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

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

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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.