Welcome to the About Words website. Below is a brief audio introduction to this site.
Did you know that one of the most popular words on the internet is God?
As for the quotations in the original image, the reality is that in all social units, the interests / needs of the social unit as a whole may be more powerful than the interests / needs of an individual. In the obvious case of soldiers, they are not being sent to war in order to promote their personal safety. A mother running in to a burning house to save a child (or a pet) is also not thinking of her own personal safety as the top priority.
Just as individuals (or groups) are frequently sacrificed in the interests of “the greater good,” it is also true that some people get very special privileges. For instance, the US President has the legal right to overturn criminal convictions made in the US.
Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich of convictions for an enormous amount of tax evasion as I recall (among other felonies bordering on treason). Before that, Caspar Weinberger (Ronald Reagan’s secretary of defense) was pardoned before his trial (in order to keep certain information secret, apparently). Oliver North was only pardoned after his convictions.
As for the specific issue of ethnic cleansing, if it is so “bad,” then why did the US do it to the natives here? Why did the Israelites (under the direction of Moses, as recorded in the Book of Numbers) massacre almost the entire population of the Midianites?
Ethnic cleansing is one thing that can happen. Those who are ashamed of their own favorite government’s history of ethnic cleansing (such as the US, especially in the 19th century) may cope with the shame by directing their attention at one or two isolated cases of ethnic cleansing in the distant past. We can focus on the “heroism” of our government for combating ethnic cleansing, such as by dropping atomic bombs on the Japs in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Why? Because the Japs were conducting military operations of “ethnic cleansing,” which is very bad and so the world must be cleansed of those evil ethnic cleansers.
These 3 questions below could be asked from calm curiosity. In that case, the questions simply express open-mindedness.
However, when there is a background of distress (anxiety), the same questions can be used to forms dilemmas (rather than to launch exploration and brainstorming). After creating a dilemma of a rigid “either/or” pre-occupation, that fixation is the foundation that can be built on to eventually spark an avalanche of agonizing. After we review these 3 questions briefly, we will then explore the root issue underneath all 3 common forms of distressed agonizing.
What I should do?
Who should I trust?
How I should be?
Here, we could review some specific patterns of how people use those kinds of questions to cultivate distress. The short version is that they rehearse “fantasy” scenarios that frighten them.
(Note that the “fantasy” scenarios typically begin by rehearsing actual memories that trigger a distressed “brainstorming.” I use the term “fantasy” scenarios because they are not being directly observed in that moment, but are being pondered or recalled or invented. This can be a very frightening way of brainstorming.)
So, rehearsing the scenarios that are frightening then justifies a state of near-paralysis (or explosive hysterias). In an ideal circumstance, that can lead to a very isolated “cry for help” toward someone perceived to be capable of helping and willing to help discretely.
In moderate distress, there will need to be an expectation of receiving help before someone will display their distress signal. Because that is often not the case, the distress can be crippling.
However, in the most extreme distress, the typical resistance to drawing attention will be irrelevant. Help will be directly and explicitly invited from most any possible source of assistance.
Am I safe?
If someone is in distress, then their perception is that they either are not safe or might not be safe and cannot easily find out if they are safe. That creates an urgent dilemma.
So, in an extreme case of perceived threat, they do not perceive fleeing or fighting as attractive methods for coping with the perceived threat. Instead of the more active responses of fight or flight, they freeze and fake (which are relatively passive responses to a possible threat).
The specific kind of faking includes an attempt to block the display of facial expressions and gestures that could be interpreted as signalling distress. That requires physical tension. That tension can be held chronically (locked in).
They maintain the frozen physical state of locked muscular tensions. They may cling to their familiar routine and habits (so as not to do anything unusual that might draw unsafe attention to them). Not only do they “lock in” their own routine, but they also may begin to lean toward activities that are extremely common within their social setting. They seek to blend in. They hide not by being literally invisible, but by being as unremarkable as possible.
That naturally leads to disappointment with the results of the familiar methods, but when there is a reflexive suppression of the display of all disappointment, that means no talking about it directly. Instead, in moderate states of distress, people tend to keep doing the same old habits that used to work effectively. They may complain that they are not getting the results they expected or they may complain that they are getting the results that they expected, but they just do not value those results as much anymore.
Before they would say anything so direct and clear, they will likely experience frustration. The bigger the chronic tension or pretense in the background, the bigger the frustration will need to get in order for them to independently recognize the real source of the dilemma.
In many cases, people may seem blind to their own familiar presumptions as being presumptive. They are creating dilemmas and distress out of habit (inattentively). They are not calm and clear. They are not focused.
They are approaching panic, but hiding it. They are desperate. The root of desperation is despair, as in hopelessness. Instead of hope, they may be growing a terror.
Again, they are not just making careful, calm measurements of safety. They are operating from distressed presumptions of idealism. They are preserving their idealism at the expense of admitting that any of their presumptions might be presumptive. They may furiously dismiss the idea that they have any participation in
They may attack suggestions that they have authority as threatening. They may deny that their panic attacks involve any habitual interpretations or practices.
Instead of thinking about how to assess their own methods and revise them, they think about how to retreat from distress. Retreating certainly may be favorable and satisfying on occasion.
However, in actuality, there may be no dilemma between either retreating from some trigger (such as a person or a job) or changing one’s own methods. Often, people simply brainstorm about how to best flee (while maintaining the “holding pattern” of maintaining familiar routines). Or, people may crumble in to shameful agonizing over identifying the perfect method before taking any new action.
Again, either of those extreme responses could be valuable in a particular circumstance. But they often are ineffective.
Plus, when there is a distress and a chronic tension to hide the distress, then people may not relax on their own to the point of exploring how they can BOTH alter their own thought process AND explore moderate levels of withdrawing (rather than total retreat). When a possible threat is sensed, then caution can be increased, momentum can be interrupted, pace can be slowed, and more precise assessments of safety can be made (including by people considered unusually perceptive). Further, distress can be admitted and relaxation can be targeted as a possible priority.
So, we can avoid the dilemma of “either this is a problem caused solely by my own misinterpretation or this is a problem solely of external factors.” Maybe there is a problem and maybe not. Maybe it involves some degree of actual threat. Maybe it involves some degree of misinterpretation and invented distress.
The value of inventing stresses
Why would people ever invent distress? Inventing justifications for stress can be an effective method for testing other people in regard to their willingness and ability to handle stress (like stress in general or a particular kind of stress).
Do you value knowing how specific other people respond to stress? Then expose them to some stress! (Exactly how much feedback do you want to receive?)
If the stress is a stress that you make up, that may be ideal because then there is no real trigger for stress, but just an invented stress for you to display to them (as an over-reaction, even if sincere). You can practice displaying stress without any actual cause for stress being present. You may even know that the whole thing is a pretense.
However, willingness to process stress is not the same as ability. Some people may be very willing to assist others with processing stress (whether specific other people or absolutely anyone). Sincerity is no guarantee of effectiveness.
Maybe a person is eager to assist anyone with process stress because the prospective savior wants to compensate for a sense that they need some justification for existing (like their mere existence is somehow a problem or a crime). Or, maybe they do not have a savior complex of massive, heroic reforms.
Perhaps they are simply willing to assist specific others in order to promote specific priorities for them. Maybe they are cultivating partners and allies. Maybe they are creating bonds and networks. Or, maybe they are just professionals at managing stress and are earning a salary or an hourly fee.
Note that professional success is typically measured simply by cash profits. However, a professional may be extremely successful financially without being unusually effective.
Maybe they are quite happy in their own lives or maybe not. Maybe they are consistently effective with others and maybe not.
The various social valuations of stress management skills
In some circumstances, life may be orderly and stable such handling stress is rarely a challenge. Maybe only the poorest or least mature people have an interest in managing stress better.
In other conditions, there may be sudden, large changes for entire populations of people and then the ability to handle stress well is a rare and precious skill. Immense advantages may be accessible through a skillful and perceptive approach to managing stress.
Further, in conditions of lasting instability, handling stress well may be a very common focus because it is essential. Everyone may be interested and only those capable of mastering stress will survive.
Those different phases can form a cycle. Out of instability, order forms. Then order stabilizes. Then order destabilizes. Moderate amounts of order may destabilize gradually. Rigid orders may rarely destabilize without sudden and massive disruptions.
It can be useful to recognize which stage of that cycle fits for your current circumstance (in terms of culture and economy). While predictions can be challenging, measurements may be easy to make.
If you know both what your own internal feedback is and know what the social reality is, then that perceptiveness can promote effectiveness. With that in mind, I like to make an analogy to sailing on a boat.
Sometimes, it is easier to adjust the sails than to change the direction of the wind. Also, it could be very useful to accurately assess the actual direction of the wind before adjusting the sails. Any familiar presumptions about how the wind should be may be obstacles to adaptiveness and effectiveness… unless they are recognized as being mere presumptions.
As for identifying the destination of value to you, that can also be an important issue. If that is not clear and yet your sails are up, you might value taking them down to reduce your speed (or even find a dock).
If only the world wouldn’t be so sad, I wouldn’t be so mad.
If only the world would love me more, I wouldn’t be so sore.
“So What’s wrong with the world today,” is what I used to say every morning.
Find a new complaint (or an old complaint)- something for me to hate
But don’t call me boring!
My life was all about making up for my life. (I’m so sorry.)
My time was all about making up for my crimes (at your party).
I didn’t mean to spoil everything.
(See I was only trying to spoil one thing.)
I figured I would try to test your love. (To see if you would crumble or condemn me.)
I just wanted to know if I should trust… The kind of person that I thought you’d been (but now I wonder if I pegged you wrong… All along.)
“So What’s new with the world today,” is what I could say in the morning.
I like the future cause it’s where I will learn
All the lessons that I need to return
What did you say about the past?
(Cause I forgot.)
What will you say about the last
day of your whole life (so far)?
What if many people are quite challenged by the unfamiliar primarily because they have had so much regularity in their time in public school (or similar settings)? They are not used to spontaneous learning. They are used to being instructed (and then repeating back whatever they are trained to repeat back in order to get social validation from the instructor for their conformity).
Do they listen with an open mind or are they suddenly scared and compulsively looking for justifications to dismiss the unfamiliar? Do they actively resist or attack unfamiliar ideas in order to preserve their comfort with their familiar but unexamined presumptions?
Of course, people who did not attend school can still display close-mindedness and hysterical panics. If their family and culture oppose curiosity as a presumed threat, then they will still flee from controversy or reactively attack unfamiliar ideas to avoid being faced with overwhelming evidence of their naivete.
However, less humble people may also attempt to hide their lack of real competence through arrogant antagonisms. They may be terrified of their blind naivete being revealed as blind naivete.
Are they expecting their teacher to reward them for their loyalty to their programmed blind presumptions? Are they condescending toward people who dare to voice skepticism toward their sacred, unexamined presumptions?
Or, are they relaxed enough to be open to intelligent questions? Do they value intelligent questioning of their own habitual presumptions (or even seek it out and pay for it)?
Who is brave enough to admit that they have been terrified of ideas that challenge familiar presumptions? Who is so terrified of criticism that they pretend they have never been naive and are now free of all conceptual presumptions?
It is one thing to advocate for a particular change of policy. It is quite another thing to hysterically panic in the face of the slightest controversy or any inquiry about the logical foundations of a particular conclusion.
(Below is a short sequence of comments. Mine is the one at the bottom.)
A body that lacks health reflects a mind that perceives innocence to be lacking. It’s not personal!
All material reasons for lack of health are only a distraction. Watch what’s being believed in you, and bodies will no longer be used to conceal your power and purpose.
Aloha, LS! Would you be willing to consider that even facts of life are temporary illusion?
Innocence is not lacking. It is that some add guilt-trips on top, like “I lack innocence which is causing my mouth to be painfully hot every time that I drink a very hot beverage.” That idealism may be delusional.
Why did one bee larvae get fed royal jelly and grow up to be the fertile queen? Her sisters are genetically identical but did not get fed royal jelly and did not become fertile. Why? Of course it is because trees who lack innocence must be punished by lightning.
What would say if I called that idea “a curse?” I can exaggerate it further:
“Over here is you and over there is your body which you can clearly see is covering your power, which is right here. As for your purpose, which is that small orange thing in the middle, it is being crippled by the evil of the shameful body because of the lack of innocence in the part of you way over there.” These ideas are personal and they are divisive (anti-holistic) in linguistically implying that “you” and “your body” are completely isolated, divorced “objects” (persons).
So, do the wings on the body of a bee conceal the purpose of the bee? Are there “uninnocent” pieces of bark on a tree that conceal the power of the rest of the tree?
Perhaps bodies CAN be “used” to *explore purpose and power. Bodies could *always be manifestations of power and purpose.
As for guilt, it is “a real perception.” When I have been scared that future punishments (or lack of rewards) can be expected AND that they would be the natural result of “personal” choices that I have “made,” then I can experience an internal message “from my brain” to signal a shift of focus called “guilt.”
Maybe guilt leads me to apologize. Maybe it leads me to flee. Maybe it leads me to lie or otherwise delay or minimize punishment.
“Either innocent or guilty” is just one possible linguistic model that I could *practice. Guilt is temporary and specific (and personal). Innocence is not personal.
States are groups of humans that govern or regulate other humans. In particular, a state is an organization that systematically redistributes specific forms of wealth through force.
Statists are those who habitually relate to life through the filters programmed by a state. The elite are those who either form states or direct the operations of existing states. Again, all states redistribute wealth from the statists (or other sources) to the elite.
The core activity of states is organized violence, such as the operations of invading militaries, domestic patrols, and international assassination teams. There are two primary forms of redistributing wealth through force: confiscation and various kinds of extortion. Of those two, extortion is often favored because when the source of the wealth (such as the taxpayers) are voluntarily contributing resources, there can be much greater efficiency and stability for the redistribution programs. A steady flow of wealth from the taxpayers to the states may be very appealing to the states. Also, occasional “liberations” of poorly-defended states can be the source of massive short-term surges of wealth (through confiscation).
Earlier, statists were defined as those who habitually relate to life through filters programmed by a state. Examples of such filters would be fixed ideals about certain patterns of activity as fundamentally right or wrong. Related to these isolated linguistic categories of “either right or wrong” is the labeling of specific emotions as fundamentally negative (as in horrific, crippling, or shameful).
(In regard to the above photo’s text):
What could be more ironic than being demeaning and hateful toward someone with the justification that they have been”being demeaning and hateful?”
Instead of relating to actual results as the primary measure of value, statists have been programmed to obsess over methods. In particular, certain methods are habitually identified as “wrong,” usually with the implication that the state itself does not use that method.
However, it is typical that states in fact are seeking to discourage the general public from using the particular methods that the state would value monopolizing. So, certain methods are publicized as forbidden because of some fantastic spiritual consequence, such as eternal tortures in an underground hell of fire.
Notably, the tortures performed by states, such as the Holy Roman Empire’s Holy Inquisition, are conspicuous in human history for their extremism. Slaves may be flogged to death by states (or with state protection for the torturers). Heretical prophets may be nailed to a cross and slowly and painfully executed in a public ritual of human sacrifice. Of course, there is a fluctuation between keeping the tortures of a particular state a secret (to avoid panicking the masses) and widely publicizing those methods to terrify the masses.
States promote idealism such as “equality is the desired outcome of the most righteous states.” However, the centralizing of power (the concentration of inequalities) is the central function of all states.
Certain distant states may be vilified as too violent or otherwise offensive relative to the idealism of particular aggressor state. After vilifying their target, the aggressor state can invade and occupy the target state (or at least destabilize a target state through political assassinations).
One famous ideal promoted by states is that “everyone should unconditionally love everyone else all the time.” This ideal is the source of tremendous shame, agonizing, resentment, and contempt. Typically, the statists will select a specific individual target to safely condemn (like from a very safe distance) as “failing to be the perfect perfectionist.” (Note that the targeting of individual “villains” closely parallels the model set by the state-regulated media and state-operated schools of vilifying select foreign states as unusually “offensive.”)
So, mainstream media can supply a steady stream of celebrity scandals for the public to enthusiastically practice their habitual practices of shaming. By encouraging the masses to consistently shame specific behaviors, that helps to discourage the public from calmly studying any of those behaviors (and certainly from experimenting with those behaviors).
Reform movements may be constantly peddled to the masses to “make our empire more holy.” The masses can fight over which trivial reforms to make while the state continues its operations of redistributing the wealth from targeted foreign states and of course from the entire domestic population of taxpayers or forced labor/ consigned soldiers.
What about the elite? If they do not focus on reforming the nearest state to make it more holy, what do they focus on instead?
All of them focus on advancing their own self-interests, which will be explored in the section titled “enlightened self-interest.” <link not yet active> The most powerful among them set up the “common core” curriculums to be presented to the masses (with rewards to encourage obedient compliance and unexamined repetition). Others conceive the next wave of political advances, then invent problems for which their favorite policy changes can be marketed as a solution.
For instance, if a new chemical has been developed which can impair the function of the liver, then how can it be marketed (or even subsidized or made mandatory)? To market a drug that impairs liver function, then some aspect of liver function must be demonized.
In the case of cholesterol, the masses are programmed to create a hysterical paranoia as if cholesterol was not an essential nutrient that every liver on the planet is specifically designed to manufacture. In order to “protect” the masses from the healthy functioning of the liver (which produces cholesterol), statin medications can be provided at whatever expense to the consumer.
The more hysterical the masses are in their worship of the idealism programmed with the support of the state, the greater is the potential for commercial profit. If there is outright panic about the liver’s production of cholesterol (or about cholesterol produced by the liver of some other organism and then consumed), then enormous prices can be received for drugs which efficiently impair liver function.
When there is a massive publicity campaign for an idea, do the common people question the core presumptions of that publicity campaign? Typically, select ideas have been repeatedly programmed to the masses in public schools (which we may presume to be highly credible), and then the masses have been rewarded for obediently repeating back the ideas on tests given in those same schools, and then the same ideas are again repeatedly frequently in various forms of media (which also may be presumed to be highly credible). In such cases of massive and coordinated publicity campaigns, the flimsiest “evidence” may go entirely unquestioned by the naive, trusting masses.
Even decades after all scientists in the core field recognize the value of cholesterol, medical doctors are still behaving in accord with the treatment protocols with which they were programmed in medical school (perhaps several decades ago). There may be open acceptance of the simple fact that healthy livers always increase cholesterol production to reverse moderate medical complications, but only among research scientists.
Medical doctors and the general public are not primarily interested in the consensus of research scientists. MDs are simply conducting their business as governed by the state which licenses them. The trusting public is, if properly panicked and hysterical, blindly obeying the directives of the blindly obedient MDs.
What is the job of the mainstream media? The media publicizes the scandals of those that are shameful according to the culture’s ideals. The media also publicizes the punishments of those who dare to rebel against the state. In the case of many denominations of the Christian religion, the central symbol of the religion is a cross or crucifix.
On the crucifix is the reminder of the violent power of the state: a holy rebel (who is presented by the religious institution as the ideal human or the holy role model) is shown nailed to wood. While most religious indoctrination might not be as obviously confusing as reading a few inches of legal statutes, the resulting experience among the loyal statists of the Holy Christian Empire is obvious enough: the terrified sincerity of self-righteousness, further resulting in crippling perfectionism, shame, agonizing, confusion, and of course hysterical argumentativeness and animosity toward the targeted enemies of the holy empire (as identified by alleged “credible sources”).
Have you ever wondered out of the billions of people in the world, how the economy is actually divided and categorized? The worldwide debt is over 230 trillion dollars as of 2015. The government system has several flaws that contribute to our economy. We as people also are a huge if not a bigger contribution to the problem.
Until we change as a nation, we will continue increasing our debt and nothing is going to change. I’m doing my part and I know many of my friends and family are doing their part. If you are not doing your part, step up and make a difference.
The idea that debt itself is always bad is delusional. When I sign a 12-month lease, that creates a legal debt. So what?
it is also typical that governments burden taxpayers with massive national debts. That is the design of these systems (as directed by special interests, lobbyists, diplomatic blackmail and so on). Some industrial interests create a government to use force (tax extortion systems) to redistribute wealth from the masses to the industrial interests (including weapons manufacturers). The governments pay whatever rates that the lobbyists can get approved (like $500 for a hammer or $95 million for a few rockets) and then the citizenry is programmed to obediently pay back the debt for decade after decade. The Swiss and the Vatican are sometimes identified as the big lenders that also make enormous profits from these arrangements.
Since the US is probably the biggest supplier of weapons of mass destruction to the rest of the world (and counts domestic civilian military casualties only in the thousands per decade), it is fair to say that the US is one of the safest places as well as one of the places most benefitting (in terms of jobs for the middle class) from the global network of imperialism. We (the US) have a lasting military presence in not just a handful of foreign nations and not just a few dozen, but over a hundred.
We are the firepower (or a big part of it) that keeps the global taxpayers compliant with the systems of war debts. There are people in Asia making $10 a day so I can get an I-phone for free (with a 2-year service contract).
what most people do not get (beyond all of the above which is rather self-evident for anyone who dares to look) is that these massive debts are not all expected to be paid. Where the US middle class is so weak is their idealism and lack of discipline in regard to going so deep in to mortgage debt (and other debt) that entire neighborhoods, cities, and states will go bankrupt. There are alternatives for people who are willing to adapt, but I assert that people anxiously fixating on compensating for some internalized guilt by “fixing the system so that it fits with some ideals indoctrinated through school programming” are what I will gently call “out of focus.”
The Queen and her child were calmly walking through the royal garden. The child asked “why are some flowers already open and other flowers are just beginning to open?”
The Queen said “I don’t know exactly why. I notice that some sunflowers are very large while all the daisies are quite small. Why are some big and some small?”
“I really don’t know,” said the child. “However, when I look to the trees in the distance, I do see that some trees are very tall, others are very wide, and a few are both thick and wide.”
“We can notice,” said the Queen, “that there are many different kinds of plants. Plus, even with the same kind of tree, there are some very young trees that are only as tall as you, right? And right next to them are some older trees of the same kind that are much bigger.”
“Look at this bush,” said the child. “There are holes in the leaves of this bush, but none of the other bushes have damaged leaves like this.”
“There are bugs eating the leaves of that one and making those holes,” the Queen said. “If the bugs keep eating a lot of the leaves on this bush, then the bush may die.”
“And what will the bugs eat next if they kill this bush?” The child asked “Will they starve?”
“I doubt it. They will just start to eat another bush. Look, here is a bush that might not be getting as much water as it needs,” the Queen added. “These leaves do not have any holes, but they are pale and thin. They almost look like they would fall off of the branch in a strong breeze.”
“Hey!” The child said with excitement. “A bee just zipped past my ear. It was the biggest bee that I have ever seen. How did it get so huge? It was loud, too!”
“Well, I do know a few things about bees,” said the Queen. “One thing about bees is that there are different small groups within every big group of bees. There are bees that fly out of the hive like the one that just passed you. Those bring back food. There are other bees that stay in the hive and take care of other jobs, like fanning the hive with their wings to keep it cool and feeding the young bees, which are actually tiny worms. Did you know that?”
“Worms? But mom, worms don’t have wings, do they?” the child wondered.
“Not while they are still worms, said the Queen. “Here is how it all works. First, each bee begins as a single tiny egg inside a little tunnel. Eventually the worm breaks out of the egg and then the other bees bring food to it while it stays in it’s own private tunnel. When the worms reach a certain size, almost filling up the tunnel, then their bodies basically start to melt in to a soft little sack like a chicken’s egg but without the hard shell.”
The child was shocked. “You mean melt like ice?” asked the child.
“Yes, but more like butter melting. Then, after the worm melts to form that sack, next all of that worm juice in the sack completely fills up the tunnel and it finally grows wings. After it grows wings, then it breaks through the top of the sack and comes out of the tunnel for the first time.”
“Hold on. That is totally gross! Are you joking?” asked the child. After a few moments while silently looking at each other, the child probed the queen further. “Okay, so if that is true, then where do those tunnels come from?”
The Queen calmly answered, “the other bees make the tunnels out of wax.”
“You have an answer for everything, don’t you?” the child remarked. “So, what exactly is wax?”
“It is kind of like a dried sweat or even more like a dried pus or oil that comes out of the entire body of the bees through the skin. They use their mouths to mold it in to their nest. Their nest is their house and, like a house for humans, it can have a bunch of rooms in it. Instead of lots of different rooms, the bees make a house that is basically a bunch of identical little rooms or tunnels that are all next to each other.”
“Wait, so you are saying that this house of tunnels is built out of wax,” said the child. “I get that, but where does the wax come from before it comes out of their skin? You are trying to gross me out, aren’t you?”
“Hey, I am just answering your questions. We can stop talking about this if you wish,” said the Queen pausing to take a deep breath. “Anyway, they make it out of honey, which is a sweet jelly that they make from eating the juice of those flowers.”
“I know what honey is, mom,” said the child. “I’m not a baby.”
“I agree,” said the Queen.
“You agree with what?” asked the child.
“You are not a baby,” said the Queen. “But before you were a baby, you did start out as a little worm inside of a sack. So, have you ever seen the really large bee called a queen bee?”
“Okay, I get it now. You are just joking with me,” said the child. “And yeah, of course I know what a queen bee is.”
“Maybe I am joking and maybe not, “said the Queen. “I have a question for you now though. Why is the queen bee different from the other bees?”
“Well, it is bigger and it can have babies,” said the child.
“That is how it is different,” said the Queen. “Why is it different? What causes it to be so much bigger?”
“Look, I don’t know. I’m just a kid!” the child protested. “How am I supposed to know this stuff and who cares anyway?”
“It is important to me. I want you to know how this stuff works and soon you will know why I want you to know. That will come later,” said the Queen. “First, though, I can tell you why the queen is different. I was just wondering if you might have an idea of your own already. So, let’s focus on a similar issue and gradually come back to the queen bee.”
< Chapter 2 >
The Queen swung her hand to keep a bee away from her face and then pointed the child’s attention back to two bushes and asked, “Why are the leaves on this bush dry and brittle while the leaves on this similar bush are soft and flexible?”
“Well, the dry bush is right in the sun all the time so it never gets any shade. Whatever water it has been getting is not enough,” said the child. “It either needs more water or more shade.”
“Or both,” added the Queen. “And the queen bee is so much bigger and stronger than the other bees for similar reasons. The queen is also fertile, which means she can have babies, but there are many other bees that never mature to be point of fertility. Because only the queen bee can create new bees, she is very valuable to the future of the bee colony. The queen will be firecely defended by the other bees. Many bees will sacrifice their lives to preserve the life of one queen.”
“But what makes her in to the queen,” asked the child.
“Like I said, she is kind of like a soft leaf on this shaded bush and the other bees are like dry leaves on that bush in the sun.”
“Okay, so she gets more shade, right?” asked the child
“No, actually she gets the same amout of shade as the other bees, so what else could it be?” asked the Queen.
“Maybe she gets more water,” the child offered.
“Close,” said the queen. “While all of the other bee worms are getting fed regular honey, the queen bee is fed something called royal jelly. It has more nutrients than regular honey. The queen bee is actually the sister of hundreds of other bees, but the queen is given special nutrition to allow the queen to eventually develop all the way to fertility. Only the queen bee will be able to lay eggs in the wax tunnels to create new bees.”
“That’s all?” asked the child. “It is just her diet that makes her different?”
“Yes, just the diet” said the Queen. “That is it.”
“But why is that specific bee chosen to be fed the royal jelly and to be made in to a queen bee?” asked the child.
“Do you think that maybe in a past life she was very obedient and so she was rewarded with reincarnation as a queen,” said the Queen. “And what about this bush that is in the sun?”
“What about it?” asked the child.
“You know that this bush grew out of a seed. When that particular seed was landing on the ground here next to all of the other seeds from the same fruit, do you think that this seed was more rebellious than the others and was punished by Santa Claus by being stuck somewhere with more sunlight?”
“No, it is just a seed,” said the child.
“What about the Queen bee? Is that bee worm being rewarded for her past good behavior?” sked the Queen.
“You just said that she is just the same as any other bee worm except that she is fed the royal jelly,” said the child.
“I did say that, yes, but now that you have said it, too, you may have answered your own question,” suggested the Queen. “Why is that bee chosen?”
“Well, I don’t know. One worm is just chosen. That could be all there is to it,” said the child.
“So, why do I want you to know about why the Queen bee is different,” asked the Queen.
“Is it because one day I am going to be queen, too,” asked the child?
“Exactly,” said the Queen. “You do not need to justify it or defend it. You are just the queen. That is all there is to it.”
“What if another tribe tries to take over our land?” said the child. “What if another ruler wants to take over the throne here?”
“Our soldiers will defend our land,” said the Queen.
“I know they will. But why do the soldiers risk their lives to keep one queen in power? Do they think that some other queen will rule them differently?” the child asked.
“Yes, most of the soldiers believe that other queens would be much different- much worse for them. It is the duty of the rulers to train the soldiers to do their jobs well. We govern what the soldiers believe- or at least what they say to each other. For instance, the soldiers must not think of this as just our land, but as theirs, too. We must instruct them in where to direct their attention, next how to interpret what they notice, and finally how to respond to their programmed interpretations. The training of the armies may be the most important task in the entire empire.”
“Tell me more,” said the child. “Why is training the soldiers so important?”
“I will tell you soon,” said the Queen, “but that is enough for today. Now it is time to go and eat some food that is fit for royalty.”
“Like royal jelly,” said the child.
“Yes,” said the Queen. “But these lessons that I am teaching you as we walk through the garden are also like a royal jelly that will make you different from the others. These conversations will prepare you to be fit to rule over the soldiers who themselves rule over the common people by force. The loyalty of the army is essential to scaring the common people in to obeying the royal laws that keep the multitude doing the things that it is good for us for them to do.”
“I know, mom,” said the child. “I know that right now there are hundreds of people gathering food which they will bring back and offer to us. It is because of their labor and their loyalty that there is a waitress waiting in our dining room for me to come and tell her what to bring me to eat. Then, she will just do it.”
“Yes, it is because we are sacred to all of these people, including the soldiers. They are very important,” said the Queen. “We will discuss this later.”
< Chapter 3 >
The issue of a relaxed faith (as totally distinct from blindly following tradition out of social anxiety)
What gives currencies value
what do we tell soldiers so that they are willing to risk their lives (regarding rewards in a heaven of eternal paradise)
the origin of religions
The issue of making certain ideas forbidden and then ridiculing them in order to govern public opinion
the importance of shaming the masses
the importance of social anxiety
the importance of curriculum (to distract, to train by rewarding blind conformity, etc)
How to make the masses “blinded” (so that the rulers will be the only ones who can see clearly what is going on)
promoting pre-occupations, confusion about basic nature of health, language, society, etc
restraint of emotions labeled “negative”
welcoming emotions that are potentially disruptive through safe, cautious rituals
restraint of sexuality in particular
Imagine that most humans are in a state of repressed distress (unexpressed fears) such that a primary obsession of theirs is to avoid exposure to anything so unfamiliar that it MIGHT threaten to expose their latent distress. A possible threat may be treated presumptively as an actual threat until proven otherwise.
People in that state may fill their free time by focusing on trivial problems and controversies. Oddly enough, they may also seek out a private context (a safe haven) for them to vent their distress, perhaps toward an intimate acquaintance who does not expect it. They may actively cultivate dramas that allow them to privately (?) explore distress and fear and doubt.
Have you ever been shocked by someone else’s sudden outburst of rage or blame? Have you ever been annoyed by the naivete or stubbornness of someone close to you? What if you have also behaved in ways that violated other people’s naive expectations?
What makes an expectation naive? One issue could be whether someone recognizes that an expectation is simply an expectation. Some people relate to their own expectations from a fanatical fundamentalism: “here is how life should be.”
A recognized expectation would be “I suppose that life will happen in the way I expect, but I know that it might not. If life does not happen how I presume, then I can update my presumptions and expectations.” We could also call that humility or maturity (or alertness).
There may also be preferences and priorities. We can identify outcomes that we value, then take action to promote, preserve, or even prevent various possible outcomes.
There may be a certain range of distress that is comfortable for us. We may prefer to habitually stimulate a moderate level of distress (such as through regularly watching a TV show that is very stressful to watch). We have the familiar excuse of the show to explain any surfacing distress. We have a “cover story” to cover anything less “safe.”
Plus, we may get to calmly, deliberately practice dealing with those stress hormones. We know a familiar way to trigger moderate levels of stress or distress. We may cling to that method. We may even panic at the thought of missing the beginning of a show.
Isn’t that a remarkable thing… to be so interested in a TV show that NOT seeing it causes a venting of distress? As an analogy, if I was an investor in a company and I had a large concentration of my assets in that company, but then missed a big meeting, but then I was stressed about missing the meeting, what would that indicate? If I was stressed about missing that meeting (before it or after it), then that might be a signal to me that I am either too concentrated in that company (as an investor) or not informed enough about the operations of that company. I need to either diversify or stay better informed (or both).
When people were shocked by economic changes in Europe and the US several years ago, some of them learned quite suddenly how naive they were. Many were heavily invested without comprehension of their investments (especially in high-risk real estate speculation), then were very disappointed. They may have been embarrassed at the results they experienced, then focused on who to blame for the results of their own methods. Or, they were eager for a “savior” to come and improve the results produced by their old methods (conveniently allowing them to calm down without making any adjustments).
The time for a new challenge to popular presumptions and expectations is coming soon. The waves of disappointment, shame, blame, and rage can be expected. Some waves will be smaller and some larger.
Popular delusions will be revealed suddenly as delusional. Divisiveness may get very popular, which comes along quite naturally with panics of envy and blame.
“The government should save us from the laws of probability,” say the loyal worshipers of the state lottery. “How can my lottery ticket be worth less than I paid for it two years ago,” say the naive who gambled on high-risk, financed real estate speculation. “I am disappointed at the results of my methods, so who else can I blame for the results produced by my methods?”
“Just elect the right candidate and the laws of probability will be postponed,” says the TV star. “If you do not like the economic trends where you are, just change the channel to a station that focuses instead on the latest celebrity scandals,” says the award show host. “If we would just all work together to fix the media and make it how it should be, that could save us from the laws of probability forever,” says the holy champion of eternal political salvations.
What if the best way to change your results was not to change the government or the media or your dog or your cat, but to change your methods? “Transformation” is when you stop relating to results as a problem and start relating to results as a way to measure a method’s value to you.