The Death of Hope and Belief


Cognitive Dissonance


As much as we would like to ‘believe’ we are all clear headed, logical individuals who only deal with verified ‘facts’ while shunning hearsay, rumor, ‘hope’ and ‘belief’, the reality is to some degree or another we integrate all of the above, and so much more, into our personal cognitive operating system. The tendency when reading such a statement is to immediately emotionally trigger, become annoyed or even angry, and then listen to that soothing inner egoic voice as it assures us we are not the one Cog is looking for.

Regardless of whether we attribute this cognitive juxtaposition to raging ego, genetic predisposition, normalcy bias, cultural conditioning or simply denial, critical thinking, if ever truly deployed, is often limited to those times when we ‘believe’ it is in our best interest to think outside the box. But even then, our effort is severely limited by the tendency to hold on tightly to the comforting handrails when venturing into foreign territory.

Try as we might to convince ourselves otherwise, hope is just the ugly stepchild of belief, interchangeable and indistinguishable, especially during periods of high emotional stress and cognitive fight or flight. Naval gazing, pretty much all we see when engaging in hope and belief, is the ultimate human blinder and the chains that bind.

Once we accept something as ‘true’, essentially a non specific condition arrived at with minimal critical thinking and even less logical reasoning, rarely if ever do we revisit the subject to check our premises. And why would we since we ‘believe’ what we want and not what is actually there. Since the only unchanging ‘truth’ throughout the universe is that change is constant, ‘We the People’ often hope our beliefs still hold true………assuming we honestly question our beliefs in order to discover if they ever rang true.

Often we pig pile falsehoods, misconceptions, hearsay and the ‘trusted’ opinion of authorities and acquaintances on top of each another and call the resulting mishmash our opinion, a cleverly encrypted carrier signal demonstrating the true genesis of our underlying hope and belief. While we bitterly complain about mainstream media reporters all repeating from the same contrived script, we might just be the most egregious of all serial repeaters. After all, it takes one to know one.

Since so few of us have the actual courage to walk the path alone and be truly contrary to the dominant groupthink, why then would we expect ourselves to take the first step and think deviant thoughts in blatant opposition to the consensus of the hive mind? Even when we finally do break from the majority, both exhilarated and frightened by the audacity of hope that personal salvation could be found elsewhere, we immediately seek out the comfort of the nearest like minded minority.

Nothing soothes the savage ego beast quite like collective affirmation and psychic reintegration into a colluding collective. Our desperate attempts to be perceived as unique and special in the eyes of our fellow herd members is the egoic trap that keeps us chained to false hope and belief and all its various complications. Only the strongest among us willingly withstand the pain that springs from self isolation. Knowing this to be the truth, how can anyone declare themselves original thinkers, free from significant cognitive influences and meme traps?

I will be the first to admit I hold no original thought, only slightly unique word constructs and voluminous regurgitations. But contrary to consensus thinking, ‘knowing’ this is not a deficit but in ‘fact’ a valuable strategic asset. I am content in the knowledge I will most likely not blaze new cognitive ground, but instead simply follow faint trail sign left by many others before me. Knowing this, and being settled with it, I can then busy myself with the recognition and disarming of my ego. In the process I might possibly gain some personal insight and enlightenment, a perfect example of winning by not playing.

Sand - Clean

We are our own worst enemy simply because we self identify with our ego, the ultimate slave master. If we were to recognize and then fully embody this ‘truth’, suddenly the mind and spirit soar to heights unimagined but easily attainable. Completely ignorant of our enemy, in a cognitive judo match with our ego we are the perpetual white belted novice pitted against the black belt sensei. The only way to win is not to play at all because the egoic sensei knows us so much better than we know ourselves.

Since few will actually withdraw when their ego is egging them on, all the sociopaths need do to manipulate and control us is to remotely leverage the power the ego already commands. And that power is exercised primarily through our mostly false hope and belief. I often say we are only as sick as our deepest darkest secrets. How better to control us than by accessing those secrets via the ego and leveraging them against us, sort of spooky blackmail at a distance.

While there are always exceptions to every rule, one merely needs to examine the mindset of both the children and adults of any household to discover where many long held and cherished ‘truths’ (aka ‘hope and belief’) are formulated before going forth to multiply. Born of pride and prejudice, fired in the crucible of stereotypical hatred and ignorance, then cemented firmly in place via constant repetition and familial affirmation, for the most part we are the product of our upbringings, be they the good, the bad and the unimaginably ugly. It really doesn’t matter if the propaganda we integrate when young comes from mother dearest or fascist Fatherland. In practice it winds up being a toxic stew of both.

Particularly with regard to personal relationships (and make no mistake about it, our cultural ‘hopes’ and ‘beliefs’ are extremely personal in nature) rarely is logic or reason employed when rushing out another label carefully disguised as knowledgeable fact. All this is done to demonstrate our steadfast conviction in truth, justice and the American way less we appear weak and indecisive to our fellow egoic slaves. Believe what you want, but never let them see your sweaty indecision. Labels are the lazy man’s prodigal thinking, the more derogatory the better to feel superior while fanning the flames of self righteous indignation or despondent victim-hood.

But alas hope springs eternal, especially for those of us who are a product of our rigid belief system and the certainty we are the exception to the norm, therefore we alone can see what no one else is able to behold. Banishing all doubt from our mind, steeled with the singleness of our purpose to bestow upon those poor unfortunate others not blessed with our insight, we echo each other when declaring the utter ruination we’re all headed towards. Endless doom porn is such an aphrodisiac that I’m a bit surprised we aren’t all walking around permanently aroused. On second thought, maybe we are. After all, there is an ever so fine line between titillation and terror.

Even those who have lost all faith in the ability to correct the present state of affairs and are simply awaiting the ‘inevitable’ collapse and re-set, still retain hope and belief that once the collapse is complete and the debris has been cleared a new beginning will emerge. Thus it is indirectly but clearly inferred those most responsible for the Empire’s fall will be purged from the system, paving the way for sanity to return and a new era to follow, a renaissance if you will, a cleansing of the filth, decay and corruption that rejuvenates the mind and body politic.

Seen from this perspective, how can anyone claim this isn’t unadulterated hope and belief, especially when thousands of years of history indicate this will not be the case? Of course, if our history is manipulated and altered to deliberately keep us lost in the historical wilderness, how can we learn from our ancestor’s mistakes if we do not question our historical premises? At some point during our maturing process we really do need to take personal responsibility for our hope and beliefs and everything they intersect. I guess this explains why so many remain childlike in thought and deed.

I have argued time and time again a very simple proposition, that we support the system even when we claim to oppose it. Direct opposition, often expressed as personal polarization, tends to increase the support we lend to the system by playing into its strength in much the same way those we claim are deaf, dumb and blind mindlessly engage with the system. Being polarized pits “We the People” against each other, leaving us all exhausted and discarded on the side of the road.

Side of the Road Clean

The opposite of support is not to oppose, though any competent dictionary will claim otherwise, but instead to withdraw and withhold. The insanity will wither and die on the vine only when there is little active participation of any kind. And by this I do not mean apathy, a sucking psychic nothingness of total cognitive and spiritual disability. Instead I speak of an active and purposeful redirection of our power and spirit away from the psychopathic parasites and towards creating our own healthy and self enabling reality.

We are desperate to believe ‘they’ alone control us in order to absolve us from personal responsibility. It is our blindly proffered hope and belief which nourishes the sociopaths who then peddle their insanity, the ultimate symbiotic codependent dialectic speaking louder than words ever could.

Believing’ ourselves powerless (because we want to be) we blithely and blindly empower those whom we ‘know’ are already powerful (because we want them to be). Conceding defeat before the blade is even drawn, the battle is over before it ever began. One must admire such brilliant tactics, so Sun Tzuesque even he would stand in awe of the majesty of such total and complete self defeatism. Then again, it is the only way the few can control the teaming masses and still reap the rewards of the plebs ever increasing productivity. Welcome to the new slave plantation.

The system as presently constructed thrives on mindless zombie consumers and disgruntled malcontents/disaffected souls (as well as everyone else in-between) because what is most important to the perpetuation of the system is not actually physical in nature. The sociopathic system controls us not by subjugating our physical bodies, bound as they may be by their fictional fiat chains and by their threats of fatal force. Rather their power is derived from our ‘belief’ in those chains and guns and their declared divine right to use them.

Instead, or maybe I should say in addition, what feeds them is a mental, emotional and spiritual energy which springs from within us (metaphysical some might say) a concept so far off the radar screen of the average person who ‘believes’ the only energy that matters is petrochemical or thermonuclear in nature, that all other possibilities are dismissed outright. Our false hope and beliefs, which perpetuates and propels our utter blindness to nearly everything else that is possible, exposes our vulnerable Achilles Heel as we travel the road to perdition.

Many years ago when I first attempted to apply critical thinking on a consistent basis, the best I could come up with was to minimally recognize the very denial I employed to reject the notion I was in some respects complicit. I began to recognize my denial was the chain that bound me to all my impossible situations. Because I believed myself the victim rather than an enabler, clearly I wasn’t the problem. Therefore I would make no effort to withdraw since that would solve nothing and only hurt myself in the process.

It was only some time later, during deep conversations with a more aware and enlightened friend, that I came to see my false hopes and beliefs were actually anchor stones around my mind and spirit, deliberately harnessed by outside forces to hobble and weaken me. It was then I remembered a mindlessly repeated Latin phrase from my childhood days as an altar boy/server. Recognizing it as ‘truth’ I accepted and embodied it using the strength of humility rather than the constraint of self righteous piety. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” Through my fault, through my fault, through my very great fault.

We are witnessing the blooming of unprecedented sociopathic evil in the present day that is quite frankly unimaginable, therefore ‘unbelievable’ to the average sleep walker, let alone those of us who claim clarity of vision and mind. And as we all know, anything unbelievable is considered not ‘real’ or ‘true’ and thus there is nothing we need to do about the non-thing. This is how we bargain with our hope and belief in order to minimize the threat and therefore our need to become involved.

Mask - Clean

In the interest of clarity the term ‘evil’ is not used to infer a religious connection of non divine intervention, but simply to describe something thoroughly and dangerously alien to nearly all by using a term commonly understood as terrible and ominous, all powerful and consuming. Left speechless otherwise, when covering new territory one must occasionally employ old words to describe new worlds. The trick is to take ownership of the words rather than succumb to the propagandized version of them. Either we (re)make our own reality or we live in someone else’s.

Once finally recognized for what it truly is, the evil of the sociopathic perpetrators is obvious and self evident. Which then begs the question; if I go along to get along, what does that make me? What if I am not actually forced to participate, but instead see it as simply in my best interest in order to survive? From that point of view the road from rags to riches, modern crony capitalism at its best, is the path of least resistance and greatest self interest. If this is the path I follow, how am I superior to those I claim are the problem?

Regardless of whether I recognize the lead psychopathic dogs as evil or inspiring, what is my responsibility when stepping on those below in order to gain advantages from above? Do I declare it a dog eat dog world simply to get in the first and last bites? What is ‘evil’ other than maximum self interest run riot? Just because I tithe ten percent doesn’t wash my hands clean of the blood.

In the ultimate act of victim-hood we solemnly declare force majeure via evil doer, which neatly absolves us of any responsibility for the state of current affairs and our supposed ‘coerced’ participation. When viewed with hope and belief, material science completely and competently explains all there is to know about how the physical and metaphysical world ‘works’. Confidently assured that our present paradigm is just human nature, there is nothing left to do but wash our hands of the entire affair and bunker down to await the global blast and follow-on shock wave.

And there is no doubt some will be crushed under the falling fiat landslide, thereby lending perceived credibility to the idea bunkering is the best and only option. However, dug in deep like a tic while screaming at the computer monitor about some anonymous asshole commentator whom we claim knows nothing only perpetuates our support for the system. Do our childish minds really think those whom we blindly empower will scurry away like cockroaches exposed by the refrigerator light and leave us be after the fall? Really? Are we serious?

The playbook employed against us is thousands of years old and consists of one simple rule. Leverage the plebs’ hope and belief against them time and time again. When the cycle ends in a flash of self-immolation, start it up all over again with fresh actors and a whitewashed stage. Rinse and repeat endlessly because no matter what, the mind memes deeply implanted within the survivors of the present generation spawns the next generation, creating new zombies needing only small adjustments to fit the present day circumstances. WE are the problem, an insight glaringly obvious since our children become part of the next problem and we raise our children to be little replicas of us.

Only when patently false hope and belief are thoroughly uprooted and destroyed, then replaced with awareness of our personal responsibility to be honest with ourselves in all our affairs, will these self destructive cycles come to an end. I am not suggesting the reader is responsible for all that is wrong with the world today nor is it his or her responsibility to fix all of it. But I am suggesting we are responsible for cleaning up our own house.

Once we begin this process we quickly discover we have been carrying around dozens of pounds of needless cognitive and emotional weight, a needless burden which has obscured our vision and understanding from birth while leaving us cognitively impotent, emotionally immature and growth impaired. As individuals we cannot change the world today. But we can change ourselves, and in so doing we plant the seeds that will change the world tomorrow. It all begins within.



Cognitive Dissonance

Breaking Belief - Clean

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3 thoughts on “The Death of Hope and Belief”

  1. We are the problem only when we allow ourselves to become lulled into the security of having some outside entity to provide security to our fragile selves. The human body, mind and all of nature is remarkable in the sense that whatever insults occur, we inevitably come back stronger and able to take on more next time. Embracing our natural ability to become stronger and better because of the large and small miseries we encounter on a day to day basis, is the key to becoming who we were meant to be.


  2. Another good essay, Cog.
    There is so much here I’m not sure where to start, but I would like to add what I see to what you see.

    “Regardless of whether I recognize the lead psychopathic dogs as evil or inspiring, what is my responsibility when stepping on those below in order to gain advantages from self interest run riot? Just because I tithe ten percent doesn’t wash my hands clean of the blood.”

    The basis of all evil is personal. Our relationship with our fellows is completely dysfunctional, to put kindly.

    “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This is a good start toward de-energizing the evil in us. Am I actively seeking the welfare of everyone I meet, even if it means personal loss?

    I hear myself say “But that is impossible. Nobody can do that!” But have you every tried? If you think that is tough, then try this one.

    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39“But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40“And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your a shirt, let him have your coat also. 41“And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. 42“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

    It’s like you said, Cog. To resist evil is to create another evil. But what if evil comes looking for me? I’m not sure that I will be able to find a place to hide. And besides, I have the feeling that for evil to be defeated it must be engaged in battle. The above quote from the Sermon on the Mount describes the strategy. But this is not just a Christian teaching. Hinduism and Buddhism also recognize this truth.

    And speaking of religion, it is amazing to me how initial spiritual insights by certain people get corrupted into religious junk as the teachings are passed from generation to generation until all that remains is a lifeless husk. And these husks have no spiritual power to transform. And transformation is what is required here. Right? By the way, the ego that you talk about just LOVES religion. Talk about false hope!!

    More later. There is sooo much in this essay.

    Have a good day.

    1. “More later. There is sooo much in this essay.”

      I tend to pack so much into my essays that they become rather dense and verbose. But because there are so many layers to explore with every subject I feel I would do myself and my readers a disservice by not exploring at least a few of them.

      “The basis of all evil is personal. Our relationship with our fellows is completely dysfunctional, to put kindly.”

      We are way past dysfunctional or even neurotic. We are certifiably insane. The only reason we can’t see our insanity is because our insanity is ‘normal’ to us, therefore completely transparent and mostly undetectable via our grossly distorted perception.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Cognitive Dissonance

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