Welcome To The Insane Asylum – Our Collective Psychosis - Chapter 2

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Welcome To The Insane Asylum - Our Collective Psychosis

Chapter 2


For those who missed chapter 1 in this series of 5, may I suggest you click the link below and read from the beginning before moving forward to this chapter? As I said in chapter 1, this isn’t 5 individual articles but rather 1 article broken into 5 chapters for easier consumption. While I did make an effort to ensure some continuity between the sections, it’s minimal and inadequate. Your reading pleasure would be best served if you read the chapters in the order presented. Thank you.



Suicide by Cognitive Dissonance

I’m always fascinated how I’m able to maintain two (or more) contrary views or beliefs in my mind, often without being aware they represent opposite positions. This of course makes them illogical and unsustainable. Inevitably, when I find myself troubled or irritable, a careful inward search usually finds a cognitive dissonance creating havoc in my mind which is often deliberately hidden from me by my ego. The sign of this dissonance is invariably the emotional pain or trauma I’m feeling at the moment. Sometimes I experience it as a fight or flight sense of panic that suddenly takes hold. Wow! Where’d that come from?

Why is it that every time I find some hidden cognitive contradiction or discord, it’s nearly always being promoted or obscured by my ego? There seems to be constant conflict between my unconscious, which is all seeing and knowing, my ego, where much of our daily business of living is conducted, and my conscious awareness, which now-a-days isn’t all that aware.

Why is my ego constantly shielding me from perceived dangers that may or may not really be harmful? Don’t I want to know the truth, to be aware of my world? Often when I explore these conflicts I find that some of these dissonances are trivial, almost like little white lies. But the ego doesn’t hide each conflict as a self contained unit, intact and in one place. They’re scattered all over the place because each piece is often used in multiple distortions and deceits, almost like an intelligent operating system conserving scarce resources and hard drive space. Only in this case, the intelligent operating system, aka the ego, intends to self deceive by way of subterfuge or outright lies.

It seems so contrary to common sense for the ego, which is clearly not well suited to managing our affairs on a daily basis, to be front and center 24/7. This conundrum led me to research the subject and much has been written on this by many authors to date. An interesting theory is that some catastrophic event or trauma experienced by our ancestors thousands of years ago catapulted our ego forward from its former reserve status as emergency manager in waiting. Julian Jaynes published some ideas on this subject back in 1976, ideas that are finally receiving the attention they deserve, principally because the science of imaging our brain while performing tasks has substantiated many of Jaynes suppositions.

The many suspected reasons for this egoic change are beyond the scope of this article. But it does seem clear that earth’s biological system has suffered severe damage because we (our ego) aren’t cooperating with nature. As I said earlier, our insanity doesn’t appear to serve our ultimate evolutionary purposes, though there are plenty of people who will argue that human activity is quite natural and normal. Ironically, insanely, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re normal when our actions might best be described as self will run riot. Many have inferred that our materialism is directly related to our egoic mind.

I’ve often wondered if the sequence isn’t the other way around, that as certain human cultures became more materialistic over the past three or four thousand years, they became increasingly toxic and ill from their growing self centered materialistic way of life. For the sake of this discussion, assume that materialism is ultimately unhealthy for humans for a whole host of reasons, a view I feel is unquestionably correct. If so, then the ego would see this materialistic “condition” as a continuous emergency, requiring the ego to remain front and center in order to “save” our consciousness and body from ourselves by shielding us from our most destructive tendencies.

This would be similar to our immune system rallying to protect our body from toxins that enter the body, even if we accidentally or intentionally ingested the toxins. The immune system (ego) protects itself by protecting the host, meaning us. Without the host body, the immune system (ego) has no function or ability to exist, thus it defends us from all attacks, even suicidal attacks by us against ourselves, either individually or collectively. The ego would be acting in much the same way the computers on those Mars rovers do, where various failsafe modes kick in when things start to go wrong. If nothing else, live to fight another day, even if the one we’re fighting is ourselves.

Our immune system doesn’t make value or moral judgments of the crisis or the host and neither does our ego. Nor would we want our emergency back-up system, the ego, to make value judgments in order to determine if it should step in or not because it might just make the wrong one. When its only purpose is to keep the system (us) alive, nothing else matters if the system is under attack. Maybe the ego is shielding us from our madness in order to protect us for as long as possible from our insanity?


Egoic Moral Suasion

Interestingly, from another point of view, this could all be a positive feedback loop gone terribly wrong. Maybe it was some ancient trauma that brought forward our formerly waiting-in-the-wings emergency manger to full time duty. But by being up front all the time rather than in the background, the ego is causing terrible long term destruction and distortions within us primarily because of the extremely blunt and unbalanced tools (mostly fear) it uses to control/influence us. We must remember that our ego sees itself as a separate entity and not necessarily “us”.

As the ego tries to clean up or control the mess caused by its constant presence, maybe it turned our natural tendency to store supplies for lean times into a materialistic obsession as some sort of a diversion from the chaos. The captain always makes sure there’s plenty of work to keep the crew busy, particularly during unsettled times. Remember that the ego is not bound by logic or rational reasoning, only by the desire for both the ego and the host to survive using the equivalent of moral suasion. Mostly this means fear, which can manifest as greed, lust, gluttony and other not so obvious fear based emotions. I’m basically talking about the 7 deadly sins.

The result might explain our current mad dash into materialism, which is promoted by our ego in order to distract us from the damage caused by the ego being in constant control and doing a poor job of it. In my view, our insanity is caused in part by our out-of-control ever present ego and partly because we have so completely separated from our center, our core being that for yens of thousands of years lived in harmony with nature. These two causes are not mutually exclusive and actually fit quite well together.

An example of this distraction would be the way we attempt to distract a crying baby with sounds, music or moving objects to divert their attention from their discomfort or trauma. Consider all the brightly colored toys you dangle in front of your son or daughter to quiet them down when they’re loudly letting you know they’re unhappy. The impulse to do this is definitely present in all of us, even if we don’t have children. Sit behind a crying baby on a plane and you’ll do anything to calm the infant short of jumping off the plane or physically hurting the child. This includes silly faces for the baby and angry faces for the mother.

Regardless we need to explain, or at least to understand, man’s suicidal obsession and addiction to materialism if we’re going to cope with our present condition. While there are many people on both sides of this argument, from my point of view man clearly does not co-exist with nature. This is contrary to the actions and behavior of nearly every single plant and animal species on earth, at least those who have not passed into extinction, a path we seem to be following.

I’ve always had a great distaste for the popularly held concept of evolution as “survival of the fittest”. If we look closely we see that in nature, it’s “survival of those who fit best within the whole” that best describes how Mother Nature works. And also our best chance for long term survival. Our delusion that technology alone will save us from ourselves is the best example I can use to illustrate our insanity. Nature in my opinion is the ultimate cooperative effort for the betterment of the whole, an egalitarian state if ever there was one. Passages in the Bible instructing us to hold dominion over the earth, including everything on it, seems to be a rationalization for breaking the sacred contract all inhabitants of Earth are bound by.

Let me step back to the original thought of our ego protecting us from our materialism. Since the ego is the emergency manager of the consciousness and the host body, it would make sense for the ego to see this unnatural materialism as a threat, both to itself and to the host body/consciousness. Because the ego is currently untethered, the ego would handle this situation the best way it could, using the only tools at its disposal, that of fear, self deception and self deceit. Humans (as we currently are) have existed for tens of thousands of years. So from the ego’s point of view, this short period of insanity (the past couple thousand years) must simply be suffered through until our collective sanity returns. Maybe our ego really is protecting us from ourselves until we get better. I went insane and all I got was this lousy T-shirt and a megalomaniac ego.

The native cultures of nearly all the continents were rarely as materialistic as the Europeans and Americans, despite possessing equal if not greater intelligence. And, at least for the North and South American native cultures, equal access to natural resources. So what happened? Why did the Europeans tribes diverge from hundreds of similar cultures scattered throughout the world thousands of years ago, forsaking a more natural and homeopathic relationship with the earth for the naval gazing narcissistic materialistic approach that eventually destroyed (and is still destroying) all those cultures unlucky enough to be blessed with our presence?

Since every other culture had the same opportunity to break off, and for the most part did not, what came over the Europeans? Why were they afflicted with this insanity? From this point of view, our “Material Girl” culture might truly be a mental/spiritual sickness or illness as I’ve been suggesting when I call us insane. The native American Indians (to name just one indigenous culture) express exactly this opinion, calling it the white man’s disease. Consider that the duties of the shaman were to teach his people how to keep the ego under control and in the back seat of the canoe. How and why did it all go wrong in Europe? It appears that this materialism truly began to fester as Europe came out of the Dark Ages.

While the entire world was also immersed in this Dark Age, the other cultures did not seem to be as afflicted as the Europeans. Look at the Muslim Middle East, the Far East of China and Japan; even Africa and the Americas didn’t suffer as Europe did. These regions exited the dark ages more or less intact. Was this where the ego virus finally took control and infiltrated the human mind, in Europe during the dark ages? If only we could call upon Sherman and Mr. Peabody and their WABAC (“wayback”) machine for a trip back in time. I suspect we would find that our (winners) history books would need to be revised.


It’s Not Me, It’s You.

Regardless of the reasons for our insanity, the biggest and most destructive lie of all is the one about those/they/them being the evil perpetrators and me/us/we being the innocent victims. We cannot see, let alone conceive, that living among and within our secret lies, self deceptions and illusions is what’s driving us mad and thus how false the perception of “us” and “them” are. We’re all part of a living breathing economic and social system and while on the surface there are definite distinctions, we’re all co-dependent.

Since nearly all of the intellectual, cultural and religious reference points that supposedly show us we’re sane were constructed by our insanity to feed and reinforce our insanity, how can we trust them? I suspect this alone would drive us all quickly mad if not for the inner resource we all posses, the capability to recognize and understand “truth” at our very core.

I’m talking about our sixth sense, our gut, our instinct, that natural or innate impulse, inclination or tendency inherent in all of us to one degree or another. And which we’ve been conditioned to ignore, even reject, in favor of a “higher” influence, that of technology by way of cruise ships and cruise missiles, of central air conditioning and central government. This isn’t an anti technology statement, this is a pro human statement.

Technology itself is neither good nor bad; it’s how it’s applied and the people applying it and using it that I have a problem with. When discussing technology, advocates fail to recognize that humans have used technology for tens of thousands of years. The problem has always been bad cell phone reception. :>) All kidding aside, any tool is technology. Reed baskets to carry food or possessions, fire to cook and heat, carefully crafted stones used to cut, grind or pound, beasts of burden used to haul or plow the fields or as transportation, nets to catch fish or animals, fur or treated animal skins used as clothing, spears and arrows with stone points and so on. So the argument that technology is killing us is wrong and missing the point.

I’ve often felt that technology helps hide our growing distance from both each other and ourselves. One need only witness two people texting each other while ten feet apart to understand that statement. Consider how many of us are desperate for human contact yet will phone, text, chat and blog rather than walk outside and meet the neighbor we’ve been living next to for the past 4 years and don’t even know by name. Is this not the definition of insanity, of our collective madness? I relocated 12 years ago to the region I now live in. After moving in, I walked around to my nearest neighbors, knocking on doors and introducing myself. You would have thought I was a rapist asking for willing victims the way I was treated.

Worse, I’ve related this story to easily a few hundred people over the past 12 years, including friends, family and clients. And every single person shakes their head in agreement that it’s crazy I was treated this way, as if they never ignored their unknown and unnamed neighbors. It’s always someone else who’s showing signs of insanity, not me. This is sheer and utter madness; self centered narcissistic naval gazing taken to the suicidal level. It’s the cumulative concentration I’m talking about, not the individual incidents, which can always be easily explained away, thus maintaining our own denial.


Welcome to the Insane Asylum

The only way we can sustain our existence while surrounded by this self deception is to lie even more about it, which only serves to drive us deeper into our madness in an endless positive feedback loop of insanity. We’re all on an exponential curve to hell of our own making, nurtured by our insanity and perpetuated by our denial. First we deny, then we deny our denial, then we forget we denied our denial. Welcome to the insane asylum, where all are welcome and no one may leave, where everyone is both medical staff and suffering patient.

While in theory attendance in the asylum is voluntary, in practice it must be mandatory. However, in order to feed our delusion of freedom, our presence is seductively promoted as optional and cleverly disguised as choice. Attendance must be mandatory because any sanity within the madness acts as an antibiotic, eating into all the intertwined self deceptions and delusions that form the basis for the madness virus. Sanity quickly disperses the madness by cutting away the illogical and irrational threads that loosely bind our insanity together. Thus the reason why we never step back for a big picture point of view and why so much is left unsaid and unasked.

Sanity is a mortal danger to the collective insanity and must be cut out and removed if at all possible. Or at the very least, any sanity must be repressed at all costs. Aberrant thought or acts, defined as anything outside the range of 45 to 55 on a 1 to 100 scale, is quickly cauterized and rushed off the American Idol stage of life. Welcome to the machine we all claim to hate but from which we derive our subsistence and support. We have become psychotic cannibals eating away at our own sanity in order to remain comfortably insane. Oh the inhumanity of it all.

Just a few people living and acting sanely function as a “sane” super antibiotic powerful enough to kill off a much larger number of the insane faster than a wooden stake to a vampire’s heart. Insanity simply can’t tolerate reason, logic or compassion in precisely the same way truth becomes extremely dangerous to those whose intent is to deceive or to thieve. The leverage gained from a small number of sane people acting to counteract the insanity will be discussed in an upcoming chapter of this essay because it’s one of the keys to our Escape from New York.


I’m Certified Sane. What About You?

To deny that this cultural insanity is a part of us, to deny that it must be recognized and then treated collectively by us is equivalent to claiming that the open cut on our arm isn’t our problem because we didn’t ask for it, didn’t cause it and don’t want it; thus we most certainly aren’t responsible for it. So we ignore it as it progresses from open cut to festering wound to stinking puss filled gash to gangrenous mass to agonizing death. Since everyone else acts the same way, the herd reinforces our individual and collective behavior as the one and only proper conduct allowed and acceptable.

We’ll ride our righteous indignation, which we concoct to rationalize and justify our inaction, all the way to our grave, screaming at the top of our lungs as we reach for the white light at the end of the crazy train tunnel “See, I told you I wasn’t responsible for it”. Madness! This is madness masquerading as normalcy. And perfectly understandable when you consider that the madmen with the butterfly nets, meaning you and I, are making the rules and running the show. Why would we possibly endeavor to stick our heads out of our protective shells long enough to be decapitated. The genius of our insanity is breath taking, both figuratively and literally.

When considering our (human) behavior, I often apply what I’ve coined the “space alien observer test”. Animal behaviorists study their subjects over long periods of time in an effort to discern not only what’s going on but often the hidden reasons why. If we attempt to apply these same techniques to the study of ourselves, how does one study humans (us) if we’re all insane? If we accept that much of our behavior is natural and thus reasonable and logical, how can we see anything wrong with what we don’t recognize as abnormal? If you don’t expect to find abnormal behavior and all you do see is “normal” behavior, I suspect most everyone is going to get a passing grade.

The “experts” are particularly susceptible to falling into this trap, having been conditioned and indoctrinated by the very same system they’re now expected to critically examine. I’m a so-called expert, having earned the full gauntlet of personal financial planning and security analyst certifications. All that this extensive training and testing succeeded in doing was to teach me how to recognize what’s considered “normal” by the consensus and how to remain hidden in plain sight. Additionally I’m accepted by the other financial experts as one of the chosen. Until recently I was regularly invited to the club for drinks and dinner until I exposed myself (by dropping trousers) as a heretic and non believer. Damn, I’ll miss those Cuban cigars.

But all those calculations and charts are extremely convincing and unless I can regurgitate them come test time (and for continuing education) I won’t receive my accreditation as a “sane” expert financial planner/analyst. I occasionally make fun of my officially sanctioned and accredited sanity by saying “Hi, my name is [CD] and I’m a recovering financial planner. It’s been 12 years since I last planned.” Life’s good since I got clean and sober and interestingly my clients are better off as well, at least financially.

All experts have an inherent conflict of interest. Since experts are officially considered by the hive elders as “sane” they must be the best judge of insanity, right? “Yup, that looks fine to me. Where do I send the bill?” Brings to mind a few Outer Limits programs where the poor sap is left to prove he’s sane after being diagnosed insane by insane people. The only logical (sane?) way to examine humans is to use non humans as observers, thus the reasoning behind my “space alien observer test”. Of course, this is (for now) simply an intellectual exercise unless any aliens passing as human among us want to volunteer for duty. :>)

Watch yourself carefully for a day or two. You’ll be shocked how nonsensical most of your behavior is and how difficult it would be to explain and rationalize our behavior to non humans, let alone your spouse. While we believe we spend the day actively engaged, thinking, weighting and considering, it’s surprising how much of our waking moments are spent on auto pilot and disengaged. This is when we’re vulnerable, when we’re distracted and dazed, when any remaining sanity slips and our programming takes over. I suspect the average person will quickly abandon our little experiment after he or she comes face to face with all the little dissonances and incongruities of daily living. It really is more comfortable back in the ignorant bliss of the collective insanity.


The Sliding Scale of Our Insanity

Many of us saw the 2008 crash coming well before the general population and we should acknowledge our insight and awareness. But this doesn’t mean we’re significantly smarter, more aware or better able to see other “truths”. And it doesn’t excuse us from our responsibility to fix our collective problems. In fact, our awareness instills in us the responsibility of the first responder. Just because we were the first to spot the burning house doesn’t excuse us from volunteer firefighting duties when the paid firefighters don’t show up. We don’t get to brandish this honor like a multiyear long insane asylum hall pass or a get-out-of-the-insane-asylum free card.

How many other lies can we truly be aware of if we won’t examine the primary lies within? For many, it’s too frightening to closely examine what we “know” because then we might be required to act. I know this not just from speaking to others but first hand after deep reflection and some soul searching. For a number of years I cooked up one excuse after another to justify doing nothing, including becoming a self appointed Paul Revere and riding from person to person spreading alarm and panic and doing absolutely nothing constructive.

But what a show I put on and it certainly was a soothing balm for my dishonesty. Waking people from their slumber without offering constructive and actionable pathways out of the train crash is cruel and unusual punishment after the fact, something I’ve been guilty of in the past. My actions were equivalent to performing surgery and removing the anesthesia half way through the operation. In many respects, waking the slumbering without offering a way out can’t be justified morally.

I’m about to experience a car crash and my spouse is sleeping in the passenger seat. Do I wake my spouse to witness the crash or do I ask her to help me navigate around the disaster? If all I have to offer is awareness to the impending disaster, I might as well let her sleep. Or I can grow up and accept my responsibility and lead the way out since I’m already awake.

BTW the slumbering mass instinctively understands the inherent danger of waking in the middle of major surgery. They also seem to understand that the vast majority of us really don’t understand the problem and have no viable solution to offer. Thus it appears to them we simply want someone else to enjoy the show with us as we view our collective suicide. This is why we’re regularly rejected by those we’re trying to awaken. I don’t blame them because given the choice; I’d remain asleep as well. We must be the solution and they will naturally awaken without any prodding by us. More on how this can be done in the later chapters.

So, are we simply a sub herd of the insane, tightly packed together for warmth in a corner of the insane asylum, our territory carefully marked out in gold to identify the Zero Hedge tribe? Speaking only of myself, I have a tendency to create mountains out of mole hills to justify my inaction, to prove to myself and anyone else who asks that I’ve considered all the variables and I’ve concluded that to do nothing is the best course of action. This is truly a self serving conclusion if ever there was one and I’m proud to say I worked hard to achieve it.

I suspect we’re convinced of our sanity simply because we can see more than those who wear hoods instead of blinders. I think, therefore I’m sane. I hate to break the news to everyone, but some of our leaders are certifiably insane by any standard. And yet many of them are extremely good thinkers, brilliant as a matter of fact. We’d better find a new test for (in)sanity because the one we’re using has a few flaws.


Satan Lives Next Door

The ultimate and most seductive form of hubris is that which is exhibited by the insane as we revel in the supreme confidence of our sanity. Anyone who has truly visited the depths of severe emotional instability will tell you that the climb back to sanity must be continuous with no pauses of any significance. It’s during those dangerous lulls that the backsliding begins and the vicious undertow of insanity pulls us back into the abyss. Simply stated, for those returning from the depths of hell, it’s either surface or drown. I seriously doubt we would recognize this process if it were reversed and we were sinking, as we currently are.

I’d say we’re already in the bowels of hell, which I describe as our madness, and our eternal punishment is no knowledge of our own insanity. Satan is my neighbor and I’m Satan to my neighbor. I’m certain that given the choice, I’d convince myself I’m in heaven to relieve the awareness of the pain of hell. Are we sane if we know at times we can be insane or are we insane if we know at times we can be insane? Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but these are questions I often ask. A life unexamined just might be an insane life disguised as sanity.

On that sliding scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is stark raving sane and 100 is stark raving mad, what’s the real difference between 29 and 39 or between 51 and 74? I submit that just because we saw the economic insanity in 2007 (or whatever date we use to label our awakening) doesn’t mean we’re now firmly planted at 1 or 5 or even 10 on the sane/insane scale. To think this is the case is to substantiate my thesis that we’re insane. The definition of sanity is not that we saw the insanity of the economic collapse coming. It was always obvious to the sane, considering the creation of the Fed in 1913 was this countries third stab at a central bank. This is an extremely low hurdle to overcome.

Isn’t saying we awoke to the insanity implying that we were insane at one point? Are we so sure we’re fully sane now? How can we tell? The first step is to ask the question and answer it honestly, since personal dishonesty leads to public dishonesty. There’s plenty more to see and learn. Now that we can clearly see some of what the insane cannot, maybe we should consider that the bar is set suspiciously low. While it’s personally satisfying to clear those hurdles, we’re only fooling ourselves if they’re only 12 inches off the ground. When an insane society selects the parameters to differentiate between sane and insane, it will select those parameters that include the greatest number of insane within the group declared and sanctified as sane.

I contend that the only qualifying parameter of sanity in our culture is simply membership in the majority, with the lowest uncommon denominator the line where we set the border fences. As far as I can tell, given the problems outlined above in determining our own sanity, maybe the best we can hope for is to say that out of all the insane asylum inmates, the measure of insanity is to identify those who have adjusted well enough to their insanity that they can’t tell they’re insane. It sounds to me like ignorance is bliss and madness is nirvana. I sure as hell hope they’re serving pina coladas there because I’m ready to party.

I’m also fairly certain that 90% of the world’s population would read those last few paragraphs and be confident of a few things. One, that I’m the one who’s insane and two, what does it matter if there’s nothing we can do about it? Leaving aside the first item for my therapist and me to work out (he’s certified sane so he won’t kick me out of the hive as long as my insurance pays the bill) if the second item were correct I would agree. What does it matter? But since quite a few of earth’s inhabitants (including the plants and the other animals) don’t seem very happy living under present conditions and this seems to be a cycle that endlessly repeats itself, then it does matter and it can change. Or at least that’s my delusion.

We create our world on a daily basis based upon the image we collectively hold of what we believe it should be. Since our perception is the only reality we know, it isn’t surprising that our reality matches our perception. Thus a perfectly formed circle of circular logic is created along with our reality. Conditions in the insane asylum are the way they are either because this is the way we want them to be or this is the way we think they should be or this is the only way they can be.
I would suggest we can change anything we wish as long as we can perceive and conceive it, for perception is reality. Saying we can’t change anything is just another symptom of our collective insanity. Let’s explore this further before you dismiss me as a madman. Which, based upon my own argument, I am.


Toxic Waste Dumps

We all have toxic waste dumps in our back yards which we individually and collectively allowed to accumulate for decades. We even have some of our own toxic waste buried there. But we won’t discuss it because if we don’t talk about it, it’s not real. Those whom we claim should be responsible for this mess are doing nothing about it. And I promise you they’ll continue to do nothing about it, regardless of the lies we tell ourselves concerning all those indictments, law suits and subpoenas suddenly cropping up all over the place, because we’re doing nothing about it. It’s all coal smoke blown up our collective butts because we’re doing the blowing.

“They” (meaning us) are stalling, acting out our insanity in real time. They won’t stop until we stop because they’re following our script and our lead. It hurts to admit that we’re the architects of this madness, that we have anything to do with this mess. So we deny, then we deny our denial, then we forget we denied our denial. I love circular logic because it’s so logical and to the insane (us) our insanity is wonderfully logical and reasonable. Madness is always pure in form and function. Any loose ends are quickly cut adrift because insanity makes it up on the fly. Insanity is not a slave to rigid logic, which makes it deliciously attractive and extremely well attended.

The Ponzi amusement park ride won’t dismantle itself simply because we ask it to do so for the hundredth time. BTW, don’t forget to ask nicely because we can’t have social unrest. Which if we think about it would be us acting out against us because we’re angry with us. (That was fun to write.) Nor will it stop even if we hang a few patsy leaders. There are always more swine ready to belly up to the trough after one is dragged off to the butcher’s for taking more than its share. The spectacle of the slaughter satisfies our sense that something needs to be done with the troublesome swine (not me though) while at the same time not derailing the consumption machine that feeds our own comfortable insanity. We just wanted to blow off some steam, really, and the ham and bacon are welcome by-products.

It appears there’s a colossal struggle going on right now. The powers that be are attempting to maintain their denial (our denial) of a deflationary debt collapse and escalating political and social conflicts. They (we) attempt to do this with their endless printing of fiat currency, bailout and bailout, public debt creation and private debt assumption. Their (our) efforts fly in the face of the inevitable collapse of all social, economic and political systems dependent upon the false realty the powers (we) are attempting to maintain. This battle has ebbed and flowed back and forth for centuries, but now appears to be headed for the largest global explosion mankind has ever created. An explosion many will not survive, though there’s still time to turn the ship to prevent total catastrophe.

Mirroring this state of affairs (or if you accept my argument, the source of this state of affairs) is the human race itself. We’re engaged in a titanic struggle with ourselves. As we’ve drifted further from our inner natural spiritual consciousness and authentic life, we’ve repudiated our responsibility to live in peace and harmony with all of earth’s living inhabitants in a sustainable and equitable manner. We’ve driven ourselves insane and we face imminent murder/suicide by our own economic and social creations. In effect we’ve been taking more from one side of the equation than nature and we are adding to the other side and balance is beginning to assert itself.

This is more than an oil or technology issue or event. This is a tale about our effort to reject everything we were, are and could be in a mad dash to extract more and more material pleasure from a physical and spiritual universe that has only so much elasticity. It’s not about finding new worldwide energy sources in order to continue our materialistic life style. We are in denial of our true inner source of strength and power. We have allowed ourselves to be seduced by the illusion of receiving something for nothing for quite some time now. We’re a willing participant in our own madness and while we know this, we signal our denial by claiming it’s someone else who’s the guilty party.

Man is addicted to far more than just cheap energy and technology. We’re hooked on the superficial power of Gods at the expense of everything else around us, including ourselves. Like an addict who no longer scores to get high but simply to stave off the pain of withdrawal, the thrill is gone and the old glorious highs of yesteryear are just a fuzzy pain filled memory. Our deal with the devil, with ourselves really, is coming due and we’re rapidly slipping into total madness to avoid the recognition that we’ve met the demon and the demon is us.

Even if the reader doesn’t agree with the thesis I’ve offered, there’s little doubt the big picture I’ve sketched is accurate. The fecal matter is clearly on an accelerating trajectory towards the fan. So what am I going to do about this? What are you going to do about this? What are we going to do about this? If not us, who? If not now, when? These are legitimate questions that must be asked and answered regardless of our righteous indignation over the unfairness of the burden. We are the one and only solution to “we” the problem.

Do we really think we can step aside and watch the insanity work itself out to some unknown conclusion and not be splattered with stray brains and fecal matter? Worse, do we think this is someone else’s problem? When it really gets bad, we can’t escape to some off world safe house as intergalactic tourists, where we mingle with the friendly natives until the fat lady sings it’s time to return. This is not sane thinking. If it is, then beam me up Scotty because I’m sure as hell ready. Maybe while I’m visiting I can sell those aliens some iPhones. Wait; doesn’t that make me the alien?

Up to now we’ve been working diligently to avoid responsibility. And the principal method we employ is our intellect, which is used to identify the surface problems and point to the culprits. We helpfully use labels like “they” or “them” to avoid acknowledging each of our small but critical parts in this ongoing charade. It appears that we’re just sitting around waiting for the end rather than rising to the challenge and meeting this crisis head on.

Incredibly, we seem to think our collective insanity will see the futility of its insanity and simply quit acting out its insanity. That the bull won’t break anything important to us while lose in the china shop. We really are expecting someone to step forward that we can quickly embrace as the savior. Whom do we suppose will pull us back from the brink? Is this not the ultimate in false hope seeking and wishful thinking? I’m pretty certain that sanity will be the last thing we demonstrate without first recognizing our own insanity. And without immediate intervention, the patient will die; only the death won’t be mercifully quick. Where’s our moment of clarity, that point of no return where one sees without a doubt that death is coming if everything doesn’t change?



Please don’t mistake my critical questions as blanket criticism. Nor that I’m above the fray and that I’ve had nothing to do with this. I’m fairly certain I’m contributing my fair share to this insanity. However, we must begin to ask the tough questions of ourselves as well as each other. We’re not innocent victims here and we need to recognize this. We shouldn’t feel terribly uneasy simply because tough questions are being asked unless we’re unable to answer them honestly. A healthy mind and body can always withstand a thorough self examination and often grows as a result.

Our modern society considers the definition of health to be the absence of disease. While I strongly disagree with this simplistic definition, for now let’s stick with it. The word disease breaks into “dis” and “ease”. A healthy mind and body is in a state of “ease” with itself and the world while an unhealthy mind and body is in a state of “dis-ease”. We express this condition by saying the mind or body has a disease or is diseased. If we’re going to point fingers at the lies of the Ponzi as proof of its “dis-ease”, we’d better be able to withstand the same assault or crumble in the face of our own hypocrisy and insanity.

It seems to me we’re reverting further and further into infantile behavior in order to avoid accepting any blame, however insignificant that might be. And damn if we’ll accept any responsibility for cleaning up a disaster we sure as hell didn’t cause. “Who’s responsible for this mess” we bellow in righteous indignation? “Not me” we reply. “I was in the bathroom when it happened. See the urine stain on the front of my pants. That’s proof I wasn’t there.” Well, that worked for me in second grade so why not now? “It’s not fair.” And on and on in an endless cycle of hide and go seek.

I agree! It’s not fair. It sucks. It bites the big one. We’ve been screwed, royally and repeatedly and without a reach around and a kiss on the cheek. The game’s rigged and the deck’s stacked. What can I say; we’ve been screwed, as in past tense. This is of course assuming we’re all victims with no personal involvement whatsoever. Exactly who is the abuser and who is the abused since many of us have from time to time benefited from the screwing of others, either directly or indirectly? Need I explain how we benefited? But for the sake of this sub-argument, let’s say we’re the victims and we now stand victimized. Now, what are we going to do about it?

What exactly are we waiting for? Or maybe I should say who exactly are we waiting for? I suspect the vast majority of people would laugh if I said I was waiting for the Green Lantern or Superman to save the day. So who do we really expect to step into this mess and pull our asses out of the meat grinder? At this point it doesn’t appear it’s going to be us. But that’s exactly who has to step up because there’s no one else.


How Do We Begin?

So let’s begin to turn this corner. How does one begin to talk about our collective insanity, about the things that are better left unsaid? Well to start, we begin by cleaning and disinfecting our wound, even if we don’t believe it’s our responsibility. It’s our wound and we’ll die if we don’t clean it. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. We must look for the exit and disembark from the crazy train. We must begin to discuss our crazy Aunt Alice, who’s been locked in the attic for decades. We must begin to acknowledge her existence with more than just whispered words of conspiracy. “Psst, it’s your turn to change the sheets for you know who.” We must begin to push through the pain of our collective cognitive dissonance, releasing all the emotional pain we’ve been desperately avoiding by denying poor Aunt Alice is alive and breathing.

Like a Jenga game gone mad, we stack lies upon lies in the insane belief that by applying more to the stack, we’ll lessen the burden and increase the stability. Each of us takes our turn preparing and serving Aunt Alice her meals, cleaning her clothes and brushing her hair. Yet we don’t discuss Aunt Alice among ourselves. How does one even recognize what truth is when we’re living a lie, when we welcome additional lies in order to be shielded from our earlier lies? Our insanity is that we believe we know what truth is when we’ve rarely seen it and have actively rejected it most of our lives.

In a society and a world as dysfunctional as ours, the only way to begin to seek the truth is to tell the truth, first to ourselves and then to others. But how can we do this when we can’t trust our own lying eyes or each other? We do so by rejecting what the external and internal control systems are telling us (lie, lie, lie and lie some more) while seeking a higher truth within. And by demanding those we deal with not lie, either to us or to anyone else around us. While doing so might cull a few friends from our calling circle, we need to start somewhere. And I understand this requires courage because we’ll be swimming upstream and against the current.

It’s of the utmost importance to understand that what is sustaining the lie, including the “Big Lies” our government perpetuates, is the unwillingness to question the lie. Unquestioned or unchallenged statements (aka lies) made by known or suspected liars (beginning with ourselves) become truth by default in the eyes of those who don’t wish to be honest. This starts with us.
If we aren’t rigorously honest with ourselves and those immediately around us, we’ll always succumb to the seductive call of lies that are more comforting than truth. “Daddy, tell me another lie so that I may pretend it’s the truth.” Additional lies have one purpose and one purpose only, to directly or indirectly support previous and/or future lies. What do we do when we find ourselves in a hole of lies? We stop the cycle of lies supporting lies by applying a novel solution. Demand the truth, both from ourselves and from those around us.

This is precisely the purpose of Zero Hedge. Tyler, Marla and company stand on the soap box in the middle of our cultural town square and repeatedly cry foul regarding every lying utterance of the control system. This includes lies perpetuated by the keepers of the myth, our so called main stream media and their talking head “experts”, along with various other sycophant hanger-on’s and enablers. But it’s not enough for Zero Hedge to fight this battle single handedly.

We’re deluding ourselves if we think that reading and commenting on Zero Hedge is fighting the good fight. And we’re also deluding ourselves if we think we can just sit back and watch it all burn. That cut on our arm is starting to smell a bit putrid. We might want to consider some self treatment. We must do more and it must begin within. If we’re only willing to accept the truths that we’re comfortable with or those that neatly fit our worldview and ignore anything that creates a cognitive dissonance, we’re in effect enabling the continuation of the public lies and myth making and are no better than “they” or “them”.

In Chapter 3 of this continuing examination of our collective insanity, we’ll begin to unfold the dynamics of the public lie, our often unconscious defense of the public lie, setting up our personal psychic firewalls, the Stockholm syndrome and the dynamics of the family when dealing with the addicted/abuser, Mother Nature’s nose candy, how we can break the conditioning and then reinforce the changed behavior. Please join me for the third lap of the pool.

Cognitive Dissonance 06/04/2010

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goldfish1's picture

Wrong thread. Nevermind.

goldfish1's picture

To CD:

"""We create our world on a daily basis based upon the image we collectively hold of what we believe it should be. Since our perception is the only reality we know, it isn’t surprising that our reality matches our perception.


"...I would suggest we can change anything we wish as long as we can perceive and conceive it, for perception is reality... ""

Yes yes yes. I've been reading but my impulsivity makes me want to bypass reading what is surely a well thought out chapters 3 and 4 to directly and immediately creating the new reality. Can we for right now begin with the situation in the gulf?

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

CD maybe it's like Plato's cave, who is to say where the shadows end and the light begins?  It is subjective, no?


I would recommend Immaculee Ibizi's book about surviving the Rwandan genocide in a bathroom, and The Lost Boys' , a great walk across Africa. 

Considering what is almost upon us, these books have a lot to say about spirituality and joy in the face of almost certain death.

Your grip is a normal curve

a sunset on this smaller earth.


If I tip toe

up your shin bone

while you are asleep,

ease myself between the bone and cartilage in your flesh,

play that harp

bone harp, tendon strung

will you let me go?


blindman's picture

and speaking of ego, id, super ego,  freud,  and the shadow government,

shadow banking system,  the self and the "we" collective. 

is it possible that the "shadow" systems see it as their duty

to do the "dirty work" that decent society deems unpalatable, or words

to that judgement.  why yes, i think so. 

so we have a dynamic that is analogous to the psycho dynamic of

the individual, as articulated by freud,  expressed institutionally. 

 again, the life form of an entity that has no identifying physical appearance,

matter, separate from the "individuals" you see at the office or in the street, 

or the collective "we" or "us", but institutionalized and funded by the debt of

of the u.s.a. treasury.   but that is not entirely correct because it's existence

is encoded and visible also in the architecture and associated infrastructure

that it fuels and maintains for it's survival, functioning.

 perhaps demigods in charge of institutional

fraud, herding and culling ?

like the "department of nightmares and endless shame and guilt". or the

"bureau of  endless consumption, recklessness and profligacy". 

but off book.   

what is the point?   there are principles, momentum.  there are

infrastructures, momentum, and adherence to those structures,

dependencies.  and they are integrated historically and will aspire/attempt

self preservation by all means.  and we know how, historically, in deflation the ego

makes room for the id and sacrifices the superego when push comes to

shove, so to speak.   will this time be different?  who is to say?  who is conscious?

or even awake at this hour?

blindman's picture

"He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it."
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
with sorrow,

blindman's picture

and some more wood as if the pile isn't high enough already,

just for the sake of ...welll.. the hell of it.

concerning "AMERICAN IDOL". 

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE MUSIC. (sorry for the caps, fat finger, but it works).

nor about the potential "idols", pop stars.  sheesh.  imagine, a nation

walking around with adolecent voices speaking their principles to them in

their "quiet" moments..  lalalalady gaga, lalalalal lady gaga.......yes, "it

is a sad and beautiful world."  t.w.

it is about the judges.  people love the show to hear what the judges

will say.  as it was, a left brain, a right brain and the ultimate eye

toward commercialization, commodification, marketability.  i mean

jesus.  a pop song is 2:32 minutes.  that is a condensed piece of music.

perhaps to the indoctrinated a potential work of art.  but that is a

stripped down art form, short attention span thing, but when done

perfectly it can be great.  but they don't even allow that.  they make these

people sing that 2:32 thing in 1:00 flat, junk the verses.  it is ridiculous.

and then they add another judge so there are four judgements, taking up

4 minutes, on a one minute parody of a classic karaoke "toon". 

yes, american idolatry.

and the gods, speaking of polytheism, have everything to do with the

principles ingrained in the minds of a people, heard as voices in their

own heads, forming the basis of their consciousness.  presumed to

have existed before the concept of I existed.  so american I dole is

quite timely, with it's many stoned judges, passing judgement on

parodies while looking for a real human being, but only one, the rest

are runners up, losers, or the troops for the troop, or men and women

to precede the Idol.  the One.  a sublimation of sorts.  from voiceless to

Idol.  commensurate financial reward for becoming the god or voice FOR

the adoring, paying, following, groomed in english judgement. 

 the music may come someday later,

after the hype, marketing and judgement have permeated the target audience.

it is one weird business and business model and it apparently fucking works?

and how did the english invasion begin?  the beatles.  copying "neglected",

shunned, "black" music, blues and r&b, from america, but with a white face.

that is the source of our lovely english authority when it comes to popular,

idol (voices in our heads) making.  gods.

people are funny. 

ps. this english invasion, judges, of america is sickening 

and moronically racist and anti working class, labor, and compensation

for production.  ie capture value at a distance,  the rights of elitism in play.

there is idol's simon,

that chick on ytycd,  that judge there too.  there is that guy in the kitchen, the

judge chef,  then there is b.p. .. all highly paid fuck ups with an over riding

and final opinion.   there are probably dozens of other examples i don't

care to know about.  and then there are those actual programs like judge

judy.  wtf?  it is a media driven lobotomy we have witnessed and the operation

was a success.

shit.  i'd rather watch analog "dead air".  remember that.?

" carolann, don't go to the light". 

tip e. canoe's picture

thanks for the response blindman.   i agree with your observations, but still searching for something more subtle in my questions.   agree that the power of music has much to do with the allure, but it always has since the first song was sung way way way back long ago.

again, if the medium is the message, what is the allure of the format of the shows?  could it be that they give the illusion of interactivity (through voting & passing judgement upon others) while allowing the audience the comforts of passivity.  could the tools be using the tools of its own destruction (active participation is the end of the status quo, where very few act and most watch others act & are 'forced' to consume the effects of those actions) while shackling those tools in a sedated & commodified comfort zone (vote by text, sponsored by AT&T!)? 

how is this similar or different to a comments section on a blog?  and what basic human needs is it fulfilling (like all successful addictions do)?  what are people really craving in their hearts and are aching to express?

the answers to this may be the seeds of action that cogdis & crabcake are speaking about.

blindman's picture

yes.  if the content of comments is reduced to yes or no, or a or b,

then blogging will be comparable to that other experience. 

i think you have this covered.   i would add that music is utterly magical

in that voices begin and end in full relation to one another,  tune, and

by virtue of their association and individual integrity they create tones

that otherwise would never exist.   that is the lure, the self, the I.

methinks.  the magic.

people crave, in their hearts, their soul.  the soul.  that is what c.g.jung

said.  there is a craving for the wedding of the self with it's bride, the soul.

or direct lines of communication between the different but codependent

"neurological" energy centers in the being.  the groin, the gut, the lungs,

the heart, the mouth and the mind.  people are driven to integrate their

operating system, simultaneously, with their environment.  a dynamic and

unavoidable "craving".  t.v., in general, requires no input other than

your attention.  and then it exploits that so you will disintegrate yourself

for the sake of needing/demanding the marketed product. 


and people who so chose express what it is they know.  that is very

evident.  pain, confusion, truth or love.... or anything else.    we will

see.  action is sorely needed, i agree, but if it is not grounded properly

it may be just bad.  the chances of that being the case, given the

current shape of things, is considerable.  imho. ?  it seems cd is covering

the bases.

tip e. canoe's picture

TV  "in general, requires no input other than your attention"

a small price to pay we think while we give away the most valuable & powerful thing we possess : our attention.  sometimes it takes a blind man to help make us see.  well done amigo.

blindman's picture

more wood for the fire....

materialism is the engine that makes possible the financial

sector.  it is the element or filament of something tangable

on which securitization does it's inflating and deflating.  it

is the cornerstone of solvency, wall st., capitalism and globalization  and it is

no more.  the root of the conflicts inherent in all isms.

as the stomach needs matter to digest the mind also digests

material/s for it's fulfillment,  ownership being  the culturally

accepted, encouraged, norm,  leading to psychological obesity, etc...

i blame digitization or the information revolution for the

fall or drop in demand for  "stuff".  (digestification of the preceding


all one needs is a laptop and a connection.  that's what killed consumption,

all those products that were made obsolete, replaced by a

virtual variety.?  as has been said, it has all been said, and done so why

would the next generation need to buy those things to do what has

been done and it is all available on the internet.  

 and ...

it had to happen as the earth has had enough

with the exploitation of her stores and treasure.

  lesson learned?  yes and no.  children knew 40 years ago.

the experts will, at the last minute, agree and pronounce, yes,

it is certain.  then the "masses" will "know" and remember they

too, as children, knew all this.  spent our lives just trying to make

ends meet.  innocent.  or just plead guilty by reason of insanity and

throw yourself at the mercy of the court.  you can spit out the medication. 

have you noticed how these concerns were also topical 40 years ago?

the elite and experts dismissed it all as did most of the population because

they could.  not on intellectual grounds or moral grounds but on the basis

of embracing fraud in all it's many varieties.  ignorance, denial, innocence,

insanity, superior moral authority, manifest destiny, leverage, etc...

so very few cared concerning integrity, the dying breed or generation. 

what makes now different? 

the experts and pundits will continue to deny, for sake of "systemic survival",

or fuck's sake for that matter...

that to change the system fundamentally is reckless and born of hysteria. 

that the system is servicable if not perfect.  power is in the right hands.

what will change ?  why would anything change?    will the administration

or congress come out one day and state the fed is nothing more than

a gang of terrorists running an international ponzi operation?  i doubt it.

and you know i have told people this and they don't care.  they think, he's

right, he's annoying me and "so what"?  people don't care about all that.

they care if they can eat.  not if you can eat, if they can eat.  they care

that they can walk, not if you are in jail or not for something they did.

they may say "oh my".  but that is about it, then "so what?" and they move on

to the next assignment.  meal or bit of consumption.  it is what people do.

so, i too, see failure as the only option.  just to get our attention.  and

the possibility is that that too may not help/hurt.  like a junkie, when they are

high they will laugh at you, when they are dry they will con you. 

perhaps.  pain and death are the two incorruptible teachers.

and perhaps their students, collectively / in association, are infinately corruptible.?

which is the outline for the argument that Man needs to be, the I, and stand

for principles learned, become his nature, through experience, observation,

and yes, naval gazing.  concentration, meditation and contemplation.  

burn after reading.  and remember if you are alone, good.  it is just a necessary

phase.  and temporary, just like this life.  all resulting from choices made and

for reasons half forgotten.


Crab Cake's picture

CD, thanks for contributions, I sincerely enjoy them, and I look forward to reading your work in totality.

I've skimmed this article once, and read carefully once, and now feel prepared to respond.

I would like to say that I am sincerely and deeply disturbed and disappointed by the responses to this your second chapter.  Many are listening, but it seems none are hearing. 


"The only way we can sustain our existence while surrounded by this self deception is to lie even more about it, which only serves to drive us deeper into our madness in an endless positive feedback loop of insanity."

People in this thread have conjectured philosiphy, critiqued by comparison, said thank you, etc... etc... 

Where is the recognition?  Who will come forward and say, "My life is madness, and I will break the feedback loop!"  By dithering and conjecturing, bantering, and sourcing for input no one seems to see the point.  I read here a diagnosis, and a call to action, not a call for discussion.  Wake up.


"While in theory attendance in the asylum is voluntary, in practice it must be mandatory."

I would venture to say here that everyone here, including myself, is still in the asylum.  You're not?  Really?  Are you still paying a mortgage that the Federal government paid off with your dollars?  Are you still going to work for worthless FRN's and paying tribute on your labor to a regime that acts contrary to your best interests?  Are you still banking and using credit to the benefit of corporations that believe you are little better than livestock.  The illusion that you have left the asylum, or are now above it, when you are still in it, is worse than voluntarily making yourself cozy in the asylum. 


"Sanity is a mortal danger to the collective insanity and must be cut out and removed if at all possible."

Who here is strong enough to embrace sanity?  Who here is willing to take charter for their life, their reality, their government, their economy, and their and their family's future's.  Will you be dictated to?  Are you a driver, or are you like just about everyone else a driver deluded into believing you are a passenger?


"Watch yourself carefully for a day or two."

Who are you, really?  When you hear that voice in your head, who is it that speaks, and who is it that hears?  Who feels anger?  Are you the feeling of anger, or the one who is aware of the anger?  LOOK CLOSELY.  Are you the name your parents gave you?  Are you your arms, your legs, your sex, or your brain?  Were you you when you were two, twenty, or 52?  WHO ARE YOU? 


"So, are we simply a sub herd of the insane, tightly packed together for warmth in a corner of the insane asylum, our territory carefully marked out in gold to identify the Zero Hedge tribe?"

Are you not hearing the call to action, or did you just hear a call to discussion?  This is going to take BIG BALLS.  To face what this person, CD, is aking you to face, you will have to face certain death.  Just as you killed the child that was you in your passage to adulthood, so CD is asking you to die again.  What you are now must die, as the caterpillar before the butterfly.  Can you face this, or shall we just discuss philosiphy? 


"The ultimate and most seductive form of hubris is that which is exhibited by the insane as we revel in the supreme confidence of our sanity."

I am still insane.  I am still acting in an insane manner by participation in the madness rampant in this asylum.  What about you? Not you right? 

There is a vast ocean of difference between cognitively knowing and experientially knowing, a thing.  I would conjecture that most here congnitively know that we are in an asylum, but experientially.... judging by the comments maybe just a few, and probably none of those few (including myself) have begun the experiential process of ego suicide that is necessary for transformation and transformative action.


"I’d say we’re already in the bowels of hell, which I describe as our madness, and our eternal punishment is no knowledge of our own insanity."

What is worse, a person who is ignorant of our hellish asylum, or a person who is aware of our predicament and position in our hellish asylum and does nothing but wait for the situation to change by itself?  There is a door that leads out of our asylum, and it isn't locked.  All we have to do to walk through that door is have the courage to do so, and endure the pain necessary to make the journey.  The exit is right there in front of us, but you are going to have to leave your comfy cell and the amenities of the ward; there is no other way.


"It hurts to admit that we’re the architects of this madness, that we have anything to do with this mess. So we deny, then we deny our denial, then we forget we denied our denial."

By doing nothing we allow this fraudulent construction before us to exist, like a brick in the wall.  A brick that realizes it is a brick, but remains immobile is no different at all than a brick that realizes nothing, in the outcome of things.  Do you think that others will do for you, what you are unwilling to?  If you want something done, at all let alone right, you've got to do it yourself.  This is your reality, your life, your country, your government, your Federal Reserve Bank, your fucked up situation; own it.  If we don't own our reality then we're just another brick in the wall, supporting the architecture of insanity.


"The Ponzi amusement park ride won’t dismantle itself simply because we ask it to do so for the hundredth time."

Are you sure CD?  Maybe I can just talk it down?  Maybe I can just hide?  I just want to wait for collapse so that somebody can tell me what to do again, please.  Maybe if I just play along I can get in on the ground floor of the next Ponzi?  What do you think......  Please, I don't want the pain.  I love my job, my stuff, my house.... I can't just walk away....  I can't just stand up...

We have to fight for our right, it's as simple as that. 

We won't get justice, free and transparent markets, fair representative government, term limits, a monetary policy by and for the people, an end to the Drug War, our troops back home from global empire, or any other wish unless we exercise our power.  Power to govern is derived from the governed, and we are handing our power to people that don't give two shits about us?  Why are you still playing ball?


"We’re a willing participant in our own madness and while we know this, we signal our denial by claiming it’s someone else who’s the guilty party."

This is our responsibility, yours and mine.  The Fed and the banksters, the fucked up tax system, the hostage government, the corrupted two party duopoly exist because we colletively take for granted that it can't be another way.  It can be another way.  It takes YOU, and ME, and I, deciding that enough is enough.  You have to find the point of strength within yourself that says, "Even if I get thrown in jail, beaten, tazed, and separated from my family I am going to do the right and just thing."  If you really love your family, your community, and your country; you will see that only from this point of strength and conviction in action, no matter what anyone else does, can we succeed.  Rise to your feet, stand in defiance, and ask others to do the same.  We here at ZeroHedge, generally, understand the situation, we must be the leaders.


"The fecal matter is clearly on an accelerating trajectory towards the fan. So what am I going to do about this? What are you going to do about this? What are we going to do about this? If not us, who? If not now, when? These are legitimate questions that must be asked and answered regardless of our righteous indignation over the unfairness of the burden. We are the one and only solution to “we” the problem."

What else is there to add?  Wake up.  Don't freeze.  Move.  Stand. Act.  Act now, consequences be damned.


"Do we really think we can step aside and watch the insanity work itself out to some unknown conclusion and not be splattered with stray brains and fecal matter? Worse, do we think this is someone else’s problem?"

This is our problem, and you are part of the solution.  Stand in any way you can.  We must push back.  Stop paying the mortgage that the government already paid off with your money,  stop working and paying taxes to a government that does not represent your needs, stop investing and trading in markets that would see you fleeced as in a casino,  stop banking with TBTF institutions that hold our govnerment hostage, stop buying from corporations and countries that wish nothing but harm for our middle class... 

STOP.  What are you doing?  Why are you doing it?  Whose agenda are you serving? 


"Where’s our moment of clarity, that point of no return where one sees without a doubt that death is coming if everything doesn’t change?"

I know you, my fellow ZeroHedgers see it.  What are you doing?  Are you just waiting?  Fight back god damnit!  Stand up for yourselves!  Do you have no sense of self worth?  Would it not be better to die than to hand the future that's right around the corner to our kids?  WTF!


"We’re deluding ourselves if we think that reading and commenting on Zero Hedge is fighting the good fight. And we’re also deluding ourselves if we think we can just sit back and watch it all burn."

Please, I beg you, from one human being to another, please consider what your doing?  Why are you going to work tomorrow?  Are your actions really in the best interests of your family?  Why are you assisting a system that has all but enslaved you?  Please, stop, think, and take action.  We are at the point where the cost of doing nothing is too steep.  Please don't fear.  Please take action.  I love you all.  I don't fear death.  I fear the future that TPTB have in store for my family and I.  Please consider, please, again I beg you, please stand up for yourself.  This system of servitude and fraud doesn't survive if we don't play ball.  Don't play ball.

"Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils." - General John Stark

Miles Kendig's picture


There is quite a plate here, but I would like to address one key element..

Are you not hearing the call to action, or did you just hear a call to discussion?  This is going to take BIG BALLS.  To face what this person, CD, is asking you to face, you will have to face certain death.  Just as you killed the child that was you in your passage to adulthood, so CD is asking you to die again.  What you are now must die, as the caterpillar before the butterfly.  Can you face this, or shall we just discuss philosophy?

This represents one of the best summations I have read yet.  Anywhere.  Thanks Crab Cake for taking the time and energy with this marvelously textured reply. Indeed this is a whole lot more than philosophy. I will say that I think Plato was mostly right in his discussion of the love of learning being the love of wisdom being the love of philosophy. We must be able to envision to find vision.  To do this we must not only be willing to be completely honest with ourselves, but demand it, then from the members of our communities and so on.  I have written previously that on top of Plato's observations we must also develop the warm embrace of assurance within ourselves.  This can only happen when we within ourselves know that complete honesty has found a home.  Without the foundation of being honest with ourselves all else is lost since there are NO BALLS to rest the foundation upon.  And this process of finding our vision requires that our "old selves" must perish for this different, brutally honest self to emerge and take root.  Still, I believe that this process will work best when there are examples to emulate.  In this Gandhi was quite correct when he said that we must become the change we want to see.

I wouldn't go back now for any amount of money (or anything else) - Miles Kendig

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Wow. Thank you.

It's gratifying to see that someone has read and understood my message. I've been a bit disappointed that so many wanted to discuss the details while ignoring the message. But then again, that's exactly how I would expect us to act out our insanity. After all, I've been laying it all out in the past two Chapters. Wait until you see what's coming in 3.

I'm sure you'll enjoy the rest of the series as I lay out the case for action that is reasonable and actionable and unavoidable. All that will be left will be silence. And possibly more insanity disguised as excuses and debate.

Thank you again Crab Cake.

Marley's picture

Man, good mind fuck.  No apologies.

velobabe's picture

Who will come forward and say, "My life is madness, and I will break the feedback loop!"

thought it was understood on my part, anyway.

Who here is strong enough to embrace sanity?

embrace is a little mild word for me. i would substitute, attached. so that's not ideal either.

This is going to take BIG BALLS.

been asking for some, when i need them.

     no seriously baby cakes, liked your message. i think you work in a TBTF joint.

good luck keeping any sanity in one's life with that gig, but it looks like self awareness is your friend. your one of the lucky ones's, working a straight job, but you have enlightenment.

i admire you, never held a straight job, so can't imagine.

blindman's picture

sanity and insanity are traps.  sentience is the only way out.

sentience includes rationality and irrationality in balance,  what

is known as freedom, or science.  nothing to do with anything other than

awareness,  actually knowing.  as we are built with this capacity

neurologically, to a high degree.  children know early on and are

terrorized to forget by their loving but stupid parents.  you, my dear,

are hot and bright/brilliant.  now,  stay distant.  i know. 

you know,  men are suckers and women are, by necessity, the mothers

inventing them.  it is a celestial thing.


 lovely. btw. 


Marley's picture

I'm interested in the posted comments. I must say that the manipulative programming to instill consumption of irrelavent objects vs. basic needs is quite effective.  I say that only because materialism seems to be the subject matter of a majority of the comments.  What you should know about manipulation is that eventually the target grows to resent the action.   Stop to think whether Madison Ave. is ready for the feed back. Whether they are willing to sit by while their investment jumps ship.  If you don't want to be a fusy navel gazer, then please at least contemplate some of CD's excellent postings.  Even if you accept what he is saying 100%, the cognitive cycle will only allow you to blend the new ideas into the old ideas to the level your awake conscious will allow, never completely absorbing the whole enchilada as the truth.  To effectively recover the whole society from the current slumber would require many cycles over the course of many years.  To shock the patient would be too traumatic and result in the amassing of the public. And that, my friends, would require a whole different branch of manipulation.

kayl's picture

CD another essay with many themes to think about.

I don't like the way you lump everybody together even if we are in a co-dependent economic world. When a mason walks into the room he announces that he is no fool. It is a way to sound the room in a public place to see if there are other mason brothers around. The implication and meaning of that phrase is that the person announcing his presence acknowledges that there are powers-that-be, a class of people who control power at the top of society since ancient times, and there is no way to ignore the power hierarchy. Well, I'm not a mason, but I am no fool either.

Another point I'd like to make is that I can't relate to all this ego materialism. I can't get my heart into it. I suspect there are plenty of people who have never followed a material path. If you are raised poor or middle class there's a 50/50 chance that you don't subscribe to materialism. Therefore, I conclude that you are painting the picture of an elite lifestyle. And since you seem to use this model as a stereotypical viewpoint, I assume you come from a privileged class.

Insanity and ego running amok is definitely part of the programming software of the elite mindset: they want to maintain control over people, make a ton of money; they want to lie, cheat, and steal, and yet be adored as the saviors of society and captains of industry. They want to be in the news! After all they made all this economic system run; they own it.

And their social programming is now visible: buy off government, shape the laws to their own advantage, create crises to consolidate money and power, create wars that never end-- the war on drugs, the war on poverty-- another subterfuge to get money out of people and fix nothing. And then the full blown conflicts like WWI, WWII, and WWIII. They are so insane about protecting their territory that they are willing to burn down everything. I wonder where they will be able to go for a good martini when it's all said and done?

The rest of us are playing a game, co-dependent as you say. We are responsible for electing these servants of the people who have usurped our power. We have let them dumb down our schools, rub the Constitution into the dirt, and create massive intervention and dependency on government for every aspect of private life.

This whole fiasco has driven me into a new realm of thinking. I've discovered the mechanisms of the debt-based monetary system and the Uniform Commercial Code. It turns out my use of "money" was based on a 17th century model. Money has no substance. The Federal Reserve notes we use are IOUs on paper. There are numbers printed on them like $5, $10, or $20, but essentially they are worthless. Under the UCC I can write up my own debt notes and discharge any of my debts as I please. The elites study and know the debt-based monetary system inside and out. The pamphlet Modern Money Mechanics can be downloaded from the US Treasury website. The UCC is posted at the Cornell Law University. All the info is in plain site, but the people haven't read it. Their co-dependence in this economic system can be blamed on ignorance. The scam devised in 1933 with the bankruptcy of the western countries depended on that ignorance to steal the productive capacity of the working class. They cleverly learned how to wield credit. The credit the bank extends is not the bank's credit, but rather the credit of the people. Nothing appears as it seems in banking. Banks don't make loans, rather they securitize your signature to access your own credit. Then, they hold your credit, which belongs to you, and make you pay it back with interest. We have been enriching the banks by our consent. We signed the contracts! But the banks willfully did not disclose the material terms and conditions of the transaction. That makes all the contracts fraudulent.

There is no money, and there is no debt. Anyone can discharge his debt according to the UCC with 3 pieces of paper: the presentment, the transfer instrument, and the performance bond. 

The lengths to which the elite put out dis-information on this topic is astounding. They defend it so vehemently that it must prove to be their most guarded secret. Let's take the example of Jerry Kane. He was killed with his 16 year old son about a week ago. Apparently, Jerry Kane was holding seminars on how the bank really sets up mortgage loans. He was giving people instructions on how to get their homes back from the banks during foreclosure. After his death was splashed all over the news, I went to his website and listened to his lectures and read all of the form letters that can be used in getting a house out of foreclosure. Most of the information he gave out was complete an accurate. However, in one of the form letters he has written that the writer demands $10,000 in gold from the bank in restitution for the foreclosure proceedings. This is a huge red flag. If a person has studied intelligently, he would know that it has been illegal since 1933 to demand money of substance for any payment of debt. So the rabbit hole goes even deeper.... People are out there talking about Modern Money Mechanics and the Uniform Commercial Code and the way contracts/offer must be handled, and at the same time they give out information that would, if used, put a person into dishonor to the bank and in a courtroom.

The blood payment of Jerry Kane and his young son are the evidence of their elite collective insanity.

I'm all for getting rid of the lies, but these lies are very big ones. They are so big and destructive that I can't blame the people for their ignorance. As they say it's what you don't know that you don't know that will get you.

tip e. canoe's picture

tickled pink someone finally brought this subject up on ZH...good soap kayl.

contagiousNY's picture

Slowly "prying open my third eye", thanks CD. some difficulty is to be expected. As my German pediatrician used to say, "you will feel some pain". I guess its working. Whens the next chapter due?

Gloppie's picture

Thank you for the experience, CD, looking forward to the next installment.

-Only Art will save us-

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"The native cultures of nearly all the continents were rarely as materialistic as the Europeans and Americans, despite possessing equal if not greater intelligence. And, at least for the North and South American native cultures, equal access to natural resources. So what happened? Why did the Europeans tribes diverge from hundreds of similar cultures scattered throughout the world thousands of years ago, forsaking a more natural and homeopathic relationship with the earth for the naval gazing narcissistic materialistic approach that eventually destroyed (and is still destroying) all those cultures unlucky enough to be blessed with our presence?"

I appreciate your efforts to convince us that Americans/Europeans are somehow more materialistic than most of the remainder of the worlds cultures but it is simply not the case.

Socialigists and anthropoligists have proven that in almost every case when the population of a tribe/culture reaches a population of about 140 members governence problems begin, usually in the form of an elite empowering themselves into leadership roles. Why ~ 140 members? Because that is about all the names tribal members can remember and stop to greet individually each day, passing information and pleasantries, sealing the bonds of the tribe, making informal decisions about when to move to greener pastures, who is ill, who is hunting, etc.

When Europeans happened upon N and S America vast trade among tribes already existed. Latest estimates of populations of the combined Americas is now placed at between 80 and 100,000,000 people. Division of labor already existed; while some tribes specialized in making cutting tools because included in their territory was access to the best rock for the purpose, other tribes killed vast amount of buffalo, dried the meat, and traded it among other tribes over 1,500 miles distant.

Tribes in S America held the populations in balance with the available food by cannabilisim. It is now though that cannibalisim was practiced among many tribes in times of food scaricity, not just a few in S America.

Human nature is what it is because humans were not designed to live long past their mid twenties. Humans were prey as well as predators and once a tribal member became the slowest runner he/she was eliminated by another predator. There were cases of 'tribal elders' living much longer lives but it was probably because their wisdom of game movement, seasonal patterns, tool making, decision making, etc, were a great advantage to the tribe.

Most of the time of the tribe was spent hunting and gathering and trying to prepare and store enough food for the upcoming winter or dry season. People were busy, iow.

Tribes emerged into larger more complex societies at differing rates. Enormous water wheel power was being employed in China for mass production of consumer goods while in England most were still cave and mud hut dwellers.

What is the take away from all this? Well, no advanced culture has lasted very long without a crash. Egypt went through successive crashes and new dynasties as did China. Greek and Rome likewise.

Once a tribe grows beyond self governence by consent of the population then their fate is sealed. The leaders must justify their status by claiming that they are somehow connected and empowered by a deity or by popular choice and election by the governed. Neither has worked very long because the leadership invariably uses their status to make their life one of luxury at the expense of the governed. Soon the society becomes so top heavy that the burden on the governed is too great and the society collapses.

Societies do collapse for other reasons...sometimes due to natural catastrophy.

CD, I do appreciate your efforts to explain our inheirent insanity but it is simply a part of human nature, a part of the oldest portion of the human brain, it is driven by fear and greed. Our collective insanity is hard wired into us as a survival mechanisim. Could it be surgically removed? I don't know, but if it were surgically removed from 99% of the people then they would be at a tremendous disadvantage to the remaining 1%. Sound familiar?



thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Lungless, probably not directed at me, but the government imho may be our collective unconscious, and yes, the ego of, 'might makes right'.

juangrande's picture

the gov. the church, business, healthcare.  all institutions are collective ego manifested. " ya tell me it's the institution wellll ya know, you better free your mind instead!"

Lungless's picture

Very interesting. Your description of the ego sounds a lot like the government to me. Might the government be the collective ego of the country?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

In my view, you are quite correct. Society itself is the manifestation of our consciousness and certain "authorities" are our ego. Man's inability, lack of desire to self govern, to be responsible for ourselves and others around us, is the only reason there is a "government" at all.

After telling someone this, often their immediate response is "Who will collect the taxes and take care of the poor and aged and wage the war...." and so on. As if to say that all the things discussed are needed in order for us to live and breath and function.

As we abandon our local communities, first our neighborhoods, then our small towns, then our counties etc, we shift our own responsibility on to the shoulders of "others" in the ultimate selfish act. Let someone else do it. But who else has your best interest at heart than you? I'm amazed that we wouldn't put the well being of our children in the hands of a stranger or someone who we don't trust yet we do this with our own well being.

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Call me a monotheist, but I believe all disciplines are one, and we are here to name them, and then return to the one we are, which is, love.

Call it antimatter if you will.

And that one is inside us, that universe we weave weeping and mourning in this vale of tears.

I believe our differences are simply semantic, be it science or psychology, we are trying to define and understand the same thing that the great myths taught by never letting the facts get in the way of the truth.

and once i experienced 'It', and here's the poem;


you didn't die,

I know because

last night I heard the music

from your violin

in the hall outside my room.

For an hour I had prayed and plead,

take me, tell me, teach me.

Then, giving up in frustration

laying down up my bed and

cursing you


it started.

Slowly, as you ever will,

turn those fragile notes.


Hdawg's picture

I doft my cap!

brodix's picture


 Three main issues, as I see it: Time, God and money.

 The problem with time is that the historical construct is of the narrative series, going from past events to future ones. This is most fantastically expressed in Einstein's construct of spacetime, where time is a metadimensional reality, where the point of the present is entirely subjective. The reality is the opposite. The earth doesn't travel the fourth dimension from yesterday to tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth rotates. Time is, like temperature, an effect of motion, not the metadimensional basis for it. The reason this is pertinent to this discussion is because when we think of time as a series of events through which we pass, then the observer is distinct from the context and the more one tries to speed up the process, the more distinct the dichotomy of observer and observed grows. On the other hand, when you see yourself as part of the larger context, that goes from future potential to present manifestation to residual information, you become one with your context. (Raise this point with physicists at your own peril.)

 The problem with the monotheistic conception of God is that the absolute is basis, not apex.  So a spiritual absolute would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell.

 The concept of god originated as a plural. Polytheistic deities were what we would currently describe as memes. Basic concepts to which the larger group accepted, such as the singularity and status of the group one is immersed in. Geographic and astronomical features. Seasons of the year. Group and cultural activities, such as celebrations, war, death, sex, sleep, illness, etc. All the myriad connections between these concepts naturally lead to a pantheistic network with a mythology of allegorical relationships. This pantheistic unity was difficult to describe conceptually, so it was natural to have this state defined as a unit and then to give it some form, the adult human male being the logical default option for narrative purposes.

 As we understand today, unity and unit are two profoundly different concepts. Unity is a state of connectedness, while a unit is a set.


 Top down theology assumes a moral theory of good and bad as a metaphysical duel between the forces of light and darkness. Actually they are the basic biological binary code, the attraction of the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental. This elemental relationship is a polarity out of which exponentially complex relationships develop. What is good for the fox is bad for the chicken, yet there is no clear line where the chicken ends and the fox begins. Life is a process of creation and consumption as it bootstraps itself upward. As such, there will always be conflict when there is no room for cooperation, but every advantage must be weighed in the balance. It is too easy to drown in one's own successes.



 We may all be branches of the same tree, but the result is we all point in different  directions. Morality is a complex code, similar to language, which groups of people develop in order to coexist. Obviously these codes differ in detail from one group to another, but serve the same basic function.


 Between black and white are not just shades of grey, but all the colors of the spectrum.


 It should also be noted that polytheists invented democracy, possibly because a pantheon requires a process of negotiation and resolution seeking. Monotheism has often been a logical bulkhead for validating monarchy and other forms of top down rule. At the very least, validating one's tribe over all others.


 This ties back into the problem with time, as we identify our group or sense of self as a spiritual entity that must necessarily be right and good, because ambiguity is to be considered a weakness, so we can only just move faster with our context in an effort to reach that promised ideal, when the reality is that we are only creating that much more negative reactions to our behavior.


 The problem with money is that a debt based currency has been very effective in correlating the growth of the money supply to the growth of productivity, which explains its effectiveness, but it also requires ever expanding productivity to pay off the debt and ever expanding debt to provide the necessary money supply and the result is a very powerful feedback loop.




juangrande's picture

endless production requires endless resources requires the end. the problem with our paradigm in a nutshell. sanctity of life? how about sanctity of death? acknowledge the circle that preserves. too much rational gives me a headache!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So what are you saying? I don't wish to assume anything but you did say there are three issues. You didn't state anything other than issues.

Are you saying there is no way to avoid a total collpase and we should let the madness continue? Are you saying there are ways but you don't know what they are? Or do you have some ideas?

I appreciate the time and effort you put into your comment. I looking for actionable realistic answers that everyone can easily grasp and implement. In fact I'm building the case for one with this series. Do you have any ideas?

BTW I'm not done, this is only chapter 2 of 5.

tip e. canoe's picture

cogdis, sorry to break the 4th rule, but if you would follow your advice & give brodix' words another reading, you might find the answers you seek.

here's 3 i found:

"Polytheistic deities were what we would currently describe as memes"

"Between black and white are not just shades of grey, but all the colors of the spectrum."

"so we can only just move faster with our context in an effort to reach that promised ideal, when the reality is that we are only creating that much more negative reactions to our behavior."

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


I read the comments twice and I saw what he/she wrote. I asked....

"I'm looking for actionable realistic answers that everyone can easily grasp and implement. In fact I'm building the case for one with this series. Do you have any ideas?"

If we're going to minimize death and destruction (it's coming anyway) we need to place in the hands of average Jane and Joe something they can quickly understand and use along with the training and the inspiration to use it. Because "we" are our only hope. No one else is going to save us from ourselves. 

I agree with your quoted outtakes. So how do we translate those concepts into action? How do we get buy in? I think that my question is reasonable. The average Joe spends most of his time in front of American Idol and needs to get off the couch. Or at least some of them. How do we do this? They won't understand those concepts.

tip e. canoe's picture

gotcha, (though i usually reject the constant american idle fallback explanation, if you look at the viewership, it's basically followed the market, and it's never captured more than 10% of the populace at one time):


but let's go with the meme as a starting point.  why is american idol (and britain's got talent) so darn popular?  what about it (and the rest of reality TV) captures so many people to watch & follow?  could it be as sly said, "everybody is a star" or as andy said, "in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes"?

ok, but why fame?  i've had the curious pleasure to know a couple people with it in a previous 'lifetime' and i can say under no uncertain terms that i would not wish it on my worst enemy.   it's a vicious curse wrapped in a seductive blessing.  but yet, when i'm around high school kids in the city (not too often but often enough), all i hear from them is a drive to be famous.  personally, i don't think it's the fame per se that they wish for, but rather they are searching for value in their lives, and in our anglo-saxon world, fame & wealth are being pushed as of the highest value.

also, through facebook & google metrics, attention has become a measurable currency, thus it has entered the realm of competition, another battlefield to fight with each other over.   our fair leader weaved all of these memes (these archetypes or deities as brodix referred them as) masterfully in his campaign, though like every good dark magician, he focused all the energy onto himself (let that be his curse i say).

Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading. - wh auden

the irony is that is that although the odds of reaching celebrity status are slim, more people have a little dose of fame than ever before, but that fame is becoming increasingly momentary.  who will speak the name of Brittney Murphy from their tongue 3 generations from now outside her family?  was it worth her life?

people are so wrapped up in the stories themselves that they fail to see the overall dramatic cycle repeating itself over and over again (3 act linear structure just like hollywood teaches).

now how do we snap that connection between fame (i want to be famous) & value (we all just want be loved)?   as mcluhan said, the medium is the message.  and as brodix said, between black & white are all the colors of the rainbow.

"We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he (and/or she) is: each the other's opposite and complement." - H.Hesse

part 3 awaits!

delacroix's picture

they,re broadcasting, electronic opium, to our cerebral cortexes, putting flouride in our water, spraying, who knows what, in the atmosphere, and bombarding us with propaganda, and fear mongering, 24-7. while obscuring the truth. with government, like this, who needs imaginary enemies?

brodix's picture


 It is a bit of a cyclical, evolutionary process. Government is a function of society, but as it grows onerous, becomes disconnected. Think in terms of a shell which is designed to protect its inhabitant, but as it become more constricting than protective, must be shed and another grown to replace it. Of course, the flip side is that if the organism outgrows its ecosystem, much like humanity is pressing the bounds of this planet, it becomes a whole other story, as the organism starts to feed on itself.

 I think that on a metabiological scale, human civilization is the planet growing itself a nascent central nervous system, but that we are currently at a very juvenile stage. Otherwise we are just top predator in a collapsing ecosystem and that's not a good place to be.

brodix's picture

tip e,

 People can be awfully linear. A little money is a good thing, so lots of money must be that much better. A little positive feedback is good, so the adoration of the crowds must be truly awesome. We need to start teaching a little yin and yang. Sometimes, the more you have, the more you have to worry about. And you become another snack for the crowd.

 We really live in a reality our ancestors couldn't imagine. It's easy to extrapolate linearly, but very hard to extrapolate cumulatively. We are living in a world where we are drowning in information and the necessity to edit out what we cannot absorb creates endless instances of cognitive dissonance, because the informational gaps are too big and the patches used to cover them too nonsensical. People are not so much dumb, as extremely confused.

 Unfortunately, they are also living on the surface of a bubble which is imploding. I don't think it will quickly go back to a stage of complete societal collapse, because most people cannot exist independently. So the possibility of offering another economic and social model has a window before things start to harden in increasingly confrontational groups.

brodix's picture


 I guess I'm one of those average people(John, specifically) and in finding early in life that my plans would usually just get run over by others, mostly older siblings, I pretty much learned to sit back any try to figure out what was happening. The ones in charge write the rules, so I've tried to figure out what the rules really are, not just the ones handed to me by someone bigger. Life is what we make of it. Without those limitations we dislike so much, especially in this country, reality doesn't exist. Limits define us and definitions limit us. There is no nirvana, because there is only the present and to change that, we first have to understand it. It seems pretty messy, but if it was perfectly balanced, it would just be a big flatline on the heart monitor. Like liberals and conservatives, there are two sides to every coin, even though we mostly see only one at a time. Social expansion and civil consolidation. It's been going on for far longer than we have been writing it down. The main problem we face now, other than some of the more existential fallacies brought on by the first two points I raised, is the issue of how to create a production based currency, since money is drawing right to productivity and that is what it needs to mirror. Not debt, or some particular metal. Since I have to take my daughter to a pony show today, (I'm in the horse business.) this is something I wrote previously. Since zerohedge's file loading will skip the paragraph breaks, I'll leave gaps for them:

The biggest current problem is a debt based currency. Three hundred years ago, it was a pretty smart idea, since there were few economic measures to determine how much money was necessary and debt grows at roughly the same rate as productivity. It does create a problem in that productivity must constantly increase to service this debt, which goes a long way to explaining the inherent voraciousness of capitalism. The situation now is that the financial system has been allowed and frankly encouraged to turn the entire economy into a debt production machine to create the illusion of wealth far exceeding the productive capacity of the economy and often subverting actual production in the process. This will eventually destroy the system and that leaves open the opportunity to consider new economic models.      Since money is drawing rights to productivity, the question is how to formulate a viable and healthy production based currency system.      Money serves as a store of value and a medium of exchange. As a store of value, it is private property, but as a medium of exchange, it is a public utility. As property, there is the desire to accumulate as much as possible, but as a medium of exchange, more money than productivity eventually destroys the value of the money. Money should only be treated as a public utility. In that way, it would be similar to a road system. You own your car, house, business, etc. but not the roads connecting them and no one seriously cries socialism over that. The fact is that money already is a government owned public utility. Just try printing some, if you think otherwise.        The reason banks and government like us to think of money as property is because it encourages us to use it in all economic transactions, which makes them potentially taxable. Treating money as form of public commons would make people very careful what value they would take from social relations and environmental resources to convert into currency in the first place. This would be healthy for society, the environment and the monetary system. Of course, it would create a slower, but more sustainable economy. We all like having roads, but there is little inclination to pave more than we need. If we applied the same principle to money, life would be in better shape. Instead of valuing ourselves by how big our bank accounts are, our sense of worth would be on how strong our community is and how healthy our environment is. A much smaller money supply would go a long way to limiting the size of the government and the banking system.          By the Federal Reserve's own logic of reducing the money supply by selling bonds and retiring the money collected, a surplus of money is in the hands of those with a surplus of wealth. The people at the top can't just keep much of the wealth and loan it out to everyone else forever.        The function of the central bank is to make maintaining the value of the currency a public responsibility, while leaving private banks to profit from managing it  Political power started as private enterprise and eventually became monarchy. When monarchs lost sight of the fact that their purpose was to guide their people, as opposed to simply exploiting them, they tended to be overthrown and eventually the whole system of hierarchal power was replaced by political power as a public trust. Democracy works by pushing power down to the level it is responsive. If we were to make banking a public function, it would also be bottom up. Local credit unions would use local deposits to loan to local enterprises and use the profits to fund local needs. They would then form regional banks for broader investments.         With a debt based currency, there is an overwhelming need to create debt. A good example is government spending.  The current system is designed to overspend by buying votes for enormous bills that can only be passed or vetoed. This serves to create debt in order to store capital, as government debt is the primary investment vehicle. In the spirit of actual budgeting, a possible solution would be to break the spending bills down to their constituent items and have every legislator assign a percentage value to each item and then re-assemble them in order of preference. The president would draw the line at what would be funded. This would divide responsibility, allowing the legislature to prioritize, while giving the president final authority over total spending. Since making the cut would be graded on a curve, there would be much less incentive to trade favors and the percentage system would allow legislators to fine tune their granting of favors to other legislators and lobbyists. Since this would likely reduce funding for local projects, a system of local public banks would fill this need.        Another issue would be the variability of needs by different communities from their currencies, so possibly a system of various currencies could be developed, of different exchanges rates, inflationary expectations, etc. Then countries/banking collectives could join what most suits their needs and if necessary, switch from one to another, or start new ones. Obviously somewhat chaotic, but it would be an evolving system and would engender a deeper understanding of economics among the larger population, thus making them less vulnerable to financial predation.        Then there is the question of how to introduce it into the economy. Currently it is by loaning it out at low enough interest rates to allow sufficient productive returns to pay interest back. This has proven to lead to speculative booms, when interest rates are lower than assets are appreciating, creating feedback loops that increase appreciation and thus more speculation.       The reason debt worked so much better than precious metals, or kings/politicians issuing it, was because it did provide a rough approximation for economic growth, but that is not a problem anymore, as we have a lot of information on the economy. One method that has been put forward is for governments to issue it to pay for public works, but this tends to encourage more public works simply to get the economy moving, rather than necessary expenditures, as various applications of Keynesian theories show. Another might be to issue it as tax subsidies when prices decline and increase taxes when they are rising. This would inject it directly into the broad economy, yet still allow some sense of overall direction of promoting productive sustainability and providing basic needs. With the above mentioned method of government budgeting, more would be spent to control deflation and less to control inflation. Lending by local public banks would still be a viable method, because they would be bearing the risks.   It's a progress in work. Use what you want. Tell me what you don't like. Feedback is what it is all about.


Cheeky Bastard's picture

CD, If you have not been introduced to Lacanian psychology, let me be the one to serve that purpose. Read his lectures [he didn't publish, but scribd.com is your friend].

He is considered to be one of the most important psychologists/philosophers of the second half of the 20th century and the main body of his work consists of studying the Individual and External Structures, as well as the dynamics between the two. Highly recommended. 

Also; Foucault is a must read among the post-structuralists since he has himself put much effort in studying the Individual and Society trough the lens of analyzing the histories of Human attributes such as "madness", "sexuality" and "prison". 

I mention those two, among the many, simply because their work would fit into your interests, and I am sure will be of great help.

I'm sure you know that Freud's influence has greatly diminished among the contemporary psychologists [although some parts are still being used in interdisciplinary studies, mainly sociology-psychology, philosophy-psychology] and most now rely on the subsequent broadening and derivation of Jungs analytical psychology as well as on the interdisciplinary approach of the two, aforementioned academics.

Also, thank you for these writing of yours; excellent reads. 

Miles Kendig's picture

Once more this autodidact thanks you for taking the time to set some markers along the road.

velobabe's picture

gone but not forgotten, hope†

mkkby's picture

CD, this is great stuff.  I'll wait for the ending... but unfortunately I can't share your optimism. 

My reasoning is this.  All this touchy feely stuff (phrase not meant derisively) about understanding ourselves is important for individuals who need to cope with the stress.  But the elites who pull the strings don't give a rats ass about any of that.  When faced with anybody or anything that threatens their fiefdoms, they will react aggressively and with decisive tools and technologies.  Who ever opposes the status quo will be discredited by expert manipulators, on mass media.  And if that doesn't work they have the monopoly on socially acceptable violence.

I'll give you an example.  In my lifetime, the closest thing to a collapse in American society was the unrest related to Viet Nam.  A large part of the population saw through the mass insanity and actively opposed it.  Yet an equally large number still belived anything the governent said must be correct -- therefore the protestors must be communist infiltrators or just "hippie" morons. They were equally willing to fight to maintain their denial.  So unless it's a crisis of a much larger scale, we will get a roughly equal number on both sides -- stale mate or civil war.

As I said, I'll wait for your ending, but I've given this a lot of thought and I don't believe meaningful change will happen before the system implodes. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"As I said, I'll wait for your ending, but I've given this a lot of thought and I don't believe meaningful change will happen before the system implodes." 

And you might be correct, that the system simply needs to implode to instill the desire in people to change everything. But I appreciate you reserving judgement until I finish my thesis. Change won't happen unless we change.

As I will lay out, that doesn't mean everyone must change in order for everything to begin to change. Change is coming no matter what. We all see it coming like a train coming down the tracks. We either harness this change or we get run over. And harnessing the change is not as difficult as it appears. That huge mountain is an illusion.

juangrande's picture

Transition with grace or kicking and screaming the whole way. That be the choice, que no?

chindit13's picture

I guess I agree with Winisk in his view of indigenous cultures, rather than harbor some romantic notion of what they represent.  From my own biased perspective, I also cannot see their "way" as the "right way".  My bias is that humans are, and should be, driven by curiosity.  Without curiosity, there is stagnation, and while that might be acceptable and preferable for some, it is not for me.

The West has no monopoly on materialism, either.  If there was a way to measure it, I'd put a Hong Kong Chinese up against the toniest Goldman Sachs' partner's spouse, who would be a mere poser in comparison.

Now to be serious, I believe that societies take leaps---for good or bad---that result from the accumulation of some critical mass of knowledge.  Absent that, nothing happens.  The Renaissance blossomed where and when it did because of the coincident existence of such people as Copernicus, Galileo, Da Vinci, Erasmus, etc., many of whom were able to share knowledge by virtue of Gutenberg.  Somewhere in there, too, there developed a willingness to question authority (the Church) who until then held a monopoly on "truth".  At that same time in the East, the philosophy of Confucius (in my opinion) stood in the way of the growth of knowledge.  As an aside, if anyone has spent time in Asia, one can see how Confucianism stands in the way of ideas if these ideas are at odds with the accepted wisdom of the elders.  In fact, despite our conditioning, I believe that even today the West allows more diversity of opinion---which is the font of creativity---than does the East.  It is no surprise to me why everything from the use of electricity to flight to the computer originated in the West.  Quantum leaps in thought require the willingness to be a nonconformist.  Leaders such a Lee Kwan have come to believe this and are trying to change Asia's rote education system and socialization style.

On another topic, while I think the current situation is somewhere between challenging and bleak, it is, as yet, far from the worst experienced by many people currently alive.  The international and widespread horrors of WWII make the current problem seem completely quite solvable, though I suspect we'll drag our feet until the crisis is more readily apparent to all.

Finally, I personally find a bit of danger in the constant "search for self awareness" that many psychological tomes prescribe.  In fact, in my view this self absorption is the source of a lot of insanity.  I'll close with a short example.  In my youth I was a Wall Street prop trader, i.e., one of "them" (though it was back when we owned our losses).  I was also a person prone to anger, with a lightening quick temper that could lead to drop kicking trashbins across the trading floor.  I made a lot of money, but oddly never went out and bought all the things I had long dreamed of accumulating.  Anyway, one night I was out as a guest of a prime broker and I starting thinking that all of them were a-holes.  Then I realized I was just like them.  I resigned the next day.  I took my wealth and decided to spend it on creating opportunities for people who would otherwise have few choices in life.  I got so caught up in that quest (which eventually just settled on things such as making sure folks had food, shelter, good health, and could learn to read) I had no time to think about myself.  My temper disappeared.  Old friends, and family, hardly recognized me.  I smiled a lot and laughed a lot more.  The rate that I was aging even slowed noticeably.  The kids I raised have become my closest friends in this world, and I am enormously proud, or rather delighted, with the adults they have become.  And I never lost my intense curiosity to know as much about anything and everything as possible.

Had I not quit WS, and had I not found a way to stop worrying about what was going on inside me, I never would have found one tenth of the joys I have been lucky enough to experience.  If happiness is shallow, I'm razor thin.  Now if I only had more time.......

velobabe's picture

it was a pleasure meeting you.