I have started this post as a collection of vocabulary and facts that every person should know. It’s not in any order, though one day I may organize it. For right now, just wander through, and learn, and come back often. All of this information relates to the world around you, the people in it, and “lines of force” in everyday reality. I’ll try to keep it as grounded and practical as possible.
Lines of Force,Trends, Trajectories and Cui Bono?
Cui Bono is a saying from the Roman writer Cicero. He was really boring, and really verbose, and though I recommend you read his work, don’t expect to be too entertained.
The Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, in his speech Pro Roscio Amerino, section 84, attributed the expression cui bono to the Roman consul and censor Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla:
“L. Cassius ille quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat identidem in causis quaerere solebat ‘cui bono’ fuisset. (The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, ‘To whose benefit?’)”
If you learn nothing else in life, this one thing will help you make many decisions, and to navigate unsafe waters. When you are presented with any information, like a judge is presented with the facts of a case, you must ask “cui bono?”, who benefits. Not just who benefits from a crime. If someone is trying to convince you of some story, you must ask yourself “who benefits from me believing this story, is there a hidden agenda?”
Who benefits is often related to the “line of force” or the “trajectory”, that is what is happening because of some fact, or idea/theory being believed. How are people acting, where are they going. Sometimes you can never know really who benefits, but you can guess in a roundabout way by seeing where something is going.
A great example of this is viral advertising, which usually tries to disguise itself as spontaneous. There was a video going around the net of people running across water. It was well done and very very convincing, but in it was one scene where it is was made fairly clear that the key to running on water was these special, water-proof shoes. Many people actually went out and tried to run on water. Not because they really believed it, they weren’t stupid, they just wanted to test the hypothesis thoroughly. I doubt any of them stopped to ask cui bono? But don’t ask just who benefits, ask ‘who really benefits’, the obvious, or the not so obvious.
You make a quick list:
- I benefit, if it is real, I could run on water, which is cool.
- The people who made the movie benefit, they look cool, awesome, innovative
- The maker of the car they drive gets some advertising
- The maker of the shoes they wear is directly advertised and mentioned
The first one we throw away, as it is conditional on it being real. The second one is a soft-benefit, it’s not really conditional on it being real, they look cool either way, and sometimes, people do things just to look cool, it’s a solid point, a bit weak, but solid.
The third point is the first real concrete benefit, product placement, but it’s a bit indirect. The fourth point, the shoes, are directly plugged, the benefit to them, if it is accepted as real, or is really real, is obvious. They benefit regardless of the veracity via promotion.
You can apply this same kind of analysis with Michael Jackson, did he really diddle those boys? Why did Ken Star go after Bill Clinton for getting some head? Did 19 hijackers really crash some planes into the pentagon and WTC? Will the real Slim Shady ever stand up?
Obvious benefits are:
- Money – Who made money from it?
- Power – Who got more power from it?
- Prestige – Who looks cool, who got fame?
- Concealment or Distraction/Misdirection – What was important before that now isn’t?
- Pleasure – Who enjoyed themselves the most?
You might never really decide, but analysing things this way will at least cast some reasonable doubt, and allow you to safely say: I am undecided. People are usually terrified of being undecided, of being open minded about something. They just have to have an opinion, and stick to it, or so they believe.
Don’t be honest, lie like a thief to everyone but yourself
“This fear of losing sincerity is of course self-deception, one of those formulas of lying upon which human weaknesses are based. Man cannot help identifying and considering inwardly and he cannot help expressing his unpleasant emotions, simply because he is weak. Identifying, considering, the expressing of unpleasant emotions, are manifestations of his weakness, his impotence, his inability to control himself. But not wishing to acknowledge this weakness to himself, he calls it ‘sincerity’ or ‘honesty’ and he tells himself that he does not want to struggle against sincerity, whereas in fact he is unable to struggle against his weaknesses.
“Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man calls ‘sincerity’ in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to restrain himself. And deep down inside him a man is aware of this. But he lies to himself when he says that he does not want to lose sincerity.”
Your mind and your thoughts are your own, keep them that way as often as you can. Only tell the truth when telling it serves a specific purpose or moves you closer to a personal goal. Being honest with everyone, all the time, is simply disguised weakness and lazyness. If you can’t come up with a convincing lie, it most often means you lack the will come up with one. Telling the truth to others is easy, telling it to yourself is almost impossible.
Most people spend their lives being honest in reverse, they lie to themselves about their motivations and beliefs, when in fact it should always be the opposite. No one outside of you really needs to know what and why you think. Most of them don’t care, but the majority of the ones who do, only care because they can use it against you.
And indeed, every business that my father carried on for the purpose of making money always went wrong and brought none of the results obtained by others. However, this was not because he was unpractical or lacked mental ability in this field, but only because of this tendency.
This tendency of his nature, apparently acquired by him when still a child, I would define thus: ‘an instinctive aversion to deriving personal advantage for himself from the naivete and bad luck of others’.
In other words, being highly honourable and honest, my father could never consciously build his own welfare on the misfortune of his neighbour. But most of those round him, being typical contemporary people, took advantage of his honesty and deliberately tried to cheat him … Indeed, there could be ideally applied to my father the following paraphrase of a sentence from sacred writings, which is quoted at the present time by the followers of all religions everywhere, for describing the abnormalities of our daily life and for giving practical advice:
Strike—and you will not be struck.
But if you do not strike—they will beat you to death, like Sidor’s goat.
Well, our files aren’t a hundred percent, but I guess it’s fair to
say that you’ve never seen anything like real poverty. I’m talking dirt
poor, no shoes, no toilet. Six of us kids in a room, and come flu season,
it was down to four. I was seven when they took the house. They just came
right in and took it. And my daddy is being nice, you know? Joking with the
bastards while he signs the deed. Yeah, so we had a choice. Either you got
stepped on or you got to stepping, and I swore to myself that I was not
going to be the guy standing there with the stupid grin on my face while my
life got dribbled out.
Sidor’s goat is an old story about a rich man named Sidor and a goat that breaks into his garden and is beaten for the trespass. The parable means: The wealthy beat the poor for trying to partake of their abundance, like a goat that breaks into their garden for the fresh vegetables. Since you must break into the garden to eat, then you must be either willing to be beaten for it, or be willing to beat for it, or you can starve. While life is not this black and white, in fact, if the goat just waited for the right time, he could sneak into the garden and take some vegetables without being seen. So always know that there are variations and details which can mitigate any circumstance.
Keep your lies consistent.
Ferengi Rules of Accquisition #60
As a general rule, actively lying to other people is simply impractical. That is not what I am suggesting. There is an old adage: “Best remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.”
There is no such thing as…
Freedom: Doesn’t exist, period. While there are certainly some things that may look like freedom, or being free, caveat emptor. In the end, you pay for everything, and not always in equal measure. The general wisdom is that throughout many lifetimes it all balances out in some kind of karmic way, but that is simply conjecture. As above so below, as below so above. We can make some guesses about “the next life” or “the next level” by looking at this life, and this level.
You are not free in a physical sense, you cannot go anywhere you want, there are the obvious physical restrictions, even to the best and most athletic of us, then there are physical restrictions placed by obligations to work, family, and society. There are legal restrictions, you can’t travel to some countries legally, and to be honest, with most of them you probably wouldn’t really want to.
You are not free to speak, there are some things you cannot and should not say, and those things might vary from place to place. So even your speech is controlled by physical location. Even more so in today’s world, but it has always been thus. The number of things you can say, and ideas you can express will depend on the environment you are in, if you are at an ADL conference, pro-Hilter conversations are out, if you are hanging out with Neo-Nazis the inverse would be true. There are some things you can’t say at work, or at home, or around women, on the television, or radio, on a blog even.
You are further restricted by the topics, you can say many things about a Rap Star, but fewer things about the President of the US. Some topics require prejudicial statements of distaste and disgust or tolerance and acceptance, depending on your locale. Sexual topics(cross-generational relationships, child pornography and pedophilia, homosexuality, BDSM and various Kinks), terrorism etc.
You are not free to think! You cannot just think any old thing, or choose to think a good thing versus a bad thing. This is the one freedom that everyone thinks they have the most of, but in fact they have the littlest of. Your entire life is the construction of a mental prison. Have you ever talked to an old person, how inflexible and unfree their thinking is? It’s very rare to find someone over the age of 40 with an open mind, hell it’s hard to find someone over the age of 8 with an open mind these days.
What you think is controlled by the information in your head, and the emotional/affect colorings of that information based on your personal experiences. The wiring done in your childhood, the knowledge and ideas gained and accepted at that time are extremely difficult to change in adolescence and adulthood. They are flexible for a time, but eventually return to their original rigidity as you get older. You think that your mind is flexible because you learned a new programming language, or song, or word, hardly. We tend to think in patterns, once those patterns are set, they tend to rule the way we think and learn for the rest of our lives. You may find it easy to learn a new programming language because your specific mental patterns just happen to be good at doing that.
Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself. In order to remember oneself it is necessary first of all not to identify. But in order to learn not to identify man must first of all not be identified with himself, must not call himself ‘I’ always and on all occasions. He must remember that there are two in him, that there is himself, that is ‘I’ in him, and there is another with whom he must struggle and whom he must conquer if he wishes at any time to attain anything. So long as a man identifies or can be identified, he is the slave of everything that can happen to him.
Freedom is first of all freedom from identification.
As long as you have an identity, something that all people seem to delight in, you are invariably a slave to that identity and everything that comes with it. You are your job, a husband, a father, a So and so Jones of the Jones family, a blond, a republican, an iPod/iPhone owner and on and on and on and on. Every one of these things informs your decisions, what you do, what you say, and what you think, in some cases, rightly so. If you are a father, perhaps it’s not the best idea to use lots of pointless profanity in front of your children and so on and so forth.
There is really no reason to discuss this further, just assume for all intents and purposes that there is no such thing as freedom and let us leave it at that. Freedom cannot exist in a society or any homogeneous grouping because all individuals parts, must invariably conform to the requisite attributes of said group. If you are an American, and all Americans are equally American, then you must do American things, and not do un-American things. A society or nationality almost always precludes in heterogeneity. The illusion of variation because of religion, or skin color, or some other such unimportant nonsense is ridiculous. Have you looked at the major world religions? Same dance, different tune.