Comfortably Numb – Coping, Captured or Total Capitulation (Part One)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered why so many of ‘my’ generation, the so-called flower child social change community activist generation of the 60’s and 70’s, could have gone from long haired socially minded anti establishment ‘power to the people’ egalitarians to become guardians and enablers of the Ponzi universe as well as the most oppressive and manipulative power structure since……well, since I don’t know when. Even more damning and humiliating, how did we become a pulsating mass of self centered navel gazing mentally and physically obese obsessive compulsive useless shoppers who demand endless stimulation and entertainment?

And please don’t tell me that the social change activists and so-called malcontents of my generation were a small minority who have all since slipped away into gray bearded obscurity of menial professions and social conformity, because it just ain’t true. Many were the best and brightest of my generation and after leaving college, grad school and military service, nearly all took their diploma’s and/or military experience and blended into mainstream America where they’ve spent the last 30 to 40 plus years climbing the corporate and governmental ladder of professional success. In effect many have become exactly what they despised as young adults. It really does seem that what doesn’t kill you will overwhelm and absorb you. And that resistance is futile.

?Kent State


H/t Images by WilliamBanzai7 @ #0000ff;">

Upon graduation my button down banker uncle informed me (after closely examining my pony tail and beard) that it’s perfectly fine, healthy even, to strike out against the establishment when you’re an idealistic young adult. It’s all part of the rebellious youth phase we go through as we try to find our social sea legs. But what struck me as remarkable was his attitude towards what he termed the natural social order. He declared that if you are not part of the establishment by the time you’re 30, you’re just another one of life’s losers. He assured me no one ever built anything of substance or even made permanent changes while looking in from the outside.

He made a good point for essentially he was saying that if I really wanted to change the system I needed to do so from within. And it certainly didn’t hurt to be paid well while remaking the world. If nothing else (he helpfully reminded me) for the sake of my new wife and the bun in the oven I needed to conform to the system in order to survive in a world controlled by that very same system. Now that I was no longer shielded from the ‘real’ world by school I had real world obligations and responsibilities. Of course, once inside, a corrupt system almost always corrupts those who wish to make substantial changes along with those who just want to go with the flow. Talk about revenge of the status quo.

May I suggest we all pull out some college yearbooks from around 1965 to 1980 and spend a little time plugging some names into our favorite search engines? What we will find is a mixture of gray haired corporate, financial and governmental powers-that-be (along with an even larger class of junior underlings) that, while many weren’t necessarily all free love flower children, many were at one time involved in political, civil and environmental activism or as vocal war protestors.

My generation, a generation that shocked the world with its vocal and visible denunciations of American empire building and military conquest, is now right in the thick of things when it comes to abuse of Imperial power and manipulation of his or her fellow man. This metamorphosis so contradicts what my generation claimed to embody within their very souls that one is tempted to disbelieve these are the very same men and women. Such self delusions may calm the mind, but it just doesn’t ring true.

Big BenBlankfien

Are these men and women sell-outs, traitors to their beliefs, or are they just realists who are surviving like everyone else? Though I suppose we should redefine ‘surviving’. Is the act of gaming the system and our fellow man for our own benefit ‘surviving’, or is it total capitulation to avarice and pleasure via Borg like assimilation? I’ve been lectured by several of my old classmates over the years regarding our youth of naïve and innocent idealistic fantasies. A common theme thrust into my face is how hard they have worked to build this or that enterprise or profession. It’s pretty obvious they’ve been practicing their righteous indignation in front of the mirror for many years.

The point never was and still isn’t how hard they worked, but what they worked for and who gets screwed by all that hard work in their self described dog eat dog global game. Many of my old classmates regal me with stories of all the good their work has done…..conveniently pushing aside many of society’s ills as bigger social or governmental problems not of their making. I’m often told they don’t make the rules, they just play the game. Nearly every single one feels they are (relatively) pure of heart and mind and they can prove it with their cancelled checks to charity. When I ask if their business and political activities are creating the very social problems they are donating money to fix, they quickly change the subject or find someone else to talk to.

Slightly off topic, for an interesting twist on this overall theme, may I suggest the reader rent the German language film “Edukators” with English sub-titles? In the movie three young modern day activists, one hopelessly indebted, are educating society to its mindless consumerism when they bump headlong into an old time radical that is now thoroughly assimilated into our corrupt materialistic world. The result isn’t pretty for everyone involved and it illustrates how the material seduction of the idealist was and is a worldwide phenomenon. At least we aren’t alone in our abomination.

It’s all too easy to say it’s just a few bad apples that are responsible for this mess we’re in. Sadly nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the rot comes from nearly all the apples in the barrel including my own. The assimilated have become the quiet and complicit enablers of our own destruction, the supporting cast of characters in the biggest reality game show in history. The silent and silently assimilated majority now work in senior and junior positions within academia, think tanks, federal, state and municipal government, the mighty military machine itself and the hated CIA/NSA/DIA ‘intelligence’ services. And of course they run the corporate power structures that are the supporting foundation of all this abusive insanity.

There is simply no explaining this away as a few bad apples in the barrel. Something went horribly wrong and I’ve wanted to know how and why for a while now, almost as if by knowing I can more readily accept the fact that those brothers and sisters with whom I marched with many decades ago are now my spiritual, intellectual and financial mortal enemies.


Woodstock Summer

Woodstock 1969

H/t Images by WilliamBanzai7 @ #0000ff;">

This question has been haunting me for at least the last 10 years and it was one of the primary reasons I began looking within for answers. I’ve always assumed that the basic impulse that drives us to become what we are as individuals and as a society must live within all of us. Since each of us is not completely unique, but rather we share the same impulses and collective consciousness as everyone else with only the proportions mixed differently, it stands to reason we should begin within. This inner journey takes us down spiritual, religious and scientific paths in what is obviously an endless lesson in the workings of humanity and the human mind.

Of particular interest to me are the disciplines of psychology and philosophy. A basic working assumption I’ve held has been that since we are all biochemical creatures occupied by a consciousness, our emotional animal responses are influenced as much by biochemical reactions as by our social and physical environment. I’ll get back to this thought in Chapter Two.


Obviously this isn’t new territory I’m traveling since these basic questions have occupied man for thousands of years. And there is no doubt that history is replete with examples of generations going off the deep end and wrecking havoc on their country, region and even the world. In fact there appears to be an eighty year cycle of several generations each that endlessly repeats when mapping out these mega events. And it seems to me that each time this occurs there’s a divergence in the collective conscious mind.

A global insanity seems to take over the collective mind with cyclical regularity, with a small fraction of the population moving towards a greater than ‘normal’ abuse of power and the remaining much larger portion taking the other side of the abuser-abused relationship by moving towards a needy greedy passivity. However, this time it appears that with the help of major pharmacological and technological advances the effect has been magnified and leveraged exponentially.

While each cycle has its own rise and subsequent fall, the repeating 80 year cycles are also growing within what appears to be a larger mother cycle. After a while we begin to recognize that there are cycles within larger cycles within even larger cycles and it can be seen in the work of the recently deceased Benoit Mandlebrot. This makes sense when you understand that nature is nothing more than endless cyclical activity with small and large changes working their way through the system over vast swaths of time.


I’ve long thought there is a tie in between the syncing of multiple long and short cycles and the year 2012. No I’m not talking about the end of the world, but more along the lines of the rogue ocean wave syncing phenomenon. It does appear many forces are peaking together over the next few years, an awareness of which seems to be deeply embedded within the collective consciousness. This phenomenon has also been widely recognized by the alternative research community long before the 2012 end of the world fear memes were implanted into the collective consciousness by the pubic myth controlling mainstream media.

There are so many natural and scientific lines of (d)evolution, so-called progress and (I)maturation that are all peaking at or near this date, that mere coincidence or social hysteria should be ruled out as sufficient reason to ignore or even stop any personal investigation into this phenomenon. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature and even worse to ignore her. I highly recommend you read “The Fourth Turning” by William Straus and Neil Howe if you wish to pursue this thought even deeper.

Fourth Turning

The problem one runs into when researching anything these days is the degree of sterilization that has been burned into the so-called history textbooks, aka the widely distributed and generally accepted version of world events called ‘history’. The old saying about history being a series of lies generally agreed upon rings true once you get off the beaten path and burrow into the astonishingly large selection of alternative information sources available to the inquisitive, many of which are serious works of scholar. Just be aware that some alternative sources are no doubt planted or seeded with disinformation to further confuse the issue and derail the casual researcher.

Finding a deeper truth is not easy and most certainly won’t be handed to you or me on a Silver platter, so act accordingly. Remain skeptical, but always keep an open mind. Just because something doesn’t mesh with our world view doesn’t make it incorrect. The more certain we are of something, the greater the likelihood there is an error in our thinking. This occurs because our absolute certainty effectively closes our mind to everything other than what will confirm our belief. This is a subtle cognitive process that works in the background without us being consciously aware of it unless we wish to be. Constant vigilance is required to counteract this bias, requiring us to eat humble pie on a regular basis.

The massive cognitive dissonance the average American experiences when reading revelations contrary to their conditioning assures the powers-that-be that the straying lambs will quickly return to suckle from mother’s propaganda teat. This is by design. The purpose of disinformation is to sow confusion and to demoralize, which in turns promotes emotional and psychological tension and infantile responses. We tend to return to mother, or in this case Big Brother, when we are frightened, confused or hurt.

While intellectually we might object to this description, in practice we almost always travel down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid to the lower levels of (perceived) personal safety when we deny or ignore our innate authority and responsibility to our self. Those who do not have the courage to look within and know themselves are susceptible to easy manipulation. Big Brother is here because ultimately both collectively and individually we want him to be here, regardless of whether this is a conditioned response or not.



Some may not agree with this assessment. I respond by asking the reader to explain to me why so many people, including many here on Zero Hedge, are calling for someone, anyone, to stop the banking Ponzi as well as the governmental and corporate corruption? What about you and me? Is it not our responsibility to safeguard our own personal and community interests and doesn’t this systemic corruption endanger us? Why are we calling for an external authority to exert control over these rogue entities when you and I are the ultimate authorities of our body and mind? What exactly is our obligation here?

It seems we have declared our responsibility to be little more than to point fingers and to be the righteously indignant victim calling for truth, freedom and justice to be handed down from higher authorities. The biggest roadblock to understanding what has happened in the past and what’s occurring today is our own willing participation in normalcy bias and preconceived notions of what truth is and what is a lie….starting with the lie that we’re all just helpless innocent victims. The fact that most people believe they aren’t responsible in the least for the mess we are in is our biggest bias and the primary roadblock to affecting change.

It’s easy to say we aren’t influenced by our early childhood and young adult training and conditioning and another matter entirely to clear the mind of the ingrained beliefs that have not only sustained us for decades, but which bind us to those around us, be they family, friends or abusers. We are conditioned human animals and for the most part we don’t like to stray too far from the comforting herd. Tragically this flaw is consistently and effectively used against us by those who wish to control. And it is our denial of this that binds us to the false promises, which in turn keep us bound to our personalized hamster wheels.

Since the Ponzi’s masters and their methods are already so thoroughly examined and documented here on Zero Hedge I would rather spend most of my time exploring the passive and compliant masses for a greater understanding into why, rather than who or how. An innocuous comment on a WilliamBanzai7 post back in December of 2010 got me thinking about not seeing the forest from the trees while also reminding me of a classic song by Pink Floyd called “Comfortably Numb”.


For thousands of years kings, religious leaders and governments large and small have employed psychological and propaganda operations against their own people. This is a given and only the brain dead, hopelessly naive or ideologically blinded cannot see this as a fact. Sadly the ranks of these three cognitive armies are bulging with new recruits as the fear meme is infiltrated ever deeper into the collective consciousness.

As we begin to recognize we’ve been duped and our options are rapidly being extinguished, we will begin to fight among ourselves rather than combine to fight our common enemy. This self directed deception also serves to give us a handy reason to avoid looking within for our own culpability. The distracting rallying cry is often “It’s them, not me, who are the problem.” For us passive observers (enablers) the hope (intent) is that enough chaos and civil disorder is created during this upheaval that the central government collapses under the burden of maintaining social order, thus allowing us to keep our own hands clean.

That’s the myth at least, the pipe dream if you will. That the weak shall rise up and inherit the Earth, a myth which if not outright believed by the masses is the fall back false hope that enables our inaction as we await our savior and salvation. The sad and inescapable conclusion I keep coming to is that as long as the powers-that-are can keep the masses distracted, fearful and (increasingly over the past 70 years of the present suicidal cycle) comfortably numb, little to nothing will be done to change the status quo that the powers that be are not implementing themselves.

It seems this is the only way to get us to fight and kill each other in anything other than single numbers. The really efficient mass murderers must be trained by central governments (formerly known as kings and religious leaders) to do their bidding in the same way Flipper was trained to ‘act’ for the cameras. Actually they treated Flipper better. The vast majority of us simply won’t strike out at unknown human beings and kill on command without first being desensitized and then reprogrammed in order to silence, at least temporarily, the risk adverse and empathetic spiritual soul within.

We have been trained, conditioned more accurately, like lab rats from birth to seek the softer easier way, the path of least resistance and the road very well travelled……all classic signs of a herding animal. I have come to see this as conditioned into us from birth by the master’s social control systems as well as passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years. Mental, emotional and intellectual slave’s teaching fellow slaves how to be good little productive slaves. This helps explain why we must be stripped of our individuality and ego and then rebuilt and retrained to operate as a cohesive military fighting unit in order to walk directly into danger and fight for those who enslave us.



Even when this has been successfully accomplished and we become efficient killing machines, being shelled and shot at causes psychological damage, which in the modern era of state sponsored mass murder is diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder. Contrary to the popular myth that man is a violent animal I contend that a relatively few men and women manipulate and coerce you and I into becoming violent animals either through outright physical oppression (aka slavery) or through social conditioning, training and propaganda. Widespread use of the carrot and stick helps the process along. To those who point to ‘evidence’ of violence over the last several hundred, even thousands of years, I point out that this conditioning has been going on for a very long time.

But with the introduction of designer drugs and expert psychological manipulation, combined with nonstop propaganda via the idiot box and a captured news media, never before have so few been able to control so many so completely. Scroll back up and carefully examine Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid with this thought in mind. The belief that man is naturally violent is a myth perpetuated by the controlling government(s) to serve its purpose and swallowed by a public looking to justify and rationalize our own willing and apathetic participation in the killing machine. Fear is a very poor long term motivator unless you’re trying to perpetuate violence among the slaves as a control mechanism.

At this point in our devolution into collective madness we are more than willing to internalize as the truth any information we are conditioned to be in agreement with no matter how ridiculous or categorically inconsistent with common sense or established fact it might be. This is the central tenant of denial, the desire to believe what we wish to believe without critical review or vetting.

Therefore, by controlling the overall meme that determines what is true and false and then feeding people information that confirms what they’ve been conditioned to believe, we for the most part are willing to be led by the nose wherever our masters take us. We are played as puppets and yet we believe that most (if not all) of our thoughts and decisions are made as independent entities and not as part of a managed and manipulated collective.

The fact that we can decide to leave for work at 6:53 AM or 7:10 AM, thus retaining the illusion of freedom of choice, means little when we must be at work no later than 8:00 AM. We engage in this psychological sleight of hand to feed and sooth our ego in order to deny our captivity and we are deliberately encouraged to do so by our owners. From the master’s point of view, the only thing better than kept slaves are slaves who keep themselves.

Our ego has been so thoroughly flattered since birth by delusions of freedom, truth, justice and the American way, along with visions of our magnificent benevolence to the world, that we would never tolerate, never mind entertain, the idea that we are herded like sheep and cattle to our thinking, feeding and reproduction pens. At this point in the collective farce the only difference between the USSR of the 1970’s and 80’s and America of 2011 is that the Russian people knew they were being lied to, used and abused.

And while they openly drowned this ugly realization in alcohol, they also developed alternative markets and barter system that proved useful when the system later collapsed. We however remain spellbound by the magician while also self medicating; only we tell ourselves we do so for different reasons such as depression or anxiety. What no one wishes to discuss is that our depression is the warning sign that something is terribly wrong. Sadly, given half a chance, denial marches on using whatever means available.

In Chapter Two I will begin to expand upon the physical means by which we are kept comfortably numb as well as our role in our own pacification and enslavement.

Cognitive Dissonance



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