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Why Fact-check? Why preserve a visual record?

The Website Written as a Book
1: Science and Subjective Viewpoints
2: Toward Accurate Collapse Histories
....2.1: Progressive Floor Collapses in the WTC Towers
....2.2: General Global Characteristics of Collapses
....2.3: Mathematical Basis of ROOSD Propagation
....2.4: WTC1 Accurate Collapse History
....2.5: WTC2 Accurate Collapse History
....2.6: WTC7 Accurate Collapse History
3: WTC Collapse Misrepresentations
....3.1: Purpose of the NIST Reports
....3.2: NIST WTC1 Misrepresentations
....3.3: NIST WTC7 Misrepresentations
....3.4: NIST WTC2 Misrepresentations
....3.5: Reviewing the Purpose of NIST and FEMA Reports
....3.6: Bazant Misrepresentation of Collapse Progressions
....3.7: Block Misrepresentations of Collapse Progressions
....3.8: AE911T Misrepresentations of the Collapses
4: Scientific Institutions Can Be Unaware of Contradiction
5: Reassessing the Question of Demolition
....5.1: The Case of WTC1
....5.2: The Case of WTC2
....5.3: The Case of WTC7
6: WTC Collapse Records Studied as Meme Replication
....6.1: Meme Replication in Technical Literature
....6.2: Meme Replication in Mass Media
....6.3: Meme Replication in Popular Culture
....6.4: John Q Public and the WTC Collapse Records

WTC Twin Towers Collapse Dynamics

Official, Legal Attempts to Explain Collapses

Academic Attempts to Explain Collapses Reviewed

On the Limits of Science and Technology

WTC Video Record

WTC Photographic Record
WTC1 Attack to Collapse
WTC2 Attack to Collapse
Fire Progression, WTC1 North Face
Fire Progression, WTC1 South Face
Fire Progression, WTC1 East Face
Fire Progression, WTC1 West Face
Fire Progression, WTC2 North Face
Fire Progression, WTC2 South Face
Fire Progression, WTC2 East Face
Fire Progression, WTC2 West Face
Debris: WTC1 Around Footprint
Debris: WTC2 Around Footprint
Debris: From WTC1 Westward
Debris: From WTC1 Northward
Debris: From WTC2 Eastward
Debris: From WTC2 Southward
Debris: Plaza Area, Northeast Complex
Debris: Hilton Hotel, Southwest Complex
Debris: General, Unidentified Locations
Damage to Surrounding Buildings
Perimeter Column Photo Record
Perimeter Columns: Types of Damage
Core Box Columns: Types of Damage
Complete Photo Archive
Other Major 9-11 Photo Archives
The 911Dataset Project

WTC Structural Information

Log In


Remember Me

Online Misrepresentations of the WTC Collapses

Forum, Blog Representations of the WTC Collapses

The Book Tested Through Experiments

Miscellaneous Notes, Resources
FAQ for Miscellaneous Notes
History Commons 9/11 Timeline
The 911Dataset Project
Skyscraper Safety Campaign
First and Largest 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Key Words in Book and Website
Trapped Within a Narrowed False Choice
Vulnerability and Requestioning
On Memes and Memetics
Obedience, Conformity and Mental Structure
Denial, Avoidance (Taboo) and Mental Structure
Taboos Against Reviewing the Collapse Events
Extreme Situations and Mental Structure
Suggestibility, Hypnosis and Mental Structure
Awareness and Behavior
Magical, Religious, Scientific Cause-Effect Relations
The Extreme Limits of Mental Dysfunction
Orwell's "Crimestop", "Doublethink", "Blackwhite"
William James, Max Born: Science as Philosophy
Plato on Self Reflection and Mental Structure
Rewriting History, part 1
Rewriting History, part 2
On Smart Idiots

New Ideas in Education



Taboo Against Reviewing the Collapse Events

Wikipedia offers a decent description of taboo here. From the link:

A taboo is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment.[1][2] Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.[1] The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to include strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment and religious beliefs.[citation needed] "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable by society in general, not merely a subset of a culture.

There are 5 main taboos against careful review of the WTC collapse processes presented in this section:

1) Institutional taboo; against crossing the line of hierarchy
2) Moral taboo; against reviewing the rational for war and killing
3) Fear of being labeled
4) Safety in crowds
5) Discomfort in finding oneself vulnerable

1) INSTITUTIONAL TABOO: Do not cross the lines of hierarchy

The Kubler-Ross parallel

General observations made by Elisabeth Kubler Ross on her ground-breaking studies on psychological patterns within terminally ill patients are described at this link.

"Staff reactions to the seminar

As described earlier, the hospital staff reacted with great resistance, at times overt hostility, to our seminar. At the beginning, it was almost impossible to get permission from the attending staff to interview one of their patients. Residents were more difficult to approach than interns, the latter more resistant than externs or medical students. It appeared that the more training the physician had, the less he was ready to become involved in this type of work. Other authors have studied the physician's attitude toward death and the dying patient. We have not studied the individual reasons for this resistance but have observed it many times.

Approximately 9 out of 10 physicians reacted with discomfort, annoyance, or overt hostility when approached for their permission to talk to one of their patients. While some of them used the patient's poor physical or emotional health as a reason for their reluctance, others flatly denied having terminally ill patients under their care. Some expressed anger when their patients asked to talk to us, as if it reflected their inability to cope with them. While only a few flatly refused, the great majority regarded it as a special favor to us when they finally allowed an interview.

Kubler Ross offered a number of reasons why doctors were often so resistant to her seminars. At the time of her research terminal illness was a hugely taboo subject. Doctors often did not tell their patients directly about their true condition. There were doctors that flatly denied terminally ill patients were in their care.

When facing other types of medical conditions, the doctor seeks solutions which address the problem and promote life. This strategy is no longer effective in the case of terminal illness. Doctors can do very little once terminal illness is recognized. The terminally ill represent a special type of "problem case" in that it is a medical problem that cannot be "fixed" or "cured".

The identity of a doctor as a medical problem-solver disappears when facing terminal illness. It is a completely different role than the emphasis on efficient, technologically active, busy, solution-seeking approach that they may be accustomed to.

The order of hierarchy within a hospital setting as Kubler-Ross experienced it is listed in order:


When technical solutions break down and only human solutions remain, doctors will be in the same position as anyone else with no advantage toward enacting a "solution". As the possibility of technological and chemical solutions fade away, the doctor finds him or herself in a quite human situation with no more bag of tricks. The large majority of these doctors are also educated in western, technologically heavy, solution-oriented institutions within busy, active, achievement-oriented western societies.

Within this context it is not difficult to see why the terminally ill patient represents a very special "problem case" in a hospital environment.

In the case of Kubler Ross, there is no suggestion she faced "supernatural punishment". Instead she faced moral judgement, strong individual and institutional resistance and ultimately the loss of her research position.

Consider the parallel case with respect to descriptions of the WTC towers. A similar hierarchy exists geared toward a similar problem-solving, highly technical, active (busy) environment and culture. In this case the hierarchical order is taken to be:

Professional engineers, scientists and academia
Private citizens

Considering the descriptions of taboo given, what activity can be considered "too sacred or accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake", and who are "ordinary individuals"? Well, in this case ordinary individuals on the list are private citizens.

Government and private technical institutions, academia and individual scientists and engineers are considered to be the technical problem solvers of our day. Everything from nuclear reactors and nuclear arsenals to space travel, weaponry, aviation, general and special construction projects, electrical power grids and computing are designed, built and maintained through this massive institutional hierarchy.

Among the problem solving hierarchy, what is taboo? The primary taboo within assumed hierarchies is to question the wisdom of the order, for the "lowliest of beings" to ask difficult and potentially embarrassing questions directly to the "highest of beings".

Beyond Conception

Many people live thoroughly within the world view that it is simply beyond belief that the NIST could have made as many bone-headed mistakes as the "book" claims.

It is impossible that the technical hierarchy of the NIST and public and private scientific institutions and academia didn't question these mistakes or even seem to notice them for so many years.

It is absolutely impossible that with our civilized society, when making decisions as morally important as war and torture, that our most respected scientific institutions could have been so collectively asleep not to notice these mistakes.

2) MORAL TABOO AGAINST REVIEWING RATIONAL OF WARS; Taboo as associated with rationalization and acceptance of killing and war

Like Kubler Ross, Lt Col David Grossman did ground-breaking research on another taboo subject; psychological effects of the act of killing in the context of war. His book, "On Killing", is available and is discussed near the end of this link

From the book:

"In the 1970s Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her famous research
on death which revealed that when people are dying they often
go through a series of emotional stages, including denial, anger,
bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the historical narratives
I have read, and in my interviews with veterans over the last two
decades, I have found a similar series of emotional response stages
to killing in combat.

The basic response stages to killing in combat are concern about
killing, the actual kill, exhilaration, remorse, and rationalization
and acceptance
. Like Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's famous stages in
response to death and dying, these stages are generally sequential
but not necessarily universal. Thus, some individuals may skip
certain stages, or blend them, or pass through them so fleetingly
that they do not even acknowledge their presence."

-pg 231

Key to the rationalization and acceptance of killing is the ability to diffuse responsibility for the killing by sharing it with others who have participated directly or indirectly.

The diffusion of responsibility in the case of a reaction of guilt:

"The diffusion of responsibility that happens in combat is a two-
way street. It absolves a killer of a part of his guilt, diffusing it to the leaders who gave the order and the truck driver who brought
the ammo and hauled back the bodies, but it does so by giving a
piece of the killer's guilt to others, and those others must then
deal with it just as surely as must the killer
. If these "accessories" to killing in combat are accused and condemned, then their slice of the trauma, guilt, and responsibility is amplified, and it will reverberate in their souls as shock and horror."

- pg 289

The diffusion of responsibility for killing in war is a two-way street. This diffusion permeates some elements of society more than others, but it is certainly distributed throughout society as a whole. Rationalization and acceptance, stage 5 of the Grossman model of the killing process, is vital to maintain and threats to this rational can be expected to be treated as taboo throughout society.


The question of the collapse processes and demolition has incessantly been described in most all media in terms of an artificially narrowed false choice between 2 extreme cases. This theme is repeated and has been "trained" into the mindsets of passive readers and viewers for years.

To question the NIST conclusions and look directly at the events of 9-11-01 through individual initiative is to be tarred as "truther", which, according to the "training", is to be automatically associated with the cartoon analysis of J. Wood, R. Gage, and S. Jones.

The late Alexander Cockburn goes so far as to associate those who find issues with the NIST report with moon hoaxers. Robert Parry also fully embraces the NIST report and has even offered his own armchair analysis of the near free-fall acceleration range of WTC7.

To many thus trained it is beyond conception that any individual researcher can heavily criticize these "truthers" while heavily criticizing the NIST at the same time. And thus minded, it is completely beyond possibility that such criticism originates from private citizens. How dare a private citizen criticize the work of the NIST, Dr Sunder and Dr Bazant while also daring to criticize the work of Dr Jones and Dr Wood at the same time! They have PhDs!


Individual initiative suggests to others that one has outstanding questions about the events of 9-11-01. To have outstanding questions at this late date means one is not so sure about what is commonly portrayed as the fundamental cause underlying over a decade of war.

The act of independently researching outstanding questions is to entertain the possibility that the dominant world view all around one is wrong on a fundamental level.

Consider what happens when the process of rationalization fails in the "killing cycle" described by Grossman. According to Grossman, psychological trauma could result for obvious reasons. Once the act of killing is done and no process of purification or rationalization and acceptance can be found, those through whom responsibility for the killing is diffused will be forced to live with that fact one way or another. Needless to say, to have ones underlying world views shattered to such a degree would be shocking.

"Psychologists have long understood that a diffusion of responsibility
can be caused by the anonymity created in a crowd. It has been
demonstrated in literally dozens of studies that bystanders will be
less likely to interfere in a situation in direct relationship to the
numbers who are witnessing the circumstance. Thus, in large
crowds, horrendous crimes can occur but the likelihood of a by-
stander interfering is very low. However, if the bystander is alone
and is faced with a circumstance in which there is no one else to
diffuse the responsibility to, then the probability of intervention
is very high. In the same way groups can provide a diffusion of
responsibility that will enable individuals in mobs and soldiers in
military units to commit acts that they would never dream of
doing as individuals, acts such as lynching someone because of the
color of his skin or shooting someone because of the color of
his uniform


In these cases it is so much easier to disappear into a group. The larger the group is, the more a person with individual initiative who questions group attitudes runs the risk of becoming the target of a witch hunt themselves. The very act of looking deeper is perceived as the activity of an outsider which threatens group cohesion.

The dynamics of individual initiative which counters group instinct can be seen in the act of killing itself as Grossman points out:

"Death in the Crowd: Accountability and Anonymity on the Battlefield

The influence of groups on killing occurs through a strange and
powerful interaction of accountability and anonymity. Although
at first glance the influence of these two factors would seem to be
paradoxical, in actuality they interact in such a manner as to magnify
and amplify each other in order to enable violence.

Police are aware of these accountability and anonymity processes
and are trained to unhinge them by calling individuals within a
group by name whenever possible. Doing so causes the people so
named to reduce their identification with the group and begin to
think of themselves as individuals with personal accountability.
This inhibits violence by limiting the individuals' sense of account-
ability to the group and negating their sense of anonymity.
Among groups in combat, this accountability (to one's friends)
and anonymity (to reduce one's sense of personal responsibility
for killing) combine to play a significant role in enabling killing.

As we have seen so far in this study, killing another human being
is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. But if a soldier feels he
is letting his friends down if he doesn't kill, and if he can get
others to share in the killing process (thus diffusing his personal
responsibility by giving each individual a slice of the guilt), then
killing can be easier. In general, the more members in the group,
the more psychologically bonded the group, and the more the
group is in close proximity, the more powerful the enabling can be."

- pg 153

"Anonymity and Group Absolution

In addition to creating a sense of accountability, groups also enable
killing through developing in their members a sense of anonymity
that contributes further to violence. In some circumstances this
process of group anonymity seems to facilitate a kind of atavistic
killing hysteria that can also be seen in the animal kingdom. Kruck's
1972 research describes scenes from the animal kingdom that show
that senseless and wanton killing does occur. These include the
slaughter of gazelles by hyenas, in quantities way beyond their
need or capacity to eat, or the destruction of gulls that could not
fly on a stormy night and thus were "sitting ducks" for foxes that
proceed to kill them beyond any possible need for food. Shalit
points out that "such senseless violence in the animal world " as
well as most of the violence in the human domain " is shown
by groups rather than by individuals

"Konrad Lorenz tells us that "man is not a killer, but the group
." Shalit demonstrates a profound understanding of this process
and has researched it extensively:

"All crowding has an intensifying effect. If aggression exists, it will
become more so as a result of crowding; if joy exists, it will become
intensified by the crowd. It has been shown by some studies . . .
that a mirror in front of an aggressor tends to increase his aggres-
sion " if he was disposed to be aggressive. However, if this individ-
ual were not so disposed, the effect of the mirror would be to
further enhance his nonaggressive tendencies. The effect of the
crowd seems to be much like a mirror, reflecting each individual's
behavior in those around him and thus intensifying the existing
pattern of behavior

A mirror in front of an aggressor tends to increase his aggres-
sion. If a member of the group were to question this crowd effect while it was occurring, they would no longer be considered a member but rather an outsider.

Why is this taboo clung to with such passion? My guess is that one would have to admit that people are quite vulnerable to incorrect information and mistakes have been made. It is not just that mistakes have been made, but that large groups of individuals can be vulnerable to embracing those mistakes and rallying behind them without checking claims.

Many see themselves as effective critical thinkers communicating with other effective critical thinkers. This belief constitutes an overall world view of self and other, and admission of rather bone-headed mistakes at this late date destroys this world view based on a false or inflated sense of certainty.

For this reason, it seems easier for many to subconsciously fabricate information to justify the process of clinging than to just admit that one is quite human and vulnerable to false beliefs.

Another reason why the act of fact-checking is treated as highly taboo is because it directly challenges is what David Bohm calls the "western world view", in which one sees our societies as a whole as scientific and civilized. These 2 concepts :

1) scientific
2) civilized

mutually reinforce one another within the western world view. It is commonly believed that our cultures are scientific because we are civilized. Our cultures are civilized because we are scientific.

A 5TH TABOO: DISCOMFORT FINDING ONESELF VULNERABLE; Disruption of a set of core beliefs

Consider the following quote: "In processing information, we rely upon schemas without necessarily being aware of their content. Further, these schemas are generally resistant to major changes, for ordinarily we alter our perceptions and memories so as to render the schemas consistent; we persevere in maintaining our schemas."

Alter our memories and perceptions simply to preserve ones schema? Hmmm... Or consider this:

"People strongly hold a set of assumptions - their "assumptive world" - that represents their view of reality and is built and confirmed by years of experience. We operate on the basis of these theories or assumptions, yet we are generally unaware of their content. Further, because we perceive the world through these assumptive lenses, it is very difficult to invalidate them. They generally persist and are resistant to change. Our assumptive world provides us with a stable conceptual system that affords us psychological equilibrium in a constantly changing actual world."

If such a set of assumptions exists, it is not hard to see how they would interfere with the process of observing a new event outside the range of ordinary human experience.

Or consider this claim:

"These are three fundamental components of our "metaphysical hard core":

a) The world is benevolent
b) Events in the world are meaningful
c) The self is positive and worthy (people are good)"

Similar to the way that particle accelerators allow physicists to observe high energy collisions between particles, breaking composite objects into component parts, so highly stressful situations reveal how the mind often copes with negative shock."

One of the best ways to do this through many quality studies of post-traumatic stress disorder. If these statements sound unrealistic to you, consider the following studies of mental reactions to extreme situations...

From the book "Psychotraumatology: Key Papers and Core Concepts in Post-Traumatic Stress", Chapter 5, Victims of Violence, by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Reprinted from S. Fisher and J. Reason, "Handbook of Life Stress. Cognition and Health" (ch 6, pp.101-113)

From the book:

"In processing information, we rely upon schemas without necessarily being aware of their content. Further, these schemas are generally resistant to major changes, for ordinarily we alter our perceptions and memories so as to render the schemas consistent; we persevere in maintaining our schemas (see discussions in Fisk & Taylor, 1984; Nisbett & Ross, 1980).

Although work on schemas has generally dealt with our "theories" of particular categories of people or events, the psychological perspective represented by this work is consistent with the orientations of psychologists who have been interested in more global theories of assumptions people hold about themselves and their world. Parkes (1971, 1975), for example, maintains that people strongly hold a set of assumptions - their "assumptive world" - that represents their view of reality and is built and confirmed by years of experience. Bowlby's (1969) "world models," Marris's (1975) "structures of meaning" and Epstein's (1973, 1979, 1980) "theory of reality" all represent this same conceptual system that guides our perceptions and actions. As Epstein (1980) and Parkes (1971) maintain, we operate on the basis of these theories or assumptions, yet we are generally unaware of their content. Further, because we perceive the world through these assumptive lenses, it is very difficult to invalidate them. They generally persist and are resistant to change. Our assumptive world provides us with a stable conceptual system that affords us psychological equilibrium in a constantly changing actual world.

Although our basic assumptions about the world and ourselves are generally not questioned or challenged, occasionally particular events force us to objectify and confront them. In the realm of science, paradigms provide the basis for all work during "normal science" (Kuhn, 1962), just as our basic assumptions underlie normal (i.e., day-to-day) living. Yet there are occasions in science when crises arise. When anomalies call into question fundamental aspects of the paradigm and the old paradigm is "pushed too far", the result is a scientific revolution (Kuhn, 1962). Similarly, there are occasions in peoples lives when their assumptive worlds are seriously challenged. Violent victimization represents one such experience. Victims of violence can no longer automatically rely upon their assumptive worlds to account for the data of their experience, and the stability of their conceptual system is threatened. The psychological trauma experienced by victims of violence can be understood in terms of the potential breakdown of their assumptive worlds. There is disorganization within their conceptual systems, and the individuals are thrown into a state of psychological crisis.


The threat to the victim's assumptive world occurs because victimization cannot readily be assimilated into his or her conceptual system. A cluster of assumptions (all of which relate to the general perception of relative invulnerability) are challenged by victimization, particularly by violent victimization. A very common reaction following victimization is an intense feeling of vulnerability. Most people, prior to any serious victimization, feel relatively invulnerable to negative events (Janoff-Bulman & Lang-Gunn, 1988; Perloff, 1983; Weinstein, 1980; Weinstein & Lachendro, 1982). Victims can no longer say, "It can't happen to me." Rather, they experience a lost sense of safety and security, whether they are victims of crime (e.g., Bard & Sangrey, 1979; Fischer, 1984; Krupnick, 1980; Notman & Nadelson, 1976), disease (e.g., Taylor, 1983; Weisman, 1979; Wortman & Dunkel-Shetter, 1979), or disasters (e.g., Lifton & Olson, 1976; Titchener et al., 1976; Wolfenstein, 1957). In his work with individuals exhibiting post-traumatic stress - including people who had been assaulted, have undergone a near-fatal experience, and had lost a loved one - Horowitz (1982) found that the most common theme expressed by these victims was discomfort over their own vulnerability.

This sense of vulnerability appears to be tied to the disruption of certain core assumptions about self and the world. In particular, people generally seem to operate on the basis of three fundamental assumptions related to invulnerability: (a) the world is benevolent; (b) events in the world are meaningful; and (c) the self is positive an worthy. A benevolent world is not only one in which good things happen, but one in which people are good. A meaningful world is one in which events "make sense" because they predictably follow certain accepted "social laws" (Janoff-Bulman & Frieze, 1983; Silver & Wortman, 1980). In Western cultures, events are meaningful if they follow principles of justice (i.e., people get what they deserve; Lerner, 1980) or controllability (i.e., people's actions determine their outcomes; Seligman, 1975). A positive view of the self involves seeing oneself as decent and worthy, and thereby as deserving of good outcomes.

These three vulnerability-related assumptions may form a central core of our assumptive world. Work on the child's earliest experiences suggests that the groundwork for these assumptions is laid in the child's early interactions. Essentially, the development of the child during the first year involves learning to trust the world, learning that he or she is not vulnerable but rather is protected and secure (Erikson, 1950, 1968, 1980). The establishment of a sense of relative invulnerability seems grounded in early relationships with caregivers (Bowlby, 1969; Fairbairn, 1952; Sullivan, 1940, 1953). Typically the child comes to perceive the world as benevolent through predictable interactions with a responsible caregiver. Through positive interactions in which the child's needs (physical and emotional) are met, the child learns that his or her world is controllable, dependable, and just. Simultaneously the child begins to develop a sense of self-worth, in that he or she is the recipient of positive caregiving. The process is one of mutual regulation, in which the child perceives "friendly otherness" and "personal trustworthiness" through sensitive, dependable care. During the first year, as children learn that others are good, they also learn that they are good and that the world is orderly and predictable. Generally they come to believe that they are not helpless in a hostile environment (Horney, 1937, 1939), but capable and cared for in a benevolent world.

The assumptions of benevolence of the world, meaningfulness of events, and self-worth are grounded in the early preverbal experiences of the child and are therefore apt to be core assumptions in our conceptual system. Though certainly not the only assumptions an individual holds, these three vulnerability-related assumptions are no doubt very "high-order postulates" (Epstein, 1980) or, as Lakatos's (1974) terms, components of our "metaphysical hard-core". As such, their maintenance is essential to our psychological stability; threats to these core assumptions result in a great deal of psychological distress. Victimization threatens these assumptions, and the psychological responses of victims indicate their decreased sense of self-worth, coupled with a perception of the world that is malevolent and arbitrary.

Although these three basic assumptions are threatened by the experience of nonviolent victimization (e.g., disease, accidents, natural disasters), violent victimization seems to provide even greater threats and challenges to the assumptive worlds of victims (Janoff-Bulman, 1985). For victims of violence, the world is not only a place in which negative events occur (i.e., unfortunate outcomes become salient; Kahneman & Tversky, 1973), but people can no longer be trusted. Both the impersonal world and the personal world appear hostile. As Bard and Sangrey (1979) write, "Because crime is an interpersonal event, the victim's feeling of security in the world of other people is seriously upset" (p.14). For those victimized by an individual they know well (e.g., a date, spouse, parent, friend), the breakdown in the assumption of a benign world is particularly acute. Considerable emotional trauma follows the experience of rape by a partner or friend (Burgess & Holnstrom, 1974; Medea & Thompson, 1974). Victims of rape and sexual abuse often have a great deal of difficulty establishing a sense of trust in subsequent close relationships (Miller et al., 1982; Nadelson & Notman, 1984). The individual who is victimized by a stranger often suffers a loss of trust in people as well, for the experience forces a direct confrontation with the realization that people can be malevolent; the world of people becomes suspect (Fischer, 1984).

Victims of violence, as well as victims of accidents, disease, and natural disasters, experience serious threats to their assumption of meaningfulness. They have been brought face to face with arbitrariness or randomness, and it is difficult to make sense of their victimization. Once again, however, the intent to harm by another human being suggests the possibility of unique difficulties for victims of violence. They must confront the existence of evil and the breakdown of a moral universe (see Lifton, 1967). Diseases, accidents, and natural disasters do not raise the question of evil; it is as if to be evil, something has to be intended, as is the case in violent victimizations (Janoff-Bulman, 1985).

There is considerable evidence that victims in general experience a marked decrease in their sense of self-worth (Horowitz et al., 1980; Krupnick, 1980). They perceive themselves as having been singled out for misfortune, and this leads to self-questioning, a perception of deviance, and self-stigma (Coates & Winston, 1983). Victims of violence are apt to experience the greatest threats to their self-worth, for being victimized by another who has intended harm is likely to exaggerate one's sense of powerlessness and helplessness, as well as one's sense of "losing" to another human being. One has been overpowered by another person and has thereby experienced a direct "violation of the self" (Bard & Sangrey, 1979). This sense of weakness and helplessness in contrast to the dominance of an evil other is apt to be experienced as humiliation, shame, and a loss of self-respect.


Coping with violent victimization involves coming to terms with the cognitive disorganization precipitated by the experience. Assumptions and personal theories that have provided psychological stability over the years are seriously challenged and often shattered. For victims of violence, intense anxiety - with all of its emotional, physiological, and behavioral manifestations - reflects the disruption in their cognitive systems, and the road to adjustment and decreased anxiety entails reorganizing and rebuilding their assumptive world.

The work of Horowitz (1976, 1980, 1982) is instructive in understanding the process of coping with victimization. According to Horowitz, people's "inner models" change as a result of serious life events, and he calls the tendency to integrate one's inner models and reality the completion tendency. Prior to this integration or completion, information from and reactions to the traumatic experience are stored in active memory and account for the intrusive thoughts experienced by victims. These intrusions cease when the information has been integrated and thereby is no longer stored in active memory.

This focus on the victim's assumptive world renders the internal reality of the victim paramount in the process in understanding victim's reactions to traumatic events. Once the significance of this internal reality is recognized, certain reactions of victims that ordinarily appear inappropriate or maladaptive from an outsider's perspective begin to be comprehensible. Thus Janoff-Bulman and Timko (1987) maintain that the often-maligned process of denial is natural and often necessary and can, in fact, facilitate adaptation to traumatic experiences by modulating the attack on a victim's assumptive world. Denial allows the victim slowly and gradually to face the realities of the victimization and incorporate them into his or her internal world. Certainly it can be argued that it is easier to use denial in the case of victimization by disease than violent victimization, for the latter involves another person and a discrete event. Nevertheless, other apparently odd reactions of victims, particularly victims of violence, can better be understood by recognizing their role in the process of building and rebuilding a stable, integrated assumptive world for the victim."

End of quote

These assumptions within a "meta-physical hard-core" are so fundamental to many people that they are not even aware they exist until experience forces them to be called into question.

With this information in mind, one can see how some of the information in the "book" can be perceived at a subconscious level as a threat that challenges core assumptions many people have had their whole lives. This seems especially true in "first world" conditions where many people live quite isolated from harsher realities seen outside the comfort zones of the "developed world" (and isolated from conditions found within regions of their own countries).

Even though the book is nothing but a record of collapse events and how various people theorized (incorrectly) about the collapses, many people believe in the sanctity of science and the validity of "peer review", and some of the information in the book will be outside of the range of what they can accept as true. Even the casual entertaining of ideas which threaten these core assumptions will be too much for some people to handle.

When combined with the other taboos, even making the effort to read the contents of the book will be too much for some people. Some may feel that the simple act of reading the book is already "crossing the line" toward a heretical act.

Created on 10/11/2012 06:08 PM by admin
Updated on 06/02/2014 11:24 AM by admin
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