This page sets the operational reality as the primary frame of reference for assuring prudent social behavior. Base your deliberations about delivering more effective social behavior for the case at hand on its matchup to mathematical-physics reality and your chances for appropriate behavior can be good. Going with your intuition instead, drives your chances for goal attainment to zero. While you have free choice between using truth or fiction as your reference, mixtures are subject to the Bad-Burrito Rule (BBR). How much of a burrito has to be bad to make you sick? Since business as usual is collective reality-denial, review your own experience accordingly.
Part of social-system dynamics reality is the specter of corruption. Usually undiscussable, 3-D corruption in organized society is far too ubiquitous to disregard as a factor. In Plan A, 3-D corruption occurs naturally and quick. The grounders are withholding efficiency while the freeloaders are skimming profits.
Your relationship to the operational reality determines whether you will go for the necessaries of resiliency to prosper through a changing social context or continue the errors. Reality denial itself is enough to seal your fate.
Just imagine a world where reality didn’t matter. Syfy is based on an imagined reality that routinely attempts to defy the laws of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy are ignored. The result is a setting for stories of dysfunctional social behavior. It’s always about stuff social conflicts commonly experienced in reality on earth.
Few things are more important to framing an appropriate social relationship than determining the interests, values, and motivations of the person(s) you’re relating to. John Warfield’s Dictum: “Don’t ask them to do what they can’t” sets sharp limits on possible mutual benefits. Some of these critical distinctions are either/or with no gradations, such as:
- Reality centered or reality-denial centered
- Producer or (entitled) consumer
- Egalitarian or class-conscious
- Objective (conscious mind) or subjective (subconscious mind) (intuition)
- Social status by opinion (authority) or by performance (power)
- Have act together (competent and secure) or disjointed-ineffective (imposter syndrome)
- Reality open-minded vs closed-minded is a stalemate.
- Closed against closed is a brawl over authority.
- Reality with reality is collaboration for positive performance.
In action, these traits arrange themselves into ensembles, one set manifests in dysfunction, languishing, with its counterpart activated in flourishing.
As system-think freaks, we are always testing concepts of social behavior that, if true, can simplify this nagging complexity without losing its essence. As Einstein said, “Make it as simple as possible but not simpler.” That is how, exactly, one gets driven above the mentor line if he wants to solve the social behavior problem. The challenge is that its complexity is inherent and deliberately concealed by the ruling class to the detriment of all. Infallible leadership doesn’t want anyone mucking about illuminating the truth about its intrinsic limitations
All social behavior is initiated and mediated by entangled subconscious minds, Stone Age version, using a task action selection process called intuition, not common sense. Your subconscious mind, 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind, runs nearly all of your reality sensor systems and most of your material process systems, like endocrine and immune, that are vital to your viability. It’s also the entryway for fear.
Far above the mentor line and climbing, everything we learn about the operational reality in this rarefied zone adds to the complexity of the context-driven social behavior we observe. The added complexity must be absorbed by generalization before uplift work can succeed. The PITA process of elimination is launched.
The next cable car towards the fog-bound summit requires extraordinary concentration of the conscious mind. The work of 2021 produced the greatest explanatory layer of social behavior yet – namely that the individual’s relationship to reality channels his possibilities for happiness. This level encompassed the previous top level, cause and effect knowledge of reality.
Be reminded that our quest is confined to human social behavior. Individual behavior is out of our scope. Over several decades of R&D with organized social systems, the only thing we learned about individual behavior is that it’s unknowable. All married men eventually learn this verity.
If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us. Jim Rohn
A more productive strategy for reaching and sustaining the happy flourishing state of social behavior has been developed and proven worthy by application experience. It is introduced upfront because it forms the sociotechnical foundation for building competency with social dynamics – the expressed goal of this website. The ideology of the collective matters.
Developing strategies to flourish is the result of much experience and experiment over many years with candidates that failed. While everything since the advent of Plan B in 2013 has been successful, still open to your examination and evaluation, many bumps in the road that slowed progress down at the time seemed to be unnecessary. Most of these “speed bumps” turned out to be people in reality denial, undermining progress by those eager to learn how to improve their performance in the contemporary real world of incessant change.
The approach we placed in service identifies and weeds out the reality deniers at the outset of the joint goal-seeking enterprise. The difference it makes in project cost, schedule, and accomplishment is dramatic.
It took decades, we admit, but eventually it became clear that we had nothing in our armamentarium to help reality deniers deal with their self-inflicted dilemma, absolutely nothing. Our efforts to help always ended up increasing anxiety (the imposter syndrome). The future prospects for helping reality deniers, hostile to prosperity attainment, lie somewhere between impossible and zero. Our solution is for both sides of the bottomless abyss to go their own separate ways. For the curious, a philosophical take on “reality” is parked at the end of this page.
While productivity is our trademark competency, we don’t hand over the surplus production to reality-deniers without a square-deal social contract. Punishing the producers for producing better revokes the contract.
How does a reality denier shield his glaring defect from someone who has his act together about reality? Well, he can’t. His only hope is to blend in with the crowd of reality deniers where no one ever inquires as a condition of membership.
Finding out about the degree of reality denial is surprisingly easy. Self-test kits are available for resolving any doubts.
How to handle a case where reality denial is “selective” is a challenge and a half. All humans have innate reality denials in the form of illusions delivered by the subconscious mind in the process of interpreting raw data input from your various sensors. Your faculties of sight, touch, taste, and smell, for example are loaded with illusions of reality. Everyone has them.
The hopeless cases of reality denial are readily detected and handled by disconnect and distance. It is likewise easy to detect those who are enthusiastic about building their knowledge and skills with reality. They always have material artifacts of their prowess.
The middle ground with reality denial has been avoided by the social sciences. Renouncing reality is a popular, handy expedient for deflecting blame for the consequences of bad choices and everyone acts like they don’t notice. Since truth grinds away at the expedient, denial must be reinforced at frequent intervals.
The approach being tested is implemented in two steps:
- Tell the individual his test results indicate a few issues with reality. If he then chooses to increase his knowledge and competency with reality, he gets a free pass.
- Observe what he does to honor his pledge, POSIWID. It is impossible to fake learning about the causes and effects of reality. It’s always cross-disciplinary.
Competency with reality’s cause and effect is the essence of prudency, the mother of all human virtues. Put another way, reality denial prevents any virtue you think you have from being recognized as such by your audience. You can’t be “virtuous” when incompetent about reality without getting caught.
When the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) calls for a prudency audit of a very late, grossly overspent, languishing power plant project, it’s all about material reality and not opinions. It is a sobering experience that never involves or is shared with the project work force – where the truth resides. It’s a political ploy to deflect blame from the NRC for the financial calamity (incompetent regulation) of nuclear power plant projects.
Reality testing can’t be conducted by reality deniers. The subconscious mind finishes its cycle of evaluation and choice-making before your first word can be uttered. Reality deniers have no frame of reference for prudency testing. Encountering anyone who does have his reality act together is a shattering experience (the imposter syndrome). The big benefit of reality testing is to extract the imposters who will do the goal-seeking enterprise more harm than good. It is very expensive to discover an imposter late in the project.
The advantage of prudency over reality-denial applies to all aspects of social behavior. It is fundamental to cooperation and collaboration for advancing a project too involved for any individual to accomplish on his own. Competency with the operational reality is the only way to acquire “social power” to motivate others to collaborate toward a goal held in common. Performance creates social power. It is the principle underwriting the success of the master/apprentice relationship.
Since the head shed is always out of touch with reality, by role and by natural law, it can only exercise its authority obtained by opinions. It never has the power to bring positive change to its collective – only negative change. Even though it is routinely denied as a social norm by every level of the hierarchy, save the keystone tier, that’s one reality beyond dispute.
The successful paradigm, Plan B, highlights three realities:
- Your information processing faculties
- Your social environment
- Your attainable goals
Success is neither magical nor mysterious. It is the natural consequence of consistently applying the proven fundamentals of solving complex problems.
Anyone who is in reality denial, by definition, cannot deal with reality when it intrudes. The default of reality-denial (as cause) is to become an entitled consumer (an effect), dependent on others for the provisions essential for sustaining life. As birds of a feather flock together, those in denial of reality seek out others in defiance of Nature for their social relationships (social media has objective measures). As a flock, they strongly resent those who consider knowledge about the operational reality to be of critical importance to a happy life. Collectively unhappy, an inescapable effect of reality denial, they also suffer from the imposter syndrome. Social media experience only adds to their angst because there are no benchmarks of reality but reality itself.
The dynamics of the material universe, including dark matter and energy, are determined by the laws of the universe and nothing else. Since “life” as we know it is material, it too bonds to Nature’s mathematical physics, as it must. To think the human species is exempt from this verity is self-delusion on a colossal scale. Indifferent Nature punishes the human species for attempted defiance no different than it did the Dodo Bird.
For anyone schooled on universal law, the architect of reality, developing practical cause/effect knowledge about the operational reality is the essence of futureproof security. Pragmatists are producers, effective with problem-solving, resilient to disturbances, self-confident and happy because they are controlling their destiny to suit.
Those with their act together about reality also flock together. They cannot understand how anyone in such close proximity to reality could deny it. Thinking these misguided persons will snap out of it when their hangovers pass, you keep plying the reality-deniers with reality-facts, only getting hostility for your good intentions.
It’s impossible for reality-deniers to conceal their reality bias over time. What they say and then do (POSIWID) can only be hidden by exploiting blindspots and it’s temporary deception at that. Honesty with reality, nothing else works, always means gaining practical knowledge of its mechanisms of action, its prime movers and its signature consequences. If there is going to be any control of your happiness going forward, it’s going to include knowledge of and competency with cause and effect (C/E) in reality dynamics.
For example, the Wright Brothers brought the age of aviation to humankind, not by luck, but by painstaking research on cause and effect. They were the only pioneers building and running wind tunnels to test out candidate airfoil designs. They knew that if you want to “control” reality to a purpose, you better find out how it works first. Their competition was learning about reality the hard way, by building full size designs and then guessing why they crashed.
The multi-dimensional complexity of civilized society today has taken reality-knowledge acquisition to new heights of urgency. Nobody can know it all. Nobody can keep up with all the advances. The level of cognitive investment in this affair is far above the line of curiosity “allowed” by our social conditioning. The only certainty is that reality denial means deterioration – for any size collective. Expecting constructive support from another individual in reality denial? Really?
The central ever-present challenge of a social species is adaptation of its behavior for evolutionary success with the arriving future. There are formidable barriers to futureproofing a social species:
- Innate individual variety and unknowable network complexity
- Ignorance of the keystone species of the human ecosystem, the top-down fallacy
For any social species to be futureproof it must have ways and means of joint cooperation and collaboration that enable the collective to solve big problems, deal with disturbances to context, and attain desired goals impossible for any individual to grasp and attain. This is Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety writ large.
The brute fact is that any rule-based social system, no matter its size or wealth, will, sooner or later encounter a disturbance, internal or environmental, that will close their doors. This principle of the universe applies to our home planet itself. A good part of planet earth’s existence has been in a molten or a frozen icy state unable to support life of any kind. Planet Theia blew a third of the earth into space, with the debris of the collision forming our moon in just a century. At that time an earth day was eight hours.
Fast-changing conditions with strict conformance to social norms, groupthink, is, thanks to the 2nd Law, a guarantee of progressive degeneration. The fear-mongering news streams examples 24/7.
Everything humanly imaginable in the social behavior of the human species, from flourishing to disintegrating, can be found in human history. However, history’s lessons have less utility to reality-deniers than conformance to social norms, which explains why history is ignored. All human societies evolve their behavioral repertoire oblivious to the successes and failures of their cultural norms. If you don’t know why, exactly, your social system is succeeding, it will eventually fail.
The greatest gift to us is life, tied to free will. In exercising our free wills, we employ rights. Rights are claims against the whole world. They don’t require approval of a government or neighbors or colleagues. Initiating or threatening force or deception against a person or his rights is always morally illicit.
All self-sustaining ecosystems have a keystone species which, if removed, causes catastrophic ecosystem collapse. With the keystone binding the ecosystem together, other species in the system can fluctuate and come and go without losing ecosystem identity and integrity. It isn’t that wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone ate excess Elk, it’s that the Elk, in fear of the wolves, cut back on reproduction themselves. Since the keystone/ecosystem relationship applies to all viable ecosystems, flora or fauna, it affirms its fundamental basis in natural law, especially its laws of dynamics.
In human history, the only hierarchical configuration that consistently prospered, met all the criteria of success, is the reality-driven master/apprentice format. It worked in Stone Age society. It works today. All other configurations fail. Because of multiplicity, the bottom apprentice level cannot organize itself for cooperation and collaboration. Meanwhile, the 2½ rule blocks the upper hierarchy from direct contribution to prosperity.
Don’t fancy yourself able to find a workaround to natural law, mathematical physics. Nobody can cheat natural laws, a pursuit of the impossible, because immunity to defiance is how a working principle gets to be a natural law in the first place.
There are simple easy things to check for that if any one behavior is true, all behaviors in the set are true. These sets of covariables clearly distinguish success from failure. Take this knowledge and our claims and benchmark your operational reality to controvert our claims. Only one example will falsify the claims (Popper). Natural law is like that.
While no individual can attain complete psychological happiness in a dysfunctional society, the keystone must first be satisfied with himself before he can help his society to flourish. While unattended social systems progressively degenerate on their own and they soon reach the point of no return, only outsiders who have their act together in this branch of science can restore the flourishing state to a languishing, renegade collective.
The lowest level in the workforce hierarchy requires a “master” to reduce the variety constraints by establishing the proven master/apprentice relationship with each of his reports. The master allocates the work and the workers accept his choices as his proper role to the benefit of all parties.
The attitude transposition process displaces a culture of reality-denial with a pragmatic system of interaction featuring actionable-quality information (AQI) and voluntary cooperation and collaboration towards a shared societal goal. The paradigm has no losers, no class distinctions (inalienable rights). It awards freedom of choice to anyone who volunteers to take responsibility for goal attainment. Since results are the measure of performance, and “There is no try,” risk of failure to attain goals approaches zero. Taking responsibility by free choice and receiving autonomy in return makes for a personal self-commitment to succeed. It’s the best strategy a keystone can execute.
Any scheme to fix a dysfunctional collective must work from the outside-in by bringing the keystone up to speed with reality. As a man-in-the-middle he has no social status to lose by learning about the undiscussables The outsider role is “interventionist,” one who is pre-authorized to do what he thinks best for the patient as his surgery and knowledge of the problem proceeds.
While contributing to a flourishing organization is just as “natural” as sabotaging a dysfunctional social system (Ca’ canny), there are sharp differences in cognitive load. Any fool can add to the dysfunction by doing whatever he feels like doing, including nothing. The 2nd Law of thermodynamics increases entropy (disorder) around the clock in all material systems, including black holes. As science has repeatedly shown, you can’t fail to make matters worse by going with your intuition.
Contributing to a flourishing collective is at the opposite end of the cognitive exertion scale to nobrainer OD. The forever load on your mental faculties is to cage the imperatives streaming from your subconscious mind en mass until they are vetted by your conscious mind. Because experience has taught you that you always have to do something else first, gatekeeping your lightning-fast intuition will routinely save you from serious consequences.
Everything the subconscious mind “knows” about reality is the fiction of self-illusion. With 30,000 times more computational power than your conscious mind, it always chooses task action long before your conscious mind wakes up to the mischief going on. As you know, your effort is your only function you control.
So, here’s your supercomputer subconscious mind loaded with bad quality information (garbage) and no benchmark facility for separating truth from falsehood, a GIGO factory, making up what information it thinks it needs to make its choice, and finishing its centisecond decision cycle by fabricating an intellectual alibi for evading responsibility for any consequences of its choice. While speed of reaction was evolutionary for Stone Age conditions, better safe than sorry with carnivores, it is problematic in current times when the only dangerous predators about are members of your own species.
When the keystone is aligned with reality and his role, in close proximity, he gradually transfers his sociotechnical knowledge of reality cheek by jowl with his reports while both are viewing the same workplace situation. This is a classic master/apprentice relationship. By joint agreement, the role of the front-line worker is to abide the standards of workmanship set by his foreman/master. This strategy leverages the only hierarchical configuration that worked throughout the history of our species.
Incompetence with reality leads to a loss of confidence in the self-control of destiny, which leads to a loss in security and progressive increases in fear-based angst. A focus on reality is evidence that Plan B is flourishing and futureproof. People external to the organization and interacting with it always know the true state of affairs. They instantly penetrate the shield of deceit. Like you, they cannot be fooled.
Our inalienable rights to think as we wish, to say what we think, to publish what we say, to worship or not, to associate or not, to defend ourselves from crazies and tyrants, to own property, and to be left alone are all hard-wired into our human natures, our genome, the uncaused cause.
Irrational, reality-denying, counterproductive social behavior:
- Suppress competency development and demean those that possess it
- Everything counts 1
- Fiction-based predictions and planning
- Compulsion engenders cooperation
The subconscious mind knows nothing “actionable” about the operational reality. Everything it has to work with is either wrong, made up, or lagging the real action. The speed at which the subconscious runs through its decision cycle is so fast (centisecond), there is no opportunity for fact-checking and auditing the logic. Your subconscious mind takes its garbage information in memory, fills in what it thinks is lacking out of thin air, and prepares an intellectual alibi to deflect blame just in case garbage information plus irrational thinking doesn’t get the job done. Before you can blink, your cranial teleprompter has already posted your “orders.” You go with your intuition at your peril.
It is the keystone in direct contact with work reality that puts the effluent of intuition in the holding pen for a reality check prior to release. While the keystone’s reports are also married to reality, their role is as apprentice to master.
Your Subconscious Mind
By the time your subconscious mind makes you aware that an event occurred, it has already performed the detection, identification, evaluation, and choice of response. In other words, your subconscious mind instructs you in detail what to do about the threat to security it champions while denying any responsibility for the consequences that your nobrainer compliance might deliver. When did that combination from hell ever pass the smell test?
When your subconscious mind detects a threat to status quo, it is already loaded with false information about reality. The end of its centisecond decision cycle is the moment in the process is where your free conscious-mind choice about your relationship to reality initializes.
If you choose to follow the flow of business-as-usual society, no conscious intellectual exertion is necessary. The efforts in thinking you saved on the front end increase a thousand-fold in damage control on the back end – while the problem itself remains stronger than ever.
The gap between your knowledge of reality and reality itself is automatically increased by the 2nd Law in particular and new technology in general. Ignoring the gap soon makes catching-up an imposing task and a deterrent to learning. The typical default of cognitive exertion is to flock together with people who made the same choices about reality-denial as you. Social media lubricates reality-denial in several ways. The security of the flock, however, is constantly being eroded by reality in material forms and efforts to maintain flock self-confidence cannot keep up:
- To remain viable, reality-deniers must become parasites on the producers, who have to be competent with reality in order to produce surplus.
- Since the amount of excess production is finite, entitled consumers are constantly engaged in zero-sum competition with other parasites. While the upper classes of society are traditionally held to be more entitled than the lower classes for surplus production – to bolster class distinctions they deplore the producers that feed everyone in society.
- In order to create and maintain class distinctions to the benefit of the upper classes, the ruling class keeps the producing class in poverty and then blames their “inferiority” for their dilemma in angst. Punishing the producers who enable the consumers to thrive has been a social norm since the first city in Gobekli Tepe was founded 12,000 years ago.
- Motivating the producers by force, a strategy that failed for its 12,000 years of experience, triggers Ca’canny, distrust, and rampant corruption. It remains the gold standard of management practice to this day.
- Only a culture featuring reality denial can sustain the ruling class until the treasury runs dry.
- Just as the moon stabilizes the earth, the upper classes of the tall hierarchy are necessary to stabilize the social system. Their stabilizing function does not include punishing the producers.
If you want to establish a flourishing social system, Plan B, you must develop competency with the operational reality. All else is a choice to remain caged with Plan A, business as usual, the source of your misery. If you have a problem with that verity, you’ve really got a problem.
The big rollup numbers, like employee turnover, can’t be faked. One such number on the ruling class value system speaks volumes. The official correlation is productivity increases to compensation increases. From 1947 to 1979 productivity increased 108.1 % and the source of the largess, the revenue crew, was recognized with a 95% increase in compensation. From 1979 to today productivity has increased 72.2% while the corresponding adjustment to compensation is 17.2%. Meanwhile, the ruling class continues to wonder why their producing classes don’t trust them like they used to.
Every Plan B implementation measures the full true cost of barbarous administration to the financial health of the organization. Before and after comparisons are always greater than 25% of the gross income. There are three profit centers with Plan B that do not manifest with business-as-usual at all.
- Reduction in administrative costs >50%
- Competitive advantage, > tenfold increase in innovation, futureproofing
- Automatic positive reciprocity, A+R, can be substantial but not subject to direct control
Mutual concessions support compromise and cooperation so that efforts can be refocused on achieving a common goal.
Corruption in tall hierarchies
Because of the invariance of human nature and natural law, all tall hierarchies are 3D corrupt. Its illicit shenanigans stabilize the decaying social system until the treasury runs dry. All non-professional classes engage in corrupt social behavior but the stalwart keystones – with few exceptions.
Corruption is the answer of the subconscious mind to chronic insecurity, an effect about which the victim is helpless to control its cause. However, his vital energy of self-preservation is not diminished by management punishments and so diverts to corruption against the social system so that he may benefit personally. “I’m no worse than the others.” Alignment with reality is the surest basis of detecting corruption in any of its phases.
Hierarchies that get too big to fail, corrupt by definition, find their corruption rewarded by the establishment, also corrupt. Some too-big companies that got bailed-out in the 2008 financial collapse have yet to pay off their “loans.” Today’s 3-D corruption in the administration of our nation finds large rich companies getting richer while small businesses are failing at record numbers. This imbalance is not sustainable.
Organizational dysfunction provides myriad opportunities for personal gain at the expense of the social system. This response to head-shed abuse of authority occurs everywhere in the organization at once. This factor of equality of inequality is how 3-D corruption is formed so quickly. Since corruption is an act of aggression (+ +), it forms fast.
Three attributes of social behavior significant for navigating the unavoidable minefields of social hierarchy dynamics are presented here as examples. The website describes several more in ambush.
- Cognitive mindsets about the operational reality
- The windfalls of automatic positive reciprocity (A+R)
- The engine of organizational corruption and its nemesis
If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around. T.J. Watson
1) How you relate to the material reality of the universe is crucial to your prospects for happiness and prosperity. Until now, no one ever told you that gaining knowledge about the cause and effects of your social environment, along with competency in applying that knowledge to neutralize the unavoidable disturbances to viability, is foundational for creating and sustaining a flourishing life for you and your social systems. It is the main topic of this page.
2) Positive reciprocity (A+R) is the elephant in the ruling-class boardroom. Entitled consumers can never experience the socio-psychological phenomenon themselves and the benefits to those who attain that state are so large, the head shed doesn’t want the producers of surplus to be aware of the awesome social power A+R accumulates. So far, the Establishment elephant ploy has succeeded. It is covered on the next page.
3) Social system corruption, so rampant in cities, is another psychological phenomenon successfully placed on the undiscussables menu by the Establishment. Corruption make-believe is supported by both the corrupters and the corruptees. Its origins and mechanisms of action have been deliberately avoided by science, academia, and the media for centuries.
While corruption is universal, it is the stabilizer of a dysfunctional social system and necessary to keep it going – until the money runs out. “You pretend to pay me and I’ll pretend to work.”
The important revelation about social system dysfunction/corruption is that in Plan B, it cannot exist. In any flourishing society, attempts to corrupt are caught in their early phases by the producers as “errors” against productivity. In organizational dysfunction errors are treated as the fruits of business as usual and ignored as a cost of doing business. Corruption is just another miscarriage of social equality to be covered up or denied. In Plan B, errors are recognized early and treated while their impact is small. There is no time for the perpetrators to siphon off and accumulate the “rewards” of corruption. Getting caught in the act means excommunication, game over.
This attribute of Plan B can be experienced by anyone. Visit a Plan B implementation site, execute your corruption scheme, and see what happens. You can participate in a barn-raising day and see what acting-up in the production flow brings you.
Philosophical takes on reality
Reality in antiquity
“From the rites of the jungle witch-doctors, which distorted reality into grotesque absurdities, stunted the minds of their victims and kept them in terror of the supernatural for stagnant stretches of centuries—to the supernatural doctrines of the Middle Ages, which kept men huddling on the mud floors of their-hovels, in terror that the devil might steal the soup they had worked eighteen hours to earn—to the seedy little smiling professor who assures you that your brain has no capacity to think, that you have no means of perception and must blindly obey the omnipotent will of that supernatural force: Society—all of it is the same performance for the same and only purpose: to reduce you to the kind of pulp that has surrendered the validity of its consciousness.
Just as the mystic is a parasite in matter, who expropriates the wealth created by others—just as he is a parasite in spirit, who plunders the ideas created by others—so he falls below the level of a lunatic who creates his own distortion of reality, to the level of a parasite of lunacy who seeks a distortion created by others. A mystic relishes the spectacle of suffering, of poverty, subservience and terror; these give him a feeling of triumph, a proof of the defeat of rational reality. But no other reality exists.
Reality in the age of reason
Reality is that which exists; the unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.
Reality threatens man with death if he does not act on his rational judgment. To survive, reality demands of man that he act for his own rational interest. To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival; to force-him to act against his own judgment. It’s like forcing him to act against his own sight.
People think that a deceiver gains a victory over his victim. His lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked. The man who lies to the world is the world’s slave from then on. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.
Just as man can’t succeed by defying reality, so a nation can’t, or a country, or a globe. Only a brute, a fool or an evader can agree to exist on such terms or agree to give his fellow men a blank check on his life and his mind, to accept the belief that others have the right to dispose of his person at their whim, that the will of the majority is Omnipotent, that the physical force of muscles and numbers is a substitute for justice, reality and truth.
Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking—that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action—that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise—that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality—that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.
You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality. Non-thinking is a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality can’t be wiped out by anyone.
He who prattles that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island—it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today—and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.
No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire a cause/effect understanding of reality. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only with your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider reality. Nothing but a man’s mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity. Your mind is your only judge of truth—and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal.
Prudence is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee.
You do not care to live as a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
You were born with and cannot change your human nature. Your ability to deal with the arriving future, resiliency, is your responsibility to develop.
The slippery slope of reality denial
Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute.
Those who tell you that man is unable to perceive a reality undistorted by his senses, mean that they are unwilling to perceive a reality undistorted by their feelings. They make their emotions their tool for perceiving reality. Their purpose is to deprive you of the concept on which man’s mind, his life and his culture depend: the concept of an objective reality. Things as they exist are things as perceived by your mind; divorce them from reason and they become ‘things as perceived by your wishes.’
Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason. Your mind then became a fixed jury who takes orders from a secret underworld, whose verdict distorts the evidence to fit an absolute it dares not touch—and a censored reality is the result, a splintered reality where the bits you chose to see are floating among the chasms of those you didn’t, held together by that embalming fluid of the mind which is an emotion exempted from thought.
Dropping below the level of a savage, who believes that the magic words he utters have the power to alter reality, they believe that reality can be altered by the power of the words they do not utter—and their magic tool is the blank-out, the pretense that nothing can come into existence past the voodoo of their refusal to identify it.
Existence among you is a giant pretense, an act you all perform for one another, each feeling that he is the only guilty freak, each placing his moral authority in the unknowable known only to others, each faking the reality he feels they expect him to fake, some having the courage to break the vicious circle.
Whoever rejects reality rejects existence—and the feelings that move him from then on are hatred for all the values of man’s life, and lust for all the evils that destroy it. And he makes his fatal error when he switches this gauge protecting his life into the service of his own destruction, when he chooses a standard contradicting existence and sets his self-esteem against reality. If he’s chosen an irrational Standard—he will fake, evade, blank out; he will cheat himself of reality, of existence, of happiness, of mind; and he will ultimately cheat himself of self-esteem by struggling to preserve its illusion rather than to risk discovering its lack. They concede to their rulers the power of reality and surrender the incentives of their mind—and they perish in bitter futility.
They proclaim that every man born is entitled to exist without labor and, the laws of reality to the contrary notwithstanding, is entitled to receive his ‘minimum sustenance’—his food, his clothes, his shelter—with no effort on his part, as his due and his birthright. To receive it—from whom?
Do not pretend that a malevolent reality defeated you—you were defeated by your own evasions. Your emotion is a response to a face of reality, an choice dictated by your standards. The damned and the guiltiest among you are the men who had the capacity to know, yet chose to blank out reality, the men who were willing to steel their intelligence into cynical servitude to force: the contemptible breed of those mystics of science who profess a devotion to some sort of ‘pure knowledge’—the purity consisting of their claim that such knowledge has no practical purpose on this earth—who reserve their logic for inanimate matter, but believe that the subject of dealing with men requires and deserves no rationality, who scorn money and sell their souls in exchange for a laboratory supplied by loot.
When you disagree with a rational man, let reality be your final arbiter; if you are right, he will learn; if you are wrong, you will; one of you will win, but both will profit. The arbitration service of reality has many positive uses in social relations. It is the tool used by the master in his relationship with his apprentices and by the father teaching his son how to fix things. It’s all about responsibility for results.”
The price of responsibility is to start from scratch, to stand naked in the face of reality and, reversing a costly historical error, to declare: ‘I am, therefore I’ll think.’