A Book Excerpt
By Joe Withrow
(Cognitive Dissonance – While I edited this book for Joe I am not participating in any revenue from the sale of this book. However I did purchase several copies for personal use as well as to give to family and friends.)
Do you remember when, perhaps in your younger days, you used to ask yourself that difficult question, “What is the meaning of life?” But then external factors would come calling and you would have to go to class or to work or to see a friend or to watch a movie or whatever it was, so you put the question out of your mind altogether.
Our default programming leads us to believe that philosophical contemplation is both useless and weird. In fact, we are conditioned to focus on the pursuit of monetary gain, comfort, social status, and/or entertainment first and foremost. This meme is re-enforced by much of our mass media, which is why people tend to dress and speak like their favorite movie or music artists.
Not everyone is affected by the default programming in the same way and to the same extent, but most of us are influenced by it in some capacity. The default programming serves to keep our thought patterns within the lower realms of vibrancy; we are programmed to focus on the small picture and to put the big picture out of our mind. Our society is shaped by this focus on short term gain and instant gratification, and this has led to the degeneration of society over time.
Take a look around you and see if these statements are not true. Are the people around you engaged and interested in what they are doing? Do they enjoy life? Are they friendly and respectful? Do they genuinely care about their community and their fellow man?
Or are they immersed in a smart phone and completely oblivious to the world around them? Do they seem to be completely miserable and say they are ‘terrible’ when others ask? Do they appear completely uninterested in the well-being of everyone else around them?
There are certainly exceptions, but our observations suggest the latter circumstances rather than the former. And we think this is largely a result of the default programming.
In addition to conditioning us to seek comfort and entertainment, the default programming also inundates us with fear, worry, stress, and doubt. It trains us to believe that we are not good enough individually to be successful. It informs us that we are inherently bad people who must be monitored and policed; that we are not smart enough to take care of ourselves so we must have laws in place limiting our choices. It falsely declares that people with differing cultures are out to harm us and that there is a boogeyman around every corner.
The default programming has bankrupted our society economically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually. We contend that human beings are naturally attuned to the higher planes of thought vibrancy, however, and that it does not have to be this way.
We firmly believe the higher ideals of self-improvement, self-discipline, and self-government are what enable civilizations to thrive. A renewed understanding and pursuit of these ideals is the key to putting our bankrupt society back on the right path.
Reforming society begins simply with reforming ourselves on an individual basis. Creating a future that respects the sovereignty of each and every one of us is all about changing ourselves and living those changes every day.
We firmly believe that life is an opportunity for each individual to ascend to a higher state of being; a higher state of wisdom. Each individual life is afforded unique opportunities and a unique experience. Deep down most of us know this to be true. This is why we once spent time contemplating the meaning of our life before we were thoroughly conditioned to focus only on immediate comforts and social status.
The collectivism entrenched in our society strives to suppress individual ascension and this is precisely why it is so unjust. Collectivist coercion limits experience and the opportunity for personal ascension therefore it is perpetually at odds with the human spirit. To hide this fact, collectivism has institutionalized dishonesty.
Society now considers it rude to be bluntly honest with others. We are expected to tip-toe around the truth and to tell half-truths or out-right lies so that no one has to confront the reality of our circumstances. This is why people get so angry when individuals are willing to question ‘authority’ and call out the status-quo. Society calls these individuals ‘conspiracy theorists’ in an attempt to pretend they are doing something dishonest or nefarious rather than simply pointing out the truth.
George Orwell wrote: “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
It Is a Peaceful Revolution
History has given us many examples of subjugated peoples that violently rose up to oppose what they were against, but they did not have a vision for a better tomorrow and thus wound up in an even worse situation. It is much easier to know what one is against than to know precisely what one is for.
We do not have to physically raise up against the collectivist tyrants of our day as our ancestors once did. In fact, the historical record clearly shows that violent revolts never lead to enduring peace, prosperity, and individualism. The record shows, instead, that violence leads to just the opposite.
Fortunately, the technology and knowledge is available to us such that we have the ability to create a better future by simply focusing our individual creative energies on the matter. Collectivism engulfed America in a gradual manner, but it does not need to be unwound in the same way. If we seek to forcefully unwind collectivism then we must dedicate enormous amounts of time and energy to fighting directly against it. Such a strategy would inevitably result in an exhausting seesaw of successes and failures that would undoubtedly leave us tired and burnt out in the end.
Fighting is not necessary in the future that is being created; it is the creative faculty that must be utilized. Instead of focusing on fighting collectivism, we would be better served to focus on creating individualism. This is admittedly a blanket statement, but only because every single individual has unique talents, interests, and abilities that could be used to create better systems and better products in any field. There is not a singular blueprint for this as creativity cannot be centrally planned.
The meme of the past century was centralization and homogenization. The future that is being created is based on decentralization and diversity. History illustrates that the critical mass required to shape society is only 10-20% of a population, and we are rapidly approaching that number as more and more people are awakening to the blunders of collectivism.
Samuel Adams said: “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
The beauty of the philosophy of individualism is that it does not require everyone to agree on everything. All that must be agreed upon is the sovereignty and natural rights of the individual. This means that each individual is free to choose his or her level of involvement in society.
It is our belief that the respect for liberty and voluntarism does not require a specific type of government or societal structure. All governments and organizations must be voluntarily supported if they are to exist, and individuals may not be coerced into supporting any group or activity that he or she does not agree with.
While we have many clear historical examples of which societal structures are not compatible with liberty (communism, fascism, socialism, etc.), our belief is that a clear understanding of liberty and the sovereignty of the individual, paired with our technological capabilities today, could allow us to vastly improve upon those structures that have seemed to work reasonably well in history.
By Joe Withrow