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Karachi - Master Illusionist

(Overview:  The humorous idea of a man hypnotizing an entire population of a city to think that they are living in a different city is a snapshot of how huge blocks of humanity can be convinced that some foolish concept is indeed indisputable fact.)

As of my writing this section, CBC Radio has a program called “This is That”.  They define their program as “a current affairs program that doesn’t just talk about the issues, it fabricates them.” ( (

Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring are the hosts.  The program has many similarities to “The Onion” website ( – “America’s finest news source” being the Onion’s self generated claim.
The “news” stories that are seemingly covered are, sort of, fabricated nonsense.  Not only is the material very humorous, but often there is an underlying element of thought provoking accuracy mixed in with the ludicrous.  Some of the generated stories are clearly a type of social comment designed to make listeners or readers think, but I feel there is often a seemingly “unintentionally inspired” aspect.  I can see brilliant “Trojan Horse” content and “Hey Bozo – here is a dumb story – tuck it away and get ready for a déjà vu experience when you smarten up and see yourself!” content in many of these fabricated tales.

One “This is That” program near the beginning of 2014 featured an interview with “Canada’s Greatest hypnotist, the Great Karachi”.  One of the hosts asked Karachi what his greatest act was.  The answer was “the time, using television, Karachi hypnotized the city of Red Deer Alberta into thinking that they were Edmonton Alberta.  Karachi finished off his interview by trying, unsuccessfully to hypnotize one of the radio hosts.  Karachi was cast as a bit of a loser.

How could a hypnotist possibly make all the citizens of a small city think that they lived in, and were part of, a totally different city?  Karachi also claimed to have hypnotized Mikhail Gorbachev so that he thought that he was Rod Stewart.

Red Deer
Red Deer
Red Deer
Red Deer
Red Deer
When I started this page, I checked the internet for "images of Red Deer" and a picture of these shoes came up.  Later, on trying to find the photo, there was no sign of it.  I suspect that the shoes and the brick rabbit are all products of a Red Deer design shop, but the shoes are actually at a mall in Edmonton.  A slight mistake had been made on the "images" page but later corrected.  Hopefully I am not getting any other city images mixed up!
Both stories, of course, were creative nonsense, but the underlying element that makes the skit notable is that we can observe illusionist tricks, on a daily basis, that are arguably even more incredible than the fabricated antics of the “Great Karachi”.  How many listeners would have heard the radio skit and pondered whether the story of Karachi had any typical value?

How do you convince large groups to see their world in a way that is as out of touch with reality as believing you live in one city when in fact you live in a totally different city – and not only do you not notice the discrepancies, but you do not want to see any discrepancies, and you are irritated if anyone points out the discrepancies.  Is such a trick possible?

The “F card” that I used at the beginning of this blog is a simple illustration of “seeing but not seeing”.  Past periods where men came to feel that the world was flat and that it was the center of the universe might be examples because it is clear that accurate knowledge of a round earth and its relationship to surrounding space was widespread at earlier times.  The implications of such retrograde foolishness are rather significant!  It is tough to explore and navigate the globe when you are so out of touch with realities such as the relationship of the earth vs. planets and stars, not to mention not appreciating the shape of the earth.

The effective way in which the “theory” of evolution** has gradually become as widely regarded as “an obvious fact such that that only fools dispute it” is another illustration of a widespread “hypnosis stunt” that either speaks well of the “hypnotist” or casts doubt on the intelligence of the “hypnotised”.

I would contend that similar “Karachi style” illusions have been effectively pulled off in the fields of history, economics, agriculture, health science, religion, male/female relations, and in a general understanding of what is going on on Planet Earth.  And many of the illusions are interconnected.  If you get conned on the basic “evolution**” concept, you are nicely positioned to be launched onto other flights of fantasy.

My push on this blog is that we live in a Big School.  My contention is that this view is a fact.  And my contention is that if you don’t see it this way, then you are like a Red Deer resident who thinks he is in Edmonton.  A lot of things aren’t going to make sense to you.  You are going to have trouble finding your way around.  And you are going to make a lot of decisions that will fail to get the results that you expect.  Unfortunately a lot of those decisions will take many years to deliver results and when the results do arrive, a lot of time will have been squandered!  Our stint at “life” is crazy short and it is a frustrating bummer when you discover that you have seemingly wasted most of it – but relax – even that realization is better than dying without having any suspicion that your street map doesn’t make sense!  And further, my contention is that even if you die in blissful ignorance, the educational system hasn’t failed you and has simply had its productive spring wound a bit tighter!  The Big School does not allow students to fail easily!  But there are ways to get through School that are closer to the “pleasant” end of the scale rather than being closer to the “shit kicking” end of the scale!

Effective students usually find school less arduous than is the case with the “class bad boy” but keep in mind that education is complex and some students in educational institutions sometimes don’t look effective yet eventually prove to be winners.  But the Big School system is so well designed that it takes this fact into account.  Real results, not acting or manipulating, get sorted out effectively in the Big School!

Let me play Karachi for a moment and pretend that I have the power to pull off a remarkable illusionary stunt.  Let me illustrate my stunt with some photographs.

Here are some photos of educational institutions along side various work environments.  Consider the difference in mental approach of the students vs. the workers.

It is my understanding that if you see this brick rabbit, it tells you that you are in Red Deer and if you see the big shoes, then you know that you are in Edmonton.  I admit that I am trusting the internet info because I haven't seen either of the projects in person.  There are things that you may be very sure of, but it is wise to alway have a slight gap in your confidence to ask yourself - "Am I overlooking something?  Could I be wrong?"  But healthy uncertainty shouldn't stop you from acting on what seems solid and obvious!
Consider how the viewpoint of each individual will convert into action and ask yourself how well the Harvard student will perform at school if he somehow believes that he is running a lathe in a factory and has to answer to the timing of a factory whistle.  For that matter, how would the factory worker perform if he thought that he was a Harvard student?  Being in touch with what is going on is important.  Living in an illusion is not an efficient way to function. 

If I can convince all the students of the educational institutions that they are actually already in the work force at specific jobs, consider how their lives and actions will be changed.

For sure, their performance at school is going to change.  Views on savings, material acquisition, investment moves, security, marriage, children, self image, time use, spare time use – all will change if they suddenly see themselves as graduates and workers rather than as active students.  If you see yourself as a graduate you may well have a greater desire for stability and maintenance of a status quo situation, but your school progress is not going to go well!

When you are a student in school, you have dreams of the “big world out there and how you are going to be happy and successful in it!”  The “future” seems endless.  You are making the moves that will lead to that success and that will give you your dreams.  Once you graduate, you lay into the nuts and bolts of the work world and try to survive and succeed.  Focus moves more from the future to the “now”.  And the common wisdom starts to stress “doing it now as well as preparation for retirement”.

For most people, Bruce Springsteen in his 2006 song, Blood Brothers, very accurately tells how life unfolds;

Now the hardness of this world slowly grinds your dreams away
Makin' a fool's joke out of the promises we make
And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of gray
We lose ourselves in work to do, work to do and bills to pay

A student views the future differently than a worker.  The student waits for a payoff and puts time and investment resources into moves that will enhance the future.  A worker is more oriented to the “now”.  For the worker, the end of the line is a bit more distinct and he visualizes that a certain amount of work needs to be achieved before he reaches that point.  For the student, the future is farther off.

Life is multifaceted and anyone who has attended high school and university knows that graduation isn’t a case of entering a totally new world.  Education is always blended with work and many senior citizens take classes and want to keep learning until they die.  And many people envision some type of post death situation that is impacted by their physical life.  Besides we all mix with others who are at every stage of life, so no one operating in a vacuum.

But the subtle difference I see between my vision of “The Big School” and the “school is over –now let’s work” oriented approach is that a person who clearly sees himself as a student in school rather than a worker at a job has a more flexible and relaxed approach to life.  And he is more open to learning rather than struggling to avoid disruptive thoughts and concepts and realities.

Competition and struggle and setbacks and victories are less sharply defined for the lifelong student.  And dollar accounting is less exacting.  Often dollar related shocks can convert into educational breakthroughs.

Another viewpoint on the college/school vs. graduate worker would be that, in the big picture, there is little difference between the two activities.  Work and “doing” provides educational impact that preliminary training and thinking and observing simply can’t provide.  Going to college/school simply shunts you and preps you towards a direction that you chose prior to your connecting more intimately with a specific area of the Big School.

As I age I become increasingly irritated at individuals who talk and observe and “teach” with great enthusiasm but never actual work – and I mean WORK!  Unless you test your mind and hands at actually DOING things, I question how well your education is progressing.  I strongly believe that someone who has had experience DOING and creating solid product or appreciated services is far less likely to hang onto irrational concepts such as evolution**.  The WORKER KNOWS what it takes to create things.  I have heard it said that women tend to have far more solid economic sense than men because they tend to have more experience at grass roots survival relating to themselves and their children.  The guys can be in dreamland but the gals tend to have their feet and hands anchored in the reality of true survival and WORK.  The system we exist in is part of the Big School and intimate involvement, as compared to remote observation, has the effect of forcing many common sense realities into our minds.

Are you out to survive and learn?  Are you out to survive and accumulate?  Are you out to survive and serve and learn?  Is there a major disconnect at the end of your physical life?  Are you on a road by yourself and a few others or are you part of all of humanity?  Are you in an exclusive educational stream or do you see yourself as one of the student body that makes up all of humanity now and in past and in the future?  Is the end of your physical life a cliff that you hope will have a safety net - for you?  Do you envision being “saved” while many others drop to oblivion without the benefit of a personal safety net?  Is death seen as a case of entering a sorting system where some go to one place and some go somewhere else?

My illustration of the “student” vs. the “graduate/worker” is an extreme, black and white view that doesn’t exist in reality but I feel it is a good discussion illustration.  Anyone who sees life as a student experience from start to end vs. the five part – “student/worker/retirement/death/???” Scenario, that so many cling to, is going to run their life significantly differently.  Your view of the future is going to affect your action in the now.  For the Big School advocate, the future is further off, longer, more exciting, less impacted by current ups and downs, and more certain.  The present is short and exciting and each year goes quicker than the last, and each year has a clear impact on future success.  There is a great advantage to appreciating and utilizing that reality!  Peace of mind and maximized achievement are real benefits.  Positive relationships with others are another benefit.  You realize you aren’t in a snooty, exclusivist clique and that appreciation really helps smooth interpersonal flows.

But you do want to be in touch with reality as much as is possible for your own benefit as well as for the benefit of those who get to watch all those around them succeed or fail?  Better for others to learn from seeing success rather than learning from watching you fail!

So, in summary, I feel we are all in a “student mode”.  Pure and simple!  The conventional “student/worker/retirement/death/???” view is an illusion, and just as a flat earth or evolutionary** history illusion still allow life to go on, there are huge advantages to being in touch with reality. 

The Red Deer / Edmonton switch up is a Trojan Horse.  The College / Work Force switch up is a Trojan Horse.  They are analogies that connect to each of us.  You need to know what city you live in and you need to realize that you are a student first.  Even though you might need to get a job to finance your education, you are a student first and a worker second.  And that status stands till you die.  If you are prepared to sell your education and soul for a dollar, you are making a mistake.  If you quit studying and laze around or sleep, before graduation, you are a short-sighted fool.  Why would any sane student think about “retirement” before he is done school?!  Even once you get your college degree, continuing education and a “forever young” outlook is the actual rule.  There is no finite cap on a Huge Future!  “Retirement” – get Real!  (Please note that on this page I often shift from current schooling situations to referring to the “Big School” and depend on context to tip the reader off on what level of “schooling” I am referring to.)

The information to support my viewpoint is available in very simple form as day to day lessons that occur under the nose of each of us.  But for the most part it is ignored like the Fs on the card.  If you are looking for those big brick shoes but all you can find is a brick rabbit, then perhaps you aren’t living in Edmonton.  You have to ask, “Is it possible that the Karachi character is authentic?”

Jim Corbett realized that he was in school.  There was always more to learn and that, to him, was exciting.  The young hunter, who Corbett observed on the Karagola, thought that he had graduated and knew it all – student days were over – now he was a practicing professor.  The disinterested hiking friend had become blind to his student status and was working at an arduous job that yielded nothing but an unpleasant means to an end.

When students get it in their head that they should be the autocratic teacher of others or that they should set an exacting curriculum and be the straight laced principal – trouble is brewing.  We are all students.  Some students are more advanced than others in certain areas.  All students can help other students in some way.  But no human is God and no living human has graduated from the Big School.  And the student who feels he has graduated and has left student status behind has entered an egotistic dream world and is setup to become a foolish, insensitive, nickel plated dictator busily directing his life and the lives of others with a screwed up map! 

What about me?  Are my views right or wrong?  Can I react effectively when others disagree with my viewpoint?  Can I still learn from feedback?  Am I out to force others into a mould I envision?  Do I have a responsibility to try to see reality and talk about my views?  - - - We are all in the soup together on Planet Earth!  Wow!  School is exciting!  Life is good!  I think the evidence for a Great Future is huge!  Where do you stand on these matters?  What can you add?