The Sovereignty Series - Orienteering : Lost in the Wilderness

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Orienteering – Lost in the Wilderness

The Sovereignty Series


Cognitive Dissonance



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Because our personal memory cannot extend beyond our lifetime, neither before our birth nor after our death, we tend to view the world with narrow blinders on. In addition, since we alone occupy our mind (unless of course we are of two minds) we tend to perceive the world interpreted through our conditioning, training and experience. We believe ourselves to be credible and intelligent, even though nearly all our working capital, our knowledge, is corrupt and seriously tainted.

This is the functional equivalent of seeing the world through a pin hole camera lens while wearing dark sunglasses. Essentially this leaves us myopic at best, and functionally blind at worst. We stumble and bumble through life believing we have near perfect vision when in fact we have been sleepwalking since birth. Seen from this point of view is it any wonder “We the People” can be so easily herded and controlled?

But it gets worse, much worse. While we see ourselves as a large community, a nation of individuals gathered together under a common cause, on a day to day basis the reality we experience is far different. The problem we face as a nation of individuals is that while we ‘perceive’ ourselves as part of a greater group, we myopically pursue our own goals and aspirations and leave the bus driving to someone else, mostly those who claim authority to drive in our stead.  

As anyone who has participated in “Orienteering” will tell you, one must constantly be aware (mindful is the term I like to use) of where you are in relation to where you wish to go. And might I add, where you have been. Spatial awareness is of utmost importance when navigating the four axis (longitude, latitude, altitude and time) of unfamiliar terrain, something modern men and women have mostly ceded to GPS enabled Garmin, smart phone mapping apps and a benevolent government who would never steer us wrong on the really important stuff. 

When attempting to efficiently navigate to a destination there are several items, tools let’s call them, of utmost importance we must possess. One, we must know where we presently are in relation to where we want to go. This requires not only a map or some other type of document displaying a ‘concept’ of ‘reality’, almost always created by others, but also the proper mindset, one that requires (demands) curiosity, critical thinking and creativity in order to adapt to an ever changing set of circumstances and terrain.   

In addition, on this map of reality there must either be an ‘X’ to mark the spot where we presently reside (you are >here<) or some method must be offered that is used to determine where we are in space (and equally importantly time) and how that relates to the map in hand. Most often we are ‘told’ where we are by way of signposts, route numbers, word of mouth information, intuitive guesstimating or a benevolent government (and its lackeys, sycophants and mainstream media) who would never steer us wrong on the really important stuff.

Two, we must know where we wish to go and the route or routes we will travel beginning from where we are now. As obvious as this may sound to someone who thinks they know where they are and where they are going, after some careful consideration and reflection it becomes increasingly apparent that our spatial knowledge is mostly derived from group think and common ‘beliefs’ than by a careful examination of available information and a critical and suspicious eye towards disseminated propaganda.


Every Which Way


All too often we willingly absorb and act upon untested ‘truths’ simply because they come from ‘trusted’ sources we have been ‘told’ are impeccable. Examples of this are our primary school system, the mainstream media, experts such as lawyers, doctors, scientists and institutions such as corporations, governments and centers of higher education. And lately for those who claim increased awareness, the vast universe of alternative ‘news and information’ sources of equally dubious credibility and quality.

We accept with little suspicion and rarely question that the map as it is laid out before us is complete and accurate, that the reality depicted is as it actually exists just beyond the horizon. See, it’s clearly marked here on the map. This way be dragons and monsters, but that way over there is the land of milk and honey. Those bad brown, yellow, red or black people just beyond the mountains are our enemies and these folks over here are our white friends and companions. You know….the good guys with central banks and natural resources to exploit.

This brings us to number three in our orienteering exercise, that of understanding where we have been before ‘now’. Of critical importance to us is learning, and then applying to the present situation, where and why we were previously back there and what we have learned from that journey. Without (fully) understanding where we have been and the lessons learned, any subsequent journey we undertake is always a first time for us, virgin territory in all aspects for us novices.

The time of greatest risk of failure is when we have never gone before, even if we really have and just don’t remember….or are deliberately misinformed. Not knowing ‘our’ history (actually more often the history of those who came before) dooms us to endlessly repeat past mistakes, wrong turns, dead ends and abject failures.

If the map has been subtly modified or altered (or even worse, continuously changed) yet we are repeatedly assured it is true and accurate, a ‘fact’ confirmed by group think, consensus opinion and official authority proclamation, we are left to aimlessly wander the landscape, begging equally befuddled random passersby for clear directions or possibly even a better map.    

Under these conditions who among us can declare with any degree of certainty that they ‘know’ that the reality spread out before them as depicted on the map is true and accurate, an honest representation of what lies over the hill, thus alleviating the need to actually travel there to confirm the authenticity of the map in hand. How could anyone trust a document of such dubious pedigree and lineage to do anything other than to help start a camp fire on the side of the road and warm our hands while we gather our bearings?

And yet even those among us who claim to be awake, to see more clearly through the cognitive fog than the average Joe, still use the same pin hole camera lens and cheap sunglasses to view the world. They attribute their new found clarity to the discovery of several flaws in their map or possibly a new and improved map produced by others who also claim excellent vision and insight. Oftentimes the new map is declared better simply because it is different, the more radical the change the better in some eyes.


The Cognitive Fog


Since we no longer trust the presently popular Oracle of Delphi, the one worshiped by the surging herd as the purveyor of the one true map, instead of attempting to widen our field of vision and remove our Ray Ban’s in order to properly see and perceive, we cast about for another self proclaimed authority to declare with utmost confidence that dry land is most assuredly that-a-way.

By swapping one leader for another rather than seeking truth independently, who is to say another wild card hasn’t been slipped into the deck to wreck havoc and poison the well. Trading dependencies accomplishes nothing for the dependent and everything for the entity(s) depended upon.

Being personally sovereign requires the complete removal of any and all visual impairments and the application of critical thinking to new information presented to the sovereign as truth. Since ‘our’ history has been, and continues to be, repeatedly obscured, edited and rewritten over countless generations to suit the control needs of each map maker, to simply swap maps is to swap problems, not find solutions let alone the truth. 

To declare that because we have found our map defective, therefore we need a new one, simply invites the control system to infiltrate the process at any point along the way and once again obscure the results, leaving us in even more precarious straits. At least before with known damaged goods in hand, we cast doubt upon the validity of the old map and ventured forward carefully, deliberately. Now that we have embraced the substitute we are even more easily led astray because our faith and belief has been restored and the chain is again secured around our neck.

Once again sleepwalking through life, though this time with the belief we are wide awake, the damage we subsequently do to ourselves and to others by our cries of Eureka is magnitudes greater than before. Every rebel voice, every rebellion, contains its own seeds of destruction when it finally 'wins' and goes mainstream. And make no mistake about it; the alternative press is ‘our’ mainstream media. The personally sovereign never declares victory when still surrounded by the enemy, for to do so is to be quickly overwhelmed and assimilated.



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This Way Be Dragons

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blindman's picture
Tommy Dorsey - The Music Goes Round and Round
Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra 1936 ~ Music Goes 'Round and Around

blindman's picture

then there is this.
NRBQ - I Just Called To Say I Love Youse
and the music goes round and round ...
NRBQ performs "The Music Goes Round and Around"

blindman's picture

attention, that is the rule and what it
is all about. it is of the author to be
attended to by the universe, delicate and
ensigned yet impressionable. ahhh....
everything and all of it, it all ...
incomprehensible free truth,.
one could cry or run out of/from breath ....
the universe might do that to every point
of perspective, just for fun?
anyway poems*tm

blindman's picture

i know i'm fashionably late but
seriously, has everyone fallen asleep?
gone fishing?
was it the country music?
the power of the internet making a bold
statement, " move along, nothing to dwell on
or see here."
it is a sad, beautiful and funny world
where the jokes stream and scream just over
my head.
NRBQ sing "Over Your Head" on the Dennis Miller TV Talk Show in 1992

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs. Cog and I both think that no Cognitive Dissonance article thread is complete until blindman sings. :)

blindman's picture

very kind and gracious of you both,
see you at the next out post maybe to
compare maps and such.
on a different but related topic,
i have a photograph i would like you
both to see containing a number of
layers of humour and something else?
it is a fishing related photo. is there
a place to send it you could recommend?
i have wb7's mail but i hesitate to send it
to him because he may alter it in some
politically incorrect fashion,
please advise.

blindman's picture

this juncture requires no humour tag

Mrs. Cog's picture

has everyone fallen asleep?

Right here Mr. Blindman :-) What would the ZH Cog threads be without the ever relevant blindman musical interlude? (yes even the country music lol)

blindman's picture

Steve Goodman : You've Never Even Called Me By My Name
and this last one ....
"Ever since the dog died and mama went to prison
Ain't nothin' round this old farm that's been the same
[Spoken] You know when mom broke out last Christmas
She drove the getaway laundry truck into a train

But I'll hang around as long as you will let me
I never minded standing in the rain
You don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
But you never even call me by my name". j.p/ s.g.

blindman's picture

one more ..
John Prine & Nanci Griffith : Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness

blindman's picture

Rainforest Sounds and Animals 1 hour - Soothing audio for Relaxation, Sleep and Meditation
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
By Prof. John McMurtry
Global Research, April 08, 2014
Science for Peace and Global Research 2 May 2003
"...The Ruling Group-Mind

As I watched the Security Council Meeting on March 19 after military inspections of Iraq were forcibly terminated by the Bush Jr. administration’s decision to take the law into its own hands, I was struck by the intimidation of the Council members. They were in thrall to a ceremony of avoidance. The hard fact that the U.S. administration had just stopped the U.N.’s due process by its decision for lawless armed attack of Iraq was blocked out of view as if it had not been decided. That this massive armed military invasion was a grave violation of international law, the supreme international crime under the Nuremberg Charter, was never mentioned. The ritual of sacrifice prevailed instead as if in collective submission to the implacable ordinance of Fate." ...j.m.
General News 4/8/2014 at 08:29:07
A Nightmare Drug Given to the Military and Civilians
By Martha Rosenberg
..."The military, government and Big Pharma similarly blame the current suicide epidemic among military personnel on factors others than the ubiquitous psychiatric drugs in use--even though 30 percent of the victims never deployed and 60 percent never saw combat. A recent five year study by Pharma-funded academic, government and military researchers about military suicides, for example, does not even consider the drugs given to an estimated sixth of all soldiers almost all of which carry warnings about suicide . Hello?" ... m.r.
Fed to the Sharks, Part 1: The Fed Takes Our Money, Gives It to Banks Who Loan It Back to Us at 16%
Posted on April 8, 2014 by Charles Hugh Smith
We’re being Fed to the sharks, every day, one morsel at a time. What a way to go….
Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely
soe links

VWAndy's picture

Concider the source has been a kind of motto of mine from when I was a kid. Growing up in a big family its just a good idea. Everybody is not perfectly right on anything, but they might be close. Its like the truth all big and ugly just standing rigth there. Walk around to the other side its still the truth but its not ugly anymore. The perspective matters.

 Someone much wiser than me said in regards to where I am on the map. If you are looking for the truth you are already going in the right direction. Then you wouldnt need to worry about where you were. Just keep chasing after the truth. It is the way to go. So no matter where you are on the map go towards the truth.

That said. If ya need to know, spend some time infront of a mirror. First thing to work on is the smile in your eyes.


honestann's picture

If the map has been subtly modified or altered (or even worse, continuously changed) yet we are repeatedly assured it is true and accurate, a ‘fact’ confirmed by group think, consensus opinion and official authority proclamation, we are left to aimlessly wander the landscape, begging equally befuddled random passersby for clear directions or possibly even a better map.

So, what is the map?  Because I got [seriously, massively, overwhelmingly] hooked on astronomy at a very young age, my "map" has been "the entire universe" and "whatever processes exist or are possible" for virtually my entire life.

Maybe this is part of the key, or the cure, though I worry this might only work for very young humans.  Start with the widest possible "map".  Wander around in that "map" (which is in fact equal to a map of all reality at that point), see what portions of the map appeal to you, and take some time to visit, observe and especially play within those "territories".  So even while playing in a particular "territory", you are always thinking in terms of the whole map (all of reality) and whatever relevance each territory has to the whole map.

Given this perspective from a young age, no need (or inclination) ever arises to ask anyone else for a map, or for directions, or for "what I should be interested in".

I have, so many times in my life, from even before I was 10 years old, wondered at how unbelievably "narrow" and limited were the "maps" that other people lived in and paid attention to.  I learned very early on, that 100% of the humans I met had absolutely zero interest in "the universe" that fascinated me.

The point being, if humans demand their "maps" be massively limited to some infinitesimal little region of reality... it should not be surprising that all they do is wander around in the trivia available in that tiny little piece of reality.  They have already rejected the rest of the universe as unworthy of their attention!

Reaper's picture

Why do you trust that the common explanation for the universe is true? Why need the stars and their "planets" be made from the same atoms we know here on Earth? Or even atoms? We project our understanding of the world we observe upon other worlds very distant from us. Why is this greater reality which you observe understood better than the reality which surrounds you. Is it because the explanations offered to you appear consistent? Perceptions of reality change from close by to very far away. Once Black Holes were truth. Now, Hawkins doubts them. What if what we see far away in the universe is really our own world from a twist in space? Is the universe really a four dimensional Moebius Strip?

honestann's picture

The short answer is... I don't.

Example: I believe the BigBang theory is wrong.

This conversation could consume 100 books.  So let me explain why I came to those conclusions.  I had early access to telescopes with simple spectroscopes.  I was able to look (only visually in the earliest days, but later record photographically) what other astronomers had for 100 years or so.

That is, the dark [absorption] lines in the spectra and bright [emission] lines in stars correspond to atoms/elements (those 92 fundamental "natural" substances from which all "natural" molecules are composed).  How do we know this?  Because we can excite/absorb light from a bulk of a single atom/element in vacuums on earth and see those exact same spectral lines from each element.

The overwhelmingly convincing inference from these observations is... ALL stars in ALL observed galaxies in this universe are indeed composed of the exact same atoms and molecules as in... our sun... and in the atoms and molecules in our laboratories.

This is "age 8" level information... IF... you are interested in astronomy.

You might call this "projecting our local environment on the universe", but I'd say that observing the same 50,000 spectral lines on stars in every galaxy in the universe that we see from the sun and in our laboratories on earth is VASTLY TOO HUGE A COINCIDENCE to entertain much chance they come from unrelated phenomenon!  Can you?  Seriously?

Having a lifelong interest in astronomy (and science in general), I am sad to say that most "scientists" with university degrees in various sciences are not scientists.  Most of them today are "fad followers".

Why?  Because unlike 100 years ago, they are not funded privately.  They are funded by HUGE government and HUGE military-industrial complex.  And so they write papers to support whatever delivers them a paycheck... which is whatever the predators-that-be want them to support.  The same is true of most authors, though the dynamic is somewhat different (and more varied), as sometimes the "most sensational" claims garner the largest sales.

As a result, I do NOT complain when people rail against "modern science", because they are almost always talking about "politically correct science" (government, industry) or "sensationalist science" (authors).

Many times in ZH posts I have mentioned unconventional views that I hold.  Especially today, "unconventional" does not mean "wrong".  The difference between my unconventional views and most of them is... mine generally sound more mundane than sensationalist.

The overwhelming confidence in the BigBang theory today is total BS.  Though there was certainly some real science that underlies this theory (that fainter galaxies have more red-shift (of spectral lines)), the confidence in this conclusion is massively overstated.  For one thing (as you imply), it takes quite a bit of gall to claim you understand the electromagnetic dynamics of ALL physical phenomenon on the scale of the universe.  I mean, ouch!  Sure, it is perfectly okay to float this THEORY, and it even sounded great to me when I was about 8 years old.  But further reflection indicates we must not have much confidence in this theory (because it contradicts THE most fundamental principle of science that we see DOES correspond with everything else in the universe, and because we simply lack any way to determine the behavior of the various existents and phenomenon in the universe on these scales of size) .

If you read my writings, you would remember that I have stated many times that I only KNOW three things (the first two being "the universe exists", and "the universe is not static in every respect, which simply means certain aspects of reality/universe change).

Beyond these three fundamentals, everything else is "provisional inference", which is rather similar to "best honest guess, all things considered to the best of my ability"... which an emphasis on that "honest" part.

I will add that conventional interpretations of "quantum physics" are another huge fraud.  While various predictions are undeniable, the assumptions made about the fundamental nature of reality from these equations are utterly and completely BOGUS.  Why?  For one thing, they contradict the most fundamental principles of science, and if they were true, anything even remotely like "science" (or coherence, or consistency, or lack-of-contradiction, or conservation principles) would be inherently invalid.  It would mean the fundamental nature of reality is "absolute complete and utter chaos".  That's not how it is.  The perverts who promote these wacko interpretations make many completely disingenuous claims to support their crazy interpretations, and laugh because nobody can yet [convincingly] DETECT sub-quantum events with QUANTUM devices (namely "physical materials" composed of atoms).  They set up an inherently impossible (it seems) requirement, then claim WE LOSE because we can't do the impossible.  Well, if that's science, I don't know what disingenuous means!  Hahaha.

Anyway, I'm not someone who thinks of science as a form of religion, that's for sure.

Reaper's picture

Can you perceive a three dimensional Moebius strip or understand its mathematics? Or a four dimensional? Is the speed of light the fastest speed? Is there a path between very far objects much shorter because of a three or four dimensional twist in the universe? Science becomes a religion when you believe without always doubting. We know little because of our confinement in a small place. The common fool believes quantum physics is about macro relationships, when it is about the smallest possible division. What is light? To obtain a government grant for research you must apply to an ignorant presumptuous bureaucrat. That the universe exists is self-proving. Next, have you applied all you believe you know to other sciences? To politics? To finance? To human interactions? To cog's journey?

honestann's picture

It is easy to build 3D moebius strips, and I have many times.  Of course, maybe you'd call them 2D moebius strips within 3D space, but... whatever.  I've seen visualizations of higher dimensional moebius strips, but obviously they are always very limited, even when animated to expose "additional dimensions".

Compared to many science and math whizzes, I have a more limited ability to visualize multi-dimensional "spaces" (if you want to call them that).

The "speed of light" is a bit of a tricky question for me, since I am virtually 100% certain that "time" does not exist.  What DOES exist is "change"... and a huge number of phenomenon change in a huge number of respects.  But there is NO unified "change" phenomenon that is "real", meaning "not just a mental construct".  Thus, "time" does not exist.

Now, you gotta realize, if time doesn't exist, what does "velocity" or "speed" mean?  If you say "distance divided by time", well, you have a fictional quantity in that equation, and thus you can't consider that "derived quantity" to be real either.

However, everything real (not counting change/action of those everythings that are real) is a configuration of a single fundamental wave phenomenon.  That phenomenon may not EXACTLY be the fascinating wave phenomenon we call "electromagnetic radiation" AKA "light", but if it is not, then "electromagnetic radiation" AKA "light" is one very important configuration of that fundamental phenomenon.

So the question might become SOMETHING like this.  If we can figure out [more] exactly what is the nature of that fundamental wave-field that everything real is a configuration of, and in SOME sense we can be clear about that field has limits (similar to "speed"), then yeah, there might be something akin to a "speed of light" limit.  And that would be the limit for EVERYTHING, because EVERYTHING is merely a configuration of that fundamental field.

To answer your later questions, yes, I have theories of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics that are utterly and fully based upon the fundamental nature of reality and nothing else.

I do not accept "politics" as a science, or even as a legimiate endeavor, since collectives do not exist in reality (only as abstractions in the brain, and bogus/fictional ones at that), and therefore any theory of "politics" is inherently self-refuting and self-contradictory, not to mention false.

Personally I don't understand enough about "the arts" to have any philosophical opinions or theories on that so-called "branch of philosophy".  My guess is, art should not be considered a branch of philosophy.

Though "finance" is too abstract, arbitrary and [conventional] fiction, part of my ethics identifies and considers exchange of [produced] goods and goodies for [produced] goods and goodies, which is inherently ANTI-FIAT.  If you look through my past messages on ZH, you'll either go insane first, or find where I describe why and how "ethics" (for human beings) is simply "causality applied to human action" (in the context of humans who understand and practice productive actions).  In other words, UTTERLY reality-based.

The entirety of my "finance theory" is so extremely simple that I've never even claimed that I have a "finance theory" (and don't think of it that way).  This doesn't mean people can't practice other voluntary transactions fancier than simple trade/exchange, but I consider them too non-fundamental to belong in [what I would consider] the field of "philosophy".

Nonetheless, my epistemology recognizes that concepts [including their domain, range and scope] are utilitarian choices, so you may decide to include more derivative aspects of "voluntary exchange of values" in your philosophy.

Hope the above helps in some way.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The 'map' is whatever you are using to navigate. I suspect there are 7.2 billion maps, each slightly different and self-customized for each individual on Earth.

Maybe you should ask Tyler if you could become a ZH contributing editor. You are certainly prolific and knowledgeable.

honestann's picture

So... the "map" is my eyeballs (and other senses), plus everything I infer from my observations and experiences (sensations and perceptions)?  Because that is [perhaps implicitly] what and how I [attempt to] navigate.

What I mean is, I have a definitional concepts called "reality", "existence" and "universe" (all of which mean the same thing, namely EVERYTHING that exists, whether I am currently aware of it or not.

I am explicitly certain that I am not yet aware of many configurations, phenomenon, processes, changes and actions that exist in the universe, but those ARE part of my map in the sense that I am always explicitly looking for anything new, because anything new might have extraordinary untapped value (intellectually as well as existentially)!

I guess what I've been trying to express is this.  Because I have this specific set of premises and explicit and implicit assumptions, the notion of "map" is... well... functionally irrelevant?

I'm not even sure that's the right way to say this.  But I definitely have a sense that my brain is utterly free to fly "all over, under, around and through every possible map" without constraints.  Hell, I'll even consider totally crazy, wacko, insane, impossible nonsense for as long as it takes me to be certain [enough] that the notion is in fact crazy, wacko, insane, impossible or nonsense.

To a large extent, I'm talking as much about my feelings here as any theories I might have... the normal sensation I experience when I operate my brain.  SOMETHING I did long ago has almost entirely eliminated the significance of the entire "map" notion, leaving only me and the reality I explore and consider.  Or something.

I am flailing a bit here.  You say humans have 7.2 billion maps.  That makes me think your meaning of "map" is identical to "context".  But I don't believe that, at least not if you mean "physical context".  After all, I grew up in the most putrifyingly normal "family" one can imagine, which means their "physical context" was nearly identical.  Nonetheless, my "intellectual context" was so utterly alien to them (and theirs to me) that... well... it makes me wonder what exactly is supposed to constitute these "maps" in the first place.

To some extent, part of what I was trying to say is, that I explicitly and self-consciously DEEMED my "map" to be "everything that exists, the entirety of reality/existence/universe, everything that the nature of reality/existence/universe can support (thus, "is possible"), all of eternity, etc.

My point is, though I didn't know "how old is the universe" or "how big is the universe" or "all processes that [can] take place in the universe", my EXPLICIT context was ALL OF THAT.  Making this EXPLICIT decision means NOTHING CAN POSSIBLY BE OUTSIDE MY MAP (as you put it).  How could it.  You'd have to find something "outside the universe".  You can't do that, because BY DEFINITION, the "universe" explicitly includes EVERYTHING, including everything I don't know yet, but am always looking for.

Somehow, in some way I can't quite identify, this has rendered the notion "map" irrelevant or not-very-relevant or not-on-point or not-efficient from my perspective.  I can't really get a grasp on what "map" would mean for me.  Maybe I'm missing something.

Interestingly, however, I do understand how your "map" concept applies to most people.  So I do not object to the term, or object to your discussions about these maps.  I guess what I was trying to speculatively float out there is... a way to avoid being trapped by any specific "map" at all.  I've always felt strange when I hear the term "map and territory", because I certainly understand the difference between "a road map of Utah" and the physical portion of the surface of earth that people call "Utah".  And I see how this notion applies to how some people think about reality (think being related to the "map" and "territory" being the reality).

And to REALLY get down and dirty, from another angle, this notion of "map" is essentially the issue I rant and rave about endlessly here in ZH when I point-out the difference between mental-units (a map of sorts) and reality (the territory).  There is a massive and totally fundamental problem with how humans implicitly imagine their mental processes relate to reality, which what I keep pointing at (mostly in vane it seems).  Maybe this is the key, core, fundamental "map vs territory" problem that underlies all others.  Think about it.

So maybe part of the issue for me is... I am sooooo utterly aware and even self-conscious about the fact that mental-units ARE NOT the external reality they [may] mean and refer-to (if anything), that I simply don't feel "any problem here".  But of course that's only because I clearly understand the issue, and have habituated eternal vigilance against confusing mental-units with their meanings/referents (both in the domain of real and abstract).

Consider what I do for fun and relaxation sometimes.  I wander around the boonies, exploring.  How do I "navigate" the territory?  I look around, see the mountains, see the valleys, see rock formations, see canyons, see whatever geological characteristics exist, then make a decision which direction to wander further and explore.  I repeat this mental process every kilometer or three (more or less).  This is much like what I used to do in the sky, point my telescope here and there to explore the sky... keeping track of where I am by noting where the telescope is pointing relative to naked-eye stars and patterns, or sometimes fainter stars and patterns.  My point is, an awful lot of what I do in life seems to be me navigating the territory by reference to the territory (not a [literal or figurative] map).

True, not always.  When I fly across the south-pacific, I pretty much always know where I am and where I'm going, and I certainly don't do that by reference to the appearance of the ocean below me, which doesn't provide many clues.  I do always notice the location of the sun [and moon] (or stars at night) in the sky (all territory) as my first-order guide, but indeed I do also monitor my position and direction by means of the GPS and other instruments in my glass cockpit (which you could call maps).  And indeed, the first time I fly to any new place, I can't say I know 100.00000000% for sure the territory (some island) actually exists.  Maybe somehow the island is another fiction like "Atlantis", and by some horrible mistake, I managed to never hear anyone say "this island is a fiction, like Atlantis".  In which case, when I "get there"... I will find "no territory", at least, no "above sea-level territory" which is what I was looking for.  However, after I've seen any territory, the process tends to be navigating territory by reference to territory.

Maybe this comes back to what I always say, that we should not trust anything that anyone says, but in fact only trust our own first-hand observations, thought-processes and inferences (to the extent they seem clear and well supported).  Why?  Because ALL claims and assertions are only maps, and maps are inherently not trustworthy.  In other words, I fundamentally agree with the signature XFiles slogan "trust no one".  Why?  Because they're all [what you seem to call] "maps".

Maybe what I'm saying is this.  For so long I've keep clear and separate "what people say" (ANY people) from "what I have observed, considered and drawn provisional inferences about".  So I never confuse "map" with "territory", because I basically give close to zero weight to maps.  Unless, I suppose, I have confirm via my own observations and experiences that a map corresponds to the territory it claims to describe.

But I dunno.  Maybe I'm still missing something here.

PS:  I'm in a self-imposed, self-executing 12-step program to stop posting in ZH, so signing up as an official contributor would probably work against my attempts at rehabilitation.  But thanks for the thought.

I do realize it would probably get me to stop polluting the message space under your articles, and I understand why you'd probably appreciate such good luck!  Hahaha.  On the positive side, you suffer the vast majority of my annoying verbal pollution because you address the most important and interesting issues.

honestann's picture

But it gets worse, much worse. While we see ourselves as a large community, a nation of individuals gathered together under a common cause, on a day to day basis the reality we experience is far different. The problem we face as a nation of individuals is that while we ‘perceive’ ourselves as part of a greater group, we myopically pursue our own goals and aspirations and leave the bus driving to someone else, mostly those who claim authority to drive in our stead.

Where does this come from?  I mean, the notion we see ourselves as a large community or nation... or that we have any "common cause" (other than simple facts like "we all need to breathe, drink, eat and live within certain temperature extremes to survive"?

The completely insane notion this paragraph supports is that somehow individuals working for their own self-interest somehow does not further the interest of everyone.  That's just crazy talk (collectivist propaganda).

Like running a business (for your own self-interest), and hiring other individuals to perform work for you is somehow not to the interest of the individuals who are your employees and customers?  Does anyone really believe such nonsense?

And on the flip side, does anyone really believe that giving goods to humans who do not produce anything has any benefits?  This refers to both the "unemployed" who receive "benefits" and even more-so to the predators who "administer" the program (steal from productive individuals and pay unproductive individuals). 

BTW, In individualism, everyone drives his own bus... literally and/or metaphorically.  Which is why every individual drives towards the destination that best suits [what he considers] his desires and needs.

Of course, the real point is... no collective exists.  Any so-called collective is pure fiction.  This is trivial to prove (to anyone with a shred of honesty).  Here is one way to figure this out.

The weight of all 7 billion human beings on the planet is 0.543210 trillion kilograms.  So, what is the weight of all 7 billion human beings PLUS the weight of the collective [of human beings]?  The answer is 0.543210 trillion kilograms.  In other words, the collective has zero mass... because... it does not exist.  The "collective" is ONLY an "abstract concept", a mental unit that a conceptual consciousness can form and store in its brain, and manipulate with various thought processes.  However, that "collective" has no reality OTHER THAN as a mental unit in human brains.  In fact, the concept "collective" (as it applies to the so-called "collective" of human beings) is identical to the abstract concept "human".  Both merely function as "file folders" in a brain INSIDE WHICH are up to 7-billion other mental units that refer to specific real, physical individual human beings.  ONLY the real, physical human beings exist.  There is no collective, otherwise it would have properties that the humans it refers-to does not.  And it doesn't.

A fully honest, rational consciousness CAN gain benefit from forming, storing and performing conscious processes with abstract concepts (mental units)... but ONLY as long as the consciousness manipulating those mental units clearly understand they are abstract mental units that do NOT refer to a real existent (but may hold references to other mental units that DO refer to real existents).

There ARE no collectives, so it is not surprising that thinking in terms of collectives is a conceptual malfunction, and invariably leads to no good.

honestann's picture

Because our personal memory cannot extend beyond our lifetime, neither before our birth nor after our death, we tend to view the world with narrow blinders on.

True in a majority of actual cases (individual human beings), but absolutely not necessarily true, and not common in a less thoroughly corrupted world.  Here are some examples.

By age 8, I understood that the entire universe (every observable galaxy and star) has been composed of the same molecules, composed of the same atoms, composed of the same sub-atomic particles for at least billions of years, and probably for all eternity.  Once any sentient being understands this single fact (which every human should before they are 10 years old), they should immediately recognize that understanding this most fundamental and pervasive of all aspects of reality today - also means they can understand the most fundamental and pervasive aspects of reality for eternity.

The nature of reality is not a fad.

However, this understanding and principle is not restricted to the physical nature of reality.  I never paid attention in class, but one event in history class in 7th grade remains memorable for me personally, and relevant to this topic.  I was "zoned out" (working on some project of my own), when the history teacher quietly came up behind me without my knowledge, saw I was working on some personal [astronomy] project of my own, slapped the back of my head, and said loud enough to make a point to the whole class, "Have you ever learned anything from history?".

My immediate reply was, "Yes, I've learned that nobody ever learns from history".  I've always thought that the complete silence that followed was an indication that the teacher never realized that this was indeed the most obvious and fundamental lesson anyone could ever learn from history class.  After all, history is endless repeats of all the events they teach in history class... and most especially war after war after war after war, no matten when in history, no matter where on earth, no matter who were leaders.

Which hints at the other part of this issue --- human behavior has not changed very much in at least 10,000 years, and perhaps 200,000 years.  Which means, we don't need to observe the past 200,000 years to understand the nature of human beings, human behavior or human consciousness either.

But this event is less fundamental than the key lesson I learned at age 4, the lesson that is far more responsible for shaping my nature than anything that happened before or thereafter.

Like the other observations and fundamental understandings I mentioned above, this too was massively simple and obvious.  When I asked questions, adults gave me radically, even astronomically different answers, even to simple questions like when I pointed at the stars in the night sky and asked "what are they?".  The first two answers I received to this question were "hot balls of gas" and "heaven shining through tiny holes in the sky" --- not exactly small variations of each other.  The more questions I asked of adults, the more amazingly diverse were the answers.

Given the diversity of responses on virtually every topic, my conclusion was that I could not rely on adults (or anyone/anything else) to provide answers to my questions.  Not if I wanted to actually understand anything.  Since everyone else in the universe was excluded from providing me reliable answers, my only possibile sources of knowledge [remaining] were... reality and me.  In other words, I would have to observe reality with my own eyes (and other senses), perform my own thought processes, draw my own provisional inferences, keep accumulating more observations, keep performing my own thinking, and keep honing my provisional inferences on the basis of the totality of my observations and thinking.

What other alternatives were there?  I found none, and to this day, I still find none.  At some point many years later I realized the absense of alternatives should have never been surprising in the first place.

Then finally the "clincher", also at age 4.  Like every other kid of age 4 or 5, I had repeatedly heard the following two complementary claims:

#1: people in different parts of the world believe radically different things, have very different tastes in food, music, artworks, habits and beliefs.

#2: but most people in any specific part of the world believe the same thing as everyone else nearby, and even share the same tastes in food, music, artworks, habits and beliefs.

These complementary observations fit together perfectly to explain why no honest being can possibly believe anything they are told.  These observations showed clearly and unmistakenly that what humans believe (and claim to know [for sure]) does not come from reality, but comes from just accepting whatever the majority of other humans near them believe.  If people learned from the same reality and not claims and opinions from humans near them, then opinions and beliefs would be randomly distributed across the planet.  Since their opinions and beliefs were radically clumped and localized, clearly humans do not learn about reality, they only learn what other people say about reality.  But sadly, they just shove those claims and opinions into their consciousness and then adopt and accept that content as if their content bears some relationship to reality (not human claims and opinions).


In conclusion, by age 4 or 5, every human has sufficient information to understand the nature of reality across billions of years (not just current fads), and every human has sufficient information to understand the core requirement of human consciousness, namely complete distrust of everything human beings claim and believe, but basic trust in a slow, methodical process of first-hand observation, first-hand thinking, and continual improvement of provisional inferences any sentient being draws from those observations and thoughts.

After a few more years the evidence for this approach becomes overwhelming, when we recognize many other obvious lessons from reality, like the "nobody ever learns anything from history" realization I had in 7th grade history class, and many others.

So my soundbite response to the sentence I reply to here is yes, we do only observe what exists and happens in the universe during our tiny little piece of history (a few years or decades), but no, that does not mean we greatly hampered by blinders.

This is true because the nature of reality is eternal, and so far, the nature of human behavior is consistent.  Yes, we do not acquire first-hand experiences of the events of history, but the evolution of stars, planets, chemical/physical/electronic/optical/other existents and phenomenon are eternal, so the observations we make today are representative of observations we would have made at any other time in history.  And the same observation is true of human beings.  As the "history class" example illustrates in spades, human behavior has not changed much across all of human history, except [apparently] the pervasiveness and severity of certain conceptual defects varies over time (but only in magnitude, not nature).

HOWEVER, to give CD his due, most humans do not operate their consciousness in the way I describe above.  As the observations above indicate, most humans fill their brains with whatever blatant nonsense and artibrary notions are common in their household, state, region or nation.

And when a human practices these mental habits, they do indeed saddle their consciousness with blinders, just as CD claims.

What I object to is... the implication this "blindness" is necessary.  It is not.  Which is why most people cannot fathom, even in their most wild and crazy imaginations, how amazing and fabulous the lives and times of human beings could be... if they simply adopted valid, natural intellectual habits.

And as a follow-on comment to strengthen and elaborate this view, I must note that humans are physically configured to be "habit machines".  This is why a human may have to struggle to "learn to walk", but once they habituate the process of walking, they cannot remove the habit even given massive diligent efforts.  Now, I want to be clear.  Humans can eliminate [good and bad] habits.  But it is very difficult.  Furthermore, to simply remove a habit (leaving nothing in its place) is massively difficult, while replacing an old habit with a new one is difficult but much less so.


In addition, since we alone occupy our mind (unless of course we are of two minds) we tend to perceive the world interpreted through our conditioning, training and experience. We believe ourselves to be credible and intelligent, even though nearly all our working capital, our knowledge, is corrupt and seriously tainted.

I believe that pretty much every little kid makes and recognizes the blatantly obvious observations that I described above, and many more.  I believe this because these observations are so universal and overwhelming.  Besides, if you pose those questions to a bunch of 4 to 5 year old kids, almost ALL of them will admit to making and recognizing these observations.  How many decide not to do anything about it is another matter.

My point in saying this is to address the above claim.  If most little kids do notice these simple, pervasive, fundamental aspects of reality, human behavior and consciousness --- they must understand [to some degree] that they chose to fill their consciousness with popular nonsense in order to be treated better by others, or chose to be honest with themselves and learn by first-hand observation and thought and accept whatever abuse they receive as a consequence.

If this is true, pretty much everyone is quite clearly aware whether their consciousness and knowledge is utterly corrupt and tainted (first choice), or NOT (second choice).  From his formulation above, CD seems to imply humans are NOT consciously aware of the thorough self-corruption that pervades their consciousness, otherwise he would not claim "they believe themselves to be credible and intelligent".  I disagree.  I suspect most humans know they are fundamentally corrupt, and still remember when they made their early formative decisions to be fundamentally dishonest (in order to be treated better by others).  And, of course, they observed these decisions becoming habits.


This is the functional equivalent of seeing the world through a pin hole camera lens while wearing dark sunglasses. Essentially this leaves us myopic at best, and functionally blind at worst. We stumble and bumble through life believing we have near perfect vision when in fact we have been sleepwalking since birth. Seen from this point of view is it any wonder “We the People” can be so easily herded and controlled?

And so, I believe humans "stumble and bumble through life" understanding they chose to be fundamentally dishonest, and chose to be functionally blind.

But the final conclusion is true either way.  How could anyone expect a species who fundamentally discards honesty and habituates dishonesty to NOT respond to bogus Pavlovian carrots and sticks provided by the predators-that-be?

Implicit simplicit's picture

In outer space there are no north, south east and west, no reference points.

 No one can stear you wrong because their is no right or left

If you can't be in outer space, be  in inner space

 view things in their essence.

honestann's picture

Yes, no "north, south, east, west, zenith or nadir" in outer space, but outer space contains a huge number of "reference points" (galaxies, stars, nebulae, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, satellites and other bodies).

The most relevant reason sentient beings are less likely to be "steered in the wrong direction" is because living in outer space tends to require first-hand observation and intellectual independence.  Furthermore, [relative] solitude will likely remain a major feature of living in outer space for a long, long time to come.

Implicit simplicit's picture

inner space offers eternity too. Read Aldous Huxley's heaven and hell

seek's picture

All of this strongly resonates with Alfred Korzybski's work, and his famous quote, "The map is not the territory."

His point is the same, that if you believe a map is the same as the real object it represents (e.g. the territory) then you can be mislead as to the nature of reality.

These days it seems nearly all of TPTB's efforts are based on making the map look a certain way, rather than fixing the underlying reality. I'd argue this is either a sign of deep mental illness on their part, or they just do it because it's cheaper and put effort into getting people to buy into the map.

honestann's picture

The fundamental reason the predators-that-be work that way is... because they are predators, and these are the most effective ways for predators to dominate their prey.

This is evident in certain common phrases like "snake in the grass" that refer-to the fact that predators mislead prey about the true nature of the environment in order to destroy their prey.

Examples: Predators remain quiet, remain motionless, remain out of sight and camouflage themselves --- so their prey does not understand their environment.

A substantial portion of the fundamental nature of most predators is to obscure the underlying reality.  This is just as true of human predators as any other species, if not more so.

Henry Chinaski's picture

The most important rule of navigating is "Never stop navigating."  

blindman's picture

and the sweet voice of a child in the back seat asking
"are we there yet?" or
while hiking "can we camp here?"
Joe Ely "The Road Goes on Forever"

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Sort of like shark survival. Continuously swim or die.

kchrisc's picture

In my opinion, and what has served me well, is foundational truths. No, not of the religious variety, but of the human one.

I have Life and wish to live. I demand no aggression against my Life and am prepared to defend my Life if need be. I appreciate that others have Life and wish to live unmolested as well and I expect them to defend their Life.

I have Liberty stemming from my Life. Liberty to go where and when I will with who I please, but never in a manner that aggresses against another's Life or Liberty. I demand no aggression against my Liberty, and am prepared to defend my Liberty if need be. I appreciate that others have Liberty and wish to be free to live unmolested as well and I expect them to defend their Liberty.

I have Property that flows from my having Life and Liberty. Property is that which I produce, control and have dominion over. I demand no aggression against my Property, and am prepared to defend my Property if need be. I respect other's Property and I expect them to defend their Property.

Life, Liberty and Property. Non-aggression. Fully defended.


Therefore all questions can be boiled down to just two:

Does it aggress against my Life, Liberty or Property? Does it aggress against the Life, Liberty or Property of any of my fellow mankind? If yes, then it must not be done or accepted and if need be, thoroughly defended against.

So if I believe that aliens are coming by the earth in the tail of a comet and I need to kill myself to "hitch a ride," No problem. However, If I believe that I can kick in doors and hold people at gun point for possibly possessing certain Property, I would be very, very wrong.

Anusocracy's picture

Foundations, conventions, mores, morals, ethics, I consider them to be biological-cultural adaptations that promote the survival of a group and/or those within the group in which they develop.

They are more sophisticated behaviors of other social animals.

honestann's picture

I agree.  And you chose valid and reasonable "foundations".  The only potential weakness with this approach (that many liberty-advocates suffer) is adopting these "foundations" without justifying them by reference to [recursively] more fundamental foundations... eventually ending at the most fundamental nature of reality, consciousness and sentient beings.

Holding rational foundations without understanding the foundations of those foundations leaves one in a relatively weak position in term of intellectual self-defense, which generally leads to inefficient or inadequate physical self-defense.  In effect, one could end up supporting valid foundations, but not be able to justify or implement them.  The biggest problem isn't a need to justify them to others, but to justify them to self (that is, to thoroughly understand them).  A weak understanding of supporting foundations leaves one less able to effectively and efficiently apply those foundations to implement the desired result (a certain kind of life).

In other words, to adopt valid, rational foundations "on faith" (or weak understanding) suffers the worst weakness of religion --- a lack of understanding the nature or validity of the ultimate foundations, and how to apply them.  The more serious advocates of religion understand this, and attempt to defend their intellectual corruption by endlessly asserting a huge, enormous, monumental "big lie" --- that "faith" is an inherent virtue, not a horrific fatal flaw and vice.  But every honest sentient being understands that repeating a lie endless times does not reduce its falsehood or weaken the negative consequences of its application.

ebworthen's picture

I often feel like Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes", hoping to find a way to get back home.

Thanks Cog. 

Beatles (George Harrison), "Within you Without You":

"When you've seen beyond yourself-then you may find, peace of mind, Is waiting there."

Orwell was right's picture

I read all of your articles with interest...this one however, resonated very strongly.  

Well done!!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It is odd how some things resonate more in our head than others. I find this to be the case with myself and Mrs. Cog. We can both read the same article and walk away with different impressions, or as you say 'resonance'.

Reaper's picture

Maps are others' representations of reality. Maps may emphasize many things. If we're luckily, the map displays the past correctly. Then is not now. To trust is what men crave, but are almost always disappointed. The path less traveled will have many surprises. The MSM and the alternative media only provide information for my examination. But, information is not truth. How many are tricked by the provider of extensive true information leading you into his final trap with false information? Is a Madoff different than a bank in Cyprus?

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Trust disappoints. Absolute trust disappoints always.

new game's picture

pattern recognition. it really is quite simple - survival!

ebworthen's picture

DEVO - "Patterns" circa 1982:

"Patterns unfamiliar
patterns lead you through (to)
patterns of discovery
tracing out the clues
can you recognize the patterns that you find?
stuck in your mind" (with lyrics, opens in new window/tab)

SameAsItEverWas's picture

all this and you've never read Harry E. Barnes?  tsk tsk.

it seems i'm the only one here who ever mentions the most accomplished social scientist who walked the earth at the same time as me.

if you had read Barnes, you wouldn't be asking the same questions over and over and over again ... you'd be quoting his answers from the grave to you.

new game's picture

at birth i was "not orientated" to fit in any of the clubs presented to me. i hated school, i hate working for someone else. team sports sucked, so now i find myself seeking the truth to orientate myself to a best fulfilled life of understanding. like i'm there, but not quite, but surely the travels are getting more interesting as i see much more truth whether it be good, bad or just plain ugly. suffice to say the future is "uncharted" as i can truely say (looking back the last ten years) that i have no idea where it all takes me, but at least i have a direction i'm headed in...


honestann's picture

That's the key.  Get all your mental contents from your own observations of reality, and anything else you allow into your brain, always carefully and accurately label with the source and status of the content.  The problem with most humans is... they just jam new content into their consciousness without inserting a note to specify the source, the nature of the content (personal observation versus assertion by someone (and who)), the reality-status of the content (abstraction, fiction, speculation, whatever), etc.

The key is to be observant and self-conscious of everything you allow into your consciousness, as well as everything you know about it.  And then be aware of all that every time you access any content of your consciousness to perform any mental activity.

Funny fact:  Perhaps the best easy way to do this is to keep the default attitude that you had at age 3 or 4 years old... before all the intellectual predators (parents, teachers, media, etc) started wholesale brainwashing upon you.  That brainwashing is primarily of two kinds... habituating you to perform certain MASSIVELY DEFECTIVE processes of consciousness, and to insert MASSIVELY DEFECTIVE content of consciousness.  Just notice for example the feedback loop they establish in kindergarden and first-grade --- GREAT positive feedback when you AGREE WITH THEM (they call themselves the "authority"), but ZERO positive feedback when your consciousness conforms to [your own observations and honest inferences about] reality.

Anusocracy's picture

Taking Children Seriously has a similar goal. It is a non-coercive approach to raising children.