manifestation of what is in our shared collective unconscious, while simultaneously, we are wetiko’s offspring, as this peculiar disease helps to grow a new part of us, potentially “raising us” to a higher level of our evolution (if it doesn’t kill us in the process). Instead of the perspective of linear causality (where one thing causes another), to wrap our mind around the nature of the situation with we are dealing necessitates we implement bi-directional thinking (thinking simultaneously in two directions). In a circular process without beginning or end, we are being dreamed up by the universe while dreaming up the universe at one and the same time. To see this not only demands that we have an expansion of consciousness, it IS the very expansion itself.
The less wetiko is recognized, however, the more seemingly powerful, and dangerous it becomes. Wetiko can only be seen when we begin to realize the dreamlike nature of our universe, step out of the illusory viewpoint of the separate self, and recognize the deeper underlying field of which we are all expressions, in which we are all contained, and through which we are all interconnected. These are all interrelated insights of the same multi-faceted realization. The energetic expression of this realization, and the wetiko dissolver par excellence, is compassion. Connecting with the compassion that IS our nature, we find ourselves in very good company.
While a typical virus mutates so as to become resistant to our attempts to heal from it, the wetiko virus forces us to mutate─and evolve─relative to it. In a very real sense, we don’t cure wetiko; rather, wetiko “cures” us of our wrong attitude towards it, the world, and ourselves as well. Wetiko literally demands that we expand our consciousness, step into our creative power and become immune to its oppression such that we discover how to step out of bondage and become free – or else! It is as though the evil of wetiko is itself the instrument of a higher intelligence designed to connect us to a sacred, vital and creative place—the source of our dreams—within ourselves.
How amazing - the very thing that is potentially destroying us is at the same time waking us up! Wetiko is a truly quantum phenomenon - a true conjunction of opposites: it is the deadliest poison and the most healing medicine co-joined in one superposed state. Will wetiko take us down? Or will it wake us up? Everything depends upon our recognizing what it is revealing to us. The prognosis for the wetiko epidemic depends upon how we dream it.