The Journey and the Destination

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The Journey and the Destination


Cognitive Dissonance


“Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump


Mrs. Cog and I live at the end of a dirt road off of a dirt road off of a back road up on the beautiful Blue Ridge Plateau of Southwestern Virginia. God’s country as I’m fond of saying to just about anyone who’s willing to listen. But we are (intentionally) a ways off the beaten path, which means we must travel more than a mile of dirt road before we hit first pavement of the day.

Once we arrive at that first intersection, where brown dirt greets blacktop, life for us is not much different than just about anyone else pulling out of their suburban driveway or parking lot for the first time that day. We seemingly face a choice; turn left or turn right. Oftentimes we believe our choices in life are dictated solely by our ultimate destination, and thus we feel there’s no real choice to be selected at all. I owe I owe, so off to work I go.

The paved side road we initially reach, which in my mind is a classic utilitarian Destination road, runs more or less parallel to The Blue Ridge Parkway, an equally classic Journey road and a Virginia scenic byway. There are several points on the Destination road in either direction where we can turn directly onto the Parkway. In fact if we were to travel the Parkway for a hundred miles in either direction we would find that for much of the way there are dozens of side roads that run parallel to, or intersect with, the Parkway.

These days when I hit tarmac for the first time I try to pause a moment and ask myself a simple question. What type of path would I like to travel to get to where I’m going? In most cases the Journey road is much longer and more time consuming, but relaxing and wonderfully scenic. On the other hand the Destination road is just the opposite, narrow and twisty and demanding of my attention, but often more direct and much faster.

If you think about it for a moment, while the first decision point crossed may dictate several other choices that follow, there are often many combinations of routes you can travel to arrive at your final destination. And this is why for Mrs. Cog and I it is often not an either/or, left/right, Journey/Destination choice. Rather there is really no need to make a definitive choice driven solely by the destination unless we wish to select a specific chocolate from the box. And where’s the fun in that?

Precisely because the Parkway crosses all manner of back roads, lately if time allows (and I do try to allow for plenty of time these days) I have been using the Journey road as a gateway to explore all kinds of side roads I might never have traveled otherwise. The same applies to several Destination roads around here. Many meander back and forth through the hills and valleys and several join back up with the Parkway at various points. Half the fun of getting lost is finding your ‘self’ again.

The Journey

For most of my life I have tended to travel unfamiliar roads just to see what’s down there. Once they are known to me I then attempt to work them into my travel routine as much as possible. Even if I have traveled a road dozens of times before there is always much more to see and learn along the way if only I would bother to really look rather than just to see.

One can find inspiration wherever one looks, a conscious choice we often ignore or don't even know exists. The truth of the matter is that I have always had endless possibilities to explore and I was just too blind or lazy (crazy?) to ever fully see them for what they are. One does not need to travel the plateau in order to experience the endless possibilities of each day. Life’s choices are only absolute ‘or’ rather than ‘and’ decision points commanded by circumstances or destination if I consciously decide to create them that way.

The truth is that whenever I wish to do so, I can close my eyes and reach into my box of chocolates to see what type of surprise or inspiration life has to offer. Ultimately it is not a choice of Journey or Destination, but rather Journey and Destination. We can have life's box of chocolates and eat it too because our conscious, aware and willing life choices either replenish or drain the box. Deliberately expand your field of choices, then act upon them and you will refill your box of chocolates.

If there is one theme that resonates with me, within Cognitive Dissonance, it is to question everything beginning with ourselves. Just because we have always turned left at the end of the driveway doesn’t mean we should do so today. Get up thirty minutes or an hour early and turn right instead. More than anything else you will do during your day, breaking from your routine in such a small but significant way will reinforce your continued awakening by changing your physical and mental perspective which in turn continues the freeing of the mind.

Next time you reach the first decision point in any aspect of your life (physical, spiritual, career, family, travel, hobby etc.) close your eyes and reach into life’s box of chocolates. You might be surprised what you pull out and where it will take you from there.



Cognitive Dissonance


The Destination

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SgtShaftoe's picture

We miss you Cog.  Hope to see more of you around here, but it seems many of our old guard have moved on to other things.  It's amazing to think how far we all have come in the last few years.  

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The old guard still lurks, but rarely posts anymore. One form or another of Zero Hedge fatigue I suspect.

After a while if the anger is not sated then either it burns us up or we seek peace elsewhere. I have gone through several iterations of this myself. Others feel it is futile to rant and rage against the machine if we can't actually change it. I have discovered that the only change I can make is within me. That is where I try to spend most of my time.

That and playing house with Mrs. Cog. :)

SgtShaftoe's picture

I battle with that myself constantly, always trying to hunt for a balance.  Though I do get satisfaction from teaching people.  The more people we can educate, the closer we get to critical mass and hopefully meaningful change. 

I'm also still trying to figure it all out, but it seems that the more I learn, the less I feel I know.  I just end up with more stacks of books. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The more I know, the more I know that I do not know.

Seer's picture

Don Henley, Heart Of The Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand

phaedrus1952's picture

Best wishes to you and the family now and through the new year, Cog.

Whether you choose to recognize it or not, it takes a great deal of courage to up and move and start a new life as you have done.  I salute you and look forward to many inspiring and thoughtful contributions from you and the Ms. in the future.




Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I don't think it is a failure to recognize 'courage' within me with regard to changing my life and lifestyle. I was already ready to make big changes, it just took a catalyst to move me forward. I actually feel a little silly and ashamed for not doing so sooner. When the cake is ready to be placed in the oven all it usually takes is a helping hand.

BTW Mrs. Cog was, and is, my catalyst. But don't tell her I said that. :-)

Palisade's picture

Hi CD,

Thanks sharing your thoughts, I have always appreciated your posts though it has been awhile. I have to thank you as you were guiding light for me many years ago as I began my journey to learn the truth about what is happening and why. For those who are relatively new, I encourgage you to check out some of CD's earlier work, these are two of my favorites as they helped me at a time when I needed it.

My journey down the rabbit hole has taken me many places, quite often to places focusing on my health as I learned a while ago, there are many ways to be slowly poisoned whether it by air, water, food, injections and even finance. This site was my first place to understand things better and the comments were even more vaulable then I would have thought when I first came here.

My recent journey has taken me to the Electric Universe theory and space weather (check out and I might also suggest some of the work of Velikovsky - his conclusions will challenge what you understand about science, religion, history and more. The planet and solar system as we see it today is not how it has always been, even in the age of man.

Wishing you and Mrs. Cog a great 2014 and thanks again for all of your contributions over the years.

Mrs. Cog's picture

Love the work of David Talbott/Wal Thornhill and S0... thus my avatar. Certainly opens one's eyes to so much more. :-)

Palisade's picture

I did not recognize it - I am still a bit new to their work but I do love it. Are you are aware of the EU conference? It looks interesting. I also really liked Symbols of Alien Sky. Are you on the S0 forum?

Mrs. Cog's picture

Yes and yes. We had discussed sending Cog to the conference in Albequerque in 2013 but in the end did not. I am on the S0 forums but not as Mrs. Cog. Symbols of an Alien Sky was great. It is an Electric Universe indeed. :-)

Palisade's picture

Great. Let's connect there - we probably have already chatted there. :) I have been busy posting lately and recently did this piece:


Hapa's picture

Nice to see folks opening to the Electruc Universe paradigm, with the recognition that roving planets were not always in their stable orbits viewed today.  The story of the ending and beginning of earth eras with the collapse of civilizations due to tremendous sky born catastrophes is a story waiting to be told.  I also think humanity has been deeply traumatized in historic times (the last major period of 800- 685 BCE), and this is one of the reasons we are so dysfunctional as a species.  Velikovsky called it Cultural Amnesia. Alfred de Grazia refers to it as the evolution of Homo Schizo, a reaction to extreme degadation of culture and personal psychology. This is my interpretation in my Planet Amnesia web site:

See you in Albuquerque in March 2014 for the next EU conference!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Nice web site. Will spend some time there over the next few weeks.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Question everything including ourselves and all that we 'know' is true. Once we believe we know something we rarely ever question it again. This is why the sociopaths begin by conditioning the children. We are the conditioned children of yesterday. The place to stop this cycle is here, now and within.

Thank you for your high praise. I intended Dispatches to speak to those who were in an emotionally bad state as I was at one point. I am very happy to hear that it spoke to you when you needed it most.

BTW while going through some old articles that were never posted I came
across a third chapter of Dispatches. I hope to get that up in the next
few weeks.

Palisade's picture

Yes, after reading Velikovsky, I realized that much of what I thought I knew was not true - this was even after being awake to so much of what is happening. That is why I liked your puzzle analogy in the second of the series I linked. It provided me space to hold facts, statements, concepts without dismissing. Some turned out to be false, but at least I was able to explore them further to learn that truth.

The challenge for me is to exist in a world where almost everyone I physically encounter does not have the information I do so they undersand very little about what is happening to them and others. Unfortuately, they are also so stuck in their ideologies, unwilling to hear any truth because so much of it is uncomfortable and to shatter one aspect of it, destroys their entire world. Not an easy thing to get through. I also find it challenging when even so many awake people miss and don't understand some of the larger psyops going on.

One song I found I like that covers some of the above: and is fun to listen to.

The Burning Planet's picture

That you opened with a quote from an idiot and an allusion to a petty, jealous and quite mad Judeo-Christian "God" is never a good sign.

Life, Gaia, Nature, whatever she's calling herself these days can take her box of chocolates and shove them up her ass. Better yet, put a cork in her vagina. 



Grouchy Marx's picture

Burning - I see you also chose to open with a quote from an idiot.

Very sorry about your cat - your loss must have been traumatic. 

The Burning Planet's picture

I'm not gonna play the "Humanity is Bitchin" game. Not on News Years Day, or any other day.

DaveyJones's picture

add a "g" and I think you're there

anger is a transitional energy not a location

The Burning Planet's picture

Ha ha.


I like ZH for the wit, like yours. But every once in awhile I will say something that's hung over and personal. And when you say something personal you are basically removing the filter from between your mouth and brain. Sorry to annoy. Won't happen again until 2015. 

The Burning Planet's picture

At least I am not one of those gaytards who + their own posts. That's gay as hell. I'd rather be hated than be one of those guys. You take your beatings on ZH, and you take it like a man.

Seer's picture

WOW!  You're pretty insecure, aren't you?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Wow! Lots of anger there my friend. Hope you find some peace.

The Burning Planet's picture

Just not into the backslapping, aint humanity neat bullshit. Too much smugness and self-satisfaction going around already. No need for me to add to it. What's needed is a cold bucket of water, not more hair of the dog. I think you know that cog. You are too smart NOT to know it. I do not wish people Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, because they are stupid things to say. And I think you know that too. But you have a fan club and you have to play to your audience. That's cool. I, however, have no such ties that bind. So I am free to say whatever I want. Cheers.

Seer's picture

I suppose that one can take this as the meaning...

I'm of the notion that one ought not do anything unless one is behind doing it.  Also, things, ALL things are what you make of them.

"You are too smart NOT to know it."

"Smart" has nothing to do with anything.  IT and many other words are but pitiful attempts to share a feeling.

As to "Christmas" and "New Year," they but present an opportunity to be sincere about one's feelings.  By all means, if you don't have that feeling then don't try to fake it.  BUT, to suggest that just because YOU don't have the same feeling that someone else has that doesn't mean that the other person is NOT somehow being sincere or is being disingenuous.  YOU could be right about CG.  YOU could be wrong.

Again, learn from Derrick Jensen's words that it's OK to realize that we're all fucked AND that life is good.  How in the fuck can anyone "make" life good if one doesn't FEEL good about it?  (I"ve seen people in abject poverty feeling good!  That is in no way any endorsement of poverty.) And as someone like yourself believes (and I'm with you on this), this is ALL there is.

Maybe one day you'll get it (and no, it doesn't mean being brainwashed).  I've learned in lessons.  My wife was my most important lesson- if there is really any "god" then "god" is surely IN her.  You see, I worship her; she worships me.  That's exactly as I was soliciting when I was seeking a life-partner to go the distance with.

It's a state of mind.  It's what's in the heart.  Ain't no set of words going to prove anything.  The proof is in the being.  CG is reminding us that there's more than the "we're really fucked" part, that's my take anyway...

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

It's funny, but for me viewing life a journey is somewhat unsettling. I look back at my life when my time was focused on goals and objectives as the saddest part of my existence. I walked the journey to become a microbiologist and performed all the required tasks for completion. I did this many other times for things I thought I wanted out of life. Once achieved there was no nirvana. Never did any tangible success or item ever begin to give me fulfillment.

Then I took a yoga class a friend had coerced me to take. I found the benefits wonderful and diligently immersed myself into yoga to learn all the poses to perfection. At six months I cornered the teacher in anger. I had dutifully worked hard but several positions were unattainable! She laughed and said yoga is a practice not a perfection. I demanded she tell me when it would be reasonable to achieve these postures. I had worked hard and wanted to see results, I still couldn't even do Crow pose. She laughed again. "You will do crow pose when it is right for you to do crow pose. This may be tomorrow or 30 years from now. No one can know but I will tell you this, it will most likely happen when you least expect it and when you aren't even trying to do it. It is like the bumblebee who physicists have proven have no aerodynamic qualities yet they don't know this and just fly anyway." I was humbled and let go at last.

Life for me is more of a state of mind and being still. So much of what has happened to me seems so serendipitous I have trouble seeing it as a linear journey. Roads have definite delineations but I seem to often end up somewhere different from where my fellow travelers do. My husband claims this is because I am subconsciously making intentions and the world is responding to this. I can't see this and therefore disagree with him. Life is truly intense if you never know what world awaits when you open a door.


Seer's picture

The door always leads back to home, to one's state of mind...

My sister once told me that the only thing one has any control over is whether one lives or dies (suicide).

Years ago when I kicked the nasty habbit of smoking tabacco I forced myself to understand it as not a matter of having smoked, nor of how long it had been since I'd quit, but rather one of whether at any given moment I would consider myself a smoker or a non-smoker.

My mind never settles down.  I'm OK with just letting it run wild...  (I tend to multi-task- I'm always picking up on noticing things as though I'm just strolling along, even though I'm hard at work- I'm always on the lookout for the things that need to be seen, heard, smelled, felt- the stuff of life).  It is, I believe, about the acceptance of oneself as life; and it don't matter if this occurs early or late, only that it take place.

DaveyJones's picture

Nice piece miffed

the only time I seriously went after Yoga was when I was fifteen and injured from track and field. I have to say it was an amazing calm. The flexibility did something to the brain. That's half the reason were in this mess. They've made our brains stiff  

Uncle Remus's picture

Jeebus, you sound like Ms. Remus. You even have the same profession.

Nobody's picture

A little thought now that you have settled in.
High tunnel greenhouse
A good way to stretch out the season.
Good luck in the new year!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs. Cog and I are now planning next growing season and the discussion always turns to a green house. Thanks for the tip.

logicalman's picture

Aquaculture - take a look at this before you start building.

Seer's picture

I like thinking about things like this.  A friend is really interested in aquaculture.  I'm wanting to keep in touch to see how things go.

Gene Logsdon once tried raising carp on grass: I think taste didn't pass muster.  Grass farmers tend to do things like that :-)

Joel Salatin does vertical operations with rabbits above pigs (I believe that's the order).  Runs chickens in off-season greenhouses.  Turns compost using pigs: cattle in barns and he keeps stocking with straw and dropping in corn here and there for the pigs to find at the end of winter.

G.O.O.D's picture

It is sad that the world’s people have been conditioned to believe that happiness comes from things purchased. Watching “consumers” frantically trying to fill the void in a futile attempt to gain “happiness” is truly depressing. I see the hole in these peoples souls; the vacant stare as if in some kind of shock, the process of them thinking what they are going to say next instead of listening to what is spoken. When will man ever find enlightenment? When will we as specie ever decide we have killed enough?  Not to be a downer for 2014, and a happy new year, but consumerism has destroyed the world. Of course this is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Seer's picture

Well, perhaps there's hope... (yeah, sorry about pulling That word out, but I'm meaning to use it in the genertic way)

750 million people in India live on $0.50/day.  I'd have to say that this represents a LOT of people who aren't doing consumerism.  And, there's like 2/3 of the world's population that lives on $3/day or less (my wife is from one such place).  No, no reason to worry that we're all going to fall victim to consumerism.  However... it is a good idea for those in the higher income brackets to contemplate what a lower income might mean and to start thinking about embracing lifestyles that are closer to that of the majority of the humans on the planet; or, well, Mother Nature will be certain to one day force that...

Dutch's picture

Cog, I have lurked from basically day one on ZH, and finally am compelled to post. You live in VA, but your journey/destination trip can be done anywhere. I am in Southern California, and the same thing applies, if you look for it. I will take the journey trip today, need to check the well and the water pipes on the hideout, and make sure the fruit trees are OK. I think this can be done anywhere (except maybe NYC, unless you skip town to do it). Find your journey in your own backyard, wherever you are. It is out there.

Remus is the "other" best site on the web. The thing is, he posts every Monday or Tuesday, and there is no archive, so if you miss it, it is gone. There is an important message somewhere in that, where everything else is archived forever.

Fred on Everything is another site that will appeal to ZHers, again a weekly, but he does archive. Remus mostly aggregates, but Fred takes one idea per week and runs with it (as you do less regularly, Cog). Remus and Fred get us away from the markets, for the most part, and getting out and about is always a good thing, even on line.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I always get a thrill when someone comes out of the shadows to speak here in the comment section. As I have always said, the best ZH has to offer is in the comment section with the articles a distant second.

I had not heard of Fred on Everything. That's sad because it seems I have missed a lot. Good thing he archives. Thank you for the contribution to the tip jar.

masterinchancery's picture
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

SheHunter's picture

My home is 30 miles from the nearest town and 4 miles from a CO wilderness area.  There is a bear den on the hill right behind the cabin - came face to face with him a few years ago when I peered into the den upon finding it.  In the winter months my few in- shout distance neighbors head south.  The property borders FS and the airedale pup and I often snowshoe wayyyy out checking to find animal tracks left in country silent of man and machinery. On snowshoes a person travels slowly and in this day of constant sensory bombardment many might be bored. Not the case if a person sees around and outside themselves. Why did the vole dig back into snow right here? Ahhh..feather tracks of a great horned owl. Is that drumming of beak on bark the pattern of a Downey woodpecker? Let's  follow this  lone fresh 'yote track and see what he was up to last night. Hey you darn pup!!  STOP standing on the back of these snowshoes or I'll tackle you right here!!  (Ooof, tussle, laugh). There is much to be said of our journeys large and small.  Thanks for putting your thoughts out for all of us Mr. Cog.  I look forward to many more. Cheers fellow ZH-ers.

 ~SheHunter~  the corny name created one eve over brandy with a good friend after a day elk hunting. 

Disenchanted's picture

"Trip hard and good motherfuckerz."

Happy New Year...

Seer's picture

I suppose laughing at this is a giveaway...

Shad_ow's picture

Beautifully written Cog.  You are truly a blessed man.  Thanks for inspiring us on this 1st day of the new year to think about where we are going and what we want in life.

Praying we all have the wisdom to choose the high road.  That is the only way to true peace and happiness.

logicalman's picture

Best wishes for 2014 to all at ZH, the place I come to when I need to escape the manipulation and BS.

Reaper's picture

Way north of Virginia, the abandoned roads here are hidden in a hundred year growth of trees. The location of home-sites is found by seeing the apple blossoms in the woods in the spring. There are no chimneys, because they used stoves. So many dreams were just that. If your dream lasts your lifetime, you're lucky. Good luck, Cogs.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The last place we explore for hidden gems is always in our own backyard. Never understood why tourists flocked to my (old) neck of the woods until I went looking myself.

In the summer of 1998 I moved from the CT/RI area down to Northern VA. Since I knew well in advance that I was moving I decided to order up an AAA travel book of the area and see what they had to say. I then spent every weekend and several stolen days exploring that which I would soon be leaving. I will never ever make the same mistake and ignore the beauty and magic already surrounding me.