Welcome to the Insane Asylum or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big Lie – Chapter Three

The Public Lie

Chapter 2 ended with us discussing how a lie unchallenged becomes by default the truth for those who wish to believe the lie, or at least not fight the lie. And the vast majority of us go along to get along, rationalizing or ignoring just about anything in order to go with the flow and not stick our necks out. Not only does this set up a continuous conflict within ourselves, but we become just another part of the herd we’re always complaining about. Let’s dive into what’s going on here while looking at an actual example of bucking the trend and getting results.

How wide spread is the practice of accepting public lies and of not being truthful? Answering that question would require a book, but let me offer just one small public example of the insane amusement ride. And in the next chapter we’ll explore one possible exit. Last year a friend attended a county commissioner’s meeting, something he does every month. At that meeting he witnessed the most astounding exhibition of collective dishonesty and cowardliness he’d ever seen in a group of people. Rather than back away and go with the flow, his small but courageous act turned the meeting around and pointed the group towards an exit from their collective dysfunction and insanity. All this resulted from sticking his neck out just a little bit to make a difference and lead the way.

One of the commissioners made a statement that flatly contradicted something she’d said the previous month and which was on the record. It was a bald faced blatant lie and was done to gain political advantage for certain favored business supporters by spreading additional tax revenue their way. Everyone in the room, including the other commissioners, knew this. It was a lie that would become truth if it went unchallenged. And yet no one said anything. My friend told me that as he looked around the room he saw a bunch of very uncomfortable people. Of note, this commissioner is quite combative and a known intimidator.

This wasn’t a trivial lie, the so called white lie that supposedly doesn’t harm anyone. It had to do with setting the local property tax rate and her lie would have increased the rate 4% more than the huge interim increase of 16% set the month before. Since he had the official transcript of the previous meeting in his hand (everyone did) he interrupted the proceeding and read it back to her. He was courageously challenging a statement he knew to be untruthful (better known as a lie) and he was doing it all alone. This meant sticking his neck out and it was going to be uncomfortable, scary even. But what followed was surprising and instructive for everyone.

Of the 30 or so taxpaying citizens in the room, at least a third were publicly hushing him, urging him to sit down and not make a “scene”, presumably by embarrassing the commissioner by outing her lie. They were hissing at him for at least 5 minutes while he read from the transcript. Think about that for a moment. The taxpayers did not want him to embarrass the liar. They wanted him to effectively enable the commissioner to feel comfortable in her lie by not calling the liar (her) to task for her lie.

Of course, what they were really saying is that they, meaning the taxpayers in the audience who’ll be paying the higher tax that results from the lie they weren’t challenging, didn’t want to be forced to publicly acknowledge and confront the lie they’d just heard. If the lie isn’t challenged, we can all pretend it’s the truth and not a lie. This is the process by which public pixie dust is used to turn a public lie into a truth. I shall repeatedly return to this county commissioners meeting for more insight.

 

Defending the Public Myth

What’s not well understood by many is that psychologically once we witness a known or suspected lie, particularly a public lie by an “official” or person of perceived “authority”, and we don’t challenge it, we become silent co-conspiratorial keepers of the lie. It’s now our shared lie and we must defend it as we would the truth. Or at least not attack it, because for all intents and purposes it’s become the accepted public truth. We in effect become public myth keepers. Of course, I’m talking about unpaid public myth keepers.

After the lie’s become an unchallenged part of the public myth for a while, if the lie is questioned by anyone and the challenge is upheld, we’d be exposed in our complicit support of the lie, even if the exposure is simply to ourselves. We hide our lies from ourselves, thus we can’t expose our lies to ourselves. This simple understanding is important to accept if we’re to begin healing. We must continuously remember that we’re always and forever first hiding from ourselves. Thus we often will defend the lie as the truth or at least remain non committal regarding its veracity. This is the power behind official propaganda (lies) that aren’t challenged. We empower the propaganda by not challenging it.

As the public lie ages and it becomes further embedded in the public myth, we often incorporate the lie into our own worldview. To continue to reject it internally in the face of our public acceptance would create the pain of cognitive dissonance, something we naturally wish to avoid. Better to accept the lie into our internal web of myths, truths and lies we call our worldview. Of course, this increases the need to defend it even more.

Even further down the line, our personal defense of the lie, along with its endless public repeating, sometimes serves to convince us it really is the truth. We begin to believe the lie, which is now our lie, and even adopt it as our own truth. For those of us who never believed the public lie or never accepted the lie as a truth, this process is extremely frustrating and even frightening. Our mind quickly grasps the power of this deceptive dynamic and how it could seriously hurt us if we stood in its way. The same realization settles over those who awaken later to the lie, further impeding those of us who wish to expose a well established and publically digested lie.

 

The BIG LIE

A perfect example of this dynamic in play is the manner in which many of us publically and privately resist any credible examination of what really happened on 9/11. This subject is a publicly (and for many a privately) closed door and cannot be opened at all, not even a smidgen. If the door is somehow forced open a crack, the governmental, public and private keepers of the myth rush in to apply damage control. And if we’re confronted with obvious contradictions of fact or common sense, while we might publicly say we support looking a little closer, secretly many of us are desperate for this door to be quickly slammed shut once again, for the implications are too disturbing to contemplate.

From my conversations over the last 3 years with at least 20 people who have slowly come to realize there are serious problems with the official 9/11 “conspiracy theory”, nearly everyone has admitted to me they’d always had problems with the official story. And while many suspected there was much more to it than they were being told, they didn’t want to think about the ramifications if their suspicions were true. The clincher for many to remain silent and in denial was that no one of public “authority”, be it on TV or newspapers or magazines, seemed to be questioning the official story. In essence, the leaders of the herd, the hive hierarchy, were (and are) not accepting any questioning of the 9/11 public myth under any circumstances. This had the effect of stifling questions from those who would normally be somewhat critical of the government.

Now combine this personal uncertainty and doubt with government and private myth keepers publicly and viciously attacking anyone who questioned the official story and we have what could reasonably be called a hot potato. Meaning no one who’s publicly certified as a “sane” person (meaning accepted by the hive) with anything to lose would possibly touch it. The myth keepers rarely attack public doubters on actual scientific or logical grounds, other than to hold up the disgraced NIST reports as proof. This is because the official conspiracy theory cannot withstand an unbiased and logically consistent examination without massive inconsistencies becoming readily apparent.

Instead, the preferred method used to “discredit” anyone asking questions when they can’t defend “facts” are extremely effective ad hominem attacks, which directly threaten a person’s status within the hive. For most people, particularly those in the public eye or of substantial wealth and privilege, but even middle class Joe and Jane who work in private or public companies and mingle daily with other hive members, it’s public suicide to invite these attacks by asking questions. Thus self censorship is alive and well in America, helped along by clear instructions from the hive authorities that it’s best not to ask questions.

The people with silent questions about the official conspiracy theory see the public beatings received by other doubters and quickly determine the softer easier way is just to shut up and whistle past the grave yard. These techniques have been used for thousands of years but have been refined over the past 100 years in an effort to maintain the illusion of a representative republic and “freedom”. In particular, this applies to the so-called freedom of the press, which is a farce any way you slice it. Any serious study of the main stream media will inform you of their consistent support of the hive hierarchy.

The powers that be who wish to squelch troublesome inquires can’t exactly move directly to outright jailing or even execution (at least not yet) so the myth of a benevolent government and freedom for all is maintained using other methods. These techniques include public browbeating and harassment as well as the psyops crowd favorite of ridicule, innuendo and rumor mongering spread close to home and work. And for the more persistent questioners, the tried and true outright verbal and physical threats, IRS “investigations” and so on are in the tool box ready to be used. Of course, “accidents” for those “terrorists” who are gaining real credibility can always be deployed. One only need spend some time reading up on this subject to become familiar with how this is done.

The herd quickly learns that to question the official myth(s) of the hive means immediate and extremely public excommunication or worse.  Since many people are already filled with conflicting lies that create continuous internal turmoil, most don’t have the internal stability and conviction to withstand this type of character assault. It’s extremely difficult to swim upstream when you’re all alone and you can’t trust yourself to overcome the current.

Moral courage to act against the herd and your government isn’t “found” within most people; it’s developed over time and begins with deep personal convictions which often include basic honest assessments of themselves and their world. To believe and then parrot what the herd believes or what the powers that be want you to believe is not defined in my book as moral courage, unless the belief itself is capable of standing on its own as independently provable and self evident. This is rarely the case.

If the only thing backing the moral courage is the ability to bash someone’s head in, meaning raw power, this is actually a demonstration of cowardliness masquerading as patriotism or courage. I’m not talking about rushing the machine gun nest type of courage; I’m talking about deep moral convictions based upon personal awareness and deep understanding of oneself and others. There is a shameful explosion of moral cowardliness these days from the very top all the way down to mom and pop.

 

The Herd Polices Itself

Following this dynamic down to a more personal level, when others would question the official conspiracy theory in their presence, many of the people I talked to who privately doubted the official story would actually defend the official story in public as a way of publicly declaring to the hive that they were on the correct side of the line in the sand. Others would just remain silent. Three of the people I talked to at length expressed deep shame and regret for actually attacking public questioners of the official myth with name calling and ridicule, precisely the techniques they feared would be used against them of they opened their mouths to question.

This is a perfect example of the herd policing itself after the conditioning and indoctrination has been set. When I asked them how they felt while they were attacking the questioners, two of them admitted they felt excited, almost like an adrenaline rush, even while they were feeling guilty or ashamed. I’ve talked before about the pain killing drugs and chemicals the brain releases into the blood stream when we hear, see or even speak information that confirms our biases and prejudices, even if we don’t really believe them.

This subject can and will divide families because the validity and believability of the questioner goes a long way to supporting the credibility of what they’re saying. Since it’s very important to attack credible sources to maintain the myth, and family members often have higher credibility, in order to stay in our denial or to protect our hive status, we will (viciously) attack family members if need be. One cannot over emphasize the lengths we’ll go to when trying to hide our fear of being rejected from the hive. As I’ve discussed in other articles, the fear we all have of standing alone against public opinion, even in a one on one basis, is often determined by our perception of the danger to our standing in the hive, not by any moral, ethical or legal grounds or factual correctness.

The public beatings tell each person who doesn’t wish to buck the trend exactly where they should stand on this subject. In effect, the master’s boss has told the slaves what their opinion should be regarding slavery’s benefits, not only to the economy, but to the slaves themselves. Here’s the story; slavery is good, poking your nose around 9/11 is very bad, not shut the hell up and get back to work. And don’t forget to spend and consume, which will help kill the pain of your voluntary servitude.

This dynamic plays out in many different ways depending on how well the person is coping with life in general. There’s no average or normal way for people to deal with this type of personal dishonesty so that leaves everyone an out, saying to themselves that they’re special, that it doesn’t apply to them, that since things appear to be normal it can’t be that bad, whatever. The excuse isn’t important and doesn’t even need to be believable. And it applies to all public and most corporate policy, not just 9/11.

Some common methods I’ve personally seen used by people to avoid the entire mess and disown responsibility for “it” is to say “Look I’m really busy right now with a lot on my plate so I’m not going to deal with this.” Or my favorite “I’m not an expert on these things so I’d prefer to leave it to the people who know” which of course completely repudiates any personal responsibility to make any effort to know what’s going on. Once we accept and then begin to assimilate the lie, it takes on a life of its own. And in order to continue to lie to ourselves, we must defend the lie to others. Obviously, this level of public and private deception cannot occur in a healthy nation or within healthy individuals.

When thinking about this subject, I’m constantly reminded of an old saying. “You can’t con an honest man” because the con requires self deception by the mark, the person being conned. In order for the con to work, the “victim” must participate in their own fleecing. By definition and design, there are no “innocent” victims in a successful con, just poor traders in a market of greed, lies and self deception.

 

Keeping Me, Myself and I Separated

When I talk about disclosure or exposure of the truth or lie, I’m not necessarily talking strictly about public exposure. I’m ultimately talking about exposure of the truth to our consciousness, to us, to the inner monologue. All information, all “facts”, are held in our sub consciousness which always knows everything. Uncomfortable truth or awareness can and does surface to the conscious level for a variety of reasons, where it’s often quickly suppressed by the ego.

How we actually react often depends upon the web of lies we’re carrying, along with our intellectual capacity to construct plausible alternative realities that will allow the lie to (co)exist with truths and other lies. In this way, high intelligence can actually work against us for it allows us to construct massively complex and convoluted stories, each containing layers of lies that support other lies with enough truth mixed in to remain plausible. The capacity to concoct lies is only limited by our imagination and desperation to avoid the truth. Jeez, sounds like the Ponzi, doesn’t it?

However, average or below average intelligence is more than adequate for the task of creating self deceptions. We’re all quite capable of creating our own alternative universe where everything makes sense, just as long as we never pull it all together into one big comprehensive package. To do so would be emotional suicide because all the contradictions would suddenly be readily apparent to us. The genius of the BIG LIE, personal or governmental, lay with both its plausibility and its ability to be understood and adopted by the lowest commoner. “The terrorists did it because they hate us. Now shut up and get back on the hamster wheel.”

Sometimes the ego creates what could be considered multiple split personalities (but isn’t exactly) in order to keep the various lies and self deceptions separated and away from our conscious mind. While the ego is constantly attempting to keep the truth buried, sometimes it can’t for various reasons. For example, maybe a truth must be present consciously in some more restricted form in order for us to function at work. So barriers are erected in our conscious mind that allows us to hide these truths in plain sight without acknowledging them.

When considering this dynamic, I often think of those porous Chinese Walls our friends on Wall Street construct as an example of this. The so-called Chinese Walls allow everyone to participate in the public myth that both sides aren’t talking to each other and neither side can see what the other’s doing. The exact same thing happens in our consciousness. We see examples of this on ZH and elsewhere where people leave nonsensical statements using contradictory information to “prove” a point. They really don’t see the problem with their declaration. They’re blind to these contradictions because in their mind, it all makes sense. Their “facts” aren’t connected to reality in the same way as others.

 

Ignore that Cognitive Dissonance

You may remember an earlier article of mine where I described how the ego uses a powerful but narrowly focused spotlight to illuminate small portions of our mind to our conscious awareness, but never all of it at the same time.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/end-empire-waking-zombie-nations-psychology-consciousness-and-egoic-mind

This allows for the continued existence of facts that contradict each other without causing a total collapse. But this can and often does create a great deal of instability which can be overcome by holding extremely strong black and white opinions and views. This allows one to hold unproven, nonsensical or contradictory opinions that can’t be challenged because they’re set in stone and thus secure. This is functionally equivalent to the infantile practice of covering one’s ears while hollering “Na na na na, I can’t hear you”, something we’re all guilty of from time to time. This is an important tool for the serial denier.

This occurs regardless of how ridiculous the opinions may be because the strong black and white opinion is not intended to be based upon irrefutable facts. Its real purpose is to act as a buffer from the truth or other lies and self deceptions. We can see this occur all the time in ourselves and in others if we honestly look. Just peruse any discussion board for examples of this on public display. This also allows for changing troublesome facts once the light’s been moved. If information comes to light that changes pieces or the entire picture, simply change the “facts”. This also provides for the use of one fact to “prove” contradictory points or multiple views.

This explains how people are able to contradict themselves numerous times during a 10 minute discussion or even in the same sentence. Since there’s no central clearing or ethical standards board within ourselves to prevent double counting or misuse of facts, anything goes in the mind that deceives. After all, if we’re lying to ourselves, aren’t we the ones who determine if we’re really lying or not? Don’t we determine what our own (internal) personal ethical standards are? Who’re you calling a liar?

We all do this. The real question is to what degree do we lie and how “flexible” are our internal controls or personal ethical standards? Is it really a lie if we believe what we’re saying is the truth? What if our ego is so strong and effective at suppressing the truth that we can’t consciously remember our own lies? Are they then lies? Were they once lies but no longer since I can’t remember them? Is it a lie if it can only be accessed through hypnotism? It really is amazing how much we lie to ourselves. The only solution I’ve ever found to this vicious circle is rigorous honesty, starting within.

When these artificial barriers that separate lies or self deceptions begin to slip or collapse, we experience a painful cognitive dissonance (created by our ego to provide “incentive” not to look too closely) which often manifests in the form of a disembodied fear or anxiety. We’re not exactly sure what’s bothering us because we still haven’t consciously acknowledged the issue that’s causing the conflict. But we’re extremely fearful and have a terrible sense of foreboding, which is created by our ego to compel us to reject whatever it is that’s upsetting our carefully constructed worldview. We become extremely anxious to rid ourselves of this feeling as quickly as possible. The fight or flight impulse kicks in.

After creating the pain of cognitive dissonance, our ego then rushes in to apply damage control in the same way the public keepers of the myth do. In the rush to alleviate the emotional pain we’re experiencing we’ll often grasp anything we can that will displace the cognitive dissonance and it’s accompanying pain, including more lies. Considering the landscape I just described, it’s a testament to our capacity for self deception and tolerance of accumulated pain that we can even make it through the day. Increasingly we can’t and this escalating collective dysfunction, our insanity, is being outwardly expressed through our public leaders, legislators, regulators and corporations.

 

Psychic Firewalls

The dynamic I just described, but only touched the surface of, is not well understood beyond the field of psychiatry and those who forge and manipulate public opinion, including government and Madison Avenue. Spend some time reading about Edward Bernays and the influence he had, and still has from the grave, on advertising and propaganda worldwide. Many things we think we know about ourselves and our world are myths we were told and now tell ourselves in order to avoid or soften the truth. We’re much more susceptible to manipulation than our ego is willing to admit. In fact, much of this manipulation depends upon our own egoic insistence that we aren’t that easily manipulated, thus leaving us wide open to the very manipulation we deny being susceptible to.

Because we remain willfully ignorant to the capacity of others to influence us, we spend our day wide open to subtle and not so subtle messages and influences. This is similar to how susceptible our computer would be to hackers and viruses if we turned off our firewall and antivirus and browsed the Internet. I’ve read articles describing how wide open computers are attacked within 30 minutes, swarmed like mosquitoes in the Bayou. Pull up the detailed log of the firewall activity on your computer and be ready to be shocked by what’s going on in the background.

Now consider how many TV commercials, billboards, radio spots, magazine advertisements, Internet messages and “placement advertising” inside the actual television programs you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Not to mention the wide use of subliminal messaging everyone denies using, but yet somehow it still finds its way into commercials and political advertising of all types. This is occurring psychically to all of us on a daily basis even as we insist it can’t and doesn’t happen.

We’re sitting ducks to daily psychological assaults, yet we’ve become so conditioned to it (or we simply deny it) that we passively assume the idea to purchase that yummy MacSnot burger is our own home grown idea. In 30 seconds, the TV tells us not only that we’re hungry but that the MacSnot burger with fries and a coke is precisely what we want…..now. It even tells us how to feel about it. “I’m Lovin’ it!” Watch the commercials closely because there’s an entire story played out in 30 to 60 seconds using images, voice, text and music.

As simplistic as this all sounds, imagine this message pounding away at your psyche 3 or 4 times a day for years. Now multiple this one message by the hundreds of large corporations and thousands of small companies scratching and clawing each other for 30 seconds of your ears and eyeballs and it’s no wonder we’re all zombies to some extent or another. Pull up some research reports on the fast food, automobile, soda, beer, and other Fortune 500 companies and take a look at their advertising budget. We are outnumbered and overwhelmed.

In fact, if you sit down with the family for an evening of TV viewing without a basic understanding of how your family is vulnerable to these influences, you’re in effect having unsafe psychic relations with every single slime ball advertiser and political or corporate propagandist the network can sell time to. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the social conditioning and predictive programming underway during the endless hours of mindless TV consumption we subject ourselves to each week.

And yet we convince ourselves its all good clean fun, harmless really. After all, we know the difference between fantasy and reality, right? Nobody is forcing us to buy those big screen TV’s and MacSnot burgers. I’m doing it of my own free will. Well, I contend we’re not. Consider spending some time reading about subliminal messaging and the advertising and propaganda industry and then we’ll have a discussion about free will. I promise you the average person will spend no more than half an hour reading about this manipulation before s/he throws the book out or clicks on another web page, declaring it too crazy or scary to be true. In fact, it’s a little too close to the truth for our comfort.

Our insanity is worrying about the PG-13 rated movie our 5 year old might catch a glimpse of while allowing his or her still forming mind to be assaulted and conditioned by everything else. Are we nuts? Well, funny we should ask because we are. And the movie rating system is brilliant reverse psychology because it infers that if something is rated G, it must be “good”. I know that’s not exactly what they say but that’s the psychological takeaway. I’ve always found it interesting that they don’t rate commercials. Which means all the commercials we see must be rated “G”, as in good and wholesome.

To sit down in front of the TV, radio, magazine, book or Internet without your psychic firewall fully engaged and updated is madness. And I contend that this continuous bombardment of conflicting subconscious messaging, social predictive programming and conditioning is contributing to our escalating insanity, which is reflected outward in the form of the Ponzi and the collective madness.

 

Stockholm Syndrome

The behavior displayed by the people at the commissioners meeting can’t be dismissed as on par with someone farting in public, with everyone hoping to ignore the stench so as not to embarrass the poor gaseous fellow or themselves. In my opinion, what was exhibited might be considered a form of slave mentality, that of a conditioned mind that doesn’t wish to confront a perceived superior for fear of being psychically or emotionally traumatized. And of course, always lurking in the background is the silent but implied physical threat, in this case by the armed sheriff standing guard next to the commissioners table.

As my friend told me how his fellow taxpayers urged him to protect the liar, I immediately thought about the Stockholm syndrome. This term was first (widely) introduced into the public consciousness (and then rapidly buried as too uncomfortable) when Patty Hearst was kidnapped and then allegedly conditioned by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). I’m not passing judgment on the SLA or Patty Hearst, just explaining the process and how we’re all subjected to the Stockholm syndrome.

Here was Hearst, who was forcibly taken against her will, and yet within two months had not only come to speak positively about her captives and their cause but then publically demonstrated her acceptance by robbing a bank with her captives. At least that was her defense at her later trial. Regardless, the Stockholm syndrome is very well understood by those who wish to use it against us.

Just look at the public’s reaction to the Ponzi for parallels. While many people are angry, many others believe what they’ve been conditioned to believe, that we can’t survive without the big banks. And there are quite a few people who can spout from memory the banking cabal’s talking points in an elevator minute.

The public’s behavior exhibited at the commissioners meeting also showed the characteristics of abused spouse syndrome or battered person syndrome, where the battered and abused spouse is desperate to avoid upsetting or angering the abuser for fear of receiving additional beatings. The battered spouse will not only suppress him or herself in order not to disturb or anger the abuser, but will also suppress or even attack others that threaten to disturb or anger the abuser, which was exactly what was happening in the commissioners meeting.

There are even strong parallels to the behavior exhibited by inmates in WW2 concentration camps. I’ve read easily a dozen books discussing the psychology of the people leading up to and including their internment and eventual execution. Most people don’t realize that many nationalities were sent to these camps and an in-depth reading shows a broad cross section of personalities, cultures and nationalities exhibiting the same symptoms in the face of systematic and calculated brutality.

It’s not a pretty subject to study and I’m in no way condemning or condoning their behavior. No one can ever say how they’ll ever truly react under any circumstances until they’re inside the madness. I was sickened by what I read, of man’s inhumanity to man, and I can only hope I’d be able to display the level of courage many exhibited leading up to and during their captivity and, for many, execution. But the sad fact is that these brave individuals and families were often fighting their fellow sufferers as much as the Nazis. And for those who believe it could never get this bad in America, that’s exactly what they (Germans, Jews, Polish, French, Russians etc) said to themselves right up to and past the point of no return.

We can also find examples of similar behavior in the terrible dysfunction evident in families of severe alcoholics or drug addicts, where enabling or calming behavior is repeatedly offered by the spouse and family. Lies and broken promises are frequently not (directly) challenged by the spouse and/or other family members in order not to upset the alcoholic or drug addict. This is done time and time again in the false hope that he or she won’t drink, drug or abuse if encouraged to behave.

Many times, family members will come to believe that they’re the ones causing or triggering the behavior of the abuser or addict rather than anything the abuser/addict is doing. They’re told this by their tormentor (the Ponzi says the consumer is saving instead of buying, the people aren’t borrowing, the unemployed don’t want to work, etc) sometimes followed by a verbal or physical beating (recession, bailouts with taxpayer money, obscene bonuses etc) to cement the conditioning. Unfortunately the victim often assumes responsibility for “fixing” the problem (higher taxes, less services, no cuts for military or the elites etc) yet they can’t fix something they have no control over. The victim’s effort to “fix” is intended to placate and defuse the situation, which simply enables all the parties involved to avoid confronting themselves and/or the abuser/addict.

This makes sense when we understand that the family believes they can control the situation by controlling their own behavior, since the addicted person is clearly out of control. No one wishes to admit that the addiction itself has total control over everyone. Many spouses of drug addicts or alcoholics will even go so far as to make sure there’s a supply of drugs or alcohol on hand at all times to placate the insanity. “I don’t want to upset my spouse or he (she) might beat the hell out of me. It’s better to keep him (or her) drugged or drunk so I can deal with the rest of the family.” I’m not mocking this type of behavior at all for I grew up in this type of dysfunctional family. I’m intimately aware of all the dynamics of this type of insanity, having suffered from its effects for decades.

Looking at the bigger picture of our economic system and our political leadership, we’re only participating in our own insanity if we won’t first recognize this dynamic and then talk about it. But to do so requires opening Pandora’s Box and we can’t do this because the first victim we must placate is ourselves. Many of these “ism” diseases are diseases of denial. The drugs, alcohol, food, abuse, sex etc are simply the outward symptoms of deep inner dysfunctions, many of which I suspect trace back to and are expressed as our larger social ills. We can’t separate our personal problems from our cultural and social problems. We are all co-dependent.

 

National Suicide by Suppressing the Natural Survival Instinct

Consider that the behavior outlined above is being exhibited by the general population with regard to Congress, the Executive and the Judiciary, the banking cartel, the nation’s corporations and the regulatory agencies. The list is endless. Like the battered and abused spouse or the spouse of the alcoholic or drug addict, we constantly and falsely embrace hope that our country and culture will get better despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

We as individuals and collectively as a nation cling to any false hope offered by our abusers rather than gather our courage, stand our ground and declare no more. Our thoroughly conditioned and abused (collective) mind is almost totally incapable of defending ourselves from the abuser as long as we remain in denial. In our mind, denial appears to be the “sane” (or the least insane) way to survive in exactly the same manner the Jews, Poles, Gypsies and Russians (to name just a few) of Europe denied it would ever get as bad it as did. This is a horrible illusion, albeit a persistent one.

The battered and abused spouse/person must either stand his/her ground or flee not only to survive but regain some measure of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Since we can never flee from ourselves we use denial to flee while still occupying our body. No wonder we’re so screwed up. We must ask ourselves what is it that’s compelling us to use denial to suppress our basic and ultimate instinct, that of survival? It doesn’t matter whether I’m talking about the battered spouse or the family and spouse of the alcoholic, drug or food addict (the list of addictions is endless) or the government and corporate abused citizen.

As far as I can tell, the mechanism used to defeat the survival instinct we should all be exhibiting NOW is centuries of conditioning of both the culture and the individual. And that conditioning is accelerating on an exponential curve because the body/mind/spirit is rapidly becoming unstable. Like a leaking quart container of oil that’s extremely slippery, our grip (and the conditioning) must grow stronger in order to maintain control. However, this additional force increases both the leak and the potential for a catastrophic loss of control. Without dealing with the leak, the end game is certain and inevitable.

We are the victims and the perpetrators of our own madness. This vicious and suffocating positive feedback circle of our insanity might simply exhaust itself like so many cycles before with only a few tens of millions dead if we didn’t also possess weapons of mass destruction, be they derivative or fusion. I’ll save that topic for another time. But I will say that only an absolutely and totally insane culture would not only produce these weapons in quantities dozens of times greater than needed to kill (again, be they derivative or fusion) but also produce a strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) or Too Big To Fail (TBTF) in order to protect ourselves from ourselves.

One of my favorite scenes in The Matrix, which was a wonderful examination of our individual and collective insanity, is when Cypher’s eating dinner in the restaurant with Mr. Smith at his table. Cypher is negotiating his re-assimilation into the hive, aka the Matrix. He says “You know….I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years you know what I realized? Ignorance is bliss.” Mr. Smith then states “Then we have a deal.” Cypher demands “I don’t want to remember nothing, NOTHING. You understand? And I want to be rich, you know, someone important….like an actor.” Mr. Smith, eager to please and seal the deal, replies “Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.”

Sounds like the conversation we have with our ego and our leaders on a daily basis, doesn’t it? “I don’t want to remember nothing, nothing. You understand?” Our ego and our leaders are telling us whatever we wish to hear and believe. And the most important thing these lies create for us is the blissful ignorance we all crave in order to escape from our own insanity. So we fuss and cry a little until mommy brushes her nipple near our mouth. We know what to do from there, don’t we? And the selection of an actor as someone who’s important was priceless, since we’re all acting as sane individuals on our way deeper into our collective insanity.

Finally, one must laugh so as not to cry at the double dose of insanity of first demanding we not remember anything and yet requiring we “be someone important”. Even though we won’t remember if that order was actually fulfilled, even this final contradiction isn’t enough to prevent our willing embrace of the coming psychic numbness that ignorance will provide us during our suicide. Upon achieving blissful ignorance, Karma may place me in the bottom of a septic tank on clean out duty rather than playing second lead across from Marla Singer, but what does it matter because ignorance is bliss? You just can’t make this shit up because it wouldn’t be believable, a term which describes a measure of our intolerance for slices of the truth.

The standing of our ground must begin on an individual basis before it will ever materialize in the collective. The country/collective as a whole will not suddenly grow a set of balls overnight if we as individuals don’t posses them to begin with. Courage and power flows up from the individual, not down from the group. Just ask any military officer if this basic concept is true. Each soldier is conditioned to fight for his or her fellow soldier, not for him or herself.

This conditioned act of selflessness is what creates the collective consciousness of the fighting force and emboldens the group, which acts as a positive feedback loop that also feeds the individual. Each soldier willingly submits to the group, contributing to and feeding from the same source. But it all begins with the individual. Each individual must accept and surrender to the group in order to gain strength from the group, which in turn strengthens the individual.

 

Breaking the Conditioning

Breaking the conditioned mind is not as high a mountain to climb as you might think. Let me continue the story of the county commissioners because there’s more to be learned here. While my friend didn’t enjoy being ostracized by the hive members nor admonished by a few commissioners for daring to speak truth to power, he was able to “embarrass” the commissioners into upholding their sworn duty and talk about the lie.

And the tax rate wound up being set where it was supposed to be, at a 16% increase rather than 20%, admittedly a small but still vital victory. It wasn’t the ultimate tax rate that mattered; it was the fact that there was a fight for the truth that was of utmost importance. He had set a small but important precedent that could now be followed and hopefully repeated.

As he left the meeting, many of the very same people who had publicly shushed him inside stopped him and expressed their gratitude that he spoke out at the meeting. They were genuinely happy he’d stood his ground, despite their initial misgivings. Rather than be vindictive (and my friend assured me that his urge to verbally slap them was nearly overwhelming) he thanked them and then gently asked them for support the next time this happened.

These people weren’t country bumpkins or undereducated blue collar workers. He counted among them a lawyer, a professor at the state college, the local pediatrician and various business men and women mixed in among the “common” folk. And surprisingly the local county judge, along with other well dressed and obviously professional people he didn’t know or recognize. These were average to higher educated people who supposedly were well informed and highly motivated. This shows that we can’t hide in the myth that our problems are caused by the great unwashed and uneducated masses. It’s simply not true and shows our own unwillingness to speak truth to ourselves.

Many of my personal experiences are similar to my friend. I find that it’s the more highly educated and more financially well off (the middle to upper middle class) who perceive they have too much to lose by upsetting the apple cart and speaking truth to power. Thus they have a greater tendency to self censor, stuff their opinions and allow themselves to be intimidated by perceived higher powers. They are their own conflict of interest when protecting their own interest and will often bargain with themselves in order to keep what they have. Thus they willingly lose the small battles in the hope they’ll win the big battle, never considering that it will always be just small battles and they’re conceding every single one on the way down the slippery slope of denial.

While the poor and undereducated no doubt have their own delusions to contend with, for the most part they fully expect the better off to lie, cheat and steal and get away with it. They’re more realistic about their being victimized and thus they’re often less intimidated by power. I suspect some of this has to do with having very little to lose. I’ve said before that those with a great deal to lose will only act like they have nothing left to lose when they have lost it all.

 

Mother Nature’s Nose Candy

The poor and lower middle class are not the ones who are directly supporting the insanity in the same way as the middle and upper classes, which today might just mean anyone with a job. Zero Hedge readers must remember that we’re more likely to be the (small) exception to the rule merely because we’re visiting ZH trying to broaden our understanding. We can’t measure society based upon our views. But neither can we make broad and sweeping generalizations simply because we assume others are different, thus not as intelligent, motivated, aware etc.

I’ve made (and still make) this mistake myself and its seductive because it offers easy and compelling answers that conveniently mesh with my worldview. The solutions and answers I arrive at are telling me exactly what I want to hear. The endorphins and natural pain killers released by the brain when we hear or see what we want are dozens of times more powerful than that junk we can buy on the street corner or at the pharmacy.

No street pusher or head doctor could ever match Mother Nature’s selection of nose candy. And her “natural” high is mainlined directly into our blood stream faster than we can say Keynesian economics. Our insanity has made us natural junkies, wandering the intellectually barren streets for any information whore or economist pusher who’ll sell us anything that’ll confirm our perceived sanity, all so Mother Nature will release the good stuff. We blindly stumble back and forth from an arousing emotional high to an extremely painful cognitive dissonance to our next desperate fix to kill the pain. We’re no better than the filthy junkies we step over on our way to our hamster wheel in the corner office. Hold all my calls Martha; I’m getting high on Keynes.

 

Reinforcing Changed Behavior

Of course, at the very next commissioners meeting, a similar situation came up. But this time when my friend spoke up, a number of people immediately joined him in vocal opposition to the item on the table. Yes, he still had to go first but now he had some support. The abused had learned they could resist the powerful and live another day. And there was strength in numbers. My friend now reports that this flexing of citizen muscle has been growing for nearly a year and is to the point where people are engaging in other areas of the community.

It’s now spreading on its own and without his guidance. His fellow citizens found an exit from the madness of self censorship, of stuffing their objections and of feeling powerless. They escaped their subservience to their abuser and the self hate that comes from the groveling. And as an added bonus, the commissioners have been brought to heel. Everyone’s so intent on stopping the madness at the top that we never stop to consider that it all flows from the bottom, with ourselves on the first rung of the ladder. 

While he didn’t turn lambs into lions, the conditioned mind these people previously exhibited had been broken to a small degree. And every subsequent time they act against their conditioning, they become more confident in their ability to do so. They’ve begun to believe in themselves. They never liked being subservient but felt powerless to change their current condition because the herd, also known as the public collective consciousness, was acting the same way as they were and thus not supporting any desire they had to change.

We must remember that while we still retain the illusion we’re all free and independent thinkers and actors, in reality we’re highly codependent upon our masters for permission to do anything. This is why the conditioned mind will rarely break free on its own. It takes real courage for the abused mind to escape the psychological chains that bind. It’s not just the master that has control here but the entire cultural system and its psychological reference points that influence us, with all of them telling us we can’t fight back.

If you look critically at the messaging we’re receiving, we’re always told that it’s easier to go with the flow and to leave the driving to someone else. We’ve received no encouragement from the herd to overcome the risk of a lashing from the master if we resist. When my friend showed up and put his foot down, the others were at first frightened that blows were sure to follow, but then quickly became energized when they did not. He put an end (on a local scale) to an extremely powerful positive feedback loop that was acting negatively against the herd.

I’ve experienced similar results within my small community simply because I stepped forward and then asked others to help. The asking for help is extremely important because by doing so, we’re asking the others to invest in their future, to become active rather than passive, to be responsible participants and citizens rather than future victims. Asking for help also relieves us of the “oh oh, what did I get myself into now” buyer’s remorse of endless and thankless guard duty with no relief in sight. Finally, because we walk away with a sense of community healing and personal satisfaction, we’re more willing to stick our necks out again and again.

In Chapter 4 of this continuing examination of our collective insanity, we’ll look at the concept of control which leads to rethinking our perception of the problems and solutions, how fear is used to control us and how we use fear to control ourselves and how to make reality fresh every day. We examine the missing soldier dynamic, how it’s not what you have but how you use it and a visit with the Nailman, who explains that there’s no trying, just doing. You’re past the midway point so don’t stop now or you’ll miss the really good stuff.

 

Cognitive Dissonance - 06/07/2010

4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Insane Asylum or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big Lie – Chapter Three”

  1. “We must continuously remember that we’re always and forever first hiding from ourselves.”

    How is this possible? I’m not saying it is not true, but there would have to be two entities involved to make it true. One part of us lies to the other, as it were. What are these parts?

  2. In this case I was speaking of our denial, both collective and individual. Most people think of denial as they would an on/off switch. In practice denial is a process of bargaining with what we don’t wish to face. Sometimes the bargaining doesn’t involve the denied subject itself, but rather something ancillary.

    For example, let’s say that I don’t wish to face the fact that my government lies to me. To confront that fear directly is to acknowledge precisely what I wish to deny. So instead I declare my full support for the government and aggressively confront anyone who questions my nationalist zeal.

    We lie to, and thus hide from, ourselves all the time. It is called denial and it spans all the permutations of the act of denial.

    1. We lie to, and thus hide from, ourselves all the time.

      I have to keep reminding myself that everyone thinks of him/herself as a good person, even sociopaths. No matter what term another person might use to name and categorize this form of mental gymnastics (a name is not a thing, and hence irrelevant) — nonetheless the fact is, and so needs to be factored into any attempt at understanding ourselves, as well as “the others,” whoever we might perceive them to be.

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