(In)Dependence Day 2014: Freedom From Pain, Or Freedom From Dysfunction?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Having surrendered our independence for the quick, easy fix, we will inevitably surrender our health, liberty and freedom.

As we celebrate the declaration of political independence from Empire today, a question arises: how independent are we today in our day-to-day lives? The flip side of independence is dependence: not just on Empire, but on painkillers, central banks, government intervention, silence, complicity.

Dependence limits freedom. The dependent person, household or nation cannot truly be free; their actions and choices are severely limited, and the deeper their dependence, the greater the erosion of their will to become less dependent.

People speak of the cost of independence and liberty in militaristic terms. But in day-to-day life, independence boils down to not being dependent on systems you have no control over.

Independence isn't taken from us; we surrender it. We surrender it for all kinds of reasons; it's often easier to accept dependence than struggle to maintain our independence.

Our culture has developed a self-destructive response to pain: we want any sort of pain, physical, spiritual, financial, to go away immediately and magically. We don't care about the mechanism, just make it go away.

But pain is not just a random event: it's a message that we need to listen to. Pain communicates that something is damaged, dysfunctional, not working or in conflict. Pain tells us we need to understand the sources of the pain and seek a systemic solution.

There are many sources of physical and mental pain, and they cannot be lumped into one category. But in all cases, there are systems and there are sources of the pain, and since life, ecosystems, economies and organisms are complex interactive systems of systems, there is often not one source but multiple layers of interacting sources.

Consider the common ailment of back pain. I've suffered from it, as have many people. While there are many potential sources and causes, we're designed to prefer the easiest, quickest fix, which is generally a painkiller pill.

The quick fix does not address the source or solve the underlying problem: it simply makes the symptoms go away. It eliminates the message that something's wrong and needs to be addressed in a fundamental way.

A great many back problems arise from lack of fitness, poor habits and being overweight. In many cases, the long-term solution requires a complete revamping of habits, diet, fitness, and a reworking of our understanding of the mind/body system.

This is a lot more trouble than taking a pill, so many of us resist changing all these major systems that affect each other within the overall system of our well-being.

But eliminating the message and the symptoms doesn't fix anything. What it does do is make us dependent on the fix. A dose of highly addictive heroin is called a fix for good reason: like any other painkiller, the addict depends on it to fix the pain and the symptoms that are shouting that something's terribly wrong.

This is why I call the Federal Reserve's interventions monetary heroin: the global financial meltdown caused pain, and rather than deal with the sources of financial dysfunction, the Fed chose the highly addictive fix of zero interest rates, unlimited credit and easy money.

Every month, the Fed mainlines this fix into the financial system to make the pain go away: the pain that's telling us the system is broken, dysfunctional, destructive.

And so now we're hooked, dependent: whether we understand it or not, we have surrendered our independence and our ability to learn from pain and directly address the sources of the dysfunction.

Free money, in all its guises--welfare, corporate welfare, subsidies, tax breaks, bribes--is the easy fix, the easy pill that makes the symptoms go away.

What happens to systems that ignore symptoms? They break. Whatever is causing the pain continues unaddressed, and so it gets worse. Making the symptoms go away doesn't fix the underlying causes; in a terrible irony, it enables the problem to spread and grow even more destructive.

Becoming dependent on the fixes issued by the Federal Reserve and the central state does not solve the problems causing the pain; it simply makes us dependent on the quick, easy opiate.

Having surrendered our independence for the quick, easy financial fix, we will inevitably surrender our health, liberty and independence. Our democracy has already been gutted by the financial fix, and our claims of independence ring hollow.

Do we want to be free from political and financial pain, or free from systemic dysfunction? To truly be free, we must first free ourselves from dysfunction and the siren-song of dependence on the quick, easy and oh-so addictive fix.

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TeamDepends's picture

Never surrender.  They are not nearly as strong as they think they are.

zorba THE GREEK's picture

The cost of freedom is buried in the ground. The tyrants will run for the hills at the first sign of resistance. 

mvsjcl's picture

Charles H. Smith is trying to push the meme that the Fed is attempting to "fix" the system, albeit in a fashion which does more harm than good: Bumblers, but well-intended. Bullshit, I say. They're purposely wrecking the current system in order to herald in the "new" system.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

This article is wrong.  

The comparison with a heroin addict only counts if all of us are addicts and all are receiving the fix.

WS received the bailout and have suffered NO PAIN; indeed WS received higher bonuses than they would have in a normal year.

This bozo is a WS apologist.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I agree to an extent, but I don't think CHS is a Wall Street apologist. You are correct in that Wall Street didn't feel any pain, everyone else did. However, they also did that to save most people from a drastic change in lifestyle and standard of living. You and I both know that this was merely kicking the can, delaying the inevitable, but from their standpoint, they are saving the populace from a painful unraveling.

0b1knob's picture

Yes the author is absolutely right.  We should NEVER have voted in favor of the bailouts.

Oh wait...

What I meant is that we should have voted in 2008 for the Presidential candidate who was against bailouts.

Oh wait.......

RaceToTheBottom's picture

" However, they also did that to save most people from a drastic change in lifestyle and standard of living."

Please don't make me laugh...

There are many ways it could have been done to better effect :

Giving the money directly to the people and having the banks compete for survival...   is just one.

Oh and BTW, you are a bit premature about saving us from a drastic change in living.  It is just starting and we have no dry powder left....

Freddie's picture

Where are the scum Democrats who posted here and loved Obama?  Bushes and Clintons are the same people.  Support the US Military?  Why have a military when the borders are not protected?  Joke country.

Harbanger's picture

I will defend the truth to my last dying breath bitchez.

Omegaman2211's picture

Don't worry, it will all collapse soon enough.

Harbanger's picture

I'm not worried, the finacial collapse will bring on the bigger battle.  Are you organized?

DirkDiggler11's picture

Today I have declared my freedom and Independence from the evil fucking demonic bankers that have sucked the freedom from every American and citizens around the world in their attempt to enslave us all in debt until we die.

Fuck you !

No debt
Minimal consumption
Grow my stacks of Gold, Silver, food and lead.

Today I also declare war on these same evil sons a bitches and I will fight them with every tool at my disposal. This is what July 4th 2014 means to me.

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Dirk...May the spirit of the founding fathers be with you.

Urban Redneck's picture

38 years ago today, Joe Strummer and The Clash played their first show.

If people would stop forgetting what they fought against so as to sell out and become that which they formerly despised... there might be more hope.

The Future is Unwritten.

Freddie's picture

Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were semi-tribe members and Labour Party stooges.  Very middle class band wagon jumpers and hippy buskers who jumped on real working class The Sex Pistols band wagon.  No tribe members in the Pistols and Lydon said the Labour Party was shit.  

Scumbag Malcolm who ripped off The Sex Pistols also had a grandma or grandad who like Strimmer and Jones were tribe.


Janie Jones was quite good but Strummer was a pretty old geezer to lead a punk band.


Urban Redneck's picture

Joe wasn't a Jew, he was agnostic. One would have an easier time arguing Bob Marley was Jewish or semi-tribe.

The problem of "Corporate Whoredom" in the arts is as old as professional art. The Clash were promoted by the bolshevik/menshevik establishment that had a beef to grind with Reaganism/Thatcherism, but even Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were corporate whores for Sancta Sedes LLC. Until the widespread adoption of the internet, there simply was no other method of effective widespread distribution if one wanted to progress from starving artist or garage band to something larger and more influential, hence selling out.

The traditional compromise (beyond just the arts) is to establish one's name as a foundation for then striking out on an independent path (e.g. The Mescaleros or Mercury Radio Arts for the multidisciplinary and L/R minded), but for the great majority- the path from griping about "the man" leads to becoming "the man". However, the internet isn't actually a solution to this problem, as it merely shifts the battle line to the esoteric algorithmic language and bowels of the corporate fiefdoms of Google, Baidu, Bing and Yahoo.

Freedom and Independence are goals, not goal lines that can be crossed, but the establishment loves and profits by selling that myth to the masses. Happy Independence Day.

Aussiekiwi's picture

Having surrendered our independence for the quick, easy fix, we will inevitably surrender our health, liberty and freedom.

Whats this 'inevitably' crap, you already have...Obamacare, Patriot act , etc etc.

TeamDepends's picture

Yeah, well guess what Aussiekiwi?  Unlike you, we have not yet surrendered our arms.

Harbanger's picture

Small differences that make a big difference.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Actually, this is the key and is a unique historical difference that shouldn't be discounted. For a true dictatorship to fully emerge, disarmament of the citizenry must take place. If this were to happen, we are doomed for slaughter. At some point in everyone's life comes a time to take a stand.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night - Dylan Thomas


Reaper's picture

Being a serf means you never have to worry if you made the right decision; you cannot be blamed; and you're accepted. Your lord and king own and love you, like Perdue loved his chickens.

CH1's picture

Being a serf means you never have to worry if you made the right decision...

Yes, and it also means that you never grow: Live an empty life and die, hoping against hope that some descendant of yours will do something... and dreaming that this will somehow justify your wasted life.

Rehab Willie's picture

welcome to Amerika, free unicorn for everyone.

JR's picture

Free money, in all its guises--welfare, corporate welfare, subsidies, tax breaks, bribes--is the easy fix, the easy pill that makes the symptoms go away… Charles Hugh-Smith

Except, Charles, it isn’t free. The big bankers at the Fed trough deliberately are trolling for Americans’ savings.

Gary D. Halbert’s in his Weekly E-Letter of May 13, 2014 reports that “MoneyRates estimated that low interest rates have cost savers at least a whopping $758 billion in lost purchasing power over the five years ended in 2013.” Says Halbert: “That number will almost certainly top $1 trillion by the time the Fed starts raising rates sometime next year.” 


Blogger Patriot2013 explained the Fed’s bank robber operation on Economist’s View...

"Bernanke and the Fed are engaged in the biggest heist in history. They are blatantly robbing money from people who have broken their backs working their entire life to build up a small amount of savings and handing it to people who borrowed too much and would go into bankruptcy without the low interest rates (that would include the US government). The people this policy hurts are NOT wealthy. They are middle class and debt free. The wealthy benefit from sky high stock prices and asset bubbles that Bernanke creates. This is likely the largest transfer of wealth ever.

"Just goes to show that it does not pay to work hard and build wealth in this country. Better off borrowing tons of money without ever planning on really paying it back. You can always count on folks like Bernanke for loads of money."


Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, traced significant hardships to ZIRP in late March on MarketWatch …

“According to data from the Census Bureau, seniors ages 65 and over made an average of $3,239 from interest in 2012, and an average of $32,849 in total income. Thus, just under 10% of their income came from interest (earning a lot less on their savings than any other time in recent history)...

“McKinsey concluded in a November 2013 report that from 2007 to 2012, defined-benefit pension plans and guaranteed-rate life insurance plans lost $270 billion of income due to the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies because they have far more interest bearing assets than liabilities. McKinsey estimated that American households have lost $360 billion of income. On average, American households are net savers.

“The big winners of the Fed’s policies were the U.S. government, which gained about $900 billion, and non-financial corporations, which gained $310 billion. “

Concludes Furchtgott-Roth: “All Americans, and seniors in particular, will be better when the Fed abandons its low-interest-rate policy, despite some initial turbulence. Almost five years into the recovery, economic growth is stunted, and labor force participation rates are at 1978 levels.”


Great article, Charles. Thanks again!

AdvancingTime's picture

When it comes to interesting comments on how society is changing. In mid July of 2008 an article by James Grant appeared in the Wall Street Journal titled "Why No Outrage?". In the article Grant writes about how the turmoil and problems in the financial sector would in the past created a huge outpouring of anger from the public. Now it seems that we are numb and powerless to respond, words like stupid and lazy come to mind. Silent and safe within the the huddled mass it is more comfortable to move with the crowd. More on this subject in the article below.



AdvancingTime's picture

 Just over a year ago I stumbled upon a blog on WordPress .com written by Gerry Spence who was born and educated in the small towns of Wyoming where he has practiced law for almost fifty-five years. As a  nationally known figure in the legal system Spence  has spent his lifetime representing and protecting victims of the legal system from what he calls The New Slave Master: big corporations and big government. Below is a disturbing take on society put out there by Gerry Spence and the idea that we have become no more than slaves.


homiegot's picture

"freedom of choice is what you got
freedom from choice is what you want"

--some guys with weird hats

Joenobody12's picture

Freedon from consequence - the guiding motto of the majority of US of A from bankers, government and ordinary joes who get a hand out by voting.

q99x2's picture

But eliminating the message and the symptoms doesn't fix anything. What it does do is make us dependent on the fix.

Today I want to be free from the PUPs virus but its my brother's computer and he won't let me fix it.

Although, HeeHee is away on a fishing trip and I could fix it and make him think he is less retarded at the same time.

Oh the morality within existence. We will come rejoicing bringing in the thieves.

sam site's picture


You see the connection between our economic health and our physical health and that in both cases we aren't addressing the cause of our dysfunction.

I see the cause of our economic problems as not being able to compete in the global economy any longer because of excessive costs.  This insistance on maintaining this "civilized" cost structure of nanny state regulations, monopoly allopathic medicine and vastly excessive government on all levels, government subsidized higher education and a massive military and others, is the root of our problem.

We've been poisoned and handicapped and no longer are able to run lean and clean.  We have a nation of disabled workers no longer able to think clearly, cut costs and root out the corruption that drives our disability. 

The rest of the non-western world mostly doesn't take the poisonous, expensive monopolistic government-protected Allopathic drug and surgery medicine, vaccines, fluoride, GMO corn and soy, high fructose corn syrup, toxic hydrogenated cooking oils and toxic pesticide farming.  America and the West has been chemically dumbed down by the hidden owners of the Fed and is an extinct nation and doesn't know it yet.

See this video for details


BobTheSlob's picture

You are the poster child for what is truly wrong with Amerika. Completely clueless and lacking in originality, with a side order of flouride and GMO conspiracy theory.

Here's what the real ROOT CAUSE is:

Complete and total breakdown of morality. When you've tossed the big 10 out the window and have raised up the 7 deadly sins as "virtue" then you've lost...totally and completely.