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.

College is a good return on investment because it forces you to learn the habits necessary to become an autodidact

College gets a bad rap from my circles of friends and the people I interact with online. Viewing through my different lenses: my economic lens says: “Colleges are institutions that create debt and turn you into a corporate consumer” (which could be good depending on your motives). My productive lens says, “all the skills I apply to my job, hobby, and business I learned on my own. College didn’t teach me those skills.” My conservative value lens says: “Colleges promote liberal politics and force that into the curriculum.” My sexual lens says, “College promotes sexual exploration which leads to the degeneracy of the soul.” Maybe that’s more of my conservative value lens. The lenses overlap.

All of these arguments have merit to them. There’s a strong case that colleges have become politicized and don’t teach practical skills and leave the skill-less graduates in debt that they are unprepared to pay off.

However, there is one skill that colleges still teach in 2018 that is more important now that at any time in history – how to learn. To learn on your own is to be an autodidact. When you can teach yourself any skill, you can, in time, do any job that is given to you. You may face a learning curve and be unproductive initially, but in time you will become more productive for your company and for all the goals that you apply yourself to.

Without going to college and facing the structure those institutions have in place, it would be hard to learn that. It’s hard to pick up how to learn from books or from talking to others. People can communicate the importance of learning. Books and Google can contain all the information required to master any field. But it’s still college that gives a structured approach to learning.

Every college curriculum starts with the 100-level classes that provide a high-level understanding of the material. These familiarize students with the authors and experts in the field and give students an understanding of why the material is important.

The 200 and 300-level courses go into the details of what is important. Students memorize information and learn details that will make them conversational on the subjects in any environment – a job interview, a bar conversation, or a final exam paper. We take tests and write papers to ensure we understand the material. We take labs to see apply what we’re learning in real-world situations.

College curriculum dives deeper until you are in the 400-level courses that get into the expertise of the niches within the field of study. At this point a student is expected to be conversational in not only the why and the what, but also the how to apply the information in the world in order to bring that expertise to the world to hopefully make the world a better place. We take more tests, write more papers, and (hopefully) write a thesis that gives us a chance to structure our thoughts and prove expertise in our field.

This is how we learn skills and information. Even a skill like driving is picked up by having a why (need to get somewhere), learning the what (laws, rules of the road), and the how (how the car works, what the pedals do).

Driving and other “essentials” are picked up by applying this process intuitively. Driving has a tried-and-true method of teaching. It involved classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel driving, practice hours and tests. The structure is very similar to the typical college curriculum described above. College courses are another example of well-defined material. The course education is approved by a committee which means there’s some level of standardization of the material.

Learning skills and information becomes more difficult when there is more ambiguity involved. When a job opens up and there isn’t a formal training for that, or if there is a new technology that must be learned, there often lack the structured education of a college course. It still requires the same process to learn the skill, but many people won’t be disciplined to follow through with the why, the what, and the how.

College makes all these activities – the introduction, the details, and the proven expertise – a requirement. We fail if we don’t do these things.

Even in the least academic fields, take sociological gender studies as an example, we need to go through the rigmarole of tests and papers from 100 to 400-level classes. We become an expert in something – even if it has no application in the workforce, and diminishing credibility in academia. By doing this, we learn something.

Without following this structure, we risk missing something. We risk diving into the details of how to do something without understanding the high-level understanding that would relate our expertise to the world. Or, we risk learning the whats or the whys without learning how to apply it to the real world – like memorizing facts from a book or Wikipedia page.

Without understanding all of this – the why, the what, and the how, we fail to understand information in a way to apply it and make sense of it to others. The information is not useful to the rest of the world, even if we do learn a couple things that we can apply in a game of bar trivia.

Without going to college, we risk never going through this structured approach to mastering a subject. Without that, it is hard to understand the time and discipline it takes to truly master a subject. Learning on the job is hard. It’s much harder when we don’t apply that structured approach to learn a subject in its entirety – a structure college gives us.

Even the gender studies expert, with no real-life skills and decreasing credibility as an academic field, can apply the process of learning to any skill they seek to learn. And that’s why it’s important to be an autodidact, and that’s why college is valuable.

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.