It’s a simple enough word and one that should be familiar. A quick check of an online dictionary reveals an obvious definition, especially when we consider the root word ‘transcend’. “Exceeding or surpassing in degree or excellence” and “to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of; to overcome”. Simple……right?

From the very beginning, well before I selected Cognitive Dissonance to represent my online personality and certainly before Tyler plucked me from the Zero Hedge peanut gallery (aka the comment section) and offered me the opportunity to become a ZH contributor, my one and only desire when I wrote was to add perspective, to offer up what I thought was a bigger picture point of view. That purpose remains just as pronounced today as it ever was. But I feel stronger headwinds than normal buffeting me and the collective anger and loathing is rising, dangerously in my view.

But please don’t be mistaken. Not for one moment do I consider myself the Oracle from Delphi, nor some wise and giving man here to shower you with wisdom and healing. Not in the least. What I’m actually doing is simple and in many ways self serving. I’m faking it until I make it with the hope that if I give away something that I don’t really feel is fully within me, that I may further develop my empathy, compassion and perspective muscles, that I may grow stronger by offering to others what I feel lacking in myself.

This concept, my method, isn’t as counter intuitive as it might seem at first blush. Of course I am quite capable of empathy and perspective. The problem isn’t necessarily a lack of ability, but rather at times a lack of desire. You see……I was, and can still be, a very angry man. A very, very angry man. And it was slowly killing me. It wasn’t an epiphany that compelled me to begin to look within, but rather raw unbridled desperation to find something, anything, that would relieve my inner anguish and pain.

The thing was that at first I didn’t realize how much pain I was in. All I saw was my all consuming anger and indignation, righteous indignation in fact, the worst kind because it ‘allowed’ me to wallow in my own self pity while nursing my hurt ego. How dare those bastards ……… fill in the blank, there are plenty of outrages to choose from. ‘They’ were subverting the American Dream and hurting me and my own in the process. It was horrible and glorious at the same time. No critical thinking needed, just point and shoot both barrels at once. But over time it was eating me alive from the inside, and I didn’t know what to do about it. Or even if I should.

The best analogy I can find of the damage done to myself by my slow burn anger is that it was similar to eating every meal at McDonalds. While our belly is full, it’s never really satisfying and we wind up feeling more and more out of sorts with each subsequent meal, somewhat sick to the stomach and bloated. Over time we grow fat and distorted on all those empty calories while simultaneously wasting away from the lack of quality nutrition. Keep it up long enough and we will degrade both physically and mentally, resulting in a shorter life span and a marked decrease in quality of life on the way to our early grave.


I could go on describing the fallout from my lingering dysfunction (yup, still there, though less so each day) but that’s not the purpose of this article. The point is to explain the measures I continue to embrace to overcome my issues and to warn my loyal readers that I am recognizing the same dysfunction in you. Zero Hedge has always been about letting go, of speaking truth to power and venting frustrations, of finding comfort when huddled with like minded others who share a common goal, to oust the corruption and return to a more fair and equitable social order.

The thing is that the longer the social order remains……well, disorderly……the more intense our inner personal dysfunction can become. But rather than believe that society is coming unglued because of the creeping (rushing is more like it) political and financial corruption, consider that the process is actually reversed, that as we personally come apart at the seams, so does our society which in turn pushes society’s dredges (aka sociopaths) to the top of the heap in the form of thieving bankers, abusive multinational corporations and too-numerous-to-count hanger-on’s, enablers and sycophants.

Regardless of whether you agree with my analysis of the source of the cancerous lesions or not, the purpose of this train of thought is not to be ‘right’, but to (re)gain our mental and emotional health and to make this our number one priority now and forever. Regardless of whether we feel we must ‘do’ something now (anything for God’s sake) or that it’s hopeless and futile (or more likely something in between) if our inner self, our essence, is not centered and at peace, at best we will be ineffective and at worst just a miserable person.

As well there is no going back, no unlearning or forgetting what we know, no return to blissful ignorance. In fact any attempt to go back to before, to forget all we know, will only feed our dysfunction and anger that much more. We cannot be plugged back into the Matrix, at least not without a frontal lobotomy. So let us acknowledge our inner madman and begin the process of self help and healing, then move forward individually and collectively.



Cognitive Dissonance


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