Something obviously happens to people who have been close to death. Life becomes much more meaningful to them, much more precious. They don’t want to waste time on nonsense anymore. They no longer feel that they need to improve themselves, loose weight or practice yoga. They no longer care that much about self-help books, how to get rich, how to get in touch with angels, how to find the true self, how to get self fulfilled, how to become radiant, stuff like that They no longer feel that they desperately need to compete and prove that they are wonderful. They don’t feel like fussing and fighting anymore.
Pavlov discovered the conditioned reflex in the late ninetieth century when he did experiments with dogs. The dogs learned that they would get food when a bell rang and they began to drivel as soon as they heard the bell. Their body chemistry changed when they heard the bell. Pavlov called this “psychic secretion” Then he tried to figure out how to extinct the conditioning. This proved to be difficult. Eventually he found that if he beat the dogs so badly that they almost died the conditioned reflex disappeared.
In the nineteen fifties CIA did extensive research on mind control, how to make the mind blank so they could fill it with something new. You can read about this terrible research in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine“. (The Russians made of course also such experiments.) This is the time when the word “brain washed” was coined.
Why so much fuss about conditioning? What would we be like without conditioning? Wold we exist at all? Isn't conditioning what makes us human? Middle-class people, working-class people, Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Jews and Palestinians, aren't all this what makes us different just different kinds of conditionings? We can’t bring all people close to death to make them “wake up”. We have to accept life as it is, I think. We have to accept that we are all living in conditioned dreamworlds. We have to accept that people will go to war if a strong leader tells them to go to war. We are not much different from chimpanzees and baboons.