Category Archives: Cogs ZH Posts

The Flim-Flam Men

The Flim-Flam Men

by

Cognitive Dissonance

 

I suspect if average Joe or Jane were asked to identify modern examples of ‘Flim-Flam Men’, many would point to Bernie Madoff or Allen Stanford. (Remember them from the last "Great Financial Crisis" of 2008?) Or even to a long list of Too Big To Fail bank CEO’s past and present, plus various corporate, government and Federal Reserve officials who've graced our lives over the last twenty or more years.

And you know what? I couldn’t argue with them for a second because they’d be correct. But do those examples really illustrate the deeper, more mundane meaning of the common street hustle or financial confidence game? And are we in denial of our own critical role in 'The Big Con'?

Continue reading The Flim-Flam Men

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” – Otto von Bismarck

'When it becomes serious, you have to lie.' - Jean-Claude Juncker, former President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019

 

We all lie. Of this there is no doubt. And anyone who tells us otherwise is lying. While there are a billion and one reasons to lie, there is only one purpose…to gain advantage, leverage or to maintain, consolidate or increase power over our children or spouses, other family members, friends or unrelated individuals, groups large and small and even entire nations.

At its most innocuous, a lie may be considered small, kind, even considerate. Often, we tell little ‘white’ lies designed to sooth or placate a loved one or close friend. At its worst, a lie is designed to kill or injure physically, financially, socially or emotionally.

Ultimately, no matter how harmless or devastating it is, a lie is at its root a power play, information warfare employed to disarm, confuse, convince, steal, disable or destroy. We tend to treat lies, especially lies told to others that have an effect far removed from ourselves and our interests, with benign disinterest or even mild amusement. It’s only when the proximity is close or we feel we are targeted do we become righteously indignant and demand justice and restitution. Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society – Chapter One

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society

Chapter One

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

From my perspective at least, it’s a chicken or egg question. Was civil discourse among a diverse human population desired, or even required, in order for civilization to form and flourish? Or did civilization initially coalesce, with civility to follow shortly after as a means to increase socioeconomic efficiency and to encourage people from killing or maiming each other by setting minimum standards for public conduct?

Or could it possibly be more symbiotic, with both components required in varying degrees and amounts for either component to survive and thrive in the combined form of ‘civilization’?

I am a child of the 1950’s and 1960’s, a time so far removed from today’s brave new world that, even to me, feels like ancient history. This is not to say it was all pomp and circumstance back then, but in many respects so-called civilization was much more civil in my youth than it is now. And this applies to just about all modern social interaction, regardless of the underlying medium, method or mix. Continue reading The Decline and Fall of Civil Society – Chapter One

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

The other night, Mrs. Cog and I streamed a movie about an obviously intelligent man (some might say brilliant) who constantly got himself into, and out of, tight spots and life threatening situations. The show was well written and entirely plausible, believable even. In fact, it reminded me of some people I know…and maybe even a little bit of me.

At one point near the end, Mrs. Cog turned to me and quipped, “For such a smart person, he’s really quite stupid”. I quickly rose to the characters defense, claiming it wasn’t stupidity that compelled him to do stupid things, but his huge outsized ego that drove him into and out of trouble at every turn.

But my answer didn’t sit well with me, similar to a late night meal that sits in the belly rather than digesting. You just know there’s going to be trouble if you don’t promptly address it.

Of course Mrs. Cog was correct; this smart man was consistently doing stupid things. And as Forrest Gump famously said in the movie by the same name…”stupid is as stupid does”. Ultimately we are measured by our actions and not our intent, desire or intelligence. Regardless of our reason, if we’re doing stupid things we can rightfully be classified as stupid. Continue reading Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Bitcoin: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Bitcoin: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

By

Cognitive Dissonance

“Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” – Oldest sales trick in the book

“Resistance is futile. You must assimilate” - The Borg

 

Once I discover what triggers or motivates a person, and then figure out how to activate it, I can sell anything. And it doesn’t even need to be a product or service they previously wanted.

Case in point….life insurance.

I sold life insurance for almost ten years and made a decent living while doing so. I never forced anything on anyone and quickly canceled the policy if they decided later it was not what they wanted.

Very few did. I had the second lowest lapse/cancel rate in my region.

You want the customer to decide on their own volition, and with minimal prompting on your part, that they want; no, they need what you are selling. Once this occurs, you are simply an order taker filling the expressed need(s) of the customer.

To do so you sell the sizzle, not the steak. Continue reading Bitcoin: The Greatest Story Ever Sold