They Who Do Not Trust Enough, Shall Not Be Trusted

Created June 18, 2021

Trust levels have been going down for a long time. Distrust in the US government began dropping in 1958 and as we all know, today roughly one in six Americans (half to two thirds of Republicans, essentially) don’t trust the 2020 election.

It’s not just the government. People don’t trust the media, advertising, corporations in general, other people in general, they don’t trust themselves, the Universe or God.

It’s not 100%. There are probably over two billion people on the planet today who are still generally trusting. Unfortunately, most of them are probably little children.

In 1971, the first edition of Handbook of Children and The Media by Dorothy and Jerome Singer told the world that heavy viewers of television news are more likely to distrust the next stranger they met. In today’s agitprop circus of openly biased “news” channels and foulmouthed, vicious, people-cancelling social media, the distrust creation by media has gone way through the roof.

The original quote was “He who does not trust enough, shall not be trusted.” “They” has recently become used in the LBGTQIA+ community to replace “he” and “she”. The quote comes from Lao Tzu’s great work the Tao Te Ching, which also says:

If you open yourself to the Tao,
the Tao will eagerly welcome you.
If you open yourself to virtue,
virtue will become a part of you.
If you open yourself to loss,
the lost are glad to see you.

“When you do not trust people,
people will become untrustworthy.”

Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu Chapter 23, translated by JH McDonald

All religions at their core contain the notion that one must be open and trusting. Islam for example is centered around the idea of surrendering to God, trusting and having faith that God will take care of you. Hillel’s and Jesus’s Golden Rule includes trust among other ways you wish to be treated by others, therefore you must start by trusting them. Hinduism and Buddhism at their deepest levels teach that that next stranger you meet is you.

However, religion is another thing that most people don’t trust any more.

Even science is not trusted by an enormous minority!

Now that we have slid this far down the rabbit hole we don’t even trust that there is only one reality that exists, and partisan groups (and every user of the Internet) are allowed to make up their own realities.

Trust and fear are related. The more we fear, the less we trust. If we are rooted in a confidence that there is a benevolence behind the universe, fear drops away, and trust becomes possible; this is the state of mind in which one is open to receiving guidance from above, and Flow state occurs freely.

Very few of us are in that small group of which I am a member.

The advice I give in connection with trust is to have fearless respect for everyone. Respect and Kindness is the mode that elicits trust and cooperation toward common goals. In today’s environment that mode requires fearlessness, fatalistic acceptance of whatever may come from right action.

What if we can’t break out of our current mass headspace? It doesn’t look so promising for the good guys (“guys” used to cover all infinite variations of gender and sexual orientation).

Let’s face it, Trump has a lot to do with where we are on the planet right now. He may turn out to be one individual who has had almost as much effect on history as Jesus, but in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, for a group of professional politicians and like-minded behind the scenes power brokers, Trump is an addictive drug they cannot give up for fear that they will lose power.

It would be far better if the junkie could gather the self-discipline required to give up the drug, but we still don’t know how to get most junkies to do that.

If the half of the registered Republicans in the US who still lean that way do not come out of the coma and agree to trust the US government and its elections, there is no reason to believe that the rest of the world will trust the USA the way it did, ever again. People have long memories, and scars go deeper than the eye can see. The sooner we pull ourselves up out of the muck the quicker we will recover the trust of the world.

Nor would running Trump again work to make the minority party what it used to be (it can only rise again through positive creativity). Most of the population doesn’t want that and they are not just going to lay down and allow a coup d’etat by 23 coercive State governments that are supposed to be representing their populations. The first thing that will happen if the restrictive voting laws are passed in those States is that Freedom Busses will be used, with Federal Marshalls, to bring minorities to the voting places and protect them from intimidation and make sure they can vote. There is no way that the chanters of the mantra “Stop The Steal” can pull off their own steal.

It’s reasonable for those whose power is slipping away to fear disempowerment. But the way to solve that is not authoritarian, dictatorial rule by force, or creation of domestic violent terrorist groups, where the many are ruled by the few – that is pushing the history clock too far back and will not be accepted. If we continue to go that way, we will have revolutions and a return to feudalism.

The thing we need the most today is clarity of thinking and feeling. We can’t go on living in dream worlds. We need each other. If we can cooperate in the spirit of rules-based international cooperation we will create something pretty close to utopia in our lifetimes.

Who cares if China gets to have the largest economy if our people are happier and more creative? What are the real values? Bragging rights for size of economy, or quality of life? Besides, if we bring back manufacturing and increase R&D, we can probably maintain all the economic leverage we will ever need.

Clarity. Note that many billionaires who have pledged to give away at least half their wealth want to give it apparently to anyone except the US government. Where’s the clarity in that?

United we stand, divided we fall.

May the Center Hold.

Bless you all,

Bill

Favoring Your Better Side

Created June 11, 2021

In the prior post I wrote about Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), which I hypothesize to be a milder version of Post Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD). At the end I provided a few brief takeaways that are effective mind tricks to get out of EOP and into your naturally most effective and happy states of consciousness:

  • Observer state in which you are able to really see your Self, where you have the reins to metaprogram your own behavior with true free will and creativity – vs. EOP where you are inattentive, predictable and robotic and not totally sentient. I hypothesize Observer state to be our state in nature prior to the existence of written language, civilization, culture, and the information overload it has all led to today. Remember, from the standpoint of the 12.1 million years it took to develop our species out of ape stock, the 5000 years since written language began is a relative eyeblink (.004% of the time since we started): EOP could simply be the initial shock reaction of the immense acceleration our species has gone though in only the last 250 generations.
  • Flow state in which, during well-practiced and/or innately gifted behavior, you are so immersed in what you are doing that it appears to be doing itself better than you thought you could, although you are at play and not attached to any outcome.

Readers of my book MIND MAGIC sometimes ask me if there is a way that I can simplify my advice. For example, consider this Amazon review:

“This book is THE owner’s manual for the mind. This book presents nearly impossible challenges to even the most powerful and dedicated seekers. I’ve never known a single person that actually finished the work contained in this book.”
—   Benjamin Zabriskie, Amazon review of MIND MAGIC

For readers of this blog, this post will attempt to release you from your Emergency Oversimplification Procedure by means of extreme further simplification. This would seem to be self-contradictory but let’s see if it works anyway.

The strategy recommended here also judos dichotomania (binary coding, seeing everything as polar opposites) which is an aspect of EOP, doing so by reducing everything to noting the two streams of inner dialog and images/feelings in your mind.

From this moment on, if you agree to try this experiment with me, note what you are thinking and feeling from moment to moment and decide which of your two selves that thought or feeling represents:

  • Your Better Self – Heroic, blasé, confident, positive, constructive, compassionate, loving, kind, strong, determined to always do the right thing
  • Your Frail Human Side – Fearful, worried, escapist, taking refuge in addictive practices, having no faith in happy endings, seeking the easy way out, guilty and remorseful about the past

Without overthinking it (because you could become as indecisive as Hamlet if you wait for rational certainty) steer toward your hero side at all times. Do not blame your other self for having unworthy thoughts or feelings. If you have an unworthy thought don’t touch it. Don’t act on it. Don’t yell at it. Don’t even reject it. Just let it sit there in the wake of your mind contrails and drift away into the past without giving it further attention as you move onto into the next new now. Instead turn to considering testing alternative ways of doing things in the future which ought to soothe and remove the cause of whatever it was that gave you those craven thoughts or feelings.

If this simplified method works for you, it will mean that it is a sound means for you to use to get into the Observer state, where you can see the EOP side of yourself but take away its power over you. Where you can drill down to causality paths that will remove the sadness and bad feelings the EOP mind retains but is unable to terminally process. Your better side will be able to remove all the gunk in your mind. Just hew to your higher self and you will re-become that self you were always meant to be in the first place.

All my best,

Bill

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.

The Whole Human Race Has PTSD

Created June 4, 2021

Post Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with combat veterans, but civilians have also had it after being in violent or dangerous situations. To millions of whites in this country having Obama elected president was a traumatic shock, and to half of Americans the Trump years were a prolonged traumatic shock. On top of these conditions came the pandemic, having to teach your own children what they were supposed to be learning at school, having your home turned into a submarine of compression togetherness, the insurrection, and the escalating publicity about police and domestic violence, the collapsing environment, overstretched national debt levels, threatening signs from other nations, and the ongoing sense of unreconcilable differences tearing us apart.

More than enough to account for the mass PTSD, leading with help from certain media to a degree of mass hysteria.

Maybe we should call it OTSS: Ongoing Traumatic Shock Syndrome.

The first step is to admit the possibility that you have a degree of PTSD. You may feel unmoored lately, unsure of your place in the world, unsure of where the future may be going for you, troubled by frictions within the family that had never existed before, challenged to keep the same level of income coming in. You may not be as certain what you believe in as you always had been. Letting yourself acknowledge such feelings is essential to begin to process those feelings into constructive thought and action.

My theory is that the human race has been in a degree of PTSD for a very long time. In MIND MAGIC I refer to the somewhat milder PTSD condition as EOP: Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. I believe we began to develop pandemic EOP about 5000 years ago when we started to see written language, which did something to our minds that has never been equaled.

The spread of EOP accelerated as written language led us to invent tools, weapons, machinery, media, governments, technology, science, and innumerable other things.

EOP results when we do not feel we have the attentional capacity to deal with the many questions in our minds, and so we decide to short-cut our thinking.

This increases the tendency toward:

  • dichotomania, the predisposition to perceive that everything fits neatly into one of two boxes which are polar opposites of one another;
  • subscribing to and becoming fanatically loyal to pre-packaged notions such as religions and ideologies;
  • increasing power to confirmation bias;
  • avoiding consideration of the largest questions in life;
  • replaying the same tapes over and over in one’s mind and in one’s speech;
  • actually hallucinating that one is seeing exactly what one expected to see and to hear exactly what one expected to hear, although that is not what really happened;
  • hasty closure, making up one’s mind too fast;
  • not thinking for oneself, although one may see oneself as a paragon of individualism and independence;
  • over-generalization: one person of that ‘type’ does X so all of that type do X
  • and a horde of other self-hypnotic, robotical microbehaviors, all of which underestimate the desirability of more objective self-observation, therefore keeping us out of the Observer state, and significantly reducing our chances of getting into the Flow state.

I started to write about EOP nearly half a century ago, and expected that in my readings I would eventually discover that someone thought of this a long time ago. Strangely, despite my wide-ranging reading over the years, I never came across the notion of EOP by any other name.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was reading about the work of a fellow marketing/media researcher, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, whom I’ve met a number of times. What never came up in our brief conversations at conferences is that she has observed EOP and describes it using other language:

KNF: I’d like to give the attention economy a bit of background, if I may because it’s quite a buzzword now. Many people don’t really understand the context and its background. We all know that we live in this age of extreme distraction and our capacity to process is very small. What happens is that humans make decision shortcuts, and give little thought to what it is to avoid information overload. They give little thought to researching every single thing that comes past the desk.

The attention economy comes from the concept that taking decision shortcuts when you’re an air traffic controller or when you’re driving a car is not ideal. I think the study of information overload started during the World War II era. What impact does that have on our economic and social systems?

By its nature, the attention economy is a study of inattention and its economic or social impact.

Essentially, we want to understand not only the cause of inattention, the consequences of inattention but also some ethical solutions to correct it. MORE

I applaud Karen’s thinking and am grateful to now know of another scientist giving credence to what I call EOP.

Brief takeaways for countering EOP and thus returning to the more natural Observer state, doorway to the Flow state:

  • Stop moving, breathe deeply, observe your mind as if from afar.
  • Hold off on agreeing with the thoughts and feelings that arise in you, reconsider them from the other side with a fully open mind, reset the basic assumptions to zero just for this interlude.
  • Feel, look and listen for small “voices” (could be feelings or images) that are hunches about something you hadn’t been considering, trying to break through to your attention.

Best to all,

Bill

Belonging, Unity, and the Future of the USA

Created May 28, 2021

Belonging (a sense of social acceptance) is one of the 15 Motivations uncovered by the scientific* work I have been doing for the past 30 years or so.

Belonging is the most complex of the 15 Motivations in the sense that it contains more variations within it. It contains 25 Need States, such as Nationalism and Levity, and 220 of the 265 DriverTagsTM, each of which is a highly specific state of mind. It’s possible that Belonging is a hard-wired instinct, at the core of our nature as social animals, perhaps one of the survival characteristics that has caused homo sapiens (and other species) to be able to still be standing.

That’s why it hurts so much to be cast out of your belonging group. Like in the case of Liz Cheney, for example.

Although political parties were not mentioned in the US Constitution, 20 years later they sprung up and were bolted onto the constitutional system called the USA. Whether the political parties have done more good than harm is still a matter of debate. But one thing they have definitely supplied is the opportunity for belonging, something we all need. This would explain why 59% (Gallup) of Americans today belong to one of the two parties.

As the need for a sense of belonging is a constant, it’s possible that getting this mood-enhancing brain “drug” from political parties has become more important in recent decades as the power of the family might have declined, with children caring more about belonging to their peer group than their family, happening at earlier and earlier ages (hypothesis).

Religion for sure has lost a lot of its hold as a means for transmitting a sense of belonging.

Race has possibly become elevated as a means for generating the sense of belonging, as in the case of white supremacists.

Hypothesis: as the sense of belonging has deprecated from its traditional sources, that created an urgency of need which increased the emotional connection of party membership as a self-identifier.

Rhetoric is the art and potentially science of using words so as to cause people to believe them, whether they are true or not. Rhetoric existed before the media, but then the media became a means for applying extremely powerful rhetoric. Hitler used this in the case of cinema and other media. Today’s internet and social media are analogous to the atomic bomb version of rhetoric.

During the Greatest Generation’s watch, it would have been spectacularly unsuccessful to try to use rhetoric to pull the wool over people’s eyes to the extent that is happening today. I see it as having reached a point of mass hysteria.

Today it would probably entrain belief in the minds of at least ten million Americans if QAnon added another story that all fish can fly. Their fish minds have been taken over by devices used by the Democratic party obtained from pedophilic socialist aliens. They won’t let you see them fly, they only do it when you aren’t looking. But some day, there will be skies filled with dangerous fish swooping down on American patriots to wipe them out.

When you look at the strength of the need for a sense of belonging, how the traditional sources of this have been petering out, how political parties have always known that a populist charismatic leader is the thing to have, and then layer in the mind-bending power of the media (wait for artificial reality media to add to this brew), it’s possible to understand better what is going on today around the world not just in America.

It only took four years to push the USA back into its share of world power position (a measure of the perception of all people in the world) to pre-WWII levels.

Now as we attempt to restore ourselves to what we were there are also wild behaviors happening outside the US which we ourselves caused during those four years, not to mention a potentially genocidal mutating pandemic and an “edge city” environmental situation.

It certainly is a good time to pull together and figure things out by focusing objectively with high performing teamwork and enlisting more help from rich people to make the world the heavenly place it can be. We can actually do it.

Not the best time to have to reach 60% majority vote before we can go to the toilet. The filibuster has been rationalized as preventing “the tyranny of the majority” and “preventing action that has not been fully thought out”. The Founders did not lock in the need for a 60% majority in passing bills, so despite being some of the greatest pragmatic geniuses in history, these considerations somehow did not occur to them? More likely they did consider such things and left it to the voting outcome whether razor thin or unanimous to settle legislative issues.

To people whose careers are in government, it’s easy to see why filibuster might appeal to them. It gives power to stop legislation if one is in the minority. Think of how harmful this would be within a corporation. That’s how harmful it is in government, especially under the emergency conditions we are now faced with. Yet because a politician knows that it’s likely that half his or her career life will be spent as the minority, filibuster will be a floor under how bad one can feel. We non-politicians have no such swaddling cloths in our lives, we make our own successes and failures, we have no special entitlements that keep our control of others high when we have not earned that by majority vote of the people or by our individual performance in the eyes of our employers/clients/customers/users.

Unity is more than belonging, it is a highly desirable condition in which people work together toward common goals. That’s what we meant when we called ourselves the United States of America.

Unity has always been a strength of the Republican party, they are able to band together as a voting block (sic) whereas Democrats in the past have always been all over the lot in the diversity of their thinking. But today the Republican penchant for unity is allowing 4251 people who at best represent only about 14% of eligible voters in the US to impede the rest of us – polls showing that more than 60% of Americans like what the present administration is doing – from getting things done at the federal level, but even more dangerously are taking advantage of the powers which the Founders gave the State level.

Unless we the people speak up loudly enough, the future of America is that a number of States representing a minority of the population will drive out non-white people and many important businesses, who will migrate to the States where non-whites are offered equal opportunity and a sense of belonging.

Internally divided, we will still stand, but will not be the country we could be if we had unity restored.

Our degree of perceived vulnerability with a civil cold war will be exaggerated in the eyes of One Man Rulers abroad. They will come after us. It will not be heavenly at all.

That scenario must not be allowed. The only way to stop it is to use all your own social media efforts to put a stop to the self-destructive urges we have collectively been entertaining. Participate in polls, speak your mind, when the referendums come participate in them too.

Do not add to the problem by hating the 34 million of us who disagree, or the One Man Rulers of other countries, or any group or individual. Hate has no constructive outcomes. Hate erodes Reason. We need our ability to think clearly to rise to the top and to drive all of our behaviors. We need our emotions to be courageous enough to rise above fear and hate and to leave our minds open to win/win unity where dissenting voices are respected and included. Everyone must be included or we will never escape the downward spiraling cycle of divisiveness.

My best to all,

Bill

*When I say “scientific” what I mean is observing patterns in data, forming hypotheses from that, and then testing those hypotheses by means of controlled experiments, with the intention of discovering new and useful truths. The data I have used relates to the content that millions of anonymized individuals choose to consume on television and the Internet as measured by set top boxes and log files. This body of knowledge is meant to complement and inform the psychology systems (link to relevant example emanating from centuries of science using other data types.

 

Is Our Democracy Worth Preserving?

Created May 21, 2021

If you consider human history from its earliest roots until today, too much of it is violent and tragic, causing Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s to write that human life is “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Until the democracies began to appear on the planet. To oversimplify, democratic governments protected the weak and poor from the strong and rich. Which gave the weak and poor a chance to grow strong and rich too.

This makes countries stronger. This makes the human race stronger.

I don’t think Ronald Reagan realized what he was doing when he institutionalized Neoliberalism as the new gold standard for democracies, purposely striving for non-interfering government, and giving to the strong, so the gifts could trickle down to the weak. I had voted for him and still like him despite his mistake.

Even the extremely conservative International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pointed out that neoliberalism did not work to improve the world’s economy nor the quality of life.

To answer the question raised in the title: Yes, I for one strongly support retaining our democracies and making them even better so that eventually everyone is living under the best conditions to bring out their talents for the enjoyment of all.

Surely it would be hard to say that the lands of authoritarian governments would be a better place to live, and to have one’s factories in, where there could be nationalization of the factories in case of war. Those who agree with me that we are all better off in a democracy, should bring American factories back to our own land, to help keep democracy going and growing.

President Biden, please consider taxing the rich but not raising taxes on corporations, merely closing the loopholes to ensure that corporate taxes are being paid. No one can be sure that a world agreement can be made on tax levels that will bring jobs back to America. Greater certainty can be had to go both ways, don’t raise corporate taxes, just close the loopholes, and at the same time seek world agreement on tax standards.

If you do this, Mister President, you will also make it clear to millions of people that you are not a radical socialist, and that you are not trotting out old formulas.

If we want to preserve democracy, President Biden and the US government need to show compromise is possible, and the corporate tax is the most logical place to start.

Let’s remember that there is double taxation, first the corporation, and then again as some of corporate income is disbursed as income to individuals and families. That is one reason why it is an appropriate area in which to demonstrate ability to compromise.

My best to all,

Bill