Enlightened Self Interest and Financial Industry Hypocrisy - Chapter Two of Three

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Enlightened Self Interest and Financial Industry Hypocrisy

Chapter Two of Three

We Eat What We Sow


An Old Fashioned Rant By

Cognitive Dissonance



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Chapter One may be found here.

I've written before about unspoken and unacknowledged collective understandings, where the herd cognitively gathers in agreement as if compelled by a special attractor, but without clear and acknowledged leadership. The dynamics of crowd psychology are not well known to the average Jane and Joe, yet it does have an effect even when the crowd is widely disbursed. Some might call this the collective unconscious, others simply the collective will or the herd mentality.

As infuriating as this concept is to some people because it points a finger squarely back at ourselves, the Federal Reserve is powerless without us agreeing to buy in and dance to the music, however reluctant some of us may be. Ultimately it is our own personal decision to pursue our perceived best interest that imbues the system with its controlling power. Combine this with a deliberately rigged game that relentlessly drives us in that direction and you have a pliable herd composed of many independent entities practicing so called enlightened self interest.

In other words, while the Fed and others might be a central authority, ultimately everyone must decide on their own if they wish to go along. This requires the practice of collective or group unenlightened self interest where nearly the entire population decides it is best for each and every one to go along to get along. Denial helps because we individually declare our actions enlightened self interest to help the bitter medicine go down, no doubt greatly helped along by state propaganda of the glory and solidarity of “We the People”. 

We don’t need to agree with the insanity, just don’t fight the general movement towards the black abyss. These manipulation techniques are the ultimate in divide and conquer practices while also allowing all of us to believe we are exercising free will to pursue our own best interest while still acting for the greater good of the group. This isn't about morality since ultimately the majority determines what is right or wrong, moral or immoral. This is about survival of the group to benefit each individual and vice versa. And when it goes horribly wrong, as it is now, it is all consuming.

This is the control system at its most basic level and insidious nature. It places us all in a situation where we must make our own decision to dance as long as the music is playing, because the alternative, especially at this point, is personal isolation and collective collapse. The worse it becomes, the more likely it will be that we decide to stay within the herd because of its perceived safety, thus producing nature’s perfectly insane positive feedback loop.

So how do we live with ourselves once we decide to dance, even if we are faking it or extremely reluctant? What large or small adjustments do we make to our thinking to cover up the fact that we are enabling the very system we describe as evil?

We all cope with our own subterfuge in various ways and our methods vary endlessly as the situation dictates. But the process itself never changes. First we deny, then we deny we ever denied, and then we forget we were ever in denial. Man is an extremely efficient organic computing machine, so this is just kid’s stuff we learn right out of the crib.


The State of Denial

The Great State of Denial


More and more these days I am reading articles from respected industry insiders who explain there is serious rot and corruption within the system. While many are still desperately clinging to the idea that it can be reformed from within, a steadily increasing minority of professionals are beginning to declare that a constructive destruction must take place not only to rebuild, but to cut off the stinking head of the rotting fish.

Since both enlightened and unenlightened self interest would appear to preclude a disorganized dismantling and rebuilding (after all, there must be something in it for me and utter collapse serves very few of the masses) let’s move beyond this and look at what is going on under the psychological hood.

Usually in the same article declaring the inevitable destruction of the financial and social systems, these very same people will also proclaim that there is much money to be made within the system before, during and after its destruction. And often they will evoke the concept of Enlightened Self Interest as justification, or simply as an ‘a priori’ explanation for why they will continue to trade within, and profit from, the very same system they denounce.

From what I can discern about many of these authors, they are usually consummate professionals and operate using the highest legal and ethical standards that society has declared desirable, but in general rarely practices. So while mom always warned me not to assume anything, for the sake of the argument I will assume they would not be promoting the destruction of the financial system they have spent most of their adult lives working within unless they felt it was well beyond redemption and must be killed, or allowed to die, in order for you and I, and more to the point, for them to survive.

I suspect they followed a long and agonizing path before coming to this demoralizing conclusion. I whole heartedly agree with them on this specific point and I am sick to my core that there is no other way out of the insanity that people will willingly pursue to change the system we are wed too.

One doesn’t advocate destroying something you have believed in, trained to be a part of, and have earned a living from without great soul searching. Anyone who declares the system must fall should be applauded for his or her guts and self examination. It was probably one of the most difficult conclusions they ever came to and an extremely conflicting decision to go public with. I know it was for me.


Deny Denial

Soul Searching


What got me really thinking are comments similar to this one by some of the very same people who are advocating the fall. “As long as the music plays and money is to be made, I’m going to attend the dance.” Which in one form or another is pretty common not only among those ‘in the business’, but also among non financial professionals who trade or just invest either for a living….or just to make an extra buck.

And for that matter, in a general sense by average Jane and Joe, who use this concept to explain why they go along to get along. In essence it’s like having your cake and eating it to. I may want the system to collapse (or at least stop torturing me) but I am still going to make money betting on the Titanic as it makes its way down. Or at least continue to work that ‘career’ job, buy that bigger house, take on more student debt or buy those neat boy and girl toys on credit with no money down.

The profit making need/opportunity is a pretty common declaration by those within the financial industry, and in my opinion this is said to justify our continued participation in the very system we denounce. Unfortunately I hear very little about the need to protect their clients by putting them in alternative investments less correlated to the coming fall.

What is rarely spoken of is that oftentimes those alternative investments are not very profitable to the industry professional. Cash, precious metals, investments in local business etc don’t pay the broker’s bills because they can’t be managed, thus the brokerage houses can’t demand an ongoing management fee. Let me stress again that up until very recently I was a part of the system and thus I am throwing stones at my own glass house.

This is the reason why you will find no articles from me in the archives discussing trading strategy. It was one of my ways of dealing with my own hypocrisy. Another was promoting those alternative investments, though admittedly that rarely works out well for the client when the herd is off feeding in another pasture. It takes a strong constitution to be a contrarian cow.

Again, I am speaking only of myself and the industry in general here. But it does sound like ‘We the Financial People’ might be harboring a glaring cognitive dissonance combined with serious denial. And this extends straight back to the general population as well.

Tens, hundreds of thousands of financial salesmen, advisors, traders, analysis, floor specialists and executives who have ever bothered to examine what it is they are doing and who they are doing it with have said something similar to the fictitious comment below.

But of course I trade stocks and bonds. Enlightened self interest is what it’s called. I have to eat, don’t I?

Who could argue with that ethical position when stated by a high caliber individual? Well, I can….at least for the purpose of this article. And while I’ll try to argue both sides I am consistently critical not only of the financial industry, but also of many ordinary people (meaning non financial) who proclaim their own version of Enlightened Self Interest to explain their “go along to get along” policy. So I have an admitted bias here which I have no intention of hiding.


Enlightened Self Interest

Enlightened Self Interest


Let’s start with some definitions because I’ve found that arguments (even when between me, myself and I) are less likely to lead to blood when common terms and definitions are established in advance. First let’s try “Enlightened Self Interest”, the definition of which was pretty uniform between Wikipedia and three different dictionaries. So here’s the Wiki on it.

Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

It has often been simply expressed by the belief that an individual, group, or even a commercial entity will "do well by doing good". Enlightened self-interest might be considered to be unrealistically idealistic and altruistic by detractors and practically idealistic and utilitarian by proponents.

And let’s quickly look at ethics as defined by Wiki.

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc.

And one more time, only this time it’s the other side of the highway. Sometimes it helps to understand a phrase or concept if you look at its alter ego or mirror image. Let’s look at the definition of Unenlightened Self Interest from the same source.

In contrast to enlightened self-interest is simple greed or the concept of "unenlightened self-interest", in which it is argued that when most or all persons act according to their own myopic selfishness, that the group suffers loss as a result of conflict, decreased efficiency because of lack of cooperation, and the increased expense each individual pays for the protection of their own interests. If a typical individual in such a group is selected at random, it is not likely that this person will profit from such a group ethic.

Some individuals might profit, in a material sense, from a philosophy of greed, but it is believed by proponents of enlightened self-interest that these individuals constitute a small minority and that the large majority of persons can expect to experience a net personal loss from a philosophy of simple unenlightened selfishness. Unenlightened self-interest can result in the tragedy of the commons.

OK, this really is the last time. Let’s move quickly to define tragedy of the commons. Wiki again….

The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen.

Let me start off by saying that no where does it state that any of these definitions are strictly financial ethical doctrines. More than likely it started as a general social belief and was adopted by financial professions, though I haven’t done any research to determine its genesis and evolution. Of particular interest to me is how difficult it is to measure how well this ethical standard works in the best of times, let alone in a financial world that has turned (some would say always was) corrupt and (self) destructive.

It could be argued that every Too Big To Fail (TBTF) Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan or Bank of America employee was, and is, acting to further the interests of the group to which they belong and are employed, thus they are doing well for themselves by doing good for their group. The same applies to any financial professional (not just those working in a TBTF bank) even those in small firms or working a solo practice. Supporting the financial profession by supporting yourself is essentially working in and for a group.

So how is Enlightened Self Interest (ESI) any different from Unenlightened Self Interest (USI) as long as it serves the group and the group believes they are working towards the greater good? Those bonuses come out of a pool, don’t they? And that bonus pool is designed to benefit the greater good of the group, right?


Bonus Pool

Bonus Pool


Ethical and moral behavior, it can be argued, is context and situation sensitive. And like the definition of insanity or anti-social behavior, ethical behavior is determined by the majority, be it local community, state, national, global, corporate or institutional in scope. As well, the time/era in which you live determines what is right or wrong; or more to the point, good and evil.

Slavery was considered ethical by the majority (at least by the non slave majority) for centuries, millennium even, as long as you did not abuse the slaves…..too much. After all, some beatings and even murder were considered fair game if the slaves’ transgression(s) warranted it. The slave was your property and you could destroy it as you wished. At least that was the justification.

Of course the judge, jury and (slave) executioner were usually the same person and the property did not have a say in the matter. I remember reading a quote by some southern Congressman from that era, who said that you do not usually consult your cattle about your dinner menu, now do you?  

The ‘moral’ justification for slavery, which in its basic economic form is purely an unequal and unilateral financial arrangement, was manufactured by declaring that we were saving those poor uneducated savages from themselves, a moral argument used by the powerful for eons. So in effect we were improving their lives despite their protestations otherwise, often expressed in their repeated efforts to escape.

Even today this moral argument is frightening similar to what we convince ourselves is the ‘truth’ behind our actions just before we invade a foreign country and kill tens of thousands, even millions, of innocents. We trot it out to explain why we are bombing some near Stone Age people back to the Stone Age. Yup, we’re just exporting the shining light of democracy while liberating some unappreciated and unexploited natural resources. Viewed in this light, those brown, yellow, red and black savages should just be grateful and shut up.

Take your pick of the era you wish to examine because it does not matter. The soon–to-be dispossessed are always considered uneducated savages, or better yet ‘evil’, in the eyes of the master(s) in order to dissipate any moral quandaries on the way to higher profits. So while we may wish to believe we Americans are just victims, or even victimized wage slaves, we are in fact junior masters enabling the supreme masters.

That is until our own time in the Stocks and Pillory comes around…..again. And this time it won’t be so narrowly constructed to disenfranchise a race of people, but rather an entire economic class within many nations. Equal opportunity and all that you know. In fact it appears to be happening right now in middle-class America.


Stocks and Pillory

Stocks and Pillory


The Chicago mob, temporarily transplanted to DC to create a more powerful synergy with Wall Street and the Fed, certainly has its own moral code and set of ethics. Consider Omerta, or the code of silence, which when implemented within the clan most definitely fits the definition of individuals acting to further the interests of the group aka Enlightened Self Interest. And they certainly feel they are doing well for the group by keeping silent…..so what right do outsiders have to question their motives and methods?

In fact I suspect one would need to look long and hard to find individuals or groups involved in illegal and ‘immoral’ activities who don’t feel justified in their actions, and even morally correct. This extends to little ole you and me as well, though admittedly on a much smaller scale….I hope. But remember what mom said, it is the intent that really matters, not necessarily the action alone. And our legal code reflects this view, with varying degrees of guilt and punishment……sorry rehabilitation, based upon intent and remorse for our illegal actions.

Who hasn’t ‘liberated’ office supplies or copy paper and ink from the office supply depot or ‘spent’ a few hours of a day surfing the Internet and shooting the breeze with friends or co-workers. When that cute little number behind the counter (male or female, it doesn’t matter) gives you too much change back do you always promptly return it? Sure…..if it’s an extra quarter or even a few singles. But I’m certain you would be morally and ethically tested if a few twenties were mixed in with the ones or two hundred showed up in your bank account.

Granted, there is all the difference in the world between droning innocent civilians in a wedding party or engineering a false flag attack (9/11 for example) to justify renewed expansion of the financial/military/industrial/pharma complex, and you or I pilfering some plastic pens from the supply closet. But all these actions begin with the desire to pursue self interest and it is simply a matter of scale and degree of psychopathy involved.

Our culture conditions us to believe there is room to fudge in all things ethical. If we give ourselves wiggle room and then exercise that discretion, we are more likely not to point fingers at those who also wish to exploit this character weakness for their benefit. Remember the classic ‘Bank Error in Your Favor’ by way of Parker Brother’s Monopoly, who taught us ethics and morality during make believe game time? The bank error was a capitalism windfall, not a time for self reflection and soul searching.

Not only is capitalism fun and profitable, but ethical lines can be smudged if they fall in our favor. Notice how quickly and eagerly we took the ‘Community Chest’ bank error ‘free’ money. And best of all it was sanctified and codified by the Monopoly rule book. And wasn’t it odd how the Monopoly ‘banker’ almost always won the game? Life lessons writ large and they certainly come in handy when dealing with modern day trading and buying the freaking dip to front run the Fed. 

Or let’s say you are hurting for pocket money when you stumble upon a wallet with four hundred dollars inside. It’s real easy to pull the cash, then contact the owner and say it was empty when you found it. Or better yet, you can sooth the guilty conscience by just trashing the wallet, then hitting the bar to get trashed with the free cash.

Why would you want to look the owner in the eye after keeping the loot? Too damn messy, and totally unnecessary. “Finder keepers, loser weepers” is how we call that dice roll, particularly when it is in our favor. How many times have we seen or read a news story of someone finding several thousand dollars and promptly returning it. It was ‘news’ because it was expected that most people would not do so. So it seems we are nearly all whores of one sort or another and it’s just a matter of the cost for our services.


Bank Error

"Free" Money


Some difficult questions need to be asked of “We the People”. Is our anger with the Fed, the TBTF banks and other assorted Ponzi Goodfellas really righteous indignation at the injustice? Or deep down in a place we rarely ever acknowledge even exists, is there abject jealousy and we won’t admit it to ourselves or to anyone else? Flash back to grade school when Johnny and Joey were cheating during the big end of semester test. You studied your butt off for days and here these bastards were passing notes and signals to each other on their way to passing the test. That just chapped your ass, didn’t it?

Were you really that pissed because they were ‘just’ cheating? Or maybe it was really about them getting away with it, thus they would profit from their unfair and ‘illegal’ activity with little to no effort involved? And here you were struggling just to keep your head above water. Worse, their stolen grades might push you lower in the standings.

And the bastards were so smug as well. Boy, didn’t that just burn your butt? And you knew that if you turned them in they would pound the living daylights out of you. So even if justice was served, you would suffer far more than they would. Nope, none of this is the reason why you and I are so angry with the Ponzi.

We’ seem to be expressing a lot of anger when we see people living mortgage payment free for a year or two. So much anger in fact that we tend to support the Ponzi’s efforts to evict them even if some of them were defrauded on several levels when they ‘bought’ their loan and home. Do we feel those squatters are cheating when you and I are not and so they should be punished?

Maybe we’re just angry at ourselves because, for whatever reason, we won’t do the same thing. Perhaps we don’t wish to ruin our credit rating or we have actual equity in our house because we followed the old school rules and were responsible and played ‘fair’. Sum-bitches are getting away with murder and a free ride while we are slaving away on our exercise wheel.

Wait a minute; I thought we wanted the system to collapse? Won’t non performing loans and underwater banks help bring the evil empire closer to the brink? If that’s our stated goal, then why aren’t we cheering on anyone or anything that brings eventual justice to the equation? Oh, that’s right; no one else can profit from the demise of the evil empire….except me and my trading because I know I’m (mostly) pure in thought and deed. That hypocrisy just stinks when it’s been left out to thaw for too long.


The Cognitive Fog of (Personal) Corruption

The Cognitive Fog of (Personal) Corruption


So does this mean we would rather bloody our fellow slaves because they are enjoying better gruel than us? Are the squatters displaying Enlightened or Unenlightened Self Interest here? Even if they weren’t defrauded, why can’t the junior master slaves treat life as nothing more than a business decision just like the big boys? I know, I know, it’s not as simple as that……but maybe it is. Divide and conquer is the favored tactic of the supreme masters and we seem to have taken the bait in the pursuit of our own Unenlightened Self Interest.

Before the reader’s righteous indignation becomes inflamed by the prior paragraphs, consider that for decades after World War Two Americans (and the citizens of many other so-called first world nations for that matter) have had a sort of laissez-faire attitude regarding government corruption as well as individual and corporate profiteering. As long as the skim from the scam was kept down to reasonable levels and every deserving (read productive) citizen received a taste, or a piece of the action, our eyes were blind and turned away. I remember trickledown economics as just one of many examples. Sounds like a collective bribe by any other name to me.

This is exactly how a crime family works, with all productive workers (i.e. citizens) getting just enough of a taste of the profits (subsidized employee health insurance, tax deductible mortgage interest, 401(K) profit sharing, deferred compensation, Social Security and Medicare etc, cheap and easily accessible money etc) to be mostly sated, but not so much as to become complacent.

Show me the significant difference between The Godfather and the government or the Godfather’s ‘soldiers’ and ‘We the People’. Contrary to popular belief, only the mob bosses lived the high life. The workers and soldiers, while living better than the average standard of living wage slave, did not live extremely well. 

What’s that you say? ‘We the People’ are doing ‘good’ and the Goodfellas are doing ‘bad’? That we have no control over the economic situation and that it is the bad guys who are to blame? That might be so to a limited extent now that the vampires have completely taken over. But ‘We the People’ are not the innocent victims we desperately wish to paint ourselves as. The simple fact is, now that it has become inconvenient for the masters to continue to share the profits, we are being cut out of the deal and told tough stuff.

The masters have unilaterally changed the rules of the game and we aren’t happy. What are we going to do about it? Theoretically, this is where we the workers conspire among ourselves to take back what is ours, meaning a piece of the action just like the good old days. Unfortunately, after five or six generations of fattening before the slaughter, the American workers have become literally and figuratively obese dependent zombies.



Cognitive Dissonance

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Latitude25's picture

For some strange reason these two informative pages no longer work


Jim Sinclairs page and


another great info site.

Radical Marijuana's picture

"Ultimately it is our own personal decision to pursue our perceived best interest that imbues the system with its controlling power."

You mean like recognizing one's need to eat, when every realistic source of food is already subjected to a claim of ownership, which has asserted the privatization of the production of that food, so that, outside of that system, there is no way to legally get anything to eat ??? I see no way to deny the truism that food controls people, and money controls food

"What large or small adjustments do we make to our thinking to cover up the fact that we are enabling the very system we describe as evil?"

MY ANSWER: Correct the philosophical errors found in the concept of entropy, which then simultaneosly corrects the backward attitude towards evil.  That process reverses this one: "First we deny, then we deny we ever denied, and then we forget we were ever in denial." I certainly agree with the view that "a steadily increasing minority of professionals are beginning to declare that a constructive destruction must take place not only to rebuild, but to cut off the stinking head of the rotting fish." However, in a technologically based civilization, the core of "the stinking head of the rotting fish" is in its philosophy of science. That is practically the same as saying that we need a spiritual renewal, as the origin of an intellectual scientific revolution, because better enlightened self-interest depends upon better asymptotic approach to appreciation of the SELF.

Anyone who sufficiently understands the nature of the current system of "money," created by private banks out of nothing as debts, recognizes that there is no way to reform that system sufficiently, but rather, the only solution must be some monetary system revolution. The sheer runaway debt slavery numbers within the established systems are driving themselves mad, by generating blatantly obvious debt insanity, mathematically due to the basic structural design of that system, which is based on magical mathematics, in the sense of appearing to make "money" out of nothing, inside of fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems.

Overall debts in the USA have been on a nearly perfect exponential growth curve since 1971, while the US Dollar is the heart of a globalized system of quadrillions of units of interconnected bankster gambling obligations, which are supposed to be measured and payable in US Dollars. There is no doubt that total debt insanity situation is already leveraged more than 100 to 1, fiction to physical. Keeping that Ponzi Scheme pyramid system going depends upon being able to keep the total debts growing exponentially. However, given that planet Earth is finite, there are no plausible ways to keep our current debt slavery/insanities going, in order to keep doubling our total debts, again and again.

Given that basic analysis of those indisputable facts, one should respect this paragraph:

"Anyone who declares the system must fall should be applauded for his or her guts and self examination. It was probably one of the most difficult conclusions they ever came to and an extremely conflicting decision to go public with."

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT: "We the Financial People might be harboring a glaring cognitive dissonance combined with serious denial. And this extends straight back to the general population as well." However, as then examined in this article above, after that paragraph, within the established systems, there is surely going to be nothing less popular or less profitable than radical truths. But nevertheless, I REPEAT, lesser forms of enlightened self-interest are based on evil deliberate ignorance of the SELF. From within my philosophical system, as a creative synthesis of postmodernizing science with ancient mysticism, Energy IS Spirit, and the way that we understand entropy backwards means that we understand everything else backwards.

One of the most superlative examples of cognitive dissonance in American history can be appreciated by reading the Dred Scott judgment of the US Supreme Court, regarding how to rationalize slavery. I believe that history demonstrated that the economics of slavery is what drove the rationalizations in attitudes of racism. In general, the first rule of ideology is that people justify the way that they make a living. Hence, I would axiomatically systematize observations such as "we are in fact junior masters enabling the supreme masters," or "we are nearly all whores of one sort or another." All human realities are always organized lies, operating robberies, due to the necessary nature of being able to perceive any reality whatsoever.

FOR SURE, "hypocrisy just stinks when it’s been left out to thaw for too long!" AND, FOR SURE: "Divide and conquer is the favored tactic of the supreme masters and we seem to have taken the bait in the pursuit of our own Unenlightened Self Interest." However, I repeat that the source of "Unenlightened Self Interest" is ignorance of the SELF.

Of course, from the perspective of practical political possibilities, I must concede that the following paragraph correctly summarized the nature of the problems we are currently presented with in the North American context:

"The masters have unilaterally changed the rules of the game and we aren’t happy. What are we going to do about it? Theoretically, this is where we the workers conspire among ourselves to take back what is ours, meaning a piece of the action just like the good old days. Unfortunately, after five or six generations of fattening before the slaughter, the American workers have become literally and figuratively obese dependent zombies."

In that context, I must admit that my theoretical solutions do not appear to have much practical political application. But nevertheless, the most important philosophical point is to understand the concept of SUBTRACTION, which expresses itself in the material form as ROBBERY. The most important way in which our ideas about SUBTRACTION were inverted during the history of our civilization was when an arbitrary minus sign was inserted into the entropy equations of thermodynamics and information theory. Doing that was the most important error in the philosophy of science, which prevented us from being able to achieve a creative synthesis of postmodernizing science with ancient mysticism. Thereby, all of the old-fashioned religions and ideologies lost their ability to provide scientifically improved moral compasses, by providing an asymptotic approach towards an understanding of the SELF, which could enable greater enlightened self-interest.



ebear's picture

"In that context, I must admit that my theoretical solutions do not appear to have much practical political application."

Maybe you just need a good editor?

Radical Marijuana's picture

More likely, I have to wait for events to force more people to think in more radical ways.

"Thought is born as the twin of impulse in every impeded habit."

--- John Dewey


LOTS of social and political habits are going to increasingly get impeded in the future, and therefore, LOTS more people are going to be forced to start thinking about things that they previously were able to take for granted. That increasing degree of cognitive dissonance in the financial industry is going to provoke more people to become aware of the overwhelming hypocrisy. The issue then is whether they will breakthrough to thinking using more realistic ideals, in order to effectively cope with that problem?

Radical Marijuana's picture

Ah, YouTube, the

Way Back Machine.

honestann's picture

Where on earth did anyone get that notion of "enlightened self-interest"?  To begin with, the description is OPPOSITE from self-interest.  The description explicitly states the interest is what is best for the collective.  WHATEVER that is, that is NOT a form of "self-interest".

Everyone with a brain knows what "enlightened self-interest" means, namely "honest and consistent self-interest".  Which means, anyone with "enlightened self-interest" also expects other individuals to act for their own self-interest too.

Really, the term "enlightened self-interest" is redundant.  It was probably created to counter those LIARS who pretend self-interest includes harming your neighbors (and everyone else on the planet).

No honest individual means what the liars in the predator-class claim "enlightened self-interest" means.  The predator class claims an individual who acts with "self-interest" is someone who wanders around harming his neighbors, stealing from his neighbors, defrauding his neighbors, and grabbing anything he wants from anyone who has something he wants.

That is not "enlightended self-interest" at all, that is exactly the opposite, namely predator behavior.  That is, in fact, the predator modus-operandi (get away with whatever you can).

No honest or sane productive individual would ever consider predatory behavior like this to be "self-interest", much less "enlightened self-interest".  Every honest individual knows his neighbor is valuable as a potential partner in voluntary interactions (trade, collaborative projects, and emergency help on rare occasions).  Not to mention the fact that every attempt to harm or steal from others is a great way to get killed (which is definitely not self-interest).

Why would anyone attempt to create such demented bogus definitions?  To pretend self-interest is something bad, something non-viable, something destructive... or even its exact opposite, namely something predatory.  FAIL.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Like your honesty about freedom yet pretending global warming is a hoax, which will get us all killed as the singular pure result of global warming's death upon us is from deniers?
Dishonest Ann, fail iz U.
Perhaps you should be shilling for bitcoinz & Hitlery too.

You are already on the side of the predators.

Global Observer's picture

No honest or sane productive individual would ever consider predatory behavior like this to be "self-interest", much less "enlightened self-interest".

Not sure what is dishonest or insane about predatory behaviour. Predators exist in nature and they serve themselves well. Some humans seem inclined to be predators than producers or traders. In almost every age predators have done better than others. Predators had to become dishonest only in recent times with the invention of concepts like all humans being equal etc. Predators of the past considered themselves superior to the rest and hence entitled to a share of what the others' produced or owned just by being. Slave-owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson probably never saw any hypocricy in waxing eloquent about liberty because they probably never perceived their slaves as fully human. I doubt the European settlers in North America felt any guilt while massacring the natives. The USA is a prme example of how well predators, both honest and dishonest, have done.

So how are predatory behaviour and dishonesty automatically excluded from self-interest when the evidence that they serve those who practice them well is so overwhelming?

You may find such behaviour abhorrant, but such feelings are evidently not universal among all creatures categorised as human.

It is precisely the reason why it, self-interest, needs to be qualified and the qualification explained, which is what Congitive Dissonance did.

honestann's picture

First, let me repeat what I've said many times in my ZH messages previously, so we can be clear about context.

Producers have ethics.  In fact, producers invented ethics as a way to explain their behavior, specifically, to distinguish "self-defense" from "predatory behavior".

Hopefully everyone here understands the difference.

When a producer shoots a predator in self-defense, they are not trying to gain by harming the predator.  When a producer defends himself or his family or his property, his motive is only to keep his own life, health and property.

In contrast, when a predator attacks a producer (or another predator), the predator intends to gain and benefit by harming or robbing the producer.

A predator need not be dishonest, though predators usually are dishonest.  Obviously non-human predators are incapable of being dishonest in the typical human predator way... via written or spoken language.  Typically non-human predators are dishonest via visual or auditory tricks.  They find and hide in tall grass so they are not seen.  They remain still so they are not seen.  They hide in the spotty shade of leaves under trees because that is a natural form of camouflage.  Some of them even make noises that mimic the sounds of animals they intend to capture, to attract those animals and pretend their location is safe.

So yeah, many actions of non-human predators are in fact dishonest, albeit not in the conventional human ways (language, threats).

But a predator can be a predator without being dishonest.  A predator can simply attack, dominate, shred, kill and consume his prey without any attempt to be dishonest in any way.  And some predators in the wild can do so effectively.

In nature, non-human predators are simply what they are.  Their nature is mostly determined by their genetic structure, their intellect is evolved and/or trained by parents.  I do not consider them evil... just dangerous (potentially harmful).

And I go further than that.  I extend this attitude to human predators too.  A human predator is not necessarily evil.  To explain, I will have to convey the fundamental story of mankind, as I have many times before in ZH replies.  Before some point in history, probably roughly 25,000 years ago, every human was [fundamentally] and necessarily a predator.  Why?  Because humans did not understand they were capable of productive behavior, or even comprehend the concept.

Eventually humans DID learn to produce, and DID come to understand they could produce vastly more by productive action than they could grab by predatory actions.  Which is the fundamental bifurcation of the human species (whether any individual wants to identify this fundamental and important fact or not).

What naturally happens when some humans become producers?  Without repeating all the details I have before, producers are forced to invent ethics in order to understand the behavior they must adopt to survive as producers.  Fundamentally, the "ethics" they invented is simply recognition of causality applied to human action.  The short, soundbite version of "ethics" was and is something like this:

Every individual [human] should enjoy/bare/suffer the consequences of his own actions, and enjoy/bare/suffer zero consequences of actions taken by others (humans).

In other words, when producers take those actions that cause a field of veggies to grow (that would not otherwise have grown as a result of the environment), those producers were a cause, the goods (veggies) were effect, and this fundamental causal relationship became known as "property".  In other words, the producers said "we took these actions (we are the cause), and we intend to enjoy the consequences (enjoy the effects)".

One might ask why producers would go to all the trouble to identify these relationships in reality, and create ideas like "ethics" to describe them.  But a tiny bit of thought reveals the answer.  What happened after the first producer family spent 6+ months of back-breaking work to clear and level of field, carve water channels (if necessary), plant seeds, care for the field and protect against excessive rains, inadequate rains, hungry animals, pests, etc.

Answer:  When other humans saw this big honking field full of yummy veggies... they just grabbed the veggies and took them home.  When the first producer family tried to explain to them, then stop them, their farm was overrun by their hungry neighbors, and this first productive family ended up with close to nothing, perhaps not even their lives!

The fundamental lesson was clear to producers way back then, and is even clearer to us today.  Though the producers created enormous, unprecedented quantities of goods and goodies, they gained little or no benefits.  In fact, they were likely killed by the human predator who converged on their farm when the food is ready to consume.

THIS is why producers had to create ethics.  In contrast, human predators could continue with their age-old modus-operandi, which was then and still is today: "get away with whatever you think you can".

THIS was the dynamic then, at the dawn of modern human beings, and THIS is the still the fundamental dynamic and story of human beings today.

Yes, I do agree the tendency of most producers is to call human predators "evil".  And actually, I agree that most human predators are evil.  But we must explain what we mean.  So here goes.

An "honest predator" is a predator who does not pretend to be a producer, and does not pretend to deserve the special consideration provided to producers by other producers as a consequence of producer "ethics".

By their nature, non-human predators attempt to get away with whatever they think they can get away with, and expect to be treated the same by other creatures.  All non-human predators live by the consistent but unstated predator modus-operandi that I mentioned above.  If they are attacked by another predator, they do not call the cops, they do not go to court, they do not complain about being treated unfairly, they do not demand treatment in accordance with "ethics".  They run if they can, they attempt to cut their losses and stay alive if they can, or otherwise die and fill the stomach of other predators and parasites.

If anyone out there can find a human predator who behaves this same way, they are no more evil than a predator of any other species.  Which means, they are not evil.  They are different from non-human predators in one very important way, however.  They are aware they have a choice --- to be a predator or a producer.

And they made a conscious decision to be a predator.

So, where are we?

Actually, we're at the point where I lay most of the blame for the horrific state of mankind right on the lap of producers.

Why?  Because producers are the ones who invented "ethics".  If producers expect to be treated in accordance with ethics, they must understand the fundamental natures of "predators" and "producers", and clearly understand how to apply their "ethics" to "predators" and "producers".

Otherwise predators win... every time... hands down.

And this is, in fact, the reason mankind is a pointless waste of protoplasm, and why mankind is finished.

So, what is honest and appropriate?

Very simple.

All predators are predators, and automatically act on the basis of their modus-operandi, which is "get away with whatever they think they can".  Thus predators have no obligation or restraint versus other predators, or versus producers, or versus anyone or anything else.

On the other hand, how should producers treat predators and other producers?  Well, "ethics" is almost entirely designed to specify how producers treat each other.  After all, what's the point of saying how predators should treat producers when everyone already knows predators "do whatever they wish", and thus utterly unaffected by "ethics" or any ethical concern.

Which leaves only one question.  How should producers treat predators.  Hopefully the answer is already clear to everyone, based on the above.  However, just to be certain, let me make a few simple observations.

It is mere consistency for producers to kill or capture predators who threaten producers.  Since the predators themselves treat every creature, human or not, without any consideration of any kind, and kill, harm, steal, defraud and otherwise destroy any living creature... there is no reason for producers to adopt any different behavior against predators... especially in self-defense.

I don't know any producer who has an itch to run out into the wilderness and start slaughtering every predator he can find.  That's not how producers think, and not their natural inclination.  The fact is, producers need to spend so much time observing the world, thinking about the nature of reality, learning how to become expert at productive acts, making plans, and producing the goods and goodies that are his ultimate goal (in order to live long and enjoy life).  So a producer could go on a wild rampage and, say, spend a lot of time killing scorpions (because this producer really hates that particular kind of predator for some reason).  But... this kind of attitude and action is extremely rare.  Besides, every producer understands he will never make a dent on the number of predatory creatures on the planet, so why bother.

Beyond that, any thoughtful producer, who has thought about these issues, understands that non-human predators don't know any better.  So they reserve their killing for self-defense... when a predator makes moves that endanger the producer or his family or his friends or other producers.  The truth is, most producers love nature, and consider predators an entirely natural part of nature, and in no way inherently objectionable (no more than the sun being hot enough to kill a producer is inherently objectionable).

However, every sane producer has zero problem killing predators in self-defense.  They clearly understand they are simply treating the predator consistent with the modus-operandi of predators.  The informal thought is something like this: "If a predator is trying to kill me, there sure as hell can't be anything wrong with me killing the predator to save my life!".

Where humans TOTALLY SCREW UP is... with human predators.  The sad fact of reality is, human producers for some reason do not understand that the attitude just described applies equally to predators of all species... including humans.

Remember.  Humans have a choice.  Humans are predators or producers because... they made a conscious decision.  Not only overall and in general, as in "I am willing [if not happy] to lie, cheat, steal, harm, defraud, and maybe even kill if I think I can get away with it", but also in specific instances that happen to arise.

So when humans are predators, there should be NO confusion.  They should be treated as predators of any other species.  They should be defended against.  And lacking any specific and special situation, they should be eliminated.

Most importantly, predators do not deserve the many protections added onto the notion of "ethics" over the centuries to protect against accidental harm to producers mistaken as predators.  Any human action that is clearly predatory should be met with a bullet between the eyes.  All those notions of evidence and trials and so forth only come into play when dealing with a human who has in the past not behaved as a predator, and where some doubt or legitimately extenuating circumstances might exist.

In other words, "ethics" only applies to interactions between producers... except that part of ethics that says "producers may and should defend themselves against predatory actions".  Without trials, without any formal activities whatsoever.

This is where many people say something like, "but... but... but... some people are both producers and predators".  Sure enough.  And my answer is, "so what?".  I ask these people whether they would let murders go free because, well, "99.999% of the time this guy has not been a predator [and may have been a producer]".

So, answer the question.  Is a "murderer" not a "murderer" (or not a "predator") because they aren't killing people all the time?

At this point, perhaps I should point back at the "predator modus-operandi", which includes the phrase "when you think you can get away with it".  Which means, many human predators LOVE to be fundamentally dishonest, pretend they are a "producer", and only take predatory actions when nobody is looking (when they think they can get away with it).

That is a human predator.  The fact that predators don't spend all day, every day killing other creatures does not mean they are not predators.

And as everyone knows deep down, a super crafty, skilled, diabolical predator can (in the world of today), steal billions of dollars and/or kill thousands or millions of people in one single action --- in their entire lives.  This human is a predator.  True, we cannot say that before he takes the predatory action, because only the predatory action makes a creature or human a predator.  Not a thought.  Not even a plan (that they might not execute).

This is the area where human producers are making the most enormous, fundamental mistake.  They tend to treat every human with the entire set of deferential behaviors they have conceived to be absolutely certain they never accidentally harm a producer (or non-predator).  Why do producers go to such lengths as these, and decide "better to let a thousand predators go free than harm one innocent producer" is appropriate behavior?

Because producers refuse to be predators!

Producers go far, far out of their way to not be predators.  Producers are all about creating goods and goodies.  To destroy anyone is so abhorrent to producers, they create these principles to remind themselves to go light-years out of their way to avoid taking predatory actions themselves.

So, where is the huge mistake?

Today, every thoughtful predator (who hasn't had their brains completely tied in knots of confusion) treats the worst, most destructive human predators with the most deference.  It is 100% clear to almost every honest, ethical, productive, benevolent human being that a HUGE number of actions taken by politicians and their gun-toting enforcers are massively predatory.

Yet they do nothing but complain.  Increasingly, large numbers of producers are too afraid to even complain.  Because the producers of this world have allowed the predators to gain utterly complete control of all so-called "official" mechanisms implemented to implement "ethics" and thereby protect producers from predators, all humans now live in a world utterly and completely dominated by predators.

Like I said, the bulk of the blame falls on producers.  Sadly, producers have been too busy producing (long ago), and afraid (recently) to treat predators as predators.

And what happens when a sentient species behaves this way?  Everyone "officially" responsible for protecting producers against predators is a predator, and acts to benefit predators and harm producers.

Let's be clear.  Without advocating anything here, we all know the truth.  We all know that every single cop (who has been working as a cop for more than a month or so) on the planet is a predator.  We know this because the "laws" they enforce are blatantly, massively, unmistakably predatory.  And yet, what producer has decided to "act accordingly"?  Today this may be a bit of a dicey question, because the predators are so overwhelmingly prepared, equipped and powerful.  But what about "the greatest generation"?  Gag me with a spoon!  How can anyone explain the appalling behavior of producers for the past 100 to 200+ years and beyond?

In the context of "honest, ethical, productive, benevolent producers", human predators are indeed "evil".  Human predators can be reasonably called "evil" by human producers because... those producers previously laid down what "ethics" means.

But, of course, any sane human producer also understands that "ethics" is contextual.  This "ethics" does not apply to predators qua predators, for predators have no "ethics" at all, only the modus-operandi that tells them to "get away with whatever they think they can".

So when producers call human predators "evil", their context is within "ethics", which means, in the context of productive living. In the context of predators, there is no such category as "evil".  Any such notion is rendered absurd in the context of "get away with whatever you think you can", because that modus-operandi is clearly and explicitly "anything goes".  Which is, indeed, the attitude of predators.


I suppose I need to also explain why "stealing milk from in front of your neighbors home" is "not good for you" or "not in your self-interest".  This is a classic age-old confusion that should not be confusing, but is.  This specific confusion may be the largest problem in the writings of objectivists.  I'm not sure why they and so many otherwise smart folks tend to not understand this issue.

Let's be very clear about this.  There is a theoretical, as well as huge practical, difference between "a single event" and "a constant practice".  If you are starving, it may IN FACT help you (benefit you) to steal the bottle of milk off the doorstep of your neighbor.  Sadly, so many otherwise smart people will immediately start to rationalize on this issue to attempt to defend their theory.  And they make massive fools of themselves, and expose themselves as disingenuous and willing to practice the invalid process known as rationalization.

But one can also ask the following question.  Do you benefit more from living in a world of predators, where anything goes, where anyone and everyone lies, cheats, steals, murders, maims, shreds, destroys and consumes others... versus... living in a world of producers, where everyone is honest, ethical, productive, benevolent and only interacts with other human beings in mutually voluntary ways?


#1:  Without any doubt whatsoever, every single human being has found themselves in situations where they personally (they alone) can benefit from some dishonest, unethical, destructive, malevolent action.

#2:  Without any doubt whatsoever, every single human being is vastly more likely to live a longer, happier, healthier, more pleasant BETTER life if they and everyone else is honest, ethical, productive and benevolent.  In other words, every human being BENEFITS from living an honest, ethical, productive and benevolent (in a world where everyone else does too).

Which is where both these claims come from.  They are BOTH CORRECT... albeit in wildly different contexts (one specific selected situation... versus... the aggregate of actions of all humans in all situations).

As a consequence, it is TRUE in the context presumed in #2 that someone who lies, cheats, steals, harms, maims, kills and/or destroys others does NOT act in their self-interest.

As a consequence, it is TRUE in the context presumed in #1 that someone who lies, cheats, steals, harms, maims, kills and/or destroys others DOES act in their self-interest (assuming they chose a very low-risk situation to execute this behavior).

SADLY, (and insanely) nobody every seems to clarify how UTTERLY DIFFERENT are the contexts being presumed by advocates of both views.

As a producer who understands both contexts, it is reasonable for me to say that the ENDLESS predatory actions taken by predators-DBA-government and predators-DBA-corporations are EVIL... and absolutely, positively NOT in their self-interest or the self-interest of their victims, because I very clearly assume context #2.  Yes, these scumbag cretins PRETEND to be producers, but ARE IN FACT predators.  They pretend to act in their self-interest, and they DO in fact act in their short-term self-interest as described in #1 above, but DO NOT in fact act in their long-term self-interest as described in #2 above.

However, I am not stupid.  I care vastly more about living a LONG TERM good life than gaining some SHORT TERM benefit... only to be eaten alive the next week (or have to live in a mean, rotten, dangerous, CRAPPY world when I could have lived in a happy, exciting, fascinating, benevolent, relatively safe world.  SCREW those short term benefits from time to time... I and any other rational being would prefer to enjoy my ENTIRE life, not a few moments now and then.

This issue can be looked at in another way, which helps clarify the issue for some folks.  Consider the primary consequences of the "human producer" life.  Given productive behavior, humans can support thousands of times more population on planet earth, and 3 time longer lifespan, much greater comfort, and almost unimaginably fantastic potentials in the future (especially once humans have the option to travel to other planets, live in space, and so forth).

To switch back to the "predator" modus-operandi would require that 99.9% of all humans living today... DIE.  And not be replaced.  The population of earth would need to fall to somewhere between 1-million and 10-million if all humans were to revert to predator behavior and abandon producer behavior.

One place AR and the objectivists tend to "get it right" is to recognize how utterly and fundamentally DEPENDENT predators are, and how utterly and fundamentally INDEPENDENT producers are.

If every producer dies (or goes on full-bore strike) all human predators DIE.  Okay, perhaps only 99.9% of human predators would die, though likely a lot more in the ruthless chaos and fighting for the last scraps of food.

If every predator dies... human producers DO GREAT.  They live a MUCH better life.  No longer are they caged, taxed, threatened and otherwise abused and enslaved.  NOW they get to enjoy 100% of their production, and are free to engage in unlimited voluntary [synergistic] interactions with other producers.

To understand the above leads many people to make various claims about how "self-interest" is good... while forgetting to say "which kind of self-interest... some individual, momentary action, or the aggregate of all actions in the long term".


PS:  I wasn't trying to complain about the article.  I was just shocked to hear that interpretation of the phrase "self-interest", because I'd never before heard anyone express that kind of blatantly self-contradictory meaning before.  So I remain curious where that notion was first put forth, and which groups of disingenuous morons across the centuries adopted it.

Radical Marijuana's picture

honestann, the paradoxical expression of "enlightened self-interest" arose in the context of slavery, where slaves were told by their masters, "Do what I say, or I will kill you." The problem now is that, after the development of weapons of mass destruction, the foundation of debt slavery becomes "Do what I say, or I will kill almost everyone, probably including myself too."

The history of Neolithic Civilization was the history of the domestication of plants and animals, with the domestication of some humans by others crucial to that process. Clearly, slavery was humans farming other humans, and debt slavery was more sophisticated symbolic slavery. In that context, the problem is that the predators now have access to weapons of mass destruction, which have both the flip sides of enabling debt slavery numbers to mathematically become debt insanity numbers, since the ability of the slave masters to kill almost everyone, including themselves, is now what backs up their continued ability to create more "money" out of nothing as debts.

In my opinion, honestann, you continue to indulge in thinking using false fundamental dichotomies between the productive prey, and their parasitical predators. That continues to provide no useful resolutions, which can develop better human ecologies. Rather, it merely leads back in a vicious cycle, to the same old-fashioned impossible ideals, which make the opposite happen in the real world.

I repeat my view, which I believe was hinted at in the psychological analysis of this article by Cognitive Dissonance, that the only genuine solutions require everyone to metaphorically become better wolves, rather than better sheep. Meanwhile, your approach to these problems continues to fail to understand the good things that the parasitical predators do, within the overall ecological contexts.

... However, of course, we have already attempted to have this discussion several times before, without any progress so far. You cling to your kind of analysis, in which everything is based upon the humans who are parasitical predators being bad, while their productive prey are good. Therefore, it is impossible for you to look more systematically at the human ecology and political economy as a whole, within which the parasitical predators do work too, by limiting their productive prey.

From within your frame of reference, there is no way to move past the current criminal insanities of the ruling classes, in order to develop better death controls, to back up better debt controls, because your over-simplistic view does not allow that there is any good in "evil," and so, you have no sympathy for the devil. Metaphorically speaking, your advocacy for wiping out all the humans who act like parasitical predators would backfire badly.

I repeat this link, which provides a five minute video study of the ways that wolves in Yellowstone Park changed so many other things:

This Will Shatter Your View of Apex Predators: How Wolves Change Rivers

Of course, I expect that such information will not "shatter your view of predators," honestann. Every comment that I have ever read by you persists in denouncing the human predators as being totally evil, without any redeeming functions. However, every known natural ecology, for hundreds of millions of years, has hit upon similarly interconnected and balanced systems of predators and prey, manifesting in ways which evolved very subtle balances through those interconnections.

Human ecology, through its symbolic political economy, has done something similar. However, the amplification of the old social pyramid systems with technologies which became trillions of times more powerful, have driven the older forms of debt slavery to become debt insanity. Therefore, in theory, we ought to understand how and why money became measurement backed by murder, and private property became claims backed by coercions, so that we could more systematically transform those functions in holistic ways.

Of course, I do not actually expect that to happen. Rather, what I actually expect to happen is that the runaway debt insanities will drive runaway death insanities, because almost nobody is able and willing to face that facts regarding how and why the debt controls depended upon that death controls. Rather, as this article above by Cognitive Dissonance hints at, the ways that the debt controls are based upon the maximum possible frauds, while the death controls operate through the maximum possible deceits, while BOTH the ruling classes, and those they rule over, share the same sets of beliefs in bullshit, makes coping with science and technology becoming trillions of times more powerful practically impossible for our civilization to cope with, other than by driving itself through mad psychotic breakdowns.

Unfortunately, another proof of my point is that it is practically guaranteed, honestann, that you will refuse to reconsider what good things that human predators do, and therefore, you are going to continue to be incapable of considering how those functions could be achieved in better ways.  You, and practically everyone else, are going to continue to remain attached to your own preferred, over-simplistic morality, and therefore, continue to propose "solutions" which have no possible theoretical merit, because they deliberately ignore the central issue, which is that, after life exists, then the death controls are what directs the evolution of that life.

Somehow, I expect, you will continue to regard the entire history of warfare in human civilization as being somehow nothing more than one vast mistake. Similarly, you will continue to presume that biological evolution creating predators and parasites to limit the population of the productive prey was somehow one vast mistake, which should not have happened. Although I doubt that you will consider my criticism, I regard your kind of denunciation of the predators as merely the same old-fashioned Black Sheeple bleating morality, which has never worked before, and could never work, because their are chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life, which are actually resolved by evolutionary ecologies.

What I am suggesting can be applied to industrial ecology, just as much as to human ecology, and can be directly related to natural ecologies. What you are suggesting has nothing like that whatsoever. It merely makes you feel good to say that the humans who act as parasitical predators are bad, and should be stopped. What I am saying is that they only ways that they could be "stopped" is to do what they do better than they did. I believe that our currently runaway criminally insane ruling classes should be transcended in ways whereby the human death controls are done better. Furthermore, that is the only way that the debt controls could be sufficiently revolutionized. No reforms less than that are going to be workable.

Meanwhile, the driving forces behind that happening will be that the established systems will continue to drive themselves through their own mad self-destruction, which will be aided and abetted by the reactionary revolutionaries, or Black Sheeple, repeating things like you do honestann, that may contribute to the collapses into chaos of the established systems, but can not provide the basis for the emergence of any better systems, because you refuse to recognize how and why the death controls must necessarily exist, and be the central controls for everything else. Instead, you indulge in utterly nebulous notions of dynamic equilibria, whereby you continue to deliberately ignore how you are actually proposing different death controls, without actually facing and admitting that.


I tend to regard what Cognitive Dissonance writes as thinking in that direction, although he does not appear to yet fully get that, except that he is diffusely recognizing that we are ALL responsible for the state that we are in. He still continues, as most people do, to adhere to the Black Sheeple moralities, rather than work consistently through to the conclusion that we should all take more direct responsibility for doing what the Vicious Wolves do. He begins to perceive that those who are ruled over share attitudes with those that rule over them. However, he does not pursue that line of analysis far enough through to a synthesis of solutions based upon that insight.

honestann's picture

I'm not sure why you continue to miss (?or ignore?) part of what I say.  While I do object to your choice of expression, you completely ignore the actions I advise.  I have said ENDLESS TIMES that "producers should treat predators of all species the same", which usually means "a bullet between the eyes".

To claim I take the same approach as endless others who just sit around and formulate useless categories to complain about this situation (like "good", "virtuous", "bad", "evil", etc)... is misguided.  I'm not sure why this happens... why you only read half of what I say.

I must disagree with the notion "producers should become better predators than predators", because I believe that formulation contains a potentially (and likely) flaw that will ultimate cause disaster if somehow you convinced everyone to adopt this approach.  So I do disagree.

But I think we agree about the core point.  While I believe producers are responsible for most positive characteristics of the world today, I most definitely believe producers are primarily at fault for the horrific state of humanity today.  And specifically, the most fundamental mistake productive humans have made is... to NOT treat human predators the same as predators of all species.

This is the fundamental reason mankind is finished.  If somehow we could convince the honest, ethical, productive, benevolent human beings on this planet to take a hard-core no-flexibility stance against predators... problem solved in one week.

And while that may sound simplistic, that is a fact.  ESPECIALLY at this point in history, the solution is easy.  The "laws" the predators-DBA-government pass, and the "laws" the predators-DBA-corporations pay for, and the "laws" the predators-DBA-enforcers (cops, military) point to as justification for their egregious abuses of producers every single day --- are soooooo utterly, blatantly and overwhelmingly corrupt, there CAN BE no mistake.

Every single individual who plays a part in this "system" is a predator.  What they do is so far out of line that NOBODY can possibly be confused about whether they are a predator or not.  If they are part of this system, they ARE a predator.  Period.  It is impossible to enforce the laws today without being an egregious predator, and causing egregious harm to endless individuals.

And so, the solution is obvious.  The predators are easy to identify.  The fact they are predators is beyond dispute.  The predators WILL NOT stand down.  The predators WILL NOT stop.  And so, the resolution or lack thereof is clear.  Either producers start treating human predators as predators... or mankind is finished.

And since producers steadfastly REFUSE to recognize the most egregious predators in the history of mankind AS predators, and REFUSE to treat them accordingly... mankind is finished, and the blame falls almost entirely on producers for their inaction.

So there you go again.  I told producers how to solve the problem.  And this is inherently the ONLY way to solve the problem.  No argument has ever existed to convince predators to stop, and no argument ever will.

The whole "good" and "bad" stuff is pointless!  I've said that a million times.  The issue is not "good" and "bad".  I've pointed this out endless times by saying predators operate based upon their modus-operandi "get away with whatever we think we can", which by its nature eliminated "good" and "bad" from the predator context.  And I've explained endless times that "good" and "bad" for producers only exists within the context of "ethics", which is an invention created by producers to explain the nature of human predators versus human producers, and guide them in their behaviors.  Been there, done that, dozens of times.  All of which apparently were missed by you guys.

Now I'm not about to say here in a public forum what steps I've taken during my life to avoid being harmed by predators, and I'm sure you aren't either.  We're not stupid.  But it is very clear that I HAVE invested a lot more time, effort, thought and resources to take steps to starve the predators, and if the rest of the world decided to get its act together and take more aggressive actions, I will find ways to help.  But I'm not about to start a one-girl war and die for no reason.  Screw that!  That won't help me, and that won't help the world either.  Which renders that approach pointless in practice.

The fact is, though it will NEVER HAPPEN given the terminally stupid and dishonest nature of mankind, Ayn Rand did identify a way producers could eliminate predators without firing a single shot (and maybe even without breaking a single law).  That only a few dozen individuals will implement practices like this shows how NON-serious human beings are.

So, what is an honest individual to do when they live on a planet populated by sheeple-chimps who DEMAND to be abused slaves forever?  What?  Try to fight the 99.99999% of clueless sheeple-chimps too?  Why bother?  Somewhere around 99.99999% of humans are not worth saving.  I'm sure not gonna sacrifice my exceptional life for a pack of morons!  Not when I have a way outta this mess that has a fairly high chance of success (roughly 50% is my best guess).  This is an inherent problem with individualism, I suppose.

However... what if we start to see hundreds or thousands [or millions] of events like we did recently in Nevada?  I'll take that as evidence that maybe I'm too pessimistic, and adjust my percentages and odds accordingly.  I'll be thrilled to be radically and egregiously wrong about the number of individuals willing to shoot to kill [predators].  And there is indeed a good possibility people "snap" at some point and take actions they previously would not.  But it must be a HUGE snap to achieve the required results.  And besides, since even those good folks have no freaking idea what is real and what is fiction, I believe they would just implement yet another fictional mechanism for the predators to soon dominate, rather than END the adoption of all [involuntary] systems, which is the ONLY viable solution.

This term "death controls" annoys me.  Perhaps I should ask you to clearly explain that term, in case it makes sense, and I just can't stand it because I assume it means what is sounds like it means.  The only "death" scheme I favor is... death to human predators... which is synonymous with a legitimate meaning of "self-defense".  If it means "destroyers must be destroyed", then fine, count me in.  If it means "we need to replace the current crop of predators with our own crop of predators", then count me OUT.

If you were a bit more thoughtful, you would understand that IT DOES NOT MATTER whether human predators do things that can be seen as "positive" from certain contexts from time to time.  It does not matter because you just end up justifying fundamentally DESTRUCTIVE actions and destructive creatures.  And sure, sometimes things need to be destroyed to make room for something new or better, but playing word games SHOULD BE beneath people like you and I.

The predator vs producer dynamic is very simple.  Read my post just a little ways above this reply to refresh your memory of the details.  But the bottom line is this:

predator:  My modus-operandi is to get away with whatever I want, and think I can get away with.

producer:  My ethics and choice is to be independent, take actions that create goods and goodies that make my life easier, healthier, longer, happier, more interesting, more fascinating and more capable.  And if any predator attempts to harm or destroy me or my property in any way, I will kill them without remorse or second thought, knowing I treat human predators in a manner exactly consistent with their chosen modus-operandi.

Please explain to me how killing human predators on sight constitutes "becoming better sheep"?  I very much look forward to any such attempt.

The fundamental human choice is between a life of destruction or production.  All the rest is side-issue.  I choose production, and only apply destruction to destroyers.  They asked for it.

BTW, I agree that almost every human (predator, parasite, producer, prey) have their brains chock full of lies and bogus fictions.  We do not disagree there one bit.  However, I don't think you guys realize how astronomically deep, broad and pervasive that intellectual corruption goes.  It is much worse than you imagine.

Which is yet another reason why any approach OTHER THAN get the hell outta dodge (earth) is the only solution with even the slightest shred of a chance.  NONE OF US has even the slightest chance of convincing 100 people to adopt our understandings, our approaches, our ideas.  Which means NO solution exists on this planet, at least not as long as the predators control schools and media, and none of us has even the slightest PRACTICAL notion of how to eliminate that stranglehold.

While there is no practical solution any longer, humans having gotten themselves in such an extremely self-reinforcing system of insanity, there are possible solutions (in the sense that humans COULD HAVE) evolved differently.  But they didn't, and now their brains are too utterly confused and brainwashed in the most fundamental and crucial of ways.  Which means the ONLY way sanity can possibly gain any significant foothold on earth would be after some catastrophically enormous global nuclear war... or worse (just short of human extinction).

In other words, can't get there from here... without a monumentally huge disaster.

But that's on earth.  If even a small number of sentient beings (human and inorganic) can get off this insane planet and become self-sufficient... then the dynamics are different, because the nature of [living in] outer space is sufficiently different in the necessary ways.

autonomos's picture

well I do agree with you (and with radical marijuana...). we should not let words divide us ;-)

("bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language" Wittgenstein)

By the way, I wonder how one could ever avoid "false dichotomies" when expressing oneself.

Analysis, synthesis... keep going!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So I'm doing it wrong?  :)

Long ago I came to the conclusion that to act in the same manner as the predators in order to 'fight' the predators is to become a predator. Been there, done that, nothing good for me down there. I choose not to travel that path again.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Not totally wrong, CD, which is why I bother to read your articles. You, like everyone else who is personally interested in doing so, is on a voyage of discovery, by thinking new ideas. Clearly, you were doing that, as you wrote:

"Anyone who declares the system must fall should be applauded for his or her guts and self examination. It was probably one of the most difficult conclusions they ever came to and an extremely conflicting decision to go public with. I know it was for me."

I am NOT advocating that we should do the same old-fashioned things as the financial predators are doing. That is especially the case after there are weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass surveillance! What I am suggesting is that we have to think in radically different ways about death controlling murder systems. The functions that humans who became like the top carnivores in the human ecology/economy, have valid reasons to be done. However, at present, everyone, both those rulers as well as those they rule over, have been stuck in social pyramid systems whose structure developed in the past, when the technologies were not so powerful and capable, like they are now.

In my view, the people who previously acted like the top carnivores, the War Kings that segued into the Fraud Kings, have become criminally insane, and have been degenerating into parasites that are killing their host. Obviously, I am not recommending that everyone should become degenerate parasites that kill their host!

Militarism deserves to be the supreme ideology, because the most important thing that human beings do is operate their murder systems. Doing that after science and technology makes using many more orders of magnitude of power and information POSSIBLE is the issue! Continuing to do the same old-fashioned things has become too insane, in that context, and yet, we are clearly headed towards PEAK INSANITIES, as we try to grow the social pyramid systems based on backing up lies with violence, when those have become electronic and atomic.

I am recommending a greater use of information, enabling a higher consciousness, regarding how we operate our death controls, to back up our debt controls. Of course, at the present time, both are based on the maximum possible deceits and frauds, and therefore, are spinning out of control, towards psychotic breakdowns and collapses into chaos.

Your article, CD, quite rightly, pointed out how more and more previously mainstream financial experts are being forced to face and state more radical facts: "... they would not be promoting the destruction of the financial system they have spent most of their adult lives working within unless they felt it was well beyond redemption and must be killed, or allowed to die ..."

What I am saying is that we need to work through more of what it means to "kill, or to allow to die." Especially, that means we should appreciate the principle of the conservation of energy more deeply, and correct our mistakenly backwards understanding of the concept of entropy. Doing that provides a creative synthesis of postmodernizing sciences with ancient mysticism, so that the old-fashioned ideas about good and evil can be scientifically improved.

Of course, as a practical matter, I concede that the real world is already careening out of control, with most people getting crazier and crazier all the time, as their debt insanities mount and mount. We have not yet seen that work itself through, although those with enough intelligence, information, and imagination can see the directions we are apparently headed in. There continues to be growing Grand Canyon Paradoxes, where urban barbarians use things like cell phones, while not being interested to understand or worry about how they work. Everywhere, there are advancing technologies, based on the history of scientific breakthroughs due to profound paradigm shifts in the ways the world was being perceived. However, in politics, old-fashioned religions and ideologies continue to dominate things, and especially the ruling classes tend to believe in the most old-fashioned of those!

Hence, I am NOT recommending that we become predators like them, in their ways that they are degenerating into self-destructive parasites. However, I am insisting that there must be murder systems, operating death controls, and that doing those better is necessarily the core of resolving our problems. Of course, one expects that we will continue to actually see all those things be done much worse first. It is not clear that the human species is going to survive through the Grand Canyon Paradoxes of having science inside of society controlled by lies backed by violence. However, it is clear that, as long as any human beings survive, then the same chronic political problems will exist, and we should be attempting to go through paradigm shifts to change the ways that we perceive and resolve those problems.

So, CD, you have made significant personal progress in your thinking, and you have recognized that many others too "... would not be promoting the destruction of the financial system they have spent most of their adult lives working within unless they felt it was well beyond redemption and must be killed, or allowed to die ..." However, you are, so far, not more thoroughly thinking through the theories about HOW and WHY to kill or to allow to die.

Weapons are the biggest business in the world, and the American Military that backs up the American Dollar is now bigger than all the other military forces combined. However, the ways that America operates its death controls are based on the maximum possible deceits. As you pointed out CD, such as "engineering a false flag attack (9/11 for example) to justify renewed expansion of the financial/military/industrial/pharma complex."

Similarly, the financial systems are now based upon the maximum possible frauds, which is why that debt slavery has become runaway debt insanities, whose numbers no longer have any mathematically possible resolutions within the structure of the established systems. The social facts are that governments are the biggest form of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. Better government means better organized crime, but that does NOT mean doing the same old-fashioned things, but more so, as the biggest and best organized gangs of criminals did and do now.

That is WHY I keep on talking about understanding general energy systems better, and especially correcting the mistaken understanding of entropy, as the fundamental basis for how to kill or to let die BETTER. Meanwhile, what is obvious is that a lot of that killing or letting die is going to happen anyway. It appears that most of that is going to become quite insane, and go out of control.

In that context, what I am presenting is what I refer to as the Fringe Cubed position, which only the tiniest percentage of people want to understand, and therefore, there seems no practical point to bothering to present it, other than for me to amuse myself by attempting to develop my ideas. But nevertheless, I continue to believe that I am presenting some theories about the combined money/murder systems which have intellectual integrity and merit. I think that many more people could understand what I am saying, IF they wanted to, and that, the more that previously mainstream people are forced to think in more radical ways, then the more possible it becomes that some more radical truths may become influential enough?

In my view, CD, you are merely beginning that process when you correctly observe that: "Anyone who declares the system must fall should be applauded for his or her guts and self examination. It was probably one of the most difficult conclusions they ever came to and an extremely conflicting decision to go public with." There is way more to be done after facing those facts. The logical conclusions that follow after facing those facts are about HOW and WHY to kill or to allow to die. Changing the ways that we think about that could change the ways that gets done.

VWAndy's picture

Accountability is the part that is missing. We will allways have and need preditors and prey. They should balance and cancel out evenly. That is no longer the case.

 The highest honor one can give others is the truth. No they will not like you for it. But thats why its honorable. The days of me giving a rats ass of what most other think of me is over. If one can find a way to go thru each day without using force,lies or theft that would be best. It is not easy or very proffitable but it can and should be attempted. By as many folks as can as often as possible.

 It goes to the accountability thing. I am my keeper, my brother should pay attention and take care of his own well being. 

keep the bastards honest's picture

Enlightened self interest:

great feel good link to an aus example:


and ocean bacteria are cultivated wth no waste, and the prawns grow 40% faster or bigger and are much healhtier.

Takes  protein produciton off the land and stops the harm to fish and the oceans.

but not good enough for our royal fawning, misogynist, budgie smugglers wearing fool of a PM who will cut CSIRO funding in May by 150million in may. 50 great biotechs have come from CSIRO and much more..even your ZH woollens and cosy socks which do not shrink and felt are due to siroset...enlightened self intest.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It is an example of an unrepentant asshole who is collecting his payoff for being an unrepentant asshole.

D-Fens's picture

The oligarchs and welfare bums are on the same side...easy money.  Once you understand that, it changes the way you view things.


For most of us, we can either work our butts off to get a little bit of the "trickle down" easy money, or sit on welfare or retire for the easy money.  That's all we can do.

We can't demand "hard money" for our work, because the oligarchs and welfare bums don't want that, and they make the rules.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

There is no doubt that the game is rigged and there are few options available to navigate the system with honor and (hopefully) what little wealth you might have intact. I try to remember that this 'wealth', or at least the value of this wealth, is entirely dependent upon the system to maintain the wealth. When the system falls, and it will, so will the so-called wealth it spawned.

But there are options. The thing I must constantly remind myself is that because I am operating outside of the system as much as possible, I cannot expect to be rewarded in the manner only those who are inside will be. This means I must change my sense of self worth and the rewards I derive from living my life the way I choose....or as close as I can come to doing so.

The system promises those who play the game well the ability to have their cake and eat it to. This is an illusion, albeit an extremely persistent one I admit. But it will subside eventually.

new game's picture

so how big is the nut-that is the crux of the issue, otherwise off to work we go. the winners are slightly older than me, played the game and are recieving a check for past participation. or played in an arena that gave them great reward(ussually commisions)and were wise enough to set it aside or simply put, cast aside a lifestyle and make a radical change to something far less material. but the tide is rising so 250k will soon we but a water mark. what all this zirp and monetary expansion is ultimately doing is taking the last vestage of hope for a better tommarow...

dexter_morgan's picture

provocative as usual

whidbey-2's picture

You are getting stale. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I am well past stale and have gone to stink. :)

DavidPierre's picture

One of the great Truth Tellers is gone.

RIP... Michael Ruppert

Apocalypse, Man: Michael C. Ruppert on  the World's End


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs. Cog brought Michael Ruppert's passing to my attention today. He was one of the first truth sayers I studied deeply. His "Crossing the Rubicon" is a classic.

He had his flaws, as do us all, but he was at times fearless, something I don't know if I would have the courage to duplicate. I just wish he had more faith in himself and his ability to find healing and happiness.

I recently watched his series on VICE. He did not seem to be in a good place.

He will be missed.

DavidPierre's picture

A song or two ... as I read of his death last night.

Famous Blue Raincoat





L. Cohen

nmewn's picture

One of your best Cog.

There is a drop of larceny in us all, the trick it seems, is to not compound that simple fact, by lying to ourselves about it ;-)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

We have been tricked, conditioned, into believing that to be honest with ourselves is to show weakness of character and mind. When I am honest in a public setting I am told I should not be so hard on myself and to be less self depreciating.

It is to the point where it is painful for others to be around someone who is (ruthlessly) honest for any number of reasons. To get along, one must go along with the generally accepted lies.....most especially with the lies we tell ourselves.

blindman's picture

from the michael ruppert link ..
" Apocalypse, man " vice, part 4
" if you have a white yak you will have
many blessings..." ...
"you don't sell your white yak. ..."
organic farmer
thanks you for your efforts.

BeetleBailey's picture

Well said Cog.

Excellent Part #2...kudos.

nmewn's picture

"To thine own self be true" Cog, it should be everyones motto but it cannot be or you'll drive those around you (those who love you and care about you) away.

Complete honesty (even about oneself) has its ramifications and is probably what your loved ones are saying, you should repsect this, IMHO. Because they really do care about you & your life's adventure.

For example (just picking one out of thin air...lol) to say (honestly) to those around you, that the budding sixteen-seventeen year old girl you saw the other day, will make someone a wonderful wife, probably isn't the thing to say, although it is honest. They are people too and will assign things, perhaps, you didn't mean (or did, wistfully) or just as the honest observation it was.

Honesty, combined with discretion, perhaps, is not being untruthful to yourself, just unspoken ;-)


And definitely not acted upon, of course (in the example)...lol.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Hmmmmmm....young girls?  :)

Have you ever been in a truly dysfunctional relationship? Because I have. And they are filled with not only self deceit, but the unspoken understanding that if you don't call me on mine I won't call you on yours. A wonderfully dysfunctional bliss that usually ends in disaster all around.

The thing is that all relationships contain some amount of this dysfunction. And sometimes even a so called 'healthy' relationship can sour when those comforting "kind" white lies we tell each other become expected or even needed. That doesn't mean a relationship requires brutal honesty, because it doesn't. But it does require honesty with oneself, otherwise we begin to believe the lies we find comfort in. Maybe not completely, but just enough to quell the truth in order to sleep deep denial.

ebear's picture

"Hmmmmmm....young girls?  :)"

cue young girls in 3, 2, 1...


nmewn's picture

Hmmmmmm....young girls?  :)

It was just an example!...lol.

"Have you ever been in a truly dysfunctional relationship?"

Yes, I think we all have, in one form or another. The object flying at your head (in one form) is usually a dead giveaway ;-)

It wasn't about relaitionships per se, more about honesty and can those around you accept the brutal honesty you reveal to them. In a lot of cases that answer is, no.

Another example (not so titillating this time...lol), if you told those around that the true purpose of the Fed is for freeee! War & Welfare, they might first look at you as though you had a third eye in the middle of your forehead. But then, if you explained to them further, that ending it, would be a total chaotic disruption to their lives (the unicorn-fairy dust checks stop) on the one hand...and the proposition that when they call 911, the cop or ambulance never shows up...

...what do you suppose they REALLY want to hear and will they accept...the truth or a lie...and where does that leave us in the truth or lie paradigm?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

And so we shall allow them their slumber, and let another ugly ogre brutalize them awake. It ain't gonna be pretty, that's for sure. 

I gave up speaking to the dead several years ago. Who is the greater fool for trying to shake awake those who wish to remain asleep? I now concentrate on those souls who are showing signs of life. So much easier communicating with those who indicate some initial interest.

nmewn's picture

I guess thats all I was saying, let those who wish to sleep, sleep.

Reality doesn't change, only the perception of it.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I guess the question is.....how do we hide and survive in an insane world while trying to regain our sanity? The answer (of course) is to remain (somewhat) insane.

The new and improved Catch 22.

nmewn's picture

It has always been easier for a sane person to act insane than for an insane person to act sane.

So, we got that goin for us! ;-)

new game's picture

honesty or shall i say intellectual honesty attracts honesty. shall i venture to say, this series is an attraction?

what we have devolved to is not even knowing what is good or right. the systems of reality, thermodynamics, the carbon cycle ect. will set the record right. all we are living through is the end of an aboration of the cycles of sustainable life. all else is man made noise that will crash to an outcome known in advance...

being honest or righteous will mean didly squat when the shtf and man controlled monetary systems crash from the weight of living for today with no regard for the future. just where are we in the cycle?

but, i must do what my parents and attraction has guided me to do-pull the mother fucking wagon another day...

Reaper's picture

The problem is we live in a complex jungle. To survive, we must know when to attack and when to hide. Morality and ethics were constructs taught to us from childhood into adulthood to control our impulses and acts. What we deny is our failures to act on our indoctrinated morals and ethics. We deplore the lack of morals and ethics in others ahead of us in the food chain and seek solace in expressing a desire that the complex jungle system fail and somehow be rebuilt with morals and ethics. But, that expressed desire for the jungle system to fail is just a solace, as we crave the safety in our little niche in the jungle.

The supposed experts in finance all run hustles seeking victims, while inwardly knowing they know nothing to accurately predict the future. If a million financial experts predict it'll go on till whenever, will it? In the jungle, it's survival of the lucky, and/or the realist who knows when to take and when to hide. What are morals or ethics, but constructs which a psychopath exploits.