|In one sense, we are all victims of psychic attack. We’re psychically assaulted almost constantly by a world that has little respect for our precious selves and that seeks to influence and manipulate us in all kinds of ways, some of them potentially harmful.
In the twentieth century, we have seen the institutionalization of psychic attack in the rise of totalitarian political systems. In such states, individual human beings exist only to be manipulated into "acceptable" patterns of thinking and behaving. In assuming total control of the educational system, the mass media, the arts, popular culture, science, the courts, and the police, rulers of totalitarian nations seek to exercise utter domination of even the most private aspects of citizens’ lives.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in more benign and democratic nations are still subject to psychic assault, though not quite so obviously or savagely as those who dwell in police states. "Madison Avenue" (the advertising and public relations industry) for example, works unceasingly to persuade us to buy things we could well do without. Using sophisticated techniques of psychological manipulation, it plays on insecurities, prejudices, and vanities we may not even consciously realize we possess. Politicians play on these same human weaknesses, hoping to manipulate us into pulling the proper levers in the voting booths, or to make us believe it is in our best interests to fight in wars in obscure, distant countries.
Simply by virtue of the fact that we are human beings interacting with other human beings, we find our sense of selfhood subject to attack, often in subtle fashion. Friends and relatives try to get us to do things we may not wish to do. Those who consciously wish us ill may assault our egos, our feelings of pride and worth, and our good names.
To survive in a world that is in its best moments vexing and in its worst downright frightening, we learn to develop techniques of psychic self-defense. If we do not learn how to protect ourselves, if we cannot maintain some control over our own souls and circumstances, we become mere shells. Not only our mental health collapses; recent scientific and medical research tells us that our physical health can be imperiled as well. People who let themselves become overwhelmed by the world may unconsciously will themselves to die. For example, cancer researchers believe that some instances of the disease are psychologically rooted in the victims’ sense of their own helplessness.
The reality of these kinds of "normal" psychic attacks is disputed by no one. But our rational minds rebel at the thought of paranormal psychic attacks, although they are alleged to have occurred throughout human history, even as we have seen??"in late twentieth-century America.