God is real, and He is good

We believe in one God,

the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

begotten from the Father before all ages,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made;

of the same essence as the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,

and was made human.

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered and was buried.

The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.

He ascended to heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again with glory

to judge the living and the dead.

His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life.

He proceeds from the Father and the Son,

and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.

He spoke through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.

We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,

and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The more you study happiness, the more you uncover about the nature of happiness, going past the simple pleasures and understanding virtue, the more one image starts to stand out. God. Christianity is about happiness. This episode is about both. I’m going to explain Christianity. More than for you, this is for me. I want to reason some things out.

How do you be happy? Easy, just stop wanting things. The promotion, the new car, the six pack of abs, the girl. When you don’t want things, you are happy. It’s so simple.

How do you stop wanting things? The stoics said to practice discipline. The stoics were a smart bunch. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca.

Smart people, talented people, people with everything, have said to be virtuous. “Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience.” – Beethoven.

Jesus, Christians, and other religious people have recommended virtue, which is the antithesis of vice. Many Christians were very smart.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” – Acts 2:38.

Most of religion is exactly this. The scripture is a how-to guide on how to be happy. Being virtuous is hard. It takes practice. Religion gives us a helping hand. God gives us strength. We ask him for strength. He reminds us when we slip, and he’s there to reward us when we do the right thing.

What’s the right thing? Being virtuous, following his commandments, not giving into vice. Be like Jesus. When we want to behave like Jesus, we want to be virtuous. When we want to be virtuous, we should try to act virtuous – like Jesus. When we act like Jesus, we do all the things that will keep us happy. Not just a momentary pleasure, but an unbreakable joy – that no one can take away from you.

Wisdom is happiness. YOLO is not. Don’t live life fast chasing fun will not lead to happiness. It will feel good, but the thrill is addicting, and mental addiction is the opposite of wisdom. John Milton said, “He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.” The goal of wisdom – and the result, is everlasting mental, and spiritual freedom. I said that Christianity is about happiness. Well, Christianity is about wisdom.

Let’s dissect the Nicene Creed I started this with.

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen.

We believe in one God. Not many. To believe in more than one god, as the pagan religions preach, is false for multiple reasons. One, the scriptures, the written testimony of those that preceded and followed Jesus, the ultimately wise being, say otherwise. And, as Christians, we believe Jesus was ultimately wise.

The second reason is secular. If you believe in multiple gods, you necessarily diminish the divine power associated with the one God. To honor multiple gods is to not be holding the priorities and honor of the one God as your ultimate priority. So don’t do it.

The pagan gods play a large part in the history of the world and the forming of religions and even in the Christian canon. This is because the pagan gods of the Greeks, Romans, Norse and others are used as an example to highlight the beauties of the world. The poetry muses, the hero warriors, and the gods of various natural elements – Aurora with her rose red hair – these are all used to paint a beautiful picture of human and nonhuman elements of life. However, when it comes to wisdom and eternal happiness, none of these gods hold a candle to the truth and beauty offered by the Christian God.

In fact, like idolizing anything – whether a career, a pretty girl, or you, the pagan gods offered a distraction from ultimate wisdom, and with that, ultimate happiness. If we focus our attention on becoming strong or pretty or artistic, this isn’t a bad thing necessarily. But it does take away from the attention we show to God – the attention we show to wisdom, and happiness right now.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.

CS Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher, and only because it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because “it’s easy for grown-ups” and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no “unfair” advantage), it would not get on very quickly. If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) “No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank”? That advantage—call it “unfair” if you like—is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?”

Jesus proved the existence of Heaven when he rose from the dead. We are told this from the authority that is the Gospels and other scriptures. I often refer to authority as a bad thing. “Challenge authority.’ “Make your own decisions.” But we all believe, and must believe authority to some extent. Life would be chaos otherwise. To quote CS Lewis one more time,

“Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority—because the scientists say so.”

We trust authority. Even the most punk rock teenagers trust some authority. It just may not align with the authority you follow. This leaves us with a choice. We can choose the authority that is God and his followers that profess their own Gospels of the truth. Or, we can believe those who disagree. When it comes to science it gets tricky. The goal of Christianity is eternal happiness through not wanting things but instead honoring God. The goal of science is to make possible our wants and desires. So while scientific facts are not wrong, neither is that which I’m saying about God and which the Gospels have reported. You and I can live in the material world but live for the immaterial. And we should.

We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

One of the virtues that is unique to Christianity is hope. This is a theological virtue, meaning it exists outside of the simply human virtues such as chastity and humility. In hope we look forward to more great things. Dante had many levels to his Heaven, and without hope we imit ourselves to the greatness available. Again, in secular speak, we limit our own happiness by not living virtuously, including with hope.

To hope, as a virtue, is not to have a Disney fantasy about the world or the after-life. Hope is to believe in the spiritual truths accounted for in the Bible. It is to understand the nature of happiness – all that I’ve said already, and to understand there is the ability to be more. You can be more virtuous, a better Christian, with more of Heaven to love. You can be happier.

I used to be an atheist. I was guided by truth and science. Those were my religions. I thought happiness was the ability to overcome my fears. But John Milton didn’t stop his saying when he called us to conquer our fears. He told us to overcome our passions and our desires as well.

I didn’t want to believe the poet. I worked so hard to become sexy and strong. Now he was telling me not to indulge in the passions that I’d worked so hard to become sexy so that I could indulge. Deep down, I knew he was right. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to have sex with women just because I could. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to sell a product for profit to someone who doesn’t need it, but that person hopes it will make them happier.

So, I started following the advice of the great poet. I read the Bible and loved it for the wisdom and the stories. Then I read Christian literature. The CS Lewis, Aquinas, and others. I started going to church. I loved everything that I was reading, and I saw the wisdom of it. As I outlined above, I came to understand happiness from a secular point of view. It kept leading more and more towards the teachings of Christianity. I was an atheist, but now God was closer than ever.

The last thing I did was to want Christianity. To want to be Christian is to want to love God. It’s to want to live virtuously so that we don’t want things. To honor the theological virtues of faith, charity, and, discussed, hope. Knowing these virtues are incredibly difficult, and wanting the support of God to help us stick to it. It was wanting to be Christian, more than anything, that made me Christian. It was this wanting, with the understanding of happiness and Christianity, that made me love God above all else.

God is real and omniscient.  A common argument is why do bad things happen if God knows they’re going to – if he has the power to stop them?  Choosing God must be voluntary. There has to be a choice involved. If there isn’t, we are all just robots on autopilot. What’s the point of that? There’s no honor there. But if we choose to honor God, when there’s so much else we can choose – powerful, tempting options, then there is glory.

This is also why forcing Christianity doesn’t work. Since it requires voluntary submission, this must be allowed at the individual level and societal level. A Big Brother government from Orwell did not allow Christianity, but it forced virtue. The virtue is meaningless if it is forced – again there is no honor or strength required.

So too the Nazis prescribed a Christian society. When Christianity is forced, it takes away the internal choice. By forcing the external, they made the internal less likely. Loving God isn’t just going through the motions. It’s about complete, voluntary submission to the greatness of God.

I leave you with a call to action. Stop wanting things, so that you will be happy today. If you want that, and it is very difficult, look to God for strength. Love God. Amen.

Trump made an appropriate response to corona virus

Donald Trump made a controversial statement on Twitter when the corona virus started making its way into the news and daily life. He compared it to the flu. “Nothing is shut down.. Life goes on.” 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1237027356314869761?s=20

He downplayed the event. Even though the virus was spreading across China outside of China, and the death rate was higher than the flu, and it was more contagious than the flu, Trump tweeted that it’s not a big deal and to carry on as usual. 

Did Trump want old people to die? Did he want the economy to grind to a halt? Did he actually think the Chinese were lying and that it wasn’t a bad illness? 

No. He didn’t. Trump has more information than anyone on the planet. He had advisors that told him this is no flu. He also had advisors that told him what would happen if things shut down – life would never be the same. Someone had to make the statement he did. It couldn’t have come from a medical professional – since it is a disease to take seriously, and it had to come from someone high up in his organization. It took courage to say that it’s just a flu, when he and everyone else knew it was not just a flu. 

America depends on the financial markets. It’s our competitive edge over other countries. Our markets allow for ingenuity and technological advancement, top colleges, and enough top industry and financial gatekeepers to attract the brightest students, employees, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. It’s this that keeps us ahead of China and other nations in arms and money races. Without dominance in arms and money, the US takes a backseat to nations that allow for fewer individual freedoms to decide international policy for others. We don’t want that. Trump knows we don’t want that. 

Our financial system was hanging on by a thread. Money had been pumped into it for decades, incentivizing reckless spend, inefficient hiring, but also innovation. And it gave those inefficient employees a chance to make some money so they could spend it on things that have to be made by someone else. Thus the economy keeps moving. It all depended on belief that the dollar is better spent elsewhere than held on to. Which, when money is pumped into the economy which makes inflation rally, it makes sense to do. When that money is moving around and not held onto, innovation is incentivized by those dollars. 

I said Trump had courage because he made a promise to try his hardest to keep life going on as we know it. That meant a call on individual lives from people who will get sick and die because of lack of action in shutting things down. However, it could also mean the markets crash and people lose their jobs, savings, homes, and livelihoods. This is what Trump was seeking to protect in his tweet. 

His actions weren’t courageous because it was the right thing to do. His actions were courageous because it’s what *most of you* wanted to happen, but couldn’t admit publicly. So you left the President to say it for you. Trump did a dangerous thing by tweeting it’s just a flu. 

Instead of the virus killing off a 14% of the population, most of which is unproductive over a few months, which would be horrible and have major world consequences, we shut down the financial markets. Now we’re going to face mass unemployment and an economy that will never get back to where it was. 

Lives would end over the illness and more because they weren’t prepared. But it was the last Hail Mary thrown so that you, basic girl and haze bro, could get your pumpkin spice latte and IPA. Without the latte and IPA that you can show to your friends on Instagram, you are without meaning and direction. Trump tried to save you from that. 

It could never work. 

American Beauty is an essay on happiness

Controversial opinion of the day: American Beauty is a top 5 movie ever made. Anyone interested in psychology should love this movie and watch it a hundred times.

The first time I watched the movie, when I was around 20, I had the same reaction most people have: “It’s a weird movie about a creepy old man who wants to live out his fantasy to bang a young chick and a sexually confused maybe gay definitely angry neighbor next door.” But that’s not it. I’m telling you. Read my essay then watch it again. Then tell me I’m right.

Not him!

Him, silly.

American Beauty is an essay on how to be happy. It describes an “ordinary” man who has a wife, a child, a house in the suburbs, and works a white collar job he hates. He has everything promised in the “American Dream” – down to the picket fence. It could be any one of my coworkers.

The movie takes us on a journey where Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) confronts his inhibitions and desires and becomes a master over his mind. The chain of events begins when he lays on his daughter’s friend Angela. He’s inspired by his lust for her and soon quits his job without worrying about the financial consequence. He will figure it out.

Yes, the way he went about quitting his job was arguably unethical. But that doesn’t matter too much as it relates to the main idea of the movie.

“BuT hE wOuLdN’t HaVe MoNeY” it doesn’t matter.

Kevin, line!

 

Lester would have been happy without the money. He would have been happy without buying the sports car. He would move into a tiny apartment if he had to, keep his job with “the least possible amount of responsibility” and enjoy the freedom that follows.

Freedom from what? He can’t buy anything. He can’t travel anywhere. And he can’t just bang all of his daughter’s friends.

Lester would forever enjoy freedom from wants. He doesn’t need to buy anything, travel anywhere, or even bang his daughter’s friends in order to be happy. Not even the one friend that’s a centerpiece in the movie.

The other protagonist that moves the idea of the movie along is the neighbor child, Ricky Fitts. The drug dealing “psycho” that almost murdered a classmate – back in the day, plays a complement to Lester’s character. He is going through life with much of the wisdom of Spacey, but at a young age. He is able to appreciate beauty, be happy, and love others. Lester’s final speech, as the credits begin to roll, incorporates lines from a speech Ricky gave when the plastic bag was flying around. This shares the common wisdom, but also goes a little further than Ricky, showing a calmness and acceptance compared to Ricky’s emotional speech.

It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. 

Another set of complementary characters are Lester’s wife, the Real Estate King, and Angela. These three people represent the antithesis to the wisdom and happiness of Lester and Ricky Fitts. They resent what’s “ordinary”, but in doing so just put on an appearance that’s not genuine and hides deeper insecurities.

The “villain” in the movie is the idea represented by these characters. The bad guy isn’t the macho mean Marine next door. It’s the idea that “In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times” – The RE King.

The three characters represent “success” in the material world. The RE King is financially successful and has a hot wife. Carolyn has a good job, her house is in order, and her garden is top notch. Angela is hot and presumably has lots of friends and suitors.

The problem with “ordinary” is that it isn’t exciting or fun, and therefore doesn’t lead to happiness. This is because so many individuals aren’t happy during the course of ordinary life, so they believe they must do things that aren’t ordinary to become happy. So they travel, they have affairs, they fire a gun. But these don’t lead to happiness. These things only magnifies the external image that’s supposed to make the individual happy without dealing with the problems inside.

Happiness isn’t found doing what’s ordinary. And it’s definitely not found doing the extraordinary. 

The worldly success these three characters experience doesn’t bring them happiness. It’s all a show. These characters project an external image to protect the sense of self they built up. They do this to protect themselves from their internal fears and insecurities. They are narcissists, and rather than face their internal demons, they mask them with pretty colors, expensive suits, and fun sex. The world sees this success and they are saved from sharing their insecurity of being alone. Is this true success?

The movie takes place over the course of a few months. It’s a small amount of time that Spacey is free and happy. He was miserable at his job and in his marriage, for decades. But if you asked him if he lived a happy life, he would say yes. I know that because he says so in the end, and also I relate to it. When you become a deeply happy person, you become happy forever. Not a fleeting good feeling, but a deep unshakable happiness. Happiness is a characteristic, not a feeling. Lester experiences eternal happiness. Heaven on Earth, for the Christians.

Eternal happiness is a real thing. More people should strive for it. I recommend it. Lester chose to find happiness in the last months of his life. He stopped caring about what other people thought of him. He allowed himself to be hated by his wife, his daughter, and his previous employers. He no longer lived for others and started living for himself. Of course, he never was really living for others. He was living to protect his ego from being damaged by the opinions of others, until he stopped.

I’m not recommending selfishness. I’m recommending loving others or having a family or working a job for the right reasons. The right reason is never to look good compared to others or to make yourself look good.

Lester started down this path inspired by a hot young girl. The man started lifting, eating well, and becoming stronger – physically and mentally. He did this with the hope that he might have sex with Angela. During his transition into a sexually attractive man, he comes to the other realization that he’d been living for other people, and becomes the wise, happy, misunderstood man that doesn’t compromise his values for others. When he is finally given the opportunity to have sex with Angela, she tells him she’s a virgin. In doing so, she admits that her whole persona has been a front, a fiction.

Lester, horny as he must be, steps back and refuses to corrupt her. To have sex with her as the cool, strong man he is would have the effect of encouraging her to have sex with strong men because it feels so good. These good feels and orgasms would make someone happy just like making more money selling real estate and firing guns will make someone happy – not for long. Lester realizes he is now a happy, strong person, and doesn’t need the validation of sex or any other form of validation. He is complete.

Lester confronted his fears and inhibitors, destroys them, and becomes happy. He’s able to have everything he ever wanted – in his case, young pussy. He realizes when it’s right in front of him that he already has everything he needs and that having sex with the girl will only fuel her to want more. So he does the right thing, and leaves her with a hug. Again, for the Christians, he becomes a preacher of the word of the Lord, rather than a strong devil.

            You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday. 

 

Book review: Lolita (hella spoilers)

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” These are the first words in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

Dolores, little Lo, Lolita is Humbert’s obsession. She is what provides him with joy. She is what leads to his unhappiness. It is not her fault.

We all have a Lolita. It can be a step-daughter pretty girl you’re in the middle of a cross-country road trip (I hope it’s not). It can be your wife, who’s of legal age and always has been. Your Lolita can be whiskey, or your job.

Lolita is a manifestation of Humbert’s desires. Humbert is a pedophile. He is attracted to little girls. More specifically, he is attracted to the “nymphette” –  a small subset of little girls that are attractive to him. It’s hard to tell from the novel whether this “type” is simply the girls that show Humbert attention, or whether it’s the type of girl that behaves more promiscuous than girls her age, reads girl magazines, and shows awareness of her sexuality.

We want our desires to manifest and make us happy. This is what Humbert wants, and he makes it happen. He moves in with this girl of his dreams and builds an image that can work for his fantasy. Sound familiar, yet? We’ll get there.

We don’t know if the girl actually falls for him. He frames the book in a way to make it seem like it is a mutual falling in love – like the girl jumps on him when she has the chance because he’s a hot, older guy that should appeal to that kind of girl (nymphette, reads girl magazines).

However, it is later revealed that Lo has a revulsion to Humbert. She tries to runaway, she flirts with other men, and in quotes she says he raped her. It’s not the mutual love story he crafted early in the novel. He turns her into what he wants her to be in his mind.

Doing this is narcissistic, and it’s how he can get what he wants. He changes, after the fact, how she viewed him and acted towards him, in his mind, instead of changing himself into something that she would actually want to be with. Or, even more difficult, accepting that she will not want to be with him. This takes responsibility and work. Blaming others and changing events in your mind is much easier.

I wasn’t surprised when Humbert killed the man Lolita ran away with. The man was a creep, and wasn’t good for Lolita, but more than that, the dude was a villain in the narrative that Humbert had built for himself. Humbert wasn’t living in a rational world with individuals. He was living in a world where people are supposed to serve him and his fantasies. When a new man entered Lolita’s life, that served as a disruption to the narrative that was supposed to play out. When he murdered the guy, Humbert was the hero in the narrative he built for himself.

If your takeaway from Lolita was that this is a book about a creepy old man, and you are a good person because you are nothing like Humbert, then you simply aren’t self aware. We all have narcissistic qualities. As mentioned earlier, we project our wants and desires in our own love lives on our environment. This is a defense mechanism for doing something difficult – sacrificing and working to improve ourselves in order to find happiness instead of happiness happening because of events external to us.

It’s a beautiful book that exposes the dark in all of us (if we are willing) through a beautiful story written by a narcissist.

Humbert broke the law. He ruined a girl’s life. He killed a man. He is not good. But he is no less happy than the narcissistic reader that continues to find problems with the world instead of putting in the work to change.

Libertarianism is an unsustainable political ideology

The goal of libertarianism is maximum individual freedoms. According to libertarians, this is accomplished by a government that does not interfere with individual’s lives. This means there is no regulation of the economy, no laws limiting behavior so long as it doesn’t interfere with others’ lives, and no waging wars that citizens will fight in. This libertarian goal will not last under a libertarian policy. Here’s why.

Capitalism drives the people at the bottom towards socialism.

An advanced economy makes the essentials in life easier. When that happens, people don’t need to work as hard for the “essentials” needed to survive (housing, food). When this happens, there is an evaporative cooling of high value folks as life gets easier.

The world becomes less cut-throat as technology and division of labor increase the standard of living. This happens largely because high value individuals, as valued by the marketplace, are more likely to have fewer children than those that do not spend their reproductive years having children. It is compounded because there is less of a need for high value people because there are fewer hardships – due to the advanced economy that can solve most problems.

When there are fewer people being valued by the economy, they will seek to increase their value through other means. This can mean trying to bring down those that are valued.

A large reason for this is jealousy. So much demand is generated by advertising and marketing. Advertising and marketing target people’s insecurities to create a demand. Then the product is promised as an answer to that insecurity. This is problematic to libertarians for two reasons.

One, people will never find fulfillment in these things promised by companies. It means they will continue to want, and they will likely turn to more things to seek that fulfillment. While this grows the economy, which libertarians argue is good, it doesn’t answer people’s problems. People that cannot afford “the answer” to their insecurities will be jealous of those that can.

Two, most people aren’t wealthy. The majority of people cannot afford the extreme riches that are seen as fulfilling to the insecurities. This means that to reach the largest audiences, companies must cater to the people that cannot reach the highest levels of income and spend. This includes news and media companies. When the majority of people are looking for answers to their own insecurities, news and media companies must empathize with these people and create a solution. One solution is to tell them to work harder. That doesn’t sell as well as attacking the wealthy for not contributing their share to taxes and social benefits. Companies can actually profit by pushing socialist narratives. This is ironic, and it makes sense.

Another issue with libertarian policy is that totalitarianism can be accomplished by private companies. This was demonstrated over the last couple years with the growth of media platforms that then silence and cut funding from content creators that have ideas counter to the ideology of the company.

Just like the US Constitution restricts the power of the government, there must also be checks in place for private companies so they don’t become too powerful over others. There needs to be some regulation to advanced markets. Without this regulation, people will view private businesses as evil, which opens up an opportunity for socialist policies to attack businesses.

This makes socialist political parties appear like the good guys, even though large government is much more likely to turn totalitarian than private companies competing in a free market. There isn’t another option for governments, without going through significant hurdles.

Liberal social policies lead to socialism.

Just like an unrestricted free market leads to socialism, so do the social policies libertarians push for. I will use a couple examples to show this point: open borders and birth control, but this extends to other “social issues” in politics.

Opening borders to low value individuals invites more people that are likely to want socialism. The libertarian argument is that with open borders the economy will have more consumers and producers that can innovate and solve each other’s problems. Few of these immigrants have few skills that are valued in an advanced economy. The rest work for low wages and end up in the same pool as the citizens that are likely to turn socialist.

Birth control allows women to maintain a sexually active lifestyle and stay productive in the workplace. This is great for the financial economy but has negative effects on the happiness of both men and women because they aren’t realizing the promises they were given in grad school and the latest commercials. “Have sex and build your career while you’re young and then settle down when you’re older.”

Problem is, the qualities that make for an attractive man – strong in mind, body, and wallet, are not what make for an attractive female – youth and beauty. Because of that, the sexy man isn’t with options to date the young hottie isn’t going to be as interested in the older career girl.

As women continue to work as hard and as many hours as men without realizing the benefits in the sexual market, they will turn to other means to find their happiness. Since the free market didn’t work out, an obvious alternative is to seek socialist policies that promise equality and freedom. Just like the promises of advertisements and grad school counselors, the promises of socialism will not deliver.

For these reasons, a modern economy needs conservative social policy if the individual happiness is a priority. It should be.

Libertarianism is an unsustainable political ideology for the two reasons mentions. Capitalism, unconstrained, leads to totalitarianism through both monopoly over minds of consumers and from the tendency for individuals at bottom rungs to drift toward a preference for socialist equality. The social policies recommended will also lead to socialism by degrading the strength of individuals that free markets rely on.

The problem with libertarianism is that it puts the financial market as the primary good in the world. This goes against most psychological metrics, which would prioritize individual happiness or contentment, and economic metrics, which prioritizes utility – not just financial growth.

Austrian economic theories are an excellent starting point for learning about Bitcoin

Bitcoin is far more than a payment method. Bitcoin is a political statement. It’s a global currency that doesn’t have the backing of a government – and it’s for that reason that it is better than other currencies.

Understanding Austrian economics is a great way to learn about Bitcoin because the economic background allows us to understand why it makes sense as a currency, why it makes sense as a payment platform, and many of the use cases for Bitcoin – such as international currency.

A currency is a means of exchange. Currencies get their value from their power to function as that means of exchange. In the most primitive societies, something like corn can function as a currency. It can be weighed and scored on quality and can be traded for any number of goods. A cow or a television can be measured in “pounds of corn.”

Metals were used as a means of exchange because they held value more long-term than corn. Silver and gold don’t expire or deteriorate as fast as corn, so they can preserve value. Paper dollars representing gold and silver emerged because they are more easily handled than precious metals, and can be broken up to represent more granular amounts without using a chisel and a scale.

Even when dollars stopped representing precious metals, those paper dollars were given value because people agreed they have value. That value continues to fluctuate – when more dollars are flooded into the market, we value dollars less than what they once were. That’s why bread costs $3 today instead of $0.25 like it may have fourscore years ago. Sorry, I’ve been trying to use the word fourscore for a while now.

Bitcoin is a currency that gets its value from this use. People believe it has value compared to other currencies. It can be viewed as more efficient than dollars because it can be transacted globally without exchanging to new currencies. Because there are a fixed number of coins that will ever exist, it stores its value longer than a dollar that is subject to the whims of governments – and those Austrians were fans of currencies that best maintained their value long-term. It stores its value better than gold, which had an undetermined unmined quantity.

The Austrians were free market people. They saw the most advanced societies as those societies that welcomed the division of labor, which means societies that welcomed trade of products and services from the widest ranges of people. A currency that must be converted risks transaction fees and governmental overhead than can limit some people from sharing products or services – especially across country borders. By eliminating those obstacles, a currency can welcome more contributors into the economy to produce and consume.

Last, there are use cases for Bitcoin that benefit the individual, and the individual is the most important player in the Austrian economy. Everything starts with the individual – the want to spend. The need to produce. That is where man finds meaning according to the school of Austrian economics. Individualism is the center of economic theory, psychological theory, and social theory.

Those economists want to remove obstacles in offset to best enable individualism. In addition to a global currency that is more efficient than dollars at enabling this, cryptocurrency offers additional benefits to the individual. Man can skip the administrative hurdles that exist to promote, but are actually limiters to the economic sharing that exists in the economy.

Austrian economics is an excellent starting point to learn about Bitcoin because it is through this study that we learn how currency gets its value, the characteristics of a good currency, and the importance of a global currency in a world that is increasingly global in its enterprise.

The majority of people have never had an original idea

Everyone likes to argue, but few bring anything new to the table. Actually, I’m not sure everyone likes to argue. But everyone argues. Just say, “Trump should be reelected” and you’ll get an argument out of most people.

Most people have never had an original idea for two reasons: they don’t have the courage and they are told what to think.

People are told what to think

Not other people. All of us. We are constantly being told what to think. We are sold entertainment and products in commercials and conversation. We are sold ideas in movies, TV, celebrity award speeches, and conversation with friends that got an idea from the celebrity award speech.

Most people don’t want you to have a contrary idea. Contrary ideas can threaten our worldview and our ability to interact with the world in a productive way. More than that, a contrary idea could mean someone doesn’t make the sale.

If we don’t value their product, they make less money. Companies want us to think we need their products and services. They are incentivized to want us to think like their ideal customer. So they make their product attractive, and sell you on the idea that you will be attractive if you buy their product.

The company you work for wants to maximize their own profit. That is their ultimate incentive. So while they decorate the office with pretty lights and art and beer, they do that so you are more likely to stay late and make them money. They want you to think like the ultimately loyal and profitable employee.

There’s so much noise in the world, that it’s hard to decipher what’s important and what’s not. Everyone has their answer for what’s important. To have a unique idea, you need to step away from the noise. You need to ignore the psychological attractions that are included in the advertisements and latest internal company memo. Those are distractions from your own free will and ability to produce ideas.

Someone busy being filled with thoughts is someone that will continue to buy products and someone that continues to buy products is someone that continues to work for a company because they need to pay for products.

All of our lusts and attractions are noise. They keep us wanting without giving us an answer to the fulfillment we crave by indulging.

People don’t have the courage

It’s hard to have an idea. Our world is so full of noise. We have 24-hour news on TV, social media, and phone pop-ups. We have constant communication with the world through comments and message forums. We are surrounded by ideas, and we are rewarded, with money and promotions from our company and with material objects that bring us “status” (as depicted in the commercial) from companies we buy from.

To say “no” is to reject needs. Companies sell us needs. If we don’t need, we are infinitely powerful, yet we are outcasts in our social groups and dating markets and everyone that does give in to the “needs” they are sold. Which is almost everyone. When we have a contrary idea, we say no to almost everyone.

It’s scary to say “no” to almost everyone. We’re hard-wired to want to be included in social circles, to be attractive to the other sex, and to not be “weird”. Our primitive brains see those things – social circles, sex, and status as the ultimate virtues. Those are what survive and replicate in the animal kingdom.

But we’re humans. And while we are animals, we’re better than all other animals in that we can choose not to give in to the passions and enslaving ideas that are thrown our way. Not only do we say “no” to others when we summon the strength to go against the grain, we say “no” to our own primitive brains.

To have an idea means to do something different – to view the world in a different way. To view the world in a different way means to view it different than our primitive brain and all the stimuli we come across – which all has its own agenda.

It’s even harder to share that idea.

Have a unique idea. It’s probably in your best interest.

Most people want to be herded through the world by systems created by sociopaths

Thing is, once we start buying things, we don’t stop. We become addicted to the chase. We have goals we must reach – at work and at home, in order to become “successful”. We become successful in relation to the goals we set. We set them against coworkers (getting the promotion or the biggest bonus) and against ourselves (lose pounds).

Becoming successful never means accepting the status quo. Goals are only reached by changing the status quo. Companies know that and companies must always be changing. They must always be growing. If they don’t, they lose and they die. Companies we work for are always telling us we must achieve more. Investors can always leave to the competition. Companies we don’t work for are always telling us to get more. Contentment is the enemy of success.

Success in the dating world is similarly competitive. It takes the “right” appearance and attitude to attract someone sexy. We must be in a certain stage in life to think about having a family or getting married or “being serious”. We must reach that level in our careers or in our personal lives before we can be seen as “suitable” by potential mates. At least, that’s what we’re told.

Striving for something gives us meaning. When we don’t find that meaning in ourselves, we look outward for something to provide us that meaning. And everywhere we look, we are promised an answer to that. Our company wants us to work harder and longer. Other companies want us to get more stuff. They tell us we will be fulfilled if we do these things.

The church tells us if we say our prayers, go to Mass, and behave like Jesus that we will be rewarded in the afterlife and on Earth.

Teachers and companies tell us to get good grades so we can set ourselves up to work and pay for things.

Hobbies give us something to work towards – a new song we can play or a new dance to learn or a new mountain to get up and down.

We seek meaning in all the things we do because we are told to find meaning externally. And all these external things have their own motivations for wanting us to continue. Their motivation is rarely our freedom. The hobbies are industries. They want us to buy and to return. Our companies want us to make them more money. Our schools and governments rely on attendance and taxes and endowments so they want to maximize that. They don’t want us to be free.

We seek freedom from all these sources that are built to not give us freedom. But we do it anyway because it is an answer.

Thing two is, it’s scary to not do what we’re told. Doing what we’re told provides us with an answer. The answer may come with some glory attached to it if we achieve our status and reach our goals. We are told we will have the beautiful house and beautiful partner and then we will be happy. And sometimes that works out. At least, it can. Our boss seems happier than us because he makes more money and has a hotter car and wife. So we want to be the boss to find happiness in those things. Women aren’t things yeah yeah…

To challenge this takes courage. It requires saying “no” to, potentially, everyone in our lives. Our teachers, our friends, our politicians, our priests (sometimes), and our boss who is responsible for our next paycheck.

To say no requires us to find meaning in contentment. To reject the motivations of everyone else and to find meaning in our own lives. And that’s a mysterious place to look. What is success if no one tells us what success is? What is freedom if it’s not at the top of the next mountain, or after a race to the bottom? Will someone love me if I don’t have things? Or status?

It doesn’t matter. Would you rather love someone because they love the things you have or because they value you, without all those things? What if she’s less hot than the boss’ wife?

If you can find freedom without relying on someone else telling you how to be free – someone who has ulterior motivation for telling you what to do, then you can truly be free.

This freedom is more meaningful than reaching any goal will ever provide. This freedom cannot be given to you by someone. You have to take it. You take it by rejecting the things that promise freedom and don’t deliver.

If you reject all the things that promised freedom, you may find freedom. You may also end up poor and alone. And maybe it’s only in poverty and aloneness that true freedom really exists. And that’s frightening to many people.

But anyone can be free. And anyone can be free now.

Most people want to be herded through the world by systems created by sociopaths. To go against the sociopathic systems means to risk loss of employment, status, and attraction from the other sex. Many people claim they want freedom, but all their actions remind the sociopathic systems that what the individuals actually want are employment, status, and attraction. The systems are happy to sell those things.

Most people are lemmings being herded along through a fake social reality that has been created by sociopaths

Most of us are lemmings.

Most people have far fewer influence on their own actions than we assume. Our behavior is the result of the function that includes all of our stimuli and experiences. Most of our experiences and stimuli have been forged not by conscious thought, but by impressions made by others.

We are being forged all day. We turn on our phones first thing in the morning and we check for updates from friends – regardless of whether the people on our social media truly are our friends. We compare how we’re doing to them. Are they doing something we want to be doing? Do they own something we want to own? Mark’s new watch is awesome. And girls like Mark. We begin the day with wanting.

Then we go to work. We put in 8 hours working for our company so that we can afford our rent or mortgage, Mark’s watch that we saw on social media, and anything else that comes up – either emergencies or new-found wants.

Our job is to create and sell products or services to other people and companies so that our company makes money so that we don’t lose our jobs. We do this by creating demand for our product (through marketing and advertising) and by filling that demand (by creating quality products and getting it to our customers). We create wants. Every other company is doing the same thing. They need to sell, or they die.

When we go home, we turn on the TV. We watch the shows our coworkers are watching so that we will have something to talk about. We subscribe to the networks (Netflix) so we can watch those shows. We see the lives of the TV stars and imagine how our lives would be if we had a beautiful girl and a house with glass walls.

We check for deals on Amazon for a watch similar to Mark’s. It’s not that expensive, so we buy it. We go to bed looking forward to our new watch we can share with Mark and the coworkers.

Our reality is shaped by sociopaths.

The owner of the corporation we work for has a lot to consider. He wants to make money so he can do everything he wants in life. He wants to leave a legacy. He wants happy employees. He wants to be liked. The CEO’s first responsibility is to the shareholders of the company.

If shareholders don’t view the company as more valuable than the competition, they will leave and invest their money in the competition. If shareholders invest their money in the competition, the competition will have more funding for projects, new employees, and growth. If the competition grows faster than your company, your company will die. If your company dies, the employees will be unhappy, the CEO’s legacy will be ruined, and he won’t be liked. He may make a lot of money, but he will have failed, and he doesn’t want to fail.

So, the CEO must maximize shareholder value, above all else in life. Your needs and my needs, as workers, are far less important than maximizing value. If value means growing in one segment and shrinking in another, we better hope to be in the former. The CEO’s job is to not prioritize the workers in the shrinking segment of the company. His job is to prioritize the value being presented to shareholders. The CEO must be unemotional in his decision. He must be firm and decisive. If he considers the employees in the unproductive business units, he will keep the failing unit and lose to the competition. So, he doesn’t consider them.

The CEO is unempathetic in his behavior, even if that isn’t what he is thinking. He is a sociopath, even if he aches for the employees that are let go. A true sociopath – an individual that doesn’t have empathy for others, will thrive in this environment, and a sociopath with ambition often does end up at the head of companies for this reason – he’s willing to make decisions that influence others, and he’s willing to do this with his intentions in mind. At a CEO level, these intentions often align with shareholders. Even when this sociopath isn’t in control, the role dictates sociopathic behavior in order to succeed by maximizing value.

A little more on this. I argue that it is more likely to be an actual sociopath that ends up in these positions than normal, empathetic people ending up in these positions where they are forced to make sociopathic decisions. Psychotherapists estimate that 4% of the population is sociopathic. Of that 4%, a much larger amount end up in positions of power. Sociopaths are willing to make social sacrifices that others aren’t willing to make. They are willing to compromise their relationships and status within one social circle that individuals who have strong empathy are not willing to make. The sociopath is willing to make difficult decisions without batting an eye – and makes them in his own interest. This is a good quality for an executive.

When companies need to grow, they need to sell more products or services. To sell more products and services, they must create that demand so that customers realize the need to buy. To create a demand, corporations target the psychology of individuals.

People are susceptible to emotional decisions. Emotional decisions are how products are sold. We don’t have a physical need for clean clothes, a new car, or a watch as beautiful as Mark’s. Companies make us want the car and the watch by making us fear.

We fear what would happen if we were ridiculed for having dirty clothes. We don’t want to look silly. So, we buy clothes. We fear dying alone, or being stuck with a life partner that isn’t our equal. We buy the watch to show our status. It’s status that gets the hot chick in the movie. So we buy a watch. We are sold an image of a happy family waking up on Christmas to the new car with the oversized bow and a puppy. So we buy a puppy. And a car, with a large bow. The puppy needs the latest toys so that he doesn’t seem inferior to the other dogs at the dog park.

We constantly chase status because we fear the consequences that would result if we aren’t seen as filing that status. We have fear because the sociopathic companies instill fear so that we will buy more products to settle our insecurities, because the company needs to sell so that they don’t lose to the competition.

If we don’t play this game – if we don’t get the watch, the car, the clothes, or the puppy, we are “losers”. We are rejects that can’t keep up with the Joneses. We fail to get the status that is sold to us. When we don’t have the status, we “can’t” get the girl. We “can’t” have the happy family. We “can’t” be happy.

This is what corporations want us to think. The amoral systems with sociopathic leadership don’t want us to be fulfilled and not want things. Because then we won’t buy things. We are sold the images of happiness. We are sold the idea that if we buy this one thing, then we will be happy. If we aren’t happy, it’s because there’s “one more thing” that we need. Surely it’s not because we haven’t confronted our own insecurities and absolved ourselves from needing things. Right?

Most people are lemmings being herded along through a fake social reality that has been created by sociopaths. We are wired to follow the safe, proven road, and it’s difficult to go against that. The safe, proven road, is often the manifested idea of unemotional, unempathetic systems that benefit a few individuals at the expense of others.

The advertising industry as a whole should be disrupted to the point of bankruptcy

The advertising industry as a whole should be disrupted to the point of bankruptcy. The advertising and marketing industries are largely to blame for the collapse of the modern world. The efforts of marketing and advertising have led to a decrease in individual happiness, decrease in family stability, and decrease in marital options for individuals. Because of this, the industry should be disrupted.

It is vice that leads to the decline of empires, as witnessed in Rome. Vice leads to distractions from the values that hold a society together at every unit level – the family, the community, and the country. When the people no longer recognize the values the hold a civilization together, the support structure crumbles.

What we’re seeing in the West is the first-time private enterprise has been responsible for the moral decay of a civilization. Previously it had been governments – usually governments that turn to socialism or some similar totalitarian form which leads to the moral falling-apart of the citizens as they turn away from industry and more towards the handed-out bread and drug and sex.

Now it is the tech companies and the marketing departments leading the way towards moral decay. Products sell status, they sell an easy way to conquer inhibition, and they sell the easy way to achieve joy. It’s all momentary, and it’s all monetary.

Marketing departments sell two things. They sell their product over the competition. And they sell you on the need to buy. They create demand for products. Marketing departments appeal to human’s innate choice to be lazy. We always want the easy way.

I propose that marketing departments should sell the features and leave out the psychological emotional appeals. And that’s most of the work that advertisers do. Product people create features. But people are motivated to act based on the psychological appeals made by advertisers.

Advertisers prey on insecurities of individuals. We don’t buy things to make our lives materially better. We buy things to fill insecurity holes in ourselves. These holes are, largely, created by the advertising industry.

We need the expensive watch to get the girl. We need the SUV with all the features if we are going to be responsible parents. We need the expensive liquor in order to be a ‘man’.

In practice, these material items have almost nothing to do with our ability to find love, to be a caring parent, or to get along with other guys in a social setting. People don’t need things to get these results – they need to go out and work to get these results.

We need to build our social skills to interact with men and women. We need to put time and thought into our parenting to make sure our kids turn out ok. We don’t need things. These insecurities are resolved by consciously putting in work in the part of our life that needs work.

These material things not only don’t address the real problem – that there is a part of our lives where we lack of skills or knowledge to succeed. Instead, the propose an easy solution, and one that skips the actual need to acquire the skills and knowledge.

Not only does this not work, but it actually makes it harder to then acquire the skills and knowledge to do these things. Once we start buying things, we are rewarded with the perceived status from people. Women do notice the watch. Soccer moms do give a thumbs up to the SUV. And the dude at the bar recommends his expensive brand of whiskey to compare to yours.

When we reach the point where we struggle in conversation or our kids get into trouble, we are reminded of the short-term thumbs up and are more likely to try to solve our problem by spending money on another short-term, material fix.

It’s easy to get stuck in this repetitive loop of spending money to try to fix problems instead of working on the problem. Work requires time, knowledge, and the risk of failure. Material purchases offer us an out. We can blame the thing, instead of blaming ourselves – the real culprit.

This mechanic of advertising is an evil akin to socialism. Both destroy the individual’s ability to think freely. Socialism does that by forcing the collective value. Advertising is more clandestine. It destroys the ability to think free by targeting insecurities, giving false answers, and rewarding the individual for spending on fake, short-term solutions.

Without advertising that gives us insecurities and then offers a solution, we would be, necessarily, more likely to take the blame for our shortcomings. From there it would be up to the individual to do something about it or to willingly choose to ignore the problem.

When faced with a problem, human nature will often seek the easiest solution. When buying something can fill a void, that’s easy. When we eliminate that easy option, we have fewer options to choose from to try to solve our problems.

By destroying the ability to target insecurities, quality of products and services would likely increase. Companies would have one less tactic to sell their services if they couldn’t target insecurities. They would have to differentiate based on other factors than their emotional appeal. Quality, price, and number of features would be much more important than they do in our modern marketplace.

The advertising industry as a whole should be disrupted to the point of bankruptcy. The only way I see this happening is government regulation of the advertising industry. I’m usually against government regulation of markets, but for the sake of social good, quality products through competition without appealing to emotions, and increased competition on those product-related jobs, this would solve the problems.