Let’s Get Subliminal—
Breaking through Boundaries to Reshape the Future
Welcome! The Buy Subliminal home page is where you’ll get a taste of some of the topics that we’ll flesh out, and unpack in throughout our more in-depth essays and discourses. You’ll see how to recognize the subliminal matrix, the subliminal conditioning that is systemically limiting your experience, endeavors, and potential. Besides getting more comfortable with our subliminal self. We’ll also explore the ways that you can leverage the mind-bending tools of the persuasion industry, and get them to work for you— to ignite your cognitive capacities, creativity and enhance your future.
Beyond the Threshold— The Enigma of Subliminal Messages
Sure, subliminal messages affect each of us in uncanny and uncomfortable ways. They are used to sell us things we don’t need and get us to agree with concepts we otherwise wouldn’t.
The unintended consequences of using subliminal persuasion to inflame unquenchable desire has crippled our quality of life. It’s one of the biggest factors that’s despoiled our lands, rivers, and seas with toxic rubbish and debris. It’s led to indentured servitude by way of debt— high levels of sustained stress, anxiety, confusion, obesity, and poor health.
Be that as it may, there is another side to subliminal that is all but forgotten. Subliminal only came to be the sidekick of persuasion in the 1950s. More on this later! Subliminal is one of those words that is more of a concept than a term. It encompasses the entire domain of the non-conscious you, including— non-conscious perception, communication, influence, persuasion, and the majestic mysteries of your mind.
Subliminal messages are both less and more than what you’d think. Less, because they’re phantasmic and inconspicuous— Making use of what isn’t— of what isn’t illuminated by the light of your awareness. On the other hand, subliminal messages are more because they pervade our collective consciousness— in the form of primal murmurs, mythologies, dream symbols, archaic gods and fantastical creatures.
The subliminal catacombs of your deep-mind are where imagination thrives— where your fantasies, repressed thoughts, and forgotten memories live—where concepts take shape and ideas spark a flame. And most importantly they are where the mysterious sanctum of deep truth and the real you reside.
“The unconscious… holds possibilities which are locked away from the conscious mind, for it has at its disposal all subliminal psychic contents, all those things which have been forgotten or overlooked, as well as the wisdom and experience of uncounted centuries which are laid down in its archetypal organs.” — Carl G. Jung
If you can hear, see, smell, taste or touch it— if you are aware of ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ may be— it’s not subliminal. Don’t be fooled though, because even what you are aware of often has a hidden level of significance that’s loaded with subliminal influences. And, it is this area that is of particular interest in our most ‘mercantile’ of times.
Subliminal Messages in the Digital Age
In an era when your persona is commodified, and your impulses are tallied by clicks, your mind is commercial space. If it were a piece of ‘real’ estate, it would be prime— located somewhere along Park Avenue or on Madison and Vine. The most valuable, the most precious space in the world is your body-mind— and everybody is fighting for a piece of you— for a bit of your time, attention and energy too.
Consumer Neuroscience, Neuromarketing, Subliminal Advertising, Propaganda, Subliminal Persuasion, Mind Control, Social Engineering, and nationalistic acculturation are a whole bunch of nasties if you’re on the receiving end— and give you the edge if your the one putting them into play.
The subliminal messages we encounter these days are super-charged with stellar-intel— with big-and-small data in the hands of some of the best minds in the world. They’re the signal hidden in the noise— info-bytes of influence that nudges your decisions, cues your reactions, and primes your behavior. But, they would be like seeds sown on infertile grounds if the message didn’t sway your subliminal self towards a bias of preference and belief.
There’s sure to be some well-meaning souls who’ll take umbrage at the broad strokes I’ve used to sketch out the scope of the concept subliminal— preferring instead the baseless, pigeon-holed usage that’s crept into pop-psychology and academic dogmatism. Any definition that arbitrarily narrows the full range of ‘subliminal’ is misleading and goes against the spirit of inquiry.
The Sublime You— Selfies & Your Subliminal Self
Your motivations, behavior, choices, beliefs, and desires are similar to the beat of your heart— they’re driven by the part of your mind that you don’t consciously control. Is it unsettling to recognize that the ‘you’ who is reading right now is not the boss— not in the driver’s seat?
How often do you live up to your own aspirations? How good are you at saying what you mean and meaning what you say?— Or, behaving the way that you’d like to? It is disconcerting to realize that your ever-shifting persona is rarely in control— directing your actions and making reasonable decisions.
Has it always been that way? Has our identity (personhood) always been so insecure, overbearing and rigidly staunch— a frozen frame of persona clinging to self-interest like a creeper to a tree? Or, could it be that the unease we tend to feel is itself a result of fractious (capricious) acculturation— of subliminal conditioning that lies at the very core of (y)our identity?
“Working at strengthening our collective self while expanding its parameters to include diversity in our union is as important as nurturing our single identity…
“Narcissism and unbridled ambition, the Greeks warned, are like maladies coiled in the darkest part of the human spirit that, if left unchecked, can grow to completely overcome the balance and clarity of the mind…
“Divisions, walls, perimeters, boundaries: all that has been erected around the “I” to rigidly define its identity in contrast to some “Other” has proven to be, in the end, as ruinous as everything that remains too inflexible. To maintain its health, the mind needs to nurture its capacity to grow. Accumulation of information and knowledge would not mean much if not followed by improvement and maturation. In other words: progress has value only if it expands and enhances our humanness.“
You’re not a robot with a fixed ID and protocol. Your identity is fluid and temporal— reflecting the ever-changing condition of your experience. Our habits, beliefs, and behavior are continuously being forged by slow-burn of subliminal conditioning— and they, in turn— are what shapes who you are and who you’ll become.
Subliminally Irresistible— the Allure of Novelty
Like candy to a kid— we’re susceptible to novelty. In their award-winning ‘Faces Campaign’, Nikon came up with a novel way to use archaic, subliminal triggers. By creatively highlighting their facial recognition system, Nikon’s ads successfully stimulated both your conscious and subconscious perceptions.
Over the last couple hundred thousand years, we’ve been hard-wired to look out for predators, for danger lurking in the shadows. You might not be conscious of these shadowy perceptions, but your subconscious is.
Note to self— Blending in— Pattern Recognition & Dragons in the Clouds
Our subconscious ability to recognize perilous patterns (pattern recognition) is the poster child of the persuasion industry. Advertising takes advantage of it by hiding emotionally charged images in the contours of ice-cubes and suggestively sculptured shadows.
Nearly a quarter of our brain is involved in the perception of visual imagery. Our vision transcends linguistic barriers. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, we all dream in visually rich, symbolic imagery. More than any other sense, vision is what bridges the gap between your conscious and unconscious mind.
The Busy Bubble — Subliminal Misdirection & Overwhelm
Subliminal messages are just one of the weapons of mass distortion in the arsenal of reality-bending persuasion. The propaganda machine is inseminating the world with pervasive misconceptions— misconceptions that value appearance more than truth and the bottom line more than life itself.
From bureaucratic charades and wasted form-filling days to the ambiguity of depreciated buzz-words you can’t get away from it. We are surrounded by devilish distractions.
Times Square, Tokyo, and even small towns have turned into billboard cities, serving a bent-simulated-reality— a way of life that is at odds with life itself. Where ever you go avaricious hype is shouting out at you, from the side of buses to glossy magazines, and even on the screen of your hand-phone. After a perfect putt across the green, don’t be surprised when you find an ad on the bottom of the cup! Entertainment: music videos, video games, slot machines, television, movies, and even the nightly news are stuffed with subliminal prompts and hypnotic suggestions.
Let’s face it— we’re surrounded by spin, by ads that pressure us to move faster, work harder and buy more. This never-ending stream of stimuli doesn’t let up. The tone of the pitch mercilessly escalates to grab your attention. Pitches and slogans fill our lives with the sour taste of needless desire, discontentment and the glorification of greed.
You see more ads in one day than your great-grandparents saw in their entire lives! Even when you block out the noise, it doesn’t stop the subliminal spell seeping to your mind! Why do you think that people overeat and are addicted to toxic-fake-food? Why do people eat too fast and are bulging at the seams while their bodies are starving for nutrients? [ADD SECTION NOTE (1)]
Searing flesh with molten-hot metal— blistering brands— emblems of ownership emblazed into the skin is a far cry from the personal brands flaunted about in the popular press. Brands, the euphemistic label of corpocratic behemoths, spend immense sums to induce blind-devotion and spawn-mindless cults. They covet your belief and mobilize evangelist to enlarge their flocks of fascinated fans.
How does it feel to know that Madison and Vine— Marketing-Inc— understands more about you than you do about yourself? It’s gotten to the point where young teenage girls will sell their bodies just to get the latest designer bag.
How can we call our media-crazed society advanced? Stress, obesity, divorce, and violence are the norm and health-care has turned into death-care? Seventy-five percent of all illness result from chronic stress. For many of us, the frantic pace of life is a desperate struggle— a struggle to keep up with the demands imposed on us by mass-manipulation, economic aberrations, and distorted taxation.
Do you feel like your doing your best— going as fast as you can and still falling behind? Do you have time to study, time to share with loved ones, or time to relax and enjoy yourself simply? If you’re in a constant state of overwhelming, wouldn’t you agree that it’s about time to change?
Subliminal messages, gizmos and gadgets, persuasion psych, helped get us into this mess. So doesn’t it make sense that using the same tools to sculpt your subliminal self can to help get us out of it?
Subliminal Conditioning— Cultivating Consumption
WARNING! The following contains information that some of you may find shocking.
If you’re healthy, happy and vibrant— content with your life and enjoy spending time with those you love, then you’re a bad citizen. Because you’re not shopping, not buying stuff— you’re not consuming! People like you are hurting the national economy— the GDP.
The doesn’t just apply to consumables— the sick thing is that this is only as true for health care and the military industrial complex. Everything is all clumped together under the gross national product (GDP).
The economy thrives of illness and destruction. Think about it, the pharmaceutical industry thrives from plague and catastrophe— when more an more people need to shell out for healthcare. When people aren’t sick and tired, in torment and pain the healthcare industry contracts and the national economy shrinks. You see, when you’re healthy and happy— enjoy your relationships and are living your dream— your bad for business.
The idea of an infinitely expanding economy is not only a naive fallacy, but it’s also bad science and bad for us. Continual economic expansion might have made lopsided sense when the industrial revolution was picking up steam, and production had to exponentially expand to keep up with demand. But, that died long before the American Dream gave up the ghost.
In the 1950’s most people were happy and content. So, they didn’t need or want to keep buying more things. The situation was unacceptable to the fat-cat— robber barons. The economy they had spawned could only be sustained by a perpetually expanding market— by inexhaustible consumption. It was around this time, in 1955 the economist Victor Lebow introduced the idea of conspicuous consumption.
“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption a way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption…
“These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing pace.” Journal of Retailing
On the manufacturing side, the practice of planned obsolescence was intensified and enforced by industry consortiums. Obsolescence by design not only shortened the lifespan of products but also created a huge problem, oceans of waste. On the advertising side, Madison Ave, ad agencies pulled out the heavy artillery. They deployed a devious battalion of measures— misinformation, false endorsements, made-up science and continuously experimented with new forms of subliminal manipulation. They unleashed a wave of insatiable desire and gave birth to hyper-consumerism.
A famous scene from the cult classic film, The Fight Club, sums up the situation in no uncertain terms. Listen to how Tyler Durben, Brad Pitt’s anarchical character, put it:
“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
Most of us like shopping, shopping isn’t the issue— the issue is shopping hysteria. The wanton acquisition of goods is enslaving us. Not only does it lock you into a lifelong struggle of debt, but it also has extremely toxic side effects that affect children who haven’t even been born. Hyper-Consumption has fouled the air we breathe, polluted the soil and created a garbage patch in the big blue waters of our oceans— one such patch of trash is twice the size of Texas.
Subliminal Genres – Hidden in Plain Sight!
You don’t have to look into the dark, fluctuating nuances of the shadows or catch the sleight-of-mind plays on your perception to spot subliminal messages. Most of the time subliminality doesn’t rely on degrees of perceptive stimulus— but rather on psychological subtleties.
Subliminal messages are conveyed by conditioned associations— Red sports cars = sexy because sexy guys and gals are always pictured driving them. This genre is dubbed ‘Pavlovian Subliminality’ by the entertainment industry and is behind product placement and reputation-jacking. [Marlin Monroe and Starlets from Hollywood’s Golden Age made diamonds what they are today.]
Subliminality is also induced by way of symbolic, deep-mind resonances. These are the none-conscious collective— primeval affinities that appear in your dream-space and work in tandem with biochemical processes— like your response to pheromones. Or, like the serene, peaceful feeling you get from the harmonic proportions in sacred art and architecture. This class on ‘subliminals’ is what I call— Symbolic Subliminality.
The stimulus is ordinarily apparent in both the associative and symbolic genres of subliminality— It’s our response— the message and impact that’s subliminal. The distinction between these two classes of subliminality is elusive and subtle— their edges bleed-together, commingle and coalesce. They also tend to overlap, mutually reinforcing each other. This is something to keep in mind in art, therapy, and when you’re getting creative— making your own subliminal programs, designing or even redecorating your place.
When subliminal genres are mix-mashed, doubled up and harmonized to work in unison the effects are maximized. That’s why symbolic images of spiders, snakes, skulls, and sex are frequently featured in pop-art, entertainment-media and advertisements. Take arachnophobia, the fear of spiders for example.
The Creep Factor — Cranking Up Subliminal Potency
Arachnophobia — The Fear of Spiders
Are you afraid of spiders and snakes? Have you seen someone jump out of their pants because they spotted a spider? Some people lose it and end up yelling and screaming at the sight of a spider. I’d wager that more people die from spider startle-and-fright than from spider bites. [Note— I don’t want to downplay the threat of spiders which is very real in some countries like Australia and the Amazon. But, even in these high-risk zones, the possibility of death-by-spider is minuscule. More people die from bee and wasp stings than from spiders]
Perhaps, when we were living closer to nature spiders were a more significant threat. Even if, our irrational fear of spiders is an artifact of the evolutionary survival instinct, it would be but one mark in the legendary legacy that spiders hold in our heritage. You see, the symbolic legacy of spiders is built around the traits and behavior that we’ve observed over countless millennia— the characteristics that spiders exhibit in nature are what they’ve come to symbolize for us in myth and mind.
A Spiders Associations with Sexuality and Feminine Conquest is a Subliminal Trigger often deployed in ads. Spiders, like the Black Widow, are feared because of their deadly venom. Besides this, spiders are symbolically rich in texture. In short, they represent sexuality, feminine conquest and the web of illusion. The fact that female spiders are much larger than males and often eat their mates after intercourse subliminally prompts the idea of a fatal attraction, the dark side of femininity and sexuality. Deception is also brought into the mix because of the way spiders trap their prey in all but invisible webs.
One of the pioneers of Symbolic Anthropology, David Schneider suggests that: “Spiders, in their ceaseless weaving and killing—building and destroying—symbolize the ceaseless alternation of forces on which the stability of the universe depends.”
The subliminal connotations of a spider are not wholly negative. Its web is a miraculous feat of engineering. It spans space with geometric designs that are reflective of the unchanging patterns that give underlie nature.
The biochemical strands, the substance of the web, are some of the strongest most resilient materials on the planet. The Spider’s eight legs also represent the eight directions that qualify space.
In the ancient world spiders were considered an attribute of the great goddess, the tireless Weaver of Time, who sits at her loom, sending out strands in an alternating pattern that becomes the fabric of space. The Great Weaver spins the yarn of life that attaches all men to the vital thread of inter-connectivity.
The spider is just one of the many symbols that have a subliminal impact that often appears in advertising.
These associations appear in dreams and were recognized by Carl Young as archetypes. “The archetypes form a dynamic substratum common to all humanity…Being unconscious, the existence of archetypes can only be deduced indirectly by examining behavior, images, art, myths, religions, dreams, etc.” Jungian Archetypes