Suicide by Cognitive Dissonance
I’m always fascinated how I’m able to maintain two (or more) contrary views or beliefs in my mind, often without being aware they represent opposite positions. This of course makes them illogical and unsustainable. Inevitably, when I find myself troubled or irritable, a careful inward search usually finds a cognitive dissonance creating havoc in my mind which is often deliberately hidden from me by my ego. The sign of this dissonance is invariably the emotional pain or trauma I’m feeling at the moment. Sometimes I experience it as a fight or flight sense of panic that suddenly takes hold. Wow! Where’d that come from?
Why is it that every time I find some hidden cognitive contradiction or discord, it’s nearly always being promoted or obscured by my ego? There seems to be constant conflict between my unconscious, which is all seeing and knowing, my ego, where much of our daily business of living is conducted, and my conscious awareness, which now-a-days isn’t all that aware.
Why is my ego constantly shielding me from perceived dangers that may or may not really be harmful? Don’t I want to know the truth, to be aware of my world? Often when I explore these conflicts I find that some of these dissonances are trivial, almost like little white lies. But the ego doesn’t hide each conflict as a self contained unit, intact and in one place. They’re scattered all over the place because each piece is often used in multiple distortions and deceits, almost like an intelligent operating system conserving scarce resources and hard drive space. Only in this case, the intelligent operating system, aka the ego, intends to self deceive by way of subterfuge or outright lies.
It seems so contrary to common sense for the ego, which is clearly not well suited to managing our affairs on a daily basis, to be front and center 24/7. This conundrum led me to research the subject and much has been written on this by many authors to date. An interesting theory is that some catastrophic event or trauma experienced by our ancestors thousands of years ago catapulted our ego forward from its former reserve status as emergency manager in waiting. Julian Jaynes published some ideas on this subject back in 1976, ideas that are finally receiving the attention they deserve, principally because the science of imaging our brain while performing tasks has substantiated many of Jaynes suppositions.
The many suspected reasons for this egoic change are beyond the scope of this article. But it does seem clear that earth’s biological system has suffered severe damage because we (our ego) aren’t cooperating with nature. As I said earlier, our insanity doesn’t appear to serve our ultimate evolutionary purposes, though there are plenty of people who will argue that human activity is quite natural and normal. Ironically, insanely, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re normal when our actions might best be described as self will run riot. Many have inferred that our materialism is directly related to our egoic mind.
I’ve often wondered if the sequence isn’t the other way around, that as certain human cultures became more materialistic over the past three or four thousand years, they became increasingly toxic and ill from their growing self centered materialistic way of life. For the sake of this discussion, assume that materialism is ultimately unhealthy for humans for a whole host of reasons, a view I feel is unquestionably correct. If so, then the ego would see this materialistic “condition” as a continuous emergency, requiring the ego to remain front and center in order to “save” our consciousness and body from ourselves by shielding us from our most destructive tendencies.
This would be similar to our immune system rallying to protect our body from toxins that enter the body, even if we accidentally or intentionally ingested the toxins. The immune system (ego) protects itself by protecting the host, meaning us. Without the host body, the immune system (ego) has no function or ability to exist, thus it defends us from all attacks, even suicidal attacks by us against ourselves, either individually or collectively. The ego would be acting in much the same way the computers on those Mars rovers do, where various failsafe modes kick in when things start to go wrong. If nothing else, live to fight another day, even if the one we’re fighting is ourselves.
Our immune system doesn’t make value or moral judgments of the crisis or the host and neither does our ego. Nor would we want our emergency back-up system, the ego, to make value judgments in order to determine if it should step in or not because it might just make the wrong one. When its only purpose is to keep the system (us) alive, nothing else matters if the system is under attack. Maybe the ego is shielding us from our madness in order to protect us for as long as possible from our insanity?
Egoic Moral Suasion
Interestingly, from another point of view, this could all be a positive feedback loop gone terribly wrong. Maybe it was some ancient trauma that brought forward our formerly waiting-in-the-wings emergency manger to full time duty. But by being up front all the time rather than in the background, the ego is causing terrible long term destruction and distortions within us primarily because of the extremely blunt and unbalanced tools (mostly fear) it uses to control/influence us. We must remember that our ego sees itself as a separate entity and not necessarily “us”.
As the ego tries to clean up or control the mess caused by its constant presence, maybe it turned our natural tendency to store supplies for lean times into a materialistic obsession as some sort of a diversion from the chaos. The captain always makes sure there’s plenty of work to keep the crew busy, particularly during unsettled times. Remember that the ego is not bound by logic or rational reasoning, only by the desire for both the ego and the host to survive using the equivalent of moral suasion. Mostly this means fear, which can manifest as greed, lust, gluttony and other not so obvious fear based emotions. I’m basically talking about the 7 deadly sins.
The result might explain our current mad dash into materialism, which is promoted by our ego in order to distract us from the damage caused by the ego being in constant control and doing a poor job of it. In my view, our insanity is caused in part by our out-of-control ever present ego and partly because we have so completely separated from our center, our core being that for yens of thousands of years lived in harmony with nature. These two causes are not mutually exclusive and actually fit quite well together.
An example of this distraction would be the way we attempt to distract a crying baby with sounds, music or moving objects to divert their attention from their discomfort or trauma. Consider all the brightly colored toys you dangle in front of your son or daughter to quiet them down when they’re loudly letting you know they’re unhappy. The impulse to do this is definitely present in all of us, even if we don’t have children. Sit behind a crying baby on a plane and you’ll do anything to calm the infant short of jumping off the plane or physically hurting the child. This includes silly faces for the baby and angry faces for the mother.
Regardless we need to explain, or at least to understand, man’s suicidal obsession and addiction to materialism if we’re going to cope with our present condition. While there are many people on both sides of this argument, from my point of view man clearly does not co-exist with nature. This is contrary to the actions and behavior of nearly every single plant and animal species on earth, at least those who have not passed into extinction, a path we seem to be following.
I’ve always had a great distaste for the popularly held concept of evolution as “survival of the fittest”. If we look closely we see that in nature, it’s “survival of those who fit best within the whole” that best describes how Mother Nature works. And also our best chance for long term survival. Our delusion that technology alone will save us from ourselves is the best example I can use to illustrate our insanity. Nature in my opinion is the ultimate cooperative effort for the betterment of the whole, an egalitarian state if ever there was one. Passages in the Bible instructing us to hold dominion over the earth, including everything on it, seems to be a rationalization for breaking the sacred contract all inhabitants of Earth are bound by.
Let me step back to the original thought of our ego protecting us from our materialism. Since the ego is the emergency manager of the consciousness and the host body, it would make sense for the ego to see this unnatural materialism as a threat, both to itself and to the host body/consciousness. Because the ego is currently untethered, the ego would handle this situation the best way it could, using the only tools at its disposal, that of fear, self deception and self deceit. Humans (as we currently are) have existed for tens of thousands of years. So from the ego’s point of view, this short period of insanity (the past couple thousand years) must simply be suffered through until our collective sanity returns. Maybe our ego really is protecting us from ourselves until we get better. I went insane and all I got was this lousy T-shirt and a megalomaniac ego.
The native cultures of nearly all the continents were rarely as materialistic as the Europeans and Americans, despite possessing equal if not greater intelligence. And, at least for the North and South American native cultures, equal access to natural resources. So what happened? Why did the Europeans tribes diverge from hundreds of similar cultures scattered throughout the world thousands of years ago, forsaking a more natural and homeopathic relationship with the earth for the naval gazing narcissistic materialistic approach that eventually destroyed (and is still destroying) all those cultures unlucky enough to be blessed with our presence?
Since every other culture had the same opportunity to break off, and for the most part did not, what came over the Europeans? Why were they afflicted with this insanity? From this point of view, our “Material Girl” culture might truly be a mental/spiritual sickness or illness as I’ve been suggesting when I call us insane. The native American Indians (to name just one indigenous culture) express exactly this opinion, calling it the white man’s disease. Consider that the duties of the shaman were to teach his people how to keep the ego under control and in the back seat of the canoe. How and why did it all go wrong in Europe? It appears that this materialism truly began to fester as Europe came out of the Dark Ages.
While the entire world was also immersed in this Dark Age, the other cultures did not seem to be as afflicted as the Europeans. Look at the Muslim Middle East, the Far East of China and Japan; even Africa and the Americas didn’t suffer as Europe did. These regions exited the dark ages more or less intact. Was this where the ego virus finally took control and infiltrated the human mind, in Europe during the dark ages? If only we could call upon Sherman and Mr. Peabody and their WABAC (“wayback”) machine for a trip back in time. I suspect we would find that our (winners) history books would need to be revised.
It’s Not Me, It’s You.
Regardless of the reasons for our insanity, the biggest and most destructive lie of all is the one about those/they/them being the evil perpetrators and me/us/we being the innocent victims. We cannot see, let alone conceive, that living among and within our secret lies, self deceptions and illusions is what’s driving us mad and thus how false the perception of “us” and “them” are. We’re all part of a living breathing economic and social system and while on the surface there are definite distinctions, we’re all co-dependent.
Since nearly all of the intellectual, cultural and religious reference points that supposedly show us we’re sane were constructed by our insanity to feed and reinforce our insanity, how can we trust them? I suspect this alone would drive us all quickly mad if not for the inner resource we all posses, the capability to recognize and understand “truth” at our very core.
I’m talking about our sixth sense, our gut, our instinct, that natural or innate impulse, inclination or tendency inherent in all of us to one degree or another. And which we’ve been conditioned to ignore, even reject, in favor of a “higher” influence, that of technology by way of cruise ships and cruise missiles, of central air conditioning and central government. This isn’t an anti technology statement, this is a pro human statement.
Technology itself is neither good nor bad; it’s how it’s applied and the people applying it and using it that I have a problem with. When discussing technology, advocates fail to recognize that humans have used technology for tens of thousands of years. The problem has always been bad cell phone reception. :>) All kidding aside, any tool is technology. Reed baskets to carry food or possessions, fire to cook and heat, carefully crafted stones used to cut, grind or pound, beasts of burden used to haul or plow the fields or as transportation, nets to catch fish or animals, fur or treated animal skins used as clothing, spears and arrows with stone points and so on. So the argument that technology is killing us is wrong and missing the point.
I’ve often felt that technology helps hide our growing distance from both each other and ourselves. One need only witness two people texting each other while ten feet apart to understand that statement. Consider how many of us are desperate for human contact yet will phone, text, chat and blog rather than walk outside and meet the neighbor we’ve been living next to for the past 4 years and don’t even know by name. Is this not the definition of insanity, of our collective madness? I relocated 12 years ago to the region I now live in. After moving in, I walked around to my nearest neighbors, knocking on doors and introducing myself. You would have thought I was a rapist asking for willing victims the way I was treated.
Worse, I’ve related this story to easily a few hundred people over the past 12 years, including friends, family and clients. And every single person shakes their head in agreement that it’s crazy I was treated this way, as if they never ignored their unknown and unnamed neighbors. It’s always someone else who’s showing signs of insanity, not me. This is sheer and utter madness; self centered narcissistic naval gazing taken to the suicidal level. It’s the cumulative concentration I’m talking about, not the individual incidents, which can always be easily explained away, thus maintaining our own denial.
Welcome to the Insane Asylum
The only way we can sustain our existence while surrounded by this self deception is to lie even more about it, which only serves to drive us deeper into our madness in an endless positive feedback loop of insanity. We’re all on an exponential curve to hell of our own making, nurtured by our insanity and perpetuated by our denial. First we deny, then we deny our denial, then we forget we denied our denial. Welcome to the insane asylum, where all are welcome and no one may leave, where everyone is both medical staff and suffering patient.
While in theory attendance in the asylum is voluntary, in practice it must be mandatory. However, in order to feed our delusion of freedom, our presence is seductively promoted as optional and cleverly disguised as choice. Attendance must be mandatory because any sanity within the madness acts as an antibiotic, eating into all the intertwined self deceptions and delusions that form the basis for the madness virus. Sanity quickly disperses the madness by cutting away the illogical and irrational threads that loosely bind our insanity together. Thus the reason why we never step back for a big picture point of view and why so much is left unsaid and unasked.
Sanity is a mortal danger to the collective insanity and must be cut out and removed if at all possible. Or at the very least, any sanity must be repressed at all costs. Aberrant thought or acts, defined as anything outside the range of 45 to 55 on a 1 to 100 scale, is quickly cauterized and rushed off the American Idol stage of life. Welcome to the machine we all claim to hate but from which we derive our subsistence and support. We have become psychotic cannibals eating away at our own sanity in order to remain comfortably insane. Oh the inhumanity of it all.
Just a few people living and acting sanely function as a “sane” super antibiotic powerful enough to kill off a much larger number of the insane faster than a wooden stake to a vampire’s heart. Insanity simply can’t tolerate reason, logic or compassion in precisely the same way truth becomes extremely dangerous to those whose intent is to deceive or to thieve. The leverage gained from a small number of sane people acting to counteract the insanity will be discussed in an upcoming chapter of this essay because it’s one of the keys to our Escape from New York.
I’m Certified Sane. What About You?
To deny that this cultural insanity is a part of us, to deny that it must be recognized and then treated collectively by us is equivalent to claiming that the open cut on our arm isn’t our problem because we didn’t ask for it, didn’t cause it and don’t want it; thus we most certainly aren’t responsible for it. So we ignore it as it progresses from open cut to festering wound to stinking puss filled gash to gangrenous mass to agonizing death. Since everyone else acts the same way, the herd reinforces our individual and collective behavior as the one and only proper conduct allowed and acceptable.
We’ll ride our righteous indignation, which we concoct to rationalize and justify our inaction, all the way to our grave, screaming at the top of our lungs as we reach for the white light at the end of the crazy train tunnel “See, I told you I wasn’t responsible for it”. Madness! This is madness masquerading as normalcy. And perfectly understandable when you consider that the madmen with the butterfly nets, meaning you and I, are making the rules and running the show. Why would we possibly endeavor to stick our heads out of our protective shells long enough to be decapitated. The genius of our insanity is breath taking, both figuratively and literally.
When considering our (human) behavior, I often apply what I’ve coined the “space alien observer test”. Animal behaviorists study their subjects over long periods of time in an effort to discern not only what’s going on but often the hidden reasons why. If we attempt to apply these same techniques to the study of ourselves, how does one study humans (us) if we’re all insane? If we accept that much of our behavior is natural and thus reasonable and logical, how can we see anything wrong with what we don’t recognize as abnormal? If you don’t expect to find abnormal behavior and all you do see is “normal” behavior, I suspect most everyone is going to get a passing grade.
The “experts” are particularly susceptible to falling into this trap, having been conditioned and indoctrinated by the very same system they’re now expected to critically examine. I’m a so-called expert, having earned the full gauntlet of personal financial planning and security analyst certifications. All that this extensive training and testing succeeded in doing was to teach me how to recognize what’s considered “normal” by the consensus and how to remain hidden in plain sight. Additionally I’m accepted by the other financial experts as one of the chosen. Until recently I was regularly invited to the club for drinks and dinner until I exposed myself (by dropping trousers) as a heretic and non believer. Damn, I’ll miss those Cuban cigars.
But all those calculations and charts are extremely convincing and unless I can regurgitate them come test time (and for continuing education) I won’t receive my accreditation as a “sane” expert financial planner/analyst. I occasionally make fun of my officially sanctioned and accredited sanity by saying “Hi, my name is [CD] and I’m a recovering financial planner. It’s been 12 years since I last planned.” Life’s good since I got clean and sober and interestingly my clients are better off as well, at least financially.
All experts have an inherent conflict of interest. Since experts are officially considered by the hive elders as “sane” they must be the best judge of insanity, right? “Yup, that looks fine to me. Where do I send the bill?” Brings to mind a few Outer Limits programs where the poor sap is left to prove he’s sane after being diagnosed insane by insane people. The only logical (sane?) way to examine humans is to use non humans as observers, thus the reasoning behind my “space alien observer test”. Of course, this is (for now) simply an intellectual exercise unless any aliens passing as human among us want to volunteer for duty. :>)
Watch yourself carefully for a day or two. You’ll be shocked how nonsensical most of your behavior is and how difficult it would be to explain and rationalize our behavior to non humans, let alone your spouse. While we believe we spend the day actively engaged, thinking, weighting and considering, it’s surprising how much of our waking moments are spent on auto pilot and disengaged. This is when we’re vulnerable, when we’re distracted and dazed, when any remaining sanity slips and our programming takes over. I suspect the average person will quickly abandon our little experiment after he or she comes face to face with all the little dissonances and incongruities of daily living. It really is more comfortable back in the ignorant bliss of the collective insanity.
The Sliding Scale of Our Insanity
Many of us saw the 2008 crash coming well before the general population and we should acknowledge our insight and awareness. But this doesn’t mean we’re significantly smarter, more aware or better able to see other “truths”. And it doesn’t excuse us from our responsibility to fix our collective problems. In fact, our awareness instills in us the responsibility of the first responder. Just because we were the first to spot the burning house doesn’t excuse us from volunteer firefighting duties when the paid firefighters don’t show up. We don’t get to brandish this honor like a multiyear long insane asylum hall pass or a get-out-of-the-insane-asylum free card.
How many other lies can we truly be aware of if we won’t examine the primary lies within? For many, it’s too frightening to closely examine what we “know” because then we might be required to act. I know this not just from speaking to others but first hand after deep reflection and some soul searching. For a number of years I cooked up one excuse after another to justify doing nothing, including becoming a self appointed Paul Revere and riding from person to person spreading alarm and panic and doing absolutely nothing constructive.
But what a show I put on and it certainly was a soothing balm for my dishonesty. Waking people from their slumber without offering constructive and actionable pathways out of the train crash is cruel and unusual punishment after the fact, something I’ve been guilty of in the past. My actions were equivalent to performing surgery and removing the anesthesia half way through the operation. In many respects, waking the slumbering without offering a way out can’t be justified morally.
I’m about to experience a car crash and my spouse is sleeping in the passenger seat. Do I wake my spouse to witness the crash or do I ask her to help me navigate around the disaster? If all I have to offer is awareness to the impending disaster, I might as well let her sleep. Or I can grow up and accept my responsibility and lead the way out since I’m already awake.
BTW the slumbering mass instinctively understands the inherent danger of waking in the middle of major surgery. They also seem to understand that the vast majority of us really don’t understand the problem and have no viable solution to offer. Thus it appears to them we simply want someone else to enjoy the show with us as we view our collective suicide. This is why we’re regularly rejected by those we’re trying to awaken. I don’t blame them because given the choice; I’d remain asleep as well. We must be the solution and they will naturally awaken without any prodding by us. More on how this can be done in the later chapters.
So, are we simply a sub herd of the insane, tightly packed together for warmth in a corner of the insane asylum, our territory carefully marked out in gold to identify the Zero Hedge tribe? Speaking only of myself, I have a tendency to create mountains out of mole hills to justify my inaction, to prove to myself and anyone else who asks that I’ve considered all the variables and I’ve concluded that to do nothing is the best course of action. This is truly a self serving conclusion if ever there was one and I’m proud to say I worked hard to achieve it.
I suspect we’re convinced of our sanity simply because we can see more than those who wear hoods instead of blinders. I think, therefore I’m sane. I hate to break the news to everyone, but some of our leaders are certifiably insane by any standard. And yet many of them are extremely good thinkers, brilliant as a matter of fact. We’d better find a new test for (in)sanity because the one we’re using has a few flaws.
Satan Lives Next Door
The ultimate and most seductive form of hubris is that which is exhibited by the insane as we revel in the supreme confidence of our sanity. Anyone who has truly visited the depths of severe emotional instability will tell you that the climb back to sanity must be continuous with no pauses of any significance. It’s during those dangerous lulls that the backsliding begins and the vicious undertow of insanity pulls us back into the abyss. Simply stated, for those returning from the depths of hell, it’s either surface or drown. I seriously doubt we would recognize this process if it were reversed and we were sinking, as we currently are.
I’d say we’re already in the bowels of hell, which I describe as our madness, and our eternal punishment is no knowledge of our own insanity. Satan is my neighbor and I’m Satan to my neighbor. I’m certain that given the choice, I’d convince myself I’m in heaven to relieve the awareness of the pain of hell. Are we sane if we know at times we can be insane or are we insane if we know at times we can be insane? Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but these are questions I often ask. A life unexamined just might be an insane life disguised as sanity.
On that sliding scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is stark raving sane and 100 is stark raving mad, what’s the real difference between 29 and 39 or between 51 and 74? I submit that just because we saw the economic insanity in 2007 (or whatever date we use to label our awakening) doesn’t mean we’re now firmly planted at 1 or 5 or even 10 on the sane/insane scale. To think this is the case is to substantiate my thesis that we’re insane. The definition of sanity is not that we saw the insanity of the economic collapse coming. It was always obvious to the sane, considering the creation of the Fed in 1913 was this countries third stab at a central bank. This is an extremely low hurdle to overcome.
Isn’t saying we awoke to the insanity implying that we were insane at one point? Are we so sure we’re fully sane now? How can we tell? The first step is to ask the question and answer it honestly, since personal dishonesty leads to public dishonesty. There’s plenty more to see and learn. Now that we can clearly see some of what the insane cannot, maybe we should consider that the bar is set suspiciously low. While it’s personally satisfying to clear those hurdles, we’re only fooling ourselves if they’re only 12 inches off the ground. When an insane society selects the parameters to differentiate between sane and insane, it will select those parameters that include the greatest number of insane within the group declared and sanctified as sane.
I contend that the only qualifying parameter of sanity in our culture is simply membership in the majority, with the lowest uncommon denominator the line where we set the border fences. As far as I can tell, given the problems outlined above in determining our own sanity, maybe the best we can hope for is to say that out of all the insane asylum inmates, the measure of insanity is to identify those who have adjusted well enough to their insanity that they can’t tell they’re insane. It sounds to me like ignorance is bliss and madness is nirvana. I sure as hell hope they’re serving pina coladas there because I’m ready to party.
I’m also fairly certain that 90% of the world’s population would read those last few paragraphs and be confident of a few things. One, that I’m the one who’s insane and two, what does it matter if there’s nothing we can do about it? Leaving aside the first item for my therapist and me to work out (he’s certified sane so he won’t kick me out of the hive as long as my insurance pays the bill) if the second item were correct I would agree. What does it matter? But since quite a few of earth’s inhabitants (including the plants and the other animals) don’t seem very happy living under present conditions and this seems to be a cycle that endlessly repeats itself, then it does matter and it can change. Or at least that’s my delusion.
We create our world on a daily basis based upon the image we collectively hold of what we believe it should be. Since our perception is the only reality we know, it isn’t surprising that our reality matches our perception. Thus a perfectly formed circle of circular logic is created along with our reality. Conditions in the insane asylum are the way they are either because this is the way we want them to be or this is the way we think they should be or this is the only way they can be.
I would suggest we can change anything we wish as long as we can perceive and conceive it, for perception is reality. Saying we can’t change anything is just another symptom of our collective insanity. Let’s explore this further before you dismiss me as a madman. Which, based upon my own argument, I am.
Toxic Waste Dumps
We all have toxic waste dumps in our back yards which we individually and collectively allowed to accumulate for decades. We even have some of our own toxic waste buried there. But we won’t discuss it because if we don’t talk about it, it’s not real. Those whom we claim should be responsible for this mess are doing nothing about it. And I promise you they’ll continue to do nothing about it, regardless of the lies we tell ourselves concerning all those indictments, law suits and subpoenas suddenly cropping up all over the place, because we’re doing nothing about it. It’s all coal smoke blown up our collective butts because we’re doing the blowing.
“They” (meaning us) are stalling, acting out our insanity in real time. They won’t stop until we stop because they’re following our script and our lead. It hurts to admit that we’re the architects of this madness, that we have anything to do with this mess. So we deny, then we deny our denial, then we forget we denied our denial. I love circular logic because it’s so logical and to the insane (us) our insanity is wonderfully logical and reasonable. Madness is always pure in form and function. Any loose ends are quickly cut adrift because insanity makes it up on the fly. Insanity is not a slave to rigid logic, which makes it deliciously attractive and extremely well attended.
The Ponzi amusement park ride won’t dismantle itself simply because we ask it to do so for the hundredth time. BTW, don’t forget to ask nicely because we can’t have social unrest. Which if we think about it would be us acting out against us because we’re angry with us. (That was fun to write.) Nor will it stop even if we hang a few patsy leaders. There are always more swine ready to belly up to the trough after one is dragged off to the butcher’s for taking more than its share. The spectacle of the slaughter satisfies our sense that something needs to be done with the troublesome swine (not me though) while at the same time not derailing the consumption machine that feeds our own comfortable insanity. We just wanted to blow off some steam, really, and the ham and bacon are welcome by-products.
It appears there’s a colossal struggle going on right now. The powers that be are attempting to maintain their denial (our denial) of a deflationary debt collapse and escalating political and social conflicts. They (we) attempt to do this with their endless printing of fiat currency, bailout and bailout, public debt creation and private debt assumption. Their (our) efforts fly in the face of the inevitable collapse of all social, economic and political systems dependent upon the false realty the powers (we) are attempting to maintain. This battle has ebbed and flowed back and forth for centuries, but now appears to be headed for the largest global explosion mankind has ever created. An explosion many will not survive, though there’s still time to turn the ship to prevent total catastrophe.
Mirroring this state of affairs (or if you accept my argument, the source of this state of affairs) is the human race itself. We’re engaged in a titanic struggle with ourselves. As we’ve drifted further from our inner natural spiritual consciousness and authentic life, we’ve repudiated our responsibility to live in peace and harmony with all of earth’s living inhabitants in a sustainable and equitable manner. We’ve driven ourselves insane and we face imminent murder/suicide by our own economic and social creations. In effect we’ve been taking more from one side of the equation than nature and we are adding to the other side and balance is beginning to assert itself.
This is more than an oil or technology issue or event. This is a tale about our effort to reject everything we were, are and could be in a mad dash to extract more and more material pleasure from a physical and spiritual universe that has only so much elasticity. It’s not about finding new worldwide energy sources in order to continue our materialistic life style. We are in denial of our true inner source of strength and power. We have allowed ourselves to be seduced by the illusion of receiving something for nothing for quite some time now. We’re a willing participant in our own madness and while we know this, we signal our denial by claiming it’s someone else who’s the guilty party.
Man is addicted to far more than just cheap energy and technology. We’re hooked on the superficial power of Gods at the expense of everything else around us, including ourselves. Like an addict who no longer scores to get high but simply to stave off the pain of withdrawal, the thrill is gone and the old glorious highs of yesteryear are just a fuzzy pain filled memory. Our deal with the devil, with ourselves really, is coming due and we’re rapidly slipping into total madness to avoid the recognition that we’ve met the demon and the demon is us.
Even if the reader doesn’t agree with the thesis I’ve offered, there’s little doubt the big picture I’ve sketched is accurate. The fecal matter is clearly on an accelerating trajectory towards the fan. So what am I going to do about this? What are you going to do about this? What are we going to do about this? If not us, who? If not now, when? These are legitimate questions that must be asked and answered regardless of our righteous indignation over the unfairness of the burden. We are the one and only solution to “we” the problem.
Do we really think we can step aside and watch the insanity work itself out to some unknown conclusion and not be splattered with stray brains and fecal matter? Worse, do we think this is someone else’s problem? When it really gets bad, we can’t escape to some off world safe house as intergalactic tourists, where we mingle with the friendly natives until the fat lady sings it’s time to return. This is not sane thinking. If it is, then beam me up Scotty because I’m sure as hell ready. Maybe while I’m visiting I can sell those aliens some iPhones. Wait; doesn’t that make me the alien?
Up to now we’ve been working diligently to avoid responsibility. And the principal method we employ is our intellect, which is used to identify the surface problems and point to the culprits. We helpfully use labels like “they” or “them” to avoid acknowledging each of our small but critical parts in this ongoing charade. It appears that we’re just sitting around waiting for the end rather than rising to the challenge and meeting this crisis head on.
Incredibly, we seem to think our collective insanity will see the futility of its insanity and simply quit acting out its insanity. That the bull won’t break anything important to us while lose in the china shop. We really are expecting someone to step forward that we can quickly embrace as the savior. Whom do we suppose will pull us back from the brink? Is this not the ultimate in false hope seeking and wishful thinking? I’m pretty certain that sanity will be the last thing we demonstrate without first recognizing our own insanity. And without immediate intervention, the patient will die; only the death won’t be mercifully quick. Where’s our moment of clarity, that point of no return where one sees without a doubt that death is coming if everything doesn’t change?
Please don’t mistake my critical questions as blanket criticism. Nor that I’m above the fray and that I’ve had nothing to do with this. I’m fairly certain I’m contributing my fair share to this insanity. However, we must begin to ask the tough questions of ourselves as well as each other. We’re not innocent victims here and we need to recognize this. We shouldn’t feel terribly uneasy simply because tough questions are being asked unless we’re unable to answer them honestly. A healthy mind and body can always withstand a thorough self examination and often grows as a result.
Our modern society considers the definition of health to be the absence of disease. While I strongly disagree with this simplistic definition, for now let’s stick with it. The word disease breaks into “dis” and “ease”. A healthy mind and body is in a state of “ease” with itself and the world while an unhealthy mind and body is in a state of “dis-ease”. We express this condition by saying the mind or body has a disease or is diseased. If we’re going to point fingers at the lies of the Ponzi as proof of its “dis-ease”, we’d better be able to withstand the same assault or crumble in the face of our own hypocrisy and insanity.
It seems to me we’re reverting further and further into infantile behavior in order to avoid accepting any blame, however insignificant that might be. And damn if we’ll accept any responsibility for cleaning up a disaster we sure as hell didn’t cause. “Who’s responsible for this mess” we bellow in righteous indignation? “Not me” we reply. “I was in the bathroom when it happened. See the urine stain on the front of my pants. That’s proof I wasn’t there.” Well, that worked for me in second grade so why not now? “It’s not fair.” And on and on in an endless cycle of hide and go seek.
I agree! It’s not fair. It sucks. It bites the big one. We’ve been screwed, royally and repeatedly and without a reach around and a kiss on the cheek. The game’s rigged and the deck’s stacked. What can I say; we’ve been screwed, as in past tense. This is of course assuming we’re all victims with no personal involvement whatsoever. Exactly who is the abuser and who is the abused since many of us have from time to time benefited from the screwing of others, either directly or indirectly? Need I explain how we benefited? But for the sake of this sub-argument, let’s say we’re the victims and we now stand victimized. Now, what are we going to do about it?
What exactly are we waiting for? Or maybe I should say who exactly are we waiting for? I suspect the vast majority of people would laugh if I said I was waiting for the Green Lantern or Superman to save the day. So who do we really expect to step into this mess and pull our asses out of the meat grinder? At this point it doesn’t appear it’s going to be us. But that’s exactly who has to step up because there’s no one else.
How Do We Begin?
So let’s begin to turn this corner. How does one begin to talk about our collective insanity, about the things that are better left unsaid? Well to start, we begin by cleaning and disinfecting our wound, even if we don’t believe it’s our responsibility. It’s our wound and we’ll die if we don’t clean it. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. We must look for the exit and disembark from the crazy train. We must begin to discuss our crazy Aunt Alice, who’s been locked in the attic for decades. We must begin to acknowledge her existence with more than just whispered words of conspiracy. “Psst, it’s your turn to change the sheets for you know who.” We must begin to push through the pain of our collective cognitive dissonance, releasing all the emotional pain we’ve been desperately avoiding by denying poor Aunt Alice is alive and breathing.
Like a Jenga game gone mad, we stack lies upon lies in the insane belief that by applying more to the stack, we’ll lessen the burden and increase the stability. Each of us takes our turn preparing and serving Aunt Alice her meals, cleaning her clothes and brushing her hair. Yet we don’t discuss Aunt Alice among ourselves. How does one even recognize what truth is when we’re living a lie, when we welcome additional lies in order to be shielded from our earlier lies? Our insanity is that we believe we know what truth is when we’ve rarely seen it and have actively rejected it most of our lives.
In a society and a world as dysfunctional as ours, the only way to begin to seek the truth is to tell the truth, first to ourselves and then to others. But how can we do this when we can’t trust our own lying eyes or each other? We do so by rejecting what the external and internal control systems are telling us (lie, lie, lie and lie some more) while seeking a higher truth within. And by demanding those we deal with not lie, either to us or to anyone else around us. While doing so might cull a few friends from our calling circle, we need to start somewhere. And I understand this requires courage because we’ll be swimming upstream and against the current.
It’s of the utmost importance to understand that what is sustaining the lie, including the “Big Lies” our government perpetuates, is the unwillingness to question the lie. Unquestioned or unchallenged statements (aka lies) made by known or suspected liars (beginning with ourselves) become truth by default in the eyes of those who don’t wish to be honest. This starts with us.
If we aren’t rigorously honest with ourselves and those immediately around us, we’ll always succumb to the seductive call of lies that are more comforting than truth. “Daddy, tell me another lie so that I may pretend it’s the truth.” Additional lies have one purpose and one purpose only, to directly or indirectly support previous and/or future lies. What do we do when we find ourselves in a hole of lies? We stop the cycle of lies supporting lies by applying a novel solution. Demand the truth, both from ourselves and from those around us.
This is precisely the purpose of Zero Hedge. Tyler, Marla and company stand on the soap box in the middle of our cultural town square and repeatedly cry foul regarding every lying utterance of the control system. This includes lies perpetuated by the keepers of the myth, our so called main stream media and their talking head “experts”, along with various other sycophant hanger-on’s and enablers. But it’s not enough for Zero Hedge to fight this battle single handedly.
We’re deluding ourselves if we think that reading and commenting on Zero Hedge is fighting the good fight. And we’re also deluding ourselves if we think we can just sit back and watch it all burn. That cut on our arm is starting to smell a bit putrid. We might want to consider some self treatment. We must do more and it must begin within. If we’re only willing to accept the truths that we’re comfortable with or those that neatly fit our worldview and ignore anything that creates a cognitive dissonance, we’re in effect enabling the continuation of the public lies and myth making and are no better than “they” or “them”.
In Chapter 3 of this continuing examination of our collective insanity, we’ll begin to unfold the dynamics of the public lie, our often unconscious defense of the public lie, setting up our personal psychic firewalls, the Stockholm syndrome and the dynamics of the family when dealing with the addicted/abuser, Mother Nature’s nose candy, how we can break the conditioning and then reinforce the changed behavior. Please join me for the third lap of the pool.
Cognitive Dissonance 06/04/2010