Who Has The Time And Motivation to Comprehend The Mess We're In? Almost Nobody

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

If we don't understand the problem or the dynamics that are generating the problem, it is impossible to reach a solution or practical plan of action.

When it comes time to assess our grasp of the dynamics of this unprecedented era, how do you reckon historians will grade our collective political "leadership," intelligentsia, central state, corporate leadership and the "common man/woman" citizen? Did we rise to the occasion or did we falter, not in acting to counter the dissolution of the Status Quo, but in simply making a concerted effort to understand the tangled web of lies, corruption, perverse incentives, unintended consequences, simplistic (and utterly misguided) ideologies, not to mention the real-world limits of a supposedly limitless world, that have become the key dynamics of this era?

I suspect future historians (presuming the funding of such scholarly assessments survives) will grade all categories either F or D-. The reasons are not difficult to discern, and it behooves us to understand why we are collectively so ill-prepared to understand our era, much less fix what's broken before the whole over-ripe mess collapses in a heap.

1. Intellectual laziness. Very few people are willing to work hard enough to figure things out on their own. It's so much easier to join Paul Krugman dancing around the fire of the Keynesian Cargo Cult, chanting "aggregate demand! Humba-Humba!" while waving dead chickens than ditch reductionist, naive ideologies and actually work through an independent analysis.

2. Independent thinking is an excellent way to get fired, demoted or sent to Siberia. Though America claims to value independent thinking, this is just another pernicious lie: what America values is the ability to mask failing conventional ideas and systems with a thin gloss of "fresh thinking."
In other words, what the American state and corporatocracy value is the appearance of independent thinking, not the real thing. Since the real thing will get you fired, everyone who works for government or Corporate America masters the fine arts of producing simulacra, legerdemain and illusion. This only further obscures the real dynamics, making legitimate analysis that much more difficult.

3. Relatively few have any incentive to question authority, the state or the corporatocracy. Humans excel at figuring out which side of the bread is buttered, and who's lathering on the butter: self-interest is the ultimate human survival trait (we cooperate because it serves our self-interest to do so).

While we cannot hold the pursuit of self-interest against any individual--after all, who among us truly acts selflessly when push comes to shove?--we can monitor the monumentally negative consequences of self-interest and complicity on the systems and Commons we share.

When roughly half of all households are drawing direct cash/benefits from the central state, how many of those people are interested in doing anything that might put their place at the feeding trough at risk? Sure, people will grouse about this or that (usually related to the conviction that they deserve more or have been cheated out of "their fair share"), but as long as the government payments, direct deposits and benefits keep coming, what possible motivation is there for the recipients to devote energy to investigating the potential collapse of the gravy train?

Corporate America is no different. The store may be devoid of customers, but the employees will strive to look busy to keep the paychecks coming until the inevitable lay-off/implosion occurs. How many Corporate America employees will critique their way out of a paycheck? In an environment this difficult for job-seekers, you'd be nuts to bother figuring out why your division is failing, knowing as you do that the truth will result in the "termination with extreme prejudice" of the naive fools who presented the truth as if it would be welcome
Does anyone seriously imagine that any employee of a bloated bureaucracy will ever voluntarily challenge the squandering of revenues when that might cost them their own paycheck, bonus, contract for their brother-in-law, etc.? A few protected people (professors with tenure, for example) can be "brave," but their "bravery" is cheap: their protestations cannot trigger termination with extreme prejudice, so the gesture of resistance is just that, a gesture.

4. Those relative few who might have a real motivation to undertake independent analysis have little time to pursue this noble project. They are working absurd hours and enduring absurd commutes. Between getting the bundles of diapers into the elevator and planning what to cook for dinner, there is precious little time or energy left for figuring out the mess we're in. Just getting to a second or third job can suck up a significant amount of time, money amd energy.

And so the busy employee/sole-proprietor/contract worker listens to NPR or some talk radio program for a few minutes, reinforcing their ideology of choice, and turns on the "news" (laughably bad propaganda churned up with "if it bleeds, it leads") as background noise and spends whatever personal time they have on Roku, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. seeking distraction or solace from the daily workload.

In a strange irony, there are plenty of citizens who have plenty of time (recall that Americans manage to watch 6-8 hours of TV a day), but their marginalized status and dependence on the state drains them of motivation to do anything but seek amusement and distraction.

If we don't understand the problem or the dynamics that are generating the problem, it is impossible to reach a solution or practical plan of action. In other words, the four points above doom us just as surely as the dynamics of insolvency, corruption, debt servitude, Tyranny of the Majority, etc. etc. etc.

Choose your metaphor of choice, but rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic has a nice ironic texture in an election year, when the "news" will be focusing on rearranging the political deck chairs on the first class deck--at least when there's no celebrity ruckus or "if it bleeds, it leads" to crowd out what passes for "hard news" in a regime dedicated to the distractions of bread and circuses.

Comment viewing options

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

I too see this with software. People aren't willing to make more unique & modular tools themselves, only to use what's pre-made.
People aren't willing to think in big-scales of collaboration & usability.
They only care about a combined profit-cycle & sofware cycle that is, really, irrelevant to true productivity & intellect.

About nerve gas: so long as for each one there is an antidote with those who deploy it, and so long as the return payoff for the removal of a set of targets is big enough, it can be used.
After all, it's not just about stomping out resistance but likely blaming a non-involved party.
The use of such wide-spectrum attack weapons is never just about force but also about politics.

Creative people don't need to work well: the ratio is what matters. So long as they're paid/threatened to join the wrong side early, the other side will have fewer, maybe none, and the outcome is likely assured - victory for the bad guys.
It's all about attrition.

"Eventually someone in the drone department will have enough with killing fellow citizens"
By then the drones won't need a department, they will be able to fully identify, hit targets & re-fuel without human direction whatsoever.

"I'm just dubious that they could hold it so long because so many"
I see what you're getting at. Abstracting this to all wars & strategies I actually see very few who see how to endure a lasting control, they never even try.
It's about battle & victory not about sustained long-term holding of an asset, a balance in their favor.
The thought never enters their mind. Perhaps only the most advanced strategists can even conceive of this outcome.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

You said it yourself. We have become a nation of shortsighted individuals. Long term strategies,always the foundation of any business, have been long abandoned for quick quarterly profits. My husband used to have a 2-3 year project pipeline. He proposed a massive project recently using Hadoop and SQL-H that was offered in 9 months. Management pissed themselves saying that was outrageously too long. They respect him because he is spot on in his schedules and quality of his products but he gets tired of them wanting everything faster. I have witnessed creativity and quality cannot be rushed.

This is why I doubt the scenario of a fascistic government with all technology and man power at their disposal couldn't keep power for any length of time. The constant vigilance of maintaining that power would wear them down. Then, if the USA was in civil war, other countries could perceive weakness and make their strike. Now Sauron's eye must focus on a new threat. Unless they have the backing of an oil rich nation it would be difficult. The best and brightest in this situation would be stagnant and not developing new technologies and have difficulty maintaining what is functioning. What if a key developer was shot for a perception of sedition but was the only one who knew a critical component of a needed system?

I hope what you propose doesn't materialize. There are many signs today that point to your accuracy in this assessment. It will be difficult to judge when a move like this would be initialized. People are so mind numbingly pliant today there doesn't look to be much resistance if it were to happen. But I do agree with you it should be considered, though I'm a bit baffled myself how to live through it or even stop it if that were an option. I don't have the capability to fight our military. If Hitler's Germany were to return most of us would probably die no matter how well we have prepped.


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Well, that's a thought, except government doesn't run on the corporate quarterly results cycle. They have their own time-frames & when it goes military or NSA, CIA, DHS the time-frames can be quite different, as can the capabilities as they snoop technology & use it without the legal restrictions of patents, mergers, etc.

"What if a key developer was shot for a perception of sedition but was the only one who knew a critical component of a needed system?"
depends who does the shooting.
If it's prepared in advance it can be a fake shooting leading to a real kidnapping.
Maybe that person doesn't produce what's desired but maybe the goal at the time is to prevent that production for anyone, leaving someone with the upper-hand - which is only a mistake if that person/party is not the kidnapper.

"I hope what you propose doesn't materialize. There are many signs today that point to your accuracy in this assessment."
Well, yes, my assessment is from those signs rather than being (un)wishful thinking.
I could be misled but what I see is in that direction & promises to be bad for most of us.

"though I'm a bit baffled myself how to live through it or even stop it if that were an option"
Not all regions will fall to one domination all at once. Figure out what place is safest to migrate to, or perhaps a series of migrations, and do it before it's too late, pretty much.
That's why gold is something I favour, it's small for a big amount of purchasing power.
If my destination was Asia perhaps jade as well. It isn't, for now.

Blano's picture

The laugh that emanates from me when your name shows up lately is almost Pavlovian.

Professorlocknload's picture

"and it is the responsibility of every individual to respect and subscribe to mainstream opinions on matters of extreme complexity."


MDB The Hun.

wtf1369's picture

That is some epic trolling MDB. You may have outdone yourself on this one.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

holy shit, you're back from vacation.
Merry -1mas to you.

TheReplacement's picture

Oh no.  I'm not falling for that again.

Sudden Debt's picture

I guess my boss would say the same thing about me...

brombones's picture

I read zerohedge through a hole in a sheet.

Calmyourself's picture

Live a little, make two holes..

Offthebeach's picture

In the FEMA camp it will be all your time, although unheated barracks, 6 days per week manual labor, low qual starch diet and untreated pneumonia will severly suppress your habit of inquiries.
Basically you'll want to sleep a lot.

Read One Day In The Life Of Ivan Desonovich.

wtf1369's picture

FEMA camp? That sounds like Camp Lejeune.

lunaticfringe's picture


2. Independent thinking is an excellent way to get fired, demoted or sent to Siberia.

5% of the people think, 10% of the people think they think, and 85% of the people would rather die than think. And so they do.

IridiumRebel's picture

What better way to "Hollywood" our future than making it into a cuddly remake of 1984?!?!? That's right, love in the age of surveillance with little comedic quips will make you all feel better as the grip of tyranny tightens....IT'S LOVE!!!!!!!!




Oh my god. OH MY GOD. Okay. Deep breath. For the full effect of this news, I'm going to have to let US Magazine explain it, because I think it most effectively sells the horror of what's happening here.

Kristen Stewart is hooking up with Jennifer Lawrence's boyfriend . . . on the big screen. The 23-year-old actress has signed on to star opposite Nicholas Hoult in the upcoming futuristic love story Equals. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Stewart explains why she's nervous to take on the part.

I'm glad US didn't bury the lede, which is of course that Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult would be fake making out with each other. We'll get to the 1984 business in a bit.

"I can't believe I agreed to do it," Stewart told The Associated Press on Monday, Jan. 14. "I'm terrified of it. Though it's a movie with a really basic concept, it's overtly ambitious."

Yes, Kristen Stewart just called a movie based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece about a dystopia where a privileged elite rule the masses of humanity by brutally taking control of society and eradicating their individualism, as well as controlling their language, history, and even their thoughts "a really basic concept."

"It's a love story of epic, epic, epic proportion," she added. "I'm scared."


Equals is an adaptation of the 1956 film 1984, which itself was based on George Orwell's classic novel about rebellion in a futuristic society. The project begins filming later this year with director Drake Doremus, who also directed Lawrence, 23, in 2011's Like Crazy.

First of all, of course the movie is based on the previous movie; I'm shocked anyone bothered to mention the book at all. Second of all, good call on describing 1984 as "about rebellion in a futuristic society." NAILED IT. Third, here's the Wikipedia synopsis for Like Crazy: "The film is about a British exchange student who falls in love with an American student, only to be separated from him when she's denied re-entry into the United States after overstaying her student visa." Yep, that sounds like some pretty deep stuff. Let's hand him the keys to adapting one of the most important books of the 20th century!

"I trust Drake's process and I know we will do something really natural and real," Stewart said. "But I told Drake, 'Don't expect that I am going to be able to do this. It's too hard.' But he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. I've given directors disclaimers before, but never this much."

Look, I'm not a movie director, but if an actress insists that she is not qualified to perform a certain role, perhaps you, you know, might consider finding an actress who is qualified to perform that certain role.

I don't even know what to say. I mean, adapting 1984 into a love story is probably better than doing it to Catcher in the Rye, but both ideas make me equally nauseous. But maybe I'm just overreacting. Maybe I need to think positive. Okay. Good thoughts. C'mon, Rob. Think. 

I, for one, look forward to the scene where Stewart and Hoult make out while their heads are locked in cages with an angry rat inside.

SDShack's picture

I can sum up the entire system very succinctly.

TPTB = Sociopaths (New Feudal Kings/Queens/Lords)

Constitution (Rule of Law) = How to stop a sociopath

Security = Coercion by the State

Free Shit Army = Debt Slaves (i.e. New Feudal Serfs)

We all know who is winning and why. Plan accordingly.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Presenting a re-make of Apocalypse Now styled like the Survivor reality-TV show.
Starring....! Jim Carrey ... Justin Bieber... Lady Gaga ... and .... Wesley Snipes.

onewayticket2's picture

"overwhelm the system..."



just read up on it and it'll all fall into place. 

pods's picture

Okay, I have seen the clown-piven strategy being lauded about quite a bit lately.

Can you please explain this a bit further?  

Cause from where I sit, this has been going on a lot longer than clown and piven were just a gleam in their daddy's eye.

You can keep your answer if this somehow involves Obama being the master strategist who somehow is trying to topple us as an empire and remake us in Karl's image.

This is exponentially (pun intended) greater than what he is capable of.

Many good people are leaving ZH, it is about time we start policing ourselves and stop this "hit the puppet" type of shit, unless it is merely in jest.


Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Clown and Piven is not INVENT collapse system, is only identify and promulgate as political strategy for left. Danger is plain spoken approach to insidious plot, like kool-aid in Jones Town.

Kobe Beef's picture

As far as I have researched and understood, Cloward-Piven is merely the latest strategy employed by the Fabian Socialists, who, as you suggest, have been going at this for a long time.

Such is their way: implementation of socialism in the West through steady, "progressive" infiltration of the nation's institutions, rather than outright revolution. Comparable to Antonio Gramsci's professed "Long March Through the Institutions."

Now that the institutions are thoroughly compromised, Cloward-Piven will hasten their collapse.

See termites, for a biological analogy.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

"Fabian" is very feminine name, no? Make is Boris think of hair dresser or fashion consultant. Is hair dresser and fashion consultant all to be socialist?

JustObserving's picture

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.

H. L. Mencken

grunk's picture

Knowing that it's a mess is one thing, doing something about it is another.

What can you do against the status quo?

I'm not being cynical. I'd like to know what actions to take however small and incremental.

I thought about handing out some of this literature at a local university.

Ignatius's picture

The only 'defense' I've been able to divine at this point is personal choices.

Loose Caboose's picture

@Fiat Burner - the problem with this call to revolution is that Aaron is an ex-pat.  He chose to leave his country.  To me, when you choose to leave your country, you forfeit your right to instruct others how to live there.  I'm not criticizing him for leaving - not at all.  But I do have a problem with him providing an instruction manual to others to take up the cause of revolution when he was not willing to stand his ground and be part of that effort.  He can be critical, sure.  However, he has no right to instruct others how to step into the fray that he, himself, has avoided by leaving the USA.  I'll get down-voted, I know, but to me, this says a lot about his character. 

Fiat Burner's picture

Regardless, the video gives solid suggestions for someone asking "What can I do?".  I don't really care who created it as long as the information is solid. 

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

what if the only way to arm up & gather force was to leave for a while & come back?

pods's picture

The big problem grunk is not that people are uninformed.

It is that they are knowingly uninformed, by choice.  


RockyRacoon's picture

If folks were informed, they'd have to take action.  That's what keeps most from being self-informed.  Inaction is preferable to most reg'lar folks who populate your local shopping mall.

pods's picture

Yep, that is exactly it Rock. Hell, even I was like that to a point. I was always looking for that next piece that would remove all doubt about our situation.
I would not have to act until I found that piece.  Always looking, never having to act.

Cog Dis has taught me a lot about my number 1 enemy.


RockyRacoon's picture

Lady Cog holds her own as well.   Thanks to the stars that some of the reputable old-timers have clung to this leaky dinghy.

therevolutionwas's picture

Not much we can do that will change the federal landscape for the better (in my opinion) but there is a chance a revolution of sorts can happen from the bottom up.  "What We Must Do" by Hans Hoppe is an interesting little piece that explains how eliminating fed gov't from a community level can grow.  Free download at Mises.org.

TwoHoot's picture

Grunk- First, quit worrying about what other people think and do. Concentrate on taking care of yourself and your friends and family.The guy with the answers for you is wearing your underwear right now. You know him/her as "me".


vie's picture

TPTB wouldn't have any power if we didn't give it to them.  Non servium!  Simply, Do Not Serve.  If enough people stop using fiat currency, pay off their debts (or default), and stop looking to the state for security.  The problems would go away on their own.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Problem is, the pigs will get paid fiat & get lots of tangibles for fiat for jailing those who refuse to use fiat, as taxes must be paid in in fiat, and those who are jailed can lose all their property (to the pigs, of course).
It's called a police-state for a reason.

planet psyop's picture

humanity has enough trouble juggling a million illusions a minute before reality comes a knockin 

Flakmeister's picture

We are only really noticing it because growth is over...

A rising tide raises all boats or so the old saw goes....

Spastica Rex's picture

You say there are no easy answers? Well, I say you're not thinking hard enough! Find the right political party to break the tyranny of the majority, and the homeland will rise again!

Dr. Engali's picture

Lol...some people just don't get you Rex. 

Spastica Rex's picture

So true - provided there was anything to get.

I've rarely seen Flakmeister with a positive vote balance - is this place changing?

Dr. Engali's picture

I'm afraid it is. Too many red teamers that believe this is all Zero, and don't look deeper into the problems. I can't stand the guy either, but he only exists because our owners allow it.

pods's picture

It will build into a crescendo by next fall (the 2014 elections).  Then it will subside a bit and build back up for the next presidential selection.

I guess it is our job to keep the comments section on point?  


Dr. Engali's picture

I agree Pods. If we don't start calling these people out then sooner or later we won't be able to tell the difference between here and Douche Limburger's site.

Ghordius's picture

oooohhhhh! the old gang plotting! <spoken with a small frightened child's voice> can I play with you?