Monday, June 6, 2011

Basic Reality (or "How Reality Really Works")

     We've all seen movies or read stories based on the premise, "What if everything you believed about the world was a lie?"  Well, guess what?  In searching for a way to teach my students critical thinking skills (when nothing else I had tried seemed to work), I came to the realization that the movie premise applies to the world as we thought we knew it.
     One of the barriers to critical thinking skills is, as one of the characters in The Truman Show said, "We accept the reality with which we are presented."  
     Below, and in no particular order, is a list of more than sixty observations that contradict what most of us have been told about the world around us.  For some of these points, you're likely to say, "Oh, I'd never thought of that; but, come to think of it, it's true!"  For others, you may say, "No, that can't be true!"  As for those of you who already see the world as it really is, you may yet find something useful in this article.
     Before you read the observations, you may benefit from watching the following trailer for The Truman Show or click on the link to watch it on You Tube:


1. The essence of profundity is a keen grasp of the obvious.
2. The two most obvious facts of economics: You can’t have what is not produced; and you can't give what you don't have. Once you have a keen grasp of those two facts, you know half of all there is to know about economics, and far more than most politicians and government economic planners.
3. The GDP is a poor measure of economic or prosperity. The GDP measures only money spent. It doesn’t measure value received.  Does a person who buys a month's worth of TV dinners really get more value than the person who buys a few packets of heritage seeds and plants a garden?
4. No matter how large or small a project is, the most effective way to plan it is by asking six questions and answering them in detail. They are 1.) What do you want to do? 2.) What resources do you need? 3.) How will you get them? 4.) What steps (in reverse order) must you take to accomplish this task? 5.) What can go wrong, and how will you deal with it? 6.) How can you improve upon the project?
5. Minor mistakes can be caused by carelessness or ignorance. Major disasters are almost always caused by inadequately designed systems. A rotten barrel is more likely to spoil the apples than the other way around.  What about the Normal Disaster Theory?  The sinking of the Titanic is a perfect example.  The iceberg alone could not have sunk the Titanic and cost more than a thousand lives.  The sinking was caused or made worse by more than a half dozen things that went wrong.  Most of them point back to the belief that the Titanic was unsinkable.  That belief started a series of events that made it a disaster waiting to happen.
6. Invention is the mother of necessity. Look at the air conditioner.
7. The main function of a newspaper is to sell advertising. (Link for #7 and #8 here, here, here, and here.)
8. A newspaper reporter’s job is to tell you what somebody else has told him. It’s not his job to find out if it’s true—that’s an investigative reporter’s job. Very few newspaper reporters are investigative reporters.
9. Politicians and bureaucrats don’t understand issues that affect your life as well as you understand them.
10. Most politicians are stupid.
11. Politicians don’t get elected because they understand the issues. They get elected because they’re good actors and salesmen.
12. The biggest difference between an actor and a congressman is that actors sometimes take a break from acting and enter the world of reality. Congressmen never stop acting.
13. Here’s another difference: When congressmen go on a fact-finding junket to a trouble spot, he talks only with other politicians, with businessmen, and other big shots—usually the very people who started the trouble, who profit from the trouble, and who benefit from continuing it. Actors make it a point to talk with real people: the ones who suffer from the trouble, and the ones who are actively seeking solutions. (Example: Congressmen “learn” about hunger by attending a feast and listen to a well-fed popinjay tell his version of the problem. Actors talk to hungry people and the groups who are trying to get them fed.) (Link)
14. The boundary lines on a map don’t tell you anything about the people who live within the boundaries. Social, economic, ethnic, cultural, and other differences are rarely found on a political map.  (See also #44 and #45.)
15. Most modern wars are fought because of boundary lines on a map. People are rarely willing to go out and kill other people unless they’re first convinced that the other people are somehow “different” from them.
16. Everyone is my superior in that I may learn from him. That’s also true of the workings of nature.  Think of the rainforest folk who scale and clean fish in the nearest river.  Are our rivers clean enough for us to do that?  Why not?  What do the rainforest people know that we don't?
17. Medical schools are extended infomercials for the drug industry.  (Link)
18. The Food and Drug Administration makes it more difficult to get healthy foods, natural food supplements, and natural medicines on the market than junk food, artificial “vitamins,” and harmful drugs. As a rule of thumb, the healthier it is to put it in your mouth, the harder it is to get FDA approval.
19. One third of all new drugs come from natural sources. Once the new drugs are approved, the natural sources from which they're derived are officially condemned as quackery.
20. Most diets cause people to gain weight.  That's because the body was designed to compensate for periods of famine.  The result of self starvation is that the body's metabolism slows down, causing they body to burn calories at a slower rate.  When you start eating again, as you must, you gain weight.
21. You can raise your standard of living, improve your health, spend less money, and protect the environment, all at the same time. No other strategy works.  (Link)
22. Advertising is the art of making corporate propaganda look like revealed truth. Advertisers “sell” a benefit and then try to convince you that the only way you can get that benefit is by buying their product or service. Most people are trapped in the thought that they have to buy either that product or another brand almost just like it. People are better off not letting advertisers limit their options. Instead of asking, “Which brand should I buy?” they’re better off asking, “What benefit do I want, and what’s the best way of getting it?” (Link)
23. Most wars are rackets. War is the only racket in which profits are measured in dollars, and losses are measured in lives. It’s highly profitable because the people who make the profits are not the ones who are losing their lives.
24. When uncivilized people make war, they fight for land, water, or something else they need. Civilized people fight for corporations and banks, but they’re told that they’re fighting for abstract nouns.
25. Politicians are the world’s foremost criminal class.
26. Government and governmental authority exist only to the extent that people agree that they exist. (Link)  The jury system proves it.
27. “The government wouldn’t lie to us,” is technically true. Abstract constructs are incapable of lying or telling the truth. When we speak of government in concrete terms, we speak of politicians and bureaucrats. Politicians and bureaucrats will lie like bed wetters.
28. Almost every major terrorist act of this century has been a false flag.
29. Every major terrorist group in the world today was created by its supposed enemies.
30. There is no correlation between homicide rates and the percentage of Muslims in a population. (Link)
31. Every major claim of the 911 Commission has been disproven. (Links for 27, 28, 29, and 31 here)
32. A conspiracy theorist is someone who believes that human events are caused by humans. The opposite of a conspiracy theorist is an excrement theorist: someone who believes that crap just happens.
33. Civilization as we know it was founded by criminal psychopaths. The history of the struggle for freedom is a history of struggles between normal people and criminal psychopaths. (Link)  Here’s a case in point: King John, who signed the Magna Carta, was the same John who was the criminal psychopath in the Robin Hood stories. The Magna Carta benefited no one other than the “nobles” who forced John to sign it.
34. The biggest difference between a criminal gang boss and a king is how early his family started robbing and killing people.
35. “Of noble blood” is just a snobbish way of saying “inbred.”
36. With few exceptions, most great men are bad men.
37. Most or all opportunities start out as problems. Most opportunities are missed because they look more like problems.
38. There are two kinds of people who address problems: opportunity seekers and problem solvers. Opportunity seekers look for the opportunity that each problem presents. Once the opportunity is grasped, the problem automatically goes away. Problem solvers destroy the opportunity by trying to solve the problem.
39. Politicians and bureaucrats make lousy problem solvers. Either they fail to see the opportunities that problems present, or they see only the opportunities that will benefit themselves.
40. Every politician is some kind of horse, and some can be more than one kind. Most politicians are either workhorses or show horses. Workhorses do 90% of the work and get 10% of the credit. Show horses do 10% of the work and get 90% of the credit.
41. Most show horses are incompetent because they fail to realize or care that every political issue is a human need. To show horses, every political issue is a public relations opportunity. When their popularity drops through the floor, they don’t make changes in their policies; they make changes in their public relations campaign.
42. Wearing the logo of a famous corporation on your doesn’t make you a worthier person. It shows only that you’re gullible, shallow, and vain. What else would you call someone who thinks that he's more worthy of respect by paying twice as much for an article of as it's really worth just to pay for the privilege of giving a giant corporation free advertising?
43. Modern banking is a criminal racket. Bankers create debtors by creating money out of thin air. They take something that has no intrinsic value, and loan it to someone to buy something that does have value. The debtor must then “repay” the loan not with money the debtor creates out of thin air but with money he has worked to earn. If he doesn’t, he loses both his property and the value of the payments he has already made. At this point, the banker now has the full value of the property plus payments for the property, while the property owner is the only one who has really lost anything. The banker then seeks taxpayer “reimbursement” for the banker’s non-existent “losses.” Indirectly, the “reimbursement” comes from the former property owner and from other taxpayers. Sharia (Muslim) banking is the only honest banking, and it’s the only banking that’s obedient to the Holy Scriptures of the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths.  (Link)
44. The nation state is largely a myth perpetuated by the powers that be. Political boundaries aren’t based on cultural, ethnic, economic, or other such differences; they’re based on political power.
45. The powers that be would have us believe that the only alternative to the artificially contrived “nation” state is the artificially contrived global state. We have another: the nation trans-state. Under the nation trans-state idea, the rights of the individual reign supreme. The highest unit of government is the family, followed by the community, the “nation” (people’s group), and the world. Political boundaries—which are incorrectly called national boundaries—would have value only in the political sphere. In a world of less government control over human activities, a nation can exist across state boundaries. In many places in the world (such as the single metropolitan area of Detroit, Michigan; and nearby Windsor, Ontario) this has already happened.
46. Most election campaigns are rackets because voters let the candidates decide what the issues are. This is like letting each student decide the questions on his exam. The voters should decide what the issues are, and rate the candidates more on what they do than on what they say.
47. In most cases, when a politician listens to a voter express his concerns, he looks for the voter’s “hot button.” Once he thinks he has found it, he reaches into his store of sound bites and recites whatever he thinks will make him look good to the voter.
48. The only strategic voting that works is to vote for the person you favor, regardless of whether you think he has a chance of winning. Each election is a prelude to the next election. If you vote for the lesser of two evils rather than vote for a third candidate whom you favor, you’ll be offered more evil in the next election and less of what you favor.  (Link)
49. Candidates don’t win elections by having a higher favorability rating. They win by getting more supporters to the polls—but only the votes are honestly counted.
50. Calories are not all alike. The body burns up calories to the extent that the energy is needed to assimilate the calories and store them as fat. Calories from carbohydrates must be transformed into simple sugars and then into fat before the fat can be stored somewhere in the body. Calories from fat don’t need to be transformed into fat.
51. If you think that it’s inconvenient to buy your groceries from the traditional market, ask yourself one question: Which is more convenient: going to the traditional market to get food for your health or going to the doctor to get drugs for your illnesses?
52. Computer games are a form of education. The most popular computer games employ successful educational strategies such as “meaningful input,” “magic circle,” and “scaffolding.” “Meaningful input” means simply that students learn better when the material is important to them. “Magic circle” means that the normal rules don’t apply; rather than there being a serious consequence for failure, failure is a learning tool for success. Scaffolding is a step-by-step learning method that leads to increasingly challenging levels, especially if they lead the student to independent study. These are only a few of the valuable learning strategies used by designers of computer games.
53. Most science fiction movies are social or political allegories.  Most horror movies and soap operas are morality plays.  Soap operas are also opportunities for women to work out their personal issues.  Action adventure movies are soap operas for men, except that the therapy is in the subplot.  This device allows men to kid themselves into thinking that they don't need movies to help them to work out their issues.
 54. Just about all of us agree that Kim Jong-il looks clownish in his platform shoes, hokey costume, and puffed-up hairstyle that's supposed to make him look taller.  What about and the so-called royal family?  Setting aside what you were conditioned to believe, just look at the photo above.  Doesn't that whole pack of useless feeders look clownish?
55.  Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have much more in common with each other than any of them have in common with "neo-conservatives," "neo-liberals," or the global elite.  Christians, Jews, Muslims, and the people of other faiths have more in common with each other than any of them have with the global elite and their "neo" stooges.  The only way the global elite can exploit the rest of us is by keeping us divided against one another.  The solution should be obvious.  (Links here, here, and here.)
56.  Maybe that sounds fine, but how do you unite people who have been conditioned to mistrust each other?  (Links here, here, and here.)
57.  Congressmen as not as transparent as NASCAR (stock car) drivers.  If they were, they would wear jumpsuits with patches to let everyone know who their corporate sponsors are.
58.  If everyone "knows" something, but no one knows how they know it, it's probably false.
59.  If you desire to know the truth, your most valuable mindset is uncertainty.  As soon as you become certain of your position, you stop questioning and stop learning.
60. You can't fight corporations, banks, or government agencies, because they don't exist except as abstract constructs on which people have agreed.  Once you have named names such as Hugh Grant (who, as top boss of Monsanto, has put more toxins in people's food than Lucrezia Borgia ever dreamed of doing), Dick Cheney (criminal fraudster, mass murderer of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, and war profiteer), and Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs's top Grendel, who robbed the American people of hundreds of billions of dollars), then you have a vulnerable target.  (Thanks to Pat in Colorado for that one.)
61. A rogue state is any sovereign government that's considered an obstacle to the globalist agenda.
62.  A friend asked me where I found the time in my hectic schedule to write all this.  The answer is another lesson in basic reality.  It really is possible to "save time in a bottle," and it's not just a 1970's musician's fantasy.  When you're standing in line for a long time, do you ever wish you could save that wasted time for future use?  Well, you can't, but you can do something just as good.  You can transfer future activities to the present.  When I could not make notes, I would bounce ideas around in my head.  By the time I had a minute or so to write things down, the ideas were already fully formed and required no further time for thought. Between the day I posted this blog and the hour I send it to my contact list, I added a few more thoughts, usually a thought at a time.  (It goes back to point # 22: Ask yourself, "What benefit do I want, and what's the best way to go about getting it?)