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« What is the Solution to All Problems? | Main | Sapient Governance Depends on Sapient Brains Possessed by the Governed! »

November 30, 2011


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We Americans live in a society best described as a rentier-oligarchic militarist-imperialist corporate-state having the best gov't money can buy by the top ~0.1-1%. The rentier elite want everything of economic value, and there is no structural, legal, procedural, or systemic means by which to prevent them from getting it all. Ten-digit and larger fiat digital debt-money book entries they own and control are the primary means to power for the rentier elite. How they accumulated the book entry digits is unimportant; that they have the debt-money is all that matters.

If there ever was a meaningful popular system of electing federal representatives and the POTUS, it ended when corporations were deemed persons, the US projected military power and became the successor to British Empire, and much later PACs and professional vote buying were institutionalized and became normative behavior. Selected "leaders" are hired by the rentier elite to secure their power atop the hierarchical system of resource, income, and wealth allocation, as well as to keep the bottom 90% distracted or fighting each other for trickle-down scraps and to maintain a professional middle-class 9% as a buffer against the 90% rabble proles.

But, lest I be accused of being a gloomer, what follows are quotes to add some holiday cheer. These words were said or written nearly a lifetime ago, but the human ape mindset represented has changed little, if at all, since the 1930s-40s.

Remember, there is no hope for the bottom 90%, only loss of same, which is a necessary realization before a small plurality can internalize the benefits of waking up from the "American dream" and walking away from empire.


“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

-- Joseph Goebbels

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'."

"His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take "good", for instance. If you have a word like "good", what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well -- better, because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning, or "doubleplusgood" if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already. but in the final version of Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words -- in reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that, Winston?"

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."

"Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

"How could you tell how much of it was lies? It might be true that the average human being was better off now than he had been before the Revolution. The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different."

"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

"The past not only changed, but changed continuously. What most afflicted him with the sense of nightmare was that he had never clearly understood why the huge imposture was undertaken. The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the ultimate motive was mysterious."

"In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird."

"The object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war."

"But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction -- indeed, in some sense was the destruction -- of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction."

"The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent."

"War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society."

"The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc. And even technological progress only happens when its products can in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty."

"All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers."

"War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible. But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded."

"War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist."

"A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This -- although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense -- is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: War is Peace."

"The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already."

"The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be forever averted--if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently--then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad."

"Sanity is not statistical."

"I tell you Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the party holds to be truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party."

"How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."

"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."

"When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instant of death we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it out."

"The command of the old despotisms was Thou Shalt Not. The command of the totalitarians was Thou Shalt. Our command is Thou Art. No one whom we bring to this place ever stands out against us. Everyone is washed clean."

"Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston, however completely you surrender to us. No one who has once gone astray is ever spared. And even if we chose to let you live out the natural term of your life, still you would never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever. Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you could not recover, if you lived a thousand years. Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites."

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

"It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery". Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone -- free -- the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal."

"The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness."

"Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."

"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything."

-- Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (Eric Blair)


It seems as if the king of Bhutan had it partly right, in coining the "Gross National Happiness" the most important measure.


The Police: Synchronicity II.

Another suburban family morning.
Grandmother screaming at the wall.
We have to shout above the din of our Rice Crispies.
We can't hear anything at all.

Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration.
But we all know her suicides are fake.
Daddy only stares into the distance.
There's only so much more that he can take.

Many miles away
Something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark
Scottish lake.

Another industrial ugly morning.
The factory belches filth into the sky.
He walks unhindered through the picket lines today.
He doesn't think to wonder why.

The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street.
But all he ever thinks to do is watch.
And every so-called meeting with his so-called superior
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch.

Many miles away
Something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish loch.

Another working day has ended.
Only the rush-hour hell to face.
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes.
Contestants in a suicidal race.
Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance.
He knows that something somewhere has to break.

He sees the family home now looming in his headlights.
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.

Many miles away
There's a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake.

Many miles away
Many miles away
Many miles away
Many miles away
Many miles away ...

The Police: Spirits in the Material World.

There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution.
Have no faith in constitution.
There is no bloody revolution.

We are spirits in the material world.

Our so-called leaders speak
With words they try to jail you.
They subjugate the meek.
But it's the rhetoric of failure.

We are spirits in the material world.

Where does the answer lie?
Live from day to day.
If it's something we can't buy.
There must be another way.

We are spirits in the material world.


For me (German) the word "truth" has many a negative connotation of religion and ideology and detached theory.

What about a "Reality Party"?

Now you only need to find a billionaire to finance but not corrupt it. The U.S. desperately needs a third political party. Like a good wheel needs at least 3 spokes, not just 2. Then congress might get things rolling again.

Alas I see not much hope for change: The U.S. polit system seems stuck in old hardened mud forever, outdated and corrupted, with paralysis built-in.



where to will be this "small plurality" walking?



Ooh, you described my worldview much better than I have ever done myself. Thank you! Now all I have to do is put the link in my signature block in various places.
This should be required reading for every voter but we all know what's going to happen. Voters are too used to being promised pink unicorns and sometimes even getting some - on credit. OK they might have turned a little darker recently but unicorns nonetheless.

George Mobus


Irony of ironies. In a world created by the brains of average Homo sapiens the average brain of Homo sapiens can no longer function as evolved.

Ergo, selection shall operate.


The King of Bhutan may have had an important insight. But I doubt that it will spread in time to help the bulk of humanity. Indeed, the bulk of humanity is so far gone that I suspect it will reject the whole notion of there being happiness without material wealth.


"Reality", "truth"? Matters little since this is a fantasy. If only...


This should have been required reading three hundred years ago. But even so, understand that it is the prepared mind that can absorb. The minds of the average Homo sapiens is not prepared and, put bluntly, cannot be prepared.



We need cultural change. Of course it may not change without selection. But as we care about them, it is worth to push for cultural change. That's why Occupy movement is valued, as opportunity for cultural shift.

How to shape the culture? may give us some ideas.

George Mobus


Everyone should follow their conscience in these matters. I am doubtful that there is a single plan for how to shape cultures along the lines that would produce the desired results. Cultures have been shaping and shifting since humanity started down this road. It has always been due to natural evolution, in my view.

Thanks, though, for the link.


What is the Do Good Gauge?

Hi George, I've thought quite a bit about this concept of truth. If an engaging technology could be developed making argument theory interesting, I feel the public could be coerced in the direction of truth.

Truth goes beyond fact checking. Here is a short thought I created a while ago.

Please, just the Facts

An argument does not need to come off as disagreeable. The fact is passions and points of view are different, not necessarily wrong. It's likely individuals of opposition have much in common. Mandate is not the purpose. Articulating thought to reach a wider perspective of understanding is the best reason for a well described argument.

The visceral dialog in blogs, letters to the editor, portions of the media, and even many of our elected officials tend to lead to an endless loop of disagreeable disagreement. A common tactic in this mode of disagreement is the demand to stick to facts. To be productive in civil discourse, one must understand what a good argument is and how facts relate to it.

An argument is a proposition with an attempt to provide sufficient evidence. A book full of tangent facts does not prove an argument. Facts don't lie, but liars can use facts. That's a fact. Mark Twain said, "Get your facts straight and then you can distort them as much as you please."

An argument is an intelligent expression of thought. It requires a premise and a conclusion. It should describe the benefits, who and what are effected, and the collateral risk of the proposition. A fact is one of several means to persuade an argument.

In the passion of developing an argument, irrelevant facts can be found. In many cases the validity of a fact will not disprove an argument. Through iteration, facts can be added and removed to support a premise. An argument ends when it is nolonger supported. A fact is one of many tools to persuade an argument.

George Mobus


My experiences lead me to a different conclusion about the public re: truth. If you read my latest blog you will see that I now think the way to get the vast majority of people to change their behaviors is to appeal to their need to have faith in a higher power.

I don't know how to do such a thing, but having watched the public favor lies (from politicians, for example) because they trusted the authority I am convinced that discourse will not sway them. Discourse among those of us who value that process, of course, should be facilitated wherever possible.


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