Control the Language and You Control the Mind

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Control the Language and You Control the Mind


Cognitive Dissonance


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As is pretty common these days, the genesis for this article was a conversation between Mrs. Cog and me regarding word and phrase definitions within a larger discussion about perception and understanding. In essence the question was this; how do you think outside the box when your language and belief system have you trapped within? While I am most definitely sympathetic when someone protests “It simply never occurred to me……” ultimately only slaves are not responsible for the language they use and the thought boxes they keep.

Precisely what is it you think you ‘know’ for certain? Exactly what ‘knowledge’ do you possess which is of such certainty and veracity that it need never be seriously questioned or examined? Ultimately if something never occurred to me it is simply because I decided the softer easier way forward was to participate in groupthink and not question my ‘reality’.  I alone am responsible for my curiosity quotient or lack thereof.

Since better answers do not come without asking better or different questions, there is no one else to blame for our ignorance but us. Just because I have been trained and conditioned to ‘believe’, rather than to think, doesn’t mean I am incapable of thinking. What it does mean is I simply do not wish to be curious beyond the comforting confines of my own thought walls. Ultimately I am mentally sated and lazy when I accept not only these externally imposed cognitive limitations as mine, but then convince myself I am essentially content and need do no more when the lie, and my inner voice, says otherwise.

Knowledge, information, propaganda and belief, while all distinctly different words with dissimilar meanings, are often conflated to mean nearly the same thing. Or more accurately, the meanings and definitions are blurred, combined and contrived in order to create a controlling thought meme that is skillfully separated from reality and ‘truth’. Herein is the problem as I see it, or at least a major issue that greatly contributes to groupthink, the hive mind and ultimately the sacrifice of the ‘self’.

Let me start by rendering my opinion regarding the definitions of these words, most of which agree somewhat with common definitions, but not necessarily with common usage. I suspect centuries ago, even millennium, our ‘known’ world, that which we had ‘knowledge’ of and knew about, encompassed pretty much all we surveyed and little else.

In my opinion, and contrary to popular belief, the term ‘knowledge’ includes only what I ‘know’ or the entirety of my ‘knowing’ either through personal experience, direct observation or personal self examination……and nothing else. Anything other than this direct ‘knowing’ is simply hearsay and little more. This is contrary to the widely accepted definition of knowledge being the sum total of what we have been ‘taught’ or have ‘learned’, including all knowledge, information, propaganda and belief we acquired through education or other sources aka hearsay.

Of paramount importance here is to imply no judgmental assessment of this definition of ‘knowing’, such as right or wrong, correct or incorrect, good or bad. For example, I might find some wild berries in the woods and decide to eat them. Almost immediately I become violently ill and remain in that state for hours or even days. One might say from that point on that I know those berries to be poisonous and to be avoided. But do I really ‘know’ this to be true and correct based simply upon my experience? The answer is unequivocally NO!

The berries might easily have been quite edible while ripe, only to turn nasty after passing their peak in the same manner cow’s milk is fine for a period of time, but can then make you very sick if ingested after it has turned. We don’t declare spoiled milk poison, so why wouldn’t the same thinking apply to the berries? Or maybe the berries were contaminated by something else in the woods, such as a truly poisonous plant overhead or bird/animal droppings. There are easily half a dozen alternative explanations for getting sick from the berries.

All I truly ‘know’ about those berries is I became very sick after eating them. In reality I ‘know’ very little else based upon my personal experience and observation. In other words my ‘knowing’ does not always imply correctness or truth, nor does it mean my knowledge is necessarily false or not factual.

In our rush to judge in order to satisfy our often imagined need for certainty, sometimes we jump to conclusions and make assumption that don’t really apply. We don’t need to declare with absolutely certainty those berries are poisonous in order for us or others to avoid them. But in a paternal/authoritarian world where to be believed is to be powerful, one must speak with certainty and conviction regardless of information or knowledge to the contrary. This applies directly to our inner dialogue as well. Oftentimes we muster a false sense of certainty in order to bolster personal courage or to push something uncomfortable deep down the denial hole. 


Our Thought Boxes

Our Thought Boxes - Image by Rob Woodcox

Image by Rob Woodcox


On the other hand ‘information’ is usually purported to consist mostly of ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ and is compiled, sorted, categorized and publicized by others (who it is presumed gathered it themselves, but often do not) as possessing these qualities. Thus many claim to pass on their own ‘true’ knowledge or body of knowing to others for the benefit of mankind and perhaps their personal profit. Because of prior conditioning and cultural norms we/they actually ‘believe’ this information is part of our/their knowing or knowledge. Essentially what we ‘know’ has been twisted to mean what we have been taught.

If someone else ate those berries, got sick and then told you to avoid them, this would be considered information not of your own personal knowing. Regardless of the person’s motive who is informing you of the berries, to those who have not experienced or observed this ‘knowledge’ personally it is just hearsay, though not necessarily true or false. Consider how in the US legal system information deemed hearsay is not admissible as ‘evidence’ because its veracity is questionable and not of speakers own personal knowing. Yet we never consider applying these same rules of evidence to our own personal lives to screen what we believe we know or what we are told or taught.

The true conflation begins when we are given, and accept, information gained from outside our direct experience and observation as both ‘knowledge’, or something we now ‘know’, and as ‘correct’ and ‘true’, a state often referred to as ‘fact’ by those who are promoting their ‘truth’. If that person who ate the berries informed you they became sick and you should be careful around the berries, the information is being passed on to you with no direct bias other than that derived from their personal experience. But if that person tells you the berries are poisonous and you should stay far away from them they are claiming as ‘fact’ something they may or may not actually ‘know’.

Much of what we ‘know’ in this indirect manner (more information than you might think) is often just as suspect as our own body of knowing if not more so. But since the source of the information is often an ‘author-ity’ (someone who authors or creates his or her own veracity, genuineness or authenticity) or the information is ‘taught’ to us by another authority such as a teacher or ‘profess-or’ (someone who orally or in writing professes their ‘knowledge’ as correct and truthful) we accept their information as genuine knowledge of our own knowing rather than information that is, or at least might be, suspect or tainted.

As I discussed in my article The Science Delusion – Reexamining Our Worldview Mindset the fantastic success of materials science and its total infiltration into our daily lives has helped convince us our world is mostly ‘known’, understood and for the most part static and constant. The high degree of confidence the so-called ‘experts’ have in themselves, and we in them, along with the tremendous success basic materials science has achieved in delivering magical consumer devices and products to an adoring public, all combined with the ever greater need for specialization in our work, thought and leisure activities, have conspired to turn modern day fallible humans into demi-gods of ‘true’ fact and knowledge.

Yes, I mention specialization because in a world where on a daily basis the generalists of acquired knowledge through experience and deed are a dying species, we are forced to narrow our focus onto smaller and smaller portions of the global machine. No longer can we be a computer programmer or a machine operator. Instead we must focus our talents as a Windows “Start” button programmer or machine “Start” button pusher.

I am of course being sarcastic, but only barely so for as our world becomes ever more complex we mere humans can no longer be a jack of all trades, master of none, but rather master of one small part of one trade and jack of absolutely none. The effect this has upon our worldview is not readily apparent, but quite obvious once we recognize the forest from the trees. Our directly perceived experience base rapidly shrinks, or is never expanded for those who are conditioned directly into this brave new world from mother’s womb. Thus we ‘know’ very little other than possibly our very narrow range of ‘expert’ experience gained first hand.

This is both good and bad for those who are caught in the web because our narrow experience base requires us to depend upon others to fill in the huge gaps left over as we navigate through life. The good news is since everyone else is also a narrowly trained ‘expert’, each of us can help others navigate past every bump and pot hole in our assigned section of the road, thus no one ever has a ‘bad’ life experience. Or at least that’s the theory anyway. In practice we might experience a slightly different reality on a case by case basis. Thankfully if all else fails we can rely on the experts in government, academia and industry to smooth the way forward when life gets a bit difficult.

Now that last paragraph was a heaping helping of sarcasm, and deservedly so I might add since the above mind meme is constantly being promoted by all those who stand to benefit as the individual cedes more and more sovereignty to the group collective and the hive mind. An extremely complex organism designed to operate within a carefully controlled environment which requires narrowly trained specialists to operate and repair it is inherently unstable and prone to collapse. When this organism collapses both its beneficiary and servant (better described as its master and slave) aka the individual, collapses with it.

This doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t use other people’s information and professed knowledge as we travel our own path. Instead what we must do is treat everything as potentially suspect and fallible, especially our own knowing, because at this point it is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to separate what we ‘know’ from what we have been taught. It is not just computers that suffer from the “garbage in, garbage out” syndrome, yet so many refuse to even consider many of our thoughts and conclusions are the result of corrupted programming, conditioning and ego manipulation, thus we remain swayed and controlled despite our protestations we are awakening.


Plugged In as a Control Device

Plugged In - Image by Rob Woodcox

Image by Rob Woodcox


There are those who will claim sans a sense of sound psychological ground under our feet, thus always on edge and continuously charged with a fight or flight impulse, we will be wracked with indecision and lacking in purpose and drive. And for the most part they are correct……when describing those who are not mentally and spiritually centered and have repudiated their personal sovereignty. Automatons most definitely are lost when their programming is wiped or corrupted, but a critical thinking sovereign individual is self empowered and not exclusively dependent upon external affirmation, validation and direction.

This brings us to the subject of propaganda, or the deliberate conflation and distortion of information and knowledge to control and direct thought while confirming prior conditioning. Unlike the purveyors of ‘information’, who most often are themselves unaware of their own corruption and, absent critical introspection and self examination, will impart this existing corruption upon any information they produce or acquire, thereby spreading the corrupting virus far and wide, the propagandist consciously, deliberately and with malicious intent preys upon the inattentive and indoctrinated to manipulate and feed upon their fears, prejudices and predilections.

While the ultimate goal of propaganda may be to control and direct the herd, the actual technique used is to divide and conquer the population while promoting illusionary goals and aspirations to keep the wage slave crew rowing while they bicker amongst themselves. The carrot and stick approach is particularly effective when we are conditioned to use it upon ourselves and others like us. The only condition more profitable to the corporate masters and the powerful elite than a kept slave is a slave who keeps him or herself under the auspices of freedom, liberty and justice for all.

The one common denominator among all types of slaves past, present and future is the slave mentality, ultimately defined and expressed as self limiting thought, beliefs and actions. Propagandized information serves to promote and inflame that very condition which, when combined with an underlying economic system that keeps the population striving forward while perpetually underwater, holds the slave firmly in the past or future and never settled in the present. One short leg on a four legged table is always unsettled and an enormous distraction, forever unbalanced and rarely stable other than for extremely short periods of time.

Belief, on the other hand, is a very complex subject in and of itself even without examining any specific belief. While the word ‘belief’ implies a singular conviction or principal (i.e. “I believe in God/Democracy/Capitalism/Money”) in all the cases I have examined this is far from the case. If we are discussing one specific conviction, for example a religion, it is almost always the case that while the faith might have a set of written principals or doctrine, those doctrine are rarely followed to the letter.

Instead, the ‘faith’ as practiced at the individual level often incorporates various other superstitions, traditions, beliefs and ‘truths’. Because of this condition few feel compelled to ‘follow the letter of the law’ and many afford themselves wide latitude in their ‘belief’ while still claiming to be devout, faithful or at a minimum a ‘believer’.  This applies to religion, politics, education, society, career etc.

And while the faith’s ‘authorities’ will protest otherwise in order to maintain the illusion, in practice they would prefer the flock continue to corral themselves under the umbrella of a unifying belief, thus maintaining the power of the authorities of that belief (remember, to be believed is to be powerful) even at the expense of strict devotion to, and the practice of, doctrine fundamentals. Affording the faithful flock some wiggle room by not insisting otherwise is to the advantage of all parties involved.

It really doesn’t matter what psychological method(s) we use to afford ourselves the wiggle room we desire since there are at least seven billion unique variations and counting on Earth. All that matters is for the wiggle room to be created and then occupied. The various psychological techniques to do so are taught to us as children and the skills further refined as young adults. By the time we graduate from high school we are accomplished self deceivers and ready to enter the matrix as productive liars.

While that assessment might sound harsh, it is so close to reality as to be indistinguishable from the truth. Though we claim moral high ground and declare there is either truth or not, our flexible worldview fantasy demands generous quantities of wiggle room in order to function between a rock and the hard place of reality. If we were ever to actually write down our beliefs on a piece of paper, thus exposing them to the light of day, I suspect we would be quite embarrassed by all the leaps of faith, dead ends, contradictions, cognitive dissonances and dangling reasoning we eagerly maintain when hidden within the dark reaches of our mind.


Mental Wiggle Room

Mental Wiggle Room


This is precisely why we rarely expose our ‘soft’ truths for inspection, especially to ourselves, since to do so would require us to address all of the issues above and several more which would be the product of the cognitive unraveling. One of the reasons I write, as opposed to just think, is to force myself to sort through all my cognitive conflations. When maintained strictly within the ample wiggle room provided by my mind, my ‘truths’ must only meet my low and flexible logic and reasoning standards. Simply put I lie to myself on a regular basis in order to maintain my belief system.

But when my beliefs are placed upon paper and carefully examined by others, if I am to be honest I must at the very least make a concerted effort to root out the inner deception, corruption and conditioning. Or I may maintain and increase my self-deception by finding other like minded individuals who share my cognitive distortions and preach to the choir a la Paul Krugman and tens of thousands of others.

It is the effective manipulation of our belief systems (there are dozens if not hundreds of minor variations we seamlessly switch between as circumstances and needs dictate) that enslaves us to the present day insanity. And by far the number one manipulator is our ‘self’. While everyone claims they desire the truth, in reality we want only what can be absorbed into our existing worldview framework as smoothly as possible. The ultimate propagandist and manipulator we encounter during our lifetime is our ‘self’ (inflamed by our ego) an ugly self truth we carefully avoid ever personally ‘knowing’, let along examining.

It never ceases to amaze me how outraged we become when presented with propaganda/information/knowledge/belief that clashes with our own personal belief systems, yet we accept with little question or examination similarly distorted information that confirms, conforms with or is easily folded into our beliefs. Hypocrisy begins at home and we are all hypocrites in every sense of the word.

I often say we are only as sick as our deepest darkest secrets, and many take this to mean secrets of a sexual, family or financial nature. In fact what I am really discussing is the self subterfuge, hypocrisy and self propagandizing we all engage in on a daily basis, yet keep secret from our ‘self’, our life partners and the world. While many believe what we don’t (allow ourselves to) ‘know’ can’t hurt us, the ultimate self deception, it does inflame such dissonance and discord deep within our own psyche and inner spirit that we are undeniably insane and growing crazier by the day.

The ultimate personal and group blackmail occurs not when someone discovers our secrets and then extorts us using that information, but when we keep secrets from our ‘self’, thereby exposing ourselves to outside manipulation and control precisely because we are never settled and stabilized into a state of self ‘knowing’ and acceptance. This underlying psychological and spiritual tension also contributes greatly to our poor physical health and is the root cause of much of our chronic illness, disorder and dis-ease. Incredibly not only do we often willingly accept the blackmail, but frequently we embrace it as our own rather than travel down the ultimate rabbit hole, the one we find within.


Inner Tension

Inner Tension


I am fairly certain quite a few of my readers have grown weary of my relentless and unchanging beating of the ‘look within’ drum. I suspect many feel this is a negative and unproductive view of life, that a more ‘positive’ outlook would work wonders and go far towards enabling and engaging others in self discovery and self enlightenment. My only response is the following. How can we ever possibly know what we need in order to grow and progress if we have never truly and thoroughly looked within and aired our dirty laundry?

Receiving an artificially induced feel good experience from an external source to help paper over an ugly dissonance and the emotional trauma that results can only be considered ‘positive’ in an insane asylum and truly mirrors the method society in general uses to refrain from engaging in the truly hard work of self examination.

This is not to say there is no joy in Mudville, that there is no respite from the self imposed hard work of personal growth and rejuvenation. But only in a society obsessed with distractions, entertainment and pleasure seeking behavior would more of the same be considered conducive to breaking our addiction to what ails us. In this case a little hair of the dog is not the correct prescription.

While we all seek external affirmation to validate our ‘self’, sadly a glaring symptom of our repudiated personal sovereignty and the inner insanity, true affirmation and satisfaction for successful (incremental) self examination occurs naturally and is a healing product of the hard work of self discovery.

There is nothing wrong with basking in the glow received from a job well done……as long as we recognize there is much work left to be done and this is simply a rest stop along the road of life and our journey of self discovery. One is never ‘cured’ of our insanity, at least not at this stage in the cycle, because every interaction with an insane society tends to re-infect and reassert the seductive desire to let go and be (re)absorbed into the wonderful embrace of the collective insanity.

Some good friends of ours who teach English to recent Chinese emigrants to America were visiting mutual friends this summer, affording Mrs. Cog and I the opportunity to visit with them several times. Something said during one of our visits remains ever present in my mind. While discussing the different culture in China, ‘Jim’ said not only did he ask his students to speak in English, but to think in English as well. When they successfully did so the most remarkable questions sprang from their minds, questions he had never heard before let along personally considered. It was more than cultural though because those questions were rarely expressed in English when the speaker was thinking in Chinese.

For me nothing could better illustrate how our language controls our thinking, and thus our mind, more than this simple observation. Temporarily, though imperfectly, freed from their own native language constraints, Jim’s students were free to explore the world, and their own minds, using another language they were not indoctrinated into. The results were clear and compelling and well worth remembering when we complain about ‘them’ controlling us. The act of controlling our language, and thus our minds, begins with and is aided from within. We are the ultimate propagandist extraordinaire.



Cognitive Dissonance


Mind Control

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Comte d'herblay's picture

Language in public discourse is useless without a "Medium" to impart it. 

TV, Radio, Print, Websites, Blogs are essential to any discussion of language as manipulative tool by Power, such one is ZH. 

When we examine media's role in the massive global "Disinformation" campaign that is eternal, only then does language or the Linguistic manipulation of it (see MIT's guru of Linguistics for a primer, and no longer be misled by Power) become relevant.

Staying on track and calling out Power when it is used to abuse the public, requires a vigilance today that is taking up most of our waking hours should we try and refute the lies, confabulations, omisssions, and outright fraud that is assaulting us every second. 

Who has time for it?

A total disregard, ignoring Mass media is the only solution to living a life that rests on a somewhat solid foundation.  I don't think I 've listened to even one newscast in my entire life, anytime anywhere.

And yet I think---I know--- I am better and more informed with facts, and truth than anyone in my acquaintance and most strangers I'll never meet on the web.

When I have looked at a newspaper and vehemently disagreed with some cockamamie bullshit that the editors try to get over on the public with, I've written letters and been published.  (most recently it was the editorial that recommended public funding for Sports Stadiums that the public thru a nonbinding Referendum, was ---67% of them---- totally against but was passed anyway to the tune of 6 billion in public county debt being forced upon us, one third 'winning' over two thirds against).

Several die-hard sports fans who are upper middle class associates called me out on my opposition to it.  I asked them what right did they have to force their costs of attending an entertainment venue on the rest of us when they could well afford to organize and finance it themselves?? They could not and never will be able to defend it, having lost the public debate.

Death penalty opponents are another group who are conned into believing that one mass murderer should not be executed since not every mass murderer is, then it should be abolished.

When a two track system is suggested they site the "Due Process" clause, not recognizing or not wanting to admit it, that a two track system would solve EVERY possible doubtful case, and still rid us of the 110% guilty, see no merit in having the Death Penalty on the table as a negotiating tactic when it has proven over and over again to be extremely helpful in obtaining vital information about  the killings.

And that's because Mass Liberal Media is against Capital Punishment, or those  nameless few who control mass media are.  





aleph_0's picture

"How do you think outside the box when your language and belief system have you trapped within?"

Can a person think outside of his or her own memory? Thinking is bound to memory, and thinking is not an unconditioned direct perception. Can a person think outside of his or her own memory? That is, can a human apply the memory of words and their arrangement to think (i.e. to arrange a set of known words) outside the box of words (i.e. language) and belief systems (i.e. more words)? Can a baseball bat hit itself?  

"the term ‘knowledge’ includes only what I ‘know’ or the entirety of my ‘knowing’ either through personal experience, direct observation or personal self examination……and nothing else."

Experience is memory, otherwise there's no experience. So experience isn't direct knowing. Direct knowing has no explanation, i.e. direct knowing (I prefer direct perception or unconditoned direct perception) just is what it is. But what is what it is, is approximated by use of language. Words and their arrangement are not the things observed in and of themselves. Words and their arrangement are only approximations of unconditioned direct perception. 

"Of paramount importance here is to imply no judgmental assessment of this definition of ‘knowing’, such as right or wrong, correct or incorrect, good or bad. For example, I might find some wild berries in the woods and decide to eat them. Almost immediately I become violently ill and remain in that state for hours or even days. One might say from that point on that I know those berries to be poisonous and to be avoided. But do I really ‘know’ this to be true and correct based simply upon my experience? The answer is unequivocally NO!"

Setting a unhelpful precedence here, in my opinion. I also doubt that the author of the article actually lives in the way this paragraph suggests. Apart from that experience is again brought in, where experience has previously been shown not to be direct knowing but related to memory. 

"On the other hand ‘information’ is usually purported to consist mostly of ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ and is compiled, sorted, categorized and publicized by others (who it is presumed gathered it themselves, but often do not) as possessing these qualities. Thus many claim to pass on their own ‘true’ knowledge or body of knowing to others for the benefit of mankind and perhaps their personal profit. Because of prior conditioning and cultural norms we/they actually ‘believe’ this information is part of our/their knowing or knowledge. Essentially what we ‘know’ has been twisted to mean what we have been taught."

Is the author of the article doing any-thing different from what he/she points out here? Is the author of the article sure that cultural conditioning didn't prompt him/her to think as he/she does? Has the author of the article managed to ask the right questions and get outside othe box, so to speak?

I think I'll stop here.

Deer Hunter's picture

" We become servants of those things that we obey. We obey that which we have yielded ourselves to "  Another


Think critically about the messages that flow into our minds from sources like the media and other people. But most important, do not deceive yourself.

VWAndy's picture

Even if a solution was put in front of most rather than concider it most would spend much greater mental effort in finding a reason to not lift a finger. Why not rather than should we or could we? As a fix shit kind of guy I find it discusting that the smarter one thinks himself to be the more they tend to hide from it. I roll out real solutions pretty regular and noone usually says even one word.

  I talk about solutions and the thread fucking dies on the spot. If ya could do something about it would you?

Duffy's picture

What is "anti-Semite" these days but a nuclear red herring,  way to preclude further thought and shut down honest, fact-based debate.

The fact that it covers actual naked anti-Jewish sentiment or statements is requisite, of course, for the conflation which, of course, is designed to act like an antibody not just to racialism and ethnic prejudice, but mainly to criticism or analysis of disproportionate power which may well be harmful to the larger "host" community.


samsara's picture

I had an observation the other day, 

Back in (say) 1900,   I would guess that about 90% of the people knew how about 90% of things they used on a daily basis actually worked. 

  I would say now, over 90% have actually no clue how more than 90% of the things they use on a daily basis actually work.

An amazing transistion.    

We have become Eloi

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"We have become Eloi"

I purposely mentioned specialization in this piece as a lead in to a future article that goes into greater detail.

You may have just come up with my title. I shall shamelessly steal it from you. Thanks.  :-)

luckylongshot's picture

Great article although it stopped after identifying the problem rather than continuing on to proposing a solution. For those wanting more Professor Peter Kingsley has a great book titled Reality. This book traces the spiritual traditions of the ancient Greeks before Plato and Aristotle undermoined them and created the foundations of the dualistic system of thinking we have today. It seems the solution might lie with going back to the spiritual traditions of the past and reassessing what we have discarded. Reality as a construct of language fits today's social constructionist paradigm but if reality is different from what we think it is then this view loses its core foundation.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Great article although it stopped after identifying the problem rather than continuing on to proposing a solution."

For the most part I am not an 'answers' guy, but a better questions guy. Self learning is the best way to embody new understanding in my opinion. There are at least seven billion slightly different solutions for each problem in this world. Who am I to say this or that is a/the solution.

I am attempting to encourage self awakening, not gather followers......except if they wish to follow me to my website.  :-)

samsara's picture


Ever read anything by Ken Wilbur?  

Try 'No Boundary'  maybe as an intro.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

He was mentioned in the thread of one of my articles a few months back. Possibly by you?

I did a little research and put him on the back burner while spring sprung here on the mountain. He was forgotten in the rush to get to work. Thanks for the reminder.

Mr Kurtz's picture

1 Wittgenstein ~ "The limits of my language means the limits of my world." 


mayhem_korner's picture

If we are discussing one specific conviction, for example a religion, it is almost always the case that while the faith might have a set of written principals or doctrine, those doctrine are rarely followed to the letter.


"Rarely?"  How about never.  "There is no difference..." no one meets God's standards, nor is capable of doing so.  Anyone who claims they are acceptable to God on his/her own accord is a heretic; anyone who thinks that it is a requirement to do so is likewise a heretic. 

That you wrote in this way suggests a fundamental misunderstanding that perhaps is why you abandoned/never accepted the tenets of your upbringing.  But you need to break out of your thought box and challenge what you have been taught in order to see it.

The Wizard's picture

 Ro 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

BTW, excellent topic, article and artwork.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Actually I was just trying to be gentle to those readers who might think of themselves as faithful and diligent. The art of persuasion is not to use a 2x4 across the back of the head. We have a police state for that.

I considered the term 'rarely' to be severe enough to get my point across.

mayhem_korner's picture

I considered the term 'rarely' to be severe enough to get my point across.


But by doing so you reinforce the underlying misunderstanding.  You risk galvanizing people to pursue a false doctrine, challenging them to look internally to keep the commands.  Faithful people understand that they are unable to be sufficiently "diligent" and that redemption is found apart from themselves.  That is a fundamental truth that the world does not want to accept.  And you are (unknowingly) reinforcing the heresy.

Imagine proclaiming that "rarely" is there a hole-in-one on a 600 yard par 5.  "Rarely" misguides some to believe that it is a possibility, leading them to "grip and rip it" that much harder on the tee box.  But tell them the TRUTH that "never" does one ace such a hole, and you are helping them to focus their energy on seeking a different path, one that is viable.  As such, "never" is actually the more benign approach.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Am I asking people to learn or am I forcing them to accept? One is done willingly, the other with coercion or deception. Who am I to tell them the parameters of their reality?

I am not an authority, thus I will not tell them what they can and cannot do. For some people believing they can do the impossible is what spurs them on to press the boundaries of what is 'known' to be possible.

I have no interest in defining the walls of other people's thought boxes. You are most welcome to try.

mayhem_korner's picture

I have no interest in defining the walls of other people's thought boxes.


To me, that is exactly what you try to do.  With all of your tomes. 

Perhaps that simply never occurred to you

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I used the word 'define' to mean 'set' or 'constrict'.

What I often do is 'describe' our thought boxes.

JoJoJo's picture

The letter kills but the spirit gives life. Soon enough many of us may have to thnk (and talk Chinese). No need to be embarrassed by our beliefs if they are true and consist of light shining in the darkness. . . if the beliefs and words are spirit and life and will endure forever.


Setarcos's picture

If one reads and understands Kant, e.g. what he meant by "phenomemnal world" and that "time" and "space" are the "prime categories" of consciouness, then what CD has written is fundamentally explained without anything like the elaboration.

blindman's picture

one more for the record.
.. "And where do all these highways go, now that we are free?
Why are the armies marching still that were coming home to me?
O lady with your legs so fine, O stranger at your wheel
You are locked into your suffering and your pleasures are the seal." ..
" The age of lust is giving birth, and both the parents ask
the nurse to tell them fairy tales on both sides of the glass
And now the infant with his cord is hauled in like a kite
And one eye filled with blueprints, one eye filled with night." ...
-Stories of the Street, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Stories of the street

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

The strongest position of truth is to have no belief system whatsoever to be manipulated.
A majority of the species is so weak of mind they can never function without a belief system.
There is no hope for these sheeple. Ever.  They are born to be slaves & will proudly die as slaves on their knees bleating for their masters, begging for more whipping to keep them pure & true.
The rest are atheists.

The Wizard's picture

The word believe comes from by-live. What we do is what we believe in. Everyone has a belief system. You have heard of the phrase, actions speak louder than words. Though this article does a good job of showing how our words define what we believe in and subsequently act on.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

For fuckin' real: zerohedge is infested with nonsensetards who invent new assertions based on nothing every 5 minutes,and you're one of them.

Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gel?afa, from ge-, associative prefix + l?afa; akin to Old English ly?fan — more at believe

First Known Use: 12th century Old English Etymology

Proto-Germanic *laubô (compare gelaube, geloof, Glaube, laube, laub)


l?afa m

  1. belief


Old English Alternative forms Pronunciation Etymology 1

From l?af (leave, permission).



  1. to grant, allow, consent

What I do is never ever what I believe in because what I believe in doesn't exist, I have no belief, and what I do is dictated by mathematical evaluations of resources.

I need various levels of food, rest, money, information. Not belief. I do things to force changes in food, rest, money, information., between myself & any part of the world I can touch. None of this involves belief. Not for a second.

IndianaJohn's picture

You are funny. Here is a short talk that non nihilists may find entertaining.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

That's not a proof god exists unless you redefine 'god' entirely (dismissing all religion as invalid, immediately) as something starting from the observable & having no faith at all.

Since that's not how god is proposed & defined in every / any religion on Earth that means you're making up a new definition of 'god' never before used.

You're free to do so.

I suppose I could praise the benefits of bacon & declare bacon to be god since bacon is both fun and real and then I could declare god to exist by pretending bacon is god.

It's a silly game that proves nothing.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

NO, it isn't. Atheism lacks any belief in anything. No belief in god nor against it, in religion nor against it, in emotion nor against it, nothing.

Atheism demands evidence & anti-atheists get all in a huff because the one thing they never have is evidence.

Just like you.

Your claim itself is anti-reality & I challenge you to produce evidence.

mayhem_korner's picture



Good one.  Atheists fear accountability; avoiding conviction is a strong motivator. So atheists hide behind amorphous and "nondisprovable" tenets of their religion.  Like the theory of evolution, which does not stand up to scientific rigor.  But atheists cling to evolution on the basis that if it is true then God must not exist.  And the non-existence of God is necessary to avoid accountability.

There is no evidence to support the religion of atheism.  There is theory and conjecture and a bunch of questions for which no answers have been unearthed.  Belief systems come in where those questions remain unanswered.

The supposed best physicists on the planet cannot agree on gravity, yet you seem believe that atheism is fact-based.

Happy hunting.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

What utter nonsense. Atheists demand accountability which by its nature must start with evidence.
Anti-atheists demand lack of accountability by insisting evidence should be ignored, dismissed or declared impossible.

Atheists have no religion. All non-atheists are of religion. That's the very core definition of what "atheism" means.

Words have meanings.

Evolution stands up to the highest rigors of science:

#1 do organisms change, yes or no, over time, within a species, due to heredity: yes. Is this provable: yes. How is it provable: watching the distribution of genes passed down from generations & being able to inhibit this to prove it is not another process.

That's rigorous science.

#2 do species change, so species die off or new species develop from prior species? Yes. Is this provable? Yes, by observation:

#3 is there any argument, proof, whatsoever that evolution does not happen? No, there is none.

#4 does the proof (not just theory) of evolution make any declaration whatsoever about any existence of any gods? NO, not at any time. Then how come religious fucktards insist it is so? Because that's what fucktards do, they lie.

#5 does atheism have a single belief whatsoever, ever, in all history? No: if it did then someone could mention one. So far in the history of humanity not one person ever has given 1 example of 1 belief that is in atheism. Not one. In your response to me you have not given 1 example of 1 belief at all of any kind in atheism, not one.

#5 do the physicists of the world agree on gravity? Yes, yes they do.

#6 does an agreement on gravity, that it does exist, that it can be measured, permit variations in theories on what can cause gravity? Yes, yes it does. This is rigorous science.

juangrande's picture

It may not appear to be a belief to you, but the ( perceived by me) vitriol from your statement has all of the hallmarks of a belief defended. 

I'm not anti-atheist, BTW, I'm pro unadulterated awareness.... if there is such a thing.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Belief has no hallmarks: declare the belief or you are merely stating feelings. If I have a belief declare what it is. Do I believe in a god? Against a god? Do I believe in pink skies dotted with ice cream sprinkles? What is it? If you don't know what it is then you aren't making any observation at all, which means there isn't anything to observe.

What you are saying so far is that you actually agree with me, that you didn't see/mention any particular belief in atheism and/or in me, and what you additionally declared is that you "have a feeling" of being near a belief, which is as helpful as saying nothing.

Fíréan's picture

Do you truely believe what you thought and wrote ? 

From where did 'your' thought originate  ?

Your belief system.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture


I have self-awareness. Very literally I have awareness (perception) of various conditions & physical objects and some of those objects are my own body & some of those conditions are descriptions of my existence (mass, momentum, list of past experiences, eye colour, etc.).

I don't truly believe what I wrote: I have no belief. I described fact, which is 0% belief, in text-form in a comment. This is very easy to understand. I don't believe anything I write: I don't believe in any manner at all. I can't. It's impossible.

My thoughts DON'T ORIGINATE.

My thoughts are a never-finished process, no origin can be determined, no final destination can be decided.

How can a destination, such as an origin, even be associated to a non-distinct emergent process which has no boundary whatsoever? All you can even observe here is a series of words meant to spur new mental activity in readers, such as your activity, so if you wanted to pick an origin in a certain radius of time you'd be forced to choose this message as an origin for some of your thoughts but certainly not all that will be involved in your response(s) or you'd be a finite automaton (computer) running a simple program.

I don't even know how to believe. The only concept I have to detect belief in others is their declarations in things which can't exist, never existed, with some combination of declarations that evidence isn't needed, shouldn't be looked for, or may come up later, or further declaring a list of nonsense as evidence which itself also does not exist.

Can anyone help me try this? How do I form a belief? What do I do first? Any instruction would be interesting as this experience is completely alien to me.

blindman's picture

That's Amore by Dean Martin with Lyrics!!!!
that is one train, you pay for the ticket
and take the ride.
but, don't ever let the words and language fool you.
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
(“Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer.”)
Voltaire (the pen name of François-Marie Arouet; born 1694, died 1778)
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
— Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

juangrande's picture

If God is dead and we killed him, then we made him up in the 1st place!

blindman's picture

Lassparri: [costumed as Pagliacci] Now, what have you got to say to me?Â
Otis B. Driftwood: Just this - can you sleep on your stomach with such big buttons on your pajamas?Â

--Groucho Marx
AÂ Night at the Opera
this just in, i had to share it.

blindman's picture

speaking of words,
they say "you only live once",
but, it happens everyday.
go figure.

blindman's picture

i would say from the above and beyond that
all language is a dance and a trance.
spinning on the floor boards of words; words,
come up from the heart and throat, then
spiraling off the tongue like spittle and
mist, partly falling and some
carried off in the breeze,
perhaps, up to heaven and the
clouds; soon we all are soaking
and drenched in it.
people should know it going in,
you will need to and become very wet.
it is necessary and fundamental but,
it is just one trance of many trances
and there are many flavors.
there is a time for drinking
and drinking well,
there is a time to go dry.
technology and technical language create
a seductive trance that imbues the speaker
with social power when "properly" situated,
but it is just a trance whose time has come
and will soon be gone. the "Belief" was that
there is, or was, a core trance common to all
people that could, or would, preserve them, save them.
but then words, also, are like fingers pointing ...
" All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon; and those whose gaze is fixed upon the finger will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty." a zen thing
there is no substitute, in this universe, for direct experience
and then. i don't know if there is much that needs to be
said about it? said to whom? for what purpose? to save them
from themselves or each other? who could do that? who would
the moon is the moon
made of cheese,
no doubt.

Salsipuedes's picture

American Linguistics 101A (Upper echelon thinking for Freshmen) : Bon chance!

TSTM's picture

"I am fairly certain quite a few of my readers have grown weary of my relentless and unchanging beating of the ‘look within’ drum. I suspect many feel this is a negative and unproductive view of life, that a more ‘positive’ outlook would work wonders and go far towards enabling and engaging others in self discovery and self enlightenment. My only response is the following. How can we ever possibly know what we need in order to grow and progress if we have never truly and thoroughly looked within and aired our dirty laundry?"

A few older expressions come to mind.

"Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Or perhaps, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" But this one seems to strike a paticularly harmonious chord with the notes of your melody, "A great many are very zealous to convert the world, who are themselves unconverted."


I do find the language as a thought limiting factor angle interesting and am inclined to accept it as part of my "reality."

Always enjoy your posts.


AR's picture

Dear CD:        (From:  AR )

As always, I hope my note finds you and the family in good health and spirits.  This is a great article -- good work.  A few BOOKS in this area that you may also want to read are: 

1)  " Think Fast, Think Slow"  by a  Daniel KAHNEMAN  [ ISBN:  978-0-374-27563-1 ]

Daniel is smart guy, though, it's not an easy 500 page read (in other words, one has to think).  You would enjoy it only because it discusses at numerous studies and theories regarding how human beings think and how the mind works and makes decisions; namely, the FAST (intuitive & emotional mind) --- and the SLOW (the logical & deliberative mind). Another book I've enjoyed over the years (and a book not easy to find and especially not easy to read) is entitled:

2)  "The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance" by Ericsson, Charness, Feltovich & Hoofman  [ ISBN: 13-978-0-521-84097-2 ]  It is a compendium of various research studies and testing on top performers and experts and, how they have developed their talents, skills and expertise.  This really is an EXCELLENT book (the bible in a sense) to locate other more in-depth analysis and research to support how the mind works.

3)  The last book (which is much easier to read) is entitled:  "Talent is Overratedby Geoff Colvin [ISBN: 978-1-59184-224-8 ].   This is a more "retail" orienated book that discusses a cursory view of books 1 & 2 mentioned above.  It is about 220 pages.

In closing, once again, we hope you are doing well.  You be well.

Sincerely,  AR


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Hello AR,

Thanks for dropping by and saying hi. And thank you for the reading suggestions.

Equality 7-25-1's picture

As we learn from marketing criminals, language is an impediment when dealing with animal spirits. You can push the base nature with images & repetition. Under all circumstances the monkey brain rationalizes what the glands compel. Group psychosis is a little trickier, but apparently not that much.

cougar_w's picture

Humans live in an illusion of their own making, entirely. So it's a lot worse than just language or how it is being used.

For example, it is doubtful there is any such thing as time. And yet we pattern nearly our entire lives around it. We slice it into ever smaller segments of tik and tok, then use those as measure of productivity and technical advance.

But what are we measuring and how can such a thing even exist? The finer we slice it the less real it becomes and frankly if you just step back and consider the entire thing it could not have been real from the start. If we're using such a strange thing to measure ourselves, what have we actually managed to measure?

From an imaginary thing can only come more imaginary stuff. Human existence is largely an illusory, as a result.

And by that I mean -- all the way down.



samsara's picture

I KNOW there's Turtles down there somewhere.....