Promises, Promises!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Promises, Promises!


Cognitive Dissonance


Even when we know otherwise we still tend to think about big picture problems (i.e. The Fed’s money printing, out of control US Government debt, student loan bubble/defaults, corporate/governmental corruption etc) as if they are being rained down upon us and not as if we are in any way responsible for the problems or the solutions. In other words we tend to see the world and its troubles from the point of view of a victim rather than a participant, let alone a partially responsible party.

There is no doubt that the sociopaths are now running the insane asylum and that we are entering the parabolic blow off phase of social and financial dysfunction. And I would also agree that sociopaths in general are an opportunistic lot and will actively seek out and exploit strife, stress and social dysfunction wherever they can find or foment it. Simply put they strike while the iron is hot and light fires when it is not.

But there are always sociopaths lurking in the shadows of society waiting to pounce whenever there is an opening. Even during the best of times they are salted throughout business, academia, government and politics, always working people and situations to their advantage. That’s just who they are and what they do. So why do we seem to have a bumper crop growing amongst us at this point in time?

It is said that power abhors a vacuum, that in the absence of an expressed or perceived form of ‘leadership’ (it doesn’t matter in what structure it presents, albeit monarchy, republic, dictatorship etc) one will quickly form or appear to fill the void. The same might be said for sociopaths filling the (increasing) void, but what exactly is this so called ‘void’ and how does it form?


Codependent dysfunction

Several weeks back I returned to the Northern Virginia/DC area on business and stopped to visit an elderly family friend who was recovering in a rehabilitation center after falling and severely injuring herself. For the sake of clarity and flow let’s call my friend Diane.

When I visited Diane she was three weeks removed from her accident and rehabbing well……or at least as well as can be expected from someone in her mid 80’s with a multitude of chronic health issues. But she was in good spirits and her only real complaint was with the food and a few less than attentive nurses.

However she was quite concerned about her daughter (let’s call her Sue) who has been visibly and openly angry with Diane over the circumstances of her fall. Without going into details while Sue might be factually correct regarding her mother’s fall and fading cognitive facilities, Sue’s continuing angry response appeared a bit irrational and misdirected. After talking to my friend for a while and reading between the lines I felt I better understood the underlying issue behind Sue’s anger.

It seems that well over twenty years ago Sue made a solemn promise to her mother, one that was repeated often both publically and privately. Sue promised she would never allow her mother to be sent to a nursing home to live out her remaining days and that she would always take care of her mother. Of course, Sue’s promise was made when Sue and Diane were both in good health, totally independent and self sufficient.

But times and circumstances have changed dramatically for mother and daughter, in particular because Diane and Sue are both struggling with health and financial issues. With it now clear that Diane can no longer safely live alone it is time for Sue to keep her promise and take her mother under her wing. And to her credit Sue was already taken steps to do precisely that when her mom is released from rehab in a few weeks. But it seems the tension between the two is thick and unsettling.

In my opinion the issue was obvious though neither really wanted to talk about it to the other. And the solution, or at least the only solution they could see, was unthinkable to both parties. Since neither could go there, both were triggered by what neither wanted to talk about. To be fair Diane was fairly coherent in her thinking, at least when she was discussing this with me. As well, I was not able to speak privately with Sue to sound her out. But I suspect that given the chance Sue would also unburden herself and speak plainly and frankly with me. Of course I wasn’t the one she needed to talk to.

Elderly Mother and Daughter

The End Game

From my point of view the dysfunctional energy was coming from both sides. While Sue was sincere when her promise was made (and constantly reaffirmed) all those years ago, and her intention to honor it now is equally sincere, the strain to do so is at times psychologically and emotionally overwhelming. While she believes she wants to keep her promise (because that’s what you do when you make a solemn oath, especially to a loved one) in truth she doesn’t really desire to do so because of her own serious personal issues.

Worse, the amount of the ‘due bill’ has been building for years as her mom’s health steadily declined and the need for Sue to ‘pay off’ on her promise became ever more apparent. Simultaneously with Diane’s increasing ‘need’ Sue’s ability to ‘pay’ declined as the years progressed. And both parties recognized this, both on a conscious and subconscious level.

When the promise was made to Diane all those years back, while she was grateful and a bit relieved since she was single with no plans to remarry, she still had many years ahead of her and didn’t seriously consider the gravity of the promise made. However as the years progressed she began to count on Sue being there when she needed her.

In fact, knowing that her daughter’s safety net was there allowed Diane to splurge quite a bit more beyond her original plans during her late 60’s and 70’s and travel around the USA and several foreign countries. I suspect she spent more money than she would have if Sue’s safety net had never been offered.

So here we are at the end game. Diane is now at that point in her life where she needs ever increasing assistance with several aspects of daily living. While she informed me that it would be OK if she did not move in with her daughter she did not have all the financial resources to pay for the care she needed. She didn’t wish to be a burden, but either she moved in with another family member or friend or she required additional financial assistance to purchase the care she needed from professionals.

The bottom line was that Diane really did want her daughter to keep her promise since Diane had counted on it being kept. Sue was facing the pressure created by her promise and the added stress from this predicament was enormous when added to her ‘normal’ daily issues. These cognitive disconnects were creating a growing neurosis within both of them which if not settled now, would only grow and fester until it blew up and out.

Promises Promises

Truth and Reconciliation

Earlier I mentioned that power abhors a vacuum. In the case of Diane and Sue the term vacuum or void is better conceptualized if we see it as an unbalanced equation or energy level. If Diane did not need ‘help’, starting from this point right up to when she eventually died, there would be no ‘need’ for Sue (or anyone else for that matter) to fill, no vacuum or void to equalize. It is Diane’s ‘need’ that creates the imbalance in the present status quo, in the level of power, in the equation. That giant sucking neurosis was air rushing into the vacuum to equalize the pressure.

It is this powerful imbalance that is creating (or more accurately fanning the flames of) the cognitive dissonance in both of them, this desire both to do and not to do what each feels compelled by conflicting desires to follow. This in turn is fostering the neurosis that presents as anger and psychological discord. Left to fester in this state for too long, serious dysfunctional behavior eventually expresses. What is rarely discussed is how this core cognitive dissonance affects in ways large and small nearly all aspects of a person’s ability to live a happy and healthy life.

We cannot ‘make’ another person ‘willingly’ change (the only type of change that is transformative and lasting) without their consent. We can force their body and condition their mind, but a true metamorphosis only occurs when we willing participate for our own inner reasons. However, we can be a catalyst for another person’s change, especially if we are part of the problem. But this requires that first we transform ourselves and most importantly our transformation cannot be initiated for others or with the intent to influence others.

What Diane and Sue are unable to see is that they are both locked into a narrow behavioral range; their choices are limited by the promise. Since neither can ‘change’ the other, the only way out is to make the decision to break out of the box and face what they are both avoiding. Neither can fundamentally change the fact that Diane is elderly and unable to fully care for herself. The only thing they can ‘change’ is how they perceive and then react to this reality.

Once they cease pounding on the locked door directly in front of them and look around they will find dozens of others doors unlocked and available…..including the formerly locked door they were just pounding on. These alternatives have been there all along; it is our narrow range of perceptual vision that blinds us to the blatantly obvious and sorely needed.

Crossing Train Tracks

Free Yourself

After Diane had finished unburdening herself to me she fell silent for a moment, and then quietly asked what I thought she should do. Instantly I knew what to say, but hesitated for a moment because I did not expect my answer to be welcomed. “You must release your daughter from her promise. Only you can do this. I know it’s difficult and unfair, but Sue is unable to find the courage to ask to be released and the burden of the promise is too great for her and you to carry.”

I paused and waited for Diane to protest, but she remained silent, seemingly willing to hear more. “It will be extremely difficult for both of you. Sue will insist that she keep her promise; you must insist that the promise has already been discharged so there is nothing to keep. Most likely Sue will not accept your release and that’s OK, since the real purpose of your release is not to free Sue, but to free yourself from the burden of the false hope that what was promised can and will still be delivered.”

Once again I paused and this time Diane replied. “But I’ve told her several times that she doesn’t have to take me in, that I could find somewhere else to live.”

Her facial expression was almost childlike, hoping that her answer was enough to satisfy me while at the same time knowing it would not. It was a response I was expecting. False hope binds us to impossible situations and accepting that we are not being, and have not been, truthful with our ‘self’ often dies a hard and painful death.

I slowly took a deep breath, gathered up my own courage and pressed on. No one wants to tell anyone what they don’t want to hear. “Was it a sincere offer? Were you ready and willing to find another place if she accepted or were you simply saying it to help both of you feel better about the burden you believe you’re placing on her?” Diane winced when I said that and I immediately wished I had been gentler. Honesty was needed, but bluntness was not and being so can at times be cruel.

Before you say anything to Sue you must be completely settled with yourself on this matter and be willing to accept any and all consequences of your actions, even if that means moving into a state paid nursing home or seriously damaging the relationship with your daughter. I paused to gauge her response, and then continued on when she said nothing.

If you cannot find peace with this before speaking with her you will not be able to fully and completely release yourself, and by extension her, from the damaging hold the promise has on both of you. You must become willing and able to do what at this moment you are unwilling to do. Consider how much power this has over you if you can’t bring yourself to release its grip. Then consider how free you will be once you have dismissed the promise that binds you to your distress.”

After a few moments of silence I gently changed the subject. Diane will have plenty of time to wrestle with her demons after I am gone. No sense forcing the issue anymore. Truth is instantly recognizable for its self evident nature. The difficulty isn’t in knowing what to do; the difficulty lay in doing what needs to be done.

Broken Promises

Self Betrayal

During my six hour drive home I had plenty of time to mull over my visit and what I had said. I was struck by the parallels between Diane and Sue and the promises made by society to society, oftentimes hidden in the guise of public government or private corporation’s promises to “We the People”.

Regardless of whether the promises come in the form of financial, governmental, regulatory, judicial or political, they have not and will not be fully kept from this point on. We cannot force those who have no intention to keep them or can’t keep them to perform even if they actually wanted to do so. Nor would shaking awake the slumbering majority to the approaching crisis force the promises to be kept. If anything that would just accelerate the crisis since the entire system operates as a confidence game. Shake confidence and you break the game board.

The exponentially increasing Federal government’s (and private corporation’s) spying on its own citizens, public and corporate corruption and crony capitalism, glaring judicial injustice, blatant police state tactics and escalating social safety net breakdowns are the symptom, not the disease. ‘We the People’ have known for decades, or should have known if we had not outsourced our own personal responsibility to know what was being done (or not done) in our name, that promises were being made that could not be kept.

Rather than step forward and demand accountability from our so called ‘leadership’, something that also demands accountability from ourselves for believing the lies of the sociopaths that it will all work out if we just leave it to them (when obviously it would not), ‘We the People’ pursued a policy of don’t ask, don’t tell and narcissistic naval gazing while growing fat and increasingly unhappy. The neurosis feeds upon itself in a positive feedback loop until it reaches the blow off phase and the social organism collapses. This is the disease.

The runaway train has now reached the terminal fascism phase and the collective and individual courage to step onto the tracks and meet the problem head on is lost and nowhere to be found. The general public, including you and me (I do not exclude myself from blame) have resigned ourselves to our lot in life and are hunkering down (or exploiting the final frenzy for personal gain) to wait out the explosive destruction with the hope of surviving to live another day. Once again it is selfish pursuits that stand in the way of solutions.

In the face of mass self betrayal, all you and I can hope to do is work towards releasing ourselves from ourselves. We must release ‘them’ from the false promises they have made so that we may release ourselves from the anger, resentment and false hope that currently has us all tied up in neurotic knots and dysfunctional depression. We must release ourselves from the past in order to move each other forward into the future.

It all begins within.



Cognitive Dissonance  

Balancing Stones

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nmewn's picture


I waited for all the serious discussion of sociopaths to get out of the way...cynicalskeptic (especially) Mark & akarc pretty much nailed down anything I had to, without further ado, another story of sociopathy from the dark & humorous side...and no, this one didn't happen in Fla, its an illusion ;-)

"JANUARY 8--A domestic dispute over space aliens escalated Saturday morning when a lingerie-clad New Mexico woman allegedly pointed a silver handgun at her boyfriend, a weapon she retrieved from her vagina, where it had been placed while the accused was performing a sex act, police allege."

The mind reels...

"As detailed in a probable cause statement, Jennifer McCarthy, a 48-year-old artist, argued about space aliens with her 53-year-old beau, whose name was redacted from the document released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. When questioned by deputies, McCarthy reportedly acknowledged that she “did have a gun at the time” the couple was yelling at each other."

Wait...did they just say Jenny McCarthy?...pant pant...

"To make matters more strange, the arrested woman is the most recent ex-wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men.”

The "Fire Carrier" tell...

"McCarthy’s boyfriend told investigators that following the argument McCarthy departed her Aventura Road residence. Upon returning to the home, he told deputies, McCarthy went into her bedroom and later emerged “wearing lingerie and a silver handgun in her vagina.” She then proceeded to “have inner course with the gun,” according to the court filing."

Fire-in-the-Hole!...inner course even! (whatever that is)...

"While using the gat as a sex toy, McCarthy reportedly asked her boyfriend, “Who is crazy, you or me?” The probable cause statement, drafted by Deputy Chris Zook, does not indicate whether McCarthy’s boyfriend dared to answer that query.""

Good move...

"After removing the gun from her vagina, McCarthy pointed it at her boyfriend’s head, investigators charge. Fearing that he could get shot, the man grabbed the weapon from McCarthy and put it in the toilet."

Yes, its all fun & games until someone gets bored with the ole sex toy...

"Pictured in the above mug shot, McCarthy was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated assault on a household member."

Now I'm confused but I'm looking forward to the silver Smith & Wessons testimony and seeing Jenny on the stand!

"She was booked into the county jail, from which she was released Sunday after posting $5000 bond.

According to public records, McCarthy married the publicity-shy Cormac McCarthy (seen at left) in Nevada in January 1998. The couple, parents to a teenage son, divorced in Texas in 2006. McCarthy did not respond to a Facebook message seeking comment about her arrest."

No the wrong Jenny McCarthy ;-)

akarc's picture

Off the top of my head due to time constraints. Because the value of being involved in such discussions, is the curious way they can cause you to question yourself.

There is a concept sometimes referred to as historical anger. It can affect individuals, families, cultures, adinfintum if the concept is broadened to historical............ "whatever" and appllied from a macro perspective. More often than not is transgenerational. Injustices or perceived injustices carried throughout generations until at some point the original sin is often times forgotten or unknown.

Think the Blacks continued mistrust of whites despite "attempts" to remedy the past. Think veterans continued distrust of Germans, Japanese or whoever the enemy may be, think the Hatfields and McCoys if you wish.

We are physical, mental, emotional beings who operate from fear. Anger is nothing but a reaction to fear. Fear of what, loss of possesions, loss of independence, loss of love, loss of life.............. All more often than not, a fear of the loss of control.

Control/Power what everyone feels they have in one area or another, yet is nothing more than an illusion based on circimstances and events. Basically I am an American, White, Anglo, Saxon, whoes world view is based, not only on being born in America, but the state, town, family and social strata I was born into.  Born with a brain that was pretty much a blank slate, other than certain genetic coding, the programming began. By my  parents, by my neighborhood, by the schools, by the media................

How can I ever believe I made a choice of free will? These were all circumstances beyond my control. I exist by virtue of the fact my father got horny and found a way to allivate that state.  So I sometimes spend time imagining, what if I had been born in an islamic part of Africa and raised muslim? I feel quite certain that as i was conditoned here, I would be conditioned there.  So circimstances and events beyond my control began my education.

As much as I feel that the word dysfunctional is overused to the extent that dysfunction is nothing more than function and all function is normal, I can truly say I was born into what would commonly be referred to as a dydfunctional family.  Of course I did not know that because all the families in our little corner of the world were pretty much the same. There for dysfunction was the norm and to believe different was to isolate myself. Human nature however is such that we crave/need other human contact and will often discount our cores in order to belong somewhere.

I grew up angry, rebellious and constantly in fights. Which was of courase a badge of honor in my neck of the woods, but was also mine and everybody else's reaction to powerlessness and fear. You ran with the pack because of fear off what would happen if you were alone. You fought because of fear of what would happen if you did not. You did not go home because of fear of what may or may not be there. You took from others because why should they have what you did not.  Obviously it was not the land of equal oppourtunity and I blamed everybody but my complete lack of power led to self reentment and loathing (I know longer make excuse)

The upside I suppose was getting out of there asap. Problem, you take yourself wherever you go. Other problem. What were once survival skills become liabilities.  Yet you can not give them up because after all, they are your survival skills.  And reality is, where ever you go you are often judged by where you have come from.  Ex. Mexicans?

But what was getting out of "there" to accomplish? A journey to find the utopia where the illusion was reality? Where one could be onesself? Who or what is ones self other than what it has been programmed to be?

That becomes a strange journey indeed.  

I mentioned "genetics" above so substances soon became a filter through which I saw all things and led me down many roads of to many experiences to mention here, and some not advisable to mention anywhere.

I also mentioned rebelliousess. Somewhere, probably due to the fear factor I gained an empathy for the underdog. I had to fight for them. After all, they were me. More roads more experiences.

Then comes the crash and burn when one is forcefully motivated to search for truth of things or die. A mentor, they called him "crazy Louie" once said all lies are truths and all truths are lies. Thus the name "Crazy Louie". That and to many mission flown over Vietnam. For some reason that resonated with me. And sent me on a journey with at least some similarities to CD's. Because unfortunately Sculley and Mulder, the truth is not out there somewhere. It is right here, right here within. We just can never recognize it while toting so much garbage. And until you sit down and throw all that garbage out on the table, along with your guts, sorth through and play with it awhile can you even begin to see it for what it is.

Will such an exercise bring you peace. I do not know. I  thought I found peace once but found, that it too was an illusion. Or at least as peace is normally construed to be. Because I function best in chaos. That is my programming. I have changed much. But couldn't ever be at peace if the underdog was still oppresed or my brothers rights were trampled on.  See it is still the fear thing. Because if it can happen to them, it can still happen to me.

But two things I have found to be of much value:

Walking in the shoes of another for a bit, and

Forgiveness. Mine and others.

As an interesting side note that some here may understand. I spend a lot of time at biker bars and events. I do not drink or use other substances. Yet at the ones I frequent most I could order a beer and they would refuse to serve me. Yet some have never seen me drink?  Yet they still understand and have respect enough not to aid in my destruction.  A dying breed indeed.

Now if after having written this and you see me in another thread attempting to creat chaos it is only cause I'm looking for peace. CD spend more time on the paradoxes and thank you for your many stimulating posts.

P.S. I too, as should we all accept blame for the the current state of a country we claim to love.





Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Now if after having written this and you see me in another thread
attempting to create chaos it is only cause I'm looking for peace. CD
spend more time on the paradoxes
and thank you for your many stimulating

That is a verbally stated goal of mine and one Mrs. Cog will hold me to. Thank you for your contribution.

Nom de Guerre's picture

This right here is why I love Zerohedge. Thanks for the piece (peace?), Cog.

RECISION's picture

In the face of mass self betrayal, all you and I can hope to do is work towards releasing ourselves from ourselves. We must release ‘them’ from the false promises they have made so that we may release ourselves from the anger, resentment and false hope that currently has us all tied up in neurotic knots and dysfunctional depression. We must release ourselves from the past in order to move each other forward into the future.


I don't buy it.

I'm not tied up in neurotic knots or dysfunctional depression.

And I am also not interested in releasing "them".

I am much more interested in holding everyone to account.

Even if that means "everyone".

if we have all sinned or been complicit in some form then we can all pay the price.

But the "Wolfs of Wall Street" can certainly all be put up against a wall and shot.

...or whatever other sanction is deemed appropriate.

The top 1-5% can absolutely be removed wholesale, and the world will still keep spinning - and arguably be a far better place for it.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have copy/pasted my response to Mark McHugh above. It applies to your comment as well.

"I agree that we should not compromise with the sociopaths. If you give them an inch they will take ten miles.

But "We the People" do not and will not have the courage to confront the sociopaths when we can't even deal with our own issues. Thus the purpose of this piece, to illustrate that point. The reason I told Diane to 'release' Sue from her promise was not to allow Sue off the hook. It was to enable Diane to release herself from the embrace of the dysfunctional relationship she was so tightly bound to. Once done Diane will be better able to see other choices, including the real damage done by the sociopaths, and actually function in a dysfunctional world and situation.

"We the People" must heal if we are to shake off the parasitic sociopaths. Otherwise we remain locked in a terminal dysfunctional co-dependent relationship with the sociopaths. And they are so much better suited to survive that dysfunction than you or I."


I would like to respond directly to one thing you say. You said........

"I am much more interested in holding everyone to account. Even if that means "everyone". if we have all sinned or been complicit in some form then we can all pay the price."

All I can say is that you and I ARE paying the price right here and right now.

RECISION's picture

On one hand, your main thesis...

But "We the People" do not and will not have the courage to confront the sociopaths when we can't even deal with our own issues. Thus the purpose of this piece, to illustrate that point. 

That is true enough.

RECISION's picture

All I can say is that you and I ARE paying the price right here and right now.


No we're not - not yet we're not.

When we get a 1930's style depression we might be paying the price.

But in the meantime we continue to dodge and weave, hoping to avoid paying the full price for our sins.

Infact, that is human nature all over.  Hope'n and a pray'n we can avoid, or transfer to some-one else, the costs of our (in)actions.

We still want all the consequences of our actions to go to that mythical place - AWAY.  To be forgiven our trespasses.

When the financiers and politicians start going to prison in bulk, and when the rest of us get our assets and incomes cut in half, then we are starting to pay the bill on our accumulated debts.

When we march in the streets in our millions, demanding and enforcing change, then we will start to deserve something better - but in the meantime, we are still going backwards. Ethically, politically and financially. 

We are so far from paying our dues, it is farcical, and I have no interest in listening to the whining anymore.

Wake me up when the fighting in the streets starts - my guess is that that is what the real cost will be.

kurt's picture

Another convoluted randian hitpiece on social security.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's early in the morning and I have not had my coffee yet. So I am tempted to say.......

"In children's literature you can tell a book from its cover and its pictures. Here on ZH you actually need to read the article."

But I will not follow temptation and instead will say......

"Please show me where I refer to Social Security in this piece. And its Randian to you buddy. :)

akarc's picture

"In children's literature you can tell a book from its cover and its pictures. Here on ZH you actually need to read the article."

Thank GOd you were just tempted CD. Now I would have probaly just said it but glad to se you avoided temptation :)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


Note to self. Drink my coffee before responding to comments.  :)

Skateboarder's picture

I have found myself telling myself from time to time to 'erase all anger from your heart.' Instinct does not lead me wrong.

Give yourself with conviction. Carry no regret. Don't look back, except to say 'bye.' :)

Nobody For President's picture

Hit home, COG. My wife and I both only children, so when Mother In Law went down with dementia, it was obvious she had to be in a skilled nursing facility, and she was, and she had the funds to do it. But it was hard.

Then it was my Mom's turn with dementia - she didn't want to live up in rain country so we got here placed in a facility 150 miles south. It was really hard to remember it is not something they are doing to you, it is a process they are going through; especially the first time you walk into the room for a visit and they look at you and obviously don't have a clue who you are...I pretty much paid for Mom's care, her social security after working all her life would cover about a 1/4 of her needs and expenses, but it was OK - it was the '90's, and I was riding the tech boom stock market tsunami.

And now my wife - 12 years battling Non Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL), and she has won a lot of battles, but is losing the war. I'm her full-time caregiver, with my daughter coming home to help voluntarily (thank goodness) or I would go nuts. I also hire a 'respite worker' to watch wife on Sunday so I can go sit (Buddhist Temple) and then go fly (Piper Cub - an antique like me). This keeps me sane, because full-time caregiving for someone you have been with 43 years is really tough. Daughter also takes off on Sunday.

Like others on this list, I had figured on dying young, or at least before my wife - no way was I gonna outlive my wife.  I was variously an Airborne Ranger Infantry type, founder chief of the local small volunteer fire department, paramedic, homesteader with adventures, skydiver back in the day (C-1415), paraglider pilot for 13 years - I beat myself up plenty a few times, but I'm still here. My wife lived a sensible, balanced, holistic and healthy life, and I'm losing her - go figure.

How do you die with grace and skill in a society dominated by life extention at any cost (until you're broke)? With any luck at all, my wife will die in bed at home, like my Dad.

'Everybody knows' they are gonna die, but as Woodie Allen once famously said, "Well, I'm immortal - so far."

I'm glad you raised difficult questions about a difficult subject, COG. Thanks agan.

Sorynn's picture

Cogs article and your lovingly and well stated response are the main reasons that keep me coming back to zerohedge and sifting through the many other types of comments.

Thank you, and I wish you and your family all the best in this difficult time.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The best stuff can always be found in the comment section. Thanks to the both of you for your contributions.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Quote: "Truth is instantly recognizable for its self evident nature."

Like the statement that phi is a transcendental number?


Dutch's picture

Letting go is part of the solution. How many things and situations can you let go of today? Tomorrow? The next day? Let go as much as you can, and the load of burdens becomes lighter. You also will learn better how to let go. A belief in God can help you with this, should you choose to go that route. Alternatively, being absolutely honest with yourself, about what is best for you, should take you to the same place, more or less.

Anxiety is created by having a reach that is beyond one's grasp. Think about the older people you know. Some fight the manifestations of aging every step of the way, making life miserable for themselves and for the people around them. Others come to terms with it, and sometimes even celebrate it in small ways. It is all up to you how you deal with it, no matter the hand you draw.

Similarly, the world we live in is mostly out of our hands. We will get opportunities to vote, whatever good that might do...or maybe something more. We will get opportunities to guide and help the people around us, or learn and take guidance from them. Or not. People are generally resilient, and adaptable. But sometimes one may just curl up and go to sleep, not to wake again. Try to figure out where you stand, as you go, and when it is time to rest. Because it is going to be what it is going to be, no matter how hard you try to make it otherwise. Finding the way to accept your fate is one of the most important things you can ever do, for your own happiness and for that of the people around you. In an ideal situation, you can teach others around you how to do it. As my Grandmother taught me on her deathbed. Words were not spoken, but the message was passed along, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

I stumbled on this site earlier today -

Personally, it bothers me when someone wants to maintain the "Facade" but inevitably gets frustrated with me for accepting the offer. The way I see it I have only agreed with you.
On the streets the unspoken rule is never ask other people on the streets for help but if they offer you something always accept. In fact sometimes it can be construed as a personal insult if you refuse an offer of free food from a brother. The homeless take pride in their own ability to give to others but never expose themselves the way Sue did.
Perhaps the culture differs and perhaps it is learning the hard way. Regardless it is an interesting contrast. Thanks for the article.

akarc's picture

So true this. I have taken people into my world. Fatal mistakes can be easy to make. Why can't you walk up and shake that guys hand. Will explain it to you later, just don't do it now, please.

Reaper's picture

A problem not considered, but which I experienced is the effect on other family members.   The care promiser wants others to help carry the load.  The happiness of others is compared to the unhappiness of the needy one.  This can be exasperated when there is more than one elderly in need.   The issue becomes whether the needs of of the needy must supersede the life of the caregiver and others.  Is one person's life to be compromised to relieve the heartache of another?   At one point I had four seniors in need of nursing care at the same time.   You ask the right question CD.

the grateful unemployed's picture

it's not much different than the workplace, if there is one person willing to jump into the fire and save someone, there are four others willing to watch

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"there are four others willing to watch"

And three to take credit if the hero succeeds and blame the fourth if the hero does not.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I cannot hope to find answers if I don't ask better questions. So the search continues for better questions.

<I seem to always find better questions in the form of comments in the threads under my posts then in my actual post. Keep them coming folks.>

the grateful unemployed's picture

so Sue spent her mother's money and she doesn't want to pay the bill. never lend money to family.

akarc's picture

IF you got it, just give. Saves trouble in the end.

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

In the immortal words of Biggie Smalls - "Keep your family and business completely separated. Money and blood don't mix like 2 dicks and no bitch. Find yourself in serious shit"

ShiftCTRL's picture

This piece is extremely deep. Very wise. 

Palisade's picture

Nice post CD. Amazing how individual experiences relate to many larger issues.

akarc's picture

Individual experience and lack there of relate to all larger issues. Everything is interconnected. It is why no man can become an island. However have attempted to be a peninsula

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank you. We find inspiration wherever we look if only we wish to perceive.

In my mind it is always a chicken or egg thing. Which came first, the social dysfunction or the individual neurosis. The answer is neither and both. One begets the other which begets the first, as do all (dysfunctional) symbiotic relationships.

Palisade's picture

Sure, the piece certainly deserves much more than nice. It relates things down to a very understandable level and also helps clarify why it is difficult to reach most people.


"Which came first, the social dysfunction or the individual neurosis. The answer is neither and both" - doesn't matter either since both are being stimulated using a variety of means while the tapeworm feeds on them both.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


But if I am to grow and mature it really doesn't matter if I am being consumed by a tapeworm if I am unaware that the tapeworm is the problem. Ignorance is bliss until I becomes tapeworm excrement.

Ultimately an unhealthy me creates all of my own roadblocks, even if it expresses in the form of enabling the tapeworm. I must understand my own dysfunction and how it relates to others before I can see that it is not the tapeworm that consumes me. It is me who consumes me. A healthy me would never allow the tapeworm his dinner.

I was, I am and I will always be the problem. Personal responsibility is all that matters at this point. Before I point a finger at the tapeworm I must recognize that four fingers are pointing back at me. If I am dysfunctional, ill at ease, then my perspective is distorted and self destructive. The path to a healthy society is a healthy me.

Palisade's picture

You have an amazing way of articulating your thoughts.  "The path to a healthy society is a healthy me." I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing and look forward to your new site.

Mrs. Cog's picture

You have an amazing way of articulating your thoughts.

Agree. Right up to the point when I put some nasty concoction from a natural remedy in front of him and he becomes a three year old lol. "No. No. No."

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I'm usually much more articulate than that.

"No. No. Hell No."

Then I hold my nose and swallow like all good three year old boys do.  :)

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

To the author of "promises, promises"...

What an accurate snapshot of the American soul starting with the deterioration of the family unit over the last 50 years and matching it as metaphorically speaking against the policies of our own Federal government that "represents us".

I would like to believe that at some point and time a catalyzing event, much like the ones we've already experienced in the U.S. would allow us to collectively release ourselves from ourselves, but I agree with the premise of the author you have to start with yourself and only hope that others will eventually catch up and reach the same conclusions before it's too late.

Speaking of cognitive dissonance for those who have never seen it I only hope it can be reflected upon and internalized before the next one takes place that may not give us the same chance!

Ckierst1's picture

Unfortunately your catalyzing event (on the national scale) is generally in the form of a national emergency, usually a war, frequently provoked, that is held forth as the compelling reason d'etre as an exit strategy from an unkeepable social welfare commitment.  This Hegelian plot is getting pretty threadbare.  Those who instigate such events are traitors, not statesmen practising geopolitical realpolitik. Their legacy is waste, misery and tragedy.  This includes money men who play both sides of conflict for personal gain such as the Rothschilds.  If such can be substantiated then they deserve the rigors of justice.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"If such can be substantiated then they deserve the rigors of justice."...

Substantiated already happened (to the point of the hyperlinks). And obviously without laws to make that event and evidence binding there is no hope that it 'will not' happen again.

To the point of this article when the fabric of morals and values is scuttled by a generation that had two parents committed to working in order to "succeed" as they were told and more importantly survive as they were not told while there kids glued themselves to a television set for future training in life along with all of the other myriad of bread and circus distractions to comfort them in the knowledge they were better than everyone else -this is what you get.

I have no illusions where this Country the United States of America is headed.  By design.

woolly mammoth's picture

The flow of your writtings are really getting pretty smooth and your opinion here was sound. Good read CD.  On another note it seems you have cuddled up to another ZHer, if true, congrates to you both. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs. Cog and I met in the threads of ZH and swapped thoughts and ideas. It was only when we wanted to swap spit that we decided to get together in the flesh.

The rest, as they say, is history. :)

woolly mammoth's picture

Cool, I'm assuming we are not referring to Velobabe/KathyC.

Right? :) 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Wow! A flash from the past. I assure you Mrs. Cog is not Velobabe/KathyC. least I think she's not.

< that you've got me thinking..........>  :)

Seer's picture


Life just rocks when you've got a great partner and as a team you kick ass.  Something to be said about starting up such relationships when you're older: I knew exactly what I wanted and I had my list- I got a completely different package (form) then I was expecting, but not only was the wrapping better than I'd expected but the insides were better too!

It's been almost 6 years now and I still run around with a shit-eating grin.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have no idea what Mrs. Cog sees in a old mutt like me. But I sure am glad she likes mutts.

The Navigator's picture

Unfortunately, as pretty/handsome as we all start out as, we all end up looking like mutts. It's only love/spiritual attractiveness that blinds us to that muttliness.

Great piece CD - looking forward to MOAR of your work and wishing you peace and prosperity in 2014.