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

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Welcome To The Insane Asylum – Our Collective Psychosis
Chapter One


All Aboard the Crazy Train.

All amusement park rides have one characteristic in common. Regardless of the twists and turns of the experience, the exit is always at the end. This examination of our collective and individual dysfunction, our insanity, follows a similar path. We start with the identification of a few of the bigger picture issues, then move closer for a critical inspection of several of the individual and cultural dynamics and end with some guidance towards the lighted exit sign and one possible way out.

I’ve never been more confident in humanity’s ability to finally throw off the chains that bind. But (and there’s always a “but”) this can only be accomplished using the powerfully disinfecting sunlight of awareness and understanding. This is usually achieved through self reflection, self actualization and eventually enlightenment. A common misperception among many is that the general population is not intelligent enough to become aware and enlightened. The awakening process has nothing to do with our IQ and everything to do with our EQ or Emotional Quotient.

If we can be conditioned by fear and narcissistic naval gazing to be self destructive, we can be encouraged to be emotionally and spiritually healthy as long as we don’t look to our leaders for guidance. In fact, we must not transfer the responsibility for our own well being to others for this is simply an invitation to manipulate and extort us. There’s no single solution, no magic button to be pushed that makes everything better, allowing us to go back to our comfortable insanity. Ultimately our own unique journey is a deeply personal and individual experience and while the direction is clear, the path is customized by each journey.

There is no softer easier way, no short cut through the maze and no one to walk the path for us. I know this because of my long and at times difficult personal experience overcoming self erected obstacles as well as those placed there by my culture and country. I’ve tried every path I could possibly imagine before eventually settling on the only one I could find with an exit. That alone should be encouraging to many because until a few years ago I didn’t think there was a way out.

And I’m not alone because many people I talk to still feel it’s hopeless. The question (in my mind at least) is no longer can we save ourselves but what’s the process that must be followed in order to make the lasting changes needed to not only survive but grow and prosper. Make no mistake about what I’m saying; there will be pain no matter what we do or don’t do. But there is pain during healing as well as pain during destruction and we have a choice.

Swimming in the Shipping Channel of Life

The answers are deceptively simple, which makes it difficult for most people to accept when we’ve been conditioned to believe that complexity requires complex solutions. Nothing could be further from the truth. When one finds they’ve dug themselves into a hole, the first rule to follow is to stop digging. Since we’ve been trained all our lives that digging’s what we do, it’s almost heretical to ponder anything else. Considering how our narrow view benefits certain select “others” we should question everything we believe once we’ve stopped digging and are looking for a way out.

As with all my work, I ask the reader to consume it in it’s entirely, in the order presented and to leave all sections in context. I’ve broken this essay into multiple parts (5 at this point) for easier consumption. But it really doesn’t work unless it’s read as a continuous thought process. So I suggest you read each section in order because this isn’t 5 independent articles, but rather one article broken into 5 separate pieces.

Each section won’t necessarily make sense on its own unless you’ve read the preceding sections. Even then it might not make any sense, but I’m only responsible for my insanity. You’re on your own. This silliness started out as a one or two page blurb but quickly morphed into Godzilla like proportions. Consider it the insane leading the insane and have some fun while expanding your mind.

May I also suggest that you read each section twice, something I usually do when reading anything new? Reading it the first time trips all the objections my ego comes up with, which exposes my deep conditioning and indoctrination. My ego always defends my consciousness from the inevitable cognitive dissonance I experience when I read something that contradicts what I think I believe.

Basically my ego lies to me and then defends those lies using the pain of cognitive dissonance. The first reading clears out all those trip wires and leads the way for the second reading, which talks directly to the reasoning, common sense and empathy centers of my consciousness. If I really enjoyed what I’ve read, it gets a third reading for the pure joy of it. And of course to make sure the new conditioning has been properly assimilated.

Have you ever noticed how upon reading something a second time, you’ll often find words, sentences, even entire paragraphs you somehow missed the first time around? It’s amazing how blind we are when our ego gets in the way. Since this essay discusses subjects that are not exactly consensus opinion, expect to experience a few ego elevator drops.

I also swim pretty far from the pier of the commonly accepted understanding of “reality” in the later sections of this essay so expect some disorientation and wrinkled fingers and toes. The good news is that I’m beginning to find physicists and various other scientists swimming in the “what is reality” discussion philosophers have had to themselves for centuries. So at least we won’t be alone as we tread water near the shipping channel buoys. I do hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments section.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

In an alternative universe such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom or Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it’s always easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad, the truth from the lie. It usually has something to do with horned red devils and fire breathing dragons, with cotton tail bunnies and bizarre flying monkeys. We were weaned from mother’s breast with mythical tales of gallant white knights and long haired princesses, ancient stories originally intended to inform us of life’s wisdoms, pitfalls and hazards.

But our modern myths and fairy tales only serve to obscure, propagandize and pacify. Rarely do we question the content of anything we consume that’s entering through our five (six) senses. If a new offering appears to be reasonably consistent with what was recently consumed, access is granted with little or no critical assessment. Just go with the flow dude because it’s coming straight at you in torrents. After all what harm could a few TV sitcoms and dramas do to us, let alone the news? I certainly know when someone’s pulling my strings don’t you?

Most of us rarely consider the possibility that much of what we “know” isn’t actually based in reality, but is in effect a shared illusion, an unspoken and shared understanding between the natives. Our modern world is readily accepted and acted upon simply because there’s no serious consideration given to alternatives. After all, someone’s watching the store, right? We’re placed on an endless tread mill beginning around age 5 (some would say even earlier) and we’re assured this is normal and natural and everything that can be expected.

I know what I know because my parents and teachers taught me, my government and corporate approved propaganda reinforced it and now my TV and Internet are reinforcing the reinforcement. So it must be true simply because it all adds up to a staggering preponderance of evidence. We’re assured it’s all as real as an eighteen wheeler hard on our ass and trying to pass. Besides, everyone else pretty much believes the same thing we do with only minor variations. They can’t all be wrong! So don’t fight it, just go with the flow.

However, upon closer examination, much of this evidence is validated through circular logic, with Alpha supporting Beta which supports Alpha which supports Beta. On those rare occasions when contrary information enters the system and startles our consciousness, it’s quickly washed out as an outlier or fat finger. Madness and insanity, or dysfunction for those faint of heart who object to strong terms, is always self reinforcing, self perpetuating, self replicating and tolerates no contradictions. It is pure in form and function.

Unfortunately the world we live in isn’t quite as black and white as our story books, moving media and authority figures would have us believe. Instead, like some choking coal smoke that settles into every crack and crevice, we see nothing but endless permutations of gray wherever we gaze. It’s not very satisfying, is it? Where are the clear cut boundaries, where good begins and evil decays? Where are the brightly colored super heroes to contrast the dark evil villains? We can’t always tell them apart when they’re all covered in shades of gray.

I Can See Clearly Now, the Gray is Gone.

But wait, I think I know how to see through the haze. All it takes is an adjustment to my perception, a new set of spectacles for my senses. Like an old black and white TV, our most important sensory control knobs are brightness and contrast located between the ears. Between the two, everything can be brought into sharper focus. I’ll just be the good guy and everyone else can be bad. I can see clearly now, the gray is gone. It’s gonna be a bright bright sun-shiny day.

A consistent theme in various articles and comments are the angry denunciations of those (never ours, always they or them or those) evil bankers and corporations, the complicit mass media, a compliant regulatory authority and droves of corrupt government officials at the highest levels. And don’t forget the dead-to-the-world great unwashed masses. We complain they’re all engaged in an unprecedented (at least for modern times) take no prisoners thieving and feeding frenzy of those very same masses. And somehow we’re different, separated from the masses and the evil doers by our understanding and awareness of the fix that’s in.

Of course (we tell ourselves) this is being orchestrated by the powers that be, which can usually be found cowering behind the heavy curtains of the control system. They’re the ones pushing the levers and pulling the puppet strings, enslaving us with their fiat currency pushed by the black banking cabal without our consent and against our will. Here’s the proof, in black and white. Can’t you see it, there’s Professor Plum in the parlor with the candlestick?

And all of this may very well be entirely true. In fact, I believe much of it is. But it’s also mostly irrelevant to the one thing many of us are searching for in this filthy stinking mess. While it’s not voiced very often in the articles and comments, the great unanswered questions of this epic disaster are basic. Why is this happening? How are “they” able to get away with it? What is it about man that permits this cycle of greed and corruption to build to a climax and then recede, endlessly repeating the same cycle since well before Christ the Son of God or Ra the Sun God?

When will we accept that “they/them/those” won’t fix anything and it’s up to us to lead so that our leaders can follow? In the biggest paradox of them all, the underlying presumption is always that the machine itself works reasonably well if only the madmen were removed from the controls. But who put them there in the first place and won’t they just be replaced with more? We don’t question the basic systems, only the perceived faults of individual parts and mechanisms. We fiddle with the wires, connections and duct tape while the bomb is still ticking, collectively oblivious to the obvious.

I assure you with absolute certainty that I don’t have all the answers. But I can also assure you with equal certainty that we’ll never find the answers unless and until the questions that really matter are not only asked and examined, but that it’s done honestly and openly. In a world gone mad, sanity won’t be embraced or embodied until we examine our own insanity. Otherwise all we’re doing is soothing the savage beast within until this cycle ends and the next cycle of madness begins, bringing with it the next turning of humanity upon itself. While the reader may complain that I ask too much of us, that the problems are too big and the powers too strong; consider that it may only appear that way because we see the issue as one huge problem. This is an illusion.

Icons of Insanity

I’m using the words insane and madness in this essay not only to grab your attention but because I believe those are the proper words to use. But the inherent problem in using them is that the popular perception of insanity has been shaped by novels and TV. When one sees or hears the words insanity or madness, most people instantly visualize a serial killer randomly stalking victims before slashing them to pieces. Or maybe one thinks of a totally dysfunctional asylum inmate zonked out on Thorazine, specks of spittle clinging to his lower lip while drool drips down the side of his mouth. Our popular culture is chock full of these images, from A Clockwork Orange to a Freddy Krueger. For the purposes of this essay, wash those images from your mind because our collective insanity is much more presentable and socially acceptable.

Despite these image problems, I’m still going to use the words repeatedly because the reader needs to understand that I do mean deranged, not fully aware, acting strangely or at cross purposes to one’s own long term survival. Some of the words used in the definition of mad or insane help to explain my meaning further, such as mentally disturbed, extremely foolish or unwise, imprudent, irrational, confused, extreme impulsiveness, unsafe, wildly impractical or foolish, ill-advised, dangerous, senseless, reckless, unsound, maniacal, angry or ill-tempered. You get the picture.

I expect the reader’s ego response to being accused of insanity might be immediate and visceral and quite possibly insulting. I ask that you push past that initial impulse and understand that there are various levels of insanity, including high functioning and socially adapted. If you’ve come this far in the essay, let’s go the rest of the way. It’ll only hurt until the Thorazine kicks in.

Our Cultural Insane Asylum– Welcome to the Machine

The economic, social and political atrocity we’re not only witnessing but living isn’t their insanity, it’s our insanity; individually, collectively and culturally. This insanity, our insanity, is being outwardly manifested in individuals and groups, effectively in all of us to some degree or another. We our engulfed by our insanity in the same manner some wretched character in a Greek or Shakespearian tragedy is consumed by an angry God, the devil or some other ill-tempered spirit. Today’s modern calamity is the compiled manifestation, expression, reflection and symptom of all the ugly lies, half truths, spin and self deceptions our society leaves unsaid, does not discus, hushes up, hides from view and buries in the back yard of our minds.

Our inner dysfunction, while most certainly affecting us personally, is also expressed outwardly through us individually and collectively and in varying degrees and manner. And sometimes it’s focused within certain people and/or groups of people. Or more accurately, our collective insanity is acted out by or within certain people or groups of people. Does this concept sound farfetched or even crazy? Why is it so easy for us to recognize someone else’s insanity or to see that a group of people are acting crazy or insanely and yet not see it within ourselves or in our own culture? Why can’t we recognize that we might very well have the same insane or unstable tendencies as those we’re pointing towards? Are we pointing our fingers away from us so that we may deny the source?

Why do we so easily accept the concept of herd mentality, that people, either physically grouped into crowds or scattered throughout the world, can act as one (think of the markets) yet we reject this concept when it comes to madness, insanity or dysfunction? Why do we readily accept the phrase “The world went mad during WW 2” yet not think it was our own individual madness that we and the world were acting out? Why do we always exclude ourselves in part or whole from those or them?

Maybe we do accept the statement but don’t see how it relates to us. I know a few people who easily accept the idea that the world can/could/did go mad but not him or her. So are we saying it was everyone else that was insane but not us? If so, does this not illustrate our own dysfunction, to think we would be immune and not affected by what’s tormenting the entire world? We seem to have this serious mental and emotional block that prevents us from seeing the obvious. Of course, it’s our ego that’s blocking our vision and awareness, a subject I’ve examined in more depth in a prior article.


Precisely because of our intellectual and emotional inconsistency, helped along by our self deception, we can delude ourselves into thinking we’re OK. Often we’re encouraged in this self deception by outside forces that fan the flames of self delusion for control and manipulation purposes. One of the many ways is through the display of individuals who are obviously and intentionally different from us. They’re usually close enough to us for easy comparison thanks to TV and the Internet. But don’t dwell too long on the comparison because that might ignite self reflection. So the control system relies on quick glimpses that satisfy our need to feel superior, and thus separate, before the next manipulative image is presented.

Cultural Insanity Reinforcement - American Idol Style

Consider that a key component of the American Idol talent “competition” is the initial programs, where fool after fool is paraded before us. The canned laugh track encourages us to laugh and mock their inferiority and non conformity, thus enabling us to feel comfortable with our homogenization and normality. This concept is ripped from the pages of 1984, where the carrot and stick approach is used to corral us into the hamster pens to work another day.

The carrot is acceptance by the welcoming and nurturing hive, where group think is rewarded and uniformity and conformity is applauded. The stick is to publically ridicule anything that the hive considers abnormal and thus subhuman, which of course can’t be a part of the hive. It’s unthinkable to suffer this, a fate worse than death that of banishment from the hive. See how abnormal those dancing and singing fools are? Only a crazy person would allow themselves to sing that poorly or act that stupidly on TV.

Carefully mixed in with the fools are the soon to be “discovered” hidden gems, which look just like you and I. Our mediocrity is validated because those gems look just like everyday people who escaped from the streets. “Oh look honey, another slave has escaped. I could as well if I practiced harder on my clarinet and got that boob job. If I work some overtime for the next few months at the hamster wheel factory ………”

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the more talented contestants aren’t seeded into the show by the producers. There are many ways to do so. Regardless, the result has the intended effect; wonderfully talented but tragically and unfairly ignored men and women (invisible nobody’s like you and I) are finally discovered, their hidden talents recognized and validated by the world. They’ve hit the big time and they fulfill every person’s fantasy through emotional transference, thanks to perseverance and our 50” HD surround sound LCD TV.

And the fools, after being stripped naked and displayed for the crowd to jeer and stone, are thrown out of the hive as unwanted trash, not even worth the nickel deposit, their part of the charade now complete. Later, as some of the formerly hidden gems rise up the ranks (watch carefully how they’re steadily transformed with coaching, makeup and costumes) we allow ourselves to follow along, nurturing our fantasy that this too could be us. Thus we ascend God like into the glow of the adoring public, enabling us to feel superior while we wallow in our mediocrity.

And don’t forget the text voting, that wonderfully democratic principal that allows us all to participate in the crowning of our next plastic Idol on the dashboard of life. It must be true that I’m a singing fool because my fellow slaves elected me to the throne. The genius of American Idol is not in the music, costumes and coaching, it’s the magic that happens in the editing room and the manipulated voting.

Would Goebbels Like Reality TV?

There’s an extremely good reason why “reality” television shows are so popular. While we’re encouraged to suspend reality while watching regular TV dramas in order to enjoy the program, we consciously know it isn’t real, though unconsciously we make no such distinction. But with “reality” television it’s real, right? It not only could happen but it is happening. Isn’t that the entire concept of “reality” TV, that it’s real?

Leaving aside the understanding that “reality” TV is highly choreographed and elaborately staged; the illusion is that it’s real. This allows the viewer to be swept up along with the contestants as they morph from cocoon to butterfly, taking fictional character empathy and self identification by the viewer to much higher levels than previously thought possible. Goebbels, who until now had been the anointed master of the “Big Lie”, must be screaming in a jealous rage as he rots in his grave. And you thought this was just a talent show or a competition of “survival” on a tropical island.

This method of cultural conditioning is highly effective even when the viewer is aware of the dynamic, just as long as that person is somewhat dissatisfied with their life and is searching for meaning and understanding outside of themselves rather than within. And the higher the IQ and financial earning power of an individual, the higher the likelihood they’ll be searching, particularly among those who are growing weary of our consumer culture.

Some are beginning to recognize that we’ve been conditioned to believe happiness can only be found in an automobile or an iPhone. But where do we look when the hive actively discourages exploring anywhere but on the TV. After all, isn’t that the purpose of American Idol, to inform you of what’s acceptable and what’s not?

Look at the viewer demographics of American Idol for the proof. The average Idol (Idle?) viewer is anything but run of the mill in nearly all the demographics, with higher than average IQ and better than average income. This is you and I folks, not simply the average blue collar beer swilling Joe we like to point to as the problem cattle in the mindless herd. I’ve seen the cattle and the cattle are us.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

We as individuals, as a culture and a society, are only as sick as our deepest darkest secrets and lies. And all those buried and unspoken falsehoods surround us like an endless unmarked and unexplored mine field. On top of that, the lies we tell ourselves and each other in order to ignore this mine field add to the dishonesty that we live with and within. They fester inside our psyche, like swarms of virus bots consuming resources and destroying perceptions and pathways.

Have you ever wondered why confession, the purging of the “soul” of past transgressions, is so therapeutic and cleansing? How could this be unless lies and self deception truly are harmful to the mind/body harmony? I’m not talking religion here, I’m talking inner balance. If one is to believe in personal evolution, isn’t rigorous honesty beneficial to a long and healthy life? When navigating the jungle of life, you won’t last long if you’re in denial of your situation and are intentionally oblivious to that saber toothed tiger or that inner city bus. Though I guess that’s two ways to ineffectively scatter your seed.

So does it really matter whether the dangers are physical or spiritual if the damage is ultimately as severe? I’ve spent some time studying indigenous cultures and very few (if any) developed such a dishonest and deceptive culture as ours is today. These indigenous cultures flourished for hundreds if not thousands of years and many would still thrive today if they hadn’t come into contact with us. We came in peace, my childhood textbook claimed, written by the “winner” if that matters. All we wanted was everything we wanted. What so bad about that?

Ours is a culture that honors the glory and sanctity of God and humanity. And we constantly remind ourselves of this as we hack our way through one culture after another in a desperate attempt to rid the world of the cancer their sanity and harmony with self and nature represent to our own world. Our culture mocked their medicine men and shamans as primitive witch doctors at the same time we were bleeding people of evil spirits and burning witches. Oops, did I say that with my out loud voice? That’s sacrilege after all, with the penalty now my choice, that of being burned at the stake or excommunication from the hive.

The indigenous shaman was by far the most important member of their culture, healing sickness they believed could be traced back to a soul/body/spiritual imbalance. But they also guided the individual and the tribe’s consciousness forward, teaching their fellow man of the dangers and pitfalls inherent in any culture that worshiped self above all else. They warned their members of the hazard of endless accumulation and ego domination rather than harmony with a world in which they must co-exist or perish.

Their spiritual and cultural histories often reached back thousands of years and taped into an ancient wisdom and understanding that withstood the test of time, evident in both their healthy existence as well as the environment they lived within, not on or in spite of. Sounds like deep and valuable wisdom from where I stand and precisely why they were killed as quickly as they were discovered. They were heretics and would act as strong antibiotics if they were introduced into the European and American cultural virus. We couldn’t even take the chance of trying assimilation, instead relying on the tried and true extermination.

Kill Baby Kill

We as individuals and as a culture simply cannot destroy living beings, be they human, animal or plant, in such large quantities and with such speed without imbibing a daily dose of lies and self deception to kill the pain of our own sickness and insanity. To actually comprehend the death and destruction by our own hand with even a minimal level of empathy or compassion would assure its immediate cessation. I wonder if that’s why our soldier’s bodies come home at midnight and the wholesale killing is either sanitized or completely missing from our TV and other mass media.

I certainly don’t have the stomach for this business and I suspect neither do you. While I understand I cannot covet my neighbor’s wife and daughter, I feel no discomfort if I covet his oil and other natural resources. So as a society we ensure the resulting blood doesn’t splatter us and that death remains at a safe distance when we forward position our home grown madmen to oversee our neighbor’s destruction. Kill baby kill.

And so slowly but surely, helped along with generous portions of self serving propaganda, the dehumanization of those “savage and primitive races” (today aka as terrorists) is complete and our population is infected with blood lust and material infatuation. And the rest, as they say, is bloody history; though you won’t find this version in any acceptably sanitized school text book.

Our culture is plagued with school shootings, serial killers (government sponsored or otherwise) conducting mass murder, state sponsored genocide, fast food obesity and pill popping to kill our emotional and spiritual pain. And of course don’t forget the constant mindless consumption to placate an emotional and spiritual emptiness that can never be soothed by material balms. But we can die trying, can’t we? And we call ourselves sane.

The shaman was a healer in the broadest since of the word and the spiritual center and source of wisdom and guidance for the tribe. The indigenous cultures were dependent upon their shaman to remain spiritually centered and physically healthy. Once they were gone, any surviving tribesmen quickly succumbed to the insanity of the Europeans once their spiritual anchors were uprooted and destroyed.

Have you ever wondered why there are hundreds of stories of early European and American settlers in North America that willingly lived among and within these “primitive” cultures? Once the non natives (the white man) had been thoroughly assimilated into these cultures, why did so many of them want to stay and even fought against their old countrymen in order to remain within their adopted cultural families? These cultural adoptees talked about being the happiest and most fulfilled they’d ever been and how for the first time in their lives they felt at peace, both with themselves and with those around them.

How could this occur in a culture that supposedly had nothing to offer the modern world? What could these “backward” cultures possibly offer the so-called “civilized” Europeans and Americans that would be more attractive than what they already possessed? Is it possible that our culture has lied to us about these things and potentially much more? Could it be that our culture isn’t healthy for us, is in fact killing us? Might it be we’re being used and abused by our own culture for the benefit of others, that this isn’t a natural state for humanity and that this disturbance we feel is the source of our insanity?

I find it very revealing that the North American Indian has the highest rate of alcoholism and drug dependency in this country. It makes sense when you consider that once stripped of their cultural support and defensive systems, their shamans and nurturing culture, the original source of their strength and spiritual health, that they would seek a substitute elsewhere. Consider how you would feel if you visited heaven and felt the warm embrace of peace and happiness, only to be ripped from its breast kicking and screaming and deposited into hell. Maybe we should have their descendants consult our technology Gods to find a solution to their spiritual unhappiness and mental illness. You know what; I bet there’s an app for that.

In Chapter Two, we will continue our exploration of our individual and collective insanity, where we spend some time examining that lovable megalomaniac ego inside each of us, why and where it all went wrong, the sliding scale of insanity with lots of finger pointing, how we certify our madness for comfort and support, our mental toxic waste dumps and the first sighting of light at the end of the tunnel. Or is that just the crazy train express to DC? Here’s one car wreck we can all safely examine as we drive by in our economic suicide machines. 

Cognitive Dissonance - 06/02/2010

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nata's picture

Hi there,

I am writing from one of the countries of the former communist block in Europe. Thanks for the article, albeit I found it quite long after it was published. Nevertheless I just love it and I wanted to ask two q's:

1. Would you give me permission to translate the article in my native language so others who don't read the language may get inspired, too?

2. In the last chapter you wrote abut the burning house and you/us making the decision whether we save ourselves or help the others, too. As much as this very idea brought tears to my eyes, I foud it a bit inaccurate. While it should not be too difficult for anybody to understand the danger of a burning house full of smoke and seek safety, I find it almost an impossible task to wake up the zoombies sedated by our materialistic insanity. Even more so in a culture where this type of insanity had replaced just another type of mental illness called communism. More than in the West people still enjoy their full shopping carts of cheap food and other junk. So the house is buning but they feel it is you who is mad and lost your senses...

Anyway, from now on I'll be doing my best in spreading the ZH message in our corner of the universe, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

PS: I was fortunate enough to never have had TV in my household, so I did not have to overcome the addiction and I feel that be VERY helpful. However, even the very fact that I do not watch the idiot box makes me "weird" in most people's eyes, even the closest ones.

ItsEvolutionBaby's picture

Thank you very much CD.

ZeroPower's picture

Indeed, as another user posted, little to say, not for lack of words, but because my thoughts are still trying to process everything. Will read your other 4 'chapters' and will try and make some sense of this as i have never read anything requiring all of my intuitive capacity to comprehend. Well done sir.

Carpet Pisser's picture



This is a really excellent piece.

Two comments:

1) Your points re: shamans and the inherent wisdom of indigenous cultures are well made.  The question I raise is whether this is borderline "glorification of the myth of the noble savage"?   Primitive human societies were also quite capable of practicing genocide, being manipulated by elites, etc.  Furthermore, practicing a sustainable lifestyle was undoubtedly a lot easier/do-able back when there far fewer people exerting pressure upon the land. 

2) Charles Hugh Smith is a deep thinker who has journeyed to escape the matrix and written eloquently about it.  Check out his blog oftwominds.com (http://www.oftwominds.com/) and his book titled Survival+.

I am reading his book now as part of my own journey to shed my old skin of complacency and ignorance.

Zerohedge and its community of thinkers and writers have become an integral part of that journey.

I thank you all.

If you are familiar with Gerald Celente, he talks about the 20% solution.  This is the 20% of the population who get it and will lead (by example) the next Renaissance in sustainable living.

Either that, or in the immortal words of the Mogambo Guru, "We're all freakin' doomed".


dimichzh's picture


CD, I have enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing.

I have recently found a very good definition of the pain caused by cognitive dessonance that makes sense to me. It was said by Gurdjieff (the book "In search of the miraculous" by Ouspensky.) 

Conscience is a state in which a man feels all at once everything that he in general feels, or can feel. And as everyone has within him thousands of contradictory feelings which vary from a deeply hidden realization of his own nothingness and fears of all kinds to the most stupid kind of self-conceit, self-confidence, self-satisfaction, and self-praise, to feel all this together would not only be painful but literally unbearable. 


If a man whose entire inner world is composed of contradictions were suddenly to feel all these contradictions simultaneously within himself, if he were to feel all at once that he loves everything he hates and hates everything he loves; that he lies when he tells the truth and that he tells the truth when he lies; and if he could feel the shame and horror of it all, this would be the state which is called 'conscience'. A man cannot live in this state; he must either destroy contradictions or destroy conscience. He cannot destroy conscience, but if he cannot destroy it he can put it to sleep, that is, he can separate by impenetrable barriers one feeling of self from another, never see them together, never feel their incompatibility, the absurdity of one existing alongside another.

So, the ego is that tool that erects the berriers to remove the pain.


StychoKiller's picture


Dog: I've got a million proofs that we're not free.
Cat: I've got one proof that we are.
Dog: What's that?
Cat: Who asks "What's that?"


R. A. Wilson

Kobe Beef's picture

It would be difficult to brush the symbolism aside, since it is so ubiquitous in America.

Glad you found it interesting. Thanks for devoting so much effort to expositions on consciousness.

Cheers, CD

Kobe Beef's picture

If you are the least bit paranoid, you will like this:

I know I did. cheers, all.



StychoKiller's picture

I sensed a "Disturbance in the Force" while looking at that link :(

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So many people brush this kind of stuff aside, which is foolish to do.

I must constantly remind myself and others that regardless of what I might think about something, if people in power are interested, I should be interested. Thanks for the link.

Miss America's picture

@ CD.  Nice work.  With an edit to clean up type-O’s and grammar/spelling errors, this goes from an A to an A+.  (moody’s already gave it a AAA)  (my articles were usually far worse, and in serious need of editing!)

I did not have to read any of the pieces twice.  You are in line/step with me 100% so far.  I’ve written many parallel things to this, or expressed them.  You put on paper, all be it in long form, much of what can be hard to articulate.  

Having spent WAAAAAAAY TOOOOOO MUUUUCH time over at Nouriel Roubini’s RGE monitor, and writing for them for the last 5 years…   I came to a realization of:  WHY?  (I came to realize that economics truly is a religion, and all concepts born from it are tied to “faith”.  …and “faith”, not from a religious standpoint, is societally what is in question or to be weighed.)

For lack of a better/easier analogy, once we realize that we are in the matrix (I hate to use such an overused analogy) there begins to become a pointlessness that takes over, especially when trust, which is a cornerstone of “faith” is breeched.

That realization, has led me away from writing for quite some time.  (even though I lurk to kill time) 


I will look out for your next installments, but also want to ask an enormously silly question…  What do you think of sports?  (in my case baseball)


As so much of sports is life, and life imitated, through rules, wins, losses, statistics, nepotism/ownership, cheating/fraud, teams, individualism, reward, failure, contracts/drafts/ownership, etc…  I find it the only “true form of anything” left. (TV, entertainment, etc…)  


I have been on a crusade to “clean up baseball” for a long time.  (as an ex-minor leaguer who played in the heart of the “steroid era”, I had a vested interest)


My stance is that societally… we will not fix and or realize any of our societal flaws… until we can fix sports.  …and it seems so silly to place such an importance on something as trivial as sports, but as life imitates art, the fraud that infiltrates art, infiltrates life.


All the best,

Miss America – Rich Hartmann

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Unfortunately I edit myself, which is the equivalent of the fool lawyer foolishly representing his foolish self. I have a few people who do look my articles over to some degree and offer some help with obvious typos etc. But I really could use a professional editor.

A friend actually offered to help (he's is a professional editor) but he so completely disagrees with everything I write (he told me he gets "ill" when he reads my articles, which speaks to how firmly his ego has captured him) that he is of no help. 

Interesting concept about sports. I have come to believe that just as children "play" in order to practice becoming social creatures, adults "play" to practice staying social creatures. So any dysfunction that shows up in society/culture will most certainly be evident in sports. Let me mull you idea some more. Thanks for the kind words.

Miss America's picture

good on you!  ...for taking the time to reply.  It's appreciated, as I know how much effort this crap takes.


As for the sports...  purity can be found within them.  Especially at their root.  I saw baseball, and basketball on TV.  I was shown how to play both by dad/coaches.  None of that makes you good or bad.  (I can't tell you how many horrible players that I know that are/were coaches son's) 


I find all things become influential.  ...but your ability, mixed with desire, and 10,000 other variables make EVERY SINGLE player within these realms 100% unique unto themselves. 


At the pro level, people fall into standard deviations, which is why (to the untrained eye) so many players (and styles or plays) look to be similar but are all truly unique. 


If you want to be blown away... and if you enjoy baseball, you should really check out it's history, and see how American society has spent nearly 100 years mirroring it.  Baseball actually stands as a precursor to all the recent ills, and euphoria’s, recessions, etc...  From Cocaine, to integration, it paves the way.

...and the owners, the rich elite, (even Presidents) have captured even its purity for profit through parallels that include slavery.


Trust me on this.  I too am insane.

I grapple daily with the ethical question of whether it is better to be wrong with the crowd, or right alone.  Especially when Right and wrong have the ability to change based on time and perception.

I've gone through it and through it.  Came to an understanding years ago...  that the Indians "had it right".  ...but they were right alone.


...and my insanity left me one day with a strange dose of reality.  I was in the 14th inning of a game that I was pitching last year.  (yes, my team had no other pitchers, and the longest I ever threw was one 10 inning game.)  We won 1-0. 

It was real.

...and it led me to realize that my goal that I started in 2004 of cleaning up baseball was even more important that my economic writings.  ...not only because it was tangible...  but because it was pure.


All the best,

Miss America - RH


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Don't let anyone, including yourself, distract you from your goal. It all makes a difference because it's not what your doing but the positive and honest energy your applying that moves the mountain.

I will take the time to look deeper into how the long history of baseball mirrors American society. One can't have too much information and insight, just too little time.

Goods's picture

Reality tv warps the minds of our children and weakens the resolve of our enemies


Excellent article CD?By the way have you watched Yuri Bezmenov on youtube? Its a much watch to explain the "dumbing down" happening in this country.

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Husk, re; McKenna,  There is a book by a native american woman who died and came back...while in 'heaven', she saw a similar sight.  Beings, dazzling, like earth but jewelled, creating the fabric of the universe.

also Dr Michi Okaku, of String Theory fame, postulates 'one originator' and that Creator is a vibration or wave.  ;)

chumbawamba's picture

Michi Okaku is an ignoramus.

I am Chumbawamba.

blindman's picture

and may i recklessly hazard to say that as in music the

rests imply the series of tones, the tune, centered around the

cadence, the rhythm and rests also the mind hears in the silence

the meaning or tune of itself, evolved over millenia.  it is

built in.  a depth.  reproducing itself outwardly through

creating it's creations.  it's art. 

and from these creations the mind can know, in silence,

communication.  an antidote to saturation due to excess

or noise on one level, or repetition.  

or so i have heard.  and this i heard today.....

"tell her that someone she doesn't know loves her, ok?"  anon.


thomas_anderson's picture

Brilliant article CD.  I have little to say and much (more) to think about.  Thank you.

DisparityFlux's picture

Mr. CogDis.,

Just as some first human picked up a stick, perceived it as other than a stick, and showed one other that is was not just a stick, some modern human will have a thought, perceive it as more than a thought, and share it with many others.

Are we all waiting for Godot?

Looking forward to chapters 2 through 5.

J1mB0b's picture

Thanks very much.  Summary thoughts:

Belief systems codify projective metaphors derived from engaging mystery.

If projected high enoough they become "sky hooks" or princples on which others will build social meme 'hairballs' that are mostly semantic positive feedback.

I simplify the process as: Perception => Interpretation => Judgement

=> (Re)action.

Self-reflection is the 'Action' principle analagous to that in Physics (Cheeky explains it better) ... 'Interpretation' is intellectual morality ... sitting like a boulder in a rapids ... then stand up.

Looking forward to more of this passionate clarity (ie, from CogDis et al above).





Husk-Erzulie's picture

At about minute one or two of a DMT trip, according to McKenna, one may burst through a chrysanthemum-like mandala, and find:

There's a whole bunch of entities waiting on the other side, saying "How wonderful that you're here! You come so rarely! We're so delighted to see you!"

They're like jewelled self-dribbling basketballs and there are many of them and they come pounding toward you and they will stop in front of you and vibrate, but then they do a very disconcerting thing, which is they jump into your body and then they jump back out again and the whole thing is going on in a high-speed mode where you're being presented with thousands of details per second and you can't get a hold on [them ...] and these things are saying "Don't give in to astonishment", which is exactly what you want to do. You want to go nuts with how crazy this is, and they say "Don't do that. Pay attention to what we're doing".

What they're doing is making objects with their voices, singing structures into existence. They offer things to you, saying "Look at this! Look at this!" and as your attention goes towards these objects you realise that what you're being shown is impossible. It's not simply intricate, beautiful and hard to manufacture, it's impossible to make these things. The nearest analogy would be the Fabergé eggs, but these things are like the toys that are scattered around the nursery inside a U.F.O., celestial toys, and the toys themselves appear to be somehow alive and can sing other objects into existence, so what's happening is this proliferation of elf gifts, which are moving around singing, and they are saying "Do what we are doing" and they are very insistent, and they say "Do it! Do it! Do it!" and you feel like a bubble inside your body beginning to move up toward your mouth, and when it comes out it isn't sound, it's vision. You discover that you can pump "stuff" out of your mouth by singing, and they're urging you to do this. They say "That's it! That's it! Keep doing it!".

We're now at minute 4.5 [of the trip] and you speak in a kind of glossolalia. There is a spontaneous outpouring of syntax unaccompanied by what is normally called "meaning". After a minute or so of this the whole thing begins to collapse in on itself and they begin to physically move away from you. Usually their final shot is that they wave goodbye and say "Deja vu! Deja vu!".

anarkst's picture

Learn from those that came before us.  Reality can not be ascertained intellectually. 

bigdumbnugly's picture

Pretty good work for someone who didn't first consult a guy who knows a thing or two about insanity.  (But if needed I am at your service from here on out).

Also thanks to those who posted referrals to other works by Terrence McKenna and others, I will definitely look into those.

Now, I don't want to pretend I am anywhere near your level of comprehension in this, CD, though I hope to be moving along that path soon.  But I do just want to caution you about not getting too drawn into the myth that the native peoples of any land - not just ours - were always one with nature and eachother, etc., or that their shamans held all the secrets of painless and unfailing cleansing of souls.   I studied (on my own mostly) the populating of the Americas, the migrations, and the ways of life of the original inhabitants of our continent (from what we know anyway).   The truth is the kind and gentle cultures you refer to often almost always replaced (mostly by force) some other kinder, gentler, culture that was there before them.  As long as the earth has been populated by humans, all societies have been subject to this unsavory part of the human condition.  People are people.  It seems it is merely technology that determines the subplot of the same rerun play.

I do agree that as a culture in general we have taken the next giant step down that long road, however. 

Thanks again for the time and effort you must have put into this exceptional post.  Looking forward to the rest...




Pat Hand's picture

Well, I'm still pessimistic.

But I sincerely want to thank you for this piece.  Am looking forward to the rest of it.  Very thought-provoking.  Truly a breath of fresh air in the atmosphere of fetid stink that tries to pass as discourse

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

A gem of a piece CD.

I wonder if you will be including how Generosity and Civility might fit into helping us get to where we need to go.  I am trying to be more generous and civil (my wife just made me read a book titled "Choosing Civility") in my dealings with others.

An above poster also mentioned E. Tolle ("The Power of Now").  Eckhardt gets it.

Bring on Part Deux!

Miles Kendig's picture

DoChen' - I look at the process as being kinda rolled up into what I perceive as being empathetic. Have a wonderful journey!

chindit13's picture

Good stuff, CD. Pick your own collective psychosis. Humans are wont to do that, as uncertainty and a potential lack of purpose and meaning can be far too uncomfortable. That is why religion works so well. It provides easy answers to unanswerable questions, so that people can then get on with their lives, believing they're doing the right thing. You mention indigenous cultures in a favorable light, but my own experience is that their isolation, rather than anything substantial, is the key to their longevity. Without outside influence they can do a more thorough job of inculcating values and beliefs. They tend to force a myth and belief system upon their members to an even greater extent than our own society, and they allow less dissent. That contributes to their survivability, but also makes them susceptible to complete collapse when the arrival of outsiders can easily lay bare the falsity of their myths (which tend to be intimately tied to the entire belief system). Missionaries abuse that inherent weakness, and are absolute professionals at f#cking up cultures and shredding people of their dignity, all in the name of some equally bogus belief.

I have been fortunate enough to live in a number of societies, from Islamic to Buddhist to Judao/Christian to animist, as well as learning a couple of indigenous peoples' unwritten languages.  Perhaps ironically, I come away enamored of no one's philosophy nor belief system, even in their purest forms, though pure forms rarely exist. They are interesting, and work for many people, but in the end all hope for something that does not exist and demand too much conformity. So, I have come to embrace randomness and uncertainty and maybe even lack of meaning in existence, and I wouldn't have it any other way, even if I could.

DaveyJones's picture

"If we can be conditioned by fear and narcissistic naval gazing to be self destructive, we can be encouraged to be emotionally and spiritually healthy as long as we don’t look to our leaders for guidance" 

what a line

CD you are living proof that coming through the other side gives you superior dimension.

mkkby's picture

CD, it was truly inspired using American Idol as your case study.  In this way, more people may have that "light bulb" moment when they realize how they're being manipulated.  Most of my friends know they are pawns on a giant chess board.  For the few who don't, out of frustration I've turned to ridicule and outright insult.  I think your approach is more effective :)

Change will be very gradual.  If the Viet Nam war couldn't break the elites, it's going to take much more.  Something like the breakup of the Soviet Union after decades of decay, depression and alcoholism.  The problems will have to be much more in the face of the average person, so that nobody can ignore it.



KTV Escort's picture

Thanks to contributors like CD, ZH can plant roadsigns leading to an enlightened exit. What amazes me is it seems the greed, corruption and inept decision making at the top is increasing at an exponential rate.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"What amazes me is it seems the greed, corruption and inept decision making at the top is increasing at an exponential rate."

You have hit upon an important point and one I explore in this series. Insanity always increases exponentially, for it must do so in order to remain intact. Otherwise the centrifugal force of it's own insanity, it's "spin" if you will, will tear itself apart. This is why so many wise people caution us to simply let madness exhaust itself. 

This is the basic or inherent instability to our insanity, which makes it so vulnerable to our collective awakening to our own madness. But it also makes it so terribly dangerous, because madness (of course) has no concern for it's own perpetuation if it can't exist as insanity. Madness will take itself and everything else around it down into destruction if it can't be top dog.

The good news is that each opened mind increases the growing collective awareness, which also grows exponentially. And madness can't exist in the presence of awareness. Awareness is like an antibiotic to the insanity virus.

KTV Escort's picture

Awareness = Grassroots Movements... bringing about positive change, acting locally or globally, creating ripples.

chumbawamba's picture

Contributors like CogDis, Cheeky Bastardo and Gordon Gekko are the only reasons I keep coming back to ZH.  But I miss the days when there was a high quality of discourse in the comments section.  Now, it's just a complete idiot zoo.

I am Chumbawamba.

The Alarmist's picture

The Power Elite, our ostensible lords and masters, know that an effective system of feudalism requires the masses to seek and value their protection.

Ever wonder why the global threat warning level has remained at Orange?  And they will keep throwing crises and instability at us until they have picked our pockets clean and bound us to the land and service to feed, clothe and equip them.

CD's picture

Excellent work, CogDis. I have few thoughts to add, other than an admiration for your efforts. There are many ways to arrive at (happen upon?) the road to self-discovery and awareness, some more painful and less deliberate than others.

WRT 'civilization' eradicating the traditional societies and philosophies -- well, it goes back much, much further than just modern Western/European culture. The adoption of Christianity in Europe (and the subsequent eradication of traditional, 'tribal' belief systems) is another (but still not the oldest) example.

This is a talk you may enjoy, I highly recommend the site for brief, bite-sized pieces of wisdom (and subversion, of course):



tip e. canoe's picture

rama rocks CD.  terrence & him are the yin & yang of brain/mind science.   fyi, mckenna contended that the rapid brain evolution that rama describes at around 3:10 was due to our ancestors discovering the amrita mushroom.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I fully agree that the madness extends back much further than the Europeans and Americans. In fact I trace it back further than Christianity. And I was tempted to go down that road and actually had a few paragraphs beginning this discussion.

But it distracted from the direction I was pointing towards and the path I was following, which was to pick a point and follow it towards today's madness, which will be demonstrated in the next 2 Chapters. But I do discuss this dynamic in the series with an interesting spin that I think you will enjoy.

Keep reading because knowing you from your past comments I suspect you will enjoy this series.

StychoKiller's picture

Read "Have Fun at Work"

by William L. Livingston


Pyramidal Hierarchies are positively primitive!

Seer's picture

CD, you might want to take a look at Derrick Jensen's book Culture of Make Believe (http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Make-Believe-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1931498571).

As others have noted here, Adam Curtis' The Century of the Self is an excellent reference. 

I'd also add that Dr. Albert Barlett's presentation Arithmetic, Population and Energy is key on which to build awareness on.

Lastly, there's this short article (which I've mentioned in the past):

We Don't Need Them


NOTE: Google returns over 7 million hits on "we don't need them," this is the first that pops up.  Reflecting upon this gives me some sense of hope: I've pushed this article for years now.

tip e. canoe's picture

"We shall be slaves as long as we're convinced that we have masters, and not one moment longer."

genius line...thanks for sharing this.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I own every single book Derrick has written and have some of his audio CD's in my car to listen to on the way to my office. And I recently purchased his recent foray into fiction. The man is not afraid to tell us it's time to fight back. I admire Derrick's courage to look within and then publicly disclose his deepest darkest secrets. And then speak truth to us and mirror back to us what we are and what we hide.

I discovered Adam Curtis some time ago and I pop in his DVD's from time to time and marvel at the excellent job his does explaining complex subjects to people who might not want to look and listen.

Wasn't aware of the article but will gladly look now.

DisparityFlux's picture


Our discourse reflects nothing more than our collective inability to modify our mental models at the pace in which our perception of reality is changing.

If you wish to create a mental model that transcends reality, be prepared to be disappointed with its irrelevance to reality.

If you wish to limit your perception of reality, be prepared to become irrelevant.

Oh, would truth be so obvious as to not require perception.

juangrande's picture

truth is moment to moment. making a mental model is the limiting act.

DisparityFlux's picture

Our perception may be moment to moment, but truth?

If I do not exist, does that mean truth does not exist?

juangrande's picture

"moment to moment" challenges the idea of "I exist" or rather "I". But moment to moment is sort of misleading in that it implies this connection to past and future. maybe we should just say moment. this is fun! Disparity, in no way am I right or you wrong. It's very difficult to conceptualize the unconceivable. I believe this is why Jesus(?) spoke in parable so often.

blindman's picture



eye.  a developed, evolved, matrix of integrated

sensitivities to energy, (light selective conduit) of compelling and

contrasting etc."flux",

impinging on integrated and evolved nerves.  (sometimes, i's).

i is a structure and a function reguired for association

and evolution, development.  as every i exists

as a composit, implying a we, either in cooperation

or opposition, or both.  the i developed as a response

to the existing "we" and it's need.  it is plastic ,

functional and  variable in it's description, yet expansive

and full of potential.  

ultimately it is the repository of a culture, imprinted

on a new member, sometimes offering freedom and

sometimes slavery,  pleasure or torment.  and reflection. either

way it is commonly refered to as a description rather

than an act of will,  but it is always of it's "time" and

stage.  and the stage of it's time and it's "we". 

what makes illusion seem real.  it is that.  can make

insanity appear sane.  but it has potential, to do better.

and can be transcended, once realized, disolved in the "we"

for the joy of it.   or disolved in the universe itself!  and retracted,

but not ultimately.


ps.  "If I do not exist, does that mean truth does not exist?"

i don't know but who's asking?  and if you don't exist who

wants to know? 

or perhaps your i is your we's way of manipulating you into

functioning the way it needs you to, for now!   maybe just

the way it is but " we " all have a choice.  perhaps. 


cougar_w's picture

Useful comments and discussion against a fine piece of work.

But ... I expected that.

CD: been hanging out with the dry bunch, back in the barn now and I'll be discovering over lunch that materialism is suicide. Who knew?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Who knew?"


Who knew indeed. BTW I hope you saw that I took your suggestion to heart and your words have now been immortalized as a part of the ZH legacy.

"I certainly don’t have the stomach for this business and I suspect neither do you. While I understand I cannot covet my neighbor’s wife and daughter, I feel no discomfort if I covet his oil and other natural resources. So as a society we ensure the resulting blood doesn’t splatter us and that death remains at a safe distance when we forward position our home grown madmen to oversee our neighbor’s destruction. Kill baby kill."

You, of course, were absolutely correct. This (the above paragraph phrasing which you suggested) does work better and you did save my honor. But I added the last 3 words to drive home the point.

Thanks again for your input.