Home » Posts tagged 'cognitive dissonance'

Tag Archives: cognitive dissonance

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Getting Out of Dodge

GETTING OUT OF DODGE

Recently I received an email from a reader who asked for some feedback regarding a decision he was about to make. He’s in his early 50’s, single with an adult child and is considering resigning from his well paid and secure job in order to gain access to his substantial pension fund, which represents at least two thirds of his total wealth.

Why would he do such a crazy thing? Well, when he considers the growing financial, political, social, environmental and resource disruptions, he feels it may make sense to retrieve his pension now before the dollar devaluation accelerates and his pension fund loses significant purchasing power or is substantially lost to government decree and Wall Street greed.

He has talked to friends and acquaintances about what’s going on in the world these days and his thoughts about getting out and moving on with his life in a more prudent and thoughtful manner. All believe he’s nuts. Gone round the bend in fact.

So, he turned to me for some feedback (an “informed perspective” he said, though I’m not too sure about the informed part) carefully explaining he understands this is his decision alone and he’s responsible for any and all consequences of any action he may pursue.

Wow! Someone who is actually considering a radical life change and is already burning his get-out-of-jail-free victim card. What a refreshingly rare and responsible point of view. He actually led with that in his email and I couldn’t help but sit up and take notice.

Clearly this person warranted a detailed and in-depth response from me, if for no other reason than to show respect for his maturity and forthrightness. What follows below is a much expanded and edited version of my thoughts, which I promptly emailed back to him.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Penalizing Prudence

PENALIZING PRUDENCE

“Economy, prudence, and a simple life are the sure masters of need, and will often accomplish that which, their opposites, with a fortune at hand, will fail to do.” – Clara Barton

“Affairs are easier of entrance than of exit; and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in.” – Aesop

One of my conceits, of which there are many, is the belief that because I have entered the third trimester of my life, I am now in possession of great volumes of wisdom and perspective. Thankfully Mrs. Cog is always nearby to efficiently and surgically remove any such thoughts of grandeur and omnipotence. That said, at some point during the flight of life, even birds of prey eventually turn their thoughts to the comfort of a nearby nest rather than their next fearless fight.

Even the most reckless among us begins elevating to greater importance the preservation of resources rather than mindless squandering, especially when we are closer to the end than the beginning. This is a good thing, by the way. It adds balance to the socioeconomic system, both personally and collectively, as well as countering the self-destructive tendencies of those obsessed with endless consumption.

There’s a reason we’re no longer referred to as ‘citizens’ in mainstream media or political speech, but rather the more personal-responsibility-evading ‘consumer’. If given even a minimum of thought, one quickly realizes this subtly propagandized term (consumer) is a significant, but not the only, component of the obvious agenda to infantilize the US (and global) population.

Like the one year old who eats, sleeps, plays, defecates, eats, sleeps, plays……with no personal responsibility other than to be self-indulgent and consume food and attention, we are being reduced (distilled down might be a better term) to our most base impulses. I suspect most people, if told this to their face, would not react well to my observation, assuming instead I was being critical of them personally.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Harvest at Chez Cog

HARVEST AT CHEZ COG

It became obvious to Mrs. Cog and I by early February of this year (2020) that the next phase of socioeconomic crumble/chaos was being implemented both here in the USA as well as throughout the world. The rabbit hole just got deeper. Or more accurately, the deeper rabbit hole was just revealed.

Regardless of whether one believes the COVID-19 pandemic is real or not (we fall into that vast gray area in-between, which we are confidently informed by the mainstream media doesn’t actually exist) what is extremely hard to deny is the pandemic is being used politically to further enrich the already obscenely rich while turning the little people screws even tighter.

Case in point….27 million people remain unemployed (with more to follow as we enter the next stage of Great Depression 2.0) while the personal wealth of Jeff Bezos just passed $200 Billion…essentially doubling in less than 7 months.

For those of you who are like me and have a hard time with large numbers (I’m lost after counting 10 fingers and 10 toes) 200 billion is 200,000 times one million dollars. One billion is a thousand million. 200 billion is two hundred thousand million.

Clearly Bezos doesn’t need to sweat the rent or mortgage.

What this all meant to us back in February was we needed to accelerate our plans to install a greenhouse, along with other final touches to our little homestead we call home sweet home. While the capital improvements are never finished, the greenhouse was the last major building block we’d planned for many years.

Like busy beavers trying to beat the rising creek, we have been going non-stop since spring. Not only did I personally build and install the greenhouse on top of the contractor assisted leveled and graveled building pad (I also trenched in water and electric) but we also expanded the tilled portion of our fenced in garden by about 30%. This was all above and beyond the ‘normal’ things that need to be done in order to maintain our semi self sufficient lifestyle.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse–Chapter One

PERHAPS A CRUMBLE RATHER THAN A COLLAPSE – CHAPTER ONE

“…we can endure neither our vices nor the remedies needed to cure them.”
― Livy, The History of Rome, Books 1-5: The Early History of Rome

Why even question the obvious?

When contemplating a complex subject, especially one in which I hold a strong emotional investment, I find it extremely valuable to seriously and consistently challenge my own thinking, to play devil’s advocate with my oftentimes emotional mind. A ‘truth’ untested, particularly one I’m emotionally bound to, is little more than a belief, a comforting factoid that confirms my biases rather than enlightening and informing my mind. If I am to progress in my personal development I must test the mettle of my beliefs up to, and if need be well past, their destruction. For only then can I truly be free to exercise, and honor, my personal sovereignty on an everyday basis.

So it is that I’ve been considering the concept of ‘collapse’ with regard to society and its socioeconomic system(s), both on a personal and collective emotional and psychological basis. While it is always dangerous to paint detailed pictures with broad brushes, to some degree or another we are all emotional human beings. So while the cognitive details may vary (greatly) from person to person, our tendencies and triggers are very similar (partly because of a shared and distorted worldview) and relatively easy to discern if we have the courage to first look deeply within and then apply what we have found to the world around us. A word of warning here because this article is not a technical or fundamental economic analysis, at least not based upon the traditional financial definition of those terms.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

I’m Sian, and I’m a fossil fuel addict: on paradox, disavowal and (im)possibility in changing climate change

I’m Sian, and I’m a fossil fuel addict: on paradox, disavowal and (im)possibility in changing climate change

Once upon a time in the wild west

Sometimes life brings experiences that give pause for thought.

In recent years I have returned to west Namibia to work with elders of families I’ve known for over almost 30 years – a legacy of a childhood split between Britain and southern Africa. We have been documenting histories of land connections prior to a series of clearances of people from large areas of the west Namibian landscape, that occurred some decades ago.1 Often now perceived as an untouched and pristine wilderness, our work instead draws into focus a landscape intimately known, named and remembered by people who once lived there. Oral histories recorded as we find and revisit places my companions knew as home, have increasingly struck a chord as a record of lives lived more-or-less untouched by fossil fuels.

In the contemporary terms defined by modernity, industrialisation and capital, theirs was an economically impoverished existence. But this is not how they define and describe their experience.

Beyond the nostalgia that people tend to have for times past, their prior existence is valued in some of the following ways:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh

As I approach my 7th decade on this planet, I have reached the conclusion that we all interpret the world through mythical narratives; some of our own creation, many (most?) others ‘imposed’ upon us. The ruling class of society conditions us in numerous ways to accept stories that, for the most part, support and prolong their position of power and control.

From hereditary chieftains/monarchs to ‘democratic’ leadership, the ‘elite’ of society maintain a hold over the ‘tribe’ so as to ensure their revenue streams and wealth (some would argue this is a parasitic arrangement since this class returns little in the way of productive value to the system). They use the various tools at their disposal (e.g., education system, media, etc.) to inculcate/predispose us to accepting this arrangement and continuing to control and expand the wealth-generating/extraction systems that arise from everyday human economic interactions.

Power and wealth is concentrated significantly at the top of the pyramid; yet we are constantly exposed to narratives that we not only have agency, but that the ‘elite’ put our needs at the forefront of their policies and decision-making. I strongly believe these are false and propagated to influence/manipulate our thinking and beliefs.

Just like our financial institutions (especially the big banks) who knowingly engage in criminal activity and then receive raps on the wrist with minimal fines when caught (making their brazen thievery well worth it), the ruling class is more than willing to break ‘rules/laws’ (in fact, I would argue they are constantly doing so) because the ‘price’ for doing so is negligible (with the occasional sacrifice made to appease the masses).

I don’t believe there is a ‘solution’ to any of this (unlike most who do because, you know, hope–and reduction of cognitive dissonance) aside from complete sociopolitical collapse–which I would argue will eventually happen as it has for every complex society that has preceded ours. My response to this has been to accept it, and try and remove myself from the Matrix as much as is possible and prepare accordingly.

The world is not as we have been conditioned to believe by the narrative managers who weave the various storylines (read Edward Bernays book Propaganda for interesting insight on this). Awareness of this is a first step towards a better understanding of how messed up this world truly is and, possibly, doing something for your family/community to make it more resilient as the system inevitably declines/collapses.

Welcome to the Crazed, Frantic Demise of Finance Capitalism

Welcome to the Crazed, Frantic Demise of Finance Capitalism

The cognitive dissonance required to ignore the widening gap between the real economy and the fraud’s basic machinery–speculation funded by “money” conjured out of thin air–has reached a level of denial that can only be termed psychotic.

When scams start unraveling, the scammers become increasingly frantic to maintain the illusion of legitimacy and the delusion of guaranteed gains that are the lifeblood of every scam. One sure sign that the flim-flam is about to collapse is the manic rise of FOMO, fear of missing out, as the scammers jam the Ponzi scheme’s stellar returns to new extremes.What greedy human can resist guaranteed gains, especially of the enviously grandiose variety?

The greatest scam of the past century is unraveling before our eyes. I’m calling it finance capitalism as a general descriptor of the dominant form of what’s called “capitalism” because calling it what it actually is–a fraud that’s destroyed the foundations of our economy and society–is, well, a much more difficult sell than “capitalism,” which still has some faint echoes of the open markets, etc. that characterized traditional capitalism, which I call naive capitalism because it is incapable of differentiating between the parasitic, predatory finance version cloaking itself as “capitalism” and actual capitalism, in which capital is put at risk, markets are transparent, etc.There are many labels for the distorted, corrupted “capitalism” that dominates our economy and society: I’ve long used state-cartel capitalism, others prefer monopoly capitalism or crony capitalism.

I now favor finance capitalism because the heart of the fraud is finance: printing “money” out of thin air without creating any value or any goods and services. If you can’t print “money,” then borrow it into existence–that’s just as profitable a fraud as printing it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Flim-Flam Men

The Flim-Flam Men

I suspect if average Joe or Jane were asked to identify modern examples of ‘Flim-Flam Men’, many would point to Bernie Madoff or Allen Stanford. (Remember them from the last “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008?) Or even to a long list of Too Big To Fail bank CEO’s past and present, plus various corporate, government and Federal Reserve officials who’ve graced our lives over the last twenty or more years.

And you know what? I couldn’t argue with them for a second because they’d be correct. But do those examples really illustrate the deeper, more mundane meaning of the common street hustle or financial confidence game? And are we in denial of our own critical role in ‘The Big Con‘?

Madoff and Stanford (and the Federal Reserve of course) would fall into the category of ‘The Big Con’ since they successfully roped thousands, even tens of thousands, of people into their web of deceit. More importantly, they fleeced their ‘marks’ for years, decades even, and every single mark was smiling right up until the end. Why? Because everyone thought they were on the inside track to a sweet heart deal that paid better than average returns. In other words, they were ‘chosen’ (usually because of their own self described brilliance) and thus they had a leg up on everyone else. That is, until reality rushed in to fill the vacuum and their glorious illusion imploded.

What I wish to explore here is some of the emotional and psychological components of the common confidence game (professional money management subdivision, three-card Monte category) perpetrated on the public by the political and financial ‘industry’ in general, and some of our local money managers/financial advisors in particular. It’s one thing to run a onetime financial con on an individual or small group of people and another entirely to do so consistently, ‘professionally’ and as an accepted member of society.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Papers Please!

Papers Please!

For those who may not know, Mrs. Cog and I live in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, near the intersection of the three poorest counties in the Commonwealth. While that fact doesn’t directly affect us, either financially or physically, it does for many who live within our local community.

The area is basically poor farming country, with many locals still scratching out a living raising cows and calves on steep hilly terrain suitable mostly for livestock grazing and, occasionally, assorted cash crops such as cabbage, corn or even hay.

But for the most part, those who must pay the bills work for others outside the immediate area and for relatively low wages. Worse, they travel many miles to make their keep, often 30-50 miles one way on poorly maintained country back roads. This makes for very long days to match those rather short paychecks.

The point is, many who live here must travel long distances for meager wages. Take away their vehicle or impede their travel and many would quickly fall into abject poverty up here on the mountain. That said, it’s not much different from any other rural American community with an aging and declining population.

Last week the governor of Virginia escalated his two week earlier ‘stay-at-home’ declaration, moving it from voluntary to mandatory, with prejudice I might add. Meaning ‘official’ enforcement. As in at the point of a gun, if the ‘authority’ present at the scene of the infraction deems it necessary.

At the very least, there is the implied threat to use significant force if compliance is slow or missing entirely. That gun on his or her hip is not a non-functioning uniform decoration, but a lethal weapon wielded by the state to compel compliance and obedience.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

LIES, DAMN LIES AND CORONAVIRUS STATISTICS

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” – Otto von Bismarck

‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie.’ – Jean-Claude Juncker, former President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019

We all lie. Of this there is no doubt. And anyone who tells us otherwise is lying. While there are a billion and one reasons to lie, there is only one purpose…to gain advantage, leverage or to maintain, consolidate or increase power over our children or spouses, other family members, friends or unrelated individuals, groups large and small and even entire nations.

At its most innocuous, a lie may be considered small, kind, even considerate. Often, we tell little ‘white’ lies designed to sooth or placate a loved one or close friend. At its worst, a lie is designed to kill or injure physically, financially, socially or emotionally.

Ultimately, no matter how harmless or devastating it is, a lie is at its root a power play, information warfare employed to disarm, confuse, convince, steal, disable or destroy. We tend to treat lies, especially lies told to others that have an effect far removed from ourselves and our interests, with benign disinterest or even mild amusement. It’s only when the proximity is close or we feel we are targeted do we become righteously indignant and demand justice and restitution.

The dirty little secret is that for far too many of us, we welcome, even beg to be lied to. Not all lies, of course, just those lies and half-truths that enable us to remain safely cocooned within our own inner narrative, our customized worldview or belief system that neatly packages everything into a more easily digestible and comforting ‘reality’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society

From my perspective at least, it’s a chicken or egg question. Was civil discourse among a diverse human population desired, or even required, in order for civilization to form and flourish? Or did civilization initially coalesce, with civility to follow shortly after as a means to increase socioeconomic efficiency and to encourage people from killing or maiming each other by setting minimum standards for public conduct?

Or could it possibly be more symbiotic, with both components required in varying degrees and amounts for either component to survive and thrive in the combined form of ‘civilization’?

I am a child of the 1950’s and 1960’s, a time so far removed from today’s brave new world that, even to me, feels like ancient history. This is not to say it was all pomp and circumstance back then, but in many respects so-called civilization was much more civil in my youth than it is now. And this applies to just about all modern social interaction, regardless of the underlying medium, method or mix.

Nothing brings this stark contrast to mind more than when I am out and about pursuing simple chores and errands. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are nearly absent from the public’s vernacular, particularly among those under the age of thirty. Holding a door open for either sex has actually earned me a sharp rebuke on several occasions, always from someone young enough to be my (grand)son.

Whenever I walk in front of anyone, such as along a narrow supermarket aisle or inside a crowded restaurant, many of the younger people I encounter are somewhat surprised to hear me say “excuse me” as I transgress their personal space. On more than a few occasions, the perplexed person asked why I was excusing myself or indicated I had offended them in some manner. But those over fifty years of age nearly always understand and appreciate my consideration.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Deaf, Dumb and Blind: Who is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong–Conservative or Liberal Extremists?

DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND : WHO IS BETTER AT CONCEDING THEY ARE WRONG – CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL EXTREMISTS?

For those readers who wish to confirm their cemented bias or simply don’t read past the first paragraph or two, here is the down and dirty answer to the question posed in the title.

The answer is…neither!

And it gets worse from there. Those who harbor extreme and strident political points of view also maintain similarly strong “opinions” (though nearly all will righteously declare them as ironclad facts) in nearly all facets of their life and are unlikely to change their point of view regardless of the contrary evidence presented. I base my statement upon personal experience andan interesting study recently published which examined this very subject.

Here is the first sentence of the study’s Result and Discussion. “An unjustified certainty in one’s beliefs is a characteristic common to those espousing radical beliefs, and such overconfidence is observed for both political and non-political issues, implying a general cognitive bias in radicals.”

Are you surprised to be told this? Or have you quickly spotted a loop hole in which you may escape from the overall generalization of the statement? The wonderful thing about denial is it’s infinitely customizable and completely flexible; enabling the user to deny anything and everything including the nose on his/her face.

Of course, the only way many can accept uncomfortably too-close-to-home assertions is to declare it doesn’t apply to them, just everyone else.

I shall leave the bickering over the study’s findings to those who have immediately bristled in anger or righteous indignation, and instead ponder why extremist thinking occurs in the first place. And why it appears to be increasing exponentially throughout the social strata.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Perhaps It’s Time to Believe the Impossible

PERHAPS IT’S TIME TO BELIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland.

It is often said, usually by those who wish to “educate”, control and manipulate us, that we are defined by what we believe. I submit it’s the other way around. We are defined, or more accurately confined, by what we disbelieve and think impossible, or at a minimum, improbable.

Once we consign something to the impossible, unbelievable, farfetched, unlikely, preposterous and unreal cognitive file, rarely, if ever, do we fish it back out of the garbage bin for reassessment and reconsideration. And why would we do so since it clearly belonged there to begin with, otherwise we never would have discarded it in the first place.

That right there is a perfect example of circular logic and emotionally comforting thinking.

From the point in time when non-religious standardized thinking was institutionalized, more commonly known as the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, we have been conditioned to believe everything and anything can (eventually) be cataloged, quantified, qualified and confirmed…or denied. More importantly, the scientific method insists “real” truth can only be verified by way of uniform methods that produce repeatable results.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Essence of Control Is Its Concealment

The Essence of Control Is Its Concealment

For thousands of years “control” of humans, both at the micro individual and macro collective level, was obvious and institutionalized. It was the way the world worked, with pharaohs, chiefs, kings and queens, along with their sycophant and supporting courts, wielding power and control at the top. Arrayed along the bottom were the slaves, serfs and peons of various rank and stature, while scattered about the thin middle were the skilled tradesmen, shopkeepers and professionals such as they were.

It was the most effective social order of all millennium; a control system based upon claimed mutual benefit through the collective sharing of resources and defense, though never fairly or just. With disease, pestilence,hunger and death always lurking around the corner, it just made good sense to gather in groups and subsist as best we could. The pecking order quickly sorted out, with sociopaths and ruthless killers quickly rising to the top.

Of course, things are very different these days…right?

No one likes to think/believe/know they’re being controlled; therefore the tendency is to practice partial/full proactive/reactive denial of any and all evidence of overt and covert control and influence. It’s an ego thing mostly, and those who wish to control understand very well the art of leveraging a person’s ego against him or her “self”.

While at times the blatant and blunt use of force to control is deemed necessary and has distinct and powerful benefits for those who wield the control (and severe detriments for those being controlled) for the most part modern societies are much more productive, compliant and malleable when the illusion of freedom is heavily promoted and widely believed to exist.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There Will Be Blood…And Many More Lies

THERE WILL BE BLOOD…AND MANY MORE LIES

I suppose if we randomly stopped people in the street and asked if they were an honest person, the vast majority of answers would be in the affirmative. And if we applied a generous and flexible definition to the word “honest”, I suspect people might actually be considered honest about their self declared honesty. But in truth, in all the animal kingdom we humans are the most dishonest and deceitful, particularly with ourselves.

Therefore it stands to reason we would lie about our dishonesty, to each other and especially to ourselves. One simply cannot maintain lies when they stand in the face of contrary and irrefutable truth unless an individual and cooperative self deception is employed. In effect we are all liars, of this there is little doubt. The only real question is to what degree. This assessment may be harsh, but it is not fundamentally wrong.

This point was driven home to me several decades ago when my then very young son was asking rather uncomfortable questions about lying, particularly when it was acceptable to do so and when it was not. Of course, at that age there is no acceptable lie simply because a five year old has not yet learned how and when to lie…at least in a sociably acceptable manner.

And therein lies the rub. One simply cannot avoid (though we most certainly can deny) our own hypocrisy when we sternly warn our children not to lie while our own personal cup runneth over. Of course, my lies aren’t really lies since I’m basically an honest person. See how that works?

When speaking about lies and lying, we utilize at least a hundred different modifiers and qualifiers to mitigate or dismiss the intent and intensity of our lies.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase