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Enlightened Self Interest and Financial Industry Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter

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Enlightened Self Interest and Financial Industry Hypocrisy

Chapter Three of Three

We Are What We Eat

 

An Old Fashioned Rant By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

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Something that has been understood for thousands of years, and only recently conveniently forgotten (the word ‘recent’ being a relative term) in order to promote, and believe, the myth of a protective and benevolent government, is that there has never been any inalienable ‘rights’ regardless of what the ‘Constitution’ says, other than those that are given to us by our masters (the politically correct term is ‘elite’) for social/political cover and expediency, or those we take (often from others) for ourselves.

Ultimately the Constitution is simply a politically correct document (“Just a piece of paper.” G.W. Bush once said) that our masters (the elite) make a grand show of supporting in return for near total monetary and social control. The reality is that the Constitution can be revoked at any time (martial law being the most obvious, but not the only way) or just not enforced (laws are for the little people) which then requires ‘We the People’ to apply ‘force’ to bring it (back) into use…..assuming it was actually ‘used’ before and assuming ‘We the People’ have the stomach and will to suffer great harm in exchange for reinstating a collective lie. This is a root cause of our collective apathy and one of the reasons so many prefer to remain asleep.

In return for the continued perpetuation of the illusion of equally enforced laws of the land (what’s good for the master elite is good for “We the People” after all) we begrudgingly accept ‘minor’ imbalances and unjust infractions against our ‘person’ in order to partake of the system’s spoils and spillage. After all we ‘citizen/workers’ are junior members of the hierarchy, and thus ‘our’ compensation (aka earned income, capital gains and investment income/interest, private and public pensions, and many ‘entitlements’ of various shapes and forms from tax breaks to SS/Medicare for being part of the system) is presently, and will remain in the future, severely limited.

The fact of the matter is that we work cheap, having pooled our labor into cities decades ago where there is much competition for services similar to ours, and we give away more than we keep because we all practice our own version of greed and Unenlightened Self Interest. Alas, as long as we eke out enough to pay our bills with a little left over for some cheap thrills, we show up for work when called and do the dirty work when needed.

That’s the bargain we really want, right? We want little to no substantial effort, no hassle, and our inalienable right for entitlements to be paid out for as long as we are alive and for a minimum of work. And don’t bother me with the ugly details. I am not saying we won’t work hard to ‘better’ ourselves as long as their rigged game gives us a fighting chance. Of course the ones we usually fight over a few more crumbs are each other.

But we need to stop and seriously consider that we are playing ‘their’ game and not ours, so why are we so upset when ‘they’ change the rules and payouts. Oh…that’s right, because we have this piece of paper that says we are ‘free’ and thus we have ‘rights’. So stop treating me as a captive slave when I’m actually the free range variety.

As much as we like to convince ourselves we deserve what we have because we work hard, how much of our good fortune is an accident of birth to parents who lived in the mighty American Empire during the final leveraged economic expansion of the 80’s and 90’s, but not so much the double aught’s? The problem now is that we won’t work as hard to take (back) our ‘rights’ (aka our inalienable entitlements) as the masters will work hard to deny us of them. The elite mob knows that ultimately this is a war and they are prepared to go to the mattresses. Are we?

 

Elite Mob

 

Consider this twist. While each Plantation Owner Master (corporate entity/elite) works for his or her own benefit, the very definition of Unenlightened Self-Interest, they also work together to further their shared needs and for the benefit of their greater good. And that dear reader is the definition of Enlightened Self-Interest.

It is ‘We the People’ who do not organize and act together for the benefit of our own collective good. Rather we almost always act in an unenlightened manner that benefits only ourselves and our immediate family. Even then, only for a short period of time, lately just to the next paycheck. Ultimately we rely upon the benevolence of the master/elite to continue to slice, dice and distribute the pie in the same manner as before. We have allowed ourselves to be duped into believing there is only one greater good and that our masters will quickly agree to our demands for more simply because we are free citizens with inalienable rights.

Mesmerized as we were, we never looked deep enough to recognize that the system was a farce and an illusion from the very start, at least from the perspective of the wage slave. We have not received much of anything of real and substantial value in exchange for our labor since the late 1800’s when we flocked to cities and cheapened our labor by pooling it all in one place. I find it supremely ironic that ‘We the People’ have become modern day North American Indians and are taking fiat beads in exchange for our valuable land and labor.  

What little ‘real’ value we did manage to accumulate is now being taken from us in a brazen day light robbery. The sad fact is that we weren’t so must robbed as we willingly deceived ourselves by selling our souls for a hand full of baubles. Now that the USD Petrodollar Ponzi is collapsing, we are all standing around crying in our hands wondering who will make restitution. Restitution? With what? Moar fiat beads?

I’ll tell you with what. With a Petrodollar (or whatever it is morphed into) that at its core is debt based and thus worthless. Think about it for a second, a fiat dollar’s value comes from our faith and belief that nothing is worth something. Consider that our fiat currency only retains ‘value’ if we remain seduced by the insanity and drive ourselves deeper into slavery. Where I come from that is a Faustian bargain and incredibly we want more, not less.

Yes, I know what you are going to say, you didn’t sign up for this deal. You had something else in mind. Well folks, this didn’t happen overnight and any inaction or passivity on our part in the past or present is a loud and clear vote of support for the status quo into the future. The system survives because we support the system. There are no them, just us. Remove our consent and they/us/we collapse. But since we aren’t ready to fight as hard or suffer as much short term pain as ‘they’ are, we have lost long before we wake up in the morning. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

And now that we are screaming for collective relief (because we know deep down inside we will never ‘win’ fighting alone) why are we not accepting our part of the collective responsibility of getting us to this point in the first place? If we aren’t responsible for our small part of the problem, why are we ‘entitled’ to partake in a small part of the solution we are demanding? Instead we shuttle back and forth between Stockholm Syndrome and being the battered slave or child victim.

Somewhere along the line as we engorged ourselves on the baubles the fiat dollars bought (just like the North American Indians were ‘rich for a day’ when they brought the beads back to the tribe) we allowed ourselves to believe that the nation could be placed on autopilot while we examined our navels for lint. Now that we are faced with the stupidity of that collective decision, we have devolved into finger pointing, infighting and hoarding while demanding someone else fix the frigging problem.

Time to grow up boys and girls because we can’t fix what we don’t acknowledge is broken……over selves. And as good as it makes us feel when we point to they, them and those as the evil culprits, ‘they’ aren’t going away until we accept our role in this mess and our responsibility to change everything. Are we really so childish that we would think the elite master will see the error of his or her way and hand over the keys to the plantation and walk away? Why would ‘they’ do so when they are willing and able to fight to the bitter end, then change clothes and start all over again? This is the same problem that has repeatedly faced the peasants of the last two thousand years.

 

Peasant Revolt

 

Society’s fuzzy ethical and moral lines and shady boundaries are regularly violated, then subtlety twisted and reinforced in the mainstream media as well as in movie and television dramas. These transgressions are part of our cultural conditioning and most never recognize its impact because rarely do we make an attempt to apply critical thinking to what we do, say and think.

For example, who can forget Fox TV’s Jack Bauer (“24”) suffering terrible bouts of moral conflict and emotional distress just before breaking some alleged terrorist’s finger or hand, then proceed directly to outright torture in order to extract just-in-time-to-save-the-world information? Hey, just as long as he saved the world I guess it was OK to shoot that guy in the knee cap. Besides, he was a frigging terrorist, so he deserved it.

Was it coincidence that our televised Predictive Programming and collective social training in torture justification came around just in time to hate those dirty brown Taliban? In America, just as long as the good guy sincerely regrets being bad, it’s all good dawg. After all, that’s what rehabilitation is all about even if one must rehabilitate on a weekly basis.

We love to hand out second, third and fourth chances because we want them offered to (or more importantly self bestowed upon) us as well. We call this doing well by doing good, and ignore the double standard and blatant self interest in the actions and result. Moral certainty for the TV viewer is always important when playing near the edges of the ethically crumbling moral cliff.

Speaking of gray areas and cliff diving, what about Leone “Léon” Montana, the hitman or ‘cleaner’ character at the center of the movie “The Professional”?  The endearing house plant loving (“it’s my best friend”) Leon certainly demonstrates ethical behavior (“No women, no kids, that’s the rules”) by taking in young Mathilda Lando, almost certainly saving her from a brutal death. And he acted to further the interests of his employer and various innocents caught in his line of fire.

Since Leon was kind hearted and never really profited financially from his ‘killing work’ (his boss was his bank, so you know what was going on there) it was a bit safer to…..kind of…….you know……like him. Even think of him as a hero of sorts. But he still was a killer, so what do we do with this cognitive dissonance? Thank goodness we were spared the moral uncertainty of caring for a ruthlessly efficient hired killer when Leon was killed by Stansfield, the real ‘bad guy’ (who was a DEA good guy) while once again saving Mathilda from herself and the world.

Thankfully Leon manages to take Stansfield with him to an early grave with a concealed booby trap grenade, thus also removing the bad good bad guy. The movie ends with Mathilda planting Leon’s houseplant outdoors, symbolically putting down roots in the memory of Leon. The viewer is now morally and emotionally released from any moral uncertainty for his or her attraction to the good bad guy (Leon) and his or her hate for the bad good bad guy (Stansfield).

This is all very confusing. Isn’t it simply about the egalitarian financial workers of America versus the too big to fail (TBTF) evil empire bagmen and rouge traders? If Goldman Sachs is doing God’s work, and I have no doubt that Blankfein’s declaration was honestly believed when spoken, what’s wrong with dipping your beak into a little of the frosting when you are serving the people their cake? Show me the line of demarcation between doing God’s work and dancing with the devil because from my vantage point my admittedly older eyes see nothing but fuzzy ethical ideas and bottom lines throughout the population.

From an individual trader’s point of view I am not sure how someone can act to further the interests of others if they’re simply trading their own personal book. Maybe this also has something to do with intent. Are there really ethical standards to meet or the greater good to serve when all you are serving is yourself and Mr. Pocket? Alas, supporting the rigged markets by buy buy buying is just a few degrees of separation from the Goldman Sachs traders and their bonus pool.

 

Future Bonus Pool

 

The same can be asked of those average Joes who say they aren’t responsible for anyone or anything else but themselves. At least until the apocalypse has passed. Then of course they will most certainly lend a hand in rebuilding. Is this position any more or less self serving than those Goldman traders? I would say the only difference is the degree of self service and the compensation.....or lack thereof.

While I don’t wish to label things as good or bad because it just leads to hard feelings, raised hackles and feet cemented in place, I do think it is fair to say that Enlightened Self Interest (ESI) is more outward looking and Unenlightened Self Interest (USI) is more inwardly focused. But even here there are no absolutes, just an ethical measurement taken from a stationary point of view that one is more or less than the other. It serves no purpose to declare black and white boundaries in a world that is gray all over.

But as much as ESI’s success might be hard(er) to measure (define greater good in a world of unlimited fiat creation funneled through the wealthiest one percent first) it seems to be much easier to measure USI using several measures, including 100% profitable trading days in a quarter by TBTF banks or large year-end bonuses during a period of national economic difficultly. “Greed is good”, in theory at least, is the driving force behind so called efficient market capitalism, where greed supposedly drives waste and non efficiency out of the capital (re)allocation process, allowing the wealth to be spread throughout the economy. There is that promised mafia ‘taste’ again.

You know what I’m talking about, the old lifting all boats analogy that is still carried by the ‘haves’ like a blazing torch through the dark nights of abject greed and pure self interest. An honest read of history tells me that greed in this ‘pure’ form is a myth of the highest order. But it is an important myth that is perpetuated by those who would profit from others who wish to believe the myth, if for no other reason than to sooth the pain of being a wage slave ‘have not’.

 

Caution - Boat Lifting in Progress

 

Several questions and observations spring to mind after reading (and re-reading several times) the ESI and USI definitions and I will get to them in a second. But let us take a look at a few more definitions because it is important to understand what I meant in an earlier chapter when I said the financial industry might be suffering from a Cognitive Dissonance (CD). Again let us look at Wiki since it is in general agreement with several other sources.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Experience can clash with expectations, as, for example, with buyer’s remorse following the purchase of an expensive item. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.

I don’t think this definition goes far enough because in many cases a person will seek to hold two conflicting ideas simultaneously precisely because they are trying to avoid the uncomfortable feeling or anxiety of cognitive dissonance. The technical term is tension and sometimes a person feels they must hold two conflicting views because holding only one is causing the tension and the anxiety won’t allow them to do as they wish. This leads us to the definition of denial which works hand in hand with CD.

Again, from Wikipedia…..

Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may use:

simple denial - deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether

minimization - admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization, or

projection - admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.

The concept of denial is particularly important to the study of addiction. The theory of denial was first researched seriously by Anna Freud. She classified denial as a mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality. Where denial occurs in mature minds, it is most often associated with death, dying and rape. More recent research has significantly expanded the scope and utility of the concept. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross used denial as the first of five stages in the psychology of a dying patient, and the idea has been extended to include the reactions of survivors to news of a death. Thus, when parents are informed of the death of a child, their first reaction is often of the form, "No! You must have the wrong person, you can't mean our child!"

 

Cognitive Dissonance Migraine

 

As in everything else in life, nothing is straight forward nor do simple answers ever really apply. How is it that someone of obvious sound and ethical mind such as the esteemed money managers mentioned in a previous chapter advocate the destruction of a financial system that is so clearly corrupt and beyond redemption, yet still believe that Enlightened Self Interest would or could still apply?

It seems that the only real answer might be that we wish to believe that the majority of financial professionals are honest and are truly trying to fulfill the basic requirements of Enlightened Self Interest (ESI). In order to believe this, by extension we must believe that only a minority are driven by greed or Unenlightened Self Interest (USI).

The entire concept behind ESI is that with enough people engaged in ESI a sort of flow or creative energy occurs that creates both a greater good and a rewarded self interest. I often say that we make our own reality and that goes for groups as well as individuals.

But I don’t know if this is a realistic view of reality, of what is actually going down on a daily basis on various trading floors and in private offices. It is hopelessly myopic, naïve and even disingenuous to think that everyone at Goldman Sachs and other Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks are practicing USI and everyone else is following the path to ESI. Do I really believe that greed only exists at TBTF banks and that everyone else is in the clear?

If I am going to conduct myself in a manner that fulfills the tenants of ESI, a whole host of questions need to be asked and answered. How many individuals must honestly and consistently participate in Enlightened Self Interest in order for it to be effective or quantifiable? Are the effects of USI offset on a one to one basis by those of ESI? If 80% of the industry participates in ESI and the other 20% do not (and the 20% are responsible for 80% of the sales/profit assuming the 80/20 rule is alive and well) does it matter? Meaning should ESI be measured by production, profits or participation?

I am being completely serious here. If I am going to follow an ethical standard which in effect declares my intentions good and my character moral and I do this as justification for participating in a corrupt and conflicted economic system, shouldn’t I be ready and able to prove that I am ‘better’ than the Unenlightened? Ostensibly there is no burden of proof needed to be greedy since the act alone is the epitome of self interest that just so happens to be declared Unenlightened principally by those who declare themselves Enlightened.

To be quite frank I don’t think the so called Unenlightened give a fig about what other people think about them unless it affects their bottom line. And the bottom line is their self interest. So how exactly does one ‘act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong)’ and how does it ultimately serve their own self interest if they do so? On the surface it seems this is a matter of faith that it will all work out or that Karma will reward those who are putting their own self interest second or third in priority.

 

Bankers' Bottom Line

 

I could argue that the term Enlightened Self Interest is simply a marketing ploy similar to ‘new and improved’ that is stamped on the forehead of the same ole same old to provide cover for blatant self enrichment. Where is my Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that certifies that I am grade ‘A’ ethically upstanding and Enlightened? Does that stamp come from passing my latest compliance field exams?

I do not think it is a stretch to assume that most, if not all, the boys and girls at Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan also pass their compliance reviews. So what makes me any better than them? What makes them worse than me? Is it that they make more money than I or that they have a sweeter deal than I can get? Or just that they are more blood money thirsty and can live with the consequences to boot?

Finally I would like to point out a contradiction in the following point of view that I mentioned in the first chapter. Sometimes I will hear a fellow trader/advisor talk about his/her adherence to Enlightened Self Interest while also proclaiming that he or she has to make a living. Well, which one is it? Am I saying that because I need to make a living I will continue to participate in the corrupt system, but since I’m ethical in my actions I will call it ESI? Why not just say that I am ethical? I seem to be inflating my ego by conflating my ‘need to earn a living’ protestations with slaving away for the greater good, which by-the-way feeds me.

One can ‘make a living’ doing many different things. But what about a ‘very good living’, as in lots of money and toys and....well, you get the idea? Did I enter the financial field because I wished to make a boat load of money, then discovered the greed and corruption and decided to practice ESI? Or was ESI something I simply adopted when some pesky ethical issues began nagging at my brain, but I didn’t want to give up the good life? I don’t pretend to believe that my actions are pure as driven snow, so why do I need to dress up my profession in such a manner?

Quite frankly it stinks and always has. And while those in the financial ‘industry’ can rightfully claim that hypocrisy is alive and well throughout corporate America, that absolutely correct observation doesn’t justify their hypocrisy nor does it justify all of ours, it just rationalizes it as business as usual for all. The business of America, regardless of what it once was, is corruption; greed, self dealing and self interest run amok. And ‘we’ allow it because we believe, perceive or have been assured that we benefit from it as well.

 

04-21-2014

Cognitive Dissonance

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Wed, 04/23/2014 - 22:30 | 4689066 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

A short video poking taking cognitive dissonance over the top.

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/humor/aussie-humor-if-you-can...

Australians for Coal Spot Ad

"It Assures Solid Returns to Our Shareholders, While Killing their Grandchildren."

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 00:49 | 4693957 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

Thats some funny right there. Thanks man.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 09:15 | 4682241 honestann
honestann's picture

So many ideas and issues to untangle.

This won't be easy, or completely satisfying, but...

Humans are thoroughly insane (and confused, and intellectually uncomfortable) primarily for two fundamental reasons.  First, their "cogs" (mental-units) are a complete mess.  Second, they have no idea how their cogs must relate-to and connect-with each other to be the basis for valid and effective thought processes.  So it should be no surprise that humans are so utterly and completely screwed up intellectually, that endless ways to identify and describe bits and pieces of the problem exist, but none seem very helpful.  In this reply, I'll try to point out a few aspects of these problems with the understanding that even a long reply is grossly insufficient (but might help someone at just the right point in their own intellectual discovery process).

Perhaps the biggest problem is this.  Most cogs (the "content of cognition/consciousness") that influence humans the most are... utterly bogus.  This is not an exaggeration.  The single most important element in a human cog is its "reality status".  The whole point and purpose of any cog is to "mean something", which has exactly the same meaning as "refer-to something".  At the simplest possible level, "reality status" simply distinguishes between "real" versus "fiction"... which is the same as "exists" versus "nonexistent"... which is the same as "is" versus "is not".

This is easy enough to understand when applied to obvious cases.

Virtually every human understands their "Mars" cog means and refers-to a planet that "is" (versus "is not"); a planet that "exists" (versus "does not exist"); a planet that is "real" (versus "fiction").

And virtually every human understands their "Pandora" cog means and refers-to a planet that "is not"; a planet that "does not exist"; a planet that is "fiction".  That is, assuming they have such a cog, which they do if they watched the recent movie titled "Avatar".

From this example we can see that almost all humans do have a "reality status" attached to at least some of their cogs.  The problem is, most humans have no [explicit] "reality status" attached to most of their cogs... especially those cogs we might categorize as "concepts" or "abstractions".

Let's consider a few examples, just to be clear.

cog = "Mars" : percept : reality-status == "real" : existent category == "physical object"
cog = "Pandora" : percept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "physical object"

These are examples of what might be called the simplest cogs.  These cogs mean and refer-to specific individual physical objects.  One of these cogs means and refers-to a specific planet that does in fact exist, and that any of us can personally observe with our naked eyes in the night sky without additional optical aid.  The other cog means and refers-to a specific individual planet that does not exist, but is part of a fictional story, and "visualized" (displayed for humans to observe) via 3D computer graphics.

cog = "planet" : concept : reality-status == "real" : existent category == "physical object"
cog = "star" : concept : reality-status == "real" : existent category == "physical object"
cog = "black hole" : concept : reality-status == "uncertain" : existent category == "physical objects"
cog = "wormhole" : concept : reality-status == "unlikely" : existent category == "physical object"
cog = "parallel universe" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "physical objects"

The first thing to notice about these cogs is... they are all "concepts".  The first very strange fact to notice is... all concepts are actually... sorta... fictions.  That's right, "tree" is a fiction.  And "dog" is a fiction.  And "planet" is a fiction.  And "human" is a fiction.  And in fact all other concepts are fictions.  This claim seems extremely strange, if not absurd!  For example, how can "human" be a fiction?  We all know "humans exist", right?  Well, yes indeed we do.  But what exists is not "human".  What exists is <insert list of 7.5 billion cog identifiers here>.  One of those cogs means and refers-to "Ron Paul", the politician.  Another of those cogs means and refers-to "Paul Simon", the singer.  And so forth.  And in that list of 7.5 billion cogs we may also find "Tyler Durden"... though we will presumably find the "reality-status" of the "Tyler Durden" cog set to "fiction".

An effective way to visualize concept cogs is the following.  A concept cog is essentially a cog that functions as a "file folder".  In the cog we call "human" we store the 7.5 billion identifiers that mean and refer-to real [and fictional] individual human beings (those real, physical objects).  So the "human" cog has no reality in and of itself... because it does not mean or refer-to any individual human being (whether real or fictional).  However, this and every valid and properly configured concept cog can be extraordinarily useful in a great number of processes of consciousness... as long as we understand the nature and significance of what our consciousness grapples with, namely "existents", "existent cogs", "concept cogs"... and their differences.

- Mars == an existent
- my "Mars" cog == means and refers-to one specific real existent
- my "planet" cog == concept/abstraction that contains existent cogs

The important points to understand right now is these.  Only cogs that mean and refer-to "existents" can possibly mean or refer-to anything real, at least in the strict, direct sense.  Obviously the specific concept cog we call "planet" can contain "existent cogs" that mean and refer-to real existents (like Mars), but that same "planet" cog also contains "existent cogs" that mean and refer-to fictional existents (like Pandora).  From this fact we can see that the reality-status of a concept cog is not a trivial matter.  We can legitimately specify the reality-status of some cogs as "fiction" because the nature of reality is such that no existent can possibly satisfy the criteria required to be included in the concept.  But on the flip side, we have to be very clear what we mean if we are to call a concept "real" (instead of "fiction"), because obviously some (or perhaps all) of the existents in the concept might be fiction.

For those with a philosophical bent, this issue is essentially the "Platonic ideal" issue.  Plato was completely and fundamentally wrong, and sorta had it all backwards.  Plato claimed (it seems) that what actually exists is "tree" (the concept, the abstraction), and all the real individual trees were somehow less real and/or fundamental --- they were basically instances of his more-real, more-fundamental "tree".  This is completely wrong, and in fact impossible (and rather easy to demonstrate as such).

----

Those 5 cogs a ways above (star, planet, wormhole, black hole, parallel universe) represent cogs in some individual human consciousness.  It doesn't matter whether we agree with the exact "reality-status" this individual has attached to these specific cogs.  We only need to note that the reality-status of a cog can have several possible values.  We must also understand that any healthy consciousness considers the reality-status (and other) components of every cog to be provisional, and therefore subject to update as we perform more observations, more reflection and more thought.  A more thoughtful consciousness would separate "reality-status" into two elements, namely "reality-status" and "confidence" [of stated reality-status].  In this case, the reality-status of "wormhole" may always be "real" or "fiction" (the "best guess"), and the "confidence" will indicate how much confident the consciousness is (at the current moment) that the reality-status estimate is correct.  As a matter of fact, the "confidence" of a great many cogs is something like 99.9999999% or higher.

This is where the "fatal flaw in human consciousness" comes in.  Earth animals have been evolving for billions of years.  Before humans came to exist, the only cogs animals could form were those acquired by processes of first-hand observation.  Since animals did not have language (in the human sense), they had no way to fake each other into forming new cogs and then filling them with fake, bogus, fraudulent contents.

So earth animals evolved to form cogs (mental-units) by first-hand observation of reality.  And clearly the natural process of evolution made animals take their cogs seriously... utterly seriously in fact.  Why?  Because their mental-units corresponded with reality.  So "taking their cogs seriously" simply meant:

- treat their "cliff" cog seriously... and not fall to their death.
- treat their "tiger" cog seriously...  and not get eaten for lunch.
- treat their "water" cog seriously... and drink but do not drown.

... and endless other instances of perceiving reality, identifying reality, and responding in accordance to their previous experiences with similar objects and situations.

Because "taking their cogs seriously" was utterly crucial to their survival, all animals evolved to take their cogs seriously.  This tendency or bias is still strong today with human beings.  However, this is the fatal flaw in human consciousness.

Why is this a flaw?  Because humans have language.  Because human consciousness is controlled more and more by language... and less and less by physical reality... as time passes.  The key point is the following.

Before infants learn human language, they fill their consciousness the natural, healthy way --- by first-hand observation.  They form and populate cogs for common physical objects (human, dog, toy), physical actions (crawl, walk, run, hit) and physical conditions (hot, cold, rough, smooth, red, blue).  They form these cogs (even before other humans teach them names (words) to convey them), and squirrel away whatever sense perceptions they experience during their encounters with these existents.

However, once kids learn language, most cogs are "artificially" inserted into their consciousness by means of language --- by parents, friends, relatives... and eventually teachers and media.  And sadly, these influences spend little or no time making clear the inherent problem of forming and populating cogs via language.  In fact, in almost every case, these humans go to great effort to hide the reality-status of the cogs they cause their kids/students to form and populate.

The single most important job of a parent is to explain how to form and populate cogs, and how to establish and update their content and reality-status.  Instead, parents and friends and relatives take actual delight in purposely subverting this single most important process of intellectual development.  I can still remember experiencing this process as a young kid, and from later years seeing this done to other young kids.  You can actually see the diabolical delight in parents when the tell BS stories about Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, ghosts, monsters and endless pure, blatant nonsense.

This is worse child abuse than beating the crap out of kids.  At least kids understand a beating is a real physical action, and it freaking hurts!  I do not advocate beating up kids, but the fact is, those experiences are real, and they recover from them infinitely more easily than from forming the most fundamentally destructive mental habits that humans have ever learned to impart.  And so, parents, relatives, teachers and everyone who should care about kids... instead takes advantage of the fatal flaw in human consciousness to permanently destroy the brain of innocent kids.  How do they do this?  By convincing kids to firmly habituate the false assumption that all the cogs and all the content of the cogs they form have real referents.

In other words, kids are thoroughly trained to not be able to distinguish what is from what is not.  Kids are thoroughly trained to not be able to distinguish what exists from what does not exist.  Kids are thoroughly trained to not be able to distinguish what is real from what is fiction.

And so virtually every kid grows up to be a completely clueless adult who is insane in the most fundamental of all possible ways --- inability to distinguish what is real from what is not.

Do not underestimate the power of habit.  You may not remember, but you had one hell of a time learning to move, control and coordinate your body, leg and arm muscles in just the right ways to walk.  But now that you've habituated this process, try an experiment.  Try to disable this habituation you achieved just long enough to attempt to make your way across the room in the same manner as when you were just starting to attempt to walk.

YOU CANNOT DO THIS.

The habit is vastly too strong.  So strong, you literally cannot achieve this simpler behavior.

To varying degrees, the same is true of processes of consciousness.  Humans habituate ways of operating the nerves that are their brains (their "processes of consciousness" AKA "mental habits") in the same way they habituate ways of operating the nerves that are their brains to control their muscles to walk, talk and manipulate reality.

Somehow a tiny minority of humans [partially] defeat or modify this habituation process, and retain the ability to learn how to progress intellectually.  And perhaps others habituate these horrible habits but through some amazing and extremely rare feat of intellect, manage to identify and replace their defective intellectual habits to various degrees.

But the vast majority of human beings are utterly destroyed, because they cannot (or do not) find a way to remove or replace these intellectual habits.  And understand, every human who lives near other humans is strongly encouraged to continue to practice defective intellectual habits, and believe utter, complete, absolute, blatant nonsense... for their entire lives.  And those rare humans who take conscious control of their consciousness, and make serious efforts to repair their content of consciousness and processes of consciousness, are treated badly, shunned, and eventually are caged, killed, or... escape (or learn to operate their consciousness independently, but mostly keep their mouth shut to avoid being abused).

So, let's try to bring this conversation back to the issue at hand, namely, how to understand the issues raised in this article.  Before I can explain in detail, let's look at a few cogs in a healthy human consciousness.

cog = "government" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "unspecified nonsense"
cog = "constitution" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "unspecified nonsense"
cog = "corporation" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "unspecified nonsense"
cog = "authority" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "unspecified nonsense"
cog = "official" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "physical object"
cog = "law" : concept : reality-status == "fiction" : existent category == "unspecified nonsense"

Of course, a health consciousness contains much more content and understanding within each of these cogs.  After considerable thought, a healthy consciousness understands the most precise, general, fundamental formulation of government is something like "predators pretending to be the fiction called government in order to dominate and control producers in order to confiscate an endless stream of goods and goodies from producers and thereby live and enjoy life without the need to produce anything themselves".

Of course, that too is just at the level of "summary".  Directly and indirectly the cog contains references to specific fictional instances of "government" ("United States of America", "Germany", "California", "Clark County", "Chicago", etc) and to endless fictional individual human predators who claim to be part of the fiction known as government, and endless other observations and inferences.

In fact, the enormity of content is a huge part of the problem.

A consciousness that understands "government" is a fiction, is necessarily a fiction, and is nothing more than an intellectual illusion and fraud perpetrated by human predators to dominate and destroy producers... need not take any of the content seriously, at least not intellectually.  Such a consciousness might still grapple (a little or a lot) with whether to "pay taxes or not" or "obey this or that law or not" as a practical matter (in order to not be trashed by one of the predators or their paid thugs (who do in fact exist)), but they will not spend any time or any effort thinking about the details of government, because he clearly understands that it is all 100% flat-out blatant arbitrary fiction.

There is no "government", and therefore thinking about "government" is inherently a complete waste of time and effort, even if thinking about ways to avoid the predators and their agents may be worth some time and effort.  Such a sane individual will certainly not vote, certainly not consider candidates, certainly not sanction the non-existent government or any of the predators-DBA-government, certainly not be a republican or democrat, certainly not attempt to invent or implement some better or new form of government, or any of ten thousand other potential intellectual [and possibly physical] endeavors that only make any sense whatsoever to consciousnesses who are fundamentally insane, and cannot distinguish what is real from what is fiction.

-----

But I don't want to make this conversation about "effective consciousness" become about "government", so let's move on from that specific example that illustrated my points about consciousness.

One important point was and is... humans need to learn how to distinguish what is from what is not; what exists from what does not exist; what is real from what is fiction.  Otherwise they might as well just resign themselves to be clueless sheeple-chimp slaves, because any advance from that status requires they learn this intellectual ability.

To distinguish "real" from "fiction" is, actually, a rather involved topic.  And in certain cases the topic can get fairly complicated, and require one spend an extraordinary quantity of time, effort and careful diligence to work through.  But I'll revisit my favorite examples to give a couple hints at how this works.  In actual practice, on any "tricky case", an individual would approach the question from as many angles as possible, write down every relevant aspect of the cog they identify, and what they can observe about that aspect.  Then the individual would review everything a great many times from as many angles as possible, and attempt to identify the fundamentals that lead to clear understanding.

If this makes the effort of creating a clear, coherent consciousness overwhelming, the answer is... not really.  Once an individual has carefully and diligently worked through a few dozen cogs, and identified effective approaches, most cogs are actually trivial to classify and comprehend.  Though that formulation is actually a very bad one, for it is not the cog that an individual needs to focus his consciousness upon when he performs these processes, but the reality the cog supposedly means and refers-to.  Partly because of the way human language is formulated, but also for other reasons (habituation), the tendency is to gradually forget to focus on the existent or existents a cog means and refers-to, and instead start focusing on the cog itself, as if the mental-unit is the referent.  The consequence of that easy mistake is sure-fire confusion.

Anyway, one way to figure out a cog is to say "how does the supposed referent of this cog come to exist?".  If the cog was "government", one can only answer that question by reference to a specific instance.  So one might, for example, ask himself, "did something really pop into existence when Thomas Jefferson and his 20 or 30 co-conspirators spread ink on a piece of paper (that they called the constitution)?".  While a typical clueless human might be confused by such a simple question, someone who knows how to operate his consciousness effectively, and knows how to distinguish "real" from "fiction" and "existent" from "non-existent" has little difficultly answering this question.  They would understand that nothing real popped into existence.  No "government" was created, because NOTHING real was created.

They might notice the configuration of ink on the paper changed, but endless zillions of pieces of paper have the configuration of ink on them change, and clearly nothing real is created by this.  They might also notice that certain configurations in the brains and content of consciousness of those humans who participated in the ink smearing actions changed, and even that new cogs may have been created, one being called "these united states of america".  However, to create a new cog in the consciousness of a human happens all the time, and often they do not mean or refer-to anything real.  This is, they observe, exactly what happens when someone creates the "SantaClaus" cog in the brain of a little kid.  A new cog is created, but nothing real.  This is what we call "fiction", which means "not real".

They might also notice the whole topic is absurd and self-contradictory.  Any number of humans can spread ink on any number of pieces of paper, and what those pieces of paper say can contradict each other in endless ways.  They can't be valid, because that would be an instance of making contradictions exist in reality, which is inherently impossible.

They might further notice how absurd is the notion that 20 human beings could possibly obligate endless millions of individuals in any valid or sensible manner.  That too is obviously absurd and self-refuting, because any number of gangs of 20 individuals could obligate everyone just as easily, 100,000 times a day, every day in the past, present and future.  Which renders the entire notion inherently absurd in the extreme, and self-refuting.

And so, any sane individual would laugh and come to understand that any and every attempt to "create a nation" or "create a government" or anything along those lines is inherently absurd, because nothing is created, and the entire notion is simply endless contradictory nonsense.

But today, kids are purposely trained to be incapable of recognizing the difference between fiction and reality.  And in fact, they are rewarded for pretending fictions are real (presents under the xmas tree, money under the pillow, good grades for lying on tests, not spanked), and punished for expressing any doubts or objections.  So after kids hear 100 times how "the founding fathers created their nation", they never even wonder whether "government" is something real (or even COULD POSSIBLY BE something real), and never even question any of the 10,000 additional related fictions created and shoved into their consciousness via language are real, or have any significance at all.

Which means, if any of them ever start to question any of these ideas, they find themselves tangled up in a huge, chaotic web of vague, confused nonsense.  At which point they probably realize the effort required to untangle the mess would consume the rest of their lives... if they were lucky.

-----

It is almost impossible to describe how completely insane and tangled is the current state of consciousness in the average human being.  Let's just throw one of the endless confusions up in the air to illustrate how trivial understanding can be... when you eject all fictions out of consciousness, and just deal with reality.  The following is the clear, reality-based understanding of perhaps 1000 bogus concepts including "money", "currency" and so forth.

Someone has something you want.  You have something they want.  You trade.  The end.

That's the reality, stripped of fictions.  And that is the important point --- no fictions.  You did not give someone pieces of paper with numbers and fancy images.  They did not give you pieces of paper with numbers and fancy images.  You did not promise anything.  They did not promise anything.  There is nobody else involved except you and them.  The activity is completed, and does not continue into the future.

Compare this to any of the 50,000,000 combinations and permutations of "theories" that arise from trying to describe this simple interaction between human beings in terms of the endless fictions human predators created.  They insert "paper".  They insert "promises".  They insert "debts".  They insert "notes".  They insert "faith".  They insert "trust".  They insert "governments".  They insert "banks".  They insert "federal reserve" (whatever that is).  They insert "serial numbers".  They insert "dollars" --- what are they?  They insert dates --- for what purpose?  They insert pyramids and faces and numbers --- for what purpose?  And on and on and on it goes.

But that's not all!  Not even close.  If one even attempts to trace the fictions forward in time, one starts to wonder.  Why the hell would anyone take a piece of paper for something valuable?  What?  Because someone will give them something valuable for that paper?  Why?  Because they'll go to jail if they don't?  Really?  Who will do that?  Why?  And how does anyone know what the other human in the transaction will get something of sufficient value to compensate them for the goods they handed over?  And if there is a "debt" involved, who owes who, who owes what, what are they (those things that are owed).  And how can a "debt" be "payment" --- that makes no sense at all?  And who can create more of these pieces of paper?  And... how can I get into that racket? !!!!!  And so forth ad infinitum.

This is, of course, why people not enamored with fictions prefer to trade goods for goods, and not get involved in ANY freaking fictions whatsoever.

Give me that and I'll give you this.  Deal?  Deal.  Thanks.  Goodbye.  Done.

If one of the goods is gold or silver or bananas... fine.  Doesn't matter as long as we agree.  But no matter how you look at it, we are trading something real with real value for something real with real value.  And once we hand each other the goods... we're DONE.

But, of course, predators love fictions.  You give them something valuable, and they give you... what?  A piece of paper.  A promise.  Or some lame excuse for taking your goods and leaving you screwed.

-----

Go back and re-read the article.  And every time you encounter a fiction, simply substitute WARNING,FRAUD,FICTION,BULLSHIT.  Not that the author is trying to feed you nonsense, but he has no choice.  An author who takes these concepts seriously cannot help but confuse, cannot help but increase "cognitive dissonance" so to speak, because the conversation is a tangled mess of reality and fiction, sense and nonsense.  Here is a partial list of fictions:

responsibility
government
entitlement
constitution
corporation
martial law
egalitarian
collective
markets
currency
masters
pension
political
society
politics
nation
citizen
dollar
rights
labor
state
elite
law

-----

Now I'll just point out a few random formulations from the article that are incoherent for one reason or other (problems of bogus or [inherently] unclear content).  Some of these will definitely sound picky, but they are not.  Like the first one below, which sounds incredibly picky on the surface, once you accept these fictions and characterization errors, you are finished... you are prey, you are doomed, you are finished.

-----

To call the predators-that-be "masters" or "elite" is disingenuous and misleading.  They are not our masters and they are not elite (though frankly I'm hard pressed to even imagine what a legitimate meaning for "elite" might be).  The fact is, all humans are simply animals.  Those so-called "masters" and "elites" live by eating the same food, die when a bullet passes through their brains, communicates via language, and otherwise has the same general physical characteristics and abilities that everyone else does.  If you consider the characterization of "master" or "elite" to have any significance whatsoever (other than them being predators), you are prey, doomed, finished.  Just give up.

-----

Humans are just animals.  They are born and die.  They drink, eat, sleep and reproduce.  There is NO important difference between humans and animals... except humans are flaming MORONS.  And they are flaming morons primarily due to the fatal flaw in human consciousness described above, which means "accepting what other humans say via language, and taking it seriously, as if the language accurately portrayed reality".  One way to "throw off most BS" is to look at how animals behave and do not accept any claims that humans must behave different without very convincing proof.  For example, observe that birds fly across fictional borders between fictional nations.  Even if you ignore the fact that borders and nations are fictions (which you shouldn't), notice that other animals wander anywhere they want on the planet, and from that realize any claim that humans can't do the same is obvious disingenuous BS.  Since when does "more capable" == "less capable"?

-----

Note the phrase "the constitution can be revoked at any time".  This phrase is such an enormous pile of steaming nonsense that a clear, coherent mind boggles.  Let me count some of the ways.  The first observation is... the constitution is just a piece of paper.  What can it possibly mean to be "revoked"?  Does that mean "set it on fire", or what?  Notice the most fundamental (and most absurd) premise of that phrase --- that 20 people smearing ink on a piece of paper 240 years ago has (or even could have) any legitimate bearing or obligation or influence upon you or anyone else today.  I mean, seriously!  How clear can it possibly be that NO ACTION that could possibly be taken by 20 human beings 240 years ago could possibly have any significance to me or anyone else today.  This is so blatantly obvious that... to even write a sentence that implies otherwise is... light years beyond insane.  How do we explain this?  The answer is above.  Humans are insane.  The vast majority of even the smartest humans (and CD qualifies as such) are insane, and we can all see this.  What's worse, CD himself understands this (I am convinced), but [presumably] cannot figure out how to write an article that will be useful to his audience that does not presume and support endless utterly bogus false premises and assumptions that most humans are comfortable assuming.

-----

Note the term "equally enforced laws".  Is this supposed to be "good" or "desirable"?  Note what a "law" is --- slavery, or a promise to destroy you if you do not comply with a demand made by some self-important, fiction-wielding predator.  Well, obviously the topic should be "to hell with laws... I don't accept fictions as being real or relevant to my life, and will kill anyone trying to force me from living my life the way I see fit".  I won't even get into the inherently silliness of what would constitute "equally" or "enforce"... just the fact that "laws" are utterly bogus fictions is sufficient to dispense with all related topics once and forever.

-----

About the discussion of being "working slaves" or "free range slaves"... we need to be very careful here.  I suspect most of us, CD and I included, would love to see every human being on the planet live a rich, creative, dynamic life.  However, if we are sane, and honest, we must allow morons who care so little about their own life that they'd rather perform endless boring, thoughtless motions in exchange for some lame pay check... to live that kind of life.  Yes, that's revolting... revolting as hell.  And in a world where the predators did not overwhelmingly control and dominate mankind, I suspect rather few individuals would choose to be zombie drone moron sheeple-chimps like that.  But a few would, and we must grant them the right.  Why do I say this?  Because the important point is not that some people live like pointless zombie drones!  The important point is that those of us who do NOT want to live that kind of life are not endlessly harmed for living a rich, free, creative, dynamic life.  WHO CARES ABOUT DIMWITS.  Forget them.

-----

This gets to another important issue that applies to this article and many others.  Who is "we".  For example, this article contains the following:

The elite mob knows that ultimately this is a war and they are prepared to go to the mattresses. Are we?

Any practical answer to this question depends enormously upon who is this "we".  Is this "we" supposed to be "the majority"?  Is this "we" supposed to be "the majority of voters" (and thus presume "we" are working within the system)?  Is this "we" some hyper-elite intelligentsia that out-propagandizes the expert propagandists?  Is this "we" some highly trained military-like strike force to "take over some large government"?  Is this "we" some small group who finds ways to "escape the system" and live somewhere "out of sight, out of mind" in the extreme boonies somewhere?  Is this "we" some small group that develops a breakthrough technology that allows us to become independent and defend ourselves?  Is this "we" some small group that develops technology to leave earth and live in outer space, independent of the predators who dominate planet earth?  What?  Because nobody can take any real actions unless... they know what they're trying to achieve!

-----

Many places in the article the presumption is... we are stuck in the system, and cannot to any significant extent help but sanction the system, support the system, pay the system, and so forth.  This is not true.  The number of ways we can avoid the common mechanisms establish to capture average folks... can be avoided or escaped, sometimes simply by doing "normal things" in unconventional ways.  We do not "ultimately rely on the elites to slice, dice and distribute the pie".  Hell, any individual can organize their life to avoid contributing to the elites in the first place, and damn well should never assume they will ever get any tiny crumb from any pie controlled by the elites (and should never ask for any).

-----

I don't want to spend much time on the gross and erroneous characterization of the native americans.  To do so falls right into the hands of the predators-that-be, and justifies their actions.  The fact is, the native americans were more enlightened about "land" in that they did not believe "land can be owned" or "land can be property".  To the extent their beliefs were consistent (they were fairly but not entirely consistent on this issue), their notions about land was one of "stewardship".  In other words, nobody owns the land, but if someone is actively living-on and working a certain piece of land, nobody should attempt to push them away or steal their stuff (including plants and animals).  The LIES perpetrated by the predators-that-be and their apologist historians are transparent as can be --- and precisely identical to the old joke about selling the Brooklyn Bridge.  It goes like this.  Some representative of "the crown" or "government" offers some random imbecile a couple gold coins to sign a piece of paper (they can't even read).  That piece of paper "sells" some huge swath of land that the imbecile does not own, and in fact is not owned at all because land is not owned by native americans (and ditto in NZ and many other places).  That piece of paper is then the justification for claiming "the crown or government owns the land".  The entire construct is an absolute SCAM JOB, a total SET UP, a complete FICTION and FRAUD.  This fraud has been executed thousands of times, all around the world, and in every single case, is pure fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy and sith mind-trick cover for predatory confiscation.

-----

CD is right about one thing.  What is broken is... 99.9999% of human beings, plus or minus one in a million.  But the first step in any solution is... get real.  Which cannot be done without a compete and thorough wipe of ALL fictions polluting the content of consciousness of each individual, followed by careful consideration of the reality-status of every remaining cog.  The good news is... this isn't very difficult.  What is difficult for most humans is... the enormous simplification of their consciousness they must accept.  They've been trained to believe only experts are competent to understand or judge reality.  When humans see how simple reality is (the parts they need to deal with, anyway), they have no excuse to let others make decisions for them... or to shift the consequences of their actions onto others.

-----

But, CD, neither you nor I nor the rest of the enlightened intelligentsia will be able to beg or knock sense into more than 0.0001% of the population of this planet.  You can lead horses to water, but you can't make them drink.  You can lead humans to reality, but you can't make them think.  And only a vanishing few are willing.

So anyone with any realistic hope for improvement must concoct a way forward that works with only a tiny percentage of humans on the side of reality and sanity.  This is a huge problem for most authors especially.  By implication, their words and ideas are for as many humans as possible.  And for some reason, the tendency for authors is the same as predators... to corral some huge number of people into the same pen (whether physical, financial, behavioral or intellectual).  That.  Will.  Not.  Work.

So the challenge for CD and others is to identify approaches that work for infinitesimal percentages of the population.  Because that's the only hope.

On this topic... so-called "black and white boundaries" work just fine --- if you do not presume to design a structure to apply to everyone.  This is another reason tiny efforts are the only viable solutions.  Every POSSIBLE large solution must be grey and massively defective in order to entice huge numbers of participants.  This is part of the reason why the current system (and all efforts at "global solutions") are inherently HORRIFIC.

So abandon large scale solutions, because you must in fact become a bigger, badder predator to make them happen... or keep them alive once you make them happen.

Note that "consequences shifting" becomes near impossible in tiny implementations, because everyone can see everything, and everyone is aware what are the causes and what are the effects and consequences, and who takes the actions that are the causes, and who enjoys/bares/suffers the effects and consequences of those actions and causes.  In any huge system the opportunity for enormous, pervasive "consequences shifting" is endless.  In small systems, people are responsible because... they cannot avoid the consequences of their action.  You might be surprised how benevolent "self-interest" is... when everyone enjoys/bares/suffers ALL the consequences of their own actions, and enjoys/bares/suffers NONE of the consequences of actions taken by others.

Put another way, "greed is good" as long as the individual who is greedy needs to be just as productive as his greed demands.  If he wants an astronomically huge pile of goods and goodies, he must produce an astronomically huge pile of goods and goodies.  Simple as that.  And that doesn't hurt anyone.  However, in a world where everyone can take advantage of the enormity of the system to shift consequences into the fuzzy void where nobody can see who must bear those consequences... well... the consequences of greed can be very, very bad.  The problem isn't "wanting alot".  The problem is "consequences shifting".  And so, the best way to avoid consequences shifting (all the problems) is... keep you system and endeavors as tiny as possible.  Generally the best size is the minimum size that can achieve and support the specified goals.  If the specified goals are simply "a rich, happy, comfortable life", then the system can be extremely small... anywhere from 1 human being to a few dozen.

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The fatal flaw in human consciousness that I described above, plus the various forms of bad "content of consciousness", plus the various bad "processes of consciousness" are extreme "cognitive dissonance".  The way human consciousness is habituated, "cognitive dissonance" is the least of people's worries.  The blatant, pervasive, fundamental insanity is much worse.  But the solutions come together... fix the "content of consciousness" and fix "processes of consciousness" (including those that create, update and detail the content).

What I'm trying to say is... this "cognitive dissonance" can't be fixed alone, and isn't the target to be focused upon.  Basic sanity is much more important, and is also the majority of the problem.  To be able to distinguish what is real and what is fiction is probably more than half the problem.  The rest requires some work, but isn't so difficult when the basic operation of consciousness has been repaired.

One tip.  The approach of psychology is all wrong.  It can't work, and I'll tell you why.  The approach of psychology (to somewhat oversimplify, but make the point) is to tell people what they're doing wrong with their consciousness.  The problem is, they have no freaking idea what to do right.  Since humans are doing almost nothing right with their consciousness now, to remove everything they're doing wrong simply renders them unconscious.  I suppose that might be one way to start, but STILL leaves the original problem.  If they start out all over again, and everyone tells them to install all the same defective processes of consciousness and content of consciousness that drove them insane in the first place, they'll end up just as insane as the first time.  What humans need to know is... how to correctly operate their consciousness, and how to correctly create and document their new content.

-----

One final observation.  The term "self-interest" should be so non-controversial that the term should never arise in the first place.  I mean, seriously!  All "self-interest" means is "well being" or "health".  An instance of NON-self-interest would be... placing your hand in a fire, and just leaving it there.  It is definitely NOT in your self-interest to hold your hand in fire... but who in their right mind could object to someone being interested in the health and well being their own hand, and therefore removing it as fast as possible.

I mean, holy smokes.  A human is a holistic being.  Our senses experience what is happening to our own body.  We feel pain when our own body is abused.  The notion we should not have "self interest" is so completely wacko... I almost can't believe any human being is so confused as to be bothered by the notion of "self-interest".  I mean, anyone who is not practicing continuous self-interest, from the time they are an infant to the time they are an old fart, will walk over the edge of cliffs, will walk in front of speeding cars, will drink drain cleaner, will take endless actions that destroy them.

I'm not sure where people are going with this "war on self-interest", but the entire notion is clinically insane.  If they are only trying to point out that paying attention to the interests of others is also relevant, well, that's quite fine and appropriate.  But the best way to convey that observation is probably by reference to the self-interest other humans naturally have and practice, not by trying to pretend everyone should be interested in everyone EXCEPT self.  That's just crazy talk, and an incredibly twisted way to approach any rational topic that has anything to do with human beings and their behavior.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:05 | 4683426 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

Let me share an observation.

 Among the best techs being wrong is not an issue. They dont care emotionaly. Its not about ego is about finding solutions. They as a general rule are very focused  on the actual issue. Whereas many folks are trapped by thier petty need of thier self image or how they believe they would like to be thought of.

 All the best techs know they are also big assholes. It comes with the job.

 The important issue is not if im an a hole. Am I correct?

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:18 | 4682481 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

LOL

Too freaking funny.

My piece was 4,296 words long. Your comment was 7,147 words long. In other words....you used many more words to comment about my words than I used words to create my admittedly very wordy piece.

Two thumbs up for you sister.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 01:00 | 4685526 honestann
honestann's picture

Actually, I wasn't directly commenting on your article for the most part.  But you know that.  I was trying to show how "you're basically right, but people can't solve the problems you mention without going a LOT deeper into the problem".  As I said late in my reply, it is impossible to avoid cognitive dissonance (and confusion and endless other intellectual problems) until they perform a complete reset on their consciousness (content and processes).

My frustration is, I see many very smart people like you and RM and others who identify aspects of the problem, but you attempt to help at a level at which almost nobody can be helped.  If humans continue to treat tens of thousands of utterly bogus fictional mental-units as if they mean and refer-to something real... they cannot identify, much less comprehend, much less solve the issues you and I and others raise.  They can't.  Either humans get to the fundamental core of the problem (which I try to point out in my lame and perhaps ineffective stream-of-consciousness ways), or they have no chance (and all the efforts of smart folks like you and me are entirely wasted).

We're on the same side.  We just don't know how to solve the problems.  Well, perhaps I know how to solve the problems for a few dozen people, but neither of us have figured out how to solve the problems in a more widespread way.  What I do know, and try to express from time to time here in ZH, is exactly why none of us can make much progress.  The above is an attempt to explain why, and what must be the precursor to any widespread success we might ever hope for.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 02:36 | 4685639 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

The solutions are out there. Most of them are simple too. No need to over complicate this stuff.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 07:23 | 4682015 highwaytoserfdom
highwaytoserfdom's picture

Best explantion of (debt valuation adjustment – DVA), and that of its counterparty (credit valuation adjustment – CVA) weapons of mass destruction...  comforting lies  pretty good..  moral hazard of ususy...........      Goebbles,Bernays,Propaganda (comfortng lies)  Dangerious thought next thing you might rant about Abe Lincoln being buddy buddy wit Karl Marks.....  Question colectivist in information age?  Watch it.  Government ownes us just ask Harry Reid.. 

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 03:22 | 4681883 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Those suffering from Unenlightened Self Interest will only stop with a knife at their throats, a gun to their head, or a noose around their neck.

I tire of the "we are all to blame" meme.  There are far too many decent people living moral and ethical lives who try to vote and work within the system to improve things but they are trampled by the greedy.

Unless there is shame for selfishness and reward for hard work and the law respecting personal liberty and property rights the entire system devolves into "go along to get along" and the good are punished while the wicked are rewarded.

Until the wicked are punished with the price of their lives and the law restored all bets are off.

Being a decent person and living Enlightened Self Interest is a reward unto itself.

It by itself will not fix the rot at the core of our society.

The herd needs to be culled, the tree pruned of rot.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 01:36 | 4681823 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Bravo Cog..well written. Thoughtful and spot on in too many points to reference here.

One passage caught my eye;

"I find it supremely ironic that ‘We the People’ have become modern day North American Indians and are taking fiat beads in exchange for our valuable land and labor...."

True. However, many are not fooled - lots among this site - myself among them.

I have a back up plan, and those asinine worthless Fed bucks can by a LOT of hard assets - and the sooner the conversion (as the far-sighted smart know) - the better.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 00:15 | 4681750 teslaberry
teslaberry's picture

there's 33 asses in that picture. my favorite the one of the woman holding her arms behind her back. great ass. 

thanks cog :) 

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 01:39 | 4681824 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Nice catch! Indeed. I concur.

I now have it as my wallpaper on my dedicated porn computer

The ones far down on the right are also Prime (c;

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 23:53 | 4681698 blindman
blindman's picture

and now, something completely different:
the term "self". you know what i'm going to say,
should i bother?
who knows the self and its interests?
as has been linked and discussed by others
before, the working concept of the self that
many people, maybe nearly all people, share
is exactly not the self but the illusion of
an impossibility that tends to destroy
the self. to steal a phrase,
"a ripple in still water where there
is no pebble tossed or wind to blow", dreaming
its own creation and destruction as something
other than water.
or not? so this term self seems a term that
will not tolerate less than a thorough examination
and tends to bump up against other words used to
modify or contain it, causing many a conflict
and linguistic and psychological confusion.
.
i guess it is mainly a language
thing where the materialistic method has confined
this particular noun, neutering it in the process?
i don't go for that capital letter variation as
if the size of the letters changes the word or
its legal meaning. hooey.
.
i have tried my hand at beating up, loving and
forgiving the self but the sucker just laughs
at me, constantly laughing at my seeming infinite
ignorance. that reminds me of ......
"signed, just married."
Dear Abby - John Prine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qbOfnbeH84
.
yea, like was posted, you are what you eat
and you eat what you are.
does anyone remember the first time, as a child,
when you heard the phrase "eat your heart out"?
that was rough.
i guess this goes here?
Kawasaki mastering the English language
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm9bEizIGBE&sns=em
.
the world of baseball loves this guy like they love
the bambino, well, maybe not that much, and i get it.
anyway, always a pleasure and a privilege .....

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 23:44 | 4681681 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

 We have an opertunity right now. Peoples blinders are coming off. For some they removed by a layoff. Others its been torn off by crushing debt. All that matters is the blinders are off. Three years ago most were stuck in the left/right frame of mind. Now only a few are in that place by choice.

 We just get a good chance to show folks the truth as best we can and let them pick thier own path. Stick with the truth it is very compelling. We can control this. The insentive to believe the BS is not there. The carrot has been eaten. All they are left with is the stick.

 That said. The truth is the sharpest tool that can be. It never gets dull. It does not need a coat of paint.

 We should all just start calling out the BS. It is that simple. People are searching for the truth. Give it too them in big heaping servings.

 We can do the devide and conqure thing also. We should split it along lines that actually work. The honest with themselves and those that are not. Here is the trick. Honor the honest. Praise the honest even if they are wrong. If they are wrong and honest with themselves all we need do is correct them. This makes them stronger. By making them stronger we all become stronger.

 One more thing. The only ones we need to convince are the productive. They are the only ones that ever matter. For they are the ones that do everything.

 

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:49 | 4681430 Dutch
Dutch's picture

I got into the "business" back in the '80s, when one could truly help the client make some good money, in exchange for a little "vig" for the house. Oh how that has changed! Now it is a daily battle to make a little here and there for the client, and for yourself, and there isn't much to go around for anyone. Meanwhile, the firms have gone so completely into CYA mode, there is no room to do any real work for anyone, other than to push the house menu. They also don't even pretend that the fee structure is there for any benefit to the client. That mask fell away a couple of years ago, and it is all about feeding the quarterly EPS monster now, and no one even pretends otherwise.

From the client's perspective, there are many who just want the statement to go up some each month, just as it ever was. But a few understand that they, too, are along on a journey into uncharted waters. I am honored that they are along for the ride, and trust me. They are the ones I truly go to work for, every morning. I don't know where we will end up, but it should be quite a trip.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:27 | 4681387 besnook
besnook's picture

be good, do good, think good. goodness comes out of it. as a human you are free to create your own delusion as it is your compulsion to do so. you may as well get creative with it. you will pay for it, though, good deeds, squeakky wheels and nails sticking up and all that.

trading the market is aethical. it has no reference to ethics. there is no good or bad. total zen. it is.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:11 | 4681229 Reaper
Reaper's picture

Who or what god defined good,evil, enlightened self interest, or unenlightened self-interest? The rights in the Constitution are meaningless, if the courts ignore them. Honest Abe's Used Cars uses the same Modus Operandi as our courts, government and corporations. They exploit the refused-to-be-acknowledged-doubt of most people in their intellect compared to their presumed superiors. The sheeple crave a moral system, intelligent well-meaning leaders and a favorable outcome for themselves. These cravings override their intelligent restraint.

Cog, only goes back two thousand years, when three thousand years ago, the prophet Samuel warned the free Israelites of the fallacy of wanting a king. There is no benevolent government, nor king, nor Central Committee, nor politician, nor theocrat, nor financial institution, nor corporation which is not corrupted by the trust placed with them.

What the sheeple need is a modern Cincinnatus, the Roman who lead against the enemy and then returned to his farm rejecting power. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus Of, course this may be only a Roman myth. Must we hope that homo sapien species will in our generations have produced such a unique leader for the oppressed against our corrupt elite? The common sheeple lack or fear thinking and crave someone to think for and direct them.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:25 | 4681124 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Didn't want to junk up the top of the thread in case others went in a different direction but...to my way of thinking, it really is (as you say) the public education system and there is very little one can do in "enlightening" certain age brackets because of what they were taught "as real" when young.

They have to suffer the pain/angst (when older) in order for them to discover truth. The "why does this keep happening to me/us" moment generally happens around 30-40yrs old.

Personally, I don't know how to reach them besides destroying the current public education system.

Not sure if you're familar with John Taylor Gatto's work but when you get a chance, start here...

http://johntaylorgatto.com/historytour/history1.htm

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:31 | 4681275 Reaper
Reaper's picture

The government schools adopted the Jesuit, "Give me the child for seven years and I'll give you the man." https://merovee.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/give-me-the-child-for-seven-years/ But, how many remain devout after that Jesuit educational indoctrination? You reach them by destroying piecemeal, their sacred taught beliefs. What the government taught was lies. Doubt can multiply until the beliefs are shattered. How many here at ZH, have not abandoned their prior beliefs after engaging their brains in real thought? Has not Cog changed?

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:37 | 4681409 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Well, it should be enough that no graven images are to be put before Him.

Not being a Catholic, I'll defer but I don't pray to His mother ;-)

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 22:38 | 4681544 Reaper
Reaper's picture

The link was about government schools replacing the Jesuit God with the State as god and expecting the same indoctrination. Since they fail indoctrinating adults, they chose to indoctrinate the empty minds of children.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 06:29 | 4681951 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Plus one, I didn't open it.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:20 | 4681250 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

John Taylor Gatto was/is deliberately marginalized because he speaks out against the present day education system after winning awards within the system. How dare he? The balls on this man. :)

He is extremely dangerous because he speaks understandable and logical truth that anyone can understand....even those with a public education such as myself. :)

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:19 | 4681367 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Even those with a "liberal education" like ourselves, we sometimes have to re-educate, others ;-)

Keep in mind the context of the times as you read this, eugenics is (at the time) "settled science", the US is striving to industrialize and of course, his audience:

"Let us go back and distinguish between the two things that we want to do; for we want to do two things in modern society. We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."

Now stop right there. Let that sink in, as your "average high school teacher" of the time might.

Continuing...

"You cannot train them for both in the time that you have at your disposal."

Sounds like an edict, a constraint. For "society" and the nation itself, is a much larger thing to be protected and nourished, than the individual being educated you see. Its not for them (the individual) only tangentially so.

"They must make a selection, and you must make a selection. I do not mean to say that in the manual training there must not be an element of liberal training; neither am I hostile to the idea that in the liberal education there should be an element of the manual training. But what I am intent upon is that we should not confuse ourselves with regard to what we are trying to make of the pupils under our instruction. We are either trying to make liberally-educated persons out of them, or we are trying to make skillful servants of society along mechanical lines, or else we do not know what we are trying to do." - President Woodrow Wilson

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Meaning_of_a_Liberal_Education

I hate this fucker almost as much as Mao and Hitler...but its a close call ;-)

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 17:40 | 4680874 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

Thanks for the read. We all individually go through our own rationalization process ... or maybe we do not. And, I suppose that may be why we like to attribute things to a higher power.

Personally, I am trying to figure out whether we are all inside some type of computer, playing a very sophisticated game for entertainment and which is a cross between Age of Empires and Farmville (are PCs or NPCs and whether it matters) OR whether the universe is finite and our existence is for some greater or educational process... and maybe both are true. IMO, how we perceive our existence has much to do with our outlook on life... and how we perceive the moral question.

Several years ago I made a conscious decision to choose a role and belief system and focus on achieving satisfaction from my work and life and not on the consequences of it (fiats or whatever)... as long as I am consistent in my role and beliefs. I guess I play right into the hands of those who want to take advantage of me, eh? Am I happier or are they?

There is more to the thought process, but this is your blog, not mine ... cheers.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 18:30 | 4681013 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Actually your story sounds interesting. If you are interested in trying to put it all down in an article consider submitting it to my 'other' blog for publication. There are some rules so please click, read and then consider.

You do not need to be a premium member of my website in order to submit an article for publication or to read others who have had their work published. It needs to be more than a few paragraphs and less than a book. Who knows, it could be Your Turn To Publish. :)

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 17:34 | 4680856 kurt
kurt's picture

Help I have an unreadable hairball in my cloaca!

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:17 | 4681241 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

LOL

I can go in via your bum and remove it for you. But I'll have to charge extra because of the stinky working conditions. :)

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 17:20 | 4680811 Ariadne
Ariadne's picture

A leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends. - Ayn Rand

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:16 | 4680777 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

FOR SURE:

‘We the People’ have become modern day North American Indians and are taking fiat beads in exchange for our valuable land and labor.

History is rhyming in the following ways: the "drug wars" were lies that enabled almost anyone to be treated like niggers were treated. The "war on terror" were lies that are enabling almost anyone to be treated like natives were. The "war on terror" was the result of the criminally insane ruling classes making excuses for themselves to engage in more genocidal wars, along with preparing their path towards imposing democidal martial law. That path is surely headed towards the next phases, where instead of 'We the People' being merely tricked out of valuable land, that path is headed towards most of 'We the People' being mass murdered, as the natives eventually were, since history tends to rhyme in those ways.

Another way of perceiving that situation is that, since the events on 9/11/2001 were done by Zionists (who blended through the officials in the American government), as a false flag attack to blame on Muslims, most of the American people are going to more and more be treated like Palestinians, since the impositions of democidal martial law, probably kicked off by other, probably much worse, false flag attacks, will result in large parts of America becoming like the open-air prisons that many Palestinians live in.

MEANWHILE:

"It is ‘We the People’ who do not organize and act together for the benefit of our own collective good."

Of course, in that context, I repeat my perspective, as I have stated in my comments about the previous two parts of this series of articles by Cognitive Dissonance, that an intellectual scientific revolution is what is most needed, before there could be better organization for "our own collective good." At the present time, mostly the opposition is still controlled, because it is still dominated by reactionary revolutionaries whose "solutions" are to go backwards to some old-fashioned religions or ideologies.

The problems that Americans, and the rest of the world, face have become trillions of times worse than ever before in known human history. The vast majority of people do not want to understand those problems, while the controlled opposition groups that assert they are against the runaway criminal insanities of the ruling classes do not want to understand those problems either, because they want to fall back upon old-fashioned impossible ideals, as their inspiration for how to resolve these runaway problems, that the USA is now embedded in globalized systems of electronic fraud, backed by the force of atomic bombs.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:51 | 4680716 WhiteWolf
WhiteWolf's picture

I too have been an active participant in the commercial finance industry. I worked for several arms of the large banks and received my internship at the mighty GE Capital. I used to never question just compete. Well, like many I ended up on the losing end in 2008, while working for a privately capitalized firm who were leveraged by BEAR STEARNS. Needless to say it has been complicit mind blowing 5 years, inclusive of a stint in sobriety and attending the close knit group of AA. Broke, working for 1/3  of why I used to make, and with a much better handle on the meaning of life, I really love reading you CD. IF I am lucky I will make it to the hills of the Appalachians, and be able to subsist and flourish in a different existence. I am shocked at what I thought I knew and grateful for the opportunity to help others figure out the New Normal with a level of ACCEPTANCE. IF however we as a people, US citizens, ever get a handle on what we should do about our entrapment, I AM ALL IN.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:51 | 4680715 WhiteWolf
WhiteWolf's picture

I too have been an active participant in the commercial finance industry. I worked for several arms of the large banks and received my internship at the mighty GE Capital. I used to never question just compete. Well, like many I ended up on the losing end in 2008, while working for a privately capitalized firm who were leveraged by BEAR STEARNS. Needless to say it has been complicit mind blowing 5 years, inclusive of a stint in sobriety and attending the close knit group of AA. Broke, working for 1/3  of why I used to make, and with a much better handle on the meaning of life, I really love reading you CD. IF I am lucky I will make it to the hills of the Appalachians, and be able to subsist and flourish in a different existence. I am shocked at what I thought I knew and grateful for the opportunity to help others figure out the New Normal with a level of ACCEPTANCE. IF however we as a people, US citizens, ever get a handle on what we should do about our entrapment, I AM ALL IN.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:40 | 4680292 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Cog:

All that's left is to save yourself and your immediate family/friends. Central/fractional reserve banking made sense when the country had productive capacity. But I think GDP is now at 90% "services" -much of it government; how government can be counted as "product" in GDP still confounds me.

The purpose of suppressing interest rates and fronting the power elite with $5 trillion plus, is solely to strip the last real savings out of the last remaining fools.

Far more people have been/are refusing to participate, or at least, participate at the minimum necessary.  And I think it shows that more than a few people have figured it out.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:32 | 4681142 g'kar
g&#039;kar's picture

Summed up nicely. There's only a handful of lifeboats on this Titanic.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:49 | 4680706 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"The purpose of suppressing interest rates and fronting the power elite with $5 trillion plus, is solely to strip the last real savings out of the last remaining fools."

The greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the financial elite since the last great depression. Only this time it has truly gone global.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:31 | 4681140 nortie
nortie's picture

I think that more and more people, even among the average citizens, are waking up to what you so eloquently described. The essential question is, however: what can the average person who has worked hard to save for a frugal but dignified life do to combat this horrible and criminal scheme?

Thank you for a very good article.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:57 | 4681237 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

".......what can the average person who has worked hard to save for a frugal but
dignified life do to combat this horrible and criminal scheme?"

Often what is required to help protect those whom you describe above are deliberate and concrete steps very few wish to actually take because it requires at times radical change in lifestyle and location. And those most in danger are those who have already lived most of their life span and are now living off their savings/investments.

These are the people who will be robbed in broad daylight. These are also those people who least desire to disrupt or change their lives. Thus they become sitting ducks. While I fully agree that life sucks and these people have done nothing 'wrong' to deserve to be beaten, robbed and swindled......if they are sitting on the tracks and the train is coming they only have themselves to blame when they are run over.

Like I said, life sucks. They need to get over the victim mentality and recognize that they, and only they, can attempt to save themselves.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 08:29 | 4682116 damicol
damicol's picture

I would absolutely concur with that.

Having finished Uni and moved into engineering in my early 20's I soon realized I made a mistake  quitting what was a good job well paid with lots of free travel and a car and expenses.

I went self employed, in finance and in a couple of years with partners formed our first company,

The more I got involved and the more I learned I realized even back then that  there were no financial products that were not rigged.

Unlike almost all my contemporary, I was actually quite good at math,  not just the common or garden stuff but the derivatives calculus and  everything else, and could generally match any actuary. It was rigged and not only that I knew how.

Interest in fiat ponzis came after the pension scams that were all too blatant for me, but a chance to go to China in 2000 really opened my eyes to possibilities.

And understanding

By 2005 I was out of there, all my operations  offshore, and I was totally under the radar. A new passport  several changes in circumstances and a kind of evolution in a reaction to what was going on in the world leaves me where I am now.

A non tax paying, non tax return  filing,  bureaucracy evader, is second nature to me now, and in a position to help those who also want to make what is in effect a massive change in your life circumstances,

I do OK .

I do not care what other people do, they make their choice as I do, but for me there can never be any going back. Life does not work like that. You either run your life or you do not. It is your choice, Accept what comes with it

But even now, most people who understand it, who see the benefits so clearly,  still they cannot take the plunge.

It is fear, terror of the unknown, a belief bordering on the blind faith of child in a Jonestown camp that somehow it can change for them  because there are too many "good" people will ride to the rescue.

They will never come.

Don't shout fire in the cinema if you know all the exits are blocked. You will die with the rest.

Find a way to  a clear an exit, quietly and without attracting any attention  first before shouting fire, then you can be the first out. Then you  can survive and if enough are smart they will follow you.

The ones who don't listen  and run in circles panicking are doomed, but that's not your problem.

That to me is Enlightened self interest.

 

 

 

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:29 | 4680251 Kassandra
Kassandra's picture

Real change makes us uncomfortable. Change is painful. Even necessary change causes extreme discomfort, and most will go back to old behavior because it is familiar, even if it kills us.

I appreciate your references to addiction and denial, because that is what we are and what we do. Addicted to our own self-comforting ways and in denial about our addiction to this idea that we can accomplish great things, great changes in our society without discomfort or pain.
We will have to be willing to undergo painful transformation or we will wake up one morning to find that transformation is hard upon us and we will have lost our window of time to choose a new direction.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:46 | 4680698 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Never let a crisis go to waste when trying to shape/manipulate/control humanity. And if one doesn't roll around when you need it, you can always manufacture one to suit your circumstances and the Empire's needs.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:21 | 4680230 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Cog,

The penny dropped for me when I realized that we are the first conquered peoples, not the native Americans as US school children are commonly taught.  The realization came when I was watching Ken Burns' documentary The West and the narrator noted that the means used to subdue the natives were "the same and as brutal as those used to put down rebellion in Spain" years earlier.

Good stuff as always, Cog.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:46 | 4681179 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

One of my very first posts on ZH was using the metaphor of the destruction of the once vast Buffalo/Bison herds for US Manufacturing/factory jobs and how that helped drive the Native American (Indian) onto reservations or to near extinction, for the Buffalo/Bison was everything to the Native American. Food, clothing, and shelter.

US manufacturing jobs, as I wrote in my old post, were once plentiful as the Buffalo/Bison herds, and once they were destroyed due to automation, outsourcing, etc, the middle class was also more or less forced onto invisible reservations of SNAP cards, or HUD subsidized housing, etc. For the middle class relied on those jobs for food, clothing, and shelter as well.

You should have seen the flood of red from that early post.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 20:08 | 4681221 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I think I remember that post. And what stood out in my memory was the sea of red for what was obviously a very interesting analogy.

ZH readership can be very touchy at times. It all depends upon what time of day, as well as what day of the week you posted. As well, it depends upon what is going on in the world when you posted. There are times when ZH is on high alert and I have no interest in posting during those times. Everything becomes red meat.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:26 | 4680242 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Part of Stockholm Syndrome is to emulate, then embrace, the techniques that were used against you.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:29 | 4680250 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Yes, and the Constitution/Bill of Rights is a treaty or surrender document of sorts.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:50 | 4680713 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The politically correct term is negotiated settlement from less than ideal conditions.

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:26 | 4683531 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

You're a good wordsmith, CD.  Yes.

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:03 | 4681085 falak pema
falak pema's picture

You should do a time tine of "cognitively dissonant" people throughout the ages.

IMO At best they were called "reformists" and at worst "heretics" and "apostates"; now "terrorists" or terrorist "fellow travelers" for denouncing state terrorism-- obviously Snowden comes to mind. 

It would put your contribution into perspective.

Cog dis family tree thru the ages! 

Start with say, Socrates or Buddha, but from your perspective.

Would make interesting reading. 

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:17 | 4680209 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Humanity is the product of millions of years of evolution and luck.  For the vast majority of that time and for all species, only one thing has held any real value.  That one thing is survival.  Survival of oneself and/or one's offspring.

We are where we are now because in large part we evolved to think and innovate with tools.  The bounty that we have had and largely have now however has been supported by the excess energy stores that we have made available for consumption.

If we are unable to consume the same amount of energy moving forward, then our lifestyles will change dramatically, this is simple physics.

Does this mean it has to be a horrible event?  Of course not, CD's posts should have made this clear, however, accountability and moral hazard are not simply "quaint terms" and I can promise you that the true sociaopaths will not willinging turn over all the power and control that they have amassed.  There will be no clarity, because these same entities have intentionally muddied the waters and with 7+billion souls on board, exponential equations are truly going to be a bitch.

 

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:20 | 4680221 sleepingbeauty
sleepingbeauty's picture

Doesn't survival and Unenlightened self interest sound eerily similar?

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