Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Part Two of Three

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Part Two of Three




Cognitive Dissonance



When discussing new ideas or concepts, or when bringing new understanding to older ideas, it is difficult to be brief because not only must the new be carefully explained, but the old must be dissected to understand what it is we think we know, but do not. So with apologies to those who are weary of my verbose renderings I present the second chapter of this cognitive journey.

Chapter One may be found here.

Chapter Three may be found here.


Abandonment and collapse

For 25 minutes twice a day I travel back and forth to my office, a labor of love if I must confess. I enjoy the pleasure of traveling a scenic blue highway consisting mostly of wooded forest and rolling (former tobacco) farm land. All in all a very relaxing commute conductive to solitude and reflection with very little traffic to contend with and a heavy trooper presence to keep the speed down to a more sane and leisurely pace. One can find inspiration wherever one looks, but I find some places more inspiring than others.

None of the farms I pass continues to grow tobacco, an expected outcome of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement which precipitated various ‘tobacco state’ buyout programs. But a very visible remnant of this once thriving economic activity are scores of abandoned tobacco barns, most previously used to air cure harvested tobacco leaves before bringing them to market.

While I imagine the locals pay little attention to these hulking sentinels of a past life until suddenly they disappear from the travelers’ line of sight, crumpled into a haphazard pile of rotting debris, for several years now I’ve been witnessing the relentless and ongoing disintegration of these structures. And I see their inevitable destruction as just one small part of a long and convoluted process that is very similar to the coming end of the developed world’s global fiat empire.

Even the eventual (some might say inevitable) failure of both the decaying barns and the global fiat empire do not represent the end, but rather the beginning of the end of this cycle, to be closely followed by the rebirth and renewal (but not necessarily the duplication) of the next. This has led me to think about the widely used term ‘collapse’ when discussing the future of the present day socioeconomic system. Collapse infers that there is an end point, a firm and definite finality, a full stop which in my opinion doesn’t properly sync with the fact that life will carry on, even though the music and dance steps have (radically) changed. Thus the word ‘crumble’ seems more representative of the actual process underway.

To the casual eye very little appears to be happening to these decaying barns for years at a stretch. But if one watches closely and looks for incremental change, very soon one notices some newly deformed or detached wall boards here, additional missing roof shakes there, a barn door ajar and swinging in the breeze or maybe a window sill sagging, the window glazing gone and the panes of glass long since fallen from their sash. Depending upon the pace of the decay and possibly a sense of wasted investment or unrealized potential, the absentee owner might feel compelled to perform some rudimentary repairs in order to stave off what appears to the casual observer to be a case of imminent collapse. 

But once the roof and sides are punctured in several places and fundamental structures are exposed to the elements, the decay accelerates exponentially. More and more roof shakes go missing, rafters fall away and the ridge begins to sag while entire walls bulge and ripple. If you’re lucky to be passing by at the particular moment of rescue you might catch a glimpse of the owner, pickup truck backed up to the long unsecured opening, removing any salvageable property that remains within the structure.

This is the sign, the ‘tell’ if you will, that the end is truly near……at least in the mind of the owner. And yet the barn still stands for months, years even; leaning precariously to one side or another, large sections of the roof long since fallen in, half its wall boards missing, heavily overgrown with vines and brush and inhabited by wildlife who’ve taken refuge from the elements.

Then one day you notice something missing from your routine passage. Not sure at first exactly what it is that you sense is wrong, suddenly you realize that what was once there is now gone. Or at least what appears to be missing is actually still there, only no longer in the shape and form you remember. Overnight it has been reduced in size and shape to a far smaller, more compact pile of wood and assorted detritus. Was it a gust of wind, a breaking timber or a landing bird? One can only guess in what form the straw came that broke the barn’s back.

Actually, it would be far more accurate to say that where once a severely degraded shell of a formerly vibrant and productive asset existed (its supporting structures and various subsystems degraded far beyond any semblance of productive utility or structural integrity) now there is a weathered skeleton no longer able to support what little remained of itself and quickly subsided. Not exactly a collapse in my book, but most people would disagree and over simplify it by calling it one.


Crumbling Tobacco Barn 


The anatomy of an economic crumble by the removal of structural faith and belief

Of course the reader might also accuse me of an oversimplification as well and s/he would also be correct. In my defense though I just wish to examine collapse in its simplest physical form and work from there. In reality, unlike the old unused tobacco barns our economic system is not abandoned, at least not yet.

Rather, while ruthlessly used and severely abused by the elite, the present socioeconomic consensus reality contains one active ingredient the abandoned barns do not……in spite of what is clearly a rapidly decomposing financial and political system, you and I (and increasingly the general public) still maintain a somewhat desperate faith and belief in its past success and future functionality if only the rot could be exorcized and the structure rebuilt.

However, unlike a complicated mechanical device where breakdowns can and will occur with increasing frequency as complexity and age increases, hope, faith and belief are powerful emotional engines not constrained by physical limitations. And equally important they are fueled by a seemingly unlimited energy source, thus they can and will continue to operate long past their seemingly obvious fail date.

Or to put it another way, unlike the abandoned tobacco barns, our socioeconomic culture (into which all of us are seamlessly embedded) embodies tremendous momentum of prior belief which in turn propels, energizes and validates (oftentimes false) hope, faith and belief in the present and future of our obviously failed economic structure. We want to believe, even if we claim we don’t presently believe, and this emotional energy alone is enough to support the structure, if only for a while longer and despite (seemingly) vital components and subsystems falling off or rotting away.

This helps explain why we exuberantly overshoot to the irrational upside, then quickly chase it all back down with an emotional hangover. Modern day markets, currencies and economies may be manipulated and moved by external forces, but they also appear to be moved by (among other things) the rise and fall of the herd’s faith and belief. The question appears to be a chicken or egg query, though it really isn’t. Does social mood move the economy or does the economy move social mood? It seems to me that it is neither, but rather both. There is an ebb and flow back and forth in a positive feedback loop. One cannot exist without the other, with both dependent upon one another.

This interrelated dynamic is constantly dismissed or simply ignored as not relevant or immaterial by the mainstream propagandizing economists and by much of the contrary crew primarily because our socioeconomic culture is considered an ‘economechanical’ (economy mechanical) machine rather than a ‘living’ organism. The economechanical economists claim that our socioeconomic system is a mathematically driven financial machine that influences (some say controls) we humans rather than seeing it as complex organisms in a symbiotic but extremely dysfunctional relationship.

The tobacco barns are physical structures and thus subject to the physical ‘laws’ of the present day consensus reality universe. (Many of the natural ‘laws’ of our current worldview are actually well established and widely believed assumptions and beliefs, a subject I will expand upon in a future article.) Presently those physical laws as we know and believe them do not require faith and belief as structural components in order for the physical barns to remain standing, at least not within the scope of this article’s discussion. The same cannot be said of our culture and its economy.

Reality creators rather than reality consumers

Interestingly while the mainstream economists view the socioeconomic system as mostly economechanical, they do publicly acknowledge the critical hope and belief component of the structure. Thus they dare not say with their out loud voices that the emperor has no clothes, for then the evident will truly become patently obvious and the plausible lie will no longer appear functionally believable.

Still, while they recognize the power of our faith and belief, they say that this emotional force is created by the system and not the reverse. We are seen as just one of several mechanical components of their economic engine, subject to incentives and stimulus, herded and corralled by interest rates and taxes, as reality consumers rather than the all powerful reality creators we truly are.

But make no mistake about one irrefutable fact. The top of the elite, the true puppet masters, know full well who and what we are and how dangerous we are to them if we were to recognize our full potential and take our leave. This is why we are manipulated and enslaved, bottled up like a nuclear reactor. While safely contained we produce consistent and manageable power to run their machines of commerce and consumerism. But released from our restraints and freed to create reality unhindered by our self limitations we are all powerful and no longer controllable.

The manipulating force that distorts our socioeconomic system and its ultimate binding force, the super glue that holds it all together and enables our collective self enslavement, is self evident and entirely esoteric. I am, of course, speaking of the fear based mind control system of the contrived scarcity money meme, the central vehicle used to compel our ‘willing’ participation within the socioeconomic system.

Ultimately currency, widely seen as ‘money’ by the herd and vice versa (thus both words will be used interchangeably in this discussion though there is a distinct difference) is entirely esoteric in nature, without true form or physical structure other than those fancy colored paper symbols in our wallets and electronic one’s and zero’s on our statements that are used to represent a non physical psychological and emotional construct.

The same can also be said about Gold and Silver which are commanding and enduring symbols of the money meme. While Gold and Silver may present in physical form as opposed to un-backed fiat, which is mostly accounted for by numerical journal entries with only a small percentage of the total actually represented as paper currency, Gold and Silver are still just symbols. However, unlike fiat, which comes and goes every few generations, for thousands of years the precious metals have consistently been powerful attractors upon which we focus our energizing faith and belief.

Their physical form, their luster and glow, their primeval allure can for many people be absolutely mesmerizing and speaks to an unknown energy, power and even spiritual magic that the economechanical magicians have trouble publicly acknowledging, let alone modeling. But they do recognize this primeval power and they are desperate to capture it by redirecting that power towards their flaccid fiat.

In my opinion this is why the fiat fakers will often use Gold and Silver to initially back their latest fiat creation, and then strip it away in order to extort the greatest amount of leverage from their wage slaves. Only when they have no choice will they reinstitute a precious metal backing to their worthless fiat, and then only to reset the meme and start it up all over again. One may not be able to totally control the wild (human) beast, but one most certainly can cage it.


Gold, FRN's and the Money Meme


Real or not, it is still just a symbol

The length and degree to which the fiat mongers attempt to demean and dishonor Gold during the latter stages of their currency debasement says all that needs to be said about Gold’s base power, meaning our base power. That said, and regardless of whether or not we believe Gold and Silver to be honest money and the basis for sound money policy (remember in Chapter One my discussion about ‘good’ money meme components many wish to resurrect or maintain while ignoring the overall debilitating effects of the money meme itself?) the monetary precious metals are still just (significant) symbols of the overall money meme. They are not washed clean of their money meme mind control function simply because they are considered beneficial to humanity overall and to us as individuals. They remain symbols, powerful though they may be, of the money meme.

Without fully realizing it we are all guilty of conflating money and/or currency, the primary symbols of the mind control money meme, with what money is used to create, enable or activate, meaning residential and commercial buildings, road and bridges, couches and cameras, intellectual property and all the other ‘real’ things that are formed from mind and matter.

The total and seamless integration of the money meme into our culture is designed to confirm and leverage the faith and belief we bestow upon the esoteric concept of ‘money’ by conflating it with the ‘real’ solid reality we use money to create. This is very deliberately done through propaganda and conditioning via education, beginning with our parents and extending through all levels of primary, secondary and graduate school, as well as through predictive programming and meme affirmation by way of movies, television and advertising and so on.

By extension, we are also conditioned to bestow our faith and belief upon the high priests and puppet masters of the money meme through adulation, worship and subservience to authority and power, which in turn is conflated with money and wealth in an endless positive feedback loop of alchemical abomination creation.

In effect we are all turning mental lead into fiat Gold; only the fiat is Fool’s Gold for those who are left holding it when the bottom begins to fall out of the Fed’s misdirected faith and belief confidence racket. This speaks again to the ultimate power of physical Gold and Silver as vessels of our faith and belief and why those who wish to control us so desperately want to siphon off or redirect some of that power to energize their own controlling fiat.

If we are to be totally honest with ourselves we must accept that Gold and Silver are simply more perfect vessels into which we direct our faith and belief compared to the un-backed fiat currencies. It is still a fear based mind control contrived scarcity money meme even when precious metals are used to ground our faith within the meme. Using Gold and Silver simply means the meme cannot be as easily hijacked or leveraged by others (as opposed to fiat currencies) precisely because our faith and belief is so strong when using the precious metals.

By extension, a precious metal backed currency is an extremely powerful controlling meme in its own right. It is not ‘pure’ just because its backing is a highly pure and refined element. Recognizing and acknowledging this does not diminish our power. What it actually does is it disarms and delegitimizes the predators that prey upon us if we embody this knowledge and understanding.

Perception is reality, so manage the perception and the reality follows

Is it money/currency that makes all those real things ‘real’ or is it those real things that make money/currency appear to be real? Since we perceive currency for what it can be used for and not for what it really is, which in reality is just a concept, a mental construct, a meme, then its ultimate value (which is shorthand for form and function) is based entirely upon our faith and belief in ‘it’.

We intuitively know this to be the truth when we speak about the various central banks debasing their currency, which ultimately means that the central banks are destroying any of our remaining residual faith and belief in these particular money meme symbols (the dollar, euro etc.) which they have utilized to enslave us. Our innate and naturally occurring power energizes and activates their dead fiat currencies, and not the other way around. But the powers that be and their central bankers are loath to admit this to us because this true fact, if widely known and understood, would instantly delegitimize them in the eyes of nearly all but the most subservient.  

We contrarians argue that the monetary system cannot last much longer in its present form because the numbers just don’t add up, that it is being artificially propped up, otherwise it would have collapsed long ago. Over and over again we present charts, graphs, statistics and historical testimony to ‘prove’ that the economic system’s days are numbered and that the end is near. And yet the system continues to persevere, to prosper even… least for some participants.

We declare that if only the slumbering minions would wake and recognize that they and their fellow codependent economic slaves are in deep doodoo, that the financial system would be exposed for what it really is……a corrupt system of extortion and slavery. (On a side note we must ask ourselves why anyone would possibly want to wake to the above described nightmare.) We understand that the status quo is maintained by the ignorance or apathy of those we claim to be asleep; otherwise we would not say this.

Doesn’t that declaration alone make the case that it is the (sometimes blind) faith and belief of the herd that perpetuates the present paradigm and not the desperate economechanical machinations of the controllers? That the economic numbers are manipulated in order to maintain the faith and belief of the herd in the system and not to maintain the actual system?


A Miracle Occurs 


In our material culture complexity infers credibility and belief.

Maybe we need to see this from another point of view. We consistently fail to recognize that math and science are simply intricate (and at times deeply flawed) descriptions of our perceived realty, and not the actual reality itself. And that our perceived reality as described by math, physics and science forms the bedrock basis of our overall worldview and of our economic system.

Because we tend to confuse or conflate math and science with reality itself, or at least we believe that the sciences accurately describe reality, thus reality appears to reinforce the validity of the description in a self reinforcing perpetual motion meme, when an esoteric ‘reality’ (such as economics) is described, presented or explained in mathematical and/or scientific language, we tend to believe that the esoteric reality is real as well. We have been indoctrinated and conditioned for decades, for centuries really, to trust the offered descriptions as real, as a genuine reality, as a truth, rather than to trust our own experience, common sense and inner knowing.

In effect the economechanical magicians have convinced us (all of us to some degree or another) to alter our perception to match their description. This is how we are manipulated, by convincing us to disbelieve our lying eyes. This easily explains how the present day leveraged fiat socioeconomic system has been able to endure so much longer than many people thought possible based solely upon the obvious unsustainability of the present day financial reality.  

The modern day financial system is entirely dependent upon our manipulated and deeply compromised faith and belief in order to function. By distorting our perception of (economic) reality, by pushing the boundary between believability and unbelievability further and further out, the socioeconomic system can endure long past its math and science based projected failure date. Add in our intense desire to believe, in part due to our raging co-dependency, and we can see how Wile E. Coyote can travel well past the cliff edge in flagrant violation of gravity.

Economic gravity doesn’t matter…….until it is consciously recognized and emotionally accepted as detrimental, then suddenly it matters a whole lot and comes roaring back with a vengeance. Ignorance truly is bliss, regardless of whether it comes in the form of a true lack of knowledge and understanding or as a part of our denial or as part of a manipulated and distorted perception.

The elite economechanical magicians (aka the top tier economists and central bank barons) use incomprehensible-to-the-layman (and to each other) math and science to describe why the system has indeed survived (aka the new normal) thus closing the faith and belief positive feedback loop. When only a few dozen individuals can successfully claim that they understand how a (faith and belief) socioeconomic system functions, and more importantly how to ‘fix’ the system, while the remaining 99.99% are told that all is well, that the system will be just fine if only we would do this or that, to just trust them, then we have fully crossed over from examining and describing a complex economic entity and into a religious socioeconomic cult based solely upon faith and belief.

I am constantly amazed, but not really surprised, by the degree of back peddling, amending, correcting and restating that occurs in all of the sciences, with economics leading the way these days. “Yes I know we once said that this (fill in the blank) was bad, but in the new normal this is now good. The proof that this change is good is that the system continues to operate and even prosper, so you should believe this now and not that.” I just love circular logic that feeds my confirmation bias and triggers those soothing endorphins.

Yet amazingly we as a society continue to believe in these seriously flawed descriptions primarily because they are promoted by so called experts and authorities and because we as a group and as individuals are so deeply compromised by our addictions and dependencies that we have become infantile pawns. Either we believe what we are told, regardless of how preposterous or ridiculous it may be, or we reject it and suddenly we are on our own, totally responsible for ourselves and, if we have family or close friends, several others.

This applies to all of us, particularly the educated professional class who are even more dependent upon the present day socioeconomic system to function so that their elevated status among the other wage slaves can be maintained. The house slaves are usually better fed and clothed if nothing else.

If the high priests of the various science and financial cults were to suddenly declare that they know not what they do, who is going to tell me what to think, say and most importantly do. In a culture that gloriously worships conformity of the individual and craves affirmation from our masters above, we shouldn’t be too surprised to discover the ugly underbelly of our hive mind.

Essentially we practice the abandonment of the self in pursuit of confirmation that ‘we’ are O-bee K-bee from authorities who author blatant fiction before changing their water into wine. Who really wants to walk waist deep into the cesspool our society has become and accept responsibility? Isn’t it so much easier to let those who (‘who’ else but the sociopaths?) say they can fix it to do so rather than to face it ourselves? Well………what a fine mess we have on our hands now that ‘they’ screwed things up so badly. 

You can’t make this stuff up because it just wouldn’t be believable. But if the economechanical authority figures author up another alternative reality fiction and then present it as proven fact we blindly, begrudgingly or blissfully accept it until another palatable ‘proof’ proves otherwise. Especially if we wish to believe that our well being and safety depends upon believing their fiction is fact, a wonderful escape clause for those of us who outsourced our personal sovereignty long ago.

When we do not actively and continuously seek our inner knowing to vet externally perceived reality we are easily manipulated into accepting all sorts of nonsense that is passed off as ‘real’ reality. While as individuals we can at times be somewhat sane, as groups we are almost always maddeningly insane. The thing is that the madness of crowds always springs from within. It is our madness exponentially amplified, reflected and directed by the crowd that is the ‘madness of crowds’ we actually see.

We must stop pointing to the unsustainability of the math as proof of imminent collapse and recognize that our collective faith and belief, and the resilience of that faith and belief, is the true measure of the socioeconomic systems strength or weakness.

Chapter Three to follow soon.



Cognitive Dissonance 

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Motley Fool's picture

Still interesting. Looking forward to part three.

While you are on the topic of re-examining your beliefs, CD,  you may want to give some consideration to the concept of a homogeneous, tightly knit, fully cooperative group of powerful individuals whose goals coincide exactly and are hell bent on suppressing the little people and exploiting them for all they are worth. Jus' saying. ;)

Baldrick's picture

I picked up a book last year titled Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness, Arab Travellers in the Far North. Basically it consists of many travel diarys from the tenth century onward. The following is an entry which relates to what was used as fiat in the land of the Saqaliba (eastern europe) by Abu Hamid Al-Andalusi Al-Gharnati.

   "For their dealings among themselves, they use old squirrel skins with no hair, that cannot be used for anything and are absolutely worthless even though there is still fur on the heads and paws. They reckon eighteen old skins to be worth a silver dirham and they tie them up in bundles called a juqn. With one of these skins, you can buy a great loaf of magnificant bread, large enough to sustain a big man; and they can be used to buy slave girls, young boys, gold, silver, beaver skins and other merchandise, in spite of the fact that in any other country, a thousand loads wouldn't buy you a bean and would be totally valueless.

  When the skins are completely worn out in a household, they put them in sacks, once they have been cut, and take them to a particular market, where there are men supervising the workers. The workers string eighteen skins together with strong thread, forming a single bundle. At the end of the thread, they attach a piece of black lead, sealed with a die stamp bearing the image of the king. They charge a single skin out of the bundle in order to seal up the rest. No one may refuse to accept them, either when buying or selling."

Money is anything, whether by faith or force.

blindman's picture

here a link to a discussion concerning
the veil of normal reality and why corruption
and deception are the rule in that domain.
Monday February 4 12:00pm
Gary Null - The Natural Living Show
bonus link.. rumble in the crumble.
Meet the Woman Who Stopped War Against Iran
The Story of Gwenyth Todd, Editorial Board Member, Veterans Today
Press TV’s documentary program “Untold Truths” reveals documentary film about the life and experiences of former White House Middle East policy adviser, Gwenyth Todd, who has escaped to Australia to keep safe from FBI prosecution.
This documentary speaks for itself.
Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
very sick world and it ain't getting any better friends,
good luck with the crumbling shelter, we need better shelter
than that! it occurs to me the lyric goes ...
"The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away.." well, what if it was given and lost?
what if salvation and grace were given and no one showed up?
.. nature does abhor the vacuum.

Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away.....

flacorps's picture

The barns stand until a storm or quake gets 'em.

But the barns you speak of are disused.

Our system is in everyday use, and people are crawling all over it applying patches, grinding off corrosion, adding sacrificial anodes, and generally even getting to the point of termites holding hands.

The problem with the situation as it stands is that fiat is everywhere, with gold and silver suppressed as daily options for the people to use in transacting.

At some point they are going to start putting dissenters on the "no buy" list because all the money will be electronic.

Predictions like that have been with us for at least two millennia ... on Patmos John wrote of the mark on the hand or forehead that would deny those without it access to commerce.

Is the barn we're all living in something that can be remodeled, or must it be pulled down?

DutchR's picture

I see cured firewood some scrap metal and a nice patch of soil...



Keep writing CD



Widowmaker's picture

There is no rot.

There is no decay.

There was never a barn.

Only fraud and obfuscation of fraud in every sense to "look" like a barn.

That hollow space of which you sense an absence is where everything of real value was monetized, thus inflation can convert back to absolutely nothing.  The same nothing from whence it came -- fiat imagination.

The bearded-bastard prints more nothing and fools call it a barn.

Collapse is confidence.

paintman's picture

To continue your old barn scenario;

The economechanical masters direct each of us to hold up a piece of that crumbling barn.  They assure us the barn will not fall as long as do our part.  Increasingly, we see people hurt when their supporting piece crumbles.  Our concern for our own safety increases.  At some point, people begin to run away in fear of their safety.  A critical point is soon reached, and the true collapse begins.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs. Cog correctly reminds me that it is a collapse when it runs into me. Otherwise it is just a crumble.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

There is no incentive in government or finance to do things carefully and intelligently, anything that would require effort and thought is at the bottom of the list, therefore...

eatthebanksters's picture

I never thought the whole thing would collapse, at least not suddenly. Look at the subprime crisis...they managed to wiggle out of that one.  Look at the Libor didn't even make the front page of the MSM news.  As long as the gubbermint provides handouts the sheeple won't look around and see what's really going on.  Meanwhile, the country is being dumbed down.  We are going through the cycle (albeit longer than 12 years) that Ayn Rand described in 'Atlas Shrugged'.  Things won't get better for the little guy until there is radical change.  That being said, until there is major unemployment and the little guy needs the majority of his annual income to feed himself and the rest for shelter (like in Egypt) we probably won't see the activity from the people demanding change.  This is slow motion death.  Just tell me, what's going to happen when interest rates rise, because in time youcan be sure they will (whether through a real rise or inflation)?

Little John's picture

Good piece of work.


Gordon_Gekko's picture

Excellent work CG!

This was such a great article that I felt compelled to get off my lazy ass to sign in and actually post this comment ;-)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Then that alone makes it a rousing success. Thank you. :)

stiler's picture

the analogy of a rotten tree is a good one too, one used by the Bible. To the eye the tree appears normal, healthy, but inside is rotten to the core. It will take a good wind to knock it over. The gospels speak of a huge tree that is so grotesquely large that even the birds roost in it. Birds are always symbols of evil. This means that in the last days there will be many heresies arising from the pure gospel of grace, in economics one that believes we are rich without truly being rich (Keynesianism) and that we see, when in fact we are blind. This is Laodician, meaning "people's opinions", and thus we live in the age of Laodicea.

ferret's picture


Another good article.  I have made many of the same personal observations, as have many othes on this blog.  But the focus on the time-line of delapidation of the building is going down a rabbit hole.  The issue is that the utility of the barn abruptly ended, and therefore routine maintenace stops.  If there was a substitute economical use for the barn, the routine maintenance would have continued.  One does not put enconomical resources into something unless it has utility.

tip e. canoe's picture

fortunately, in a free market for old barns, one man's shit is another's shinola.

unfortunately, in the not-so-free money markets, we're all in the shit together.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"One does not put enconomical resources into something unless it has utility."

Agreed. As I said in the piece I used the decaying barns as a means to examine collapse in a very simple form. The barns were abandoned; our economy and the fiat have not......yet. The process will most likely be slower than most people think, and then suddenly it will collapse.

But not before it is just a shell of its former self. I wanted to explore the real support of the money meme, our faith and belief. And I needed a vehicle to do so.

Shevva's picture

Remove all taxes would we then have a problem with money?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Why do we even need money? We need to follow that thought path well past the initial reflexive response and begin to question everything we think is correct, needed and accepted.

I posted a four part series on the money meme back in 2011. Take a look.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

"What's the alternative?" is what I've been asking myself for sometime now. Even more urgently, what's the alternative to participating in the fake money system to take care of the daily living "stuff" a.k.a. bills and shit?

jayman21's picture

"What's the alternative?"


Wow - some real interesting thinking going on today in the comments section.  I too have given this subject some thought.  If you think of money as a commodity to be priced no different than a commodity then you have started the process.  So then...I will try to price it?  Supply and demand?  Number of Sheeple per dollar in circulation?  Fool and Money?  Relative to Other Commodity?  So many ways to price it.  Once you know how to price it, you can figure out how to hedge it and with a little luck be free, minus black swans. 

If I ever figure it out.....

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I don't know the answer to your question, one I initially thought I needed to answer before going any further down the rabbit thought hole. That was a big mistake of mine.

I cannot free myself from (monetary) slavery until I truly understand that there is so much more to being a (monetary) slave than just the physical (monetary) bindings. Thus I do not need to have the answers before I can ask the questions. I must trust that the answer will reveal itself after I have done the work of asking the question by looking deeply within.

Often when I have done so I suddenly realize that I wasn't even asking the right questions, just the questions I was preprogrammed to ask. They were brilliantly designed to drive me towards the false conclusion that resistance was futile, so I might as well just make the best of it and enjoy my servitude. This is all part of my slave/victim mentality that is very cleverly hidden by my own ego.

It doesn't matter how many cognitive weapons I have arrayed around me if I never pick them up and question their very basis. When I do so sometimes I find that I have been duped into thinking I was asking the right questions when I had not.

Time to wake up some more CD.

Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Quality work CD. I only read your monographs when I'm in a good reading environment and in the proper frame of mind so I don't miss any nuances. As a fellow writer, I can see the process you're going through as you put these thoughts down. An author should have something to say and the means to get the message across in a way that the audience will want to read it. You are dialed in as far as this goes as you obviously feel strongly about your subject matter. Don't worry about being prolix - the mark of a good essay is the reader not wanting it to end. I'm already looking forward to the next installment.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank you.

I am a rank amateur when it comes to writing so it takes me a long time to write, with sometimes dozens of writes, edits and rewrites. This one was real tough coming out because I have been absent from the Zero Hedge contributor page for nearly a year, thus out of writing shape. But I feel the flow returning and it is extremely exciting.

I fully credit Mrs. Cog for her constant encouragement of me to pick it back up.....along with the occasional boot up my ass when needed. :)

Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Hats off to Mrs. Cog! One of my problems back in the day was being too critical and constantly starting over. This is a double edged sword in that it keeps you from getting cocky and arrogant, but it also plays hell with your output. Mrs. Spoilsport started taking the stuff I threw away out of the trash can and saving it. She confronted me with all of it after a few months and made a good case that the stuff I threw away was better than what I eventually published. The commentary from the audience here at ZH should dispel any doubts that you may have about how your work is being received. Take that and run with it.

And I disagree with you about being a "rank amateur". If you read some of the crap that gets posted or printed by so-called "journalists" these days and then consider that they get paid to inflict this rubbish on the public, you have to wonder what criteria is used to be designated a "professional writer".

Billy Bob's picture

as someone above has already stated, it has been a long time since I have  been moved to log in and share a comment.  Then again,  it has been a long time since CD has felt compelled to write something.  One of the major benefits of a CD piece is that is stimulates an intelligent comments section. (as opposed to the rest of the comments sections that flow from the typical Zero Hedge post.)

I don't really have a response to this chapter 2, but I do have a comment for Ralph above re: the journalists that publish rubish.  I suspect Ralph is reading the same "journalists" that I read.. .. those published in newspapers and blogs and some times magazines.  Having had some experience writing for publication, I understand the freedom and joy that CD must experience being able to write a piece that is not constrained by his publishers to "500 words or less".

It is always difficult to write a serious piece, but there is freedom and joy in writing without an editor leaning over a shoulder repeating "too many words".  Twain had it right when he talked about the difficulty of writing a shorter letter.

Personally, I am overjoyed that CD has been given the opportunity to write serious thoughts in his own style.  I know many others who write serious thoughts that are forced to write for the space and whose resultant work can seem like rubbish.

Nice to have you back CD!  Good work!



Dr. Engali's picture



Thank you for the excellent article. Like you my commute to and from the office is time I use for reflection and it is also the time I notice the slow collapse. I notice it through the deterioration of the infrustructure throughout the city. Whether it's the bridges with chunks of concrete breaking away from the walkways, or from the roads that where once well maintained crumbling away. As I drive through neighborhoods I notice yards that were once well maintained growing weeds and overgrown flower beds. I notice more and more houses being shuttered up. I myself live in a fairly upscale neighborhood, and it too is falling victim to the blight. 

I don't know what would be worse , a quick collapse with all the chaos and violence that comes with it, or a slow collapse where the people are impoverished and are conditioned to accept that this is as good as it gets. Neither one of the two outcomes seem very exciting to me. I like to think there is a netter future after all of this, especially for my kids..I know there can be, but it won't happen if we continue to allow the status quo to exist.

On another note...there is no need to apologize for the length of your articles. I find them very rewarding and thought provoking. If some don't like the length that is their problem. Again I Thank you for the post, and I look forward to the next installment.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank you for your thoughts and I appreciate your feedback regarding my apology. 

I once read somewhere that rule number one when writing is to never apologize, especially in advance. I tend to think this was written by someone who feels the need to appear resolute and certain when they write.

I have no real issue expressing doubt when I write. I am human, with plenty of flaws and foibles. You would certainly recognize them in me after meeting me in person a few times because I would not be able to successfully hide them all. No need to try to do so when writing. To be any other way would be dishonest and, in my opinion, it would show.

We can all sense dishonesty when we want to unless we are dishonest with ourselves. I suspect many people like my writing not because it is profound or enlightening, but because it is open and honest and I am searching for answers just like everyone else. I am speaking to my friends rather than lecturing my students. The discussions in the threads below my articles are always the best part of the exercise. :)

jayman21's picture

"Collapse infers that there is an end point, a firm and definite finality, a full stop which in my opinion doesn’t properly sync with the fact that life will carry on, even though the music and dance steps have (radically) changed. Thus the word ‘crumble’ seems more representative of the actual process underway."


Martin Armstrong made this point recently about what an end point looks like.  Everything we experience will ebb and flow (private assets vs public, right vs. left, warm vs. cold weather, rain vs. dry, etc).  The one time the ebb and flow will stop is what I think he called a WHITE EARTH.  It is covered with ice and reflects all the heat coming from the sun.  There is no life.  This is the point when all cycles stop.  Interesting thought exercise and more support for your crumble.


jayman21's picture

One additional thought.  There is a tug of war between being free and enslaved.  Short of a white earth, I wonder if this cycle follows fibonocci ratios?


Thanks CD - Love your writting and keep sending us stuff to think about.


**I never be on the top of the comment section.  I need to read your essays a few times:-)

tip e. canoe's picture

if this cycle follows fibonocci ratios?

hmmm, this would make sense wouldn't it?  as above, so below  wonder what Martin would think?

maybe the issue is not the fact that math is being used, but the type of math being used?

christo's comment on the farm from yesterday also comes to mind.

cool thing about fractals is that inside a fractal is always another fractal...

**me too always a Johnny come later, but then mama always said to chew before you speak, ja?   mad props to papa cog for understanding and sticking around to chat with us.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

My mind just exploded when I read his comment about fibonocci ratios. I instantly thought about fractals.

I feel a genuine obligation to spend time in the comment section and respond to those who have decided they wish to speak to me and to others about what they have just read.

Besides, the best part of posting is the comment section. I always feel I have learned a great deal after reading the commenter's point of view about what I have just thought deeply about. Suddenly I see that I missed a great deal. Many new thought paths to follow.  

jayman21's picture

Happy to return the favor.  My head has exploded a few times reading your thoughts.


One of my favorites from CD:  It was from a discussion about Knight.



"This "victim" mentality ("and always, always, use the passive voice: once again - it can never be insinuated that someone was behind the screw up.") meaning Knight was a victim of its own software, which of course is entirely the product of humans (the term "computer error" excuses us from us) rather than a victim of its own policies and procedures, not to mention management, extends to the very basic core of our collective victim mentality.

How often do we use the following term during the day. "(Fill in the blank) made me do (fill in the blank)." Short of a gun to head (and I might argue even then that we are not compelled to "do" anything) no one makes me "do" anything.

No one makes me angry, sad, glad, happy, upset, take that job, go to that college, take out that loan etc etc. These are all preprogrammed victim/slave mentality phrases along the same lines as "you can't fight city hall".

Welcome to the Slave Nation. Freedom begins within, including understanding how the oppressor's language already has captured us.

Time to wake up Neo and reclaim your own personal sovereignty."


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Short of a white earth, I wonder if this cycle follows fibonocci ratios?"

That is a very interesting thought and something I will definitely ponder. Thank you.

tip e. canoe's picture

over the last year, i've had the good fortune of exploring a couple dozen of these "tobacco barns" and other assorted old farm structures in various states of dilapidation.   what i've observed is that the key to determining whether or not the structure is salvagable lies not in the appearance of its external facade but in its structural foundation (and where and how the foundation was sited on the land on which it was built).   i've seen buildings that appear to be about to fall over solid as the rock they were built on (and thus their "value" is only a question of aesthetics over utility) where upon others that appear to be "charmingly weathered" are actually rotting from the bottom up and from the inside out.

of course, there's always a tipping point whereby the structure cannot survive the neglect & lack of care in which it has been treated by its owners while left to survive the elements on its own.   but this is no different than anything else, including humans.

perhaps monetary systems are the same?

tip e. canoe's picture

also, this seems like a good place to reintroduce the nagging question i've had for years:   why "precious metals"?   what is it that determines their value beyond the value of their perceived utility?    is there a correlation between what is considered "precious" in the monetary sense and the close relationship of their physical properties (i.e. all being considered 'transition elements' in the periodic table)?

is it simply coincidence that these precious metals all are considered "superconductors"?


blindman's picture

you might something here....
Religion and Science are Identical
"..Religion and Science are of the same process and this process is the manifestation of Man.
Cause and Effect: Where 'cause' is Unity and Effect is
existence, in multiplicity
Where 'effect' is the manifestation process of the
emergent phenomenon, in this case man. The process has an end; the point of return
where this point is akin to royalty as gold; redundant and final.
That is, on the path between Cause and Effect or between Unity and Manifestation (at that point of the finality phase of the Effect) the active agents of this process are the esoteric knowledge or the intuitive or the innate experiential knowledge of origin or of Unity - that is, from whence one comes - and the exoteric knowledge which is Science, or the activity of enquiry upon ourself - in complicit and therefore experiential process.
"..And in "electricity" where there is positive charge and negative charge, and
in plasma - positive and negative ions differ mainly by the number of electrons.
The objective being "polarity". But polarity signifies achievement; the end; the point of return, redundancy as so represented by gold." ... pjb
and in language verbe - noun ....from which we gain consciousness of that
which is redundant or repeating or harmonic and resonant. of value when
we in our being can resonate with it, outside our being, as they have
become electrically identical and connected or of the unity/origin.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

is it simply coincidence that these precious metals all are considered "superconductors"?

Are there really any coicidences?  Or is "coincidence" merely an obfuscatory word for "I really dont know what caused X?" Im inclined to the latter, and think you may be onto something w/r/t to precious metals' unusual electrochemical properties.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have many thoughts on this subject, none of them fully formed. It usually takes a decision on my part to write about something that forces me to examine my thinking for critical flaws. It is only then that I find out there are often many.

The steel mind is sharpened by the thought stone.

Ghordius's picture

historically, it had a lot to do with the silk and spice trade in the old world, and so roman money getting as far as China and back

but the first monetary metal was iron - this before the technology for smelting it was found out and it's only source was from meteors

Achille's sword and armour of legend: meteoritic iron, giving his "black clad" troop an immense advantage over the bronze age warriors of Troy

tip e. canoe's picture

coincidentally enough ghordius, iron is also a transition element, as is copper.   the legend of Achilles' sword can be read as the moment that iron, the yang element overtook the yin element, copper (and its bronze derivative), in the cultural psyche, the birth of the Iron Age of Western Civ, filled with miraculous inventions & unspeakable horrors.   

this intersection between ancient mythology & modern science is such a rich territory for exploration for sure.

Ghordius's picture

monetary systems are absolutely the same, +1. in fact a fiat currency is a bit like a bridge made out of stone, roman style


- first you take wooden scaffolding, lots of it (usually that's the job of gold or other commodities)

- then you build out of stone (in this metaphor the "understanding" that you do sensible policies)

- then you can take the scaffolds away, and traffic can pass

after a while you start wondering if you really have to balance your budget, if you can't just monetize, etc. i.e. you start taking un-critical stones away

after a while you take even more - arguing that "it held", and so "it will", for ever

nmewn's picture

"I am constantly amazed, but not really surprised, by the degree of back peddling, amending, correcting and restating that occurs in all of the sciences, with economics leading the way these days. “Yes I know we once said that this (fill in the blank) was bad, but in the new normal this is now good. The proof that this change is good is that the system continues to operate and even prosper, so you should believe this now and not that.” I just love circular logic that feeds my confirmation bias and triggers those soothing endorphins."

My personal favorite (from whatever economist or scientist or politician) is..."this changes everything we thought we knew!"


Why, just last year eggs were going to send me to an early grave, today, not so much ;-)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

As a young adult I was going straight to hell if I ate meat on Friday. Then one day that all changed.

"Oh, wait a minute. There was a comma here in the bible that someone mistranslated way back in 573 AD. It's all good dog. Big Macs on Friday are now A-OK."

I was an altar boy as a child and well versed in the word of God. This "change" helped push me over the edge. It was clear it had nothing to do with the word of God and everything to do with the faithful wanting their Big Mac on Fridays.

Boxed Merlot's picture

It was clear it had nothing to do with the word of God...


That's pretty funny.  Being raised in the protestant side of the aisle, I was taught fish stick Fridays were the result of the pope using his influence to help the failing fishing industry.  Another angle of economechanical manipulation with an emphasis on the faithful.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I was taught you just can't trust those GD Protestants.  :)

I am still washing and scrubbing my early programming out of my head. I will never finish, but I finally have a pretty good running start. :)

nmewn's picture

Well, I am a pastors son from the protestant side of the aisle too...I've seen and know of things that would curl your hair or make it fall

Keep an open mind as you scrub away the graven images you were told not to be worshipping to begin with ;-)

BeetleBailey's picture

Excellent Cog. Many Thanks.

undertheradar's picture

yes the question is which way the cookie crumbles.

resurger's picture

Dear CD,

 I loved the read thank you so much +5

Many good points, and to add to your thoughts I haven’t seen the word "Pride" appearing in your article! The puppet masters behind the curtains and their minions if they were to read this, they will ignore it, why?! Because they know that this is the truth coming hard at their domes like a 0.50 caliber shutting down their bull shit beliefs neo Keynesian magic money trees.

Their "Pride" will not allow them to admit failure and take a heavy burden from reality check. Also as you have said this will interrupt their standards of living and they will suffer harsh consequences for saying what is right. I have learnt this from an Egyptian journalist and author Dr. Mustafa Mahmoud.

Regarding Gold and Silver I strongly believe in it, gold was mentioned 8 (or 13) times in the Holy Quran along with silver. And if there will ever be an afterlife or if you believe in one, your house or castle will be made of Gold and Silver.

There is a saying for Imam Ali I have read on money (Science is better than money, because money guards it, and science guards you, money vanishes with spending, and science is exalted on spending, science rules and money is ruled upon, money stackers died while they are living, and scientists will last till the end of times, and money is the substance of lust”

You know, when Moses was suffering from the pharaoh, he was praying to god that he curses him and save the humanity from his evil but god only listened after 40 years of prayers because the Pharaoh was good to his “Mother”

So when his mother died, god cursed him the same year.

So this fucking government maybe there is one tiny single thing which is benefitting some that we cannot see, but that won’t delay the inevitable collapse which will be the result of the crumble that you have mentioned.