Someone else’s take on the post-employment economy

I’m not the only one who thinks you and your kids need to be prepared for a future that will be harsh and brutally-competitive. Here’s a documentary worth watching: Obsolete, on Amazon Video http://amzn.to/2kFn0qL If you have Amazon Prime, which is how I stumbled onto it, you can probably watch it for free. As of…

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Will unemployment levels really get THIS high?

The news is full of scary stories and dire warnings. Some scientists claim that carbon dioxide emissions will turn the earth into a Venus-like inferno. There is evidence of comets and asteroids hitting the earth in the past, and every once in a while you read about another one getting really close. News articles warn that sooner or later a super-volcano like Yellowstone or Campi Flegrei will erupt, or a massive earthquake will hit one or more of the big urban centers on the west coast of the United States.

How are you supposed to respond to a warning about a problem that will happen some time in the indefinite future, described in very general terms?

The answer is that you don’t do anything about problems you can’t do anything about, and you do what you can to mitigate risks that you can do something about. You have some emergency supplies, you strap book-cases and other heavy furnishings with a high center of gravity to the wall, and then you go about life again.

There are some problems that we know approximately when they will strike, but nobody does anything about them, because they’re in the future, and a little too abstract for most people to be able to run an accurate simulation of what s likely to happen.

I wrote this article as a chapter in a book about a problem I anticipated decades ago, because I was part of the bleeding edge of the trend. Unfortunately at the time, I failed to come up with a good counterstrategy, because I was distracted by more immediate needs. Since then, the problem has transformed from a hypothetical risk to a clear and present danger, so lately I’ve been giving it more of my attention and problem-solving skill.

The mainstream media has been covering up some of the evidence, like rising real unemployment rates. Instead they report the official BLS unemployment statistics, which stop counting unemployed people as “unemployed” once they’ve been unemployed long enough, based on the rationale that they’ve “left the workforce”.

Presumably some of those people want to work; the most common problem is probably that they don’t have marketable skill sets, and don’t know where to get them or can’t afford the training. If someone wants to work, and can’t find a job, that’s a problem worth knowing about. Even worse is that the number of people who can’t find jobs is accumulating and has been for a long time. You can see it in the “Labor Force Participation Rate”, which is more-or-less the inverse of the unemployment rate, or in other words, the employment rate is trending DOWN:

Headlines from news specifically covering economic trends and forecasting shows that the rising unemployment rate is concentrated among young adults. They’re either not finding jobs at all, or are relatively under-employed compared to their potential. They’re not getting experience that will help them get or stay employed.

News headlines:

7 Out Of 10 Millennials Are “Disengaged” From Meaningful Employment
posted by “Tyler Durden”, Aug 31, 2016 6:35 PM, at Zero Hedge

Millennial College Graduates: Young, Educated, Jobless
“This spring, an estimated 2.8 million university graduates will enter the U.S. workforce with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees just as America’s unemployment rate hits its lowest level in nearly seven years. Cause for celebration, right? Not so fast.

The millennial generation is still lagging in the workplace, just as it did last year. It makes up about 40 percent of the unemployed in the U.S., says Anthony Carnevale, a director and research professor for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.”
Newsweek,
By Leah McGrath Goodman On 5/27/15 at 6:22 AM

“Now hiring class of 2016.”
Sign in front of a strip club in Harrison, Michigan

Americans have a tendency to maintain an optimistic sense of what is “normal”. If things go wrong, they expect things to eventually “get back to normal”. This is analogous to the situation of people sitting around the tables at a nightclub, sipping their drinks, while the room is filling up with smoke, because they have unreasonable expectations that their experiences should always be “normal”. This is a failure to notice or adapt to change. That’s how species end up going extinct.

To put this into perspective, unemployment is not the employer’s problem. No employer has a self-interested motive in hiring people because they need jobs; employers only hire when they can make enough additional profit from someone else’s labor to offset the cost. In fact, any relatively compassionate employer would go bankrupt trying to compete without making an effort to trim labor costs as much as the competition.

So employers are always trying to CUT labor costs, or in other words, they’re always looking for ways to REDUCE their hiring, even if they’re hiring at the moment.

Potential employers currrently have at least two alternatives to hiring you:

Labor costs tend to be cheaper in countries whose national currency is not a major global trading currency. The reasons are complicated to explain, so I’ll skip them, but you can empirically derive that it’s true just by noticing the differences in pay-scales between India and the USA. The bottom line is that your employer wants to fire you and replace you with someone in India, China, or wherever else they can find a cheaper replacement for you.

Another option your employer has is to fire you and hire a machine in your place. Computing systems and robotics are replacing humans for many tasks. The conventional wisdom is that “new technology creates more jobs in the long run”. There might be some truth to that, but I wouldn’t count on it being an invariate law of economics. The only thing that’s consistent is change! The problem at the moment is that technology is accumulating faster than people can be retrained for new jobs. They can’t even predict where the new jobs will be or how long they will last accurately enough to avoid jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The government is even less of a friend than a private employer. The government’s goal is to maximize tax receipts. Some people assume that if more people have jobs, then the government’s take of taxes is greater, because more people would be paying income tax.

It’s true that most of the US federal government’s income comes from taxes related to wages, but in most comparable economies, income tax is a smaller percentage of total tax revenues. The US federal government could easily shift the tax burden.

According to the Tax Foundation, about 45% of adult Americans don’t pay income tax per se (but many of those do pay social security tax and medicare tax). And, because of progressive tax rates, high wage earners end up paying a disproportionate share of income tax–over half.

As a result, the federal government’s tax haul from low wage-earners is relatively negligible. Profits retained by keeping headcount low, particularly for low-wage earners, can generate more corporate tax receipts. The federal government therefor has no incentive to protect lower-paying jobs; instead, it has a perverse incentive to encourage more automation and offshoring.

In fact, it’s quite likely that the US government is INTENTIONALLY pursuing policies that increase unemployment, because they have incentives to do so:

  • Profits retained by companies are likely to end up as taxable corporate income.
  • The standard of living of unemployed people goes DOWN, thereby reducing the rate of resource depletion.
  • Dependent people have an incentive to obey their governments

Now to put the problem into a historical perspective: until the Industrial Revolution, most people in Europe worked for members of the nobility as peasants or servants, or for the church, or were skilled laborers who worked for themselves. More to the point, nobody worked for private corporations until such things existed.

There was a time before the concept of private corporate employment. Given pace at which the economy is changing, it’s reasonable to conjecture that private corporate employment will dwindle down to a relatively minor source of employment opportunities.

We may very well be on the cusp of a post-employment economy.

I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Headline news:

The End of Employees
By Lauren Weber, Wall Street Jounal
…Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.

Bill Gates: Yes, robots really are about to take your jobs
Brad Reed @bwreedbgr posted March 14th, 2014 at 2:04 PM on BGR tech and entertainment news

Elon Musk: Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage
Catherine Clifford posted Friday, 4 Nov 2016 | 2:19 PM ET on CNBC

I wouldn’t count on collecting. And it’s not really “wages” if you’re not working. That’s a euphemism for a government welfare program.

Robot Economy Could Cause Up To 75 Percent Unemployment
Max Nisen posted Jan. 28, 2013, 10:42 AM, Business Insider

We are entering a new phase in history – one characterized by the steady and inevitable decline of jobs. Just as the steam engine replaced slave labor in the 19th century, the new intelligent technologies of the IT, biotech, and nanotechnology revolutions are fast replacing mass wage labor in the 21st century. Worldwide unemployment is now at the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The number of people underemployed or without work is rising sharply as millions of new entrants into the workforce find themselves marginalized by an extraordinary high-technology revolution. Sophisticated computers, robotics, telecommunications, and other cutting-edge technologies are fast replacing human beings in virtually every sector and industry. In the past seven years alone, 14% of all the manufacturing jobs in the world have disappeared, as more and more human labor has been replaced with intelligent, automated technology. Similar technology displacement is occurring in the white collar and service industries.

Many jobs are never coming back. Blue collar workers, secretaries, receptionists, clerical workers, sales clerks, bank tellers, telephone operators, librarians, wholesalers, and middle managers are just a few of the many occupations destined for virtual extinction. While some new jobs are being created, they are, for the most part, either highly conceptual, knowledge-based and boutique, or low paying, and generally temporary in duration. The world is fast polarizing into two potentially irreconcilable forces: on one side, an information elite that controls and manages the high-tech global economy; and on the other, the growing numbers of underemployed or permanently displaced workers, who have few prospects and little hope for meaningful employment in an increasingly automated world.
Jeremy Rifkin, author of The End of Work

Notice Mr. Rifkin’s comment about “boutique” jobs. My guess is that he means they are in specialized niches. That means there won’t be many of them, and they won’t last long. Notice what he didn’t say. He’s not trying to reassure you that all your kids need is to go to college, and they’ll be able to live the “American dream”. That advice was never good, and now it’s obsolete.

Regardless of whether robots, offshoring, and onshoring make it hard for your kids to find jobs after they grow up, the global economy is changing faster than most people will be able to adapt to it.

For one thing, it’s shrinking. We’re running out of natural resources. And, on top of that, as of this writing, the financial system that allocated resources is broken beyond repair. Even if your job weren’t offshored, onshored, or automated, it might cease to exist anyway when your employer goes bankrupt. If the “pie” is shrinking, then most people’s share decreases, and some people don’t get a piece at all.

One way or another, the future is going to be harsh and brutally-competitive.

The problems are all related. One reason for rushing to automate more and more jobs out of existence is to reduce the number of people needed to keep the economy running. My guess is that your descendants are less likely to be targeted for culling if they continue to be indispensable despite the possibly intentional effort to render them superfluous.

Subscribe to get access to premium content with tips and ideas for thriving in a brutally-competitive environment. It’s inexpensive and worth the price, but if you’re not ready to commit just yet, then you owe it to yourself to at least sign up for our FREE newsletter and receive a bonus report.

What’s stealing men’s mojo?

There’s been a lot of bad news for men about plunging testosterone levels. That’s the hormone that makes them manly, and gives them a healthy appetite for sexual activity.


News headlines:

Men’s testosterone levels declined in last 20 years

JANUARY 19, 2007 / 3:32 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study has found a “substantial” drop in U.S. men’s testosterone levels since the 1980s, but the reasons for the decline remain unclear.

Modern life rough on men

August 18th, 2011 07:30 AM ET
(CNN Health) Didn’t men use to be more masculine? …studies show that testosterone levels in men have been on the decline for decades.

Today’s men are not nearly as strong as their dads were, researchers say

By Christopher Ingraham August 15, 2016
Washington Post

Why don’t Japanese men like having sex?

By Gareth May11:41AM GMT 22 Jan 2015
(The Telegraph)

The Japan Family Planning Association interviewed 3,000 subjects about their sex lives (both men and women). The study revealed that nearly 50 per cent of those quizzed didn’t have sex in the month previous to the interview. 48.3 per cent of men had not had sex for a month (an increase in 5 per cent from 2012).
Most startling of all, however, was that 20 per cent of men aged between 25 and 29 – the period of a man’s life usually dedicated to the spreading of wild oats – expressed little interest in sex at all.


There is also the probably related problem of plunging male fertility. The same organs that produce most of a man’s testosterone also produce sperm.

Male Fertility Countdown

Dec 8th 2012
Yet another study suggests sperm numbers are falling in rich countries
(The Economist)


The problem is so bad that that it may very well contribute to the demise of entire countries where birth-rates are already well below replacement level. It’s also causing pathological imbalances between the ying and yang of several cultures.

The problem has actually been going on for a long time, but it’s been getting worse at an accelerating pace in recent generations. My geeky personality is not one to let a problem go unsolved if I can help it, not if it might impact me, my sons, or anyone else I care about. So I decided to collect information, follow leads, and come up with a list of lifestyle changes to reduce exposure to the most common known and suspected endocrine disruptors.

Then I wrote up what I discovered into a report. Enter your name and email address, and an answer for the bot trap, and you’ll receive the report and a subscription to our newsletter. Don’t worry, there’s no catch, and no spam involved; the newsletter is just an occasional summary of recent articles from my online magazine. That way, you don’t have to keep visiting to find interesting articles to read; they’ll come to you by mail. If you decide it’s not for you, you can just unsubscribe.

  • Discover how something you probably do every day might be damaging your man-parts (no, not that…).
  • Learn about the class of endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, and what the biggest source of ingesting them is.
  • Find out what to do about the endocrine disruptors in your food and possibly your drinking water.

Disclaimer: this report is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. This report is about lifestyle changes designed to reduce environmental hormone disruption and promote natural hormone production. It’s not about diagnosing or treating any medical condition. Consult with a physician before starting a diet or exercise program.

Your free report should show up within an hour of submitting the form, as an attachment to an email.

Ready or not, here comes Sociofascism

Michael Snyder states the obvious for the benefit of people still in denial:

40 Percent Of Americans Now “Prefer Socialism To Capitalism”

This was inevitable for many reasons. For one thing, the United States already has its productive infrastructure built-up. The powers-that-shouldn’t-be set their livestock loose on the continent and left them relatively alone (except when drafted for seizing land or resources in wars) to build up the infrastructure. Now that it’s built, they want to switch to a combination of Socialism and Fascism (also known as “corporate Socialism”) because that gives them more direct control over people and other resources.

So, the public and private school systems (including college and university) have been set up to indoctrinate for socialism for decades now. Propaganda disguised as commercial entertainment helps too.

Instead of the government directly managing the means of production itself, the government sets up partnerships with cronies in private corporations, which is Fascism, except that unlike classic Fascism, Sociofascism is hostile to small business and private property for the serfs, and it openly embraces big government. The cronies in private corporations affect a superficial “progressive identity”.

Oddly, the powers-that-shouldn’t-be regularly knock over socialist regimes overseas, like in Venezuela. I don’t have any insider insights, but my guess is that there is a rule that Socialism is for developed economies only; in countries with less infrastructure, they want more productivity first. Another issue might simply be that socialist economies are more vulnerable to trade embargoes; Iran, Syria, and Russia have withstood trade sanctions but Venezuela was an easy target. One factor is undoubtedly fear of seizure and nationalization of assets owned by US government cronies. If and when countries like Venezuela are absorbed into a super-state comparable to the EU, things might change, and if they do, the Venezuelans won’t have any choice!

I have no idea how to stop the tide; at this point my options appear to be to swim or drown. I don’t like the idea of throwing in the towel and joining the forces of evil, though the very wealthy, and in particular a lot of software company executives, have done exactly that. Aside from being the path of least resistance, which is how ruthless people end up on top, socialism helps to protect them from up-and-coming competitors.

Even if I were tempted, I don’t profile correctly to get past the gatekeepers. And the parasites have reached the point of saturation anyway.

In the mean time, you and I have a living to make. That will get harder and harder as the economy contracts, and more and more of the remaining jobs are with companies and government agencies that have hiring preferences for someone else.

Here’s what my plan is counting on: Socialism is Socialism, even when it comes packaged as progressive Fascism. It’s inefficient, and fails to adapt to change. Even to the extent that Socialism is imposed on the rest of us in the form of higher taxes and more regulation, the socialists have to tolerate at least a small sector of private businesses to take care of details they can’t. Even the Soviet Union winked at some black market activities. I don’t think it will be necessary to go black market except for a few services like medical—imagine going to see some guy who isn’t a doctor but knows how to set a broken arm, because you don’t rank high enough in the socialized medicine system to get to see a doctor within any kind of reasonable time-frame. Mostly it will be grey-market and tolerated as long as you don’t give someone in the system reason to come after you. Watch your back! Tolerances will be low and gatekeepers on the internet are already watching your every move.

Watch for my mailing list subscription, which is about ready for roll-out, then sign up for my newsletter so you can follow the discussion.

Paying for other people’s choices

Sooooo?

This tweet doesn’t seem to have  anything significant to say, UNLESS you have already bought into three unspoken assumptions:

  • Individual responsibility is bad.
  • Forced transfers of benefits are good.
  • Lower taxes are bad (or, taxes are good).

I can easily visualize Peter Coffin’s ancestors whipping the peasants for not being able to afford their taxes. Because taxes are good!

Why they’re good, we have to extrapolate again: the assumption is that the money will be spent on something BETTER than what the person who earned it would have spent it on. You know, like secret CIA black ops in resource-exporting countries, involving torture, assassinations, and the occasional “pacification” of villages.

As for individual responsibility, that gets back to the core assumptions of Modernity: reality is plastic, you can have anything you want if you throw enough technology or government at it, you can transcend cause-and-effect.

Of course, this offer isn’t open to everyone! For every “positive right”, or privilege, someone else must have an obligation to supply it! This is true even if you express the problem in terms of collectives: some class of people must have the responsibility to produce more than they consume, if another class of people has the privilege of consuming more than they produce. That’s why he advocates for taxes and benefit transfers.

Aside from the issues of what happens to parasites that kill their hosts, or what happens when you run out of other people’s money to spend, the big question is what happens, after a long period of time, if you rescue one class of people who aren’t responsible for their own choices, at the expense of another class of people who have to pay. Specifically, what do you get, more good choices, or more bad ones?

What do you think?

Secure your kids’ unfair advantages NOW!

When the media want to express a potentially controversial opinion, they turn it into a question:

Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?

What the headline editor actually means is

Having a loving family is an unfair advantage.

This is an opinion piece published by ABC in Australia. Australia, like the rest of the Anglosphere, is culturally messed-up. It’s basically about how families should be abolished because they create “unfair” advantages for children growing up in nurturing families, as if it were the fault of good parents that some other parents can’t or don’t provide as many advantages to their own children.

For the record, abolition of the family has been tried several times. The Communists (you know, the biggest all-time mass murderers on the planet, in all of history) intentionally broke up at least some families in several countries, and the Zionists tried it on themselves on their Kibbutzim (agrarian or semi-agrarian collectives in Israel). Kibbutzim still exist, though collective child-rearing was apparently mostly phased out by the late 1980s. It is extremely taboo to criticize Kibbutzim in Israel, but apparently some people who grew up in one didn’t appreciate the “favor” and would rather have had a nice, normal family.

Back to the editorial:

Some still think the traditional family has a lot to answer for, but some plausible arguments remain in favour of it. Joe Gelonesi meets a philosopher with a rescue plan very much in tune with the times.

Beware of media references to anonymous authorities. Beware of people who tell you that they’re trying to save something from itself, especially if its none of their business! That’s typically a pretext for a controversial change, or getting rid of it altogether.

So many disputes in our liberal democratic society hinge on the tension between inequality and fairness: between groups, between sexes, between individuals, and increasingly between families.

The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing the whistle for some time. Now, philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse have felt compelled to conduct a cool reassessment.

‘One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.’

The editorial goes on with some kiss-off suggestions for “rescuing” the family as opposed to just abolishing it outright, that entail parents doing less for their own kids, and more for kids collectively, presumably through government institutions.

  • Why should these people get to decide what’s best for the rest of us?! By what right?! Who died and left the philosophers God?!
  • They claim to be motivated by a desire for equality. If that’s even true, which I doubt, so what? Equality isn’t a value. It doesn’t make the world a better place.
  • People aren’t equal, and you can’t make them equal. Whoever has the power to take away from one and give to another is obviously above the peasants who don’t have that power. That’s presumably rather the point!
  • More likely, they want to abolish families for the same reason that farmers don’t usually let their livestock raise their own broods anymore. This is an assault on your personal autonomy. Do not allow this!
  • Aside from thinking of the rest of us as their livestock, the real reason the rich and powerful are open to ideas like these is that they don’t raise their own children anyway; nannies do. It sounds like a good idea to them because it’s similar to something they’re already doing.
  • These philosophers want to take something away from you. The correct response is to defend what’s yours.

What would really happen if these philosophers got their way would be:

  • The wealth gap would INCREASE, not decrease, because you wouldn’t be allowed to make choices for your own benefit.
  • The winners would be cheaters and sociopaths, like in the former Soviet Union where a few high-ranking members of the Communist party ended up as billionaires through mafia activity, and everyone else was a peasant living in squalor.
  • This scheme creates a backwards dependency chain. Quarks do not depend on electrons to maintain their integrity. Electrons do not depend on atoms to maintain their integrity. Atoms do not depend on cells to maintain their integrity. Individuals should not depend on collectives to maintain their integrity; that’s not sustainable. This scheme and others like it are already destroying the integrity of the system.

Obviously, don’t feel guilty giving your children every advantage that you have earned through your own effort!

Coming soon: tips for subscribers from a book about how to help your children, and yourself, survive in the post-employment economy. It’s full of ideas about how to learn marketable skills faster and cheaper than conventional ways.

 

A conversation with Naval Ravikant and Ryan Shea

Ryan Shea and Naval Ravikant talk about how blockchain and related algorithms and data structures can take human transactions to the next level by removing the involvement of coercive or dishonest 3rd parties. Naval keeps referring to it as “democratization”, but this is actually better than that.

An analogy would be to language: most of the time, nobody dictates to anyone else what words to use, or what words should mean what, or how they should be pronounced (a dictionary might give a guideline, but it can’t enforce them; variants break out all the time). The language evolves by usage, and everybody uses the language however they see fit. You don’t vote on it, so there is no rule of mob.

Similarly, when your transactions are disintermediated, you allocate the resources you have earned where you think they should go, and everyone else does too. The enforcement of transactions is automated, distributed, irrevocable, and low-cost. You don’t need a man with a gun involved in order to organize groups of people.

Stefan Molyneux tells the story of your enslavement

I was about to post a video of a conversation between Ryan Shea and Naval Ravikant, but decided that to anyone who doesn’t already understand the blockchain revolution, there wouldn’t be enough context to really understand it. So first I’ll post this to put the next post into context.

He calls them “tax farms”, but that’s an oversimplification. The real way the slavers profit off your sweat is by creating credit in such a way that YOU are on the hook to pay back. So ultimately you are a debt slave. Some of the debt is created on the government’s account, which you as a taxpayer are liable for, and some on private accounts. Either way, you pay it back, but never fast enough that the debt doesn’t keep accumulating until finally some of it is unpayable, which triggers a rapid chain-reaction of “cascading defaults”: A can’t pay B, so B can’t pay C, so C can’t pay D, and so on.

Your slavers have also set up the system so that when the unpayable debt implodes, you’re on the hook for taking a share of the losses, either by debasement of the currency, which decreases the spending power of your bank account, or, a new way called “bail-ins”, where some of your bank account or brokerage account is directly at risk of being defaulted on. Any way about it, the deck is stacked against you.

A fish doesn’t notice water. I don’t need to convince you; you’ll start noticing yourself once you’ve been primed to notice, and once you get access to some low-keyed information they don’t teach in school, or talk about on the corporate news-media. You can’t completely avoid getting shaken down, but once you understand what’s going on you can reduce your losses.

Here’s a book that explains how the money-making machine works for the slavers:

The Creature from Jekyll Island

Upgrade your life from Google

Here are some easy ways to protect your privacy and security, by upgrading from Google products and services:

  • Use https://duckduckgo.com for searching. Run it in Tor just to make sure. Duckduckgo is not smart enough to filter based on point-of-view, so it’s not censoring your search results like Google does. You can find banned research papers about taboo topics like gender differences between men and women, or global cooling due to an upcoming grand solar minimum, that you can’t find using Google.
  • Browse using Firefox and Tor. Tor has security features already built in; add features like automatic cookie cleanup & always trying to connect via https; install similar features as plugins to Firefox.
  • POSTSCRIPT: I’ve been using the Brave browser for a few weeks now–it’s SCREAMING fast!!
  • WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE USE GMAIL?! Why not just invite a voyeur to move in with you and follow you around and watch your most intimate moments? Use private email that you pay for, like https://startmail.com. If you seriously can’t afford to pay a small yearly fee, try https://fastmail.com
  • Use https://Zoho.com’s office suite for collaborative projects.

Android sucks. My television’s internet box stopped working after self-upgrading (without asking me). Bricked itself. It’s time to investigate the feasibility of Linux on mobile devices. Then you won’t have to go through Google app store anymore.

This triggers many Americans. Russians find it reassuring.

Here are some photos released by Interfax from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vacation on a lake in Tyva Republic in Siberia:

The Russian media claimed that the foreign media expressed admiration for how healthy the old boy is. That’s not what I read. The American and British media have responded with anything thinly-veiled contempt to ridicule. A large fraction of the population of the USA and Europe are easily offended by photos like these, because they’ve been conditioned to hate…

  • masculinity, which is often qualified as “toxic”.
  • Russians, due to propaganda ultimately motivated by a desire to go to war with them
  • that cross dangling from a chain around his neck
  • any culture that isn’t post-Modern

Just to be clear, I’m not the least bit offended. I think it’s weird that so many other people are. Russians find them reassuring. “He’s just a regular guy. And in great shape for his age! A strong, manly, patriotic leader.” Americans would have thought the same thing through about the 1950s, though the changes we’ve been through since then were already in motion by then; it just took a while for them to spread from the avant-garde to the mainstream.

While I was looking for these specific photos I found more that are probably even a lot more triggering for certain personalities and mindsets. Russian media has far more photography of military equipment and personnel than US and western European. Also a lot of other macho imagery, like Siberian tigers and rugged-looking industrial-workers. But here is one that offends on so many counts (men, soldiers, nationalism, tradition, religious observation, all mixed together…) it’s over-the-top:

Servicemen during the procession from the church of the Prophet Elijah to Red Square during the celebration of the Day of the Airborne Forces of the Russian Federation

The photograph makes very clear one point that is still lost on a surprising number of British and Americans: Russia is not the Soviet Union. We are!

I’d like to do another blog post about this cultural clash, and specifically from the point of view of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory. At the risk of putting words into his mouth (but one of his associates has already said exactly what I am going to claim he’d say), Wilber would probably claim that by “regressing” to Amber level values, they are guilty of a “pre-trans fallacy”, that is, thinking that they’ve solved the problem of Modernity by regressing to pre-Modernity instead of transcending it.

I counter-claim that regressing to functional Amber is preferable to the dysfunctional evolutionary dead-end of Green.

 

Professor beat his wife to death for THIS

Once I heard a story in the news that still horrifies me many years later. A professor in New England beat his wife to death during an argument over a vacation to visit the wife’s relatives, that would result in them missing a few day of school.

He murdered the mother of his children over a few days of missed public school. Let that sink in.

A university professor. He’s supposed to be smart, and respectable.

How irrational is that? Does he really think that his daughters are going to be so hopelessly behind in class that they’ll never catch up, and end up on the streets because they missed a few days of high-quality public education?

Public education is worse than worthless: it wastes time that could have been allocated to learning competitive, marketable skills, and also, for that matter, a certain cultural sophistication; in other words it has negative value by displacing value. However, he would have expressed socially-approved opinions about “world-class education to be able to participate as a global citizen blah blah blah” without necessarily believing it.

I don’t know this professor personally, but I am painfully familiar with the psychological patterns that produce these kinds of outcomes:

  • approval-seeking personality
  • gigantic, and fragile, sense-of-self (aka ego)
  • a hair-trigger reflex to become enraged if that sense-of-self isn’t validated

These are the same character flaws of a typical “SJW” (social justice warrior). It’s why they become “triggered” when someone else disagrees with them, even over matters that are unimportant, or none of their business.

Think of how bizarrely irrational this is. The point of anger is to get you ready for a fight. The point of a fight is to react to danger. Where was the danger? There wasn’t any real danger. He reacted as though lack of validation was a real threat, instead of just an affront to his sense-of-self.

I’m a responsible citizen! I’m a good father! (and husband too no doubt) I send my kids to public school to make sure it has an adequate funding base, to respect and support the teachers, to participate in my community, and to make sure my kids get the high-quality education in a diverse environment that they’ll need to participate in a global society blah blah blah…

None of these are real values; they’re meaningless generalities he heard once in a public service announcement. He seeks the approval of the high-status sponsor who paid for it. That was worth more to him than his wife’s life.

These are the kinds of people who add nothing but misery to my life, and I’m constantly struggling to avoid them as much as possible. Unfortunately, they are equally determined to impose themselves on me, to inform me that they know what’s good for me better than I do!

It’s like being accosted by an aggressive beggar, but instead of him admitting that he wants something from you, he pretends that he has something of great value to share with you. After all, the professor is nominally a high-status person. He has a piece of paper that says so, despite his glaring character flaws. He would tell me that I did something horribly wrong by homeschooling my kids.

Now look at the difference in outcomes:

  • My adult offspring are employed, despite high rates of unemployment among recent grads.
  • They all have higher-than-average incomes and stable jobs.
  • I’m starting a microbusiness for my 8 year-old. The business license will be in my name, but the company will effectively be hers. We’re going to sell home-grown merchandise. This will give her some business-sense that will be useful when I’m gone and she’s on her own.
  • She has a few skill sets in which she can outperform adults. She can do some arithmetic problems in her head that most adults can’t. She can quickly memorize long lists of random words, or digits, using mnemonic techniques not taught in school.

His outcomes:

  • His daughters grew up without their parents. Their mother is dead and their father is probably still in prison.
  • They are probably psychologically traumatized for life by the murder of their mother by their father.
  • They are unlikely to have any special or specialized skills to make a living in a competitive, and shrinking, economy.

I have often been told how wonderful my kids are, oddly enough by busybodies whose own kids are in all sorts of trouble, who not only criticize me and my parenting, but take it upon themselves to try to “fix” my “mistakes”. There’s a total disconnect in their minds between cause and effect. It’s like they think “He doesn’t deserve such fine children, because he raised them all wrong! But I did all the right things, and they turned out all wrong. It’s not fair!”

Here are some things to think about:

  • Most people’s core values are a result of their psychological conditioning, and are not entirely rational. People hurt themselves and others acting on purely conditioned beliefs that ultimately are dysfunctional.
  • I can show you how to detect and eliminate those.
  • Do you ever lose your temper over things it doesn’t make sense to get angry about? Those triggers are quite common.
  • When you lose your temper, your highest self is no longer in control; you’re a puppet of your emotions.
  • If you get mad, but over-ride your impulses, that’s still a problem. The point is not to get angry at all in situations where the anger creates a problem, or makes an existing problem worse.
  • Those triggers are usually set early in life by experiences we have before we’ve learned better ways of responding to them.
  • Those toxic triggers are how people end up abusing, sometimes even killing, spouses and children.
  • It’s especially important for men to unlearn those triggers, because of their physical and psychological capacity to kill.
  • Men who don’t get angry when they’re not under real threat make better husbands and fathers.
  • If you are reasonably emotionally stable, but have a few of those toxic triggers, there are ways to fix them. I can tell you how.
  • I can also explain why and how to lose the ego. You might fight like a devil to preserve it, but you’re actually better off without it. Its value is illusory. When you let go of the ego, it’s like the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders.

Keep reading my blog. Soon you’ll be able to sign up for updates by email, and memberships.

Fired for being a man

Late in 2016, I heard about a lawsuit against Marissa Mayer and two other executives of Yahoo Corp. over policies that lead to a purge of male employees.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer led illegal purge of male employees, lawsuit charges

Recently I looked to see if I could find a resolution, but I couldn’t.

What happened was that Mayer hired two executives with stated objectives of employing more women, and an apparent willingness to fire male employees to make room for them.

She also instituted a performance-review process that forced managers to allocate specific percentages of their staff to various performance grades, without regard to their actual performance. In other words, if a highly-competent manager assembled a team of 5 high-performing staff, she would still be forced to rate some of them as under-performers in order to fill her quota of staff to get rid of.

This is a trick some major corporations use to evade labor laws requiring major employers to publicly announce layoffs. This improves their image to the investment community; instead of framing it as “company in financial trouble has to lay off staff”, it turns into just a low-key matter of getting rid of dead weight.

Planning layoffs as a cost-cutting measure, and covering it up by staging an elaborate deception about firing employees for underperformance, is quite a nasty trick: it makes it hard for the fired employees to ever find another job, because it’s impossible to hide lack of good references.

The way these types of performance-review systems are set up, managers have an incentive to spare or sacrifice staff according to the strategic value of their role, instead of on their actual performance. For example, if an employee serves as a shared resource among several different work-groups in different departments, his supervisor has an incentive to give him a low mark on his review, because some of her budget is being spent on service to other departments. She would rather lose staff she’s forced to share with other departments, than staff who work 100% for her.

One of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit unwittingly made himself expendable by taking an approved sabbatical. He was working on a story for the company while on sabbatical, but since he wasn’t working for the company full-time, there was an incentive to get rid of him.

That said, it wasn’t his supervisor who got rid of him. His supervisor’s rating of him was over-ridden by an executive named Megan Liberman. That was another way that the system was designed for abuse: higher-ranking managers could over-ride the ratings assigned by direct supervisors, even if they had no direct awareness of the staff’s actual performance. The point was to allow executives to prune staff according to their own objectives. Liberman and another executive named Savitt had an objective of replacing men with women.

The reason I’m writing about this scenario is because it might happen to you. Your employer doesn’t love you. In all fairness, some employers are conscientious about treating their employees fairly, but competitive pressure, and pressure from investment banks, favor the ones that are ruthless. Your employer pays you money only to the extent that they need your services; if they can, they will get rid of you for any reason that’s compelling to them, often for reasons that aren’t even strictly business-related.

Off the top of my head, I’m aware of four other cases where men were fired for being men; two of them were large-scale systemic purges. I’m also aware that there were organized groups of women at Microsoft lobbying to replace male programmers with women; I would guess that it’s a popular cause in many big corporations.

To understand the risk, it might help to think about why companies would fire men to make room for more women:

  • PR points if they can frame it as “empowering women”. Since women make something like 80% of all consumer purchases, companies selling consumer products have an incentive to frame themselves as “pro-woman”.
  • Avoiding trouble from the equal opportunity commission, which tends to over-look favoritism for “protected” groups. Basically, if the feds want you to employ more X, then you can avoid trouble by employing nothing but X.
  • The recent phenomenon of putting ideology ahead of business profits. We now have activist corporate executives.
  • Misandric executives acting on their personal impulses. Political pressure to hire “feminists” into executive ranks has seeded corporate systems with literal man-haters.
  • Wishful thinking about “pay gaps”: some corporate decision-makers hope that women really are willing to work harder than a man for less pay. Aside from not being true, because as any Libertarian will tell you, everybody gets what they are worth, these strategies backfire spectacularly when women sue their employers for thinking this way.
  • The assumption that women are less ambitious than men and therefor less of a threat as rivals. I’m not so sure about this one. You can find mousy women, but there are plenty of women with fangs and claws, and for that matter, you can find mousy men too. The real problem is that performance is usually tied to aggression: you don’t usually find super-performers willing to meekly submit. More likely, someone needs to tame his or her own ego so (s)he can work with high-performers.
  • Sweetheart deals that are nothing more than legal prostitution. Aside from being the most expensive way ever conceived to get sex, these schemes create liability when the prostitute decides its time for the lawsuit windfall.

All of these motives to replace men with women have costs to the bottom line, but because the cost is transferred from the decision-maker to the stock-holder, there’s an incentive to do it anyway. Corporations tend to have a lot of problems like this one because of the way that decision-makers don’t bear the costs of their decisions.

By the way, I see no reason that companies wouldn’t also start firing employees for other personal attributes. I would guess race is next, if your race does not constitute a protected class.

One way to avoid the problem is to have a preference for working for smaller companies, which can’t afford not to make decisions for reasons that are at odds with profits, and for privately-held companies, which tend to be much more profit-oriented than publicly-held companies. Better yet, be self-employed.

For that matter, it’s a good idea to bail out from any company that starts putting social politics ahead of profits; like Yahoo!, they always end up in financial trouble.

You can also reduce your risk of getting fired by being indispensable. The mistake one of the men made who was fired from Yahoo was taking the sabbatical. Even though he had permission to do so, and was working on a report for the company, that still meant that he wasn’t contributing as much as someone else who was actively working at the company when the company decided to do a round of layoffs.

He probably didn’t realize that layoffs had been planned; the company presumably kept it a secret from employees just like they did from the state. If he would have had a little more sophistication about life, and broader horizons than just his own plans, he would have anticipated it anyway.

Another way to reduce the risk of getting fired is to be popular. First of all, bosses, like most people, tend to make decisions for emotional rather than practical reasons. You’re less likely to get fired iif your boss likes you more than another option for firing. Second, in corporate executions like the ones at Yahoo!, a typical strategy for preparing to fire someone is to socially-isolate him. It’s classic bullying. That’s easier to do if you’re the type who just does his job and keeps to himself aside from some drinks after work on rare occasion, which is true of probably most men. That’s not the way you build working relationships. What matters is the way you relate to others while you are actively working with them.

What about lawsuits? That’s not something I can advise you about, because I’m not a lawyer. It’s also not a matter in which you personally have any control: it’s up to a judge. In this particular case, I haven’t seen any news of a resolution. That means the plaintiffs are still in a bad situation. Part of the problem is that men are not generally sympathy figures; at the moment we’re more likely to be targets of hostility. I wouldn’t count on the courts to protect men from being fired for being men. Lawsuits are at best an act of desperation. It’s better to avoid the situations that lead up to one.

One thing that might help is having counsels to go to when you need advice about a work situation. That’s why I set up a forum to talk about that very topic. You can login as soon as I have the membership system set up. That in turn is waiting for either my ISP or the certificate issuer to process the job.

Everything about cultural collapse in one advertisement

Posting a video link does not constitute an endorsement!

Here is a one minute, thirty-four second sample of all sorts of symptoms of cultural collapse:

  • Endorsement of violence to achieve personal and political objectives
  • Encouraging women to hate and resent men
  • Narcissistic world view: “my needs constitute a valid claim to benefits”
  • Encouragement of vanity
  • Implicit endorsement of regulation of wages in lieu of consensual negotiation between employer and employee based on supply and demand for skills & services
  • Materialist, consumerist mentality

Buddha is the cure for Marx

Lately, Julian Assange has been re-posting numerous death threats against him by people associated with the political Left. He ridicules the concept of “tolerant liberals” who promote violence to achieve their goals.

There are plenty more, and I would guess that they are arriving daily, just like the tens of thousands of threats against President Trump.

While I sympathize with him, his complaints aren’t going to persuade anyone to leave him alone. First of all, now that the political Left is dominant, most Lefties no longer speak of tolerance; they speak of “punching Nazis”, and they’re calling everyone else Nazis these days, including the increasingly small and alienated faction of the Left that still thinks of tolerance as a virtue. Aside from that, once someone is considered “the enemy”, his words and logic don’t just fall on deaf ears, they actually encourage the intended audience to dig in all the deeper. “Well, of course he’d say that. He doesn’t want us to hold him responsible for his crimes!”

Mr. Assange hasn’t committed any crime aside from jumping bail after being arrested on falsified, politically-motivated charges that he should never have been exposed to in the first place. What he did was exposed other people’s crimes. Unfortunately for him, the people whose crimes he exposed have a cult-like following of dupes who believe that people like Hillary Clinton were going to solve all of their personal problems.

That would never work. Whether they’re willing to acknowledge the evidence or not, Hillary was more interested in collecting “donations” to her “foundation”  than solving the problems of people who aren’t paying her money. She has been involved in numerous serious crimes and scandals. She has accepted gigantic payments from the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are recruiting help to attack their neighbors. She helped start a civil war in Libya, and was involved in the shipment of arms from there to Syria , where they are being used by terrorists against Syrian civilians. She was planning to help her sponsors escalate existing wars, and to confront Iran and Russia to start WW3.

For the record, Julian Assange was never the only or even the primary source of evidence of Hillary’s wrong-doing. He only provided more evidence about what we already knew from other sources, and implicated most of her associates too. It’s doubtful that he influenced the election results, because most of Hillary’s voters didn’t care.

Hillary’s fans are vaguely aware of the evidence insofar as they’re out to punish Assange and others for disclosing it (instead of thanking him, which would make more sense). They won’t acknowledge the evidence because they won’t acknowledge their own complicity. They’re caught up in their own persona (the superficial image they project to the world) and their shadow issues (everything about themselves they won’t consciously acknowledge). “I’m a good person. I vote Democrat because I care about people”. Counter-evidence against their flattering beliefs about themselves is actively repressed.

But even to the extent that they are willing to pursue their own political objectives without concern about the harm to unseen people in some other part of the world, there’s still nothing it in for themselves, or for that matter, for the people they pretend to care about. All the social welfare benefits that they imagined they were going to get, would either never show up at all, or would have languished for funding and attention spent on other priorities. Public housing means Grenfell Towers. Public healthcare means dying on a waiting list.

Their response is predictably to demand more of the same, and blame failures on someone who’s not on-board the program.

But the problem is bigger than Hillary. A different politician with a different personality wouldn’t deliver utopia either. I don’t have any confidence in Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson to solve my problems either, because politics isn’t about solving average people’s problems.

A few points:

  • the video makes it sound like rulers want to be benevolent despots, but are forced to play by the rules of the game. Actually, they’ve been playing the game long enough that they go into it fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into. Political power doesn’t corrupt; it attracts people who are already corrupt.
  • No woman rules alone either. Women play the same political games as men.
  • The video is correct that democratic governments in advanced economies sponsor benefits like education and health-care for economic reasons, but this motivation does not imply that they are necessarily effective in terms of return-on-investment. The problem is that they too get bogged down in politics, to the point of new grads ending up almost unemployable after 12-16 years or so of government-funded education, or 99-year-olds dying on the operating table trying to save them with quadruple bypass surgery, while someone younger, with more productive potential, is left to die on a waiting list.

Arguably, politics is not even about solving the problems of the ruling class. Politics is about seizing power over others without their consent, which people only hope they can utilize for solving their problems.

That won’t work. No amount of political power will spare you from watching your loved ones die of cancer. No amount of public funding for cancer research will change that fact, and even if the high priests of technology came up with a cure for cancer, which they haven’t done, all that would happen is that instead of dying of one thing, your loved ones would die of something else, like accidents or suicide.

If you were really lucky, you’ll watch your loved ones pitifully malinger before finally succumbing to old age, while you feel yourself heading towards the same fate. Or maybe you can’t stand that, so you’ll speed it up with physician-assisted suicide.

No amount of political power or technology has ever resolved poverty either, contrary to promises. Unfortunately, that’s a touchy topic because many people insist that poverty is caused by wealth. First of all, political activity doesn’t generate any wealth; it actually impedes it. It also redistributes it, mostly by concentration into fewer, not more hands. Aside from this problem, poverty pre-dates wealth, which means that wealth isn’t causing poverty. A long time ago, the richest people on the planet had a standard of living lower than is currently common among the lowest classes in “first world” nations. Poverty is the default; everybody is poor until somebody creates wealth fast enough for it to accumulate.

The chief’s hut is in the middle. Wealth does not cause poverty; poverty is the default.

 

The power to transfer problems to other people doesn’t resolve them; it makes them worse. The very machinery of brutality needed to enforce one person’s will over another’s makes the world a worse place for everyone.

The fundamental problem is that you’re fighting entropy. What people mistake for “progress” is the accumulation of infrastructure (“indoor plumbing”). But while infrastructure accumulates, it also becomes obsolete, and in any case, natural resources that feed into the infrastructure don’t accumulate. The same accumulation of infrastructure that allows us to live more comfortably than our distant ancestors is also accelerating the depletion of natural resources.

Coming to terms with anicca, dukkha, and anatta.

The problem is never the problem; the problem is lack of coming to terms with the problem. The whole point of any religious practice is to come to terms with suffering. The Buddha put the problem particularly succinctly in two of his three marks of existence (I’m taking some liberties with the meanings of these Pali words):

Anicca: Good things never last.
Dukkha: Things never turn out as satisfying as you hoped.

The third mark of existence is not quite like the others because it’s framed as a fact instead of as a problem. So let me restate it as a problem:

(an)Atta: Your big ego is the real source of your suffering.

People in many different times and place have been able to accept all sorts of pain and setbacks in life, and still find reasons to be happy. They did it using cultural practices that are now tainted with association to magical belief systems.

That could easily be fixed, and to some degree has been. Buddhism, for example, makes use of stories but doesn’t require or even encourage you to take them literally

A bigger obstacle is that Karl Marx, one of the founders of Modernity, thought it was a good idea to take away people’s “Opium”, that is, their means of coping with suffering. Either Marx, or more likely some of his followers, figured out that once people lost their means of coping with suffering, it would be easy to recruit them to look for meaning in political activism, or in other words, to recruit them as willing dupes to accomplish their political objectives. So the decline of religious practice is one thing fueling the current unhealthy obsession with politics. And rising unemployment rates are giving young adults more and more time to pursue political activism.

But political activism doesn’t resolve people’s personal problems or their suffering. So what happens is a problem familiar to therapists: if something doesn’t work, try doing more of it and see if that helps.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
―Narcotics Anonymous newsletter

Politics is like a drug: it keeps taking more and more of it to get the desired effect. It’s a vicious circle whereby political activists respond to their disappointments by becoming ever more radical. Also feeding into this vicious circle is the phenomenon that it takes ever more radicalism to grab attention from every other radical trying to get attention. That’s why we’re getting increasingly radical agendas showing up, some of them publicly acknowledged, some still waiting in the shadows for the public to be sufficiently primed for them, including:

  • lowering or eliminating age of consent for sexual relations; legalization of hebephilia and pedophilia.
  • decriminalization of maternal infanticide; already implemented in some jurisdictions and an unofficial policy in many others.
  • litigation (possibly criminal prosecution) for failure to use invented non-gendered and alternate-gendered pronouns as a “hate crime”.
  • a policy of removing children from their parents’ care if they raise them gendered (or in other words, mandatory non-gendered child-rearing).
  • prosecution of men for rape if a woman withdraws her consent for sex after the fact; this was the original basis for Assange’s arrest warrant in Sweden! It was agreed by both sides that the accusers changed their minds after the fact.

These might sound like over-the-top alarmist claims, but I keep stumbling into people or web-posts promoting them without actively looking for them. The pattern seems to be that anyone who brings them up is ridiculed right up until the point that they hit the mainstream, as happened with the sudden coup on opening up bathrooms and locker-rooms to trans-genders.

Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a person’s self identified pronoun.   The Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example, in their Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Expression states that gender harassment should include “ Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”.  In other words, pronoun misuse may become actionable, though the Human Rights Tribunals and courts.

The second thing that the Bill does is add the words “gender identity or expression” to two sections of the Criminal Code.

―Brenda Cossman, writing for the Mark S. Bonhem Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, regarding Canadian bill C-16; Ms Cossman is an advocate for the bill

Here’s one about withdrawing consent for sex

…if Bob and Andy have sex, and Andy says, “Yes,” “Sure,” “Okay, fine, whatever,” or even, “Ooh baby, do it to me!” but still wakes up the next morning feeling like he was raped, that means Andy was raped.
―maymaym and unquietpirate, You can take it back; consent as a felt sense

I’ve also been informed by numerous feminists that if a father puts his arm around his daughter to comfort her, perhaps after a trauma or a bad day, without having asked her permission to touch her, that he has just raped her. I have seen dozens of expressions of this opinion on social media; it seems to be turning into a consensus in certain circles.

If political activists encounter evidence that their favorite politician is corrupt, or that their favorite ideology or policy doesn’t work, they’ll reject it out-of-hand just like they did the Wikileaks disclosures. When the inevitable consequences of their beliefs and their actions arrive, they’ll find someone else—like Julian Assange—to blame them on. They can never get out of this trap unless they are willing to change their beliefs and their behavior.

Mad as hell & not going to take it any more! The current situation is breeding vast numbers of political fanatics.

The kinds of people who make Julian Assange’s life miserable make their own lives miserable. They are hungry ghosts trapped in a hell of their own making. Some of them will start mixing up their personal problems with politics, and that’s how they get radicalized to the point of being willing to commit or condone acts of terrorism (like an assassination).

The only way to escape is to jump out of the vicious circle of hunger for power and subsequent disappointment when no amount of political power will overcome anicca and dukkha.

People who take responsibility for solving their own problems can take the next step: solving someone else’s. That’s how you earn wealth, by offering to solve someone else’s problems for an affordable fee they would gladly pay. It’s one way you really make the world a better place.

For the record, I have no personal connections to Mr. Assange, and we have very different personalities, cultures, and world-views, but I happen to think I should be fair and compassionate to everyone. Politically persecuting Mr. Assange is an intolerable abuse of state power just on the face of it. Unfortunately  don’t know what to do for him; there’s no easy way out of his predicament. As it is even the status quo is precarious; there have already been attempts to pressure the Ecuadorian government to turn him out of the embassy. Obviously one could at least thank his hosts for their generosity:

Embassy of Ecuador
2535 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009

Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom
Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent
London SW1X OLS
United Kingdom

President Trump should order the State Department to close their baseless “investigation” of him, and should negotiate with the British government to rescind the arrest warrant they have on him. Unfortunately he won’t until and unless it’s a “lame-duck” pardon at the end of his term(s), because he too is trapped in the “rules for rulers” game (see video). President Trump is missing several of the keys to power, and the holders of those keys are using them to harass him too. That said, it probably wouldn’t hurt for President Trump’s supporters to petition him on behalf of Mr. Assange, to increase the probability that he’ll eventually do the right thing.

The U.N. and its duplicitous “human rights” committee won’t help Mr. Assange either.

At this point, it looks like Mr. Assange’s health is probably deteriorating. He’s younger than I am but looks older; the rapid aging is almost certainly a sign of declining health. He has also complained about his children growing up without personal contract from him. (Mr. Assange if you read this you are welcome to contact me for ideas for keeping your physical, mental, and spiritual health as optimal as possible under the circumstances. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because you’re not the only one in captivity whose well-being I’m concerned with these days).

As for my readers, what do you think about the situation? Do you have ideas for making it better?

They walk among us. Here’s what they really want.

During the presidential elections, I started noticing that certain amateur, independent reporters were providing much more accurate scoops on what was really going on behind the scenes than the mainstream media, and that Twitter was a good place to read their tips. So I signed up for an account.

One of the first people I started following was Edward Dowd. That was on a tip from Zero Hedge that Twitter was capping his following, which implied that there was something juicy they didn’t want me to know about. If they unfollowed me from him I would notice and stubbornly re-follow him, like I’ve done when other folks I follow have mysteriously dropped off.

Ed Dowd is an investment officer for a company that does private investment management. He used to work for Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager. He is and has been responsible for huge amounts of money. A lot of ambitious young men follow him probably hoping for hot tips!

On rare occasions he does drop hints about what he thinks markets are going to do, but more often he makes one-line zingers about the news, including from the independent media.

Several items that attracted his attentions were about Marc Zuckerberg, one of the founders of Facebook. One was a photo-op of Zuckerberg worshiping in an Afroamerican church.

Mr. Zuckerberg is Jewish, and abundantly documented to be atheistic.

Another one was a series of photo ops at similarly unlikely locales in Iowa. Zuckerberg is of the class that refers to places like Iowa as the “flyover states”.

Mr. Dowd has expressed the opinion that these publicity plugs are designed to get the public familiar with a public persona they are creating for Mr. Zuckerberg, and make that persona seem friendly and familiar. He further speculates that this is part of a process for grooming him for a future run at the U.S. presidency. I suspect he’s right.

He compared the situation to the main character in the movie “Starman”: an alien learning what it is like to be human. That’s because Zuckerberg isn’t really much like most of us at all.

That comparison triggered a thought in my own head. This might be a good time to explain why the friendly alien theme keeps showing up in movies over and over again. If you’re not already aware, this will contribute to your sophistication about life and other people’s hidden agendas. You’ll have to take my word for it for now that Hollywood movies are not primarily entertainment as a product, but for product placements (low-budget movies), and social and political programming disguised as entertainment. Some time I might explain in more detail.

The typical pattern is this:

A benevolent alien from another planet shows up on earth. He is much more intelligent than a human, and has access to advanced technology (aka magic). He is friendly, and wants to solve all your problems for you. Often he’s a surrogate father figure for a fatherless boy. Often he uses his “technology” cum magic to restore a dead person (or in the case of Starman, a deer) to life, or at least to cure someone who is injured.

Unfortunately, he is being pursued by hostile humans who don’t understand him and won’t give him a chance. Sometimes the hostile humans hurt him or even kill him, but he either self-heals or is restored to life using the technology (magic), and then he makes a short speech and goes back up to the sky.

One of the first of these was the movie The day the earth stood still. Others have included Starman, E.T., and an animated movie called The Iron Giant. There are probably plenty of others that escape my memory or knowledge. Numerous television series have included episodes with the same theme.

A man named Uri Geller played this role in real life. When I was a boy, he had convinced millions of people that he had miraculous powers, and was in contact with an alien civilization and had a message to deliver to humanity. He pulled this off using nothing but common parlor tricks, some well-known magician techniques, a certain amount of chutzpah, and some media complicity. Any professional magician could have exposed him as a fraud, but the media wouldn’t give them a platform to do so. There was some sort of psy-op going on around him, quite possibly to test the limits of what they could get the public to fall for without involving an obvious government sponsor if it didn’t work.

In case it’s not obvious, the pattern comes from the story of Jesus. The “alien” however is not Jesus. The movie producer isn’t trying to bring you into a closer relationship to Jesus; he’s trying to hijack whatever deep-seated feelings you might have leftover from Sunday school for purely political purposes, for a living beneficiary. He has no qualms about doing that, because from his point of view religion serves no purpose except for occasional use to manipulate the masses.

The alien is actually a token for one or more power-elite figures:

  • You don’t know us, but we come in peace.
  • We want to help you. We want to solve your problems.
  • We are vastly smarter than you. You are incapable of understanding our ways; don’t even try, just have faith.
  • You must defend us from hostile and skeptical parties, or something dreadful will happen.
  • We love you. Won’t you love us?

The movie The day the earth stood still was specifically a vehicle to sell a message known as “One world or none”. It was a call for world government under the pretext for saving it from thermonuclear annihilation. The “one world or none” movement was lead precisely by Strangelovian types who were exactly the ones who helped design and build the nuclear weapons programs they were threatening the world with while pretending to want to save it! The exact message varies from generation to generation but typically it’s about uniting behind a power-elite persona (arguably, the Antichrist) to usher in the Messianic Age.

Marc Zuckerberg would be the quintessential type of person to be designated a beneficiary of this religious story hijacked for extremely secular and typically quite dark purposes. He’s the kind of person often referred to as “the gods who walk among us”, though apparently that underground expression has recently been hijacked for a totally unrelated book. You’re supposed to think of him as your powerful, benevolent friend. If you haven’t already heard more frank appraisals of what he’s really like, you might be curious enough to do a little digging.

What about bad aliens? Those are symbols too; they’re the designated “bad guy” of wars. The Martians of “War of the Worlds” were the Germans. This isn’t a conjecture on my part; it’s a fairly well-documented; the author H.G. Wells was a member of the Fabian Society, who were propagandists for the New World Order. The book and movie came out well before the target war was actually waged, because preparation for major wars takes about a decade or so. We’re seeing something similar unfold right now in today’s current events.

Can you figure out who are the real-life bogeymen portrayed by the bad aliens in the movie Independence Day? I’ll tell you in a future post. If you haven’t figured it out before then, it’ll blow your mind away. Keep reading my posts to develop some sophistication in life, that will help you spot duplicity and malice.

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Happy Father’s Day! If you are a father, I hope you are enjoying the day with your kids.

All but one of my kids are grown-up, but not having started their own families yet, they still live with my wife and me. I’ve been informed that I’m getting taken out to lunch today. I’ll call my own dad, which is as much as I can do since he lives far away. I’ll send him photos of his grandkids by email.

A lot of men won’t enjoy today, because their kids were taken away from them, and/or their own dads were. If you’re one of them, you probably have some unresolved feelings about that. You might be conscious of those feelings or not; many men repress them. Either way, channel those feelings into action to heal yourself and spare the next generation.

For the same reasons farmers don’t usually allow their livestock to raise their own broods, the expandability of dads is so deeply-ingrained in western culture that it has broken the culture itself in many ways. It might be hard to tell for the same reasons that a fish doesn’t notice water. A lot of men don’t realize what’s missing, because they don’t have the right experiences to use as references. You can see the problem by contrast if you’ve ever been exposed to intact and functional traditional cultures (not all traditional cultures are intact or functional!).

One of the most heartwarming examples of fatherhood I’ve ever witnessed involved a surrogacy situation in a traditional fishing culture of an ethnic and religious (Christian) minority tribe living in Indonesia. A man there took in an orphan and raised him as his own son. They were probably at least somewhat related, and in any case, in tight-knit traditional communities like that, everybody knows everybody.

They had a closer and more functional relationship than most biological father-son relationships in western cultures. One of their interactions was the man painting the boy with war-paint for a tribal ceremony, both of them grinning broadly.

The boy in turn had a good relationship with his chums, which is a function of having had good relationships with their dads. Your relationship with your mother is in many ways a blueprint for how you will relate to women, and your relationship with your father is in many ways a blueprint for how you relate to other men. Men who are skilled at relating with other men tend to be more successful in business and career, and therefor life generally, than men who aren’t.

All of the boys were noticeably healthier psychologically than is typical of their western counterparts, being more competent within their environment, and lacking all the weird neurotic behaviors that are now ubiquitous among westerners. It might be hard to understand the difference until you see it for yourself, because most of us are so habituated to the latter.

I know what needs to change, but I can’t fix it by myself, and at this point it’s a matter of fighting the tide because the culture is working against us.

One thing that would help would be men’s fiction featuring good fatherly role models and good relationships with sons and daughters. The best fiction gives us vicarious experiences we can learn and grow from. All we have instead is an abundance of “lost father” themes like in Star Wars and Dune, or in other words, an unfulfilled longing.

Keep reading my blog. You can give me feedback in the comments. Let’s keep the conversation going, and then move from talk to action.

Are you ready for a major financial event?

Catastrophes are hard to predict. If an undesirable event is predictable and gradual—like the exhaustion of the sun’s fuel reserves, or the eventual erosion of the earth’s atmosphere, then those aren’t usually thought of as “catastrophes”. A catastrophe is when a complex system suddenly changes state. The complexity of the system and the suddenness of the transition between states makes it hard to predict.

You might know that a certain bridge has been going without maintenance for some number of years, but it’s practically impossible to predict the very day or even the year that it’s going to collapse. The day before it collapsed, people crossed it without incident.

There is always something you don’t know about that impacts the system, like one of the trusses holding up the bridge being rusted through, and a particularly heavy load of trucks and buses that randomly converged on the bridge.

In the case of a stock market, if you expect it to crash, something might happen that you don’t know about, like a secret market intervention to keep it propped up. If you tried selling it short, you might end up with a loss when a stop hunting algorithm runs your stops, or worse, when you ended up with a margin call.

That’s why, according to risk-management expert Nassim Taleb, it makes more sense to evaluate your investment strategy’s vulnerabilities and address those to minimize the damage when the unexpected event happens. If you do a particularly good job of evaluating and planning for risk and reward, you might even end up with a profit due to “antifragility”.

So repeating other people’s warnings about the possibility of a significant financial event later this year or maybe next year must not to be construed as tradeable advice. It’s more analogous to reminding you to clear dry brush away from your house ahead of a long, hot, dry summer.

This post is ultimately not about when a major financial event will happen; it’s about whether you are prepared for one.

U.S. Weeks Away From A Recession According To Latest Loan Data

Asset markets are likely to plunge before a recession is officially called. Here is some of the same information, and more like it, from another source:

In the USA, it is the National Bureau of Economic Research that officially calls recessions, and they typically wait before calling one so as not to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. The official standard is two quarters of economic decline. Relatively short or moderate recessions tend not to be announced.

The next recession, however, is likely to be a big one due to the size of China’s credit contraction.

Jim Rogers: “We’re About To Have The Worst Economic Problems Of A Lifetime, A Lot Of People Will Disappear”

That headline sounds more sinister to me than it was probably intended. Judging from the context, my guess is that by people “disappearing” he means that even big, politically-connected financial companies like Bear-Stearns go bankrupt because when the crises hit, they happen too fast and too severely to organize bail-outs to save them all.

I am not a financial expert, but to the best of my knowledge, something like this happens: let’s say that without warning, some large entity in China defaults on a big payment. Financial companies tend to hedge their positions, so they tend to come in pairs. If one position becomes worthless, they have to close out the position they were hedging it with. Then the counterparty to that trade has to rebalance his own position, and so on. There is also the phenomenon of “cascading defaults”, whereby A can’t pay B, so B can’t pay C, so C can’t pay D, and so on. It’s a little like a nuclear reaction that goes critical. It tends to cause a lot of net selling of positions, and it happens faster than financial regulators can set up meetings to decide what to do about it.

Whereas stock markets and bond markets have “circuit breakers” in place to artificially slow down selling, the derivatives market is less regulated, and largely invisible to regulators. And the derivatives market is gigantic.

According to Jim Rickards, who experienced the LTCM debacle first-hand, the regulators are trying to gain control over one of these runaway financial meltdown scenarios by implementing a protocol he refers to as “Ice-nine”. It involves rapidly freezing up brokerage accounts of all kinds, bank accounts, credit cards, and ATM machines. The purpose is to save the system, not the individual, and it would be hard to ever un-freeze it. My guess is that if it were ever implemented, bank accounts would be worth a lot less by the time they were unfrozen.

Now let’s cut to the chase: if the predictions of a big financial event come to pass, sooner or later, what is the likely impact on a typical reader of my blog?

Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that question any more accurately than I can predict the timing of the event in the first place! Again, it’s a matter of assessing vulnerabilities.

The most likely vulnerability is if you actively trade stocks, or if you have exposure to the stock market through a defined-contribution retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Stocks would likely take a hit in an LTCM-type event.

Some people would lose their jobs as the result of a financial crisis and/or recession, and many would go insolvent. They might end up selling assets at losses, and defaulting on loan payments.

Worse, but less likely, is a banking crisis.

Banks are becoming less safe…again

One reason a banking crisis is less likely than a crash in the stock and bond markets is because regulators realize how important banks are to the modern economy, and so make it a high priority to protect them. Banks are the remittance system for paying bills and collecting payments; if banks suddenly stop operating, then bread stops showing up at the store, because the baker, delivery company, and truck driver aren’t getting paid, and the retail customers wouldn’t be able to pay the store anyway.

That said, just because consequences are dire doesn’t mean something bad can’t happen.

The car has to stop, because if it doesn’t, it will hit me!
—what the deer in the headlights thinks

The Eurozone’s banking crisis has never been resolved. At the moment, at least two Spanish banks are in trouble, and they might get “bailed in”.

Shock Waves Spread from Spain’s New Banking Crisis

A trend tends to continue until it exhausts itself. My guess is that we won’t dodge the bullet forever. In fact, the magnitude of catastrophic financial events has been increasing with each new event.

What a lot of people are doing to prepare for the possibility of a financial crisis are prudent precautions such as:

NB: not too long ago, I read some financial advice from someone who has a lot of followers on Twitter, suggesting that a “dollar cost averaging” investment plan is insurance against stock market crashes and bear markets. There are numerous personal circumstances and market scenarios that dollar-cost-averaging won’t protect you from, like if you already have a big nest egg in the market, and/or you keep pouring money into a long-term bear market (that’s called “throwing good money after bad”).

Someone should also tell him that investment advice is regulated in the USA, before he gets himself into trouble with regulators, or opens himself up to a lawsuit. For that reason, here is my own mandatory disclaimer:

This post is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this post should be construed as advice to buy or sell securities. Make your own financial decisions after consulting with a qualified financial professional.

Want to get hired? Learn from a princess!

You can learn a lot from other people’s bad examples. Here is an editorial someone tweeted that got my attention:

I’m a woman in tech, and this is what I want in a company

As a female developer these are some things I want in a company before I decide to join, and once I’m a part of the team.

If you ran a business, what would you care more about, placating the demands of a prospective employee, or maintaining profitability and staying in business in a competitive environment?

If you did placate prospects like this one, do you think it would contribute to your success? When your customers are making a choice regarding which product or service to buy, or deciding whether they even need or not, would they care about, or even have any consciousness of, your company being a place where this young woman wants to work?

I want to see other women

Given that nowhere in the article does she express the least concern for the company’s success or profitability, I assume this is a personal need on her own part.

The first thing most people do before interviewing or even applying for a job is look at the company careers page. If it’s plastered with pictures of white guys in flannel with beards, that’s a red flag.

In the world I live in, company career pages in the USA and Europe feature stock photography, or cherry-picked actual photos, of mostly or nowadays often exclusively other-than-white-men.

If the exec team is all white men who look like they could be my father that’s another one [red flag].

And that’s a red flag for me. Guys, here is some friendly advice from an experienced older man: stay away from women who hate their fathers. The trans-gendered Oedipal complex means exactly what it seems like it should mean. I have never witnessed a case where a man “made it work”; she always divorces him and takes his kids and his money away from him. It’s easy for her because she never had genuinely loving feelings for him. He ends up broke, alone, and depressed. Don’t let that happen to you; find a woman who loves her father.

I don’t give a shit about your “amazing culture”

Everyone has great culture and you’re all best friends, I get it.

It’s important for me to know that these are people I’m going to work well and grow with, and that they want to do those things with me.

Kind of a hostile attitude towards someone offering you money for your time, don’t you think?

Notice that she assumes that her being able to get along with other people depends on them pleasing her instead of her pleasing them. It’s all about her.

These kinds of self-centered attitudes are more noticeable in women than in men, mostly because people tend to be more forgiving of them in women than in men, and because young women are groomed for it with a lot of approval-seeking attention and flattery.

They do occur in men, though, just more discretely. Men don’t usually give away that they would like to be treated like princesses, but then they’re disappointed that they’re not! One thing I am seeing more nowadays, though, is that as the masks come off and people are becoming more and more overtly “narcissistic”, even a lot of young men are showing the same symptoms, though not quite as extreme because they are less likely to get away with it.

Self-centered people are constantly frustrated in life, because they can’t get other people to serve their needs, at least, not long-term. Things often go fine at first, when other people are willing to curry their favor and try to build some goodwill, but after a while, they get tired of giving without getting.

Working relationships are more harmonious when at least one person is willing to consider and respect other people’s needs and feelings, and then they reciprocate.

It’s worth the effort, because it produces synergy.

But you can produce synergy without even all that much goodwill. I have had perfectly functional working relationships even with people who are fairly hostile towards me, as long as we can maintain a truce to pursue mutual benefits. In other words, successful people don’t have to like the people they work with to benefit from the relationship for other reasons.

You see this a lot among the super-rich and the super-powerful. Their relationships tend to be shallow and self-interested. But as long as the relationship is profitable, they’ll continue it without regard to lack of attachment to the other people in it. That’s how they stay rich and powerful.

You can accumulate wealth and influence without being quite so emotionally uninvested in your partners, by mastering your feelings for other people, so that you can pursue whatever working relationships are needed to get the job done, without being needy for other people to please your tastes.

Everyone knows about Imposter Syndrome these days and it’s something I suffer from…I’m incredibly hard on myself…

I have doubts about that assessment. Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

If she’s a high-achieving individual, why is she demanding a job instead of offering one? If she knows so much about how to  attract and retain highly skilled but undervalued women, why doesn’t she in her own company? A lot of other people have started companies completely from scratch, including through self-financing. What makes her a “high-achieving individual” if she hasn’t accomplished the same?

Ah, the world just doesn’t appreciate her greatness!

Imposter Syndrome is a symptom of a gigantic ego. She needs other people to constantly tell her how wonderful she is, and to make excuses for her failures or better yet, blame someone else.

Presumably the whole point of writing this list of demands is that she’s aware that companies are under pressure to give hiring preferences to “other than white males”, and she’s hoping to take advantage of that fact. Big corporations that have plenty of reserves can afford to do that—for a while—to make the government happy. The accumulation of dead-weight is what eventually does them in, regardless of theories of “efficiencies of scale”.

But what about small businesses operating on a shoe-string? They can’t afford any dead-weight; they need staff to whom they can apply the thumb-screws to perform profitably. Those are the ones whom you should be making an offer to solve their laundry-list of problems they want solved.

Let me show you how. Keep reading my blog.

Who’s in control: you, or your emotions?

Many futurists are eager for—or dreading—the moment when computers start programming themselves. They call it “the singularity”. Runaway technology. Curiously, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to most of them that humans already have the capacity to program themselves, and some humans have been doing it for a while now. It’s called “transcendence”. It’s another milestone on the road to Enlightenment. Unlike runaway technology, it’s a good thing; it leads to more control over your life, not less.

You can rewire your own brain to take it to the next level. In this article, I’m going to explain one possible improvement to your brain’s performance. This is the first of several others I’ll explain. This particular one is a HUGE win.

Think of it from an evolutionary point of view. A reptile can only react to its experiences in about 6 different ways. You can remember them because the mnemonic code for all the active ones start with the letter “F”:

  • Food (it can eat something it finds)
  • Fight
  • Flight (it can run away from danger)
  • Freeze (it avoids drawing attention to itself)
  • “Fornicating” (wink, wink)

It can also Ignore things that are neither opportunities nor danger.

If a lizard has a problem, it can’t solve the problem unless the solution involves one of those responses. Those are the only possibilities. It can’t come up with a creative, novel solution. It’s like a non-intelligent robot that can only respond with hard-coded routines.

Mammals mostly have similar reactions, except that they are modulated by emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and happiness. Those are the basic emotions; other emotions are those basic emotions in specific contexts. Love, for example, is being happy when that special someone is around, afraid that you might lose that person, and sad when they are gone. Hate is anger that is triggered just by thinking about the thing you hate; they no longer even have to do anything to provoke it other than just exist. Jealousy is fear and anger of losing something that makes you happy to someone else.

Emotions channel into reptilian responses. Anger for example gets you ready for a fight. Fear prompts you to flee or freeze.

We need emotions and other strong impulses like our sex drive because they motivate us to live out our lives. Without them, we’d have “lobotomized” behavior. The problem is that they’re not enough to solve all of our problems in the best way possible. They’re mechanical rather than intelligent.

Mammals have some ability to come up with novel solutions to problems. How much depends on the species. Humans are on the high end of the scale. But most of the time, most people think like an animal. They react more than act, and act mostly on impulse and habit.

Strong emotions over-ride the creative, rational part of our brain. Think about a time when you really “lost it” with rage. Or panic. Now imagine that while you are so agitated, you have to solve some really hard math problems requiring a great deal of concentration. You probably couldn’t do it. Strong emotions shut down the most advanced parts of the brain. When we’re seized up with strong and especially negative emotions, we lose access to our higher cognitive abilities and revert to primitive instincts.

This is why professional fighting-men (I mean the ones hoping to live out a reasonable life-span, not cannon-fodder) often cultivate some form of emotional discipline. They have to be able to retain access to their training and discipline instead of reverting to primitive fighting instincts. Monks typically have even higher levels of emotional control. Of course, in some cultures monks are warriors; they cultivate martial arts to defend themselves. But you were not meant for a cloistered life; you were meant to strive against adversity, make love to women, and raise children. What I propose instead is the emotional discipline of the monk embodied in the warrior.

Reversion to reptilian levels of thinking happens with any strong or persistent negative emotion. If you’re terrified that your boss is thinking about firing you, you’re more likely to avoid him (flight and freeze) than schedule a friendly chat with him to negotiate a mutually-satisfactory resolution.

Persistent positive emotions can adversely impact our performance too, but that’s not usually much of a problem. It’s rare to be too happy; we don’t have a positivity bias. Just for the record, it’s worth noting that excessive happiness clouds judgment by triggering over-confidence. That’s why we have a negativity bias instead; better to tread cautiously than happy-go-lucky into an ambush by a tiger (or nowadays, a mugger).

These are natural reactions. It’s possible to change your own programming to have more optimal reactions:

If the emotion doesn’t help the situation, let go of it instantly, or avoid it altogether.

If the emotion is appropriate, keep reason in control.

Having discussed this in forums I realize that there is an obstacle to understanding what I mean: men tend to have a strong ability to hide emotions, and most of us have some capacity to over-ride our impulses to act on our hidden emotions. When I brought this up, that’s what all of them thought I was talking about. They think that emotional mastery means bottling up your emotions so that you don’t get into trouble, or other people use them against you. They couldn’t imagine any other possibility.

That’s NOT what I am talking about. I am talking about something 99.99% of men can’t do (yet), because it’s an ability that has to be developed; it’s analogous to the fact that humans aren’t born with an instinct to swim. Letting go of emotions or sometimes even avoiding them altogether by choice doesn’t come naturally. Maintaining reason over emotion is even harder, in fact impossible without extensive re-wiring of the brain. Your limbic system floods your brain with emotion-regulating hormones; they impact the whole thing.

Hiding emotions is purely cosmetic; you’re still tempted to act on them. One disadvantage with simply over-riding the impulse to act on an emotion is that your capacity to do so is quite limited. One really bad day, and you’ll get over-whelmed. That’s one way murders and suicides happen. Another disadvantage is that even to the extent that you don’t get into a fight, or run away from a problem, simply over-riding the reptilian impulses doesn’t resolve the problem; it’s still there, waiting to snare you again along with all the other unresolved problems accumulating in your life.

Imagine the following scenario:

Holding in his anger & shame to avoid hurting her.

You come home after a hard day at work, walk through the door, and say “Hi honey, I’m home!” Then you hear in response “Don’t you ‘hi honey’ me you no-good son of a bitch!” in a decidedly angry tone of voice.

Most men would start trembling with fear at that point. Maybe turn right around and hide until whatever it is blows over. That’s why their wives eventually divorce them out of the blue; they are unhappy due to years of built-up anger they never resolved.

Some men would respond with anger and start a shouting match. That will only trigger the divorce that much quicker. Or worse, he “snaps” and physically attacks her…maybe even kills her. To avoid that, most men just hold it in, trapped in the situation, not knowing how to resolve it.

Whether afraid or angry, a lot of men end up ashamed. They feel bad about themselves being treated like this.

Exceedingly few would stay calm and say “I see something’s bothering you. I’d like to help. Let’s talk about it after you cool off.” There’s no point trying to talk it over while her brain is still flooded with mood-regulating hormones. Of course she might be spoiling for an immediate confrontation, but she’ll give up if you don’t respond to her provocations. The more you can master your emotions, the more you can be the master of the household.

Your wife is not a saber-toothed tiger; flight or fight are not the best ways to resolve the problem. Resolving the problem requires communication to synchronize your mental models of reality, and negotiation.

Seized up with freeze instinct. No idea what to do.

Similarly with the dissatisfied boss. You’re not allowed to ambush him in the parking lot and beat him up; you’d get in really big trouble for that. So most men opt to flee (avoid him) or freeze (do nothing and hope it will blow over).

You might retain just enough fear of losing your job to be motivated to resolve the boss’s dissatisfaction, but you don’t want to just hide from him; you need to retain access to rational thought processes so that you can come up with a plan to solve the problem. Like the situation with the angry wife, it will involve communication and negotiation.

Negotiating any solution other than just firing you, with someone who holds all the cards, is going to have to involve some real creativity. You’re going to have to come up with an offer that’s compelling to him.

Now imagine this: you work in a high-level, high-intensity job where hostile people are coming at you all day. Maybe you’re a trial lawyer dealing with high-stakes patent claims. And it’s all nothing to you but an exhilarating challenge. You don’t dread it; you engage it. This is life! Of course you don’t have to engage that level of challenge, but the more you can handle, the more choices you have regarding what kind of life you do want to live, and the more satisfaction you can take from it.

Mastering your emotions helps you to deal more effectively with:

  • Angry customers
  • Dissatisfied boss
  • Angry or unhappy wife or girlfriend
  • Non-compliant child
  • Obstacles and setbacks to personal and professional goals

Another benefit is that men who master their emotions tend to be respected more than men whose emotions master them. It’s because needing emotional “energy” to face a problem implies being less in control of his own life, whereas not needing it implies being more in control of his own life. People unconsciously notice the difference, and treat you accordingly.

Learning to master emotions is a way to take your life to the next level:

  • More satisfying and resiliant relationships
  • More professional success
  • Successful parenting
  • Respect

Do those sound like benefits you’re interested in?

Keep reading my posts. Soon you’ll be able to get them by email. Subscribers will have access to premium content where I explain exactly how to take your life to the next level by mastering your emotions.

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