The Santa Claus Lie – A Gateway Drug to Collective (Self) Deception

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The Santa Claus Lie – A Gateway Drug to Collective (Self) Deception


Cognitive Dissonance


I spend what some might imagine is an inordinate amount of time thinking about lies and self deception. But from my point of view it is a fundamental flaw that cripples us as individuals and as a society. Lying and lies permeate our culture from top to bottom in ways we often never perceive and rarely wish to see. Essentially it is the foundational building block that supports all that is wrong with us and why we continuously repeat our oftentimes disastrous personal and societal mistakes. Deception, self and societal, is the fatal flaw, something we have come to call ‘being human’.

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Consider for a few moments how often we as parents come face to face with the sometimes embarrassing problem of explaining to our young children why we tell public and private lies, but that they should not lie to us. How our telling a lie can actually be good under certain circumstances, such as shielding our self and others from a painful (self) truth or a blow to (our) their ego. What is often unspoken is that we lie to others in order to be lied to by others.

The odd thing is that if you were to ask random people on the street if they believed themselves to be honest you would get answers along the lines of “Yes”, “It depends”, “For the most part” or “Most of the time”. I suspect my readers have answered the question in a similar vein; I know this author has. We really do believe we are (basically) honest because we have willingly (eagerly?) deconstructed the dividing line between ‘honest’ and ‘dishonest’ and reformed it into a soft squishy malleable moving target somewhere near the center.

In other words we ‘know’ that stealing $1,000 from our employer or family is dishonest, but taking some pens and paper from the office or an old mechanics socket set from gramps………well, that isn’t really ‘stealing’ per se, just sort of borrowing on a semi permanent basis. Unless of course we want to believe that they ‘deserve’ to be stolen from, thus righting some previous wrong. Then all bets are off.

Half Truth

Seven Billion and Counting

The examples of personal and social dishonesty are as numerous and varied as the people who practice (self) deception, which pretty much means all of us. And while just about anyone can conduct a reasonably honest philosophical discussion about self and social dishonesty, few of us would reveal our deepest darkest secrets to even our closest friends, family or spouse because those secrets often revolve around overt or covert dishonesty, even if only to ourselves.

And then there is the self deception that we aren’t consciously aware of, clouded by both denial and social programming. While my previous articles have discussed denial ad nauseam I wish to focus a bit on the social programming aspect promoted mostly by herd behavior and alluded to by the title of this article.

I have long felt that religion was (and in many respects still is) a gateway drug to rampant self deception and public enabling of the cultural lie. Please understand that I am talking about manmade and man administered ‘religion’ and not about whether or not there exists a supreme being. But as the world’s population slowly drifts away from blind religious obedience and begins to recognize the inherent hypocrisy of those who promote religious fervor and division (my God way or the highway) another mind control mechanism has risen to take its place……...narcissistic consumerism based upon the lie of endless resources and ever increasing debt.

I propose that some of, if not most of, our lying behavior is programmed into us culturally by social acceptance of ‘harmless’ self deceptions such as the Santa Claus lie. The key is that the lie must be perceived as harmless or as causing less harm (a wonderfully relative term that can be made to accommodate any lie) than the ‘truth’ might cause to the victim of the lie. From that point on our own internal psychological rationalization and justification process takes over and we reform the lie into a (relatively) harmless half truth/white lie in our own ‘eyes’. Or at least a lie softened enough for most of us to stomach.

Of course this entire process is infinity more complex than I have just outlined and yet amazingly it is that simple. And it all starts when we as very young children begin to receive our own personalized imprinting courtesy of our initial programmers, our parents and primary care givers who themselves have been, and continue to be, imprinted by society at large and their inner social circle of personal peer review. From there it trickles down into our inner consciousness for final fine tuning and assimilation.

Truth Spelled Out

Infinite Creativity

We are all individual conscious entities engulfed within a herd of like minded individuals, interconnected yet separate, seemingly born without an operating manual yet infinitely capable of self expression, creativity and inspiration beginning at a very young age. We are born into this reality as individuals, yet we spend our entire lives trying to be just like the rest of the herd, a product of centuries (millennium?) of conditioning to ignore the innate knowledge and wisdom that springs from within in order to blindly follow the herd and the alpha directly ahead.

Seen from this perspective, something like The Santa Claus Lie has great utility in the conditioning process. Something that started out innocent enough, a tale of Saint Nichols, is slowly hijacked and commercialized by entities who wish to condition us in a way that creates ‘demand’ for products and services, many of which we do not need or even desire except for the fact that others in the herd are conditioned to believe they ‘need’ them, thus we do.

I find it endlessly fascinating that in ancient indigenous cultures the shaman or healer’s purpose was not just to administer the natural healing arts to his local tribe members, but to teach and guide the tribe to be emotionally and psychologically healthy and fit. Call it original sin, call it ‘being human’, call it herding behavior, but the shaman understood these self destructive tendencies and worked to help his people overcome this strange attraction in order to grow and blossom as powerful reality creators.

Intraspecific Kleptoparasites

Yet the modern sociopathic man, essentially parasitic individuals who present themselves as our so called ‘leaders’ and thus the ultimate in Intraspecific Kleptoparasites, (Kleptoparasitism may be intraspecific (the parasite is the same species as the victim) or interspecific (the parasite is a different species) make every effort possible to exploit and enflame the very human flaws ancient shaman tried to heal. At the very least the shaman helped the tribe be aware of, and thus better able to defend themselves from, their own psychological and emotional flaws.

Seen from the perspective of the larger battle between reality creating humanity and those who wish to subvert and control humans for the parasite’s own benefit, one must question everything and anything that presents itself as (innocent) cultural expressions.

We tend to think that large population ‘control’ is nearly impossible because there are so many different human (re)actions to control. The key to understanding how this is done is to recognize that subverted humanity is perusing what it believes is its own self interest rather than that of the parasites. Thus total control is not needed, just a deceptive nudge here and there to move the willingly compliant herd along in the general direction desired by the Intraspecific Kleptoparasites.


Cognitive Dissonance


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
TORNasunder's picture

First Thanks to Cog and all the thoughtful commentators. I read the article and 95% of the comments and most of it was thought provoking and stimulating. It was very timely for me as earlier today I was writing out thoughts on how perspective and inherent filters(biases) shape the way one views the world or is 'able' to view the world. And obviously Religion is a significant filter for most persons.

Santa is a great example of how at one point a person believes a myth(lie) or perpetuates one. A myth that for a 5yo has a great deal of proof to it's legitimacy(Christmas activities, TV, peer behavior) even though the story is farcical. Flying reindeer, delivering presents worldwide in one night, fat man narrow chimneys, all knowing stranger(well thanks to the NSA this one is no longer farcical).

I am reminded of this quote from JFK.
"For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

Mythology distracts us everywhere—in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in foreign affairs as in domestic affairs."

Look forward to more of your articles Cog.

Seer's picture

The most damaging myth is that of it being mandatory to strive for perpetual growth (on our finite planet).

Is there anyone out there that doesn't believe that earth is a sphere?  How can a sphere be infinite?  Yet...

the grateful unemployed's picture

"everybody lies" the doctor is in the house

Seer's picture

I'd mentioned this above because I'd thought it appropriate in a response, but I really wanted to metion it as it's own thread, so here goes...

Deception abounds in nature.  It is a survival tool.  Humans are OF nature.

I believe that the problem isn't so much deception itself as it is in being deceived.  We are no more going to eradicate deception than we are going to be able to eradicate greed (which is also a form of survival).

At a collective level it does get a bit more complex, but I believe that the basics still hold.  Take 9/11 for example, mass deception in order to move the herd in a direction necessary for survival (of the "American Way of Life")- control over critical energy reserves/resources.

I am no fan of deception: I cannot play poker.  But, I understand why it exists and I watch out for it: the world has always been a dangerous place- nature will tell you so.

Wish Doctor's picture

Does anyone here remember the "business card" machine at DFW near Gate 40 for Delta Airlines?  You could design your own custom business cards and print them on the spot.

My fave for a personal "here's my number" card had "Trust Me, I'm Harmless," name, and phone.   It turned out to be a great tool to immediately learn if a new acquaintance was a person worth knowing.

Not everyone is a liar.

Seer's picture

"Not everyone is a liar."

There's a difference between lying as a necessary tool vs. an abuse of a tool.

If your loved ones were hidden within a building and the <fill in the blank> came for all of you would you point out where they are because you don't want to lie?

It's why I've never claimed to be a pacifist.  Yeah, I'd prefer to be one, but it's really a bad idea to limit oneself in cases where doing so might be highly problematic.  So, I'm a pacifist until I have to not be one...

Radical Marijuana's picture

It is IMPOSSIBLE to construct a completely consistent finite model of the world. Everyone is lying, because everyone is operating through some model of the world, which can never BE the world being modeled.


I love the transcendental poetry of ancient mysticism which attempts to speak about the inherently ineffable.

Element's picture



@ Radical Marijuana

RE our recent(-ish) conversation, you may find this an interesting read (but knowing you, you may have already read it). A commenter referenced this experimental work at zh back in Sept (can't remember who). It's a great read if you're not familiar with this experiment and a mind-blowing discussion of the results and interpretations:

Death Squared - The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population - John B Calhoun MD (Section on Behavioral Systems, Laboratory of Brain Evolution & Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20014, USA); Proc. roy. Soc. Med. Volume 66 January 1973.


The following are some excerpts from a 2008 review paper that gives some insight into where this guy's head was at, then, and in the later years of his research efforts:


Escaping the Laboratory: The Rodent Experiments of John B. Calhoun & Their Cultural Influence
Edmund Ramsden & Jon Adams, Jan 2008 (Accepted for publication in the Spring 2009 edition of The Journal of Social History)
"... There was of course a limit to both numerical and conceptual growth, beyond which our social and physical infrastructure would be overrun, but if the population were to be stabilized at the present density, human potentiality would stagnate: “every role vacated will be filled precisely by a similar one. Such stability and predictability have rarely been the way of evolution over any protracted period of time. Stable products rarely last” (Calhoun 1971b: 4). The message from the rodent universes was that some degree of hierarchical inequality was required. Our conception of “utopia” as an environment in which the basic requirements of the population were met and social hierarchy obsolete, failed to account for social, biological, and psychological needs: the border between utopia and dystopia was not merely fine and easily crossed, it was fictitious. As he stated in an interview: “Human beings thus face a predicament: If we try to make everyone totally happy, we’ll destroy mankind” (Pines 1971: 163).
Calhoun again found Orwell a useful point of reference. The innovations, technological and cultural, stimulated by population growth would allow for a further “communication-electronic revolution.” [i.e. he is predicting the Internet's future development here, but as crucial and necessary development and tool to ease and manage social stresses to prevent social and reproductive failure of all of humanity... ] Calhoun initially predicted this revolution to take place in 1988, [which was pretty darn close as it was more like around 1992 when applications like CCMail as a nascent 'Internet' connection finally became more widely available] the point where existing communication networks would prove ineffective in the face of increasing physical and conceptual density. He then altered this date to 1984 in “deference” to Orwell’s premonition of the dangers inherent in these new powers of control (Calhoun 1971a: 373). Like Orwell, however, Calhoun was not suggesting that the alternative futures of stagnation or extinction were inevitable. 1984 was a warning of a possible future, but there was an alternative, one that harnessed the positive potential of population growth while ensuring future survival. In seeking such a solution, Calhoun returned to his rats and mice. ..."
"... Here, then, was the hopeful agenda: if the wrong environment would drive us to destruction, perhaps the correct environment would be our remedy. Just as the pathologies his rats had so reliably exhibited could be mitigated by improvements in the built environment, so too with man. Calhoun urged that “no single area of intellectual effort can exert a greater influence on human welfare than that contributing to better design of the built environment.” ..."
[which even if it turned he was 'wrong' is still pretty damn good advice, no?]
"... Meanwhile, Calhoun dedicated himself to a different kind of design: the design of social, intellectual, and information networks. He was convinced that the problem of adapting to the new pressures imposed by an increasingly urbanized built environment could be solved only if channels of communication were arranged in such a way that access to the relevant information was not inhibited by disciplinary and institutional structures. [ah, so he did not want the old-boy model of science and politics to linger, damage limit and ultimately wipe us out as a species, he firmly thought that only the open free unhindered movement of ideas, data and information could save humanity from implications seen in his mouse universe experiments] But in seeking to explain his optimistic vision, Calhoun – having been long referenced by fiction writers – now increasingly came to explain his own ideas with reference to fiction. To many observers, it must have looked as if the tide of influence had begun to flow the other way.
It had been 1968, Calhoun recalled, when he first realized that the “portent of change” he saw “could not be clarified without building an incipient ‘World Brain.’” [so as early as 1968 he's already thinking that something like a completely open free-flowing Internet is probably our only remaining hope to escape the extinction outcomes seen in his social stress and reproductive failure experiments ... he was well ahead of Al Gore  ... sorry Al ... you bloody drop-kick ...] The direct referent here is H. G. Wells’ visionary story which imagines all human knowledge made accessible through aggregation in a pre-digital “supercomputer.” Calhoun, too, spoke of “externalizing” the mind. [i.e. online encyclopedias and libraries] The human brain has, he writes in 1991, “become inadequate to deal with the complexity and diversity of life.” The information glut meant it was increasingly likely that useful facts and insights would be lost among the noise, never reaching the communities who might use them. Calhoun suggested organising scientists into a global, intercommunicating network composed of independent but interconnected groups and sub-groups. [And we have all that now, plus online forums, blogs, newsletters, streaming updates ...] Only then could the necessary conceptual growth to avoid a catastrophic [behavioural] sink be achieved. He claimed it was “toward a concern with science as a world system which must be understood if the human race is to survive.” He saw these attempts to defer social pathology as the centerpiece and real import of his work. [And there are those who say the Internet creates the social stress and promotes the violence, but is it creating it, or just venting it off, while allowing other ideas to permeate the discussions, thus redirecting things in more viable ways? The only way to know is to turn off the Internet, but Calhoun would warn us that if we ever do that, it will finish us off for sure.] Here was the profit, the positive signal from the noise of the behavioral sink. ..."
32 This was a situation which Erwin Chargaff called “the tower of babble,” where individual scientists would increasingly find they were unable to “know more than an ever smaller portion of what they must know in order to function properly” (1974: 777). Calhoun’s solution was to prepare a “reader” of sorts: “it should be possible to reassemble highly selected thought behaviors from many authors to form insight provoking manuscripts” (Abstract for symposium “Towards a Science of Human Behavior”, Calhoun Papers, Box 11, NLM). Focusing on mental health, population, and the environmental and behavioral sciences, Calhoun led by example: he clipped and assembled a vast array of extracts from a total of 162 authors. These he entered into a computer database, numbering them by page and paragraph, isolating keywords, ordering the broad field he had spent his life working within. The finished work would be an anthology called Environment and Population. The achievement was not simply the content, but the indexical system itself. Accepted for publication in the Spring 2009 edition of The Journal of Social History
And Calhoun had tried to create “super-rats,” of a sort: one of the ameliorative aims of his research was to condition rodents to tolerate the crowded environment, facilitating dramatic conceptual growth. He writes: “I propose to make the rats in my contrived environment comparable after five years to apes in their natural environment.” “In essence, I propose to make an ape out of a rat.” These, then, are the rats of NIMH. These are the rats who will show us how to adapt to the crowded modern cities, and how to avoid the dystopian future of the population boom.


Calhoun apparently from his observations considered that mice and rats were potentially much smarter and more 'creative' than is generally accepted, thus all you need to do is present them with an environment, in which they could demonstrate their creative and novel sides, in coping with social stress. He was sure the odd genetic 'freak' would appear, within the population blooms of his experimental apparatus, that would do just that - produce new behaviours and solutions to over-socialisation stress. He called those rats and mice the "creative deviates", a subset of the natural variation in all populations, and that these were usually smaller 'like-minded' groups and even individual withdrawn rodents, which had been socially rejected, beat-up on, cast-out by the other mice, thus they were black-sheep, non-conformists, which due to the freedom to act sometimes did unexpected and novel things, and used tricks that the others had not learned and never did.

So over all Calhoun uncovered something quite horrific about socially-organised mammals, which could kill-off the entire colony, for purely sociological reasons and impacts on fertility, but he also determined that our only hope to avoid such toxic over-socialisation due to ultra high-density social interactions, was to build much more socially friendly environment, that promoted connections between people, prevented excess and unwanted contacts, so that these didn't just damage and stunt social animals (i.e. like the effects of too much facebook lol), but more importantly, to share information as widely and as freely as possible between all people.

For if we fail to consistently do those things, he predicted, we're socially and thus genetically - finished.

As a global species we would soon suffer complete catastrophic reproduction and societal failure and thus go completely extinct (100% extinct) soon after, even if no further compounding 'black-swan' global events caused us significant social distress, than intense population and social competition pressure, and its ensuing random societal violence.

Essentially that requires a period of sustained egalitarian generosity and linkage between people, and the preservation of a level of privacy and interaction limitation, or else humanity itself is not going to survive more than about two or maybe three reproductive generations more, before all biological fertility, and all psycho-social desire or tendency to breed, completely evaporates for the population.

As far-fetched as that may sound that's exactly what did occur to his mice colonies, due to intense social competition pressures alone - 100% colony reproductive failure, with guaranteed genetic extinction. He was not sure it would happen to humans, as well, if we kept urbanising and breeding exponentially, but there is every reason to suspect that it could occur, which is reason enough to treat this possibility every seriously.

The fact that it could happen, and that there was this clear and repeatable scientific experimental demonstration of the effect, in formerly socially-organised mammals, means we HAVE TO take this development seriously. We will get only one chance at this, on a global level of human over-population and over urbanisation, which induces unmanageable social urban competition-stresses, impaired relationship bonds, social rejection mechanisms, ostracism, withdrawal, and resulting random violence and crime, that will come with it. In the experiments an invisible threshold was crossed where it can grow so intense in just one generation, that no government or other social organisation process could re-organise the society, or reverse the social damage, before mammalian reproduction failure set-in. 

We already know that reproduction and fertility has fallen, all across the world today. We know that the average sizs of male testicles have shrunk measurably over time since sense urbanisation and social competition pressure 'randomness' began to escalate exponentially. We've been blaming it on all sorts of associated chemical factors, but there are also pure social and then biological responses, as cause-and-effect in mammals. We know these exist, they are real, and they can be repeated in experiments. So rather than just greeting the falling fertility rates as a good sign, or as a positive natural moderator of spiral population growth, we should also (and instead) consider that it may be our blinking warning signal, that we may have already gone too far, to prevent a similar looming total reproduction failure trajectory for 100% of our species. We now know this can happen, and no one has yet demonstrated data or experiments that indicate it won't happen, to humans, as well.

Surely this is more significant and more pressing, and more finalistic a problem, than so many of the global almost non-problems (that keep getting flashed in our faces on a daily or even hourly basis). It's not so much that we're just changing the earth but that we are changing ourselves socially, in some very fundamentally dangerous and almost completely unexpected ways. And at least one of those ways can produce a 100% human genome wipe-out.

We should be paying much more attention to this as it's far more dangerous than anything global warming, or such, can do to us, and it can take effect far sooner, if we just do not much. Look around the world now. What Calhoun observed in the mouse experiments, that's happening to us right now - the scale of it is growing, and it is becoming more unmanageable, each year. people are fragmenting, not bonding, not able to migrate to a better situation, as there largely are none any more. So the social pressure grows, and what we see today is what is resulting.

I suspect this is not one of those imaginary 'problems' that we face here, this one can actually take us out - real fast. Remember this, the mice didn't have thermonuclear weapons ... so they died-out from the social stress in the slowest ways possible.

But I'm sure we'll do it much faster than those mice did.

Regardless of the success or failure of Calhoun's proposed mitigation of the risk of it though, in under 100 years there is going to be well over 7.2 billion dead humans, and probably 10 billion (most will die in the middle to latter half of the century) and that's a scale of illness and dieing that humans have never experienced or even expected before.

Nothing even remotely like that has occurred before. We can't bury them as we'll need the soil, so millions of new graveyards are out. Plus to prep and burn a human is expensive and energy-intensive, so we're going to have to find much more practical and pragmatic ways of eliminating the corpses. And society is going to have to get used to the idea of that. Maybe we'll be mechanically and chemically liquefied, then disposed via the regular sewer systems? It may come to that.

I guess China, India and parts of the ME will soon be showing us how to get rid of hundreds of millions of corpses, in a hurry. The old rotting corpse in the sacred river trick, or feeding them to vultures ain't gonna cut it this time.

Anyway, Calhoun died himself on September 7, 1995 after delivered to humanity a terrible warning which we should never consider ignoring or pretending has been refuted, because no one has actually refuted his experiments (how can you, they are entirely repeatable), they have only critiqued his personal anthropomorphic extrapolation to human social stresses, and exponential population growth into urbanisation. Frankly, his anthropomorphism can be forgiven given he found something he wanted people to become aware of and consider seriously, so he deliberately made the linkage to mankind, to that end (what else should he have done, said nothing about the danger it represents?).

Thus in fact, his warning remains just as valid now, as it was 40 years ago.

Seer's picture

Calhoun et al were tweaking the environment for the rats and mice.  Who is going to be the hand outside of our environment?

There's an issue of resources.  All is fine and dandy when there's resources, but eventually they become scarce to the point that order cannot be maintained: I believe that we have plenty enough history to attest to this.

Maybe this is all set up by aliens?  We're here to do data gathering for them.  Or, perhaps as George Carlin offerred: we're here to free all the trapped oil.

Element's picture

The whole point of these experiments was to find out what would occur if you setup a perfect 'Utopic' environment, completely free of resource limitations, and all forms of natural mortality, disease and predation.

The result was explosive population growth, followed by over socialization, followed by total social breakdown, followed by 100% reproductive failure, followed by guaranteed extinction.

The really interesting thing was that, even at that point there was still an endless easy abundance of food, water and shelter available, but the 'will' to live and breed and also the physical biological fertility itself, of the organism, disappeared over time, and from 100% of them, due simply to the excessive social-pressures of competition (i.e. this was NOT even due to the stresses of finding or competing for the basic needs for life to be met, this was merely due to the stress of finding a place for relationships and validity, connection and role within the society itself!) and the resulting violence and degeneracy involved.

In fact, towards the latter part of this ~5-year cycle of the "Universe 25" experiment, they removed some of the more healthy but non-breeding males, of breeding age, placed them into new enclosures, that had very low populations of fresh and available females (the females had not been in any experiments so were undamaged normal mice), but observed that the social, sexual and breeding damage to the males was permanent. They almost completely failed to resume any sexual contacts, or to regain their biological fertility, or to breed a replacement generation, so they still died out.

The damage of the over-socialization pressure caused to the mice was physically, mentally and socially permanent and led to guaranteed extinction of the colony.

Resources availability was deliberately NOT a stress factor in the social competition pressures that led to 100% colony extinction.

So there are social aspects that can consign us to a total wipe-out of the genome, even before other factors like resources become limiting of population growth (let alone lead to a complete global extinction from starvation). The social-stress factor, which we almost completely don't expect or suspect, can take us out even before we deplete the resources far enough to produce near or actual extinction of the genome. So the problem is not merely simplistic physical resources pressures. It's the quality of life, or rather, the lack of it, and the lack of strong bonds between individuals, due to over-crowding, that prevented limited contact to give time for such bonds to form in small groups, including all family groups (over several generations maternal functioning turned from fully nurturing and protective, and gradually broke-down as population rose, until it completely failed and mothers rejected pups, attacked them, and in the end they ate almost all of them, so all sexual reproduction failed, even as fertility levels in both sexes also imploded) which is what led to 100% extinction in these experiments.

Resources are only one of many aspects, of a much more complex picture of extinction, which we actually do need to understand, for real (and not merely pretend to 'understand' via some inadequate pet-theory backed-up by unconvincing adamant assertion), and it's not even clear that resources availability is per-sec the most significant one to be focusing on. Let alone focusing on resources, wholly and solely to the unwise and complete exclusion of all other considerations which you seem to continually want everyone to accept and to buy-in to.

The mice's natural responses alone show us that these animals (and by extension us as well) are not the simplistic mechanisms of resource-access-node models, nor does this response comport well with the mechanistic materialist thinking model, in general.


PS: I've patiently pointed this out to you in various ways several times in the past, that resources are only a bit-player in the international story of human interaction, and of other species interactions, so if you're going to continue to arrogantly insist on proclaiming that all is due to resources, alone, well that is clearly and demonstrably not so. You've painted yourself into a corner of false-theory for no good reason or purpose.  Deal with it.


The No. 4 most popular zh post of 2013:

Why Have Young People In Japan Stopped Having Sex?


"Japan's under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren't even dating, and increasing numbers can't be bothered with sex. For their government, "celibacy syndrome" is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world's lowest birth rates. As The Guardian reports, 45% of Japanese women aged 16-24 are "not interested in or despise sexual contact". More than a quarter of men feel the same way. Is Japan providing a glimpse of all our futures? Many of the shifts there are occurring in other advanced nations, too. Across urban Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single-occupant households are on the rise and, in countries where economic recession is worst, young people are living at home..."

This is exactly the sort of early-indicator signal the mouse social-stress experiments predicted may show up, in an over-socialized and over-stressed crowded highly-urbanized society. And there is no assurance at all that this is not what is happening. In the mouse experiments it took a couple of generations for the breeding processes to completely fail, and for almost all interest in sex to completely cease, or else for fertility to fall so low that gestation either entirely failed, or else the developing fetus was continually resumed by the mother, or else born, attacked and driven-out. Another very clear result and feature of these mouse experiments was that homosexual acts and violence exploded within the society, in parallel with this collapse in sexual reproduction. Plus a collapse in relative social order and boundaries, due to a collapse in territory or ranges, due to the loss of a desire to combat intrusion, because there were increasingly too many intrusions to combat any more.

Sound like a mildly familiar society, border, or population migration near you yet?

Radical Marijuana's picture

Good comment, Element!

Mice were preyed upon by other predators for millions of years.

In the Calhoun experiments, those mice did not have enough time to adapt to develop from within their own gene pool the mice that would prey upon mice, in order to develop their own ecology. Instead, without any kinds of limits that they were previously biologically adapted to cope with, those mice were driven insane, by conditions that they could not cope with.

Human beings were stupid little monkeys, that, in a geological blink of an eye, switched to become the top carnivores, rather than more being the prey of other top carnivores. Moreover, human societies did develop culturally, in ways which enabled some men to prey upon other men. Indeed, our Neolithic Civilization social pyramid systems were based on the history of warfare, creating War Kings, that made sovereign states, which were covertly taken over by the Fraud Kings.

One of the points of my harping upon the central importance of the concepts of death controls is that the only apparent ways out of the Calhoun trap would be to develop better human culture of death controls, to limit our own population to sane levels. That is reinforced by the exponential growth running out of natural resources at an exponential rate. However, as you pointed out Calhoun demonstrated, merely destroying the quality of life enough to make living a nightmare hell of overcrowding, etc., would be enough to drive human "civilization" towards insane self-destruction.

What I keep on harping about is that the banksters should be understood to be operating death controls, through their debt controls, and that there MUST be some system of death controls, and therefore, we "should" evolve to do what the banksters do better than they do that. However, obviously, right now we are on the double whammy path of BOTH running out of natural resource, AND driving exponential population growth to psychotic proportions. Paradoxically, our top carnivores, or the pyramidion people running the social pyramid systems, are currently only able to operate through bullshit about what they are doing, which kind of bullshit is agreed to by their controlled opposition. Thus, better death control concepts might as well be on the dark side of the moon.

Politics "should" be applied human ecology. However, the history of warfare has evolved real politics to be based on the maximum possible deceits, upon which basis was built financial systems based upon the maximum possible frauds. In that context, becoming more scientific and thus collectively saner about operating human ecology appears to be practically impossible. Therefore, we are rushing towards realizing every kind of science fiction nightmare, simultaneously!

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yes, Element, I already had a nodding acquaintance with Calhoun's work. However, I think it is impossible to become enough of an expert about the issues raised to know any better than that ... The astonishing thing is that collective social insanities can become so physiologically intense that some populations under that stress actually go extinct, rather than any survive ... I used to hope that we have a few more generations to MAYBE adapt, but now I tend to think that these things are being driven at such exponential rates, to get worse, faster, that we no longer have that luxury.

(I WISH I could time-warp back to when I was still able to generate some optimism and idealism about the future. However, always, the more I learn, the worse it gets!)


One of my favourite little atricles about drug addiction is this one:

One of my best friends back in my university days was doing Calhoun-like research work on how "drugs" like salt affected rodents ... However, he eventually dropped out, rather than completed his studies, although he had gotten so close to finishing. The problem was that he lost all faith in the reductionist bullshit, that he no longer was able to believe his research was worthwhile. Indeed, many of the best and brightest of my old friends ended up going precessionally side-ways out of the academic world, after they got to their own personal points of no longer being able to maintain sufficient beliefs or reasonable hopes that what they had spent a couple decades doing quite well was still meaningful enough to continue. They ended up completely changing their lives, and going off on totally different tangential careers.

Element's picture



"The problem was that he lost all faith in the reductionist bullshit, that he no longer was able to believe his research was worthwhile."

That's called being intelligent RM, seeing the process in grand-relief and understanding it's partial, flawed and limiting ways, and moving past it. Doesn't matter what they are offering, 'career safety' ain't worth it to all but the most droll and boring yes-man and nit-pickers. You read what I said the last time we talked about the aspects of institutional self-selection, for the most unfit to teach and explore ideas. The institutes find these types the most agreeable ad manageable, unfortunately, they're also the least capable of novel thoughts, and the least likely and worst equipped or willing to challenge the status-quo. Hence scientific revolutions are delayed until retirements and death of the old-fart brigade. I don't give a toss about the 'schooling' organizations, haven't done for a very long time.

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."


-  Matthew 23:27 (KJV)


Seer's picture

I agree that we're all seeing a different "elephant," though I do not believe that folks are always lying about what they "see."  So, well, I suppose that what one "sees" could be/is a lie, but the seer (hey, not affiliated with Seer!) does not necessarily know that it is a lie, in which case the "liar" sticker might not work.  And I think that there's little argument that we know that there are those who are well aware that they do not believe what they are saying they "see" (and, again, sometimes it might be undertaken as a benevolent action [ugh, rabbit hole])- pants on fire!

All of this is a demonstration of why I am unable to classify most things with any real sense of certainty.  And That I can be certain! :-)

harposox's picture

Cog, love your work. This latest tangent of yours reminds me a lot of the wonderfully insightful writings of blogger Arthur Silber (, who has written a lot about issues of authority and societal deception.

I think the Santa lie, at its core, is a simple but extremely powerful reinforcement of the deference-to-authority mechanism that our institutions program into us throughout our lives (particularly during childhood). Of course there's the consumerism angle, but I think that's secondary to training our children that they must "behave" — that is, they must act in a manner which unquestiongly yields to the authority of adults/parents/teachers/LEO/"respected figures," in order to receive a material reward. This promotes in a child the idea that critical thinking and self-actualization are unimportant, that what's most important is seeking the approval of these authority figures. Behavior becomes entirely about the emotional appeasement of these figures so that we never question the source or legitimacy of their so-called authority in the first place. These kinds of binary relationships are so ingrained in our culture — child/parent, worker/boss, soldier/officer, student/teacher, etc. — that we never really recognize or challenge the dynamic itself.

When you begin to parse the hall of lies that constitutes our daily "reality" — the conventional wisdom that seems so normal that it's never questioned — you begin to see that it's entirely reliant on this hierarchical authority mechanism. Propaganda, for instance, wouldn't be so readily injested if it were reflexively questioned. But the vast majority of people in the world don't bother to question it, because it's fed to us by "experts" — doctors, laywers, journalists, academics, politicians, military officials — all considered authority figures in their respective domains. Think of all the assumptions we make growing up that later turn out to be brutal lies: Police officers are here to protect us. Banks are honest and trustworthy. Religion is good and moral. Soldiers are to be revered for their service and sacrifice. Americans are exceptional. Etc., etc. All of these delusions are hard-wired into us by this intrinsic obedience to authority we all suffer from, to one degree or another, and these authority figures can be anyone or anything: elder family members, politicians, Establishment-vetted "experts" of one stripe or another, professors, police and military officers, bosses... or even certain government, financial, and educational institutions.

When you strip away all of these lies, it boils down to one simple thing: social control. Cultural myths, just like religion, are behavioral control mechanisms intended to keep us all in line — let's call it "social propaganda." It's frighteningly powerful stuff.

Seer's picture

As much as I'm a non-conformist I have to say that I don't necessarily take it all as being so harsh as many here make it out as.  Yes, I DO believe that there's an element of control going on; and yes, some in power will abuse this control (which is why I am against even "small govt").  If one rewinds the history of man you'll see that different times and different places required different approaches to survival.  "Cultures" were formed as collective (sorry, no other word seemed to work as well here- I know how people automatically twitch over the down-arrow if they even so much as see the word) memories out of the necessity to pass along information.  Humans' big brains are necessary in order to store all the complex information about food (as the primary importance): many animals pretty much have it wired in.  The "good" and "evil" in us has managed to take advantage of this for "use" and for "abuse."  Over the years our thinking has pretty much been collectified- people engaged in ever-more specialised activities.  The "abusers," as any of nature's predators, see plenty of opportunity.

As I'd noted elsewhere, I do not believe that one can state that lying or deception is only ever bad.  I suspect that sheep being told the truth are little different than sheep being told a lie.  The measure, which nature makes quite visible, is one of survival.  The key/trick is to know when it's a good idea to part ways with a given belief/lie.

BIG = FAIL.  Work from there (knowing that this is a finite planet)...

nmewn's picture

Speaking of lies, gateway drugs & deception...all of us "old timers" told you whipper snappers what was going to happen:

"The proprietor of Denver-based Medicine Man revealed to The Denver Post that, after taxes, the shop was selling an eighth for about $64, and although The Associated Press found at least one shop selling the same amount for as much as $70, found that the average price right now is approximately $65.

So which strains were the most popular? All of them, according to dispensary owners throughout the state. But many also said their own custom and award-winning strains were big sellers as well.

Many shops raised prices or enforced a purchasing cap of one eighth-ounce in order to mitigate against a possible marijuana shortage.

Prices were also increased by the new 25 percent tax -- 15 percent excise and 10 percent sales -- on all marijuana purchases in the state that voters approved in November, along with any other local jurisdictional taxes on top of that. Marijuana sales are expected to generate nearly $70 million in tax revenue for Colorado in 2014."

Dumb masses.

Seer's picture

"Dumb masses."

Depends.  If total taxes decline because we're not spending as much on running the "War On Drugs" then it's quite possible that this is a better deal overall (maybe not for the DEA).  Yeah, yeah, that's a big "IF," but I've already got a notch in my belt for proving that some times taxes DO go down (property taxes- many people on ZH were running around saying that they never go down and I have clear proof that "never" is not a word to place absolute trust in).

nmewn's picture

Come on Seer, total taxation never goes down.

Anyone can pick & choose the avenue at any given point in time...but total taxation always goes up. Everybody (well progs) bang on me and TP because we say TOTAL taxation is too high and always increases, this is the latest example.

We don't need more taxes, we need less government & the taxation supporting it.

And yes, the "War on Drugs" is just another venue of statism and feeding the beast...just like the "War on Poverty".

Plus one, by the way ;-)

Seer's picture

total taxation never goes down.

There's that "never" word again!

My local taxes didn't rise when my property taxes went down.  And federal taxes didn't rise either: though there's that hidden money-printing taxes.

In no way am I praising the merits of govt here, not at all.  I'm only addressing statements using facts and logic: and when I've had direct experienced with both I have no problems supporting my own experience.

"We don't need more taxes, we need less government & the taxation supporting it."

Is "more taxes" the same as "total taxation?"

I don't profess to "know" what "we need," but I'll agree that, as Ronald put it, "government is not the solution."  Ronald was a statist compared to me.  You should know by now that I desire there to be NO govt: a "small govt" is like being a little pregnant (you're sure to get a stronger set of corrupt fuckers because they'll be without the added overhead of oversight).

Most of this troubles me little, as I can do nothing other than reduce my exposure to it.  In time all that cannot be sustained (which would include any "small govt") will perish, and if it's a taxing authority I don't see how taxation in its absence is going to be possible...

So, yes, reduction of overall taxes (as a $$ figure), as dictated by the taxing authorities, are not LIKELY to go down.  I wouldn't wager on it for sure.

nmewn's picture

Saw your comment this morning, didn't have time to reply and didn't want to leave you in the lurch on this.

Perhaps we're actually saying the same thing but in different ways. You would agree there is a time component involved here when discussing this form of taxation? The taxes you're talking about are based on time...yearly.

So you saying, in a short period of time, that your property tax went down, is in fact true. And me saying over time total taxation never goes down is also true.

You are talking about one tax (a property tax), I'm talking about the total tax burden of the productive.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

$65 for an eighth of an ounce? Really????

Christ I remember way back when I was selling an entire ounce of excellent Colombian for...............

Never mind. :-)

nmewn's picture

An Oh Zee of redbud or gold for fifteen bucks back in the day in Fla...and the kiddies think they're gettin a helluva deal for a fraction of the product while the state is ripping their ass apart in taxation...and the kiddies are liking it.

We have completely failed CD.

therover's picture

$40 if memory serves me correctly...but my short term memory is SHOT. Then again, it was over 40 years ago, so I guess that's long term.

ncdirtdigger's picture

I'll stop lying when it stops paying so much.

Bastiat's picture

Maybe you're lying to yourself about the value of what you're getting paid.

acrabbe's picture

Where's radical marijuana when you need him? He has great stuff on this topic. Has written alot about it on his website.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Hey, acrabbe, here are some of my typical scribblings, to add to this scrabble game:

This article provoked a lot a comments, as well it should, because one SHOULD BE "thinking about lies and self deception" ... BECAUSE "Lying and lies permeate our culture from top to bottom in ways we often never perceive and rarely wish to see."

I did not read this article as focusing on the most important aspect of the total package of dishonesty, which includes the ways that lies are backed up with violence. That was how the history of warfare created Neolithic Civilizations in the first place. That was the foundation of all the well-established social systems that surround us at the present time:




By themselves, the lies would be amusing absurdities.

BUT, when the frauds are enforced, then they matter!

Our monetary system is the current form of our state religion, which is basically the same as previous state religions, that worked together as lies, backed by violence, in order to operate society as a social pyramid system. Paradoxically, the biggest lies work the best as propaganda. For instance, the hemp plant, which is the single best plant for people on the planet for food, fiber, fun and medicine, was transformed by legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, into becoming "marijuana that is almost as bad as murder." The truth about cannabis never mattered to systems based on lies backed by violence. Furthermore, in that context, "legalization of marijuana" is becoming another fake, whereby the neoprohibitionist regimes are based on compromising with the old lies, that have gradually broken down, rather than based on more radical truth about cannabis.

Marijuana laws are merely the simplest symbol of the ways that the monetary and taxation systems also work as organized lies, operating organized robberies, or as FORCE BACKED FRAUDS. An interesting question is how much further through the apparently infinite tunnels of deceits does one go when "thinking about lies and self deception" ???

As I like to ask:

"How far down the rabbit hole does Alice go?"

or "How far up the tornado does Dorothy go?"

In my view ancient mysticism was the original source of religions, whereby the spiritual insights from that source were codified by Neolithic Civilization into what could be described as becoming the PRIVATIZATION OF GOD, which led to the runaway privatization of the environment, which social system we were born into. Since those systems have existed for generation after generation, this kind of article focused upon how people grow up being brainwashed by the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories. However, those bullies' bullshit would never have become so dominant without the crucial history that their lies were backed up by violence.

Indeed, the most important insights come from understanding How and WHY the oldest book on the Art of War begins by saying that "success in war is based on deceits," and ends by saying "spies are the most important soldiers." Those insights were the sources of the greater paradox about WHY deceits, backed by destruction, have ended up controlling almost everything that human beings are doing. However, still greater paradoxes arise by understanding that WHY from the point of view of general energy systems, as applied to the evolutionary ecology of human beings.

The greater paradoxes arise when we go through the looking glass of our Bizarro Mirror World. Just look straight at the radical truth: the most important issues are the death controls. It is no surprise that weapons are the biggest industry, and that building better weapons, (including better propaganda) was the first priority throughout human history. The greatest of all paradoxes is that the only better solutions to our problems require better death controls, however, that kind of resolution of our real problems has now become almost infinitely entangled in the history of the actual death controls being operated by the maximum possible deceits.

Meanwhile, our fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems were built on top of the history of success in warfare having depended upon backing up deceits with destruction. Therefore, as information became more important than physical power, the War Kings morphed into the Fraud Kings, whereby central banks dominate society by operating the greatest of all frauds, of making the public "money" supply out of nothing, as debts. However, the more that transformation happens, the more that the society as a whole is driven insane, because the violence that backs up those lies never makes those lies become true, although, that violence does succeed in making those lies become socially dominant, as the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories, that people are brainwashed to believe in, as well as conditioned to not want to think about.

Hence, the postmodernizing world has problems which are trillions of times more difficult to resolve than ever before in human history, due to the paradox of final failure from too much success at building social pyramid systems based on backing up lies with violence, for so long that almost everyone almost completely takes those lies for granted ... despite how utterly absurd and irrational it becomes to still believe in those lies, since the lies are bullshit ... yet still are backed up by the violence from the bullies.

As I said, the HOW and WHY of militarism has driven its own success to become so supremely paradoxical, that the death controls are the central controls necessary to everything else (such as the debt controls, where the power to tax backs up "money" made out of nothing, as debts), BUT, then "better death controls" are something that almost nobody understands, nor wants to understand, despite those who care about militarism putting so much time and effort into their concerns for more and better weapons, in order to continue to do what they think of as their priority death controls.

In that context, I repeat my song and dance routine that we should go through more profound paradigm shifts in the philosophy of science, which then apply to politics, and especially to militarism. ... "Good luck with that!"

Human realities are always necessarily organized systems of lies, operating organized robberies. Governments were always the biggest forms of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. The only real solutions which could resolve our real problems better is to develop better death controls, as the central core to the regulation and control of all other human systems. However, since the currently deeply entrenched systems are based upon their long history of deceits, which through the passage of generations have become overwhelming systems of self-deceptions, the prospects for developing militarism to become an improved supreme ideology look dismal quadrupled!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Hi RM.

"I did not read this article as focusing on the most important aspect of the total package of dishonesty, which includes the ways that lies are
backed up with violence."

Thank You for your contribution to the discussion. I did not want to get into the violence aspect because I felt it warranted an entire article and not just a few paragraphs.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Cognitive Dissonance,

I will REPEAT this link,

I mentioned in an earlier rely:

The Psychedelic Secrets of Santa Claus

Some psychologists have discussed the "cognitive dissonance" which occurs when children are encouraged to believe in the literal existence of Santa Claus, only to have their parents' lie revealed when they are older. By so deceiving our children we rob them of a richer heritage, for the actual origin of these ancient rituals is rooted deep in our history and our collective unconscious. By better understanding the truths within these popular celebrations, we can better understand the modern world, and our place in it.

novictim's picture

The biggest and most dangerous lies we are facing in the short term and not so long term are:


1) The FREE HAND of economics prevents human suffering and the collapse of capitalist systems


2) Humanity's existence cannot be destroyed by humanity's own activity 

Seer's picture

I've always thought that "we have to have perpetual growth (on this finite planet)" as the most troubling lie...

dizzyfingers's picture

"“In no profession are the prizes for spooking the People with concocted devils, demons, and doomsday fears – and for falsely promising wondrous deeds of miraculous salvation – greater than in politics. It’s a gaudily glittering stage that attracts and rewards those who excel at charlatanism.”  - Don Bourdreaux"

That is an extremely kind definition.

CogDis: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've always been bothered by organized religion as I've experienced it, and "Santa Claus" and the whole Christmas-as-shopping-orgy thing. Been working on doing less and less shopping and more and more thinking. Gave up "Christmas" orgy for good this year.

rustymason's picture

"If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later."


the grateful unemployed's picture

many things are poison unless taken in small quantities, like salt and alcohol, and then they are palliatives. i recently acquired a bottle of pure cane sugar alcohol. it says on the label (in spanish) do not drink this! its social use in that country is in a holiday beverage called ponche. money printing is a poison unless done in moderation. (they call it the punch bowl) socrates preached moderation?

Seer's picture

When I'm asked whether something can be eaten or drank I reply: sure, but I think that what you want to know is whether you can drink it or eat it more than once.

juangrande's picture

 Didn't the buddha preach moderation before Socrates? A practice of understanding the  nature of mind (meditation) frees you from filters of deception by which we are programmed. Some form of mind/body awareness should be taught to children from the youngest age possible by parents and/or schools. This action, alone, would be a great blow to the status quo and facilitate beneficial change for our species and the planet as a whole. Of course, creating an educational program, which by its nature would bring down the very institutions running the schools, is very unlikely. 

the grateful unemployed's picture

as McLuhan says, the media and education system operate for the purpose of deferring understanding about how things work. (the media and its handmaiden, education don't want you to know how they function) this is why education breaks into separate categories so the left hand is not allowed to see what the right hand is doing. while taking media studies in college (the overview of the program was the thesis that corporations control the media, and how they do it) so what you had was these kids listening to their liberal professors opine about the all powerful media, and learning the (deceptive practises) tricks as it were, so they could find jobs after they graduated.

its like tactics and strategy in warfare. if all you know is tactics you are never more than a soldier. to create a society in which the bright minds can rise to the top, you have to make understanding available to everyone. the current system processes people to remain ignorant. that allows them to retain power, its simple really, but most people are conditioned to be future focused to some imaginary time when they have enough money they can escape from the trap.

CPL's picture

"I drank what?"



Great stuff CD.

the grateful unemployed's picture

asked my friend if his 9 year old still believes in Santa. he said, yes, but several kids in his class at school have already stopped. and he added, my son is very much into the catholic church. it all depends on whether you believe 1 is really 3... is the truth a number achieved by reduction, or through expansion of our knowledge and limits. science would like to reduce all language to one word. it may be science is like a baseball catchers equipment i.e., the tools of ignorance. how often have you said, this year i am going to simplify my life, when what you really mean is this year i am going to broaden my knowledge and understanding, and expand the limits of my consciousness. we often say one thing when we mean another. if you became homeless and had to live under a freeway bridge, would that simplify your life? (you exchange one set of security concerns for another) but you also gain time to use your mind and spirit without channeling it into an economic solution which creates a false image of yourself (this is standard spiritualist boiler plate, not me preaching). are we closer to the truth without these entanglements? or is there some zen to the worker bee culture (ask the chinese)  the truth is where you look for it, always know where it is you are looking.

Seer's picture

Nice post.

About the homeless situation, there's a difference between selective "simplification" and a more forced one.  For some people who might be "lower" on tue rungs they find the higher rungs to be confusing (and, really, they're right) and too complex for them to navigate.

Life can be easy and complex.  It can be hard and complex.  It can be hard and simple.  Or it can be easy and simple.

steveo77's picture

Cog Dude, stop picking on Santa!

the grateful unemployed's picture

i enjoy Gary Dorsch,, and in a recent piece he referred to Bernanke as Santa Claus, and he predicted the fantasy was going to end. i wrote him a note, remember when you found out Santa Claus isn't real, but the presents kept coming anyway?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Santa got run over by some reindeer.

deerhunter's picture

self interest causes one to become a lier. When we look in the mirror and deny what we are looking at we become liers. It is called brutal honesty for a reason.  My oldest grand daughter is nine and still believes in Santa.  I told my daughter that 80% of her classmates laugh at her.  Is it better to tell your kids Santa doesnt exist out of the gate?  Is parenting dictated by the state,  by the corporate shills,  or by the parents.  I remember seeing a news clip of a Denver teacher saying on camera " your children belong to us."  Cog,  you are a deep thinker.  I don't remember how old i was before I knew Santa was a fairy tale but it was damn sure before the age of nine.  Reality can be a bitch.  I recall my girls asking me if I ever smoked weed growing up.  I grew up in the late 60's early 70's so I will let you guess the real answer.  I said yes and it made me tired and eat everything in the refrigerator.  My dad grew up in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies in a log cabin.  He was not a bull shitter raising us either.  He said if you drink you fall down if you do drugs you are stupid.  Enough said.  I have not read Bernays but intend to.  When I saw the 110 inch big screen TV I was reminded of the wall to wall screens in the book Farenheit 451 I think.  TV programming.  My reality yesterday was trudging through 8 inches of new snow to my tree stand.  Seeing a coyote busting through the snow  because he smelled me was pretty cool.  No deer,  no meat,  but a relaxing three hours.  Oh,  and 12 degrees with a ten mile an hour wind doesn't allow you to escape reality for very long.  What you tell your girls when they ask about premarital sex?  I raised three girls. I will leave that for another day.. Happy New Year to all.

gwar5's picture

We lie to ourselves and when those lies are reflected back to us by others we find comfort that we share the same delusions which we then naturally take as evidence that we are not the ones who are insane. We all cognitively lean on each other like a bunch of drunks holding each other up waiting for the next sip to make the rounds. 


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Confirmation bias is a wonderful drug if used in moderation. :-)

<But it feels sooooo good. Just one more hit and then I'll stop.>

nowhereman's picture

The ultimate lies are the lies we tell ourselves.  HUBRIS.  We've become so good at it, we don't even know we are doing it.

Seer's picture

And out of nowehere comes something profound!  "HUBRIS"  Most trenchant of you to pull this word in here.

akarc's picture

"And then there is the self deception that we aren’t consciously aware of, clouded by both denial and social programming. While my previous articles have discussed denial ad nauseam I wish to focus a bit on the social programming aspect promoted mostly by herd behavior and alluded to by the title of this article."

I have seen people run like hell from awareness of this topic, when acceptance and study of it would so improve their own personal lives. Despite the fact I have spent many years studying it and, in the past teaching it, I can daily find myself falling victim to it.

How apropo to address on New Years. This would be a good ongoing topic CD (whoops).