Empire in Decline – Propaganda and the American Myth
Very long read – but refreshing and necessary in a sea of bogus nonsense most people ingest (and obviously get distracted by). You can thank me later for it.
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 textbook 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 timelines 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.
Mix in a healthy dose of hard-core science, where you learn very early there are correct and incorrect answers to all your questions, and the pattern of modern social myth-making emerges. Of course, all the important ‘correct’ answers are held for public safekeeping by our cultural high priests and authority figures, be they academic, governmental, corporate, scientific or religious. Lest you forget, cultural icons, heroes and authorities must always be revered and deferred to, so leave the difficult thinking to them.
Maybe now’s a good time to remember that most history books are written, and re-written, by those very same keepers of the public mythology. What we believe as a culture, sometimes called our public myth, is usually determined by those whose pockets are the deepest and most powerful, not by those who are the wisest and most knowledgeable.
Have you ever read a story or book written by the survivors of the vanquished, the so-called losers? I have, a number of times, and it’s usually very enlightening to see the world from the other side of the bloody divide. In their hands, our cultural myths are not treated with the same loving care and respect we afford them, nor should they be. But of course, they must be lying because they have an ax to grind.
Revisionist history is how those in power politely describe the writings of the marginalized and defeated, roadkill crushed and mangled by the leviathan in the headlong rush of conquering empire. The public myth informs us the losers can do nothing but taut the victorious with their lies. Ignore them and they’ll fade away. Besides, the winners never lie about the facts, though we’re told there’s plenty of room for differences of opinion. And just about everything can be reduced to an opinion if you’re looking to malign and obscure.
Of course, one of the duties of the Empire’s leadership and servile sycophants is to distort the written record so it conforms to the public myth. This is the principal reason why recently retired or replaced holders of powerful governmental, corporate and military positions are handed (large) advances to write their memoirs and recollections. That, and to reward them with large legal payoffs for a job well done. While they are often declared ‘best sellers’ by the compliant mainstream media, it is not uncommon to find these books sitting in the remainder bin six months later selling for nickels on the dollar.
These sacred tomes of divine wisdom are quickly embraced by other propagandists as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help their Gods of propaganda. Once in their hands, the book’s cherry-picked facts, fiction, and opinion-masquerading-as-fact are quickly woven into the fabric of the public myth as unimpeachable supporting documentation. Thus, another turn of the propaganda cycle is complete and ready for public dissemination and indoctrination.
Napoleon Bonaparte is alleged to have declared history as little more than a set of lies agreed upon. His assessment is not that far from the ‘truth’ from my point of view.
Belief vs. Knowing
We all possess extremely complex belief systems and world views. How they develop and evolve is greatly influenced by external information sources we rarely question or challenge. After all, these sources are our cultural authority figures, the experts, professionals, and intelligentsia that form our cultural propaganda delivery and support system. These sources cannot be seriously questioned, particularly from within, without being declared a heretic. Just look at how non-conforming individuals, web sites, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts are treated as an example of how heresy is handled these days.
While we may not pay much attention to mainstream media playing in the background, our unconscious mind is absorbing it all, raw and unfiltered. This information feeds into, and broadly supports, our world view with little conscious thought or scrutiny. Regardless of whether it is ‘news’, game shows, sports or soap operas, ultimately it is all programming. This is the reason why constant repetition is so vitally important to both effective propaganda and commercial advertising. It must be true since it is repeated so often, a self-confirming conclusion all positive feedback loops share. Our mind absorbs and retains everything, even when we do not consciously look or listen.
It’s shocking to realize how seldom we change our basic beliefs or understanding when confronted with critical new information that normally would propel reassessment and modification. Instead, we bend or ignore input to fit our established world view. Economist John Maynard Keynes once said “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?” Sadly, most people don’t subscribe to this logical practice. Instead, confirmation bias, the desire to maintain our cognitive continuity (aka our worldview) and outright denial are some of the tools we use to manage and manipulate information to our liking.
And rest assured, there are plenty of governmental, religious, corporate and wealthy individuals and entities ready and willing to help us accomplish this through deliberate and targeted propaganda. The most common personal warning sign we may be sipping from the ‘wrong’ information straw is the emotional pain of cognitive dissonance, usually inflamed when new information is in conflict with our long-established and dearly held beliefs and world view. We usually avoid this pain entirely by only watching or listening to sources of information we are in agreement with.
Rarely do we push through this emotional pain to reappraise our inventory of previously established ‘truths’ for validity or relevance. It’s so much easier to discard ugly deviations or cherry-pick information that confirms our preferred vision, rather than conduct a top to bottom review that is called for when the facts change. Intellectual laziness is the polite term for this phenomenon. I think a more honest explanation is deliberate and mostly conscious denial.
However, even when I’m alert for and aware of this cognitive phenomenon, I’m still surprised how often I indulge. It’s frightening to recognize how deeply conditioned we are in the art of self-deception. The truth truly does hurts when it’s in conflict with what we believe we know. So, we employ the most powerful pain killer known to man, that of denial and self-deceit.
It’s extremely difficult to reject popular opinion and strike out on our own independent path. Groupthink is indoctrinated into us from birth and socially rewarded at every turn. It is emotionally safer and much more comfortable if we stay huddled near the center of the pack. The result is herd mentality in all its glory, corralled by the public myth of which we are complicit and dutiful keepers.
I often say all writers are essentially propagandists and this applies to myself as well. I’m using this forum to present information in the most compelling manner possible to make my case. In effect, I’m feeding you my point of view to build a train of thought-leading directly to my preferred conclusion. This is not necessarily good or bad, but simply a tool or technique of persuasion which can be used for all sorts of purposes and outcomes. Obviously, it can be used to educate or to subjugate, but either way the recipient is an active (and often willing) participant.
Check Your Premise
The most effective propaganda is one whose basic premise is slipped by the target so smoothly it is never recognized for what it truly is. Once the premise is planted and accepted, the hard work is done and the implanted meme can now be leveraged and expanded upon from there. The concept is the same regardless of whether one is teaching basic math before moving on to geometry or the virtues of ‘democracy’, which is then used as a legitimizing façade for a ruling oligarchy or corpocracy.
What’s that you say? You’re too smart to let the wool be pulled over your eyes? That you can discern truth from lies and would eventually figure it out given enough time and inclination? Honestly ask yourself, how much time and effort would you put into thoroughly examining something you already believe to be true? Most would deem it a major waste of their time and not give it another thought. Given the choice between the pleasure of confirming our beliefs and the pain of confronting them, we cognitively caged humans are quite predictable.
Most people perceive complex information as bundles of facts compiled into conclusions and truths, most of which we believe we have originated in part or in whole. We have all witnessed another person take something they heard, saw or read, then modify and embrace it before declaring it their original idea or creation. This cognitive grooming and assimilation occurs so seamlessly and naturally that many ‘honestly’ believe they came up with it on their own and would be highly insulted if we challenged their supposition.
Rarely do we recognize that many of the truths we hold as impeccable are based upon long lines of previously assimilated information provided by others and embraced as our own. If at any point some of this information is proven false or misleading, the entire sequence is suspect along with our own impeccable truth. Consider a long string of numbers to be added together. Make a mistake at any point in the line and the final sum, or ‘truth’, is incorrect to some degree or another.
How we view our world is based upon many preconceived notions and beliefs. Change just one small piece we previously thought correct and everything changes to some extent, no matter how small. Change two or three and suddenly we have a crisis of confidence and cognitive dissonance. Yet when we feel that pain, how often do we reboot and re-examine everything? And why would we re-examine what we ‘know’ to be correct, particularly when most everyone else in our section of the herd remains in agreement? Peer pressure and conditioning are hard to resist, even in the privacy of our own head.
“We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
My basic premise and the basis for this article is that the American Empire is in decline. From my point of view, it’s become readily apparent the so-called “American Experiment” has peaked and is now deteriorating. While I can’t produce an exact date for this change, it doesn’t diminish my argument in the least. I’d be hard-pressed to give you the specific date for the decline of the Roman Empire, but clearly it followed the same trajectory. Did Rome’s downward spiral start when the capital was moved to Constantinople in 330 AD or when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD? It matters little at this point, except to the propagandists and historians.
Actually, I would argue that while a succession of Empires has come and gone, the culture of human exploitation and destruction we call civilization has grown exponentially in efficiency and lethality over the last several hundred years. We Americans now stand proudly at the pinnacle of the insanity, picking up where the Greeks, Romans, Asians, and Europeans left off. I’ll leave that thought for another day, but I think you get the picture.
America as a social and financial entity ceased to function with any semblance of efficacy or fairness decades ago. This reversal in trajectory is the primary reason behind the massive increase in financial engineering used to paper over fundamental socioeconomic problems and extract the last of the profits. To argue over this or that detail is to be in denial of the obvious. In fact, I consider the official bickering over these details as a deliberate attempt to distort and distract while the final looting and rape occur.
Negative interest rates, now common in Europe and Japan (and coming soon to the US) are a perfect example of the financial wheels coming off the socioeconomic cart. When all incentive for prudence, precaution, and personal responsibility are explicitly discouraged, even penalized, the decline and fall of civil society is a foregone conclusion. For example, prudence in the form of saving money is discouraged with near-zero interest paid on any sums saved, while the use of ever more debt is encouraged with zero down and zero interest rates charged on the amount borrowed. Negative interest rates will only serve to fan the flames of the already raging fire.
Can you imagine the consumer feeding frenzy negative interest rates will ignite when a manufacturer of (for example) automobiles or trucks informs you they will pay you 1%, 2% or more of the outstanding balance on the ‘loan’ each year just to buy their vehicles? You would wind up paying less than the amount you borrowed. Of course, this isn’t really free money since the manufacturer will simply jack up the original price to compensate themselves and their finance partners for paying you to buy from them. Imagine the inflationary spiral this will create.
The unofficial socioeconomic policy is to delay the inevitable as long as possible while promising the plebs ‘the authorities’ are on it and all will be well. Just fork over more money, power and control and everything will be right as rain. Unfortunately, perverse financial, cultural and political incentives dictate it’s in practically no one’s best interest to confront systemic socioeconomic issues and arrest the fall simply because great pain will come long before any gain is ever realized.
Those who already possess substantial wealth demand they not only maintain it but expand it. This elite group controls ninety-five percent of the global wealth and ninety-nine percent of the political power, but at best represents one percent of the global population. The entire middle class, decimated by decades of inflation without a corresponding increase in wages, desperately clings to what little they have remaining. Ultimately, for the vast majority, as it now stands this is a losing battle. So, we dither, delay and deny while remaining drunk on cheap credit and consumer pleasures.
And then there are the poor, aka the expendables, globally the largest group by far, powerless in every sense of the word and focused solely on day to day survival. With the middle class increasingly squeezed lower into their already tight quarters, the only place left for them is further down and out.
Those who can, won’t. Those who might, deny. Those who can’t, suffer.
Plausible Deniability and False Hope
Using so-called “experts” to push misleading information and outright propaganda along with other targeted psychological operations, our leaders are pushed, prodded, threatened and empowered by the elite one percent to outright lie about economic conditions both here in America and globally. The rest of the first and second world nations follow suit for their own political survival and personal economic enrichment.
They disseminate lies, half-truths, and fake news; not because they expect them to withstand close scrutiny, but rather to enable those who wish to believe the lie a plausible excuse to do so while daring those who don’t to contest their power to do and say as they please. Remember our conditioning; when in doubt, defer to authority and suspend disbelief. This is quite similar to ‘gaslighting’, a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or entity seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and even their sanity.
A classic sales technique is the assumed consent close. Rather than directly ask you to purchase the new car, it is assumed you will purchase. The salesperson goes in for the kill by asking closing questions. “Do you prefer the red four-door we first looked at or the blue convertible with the leather interior? What is the maximum monthly payment you are comfortable with? Will one or both of you be applying for credit? Do you want the satellite navigation registration in your name or your husbands? May I have the keys to your car so we can determine your trade-in value?” You’d be surprised how many new automobiles, rooms of household furniture, whole life insurance, investment packages and pieces of expensive jewelry are sold in this manner.
Something similar to this technique is used by the mass media to sell us things we already want to buy. Only they aren’t selling the death of America, but rather America’s supposed remarkable resilience and miraculous comeback from near financial death in 2008, a blatant falsehood people only now are beginning to recognize. We’re being sold false hope with outright lies and opinion disguised as factual news and official declarations.
False hope binds us to impossible situations and debilitating conditions.
As long as we believe there is residual value in keeping America on life support, meaning we believe our personal financial situation hasn’t deteriorated significantly enough to push the panic button, we will continue to support this mess rather than clear the smoking debris, remove the leadership and much of the autocracy and start over again. As long as those in power can at least partially shield the majority from major financial reverberations and dislocations, meaning “We the People” slowly degrade rather than explode, we will take a path that best preserves our own personal interests.
As Mrs. Cog likes to say, it’s a recession when it crashes into someone else and depression when it crashes into you and me. As long as we can defer to authority and demand someone else do something about ‘it’ while also maintaining our own status quo, we will do nothing to confront our fundamental socio-economic problems. Throughout ancient and modern history, this is the usual path taken by the majority until it is far too late to do much more than sweep up the pieces and bemoan the loss of several generations to devastating financial, social and political distress. Because the nation’s wealth was looted long before the fall, there is little capital and resources to work with in order to rebuild. Thus, the reason for the loss of several generations.
This is the primary purpose of the constant propaganda messaging, to assure those who wish to remain safely within their fox holes (after all, ignorance is bliss) that they can indeed remain hidden in their fox holes. Desperate people do desperate things. The puppet masters do everything in their power to convince people it is best to duck and cower rather than stand up and push back. This is their leverage, as it has been for thousands of years of global history. Those who rule keep the population confused, divided and afraid (and lately, sick) but not so much that doing so reduces ourproductivity, thereby diminishing their power and wealth.
Wolves Among the Sheep
And the truly frightening realization, something I suspect most of us knows deep down in our hearts but don’t actually acknowledge, is that the majority of people in positions of power and/or wealth are either sociopaths or harbor strong sociopath tendencies. Which means they do not think in terms of civic duty and public service, but rather about personal gain and ever more power. As conditions continue to deteriorate, less and less sane and well-meaning people will be willing to step up and attempt to lead, creating an even larger power vacuum the sociopaths are more than willing to fill.
Those who claim “They would never do that” are hopelessly and dangerously deluded, mesmerized by the great American myth or just hopelessly deep in denial. For crying out loud, of course, they’d do ‘that’, just as you and I are capable of doing just about anything when subjected to great stress and pressure. The difference is that in the grand scope of things, whatever we might do would harm mostly ourselves and maybe those nearest to us, while ‘they’ can and will harm thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, to maintain their status quo and position of power.
We don’t wish to face the stark reality we as a nation are in way over our heads. As long as we are not forced to look too closely at the terrible condition this country is in and where it’s headed, we are all too willing to do our part and avoid critical thinking. Like an old bull unknowingly led to slaughter because he thinks he’s off to mount the next cow, we’re desperately trying to keep alive the magical American myth of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while shielding our eyes from the rotting corpse it is rapidly becoming.
That assessment is probably too harsh for the average American’s sensibilities. But let’s ask ourselves a few questions in an effort to discover the truth, or at least something approaching the truth as we know it. First, let me be clear on something before I get flamed for my harsh tongue. I’m not America bashing in the least; I am America myth bashing. The American myth of exceptionalism is enabling our self-destruction as we stand idly by, applauding and supporting the mythical facade our leaders and media display 24/7.
As long as we cling to the hope that all America needs is a tune up and some minor repairs, we’re condemned to a long and painful death spiral. We’re being told exactly what we want to hear because we’re desperate to hear it. To claim otherwise is to lie to ourselves and to each other.
America is crumbling from the foundation up, and yet all we talk about is a fresh paint job and a new screen door (both bought on credit) while handing our grandchildren a bill they’ll never be able to pay. The only way we can live with this lie, while handing suffocating debt to our own future family members, is to deny it’s even happening.
The big lie, one we must continue to tell ourselves, has taken on a life of its own and is consuming everyone and everything in its path. We are addicted to our own public myth. And to sustain the lie we must ignore the truth or face the cognitive consequences, a fate worse than death for a nation incapable of telling itself the truth.
The only way to break through the lie is to go back through decades of propaganda and myth and recognize these lies and our core self-deceit. Since this is too painful, both individually and as a society, we distort reality as quickly as we change channels or YouTube streams. Can you say cute cat videos?
It’s not just our leaders who are corrupt, but us as well. We all know something is seriously wrong, even if we don’t know precisely what is broken or how to fix it. And yet there we are, whistling through the graveyard under the guise of minding our own business….as if America is none of our business. We think “Just leave me alone and let me live my life in peace” without acknowledging that doing so perpetuates the very system that is slowing suffocating us.
Contrary to popular belief, the fish doesn’t rot from the head down, but rather from everywhere and all at the same time. We comfort ourselves by saying it’s our leaders who lie to us, but the only way a long-term confidence game can succeed is for the ‘victim’ to fully participate. No one forces the victim to be conned…at least not yet.
The conman’s baited hook is the great America myth; you work hard, keep your nose clean, live a good life and retire sitting pretty. While some of the baby boomers are actually living the dream all the way to the end, this is occurring less and less these days and the future looks particularly bleak. Have you noticed how many elderly folks are working at McDonald’s and Walmart? Do you ever wonder why this is?
We have become cowardly, unwilling to commit to the difficult path of setting aside even a minimum of today’s self-gratification in order to assure our grandchildren a functioning society to live and prosper in tomorrow. This is the ultimate act of selfishness, compounded by the fact we self-righteously declare we’ve been hijacked by our leaders. The sad fact is our leaders are doing exactly what we want them to do, to continue perpetuating the lie while telling us it’s the truth.
“Daddy, tell me everything is going to be OK.”
“Everything’s going to be just fine honey bunny.”
“I love you daddy.”
Did we really think we could put our country’s toys, tools and war machines on the national charge card and not worry about the bill, just because some politicians said we could? What are we, 5-year old children, pointing our finger elsewhere when asked who broke the mirror? Even if we personally follow the path of fiscal prudence, we all swim in the same piranha infested swamp. Therefore, as infuriating as it may be for some to read the following, we all share some responsibility, however small, for the present state of affairs. The only question now is, what do we do about it? Citizenship is about individual responsibility to ourselves and to our fellow citizen, something we’ve been avoiding for quite a while now; at least since we started collectively calling ourselves consumers.
Endless propaganda is used to lull us into a drugged stupor so we don’t dwell on what we’re doing to our children’s children. American flags wave in the background as chiseled men and sultry women expound on how wonderful we are for loving this great nation of ours. The great American love story, brought to you daily via TV and streaming soap operas. This is where the bad guys always lose, men are virile and women sexual objects to lust after. Watch closely children, this is the American dream.
And why wouldn’t we love America the myth? It’s everything we are told we want without the pain of actually creating and maintaining it. Nationalism is our unifying religion, an increasingly fatal addiction to our public myth that enables us to fiddle while America burns. Alas, the carnival ride is breaking down with increasing frequency. More drugs over here doctor, the patient is waking up.
Desperate for relief, we seek refugee with fellow like-minded herd dwelling walking wounded, a perceived safe haven inside occupied territory for the psychically damaged and emotionally demoralized, in the deluded belief hiding is an effective emotional pain reliever. Surrounded by lies and deceit, we are indoctrinated to such an extent we still speak the language of defeat and denial without even realizing it. One cannot become clean immersed in filthy shared bathwater, just less dirty than the one behind us and dirtier than the one in front.
So how do we deal with this, and what does this have to do with you and me specifically? After all, aren’t we all just ‘victims’ in a long line of walking wounded, exhausted from moving in and out of various stages of loss and grief? One moment we’re angry with zombie friends, family and neighbors, imploring them to wake up and see the insanity. The next we’re filled with self-righteous indignation as another patsy’s head is placed on the public pike, sated temporarily by the public flogging and bloodletting.
In my opinion we have no choice but to start at the beginning. While we must speak truth to power, first and foremost we must speak truth to ourselves, to talk openly and honestly about what has happened and where we are going. A significant component of the seduction of denial is the avoidance of personal responsibility. This must stop, thus my declaration we are all responsible for this mess. I have no doubt America can stop its decline, but the process begins with you and me, not they and them. Contrary to popular opinion political leaders do not lead, but rather follow the strongest stench coming from the biggest wallet.
How do we as individuals tackle this seemingly huge and insurmountable problem? As a former financial planner and stockbroker who still runs personal money, I try to use a modified version of my own trading rules in my personal life. They are as follows.
One; know ourselves, particularly our strengths and weaknesses. This is admittedly much easier said than done, simply because the disassembly (and reassembly) of our interlocking myths, beliefs and illusions is NOT a one-time event, but rather a long and laborious process. One or two particular insights or kernels of awareness are not sufficient to reveal the huge tangled mess. In fact, to believe it is a one and done event is actually more destructive than doing nothing since we change very little about ourselves yet believe we have. Similar to Russian nesting dolls, where several more a hidden inside the first, the rabbit hole runs deep.
Two; understand this is far more about perspective than it is about facts, truth or knowledge, three words often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Facts are rarely more than pieces of information which may or may not be correct, truth is almost entirely based upon a point of view often (but not always) derived from arranging facts in a particular order. And knowledge is the inner awareness and acceptance that facts and truth are little more than moving parts in a general consensus reality. Meaning two people can use the same set of facts, yet claim different truths based upon those facts, while a third person, relying upon a large body of knowledge, understands facts and truth are at best subjective and at worst enslaving.
Three; always consider the possibility there is far more to learn about a subject (and ourselves) than we are aware of. The art of propaganda and manipulation is the leveraging of our own biases and assumptions, of nudging and sliding us one way or another. We dismiss the notion we are influenced by these forces because we believe we would recognize them when we see or hear them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look intently, critically and repeatedly for gaps and weakness in our thinking, especially if we believe nothing is wrong with our thinking. I force myself to read/watch/listen to information I think is contrary to my settled opinions, and I’m always amazed to discover something new-to-me every time I do so.
Four; from time to time, mentally clear our minds from the 10,000 daily distractions that bombard us via every glowing screen we own…or more accurately, every glowing screen that owns us. Yes, I understand this is nearly impossible since so much of our necessary daily activity requires screen interaction. I still manage personal money, which means I must remain plugged in nearly all the time. The weekends are less hectic and afford better opportunities to at least attempt some decoupling from the matrix. Audiobooks concerning deep-dive subjects we’ve always wanted to explore are a perfect alternative to the jibber-jabber intrusions of daily life and can be listened to while doing chores, driving and so on.
Five; trust our instincts and inner knowing more so than our heart and mind. My most shocking early revelation was that my mind lies to me and my heart (emotion) confuses and deceives me. This is not surprising since a lifetime of conditioning and programming instructs us to believe knowledge, truth, and wisdom are found externally and only from official sources and authorities. This deliberately narrowed point of view has dulled, if not completely switched off, any intuitive connection we might have with our inner knowing self.
Since we are never taught to consult, let alone trust, our inner knowing, we have all been successfully subjugated to one degree or another by external forces. Worse, we consider this ‘condition’ to be completely natural and normal. Because our cognitive box is the only reality we’ve ever known, it is nearly impossible to ‘think’ outside of it. The more firmly we are chained to the existing reality, the more difficult it is to imagine any other. Therefore, we must attempt to disconnect as completely and often as we can.
These practices slowly develop (re-awaken might be more accurate) a clear-eyed view and a deeper understanding of ourselves, our fellow man and the real world, not as we wish to see it, but as it really is. Unfortunately, we still engage in wishful thinking way too often, constantly pushing the hope ‘dope’ button for increasingly meager superficial rewards. Considering the direction our world is headed, it’s going to be more difficult to think clearly unless we begin to make personal changes now. Old habits die hard because we desperately cling to them for emotional support. Understanding why we do this will go a long way to helping us jettison our old baggage. Even if we are trapped on the crazy train to hell, just because we can’t get off doesn’t mean we must fully participate in the insanity.