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You Only Have One Inalienable Right

YOU ONLY HAVE ONE INALIENABLE RIGHT

At what point are we solely and personally responsible for everything and anything that’s going on in our lives? As far as I’m concerned that’s the only question we must ask, and answer, if we are to begin to break the chains that bind us to our socioeconomic co-dependence and psychological victim hood.

What’s that you say? You aren’t a victim or codependent? Most of us who feel we are put out, encumbered or even assaulted don’t see our condition as self imposed other than possibly, maybe, somewhat incidentally. Rather, we perceive ourselves as clear thinking innocent bystanders being trampled and imposed upon by outside forces through no fault of our own.

The one and only inalienable right we have in this screwed up world, this mess of a hell hole, is the right to be curious, probing, inquisitive, to crave knowing more, to posses the desire to learn, to grow, to mature, to move forward rather than just tread water or sink silently beneath the surface and into the abyss.

To be perfectly frank I am a bit tired of hearing the futile bleating of the captured slave mind as it bemoans its sorry state of affairs. I didn’t know, no one told me, how was I supposed to know, it’s not my fault, I wasn’t taught, you made me (fill in the blank), you didn’t do your part so why should I do mine etc. This is the cry of the confined cranium, the deaf, dumb and blind, the sole surveyor of the empty space of our terminally closed minds.

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

cognitive dissonance, two ice floes, slavery, consent, freedom,

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…

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…

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…

Empire in Decline – Propaganda and the American Myth

Empire in Decline – Propaganda and the American Myth

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…ourselves.” – With apologies to Sir Walter Scott.

If only life was as neat and orderly as my ancient history text book showed it to be. There it was on glossy paper, spread out across several sets of adjoining pages, maps of the ancient and modern world. Sometimes there were time lines top and bottom, along with countries helpfully outlined and identified. Underneath their modern English names were one or two older names in smaller stylized script, often including exact beginning and end dates. I remember one in particular caught my eye. “The United States of America” followed by the year 1776. But with no end date indicated, it looked like unfinished business to me. You’ve got to love those historians and their precise dates.

Of course, in reality there are no exact dates for the birth and death of city/states, other than in the historian’s mind. Children continue to be born, the old still die, and life goes on under ever changing circumstances. But you are rarely informed of the subjective nature of historical events when you’re young and impressionable, so they’re presented in the history books as cold hard facts. The last thing the reigning Imperial Empire wants is to appear uncertain about prior eons, epochs and echoes in time.

Long before we begin to read and comprehend on our own, we’re presented with the illusion of a specific beginning and end to everything, often accompanied with very clear lines of demarcation. This concept is continuously reinforced through our daily indoctrination via carefully scripted news stories, including political and social opinion presented as ironclad fact care of our modern corporate media saturated existence. Naturally, critical thinking is strictly optional and effectively discouraged.

 …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…

A Few Screws Loose

A FEW SCREWS LOOSE

Twice a year, usually in the spring and fall, I haul out one of my extension ladders, fill my back pockets with various wrenches and screwdrivers, and venture up onto our log cabin roof. My purpose is always the same; tighten any loose nuts and bolts on our solar array and conduct a visual inspection of the roof itself.

In the old days they called this type of activity “preventive maintenance” and I always find something that needs tightening or adjusting on the solar array. Nothing major, mind you, just a screw loose here and there which might cause a problem sometime down the road. A quarter or half turn with a 5/8” box end wrench or 5/16” hex key and all’s right in Cog’s solar universe.

Loose screws and fittings are known structural vulnerabilities when generating power from sunlight. The constant heating and cooling of the aluminum frame, combined with high winds out here on the edge of the mountain, present minor challenges easily overcome if one is proactive and not afraid of heights.

Well, not too afraid of heights. I admit to being a little queasy until I get my sea legs properly adjusted. Mrs. Cog, on the other hand, does not like me on the roof and lets me know her displeasure every fifteen minutes or so when she appears outside looking for blood and guts spilled from a fallen Cog. In truth I don’t blame her for her concern. I’m not as young as I once was and balance is no longer my strong suit.

Once every nut and bolt has been hand checked/tightened I turn my attention to the roof itself. I was a residential home builder back in the 70’s and 80’s and I’m quite familiar with all the techniques used in home construction.

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

Control the Narrative and You Control the People

Control the Narrative and You Control the People

It is extremely difficult to get where you are going if you don’t know where you presently are. And you can’t know where you are if you don’t know where you have been. Control the narrative and you effectively control the people.

When my son was young (we are talking over 25 years ago when he was around seven years of age) one of the ways I would keep him occupied when on car trips was to place a paper road map (aka a narrative) on his lap and ask him a multitude of questions for the duration of the trip.

The first question when starting a trip was, “Where are we on the map?” Essentially I was asking him to physically and mentally locate us in the present on a two dimensional representation of reality. And unsurprisingly this was initially difficult for my son, since he lives and plays in a three dimensional world. I encountered similar difficulties as a student comprehending plane (two dimensional) geometry. But unlike other students, I quickly understood solid (three dimensional) geometry because it mimicked real life as I perceived it.

Then I would ask “Where are we going?” This was the future, a point in time not yet experienced. Because our perceptual point of view has not yet experienced this (or any) future, the future is infinitely variable. My son had some difficulty with this concept because in his mind the future was set (we’re going to Grandma’s house) but had not yet arrived. While the narrative map represented an infinite number of possible futures, his task was simply to locate one…Grandma’s house.

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

Impotence and Denial: The Desperate Virtue Signaling Voices

IMPOTENCE AND DENIAL: THE DESPERATE VIRTUE SIGNALING VOICES

Regardless of whether we are speaking of individuals or groups, what is not said is often far more important and enlightening than what is. How and why we self censor while conforming to the collective hive mind speaks volumes about whom and what controls, or at least greatly influences, our thinking and beliefs.

While those engaged might argue otherwise, virtue signaling is all about displaying our cognitive compliance to the group think of our adopted tribe or herd. Virtue signaling usually does not require actual activity or productive effort towards whatever we are signaling about, thought it also doesn’t preclude it, only that we inform the clan we are right thinking and obedient to the hive mind. In form and function, it is very similar to the movement of herds of animals and flocks of birds.

On the surface this makes perfect sense, allowing the individual to share in the rewards (physically, emotionally and monetarily) of being a cooperative and accepted member of the group. Even today the opportunity for safety and prosperity rise when we join a group rather than live the solitary life, even if our group is defined as a nation or religion. Living alone in the Outback for example, particularly for those not well adapted, is not conducive to a long healthy life.

But just as the hive mind demands uniformity in speech and thought, so too does it command certain thought and speech to be verboten and not to be broached other than in passing and in a derogatory manner.

It is here we ask that age old question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Or in this case, does the group organize before leadership is selected or does leadership gather like-minded followers who then grow the group via assimilation, control and conquest? My money is on the latter and, in my opinion, is a direct outcome of herd mentality and the hive mind.

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

We Prefer Our Sociopaths Well Dressed and Spoken

WE PREFER OUR SOCIOPATHS WELL DRESSED AND SPOKEN

What would you do if I told you not to think about elephants? Yeah, I thought so. Me too!

Effective denial of a subject or thought is actually quite difficult to achieve on a consistent basis, particularly if it carries with it great emotional weight and impact. While the elephant mentioned above might have instantly popped into your mind the moment you read the words, by now it’s beginning to fade from memory…except for the fact I just mentioned it again.

Sorry!

But witnessing an elephant stampede, possibly being endangered by one, or someone being cruel to the animal, beating it mercilessly to compel a certain behavior, might actually leave a lasting impression that is extremely difficult to extinguish. Memory is an interesting phenomenon, one which encompasses sight, sound, smell, taste and touch into a billion different combinations carefully customized to each individual psychology.

How many times have we heard a song or distinct sound, smelled a flower or food, touched a fabric or surface or felt a summer breeze or cold wind only to be flooded with a memory or memories of days long past? Which came first, the triggering sense or the memory? Would the memory be as sharp and real if not for the triggering sensory input?

However, the above is discussing one time happenings, memories of single events or a series of events compressed into a relatively short period of time. Absent the passage of memory dulling time, how does one forget or actively deny a persistent reality that insists on making its presence known? How do we ignore an ugly truth, a clear and present existence that doesn’t fade away into the ether?

Simple! We call it something else, thereby putting lipstick on a pig. Not that I have anything against pigs or lipstick.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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