Wash, Rinse and Repeat. Cognitively Captured via Perception Management.


Cognitive Dissonance


Just when I thought I was out….they pull me back in.” - The Godfather 3

God bless us everyone
We're a broken people living under loaded gun
And it can't be outfought
It can't be outdone
It can't be outmatched
It can't be outrun

The Catalyst by Linkin Park

 "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti


Cognitive Dissonance rises to the surface and rears its ugly head when reality (itself rarely perceived fully and clearly) doesn’t match our expectations aka beliefs. What occurs at that point, and how it plays out, is entirely up to the person, or group of people, experiencing the dissonance.

Though nearly all of us would be hard pressed to admit the following, in so many ways we live in a dream world created both by external forces intent on controlling us as well as our own self imposed cognitive distortions and ideology. The end result is nothing short of insanity. The primary reason we don’t recognize our insanity is because everyone else is insane, therefore insanity is accepted as ‘normal’ and fully integrated into the hive mind.

Most of our cognitive glitches are the result of attempting to mesh the terribly distorted ‘real’ world with our own cognitive fantasy, all while simultaneously coping with everyone else’s delusional insanity. Ironically, some might say sadly, those attempting to regain their sanity (or at least to be less insane than the general madness of the crowd) are judged to be at best disturbed and at worse insane by those fully caught up in their own madness.

I start this article in this manner because, for me at least, I find it helpful when considering life in general, and my own thoughts in particular, to assume I am insane and work from there. To begin from any other starting point encourages a dishonest self assessment; the insane mind never wishes to sincerely question its own authenticity and competence.

One can always conclude we are actually sane when initially assuming insanity. But the insane mind will rarely (if ever) conclude it is insane, for it requires at least a smidgen of sanity to recognize our own madness.

I try to understand my insanity by thinking about it in this manner. Insanity cannot tolerate significant self doubt, for this encourages cognitive dissonance, a severely disruptive cognitive condition to be avoided at all cost. Insanity simply will not accept true self awareness and cognitive dissonance is its defense mechanism.

What I am essentially saying is simple. If we cannot entertain a sustained and significant self assessment, if we cannot tolerate a prolonged period of self doubt and appraisal without great emotional and cognitive distress, we are most likely insane.

Of course, an insane person just told you this so you might want to take it with several grains of sea salt.

Back in March of 2016 I put forward the plausible theory (Down the Trump Rabbit Hole: Manufacturing Consent) that the controllers were attempting to corral a significant portion of the US population back into the cognitive fold by fielding and secretly supporting a contrary candidate who would naturally appeal to the (reluctantly) contrary mind.

In August I posted The Superman Syndromewhere I discussed the desire (actually desperate need would be more accurate) of the captured mind to seek salvation in ‘The One’, an all powerful being who can and will save us from ourselves, thus affirming our self assigned victimhood without suffering the immediate and direct consequences of our poor decision making and selfishness. It’s not just the elite who wish to kick the cognitive can down the road.

As the election neared, in mid October I explored the very effective technique of divide and control (For Domestic Consumption: Divide and Control is Working Brilliantly Once Again) which for some reason I never posted on Zero Hedge. I blame that solely on my insanity. Actually, it was reserved for the exclusive use of my www.TwoIceFloes.com membership.

Finally, with the election just a few short weeks away, I introduced “Shadows on the Cave Wall” by teasing the following sentence. “I am stunned by the incomprehensible capitulation by so many previously withdrawn and cynical ideological escapees who are willingly walking back into the belly of the political beast.” Even I was amazed by the level of insanity the contrary herd was demonstrating.


Which are real and which are the illusion?

I highlight this series of articles in order to segue into this piece. Now that Trump has been elected, to the utter surprise of many on the left and initial relief and growing unease of many on the right, the cognitive Pied Piper must now be paid. As my mother used to say, consequences are a bitch and here come yours.

Here’s a thought. The vast majority of what we think and ‘know’ is not derived from original thought, experience or self examination, but rather mostly unconscious rout recital of programmed beliefs and cultural identity/ideology.

While composed of multiple overlapping and intertwined onion layers, rarely do we ever explore more than one or two layers deep. Why dig when the answers to questions unasked are spoon fed to us via various controlled media spam bots? Garbage in, garbage out is how I think about it.

The genius of the ‘American Democracy’, free speech, constitutional rights, land of the free (etc) memes is twofold. We are programmed to believe we are free and our version of free is infinitely customizable to fit our unique iteration of the base programming. Everyone is a uniquely different snowflake, yet essentially the same and all part of a mindless avalanche.

In addition, the two political party scam affords us a wide range of free discussion within a narrowly defined collection of choices. You are certainly welcome to complain all you want about the system so long as you never seriously question the basis of the system. This self reinforcing positive feedback meme machine allows some divergence (i.e. abortion, guns and religion) while marching to the same crony capitalist socioeconomic beat of the drum.

For the very small minority who simply refuses to accept the mainstream political meme, third party candidates are proffered to engage the aberrant mind into reluctantly accepting their own manufactured consent. I’m a rebel. Hear me roar!

There comes a tipping point when widespread systemic corruption (meaning corruption from bottom to top via codependency, profit or control) is so ingrained within the collective mind that significant change becomes impossible. The system, along with all the codependent individuals and groups comprising the system, will attack, violently if necessary, any entity or individual it deems threatening to its substance and viability.

This inevitable, and entirely predictable, turn towards self destruction is recognized throughout known and recorded history, and rises to the surface even when one recognizes ‘history’ is written by the winners and rewritten by each subsequent winner. Anyone who ascends the power structure, or threatens it from outside while displaying contrarian tendencies or actions, is curtailed, co-opted, corrupted or consumed.

The operatives who engage in these psychological operations are highly trained and skilled practitioners in the art of leveraging egos and emotional/intellectual flaws, along with threats of violence if necessary, against the target. One wonders how they internally justify such actions. Then again, insanity requires no external affirmation, receiving everything it needs from its host. The manipulative techniques used against the population at large are simply refined and customized for individual deployment.

The most effective method employed, and one that is completely scalable, exploits the conditioned and distorted sense of self with our horribly inflated ego to convince us we know when we are being manipulated. Therefore we are not being manipulated because we would easily recognize it if and when it was done. This self reinforcing cognitive closed loop and narcissistic belief is further enhanced because we often recognize manipulation being utilized against others, further bolstering our belief we are aware of when it is being directed toward us.

Nothing could be further from the truth, enabling this cognitive quicksand to be repeatedly deployed against “We the People” again and again with very little diminished effectiveness. Even when the hidden hand begins to be intuitively perceived behind the heavy veil, the illusion is quickly reinvigorated by a new cast of characters and controlling memes. Because our twisted psyche is always one or two steps behind the meme creators, it is the rare individual who actually sees the mind stew while it is being prepared and served.


Top down view of our twisted psyche.

In the past I’ve used the phrase ‘Useful Idiot’, with the word ‘idiot’ often misconstrued because its literal definition is of a stupid person. In reality, stupid people are not very useful in furthering an overriding and complex agenda other than as mindless consumers and cannon fodder.

Intelligent, highly trained (read conditioned) individuals with oversized egos and an inflated sense of self worth are relatively easily manipulated using specifically prescribed stimuli and targeted triggers. Sound familiar? Could we not all be considered useful idiots when viewed from the point of view of our madness?

Welcome to the Insane Asylum.

Simply put, those under the influence of an unquenchable inner drive and controlling ideology can be surprisingly pliable and impressionable by those who understand the target’s underlying motives and insecurities. Since the vast majority of us fail to see ourselves clearly, there are always others who can read us like a book and prod us into alternative directions while encouraging us to believe we are moving of our own free will in the direction we sincerely want.

Of utmost importance for those who wish to understand these control mechanisms is the simple fact the ‘Useful Idiot’ may, or may not, know s/he is being used. Even if they are aware of the hidden hand, if the knowledge and expected outcome suits their (believed to be their own) purpose, well…so much the better. A double blind useful idiot results.

Often, but not always, the useful idiot is at best amoral and at worse sociopathic. The socioeconomic system itself richly rewards amoral and illegal behavior, which is an integral part of the overall corrupting process and a feature, not a flaw. Those who rise to useful idiot status are not angels to begin with, having dug a few graves for their prey along the way.

Back in 2008 a large portion of the population who are considered minorities (meaning people of various races other than white) ‘needed’ to be reinvigorated by the sociopolitical system and affirmed in their social status and value if they were to remain cognitively captured. If you wish to comprehend the meteoric rise of Barrack Obama to power, understand he was hand selected to lead that group out of the desert in 2008 and again in 2012.

Today those who control are acutely aware of a rapidly growing mostly middle class, middle America, segment of the US population who have grown deeply disillusioned and disgruntled by economic stagnation and political mothballing.

By 2016 it was the turn of the ‘deplorables’ to be acknowledged and affirmed in their righteous indignation as self appointed victims. And it has worked brilliantly, particularly because this group has little cognitive awareness they have been effectively recaptured. Christ, all they want is to make America great again. What could be wrong with that?

When crafting sociopolitical illusions, nothing of substance need be used to create reality, only ringing oratory and rhetoric combined with a dash of drama and a healthy dose of persuasion designed to sway the grasping minds desperate to believe the messiah has arrived. Slaves and sheep are willingly led to the Promised Land using finely honed divide and control practices. The fundamental techniques have been well understood for thousands of years and change only to adopt the latest technology and prevailing memes.

After each side has told its supporters precisely what they want to hear, thoroughly polarizing left and right with only the comfortably numb and indifferent remaining as a shock absorbing buffer, the next step is to bring everyone back to the center, with the hope and belief it will be better than expected (or not as bad as feared) as the bait to suspend disbelief just a little bit longer.

And thus the cycle of social hypnotism endlessly repeats, modified only as circumstances (war, greed, unrest, profit and crisis) dictate. Once reeled back into the comforting confines of the matrix, at that point each subgroup has little choice but to wait and see if their reinvigorated hope and belief (or fear and loathing) will actually be fulfilled in any meaningful way.

My focus, and yours if you wish to regain a modicum of sanity, is not to be hypnotized by the three ring circus, let alone be pulled back in, but to study the various ringmasters, carnival barkers, charlatans, hustlers, hypocrites, master of ceremonies, confidence (wo)men, frauds, shysters, bunco artists, charmers, embezzlers, grafters, knaves, operatives, puppeteers, pitchmen and petty thieves as well as the distortions and reactions of the common man to the manipulation.

The principal confidence game, which by definition demands our faith and belief (or at least our reluctant participation) preys upon our abject indifference or ignorance of the manipulation techniques used against us. To understand the con we must first understand ourselves, a place few wish to visit. By first studying, then identifying with (meaning taking personal responsibility for our participation) we begin to see the bigger picture as the concealing curtain falls away.


To understand the con we must first understand ourselves, a place few wish to visit.

At this point in the creeping crumble, the overriding purpose of the US political system, and in particular the local, state and national elections, is to constantly reaffirm our increasingly desperate hope the oppressive system will not swallow us. How do you keep a Ponzi perpetual in the face of obvious degradation and systemic corruption? Simple……offer recurring hope of rebirth and renewal, essentially by externally applied personal salvation by an authority to which we can attach our desperate need to believe and to be affirmed in our belief.

Do not underestimate or dismiss the corrosive effects a state of deliberately induced and continuously applied insecurity has upon the mind of the self assigned victim just because you or I aren’t presently feeling insecure. Regardless of the structural or ideological organization of the various nation state plantations, the prevailing purpose of any law or meme is always to further enrich the privileged via the exploitation of the resident slave population.

And there is no more effective method of achieving this result than to keep the worker bees in a constant state of mild cognitive dissonance and emotional instability, generously interspersed with periods of sated opiate bliss (or at least comfortably numb) via state approved bread and circuses.

The very fact the stock market has continuously climbed (with real money aka Gold and Silver being mercilessly pummeled) for two weeks after Trumps election is not a natural occurrence. Instead we are witnessing a slave state sponsored Ponzi pump designed to pacify both sides in the manufactured dissonance that all is well even though we may be gloriously delighted, or deeply disappointed and frightened, of the future.

Perception management is the name of the confidence game. And for those dependent upon the system to tell them what to think, feel and believe (a dependency not restricted solely to the lower classes) this is soothing balm and a necessary condition of our continued participation. We all need our fix and the perception pusher is always ready to oblige……for an increasingly steep price.

So when Trump’s previously stated campaign rhetoric morphs and changes as he progresses through the transition period between the election and the actual assumption of power, why would anyone be surprised he is moderating his positions? If nothing else, Trump is a practical man. And based upon his previous 70 years, the only ideology he answers to is making money and burnishing his ego.

I am quite certain he believes himself empowered to enter office with the (apparently minority) mandate to drain the swamp. And I am equally certain he will make waves during the next 4 years. But ultimately the king rules at the pleasure of his court. And Trump’s court extends far beyond the fistful of individuals he hand picks to fill key cabinet, judicial and political positions. The swamp will not be drained willingly or easily.

Besides, it is highly likely his definition of ‘drain the swamp’ and ours differs widely, with only minor points of compatibility between the extremes. I suspect many on the far right took him literally, and backed him expecting he would enter Washington with sickle and shovel in hand. From where I sit, other than differences in style and organization, there is very little difference between Obama and Trump. Both promised substantive change they can never deliver. They were, and still are, speaking for domestic consumption.

Trump is a deeply embedded billionaire, an elite by any definition of the word, who exploited the socioeconomic system his entire life and supposedly believes that with the proper tweaks, adjustments and expert use of the Wayback Machine, we can return to growth and prosperity…all while making America great again.

Do we really believe the system can be fixed? That the economic and social consequences, delayed for decades, will not soon present its bill and demand to be promptly paid? That millions upon millions of teat suckers firmly attached to the public sow shall willing release their death grip and happily accept much less extorted privilege in exchange for more work over a much longer period of time?

Is it truly conceivable that solemn promises made for decades by lying politicians to literally tens of millions of additional wannabe teat suckers, assurances that are mathematically impossible to deliver, will be willingly delayed, diminished or simply denied? So, are we to assume parents will gladly switch places with their kids presently residing in the basement and live happily ever after on cat food and dumpster diving? Really?

Ultimately this is about the continuing plunder of the core for the benefit of the elite, of which Trump is a card carrying member in good standing. The court cares little about the King’s policies so long as they get their taste of the spoils. And Trump has promised spoils galore for the status quo, with lower individual and corporate taxes, less regulation and deficit spending the likes of which have never been seen before.

What’s not to like if you’re the few, the proud, the elite.

Einstein is reported to have said insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. How many times will “We the People” be told what we want to hear from unprincipled people totally conflicted and unable to deliver on the promises made…..and then be deeply disappointed when they don’t, and never, could deliver?

Once again we are stuck in a holding pattern for the next four years awaiting promises to be kept and Superman to appear to save our souls. And while we wait, we continue to be strip mined of every asset we hold near and dear, including the sole remaining pot we use to piss in.

I’d say it’s time to wake up and begin our withdrawal from the insanity. While this appears to be easier said than done, as with all things in life it is simply a matter of personal perception management. Only in this case we are responsible for our own management.

Tune out, turn away, unplug and begin the process of withdrawing our consent.



Cognitive Dissonance


Withdraw your consent now while there are no lines.

Like this article? Take a second to support Cognitive Dissonance on Patreon and gain access to exclusive Patreon Only articles!
Become a patron at Patreon!

6 thoughts on “Wash, Rinse and Repeat. Cognitively Captured via Perception Management.”

  1. I don’t disagree with much of this. Except. I genuinely wonder if the various psychological tools we’re aware are used to manipulate opinion are used consciously, or are wielded as a matter of normal human action, that is, what oppressors v. oppressed have used as levers for centuries. What you write implies that the propaganda machine is knowingly running at full tilt. And perhaps this last election cycle proved the theory wasn’t a mere theory. But I still wonder. The “elites” continue to strike me as clueless, however privileged they may be. By declaring manipulation, we are wandering deep into conspiracy territory.

    Let’s assume it’s true. Are efforts to manipulate the country coordinated? And if so, by whom? Or are the efforts the effect of numerous agents who are only tangentially in touch with each other? Say these agents only have messengers on horseback to communicate among each other (rather than email). Say this is a hive mentality. The ruling powers know instinctively what to say and do to keep the powerless powerless. If coordination is genuinely synchronized from some primary source, the source is seriously flawed.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that unless the NSA (or some similar agency) is equivalent in its influence to the Goebbels’ top-down manipulation that occurred back in the 1930s, I struggle with any conjecture that there is a central directorate in the US. Then again, it does seem that CNN, NyTimes, MSNBC and too many other media outlets dropped their panties this last cycle. (Perhaps I’m arguing with myself. Perhaps I simply remain an idealist who’s still hesitant to confirm what is blatant. Oh well.)

    That said, the parting “Tune out, turn away, unplug …” of the article seems the anthesis of smart action. Although what we hear when we tune in may be pure propaganda, tuning out seems the equivalent of turning your back when someone yells, “They’re coming with guns.” However obscured with smoke, I’d rather see what’s coming and have a chance to unmask it.

    1. pgarner,

      Let’s start at the end.

      I wasn’t saying we should not listen, just not allow ourselves to be pulled back in. We must be vigilant. We must withdraw our consent to the best of our ability.

      However I was also speaking about the madness, our insanity. We tend to believe the voice in our head, the inner dialog, is ‘us’ speaking to ourselves. I suggest this is not the case.

      We must address our madness as an inner invader, a foreign entity not of ourselves, not organic but rather artificial and unnatural. I wrote an article way back in 2011 about an illness called Wetiko that pretty much sums up this subject. Click here to read it.

      The coordinated MSM leading up to the 2016 election is a perfect example of conspiracy. But there can also be a conspiracy with no verbal or written communication what-so-ever. Common interest can compel or incentivize otherwise isolated parties.

      I seem to remember a lawsuit brought against Ford, GM and Chrysler by the now defunct American Motors over price collusion. The car makers were found not guilty, but it was proven in court that because executives and managers regularly changed employment between the companies, a form of communication was established. But it did not fit the legal definition and so the case was lost.

      Common interests bred common actions.

      But of course there IS communication between the elite. What the hell do we call the various meetings such as Davos and Jackson Hole, to name just two of the more well known. It goes on all the time, not to mention the private affairs and meetings between two or three at a time.

      And we tend to think of manipulation as micro managing, like a floor manager who constantly monitors the workforce throughout the day. But this isn’t the case when dealing with large populations, at least not directly. Most of the day to day ‘management’ is done by social, cultural and political memes and common public understandings.

      The herd just needs a nudge now and then to manage general directional moves. The day to day stuff takes care of itself for the most part.

      Cognitive Dissonance

      1. Cog,
        Great article,in fact your last four articles have been great.My apologies for not replying sooner.I can’t think of any time that TPTB have jacked up the propaganda machine to 11 and left it there for so long.I was absolutely amazed at the level of cognitive dissonance shown by the Hillary camp post election.I refer to it in my head as Post Election Psychosis.They just lost it.From college kids to middle aged professionals,irrational reactions everywhere.On the other side,pure hero worship as illustrated by your Superman article.Even on ZH,all the” elections don’t matter” crowd got sucked right back in to the tent.

        The MSM is trotting out new memes on a weekly basis,trying to get traction and keep the people as polarized as possible.Trump rigged the vote,then Putin did it,then Putin conspired with Trump and now it’s “fake news”.Trump and Putin are behind it of course.

        As for myself,the last line of your article sums up what I am doing and have been doing.I don’t watch TV or read newspapers,I get my information online and run it through a series of heavy duty bullshit filters.As you say,vigilance is needed.While the alternative media is better than the MSM,discernment is a must.Disinformation is everywhere.My focus is on the journey inward so I refuse to willingly give my approval or consent.

        Thanks again for the great article.

        1. Kestrel,

          It most certainly appears we are headed for a major social conflict of some sort, either an outright constitutional crisis as ‘they’ head Trump off at the electoral college pass, or a manufactured social uprising from both ‘sides’ of the aisle. Throw in an economic crisis for good effect and there is no telling the legal, social and political changes that will be pushed down our throats.

          We live in interesting times.

          The most important step we can take to maintain our emotional and psychological balance is to understand the situation is not as urgent as everyone around us will be claiming. S/he who panics first will be the cannon fodder.

          Cognitive Dissonance

  2. Wisely stated. Clearly my comment was naive to an extreme. I think I’m still trying to get over my late realization that the NYTimes doesn’t represent the pinnacle of objective journalism. Then, like too many, I’m gullible.

    I came across a 1977 quote from Carl Bernstein today that refers to 400+ CIA-paid journalists taking funds to plant (or color) stories. And of the CIA literally writing articles for MSM that were printed w/o question. And that this practice has been a de facto practice since post-WWII. It’s all enough to make an idealist despair. [I say that with some small chagrin; I’d be happier having been a cynic long ago. Better to be clear-eyed than a fool.]

    Not familiar with Wetiko: reading your article on it comes next.

    1. pgarner,

      There is simply such a large volume of information to absorb in such a short period of time, nearly all of it contrary to our original programming and prevailing social memes, that one is almost always overwhelmed and in a near state of panic.

      The thing to recognize is this alternative universe has been around for a long time and it is us who are only now coming up to speed. Because it feels so new it tends to ring our inner proximity alarms, triggering our primeval fight or flight response. If we don’t actively and continuously resist the resulting sense of fear and panic, the urge to do SOMETHING, we become deer in the headlights and the process of growth and maturing comes to a standstill.

      Breathe deeply, force yourself to be calm and collected, understand you are the problem here with regard to the inner alarm, and move beyond it. Be a screen door to the fear and alarm. Acknowledge its presence, understand what it is, then let it pass thru and beyond you. Repeat as often as necessary, even if that means several times a day.

      Equally critical, come to realize that just as we grow physically tired at the end of the day, so too are we less capable of dealing with alarming information during this time as well. Intersperse your reading with lighter fair. Limit the time you spend swimming in the septic tank. Deliberately select things you can do that bring yourself pleasure and joy. Treat yourself as you would a valued personal possession.

      In other words, take care of yourself.

      Cognitive Dissonance

Comments are closed.