In 2013, President Obama awarded $100 million in grant money to launch the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. This program conducts neurotechnological research in the name of treating various neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and brain injuries.
By 2016, the BRAIN Initiative was supported by multiple federal agencies and dozens of partners in the academic and private sectors. Some of the research sounds fascinating. They have been investigating ways to deliver naturalistic sensations to amputees, as well as restoring brain function in people that have suffered severe brain trauma. I can see this being a godsend to people with severe injuries or amputations.
Some of the other stated applications I’m not so sure about.
I look at the proposed treatment for mental illness, and I can’t help but be reminded of the thousands of lobotomies performed on World War II veterans back in the 1940s and 50s. We’ve tried manipulating brain tissue before to deal with individuals suffering from PTSD. It didn’t always go well.
DARPA’s research involves treating brain networks. The Systems Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program involves therapies that treat psychiatric illness by recording and analyzing brain activity with near-real-time brain stimulation to correct brain dysfunction.
This research, begun under Obama’s BRAIN Initiative almost ten years ago, has translated into some real-world success stories. Some people have indeed experienced real relief from the symptoms of severe depression with targeted brain stimulation.
I am genuinely happy some individuals have found relief from depression, but the jump to expensive technological solutions in treating mental illness, particularly in combat veterans, will always rub me the wrong way.
Not enough emphasis has been placed on low-tech solutions.
With the new technologies being introduced in the name of treating combat veterans, I feel as though it’s a way for the people who live behind desks, far away from physical danger, to absolve themselves of responsibility for getting us into wars to begin with.
It’s the mentality of a child that breaks a toy in a fit of rage, then fixes it and acts like nothing ever happened. Getting better at fixing things doesn’t absolve the guilty party of initial wrongs committed.
Avoiding war should be the first priority.
Members of Congress should not be allowed to own shares in defense contracting companies because, as two-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj. General Smedley Butler so famously said, “War is a racket.”
There will be combat veterans who, yes, absolutely need medical interventions. I’m glad we have the treatments that we do. But many veterans also suffer from milder depression and anxiety. They would probably simply benefit from clear-cut missions that give them a sense of pride in their accomplishments and provide meaningful context to their experiences overseas.
Refusing to engage in conflicts overseas without a mostly-supportive general public would also help.
One of the reasons I got so depressed after my brother got killed in Afghanistan was that, as soon as I’d say something about losing my brother, the average American suburban mom would come up with a reason why it was actually my family’s own fault for being so violent. Many members of the military and their families encounter this, and yes, it will make you depressed.
But we don’t need drugs or experimental therapies to fix that problem. That problem gets solved when individuals choose not to be insensitive. It is normal to experience sad feelings when sad things happen. We’re pathologizing everything that makes us uncomfortable or inconvenienced.
More than a decade after the fact, I have made my peace with the universe as far as my brother is concerned. I will always miss him, but the loss no longer dominates my waking thoughts. I had to make some major life changes. My marriage ended, I moved, and I left the church in which I grew up…but I made a lot of new friends, I found a new support network, and I have peace of mind.
I didn’t need drugs or experimental therapies. I needed love, support, and patience.
But no one gets rich off providing those things! No one’s stock in defense companies goes up when we’re all loving and supportive of one another. And it’s hard. Most people would rather put their money into expensive high-tech solutions than put emotional energy into low-tech ones.
We don’t want to treat each other as brothers and sisters of the earth. We want to treat each other as equations to solve or as machines to be hacked. DARPA has made progress manipulating brain function via surgically implanted electrodes. They are also researching non-surgical methods to do the same.
Depression debilitates many people every year. Having another way to treat sufferers benefits us all.
DARPA claims that they conduct research with only the health and well-being of the public, but especially wounded soldiers, in mind. Though, as someone who spent about five years accused of mental illness, I have to ask: who gets to decide when someone’s brain is dysfunctional?
And with every new technology comes new risks.
What are the risks here of the DARPA BRAIN Initiative?
When we open up channels between human brains and electronic devices, we create new pathways of communication. In his 1928 book Propaganda, Edward Bernays states, “There is no means of communication which may not also be a means of deliberate propaganda.” Every time we open up new avenues of communication, we also open up new ways to be manipulated.
Regardless of my own feelings about it, the technology toward brain-digital interfacing has progressed a long way. And we have the same argument that comes along with every burst of new technology.
Do the risks outweigh the gains?
Most of the time, we say no.
But let’s think about the internet.
The internet created a revolution in communications, the like of which we have not seen since the invention of the printing press. And are we not subjected to more propaganda than ever? Does it not take more and more effort to sift the truth from the half-truths and the outright lies?
This is widely recognized, though I think we’re heading in the wrong direction. Look at Biden’s newest creation, the Disinformation Governance Board. Ostensibly created to crack down on Russian misinformation and smuggling on the U.S.-Mexico border, the DGB will ultimately stifle dissent. Many people in alternative media are worried about the implications of this. If you’re more concerned about the truth than about the current official narrative, you should be too. (Want uninterrupted, uncensored access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)
For now, as pervasive as the internet is, one can still turn it off. I can still shut my laptop and go talk to my kids or work in my garden as the need arises. As humans’ ability to manipulate brain waves via electronic stimulation progresses, it will be more and more difficult to “get away.”
Again, think about what life was like before the internet. Back in the 1980s, when Dad was home from work, he was home from work.
Twenty years later, he was never “off.”
The email notifications never ended. In the digital age, many people are never really off work. Opening up entirely new channels of communication is simply another step along that path of constant interconnection. Are we really ready for it?
(Want to learn how to starve the beast? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)
And it would be naïve in the extreme to think that none of this research by DARPA could be used for nefarious purposes.
DARPA only discusses the peaceful, medical aspects of their neuroscientific research. But a funny thing turned up in a FOIA request back in 2018.
A journalist for Muckrock magazine sent in a FOIA request regarding Antifa/BLM activity. Along with the information he requested, another file was accidentally slipped in with everything else.
The Muckrock journalist was shocked by his accidental find, to say the least, and they published this back in 2018. It’s unclear how much progress has been made in weaponizing the human-digital interface, but people are thinking about it, and it looks like they have been for a long time.
Now, DARPA may be full of the most selfless public servants dedicated to nothing but the safety and well-being of the American people. But a funny thing about technology is that it has a way of escaping, and there are plenty of groups out there who emphatically do not have the well-being of the American people in mind. I can imagine they are pretty interested in brain mapping and manipulation too. (Learn more about the move toward transhumanism here.)
One man in particular who regularly speaks of humans as machines to be “hacked” is Dr. Yuval Harari.
He took part in a roundtable discussion on Hacking Humans hosted by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).
The thought of this man, or anyone with his mindset, having control over other humans is disturbing in the extreme. Dr. Harari believes in the inherent superiority of algorithms. He insists humans kill everything around them and that the majority are only capable of thinking in the short term.
To have any life left at all, we must rely on algorithms to make decisions for us. Dr. Harari says that humans have never been as free as we thought and that the concept of freedom is mostly just a collection of bio-cultural factors. He goes on to say that people with a firm sense of their own free will are dangerous but easy to manipulate.
Dr. Harari’s contempt for human individuals and their respective cultures has no limits. In his 2017 article written for The Guardian, he discusses the future of the “useless class,” the large amounts of people that will soon be unemployable due to the inherent superiority of robots.
Dr. Harari works with the World Economic Forum and so, unfortunately, does DARPA.
While DARPA claims to work primarily with the interests of the United States at heart, what happens to their $3.8 billion per year budget tells another story. You can go down a real rabbit hole trying to find every last detail about where their money goes, but for the purposes of this article, it should suffice to say that they direct a great deal of money to the same bioengineering firms as the WEF. If DARPA knows how to do something, it’s safe to assume that the control fiends at the WEF will soon know it, too.
You could also go down a philosophical rabbit hole here. The story of men creating something and then worshiping it goes back to the Old Testament. Men used to worship statues of Dagon and Moloch. Today, instead of statuary, we have all-knowing algorithms. That impulse to worship the works of our hands remains. Human nature never changes.
And the tendency for power to corrupt never changes. We are gradually gaining the power to manipulate brain function. Do we believe that this kind of power will never be corrupted? Let us know what you think in the comments.
About Marie Hawthorne
A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.
You bring up some great points. Former mind control subjects found healing through the simple act of journaling. Talk about low tech. I agree that sharing with a friend has a healing affect that shouldn’t be underestimated. I have heard a lot of buzz about research into sound waves, PEMF and other vibrational healing methods. I believe it falls under the category of energy medicine. I would think those methods would be a lot safer but like any field of medicine, it can be highjacked and manipulated.
Marie, I’m so sorry you lost your brother. And shame on anyone who made things worse for you and your family.
Having said that, I’m confused about the point(s) you’re trying to make here. DARPA has good uses but maybe some bad too? (So we shouldn’t explore anything with huge potential because someone could use it for bad?) That the internet has ruined our peace and quiet time? (Actually, you may have a point there…). That Obama and Biden’s initiatives are always suspect? We should let poor, downtrodden Russia take Ukraine because, OOH, we might have to go to war if not? Come on.
Depression and other mental illnesses are hell on earth for the sufferers and their families. Not everyone is resilient or can snap out of it with kindness and understanding. I’m glad that love, support, and patience worked for you, but they don’t for everyone. The way I see it, the more potential tools we have in the toolbox to deal with this, together with enlightened and humane medical practitioners and supportive friends and family, the better. I fail to see how a decision you want to make about your mind and body and your treatment should dictate what I choose to do to my mind and body.
What we know about the mind, about the way the brain works, is a mere thimbleful of what there is out there to know. I suppose everything has the potential to be used for evil, but that is no reason to not pursue answers. And we can ignore AI and other nefarious uses of the human mind, but you can bet that China/Russia/North Korea etc. are not. We dare not fall behind them in this field of study.
Anyways, I wish you well and hope that you’re not advocating for closing off avenues that can provide real relief for suffering people because the initiatives were started by someone from the wrong party, or that the technology might be misused, or that you didn’t need such treatment and so no one else should have it.
If you read this article carefully, you would know that Marie is not saying we shouldn’t pursue brain technology because it might be used for nefarious purposes. It’s just another tool for humanity to research and use. However, the warning is clear: Any person or company that is connected in any way, shape or form with WEF or Bill Gates is suspect of nefarious purposes. The are all about control – of the rest of us plebeians. Beware of those who think they can control anyone at all.
I cannot read an article that has a great misCONception. Obama was NEVER a legal Constitutional president, was never vetted to be one and, therefore, technically a usurper.
This should explain all his unconstitutional destructive measures whilst illegally in office and 535 members of Congress was never held responsible for this egregious treason which is punishable by death.
Spot on about Afghanistan & wars, it’s the people who served got the short end of things while government prospered at your brothers expense. My condolences.
It kinda sounds weird BUT this kind of mental conditioning technology was developed and being used some 15000 years ago back at the time of Atlantis.
It was used, among other things, for neural conditioning of convicted felons. One brief session was more effective than years of prison to correct mischievous behaviors.
Etic implications: Any tech can be bad or good, it depends on the intention of the user. Is it to free mankind toward greater prosperity or is it abused to enslave people?
Such a well written piece, I read it twice and went to the referenced information. The underlying reality is that there are those that wish to degrade and eliminate most of humanity as we know it. My sense is that we’ve found out about this agenda just in the nick of time.
Wow it all comes down to one thing and that is controlling the world economically politically & spiritually very soon we will see the fulfilment of just mere human men’s evil desires wanting to control wanting to placed themselves in a god position..but no matter how hard they try…all SHALL come to an END.
Part of the issue is that our technologies are racing way ahead of our ethics frameworks and the consciousness required in order to use these technologies for good. This is where humanity has gotten itself into problems over and over again. There are better ways to deal with the issues that are spoken of here, and this technology is here already. It shouldn’t be long before we get to see it now. Also, psychedelics are proving to be extremely useful in these conditions, but they have largely been criminalized. Why? To remove the competition for Big Pharma profits – the same reason for the suppression of MANY useful and effective technologies and treatments, as well as competing (and mmore correct) theories of disease.
Legislator Be Advised – Collaboration with WEF or WHO is TREASON
I’ve seen posts of microscopic photos of what appears to be computer circuitry that’s in the C 19 shots. I think 5G will work with it. Can’t trust anything run by the gov’t.