Episode 090 - You don’t own things.  Things own you.

The fallacy of ‘The one with the most toys, wins’ is one of the worst betrayals to be executed on the human being. We are constantly challenged by social mantra to spend more, support the economy, buy that boat or that ATV, get a better car, etc. Yet we all know that this only leads to depression, hurt and a loss of hope. In this episode I want to explore the psychology of consumption and how the small actions of saying No are the secret of having much, much more in life.

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Show Notes

•    I’m not a psychologist, but why is it that psychologists are employed in marketing?
•    If we are to have any hope of combating false narratives, it helps to understand the people that make the narratives

•    The story of the Hummer

•    Let’s start with the acceptance of the quest to make us happy
•    Why is it that we avoid the harder questions of trying to understand ourselves?
•    Is it that we are being told not to?

•    How many times have you bought something you regrated later?
o    Why did you do it?  
o    Do you feel that you were in control of the decision?

•    The concept of controlling the options to force the decision
o    This method is commonplace yet we choose to ignore it
o    There are not two political parties
o    The world is not B&W
o    There is no right or wrong answer
o    Yet our entire society is being reduced to 1 Bit decisions because that’s how computers & transistors work
o    Our laziness is so strong that we dilute the truth of life to On/Off decisions so we can automate them
o    Hence we try and reduce all the options down (and convince ourselves that there are fewer options) because then the psyops can work to steer you towards one path or another
o    This method is the cornerstone of all forms of marketing, publicity, “Big Data” harvesting, and other crimes against humanity
o    We are living in a 3 moves ahead chess game

•    Now back to consumption
o    Corporations have one mission – to make their shareholders richer
o    The shareholders control the board of the corporation
o    The board controls the directors, leaders, staff, etc
o    It all starts there – make the shareholders richer
o    They demand 10%+ growth year on year
o    How do you do that, particularly if the corporation is nearing the end of its natural life?
o    The bigger the corporation, the less capable it is to create something new
o    All output becomes a product of a committee and not a product of individual creativity
o    Why?  Because the enemy to a shareholder board is the individual

•    Hence the only way a corporation can fulfill its fiduciary duty is to produce a predictable product and sell it in volume to a susceptible market

•    Producing a predictable product is all about systems
•    A susceptible market is all about manipulation of decisions & hypnosis

•    The systems are typically the product of information, technology and proactive design

•    The market is all about psychology

•    So now, let’s get back to you – what exactly is your mission?
•    Is your mission to make the shareholders richer of a corporation you have no equity in?
•    Is your mission to be a good citizen of a country that is not run by elected officials, but more by those blessed and funded by those very same corporations?
•    So you listen to the media (owned and funded by said corporations) who tell you that up is down, right is left, black is white, etc.
•    You succumb to their hypnosis to keep you watching
•    So they stream in the ads between the segments that changes your behavior

•    If you need further proof, here’s a couple of stories:

o    The birth of subliminal advertising appears to have been first seen in 1957, when a market researcher named James Vicary inserted the words “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” into a movie.  The words appeared only in a single frame, long enough for the subconcious mind to pick it up, but too short for the viewer to be aware of it.  The result – 18.1% increase in Coke sales and 57.8% increase in popcorn sales.

o    In the 2000 US Presidential campaign – the one that came down to a handful of votes determining George Bush as the president of the USA, the Republican party ran a TV ad that inserted images of words in frames of the footage using the words “BUREAUCRATS” and then “RATS” to try and paint the Democrats as inhuman.  Although the FCC looked into the matter, they never issued any penalties for this.  But the results ended up favoring the Republican party and the rest is history.

•    The most perfect example of the power of psychology in our world is the Derren Brown film (you can find it on Netflix) called “The Push” in which he engineers a social experiment demonstrating how manipulation of the mind can lead an ordinary person to commit an appalling act – in this case to commit murder by pushing someone off the roof of a building.

The importance of this film is to show us just how susceptible we all are to psychological tricks – and it appears the greater the population in a group, the more susceptible we are.  The “Herd” are exactly the weakest attack vector to the savvy psyops agent.

•    The weakest of all of us are those that have no personal life mission – if you have no purpose of what you are doing, then anything seems to be ok.    If we create a society in which we remove the desire to find that purpose at a young age, by forcing our youth into education during their most formative years, we can create a mind that is highly susceptible to manipulation for the rest of its life.  We create a perception that the world is a 1 Bit experience – right or left, correct or incorrect, Boolean.  This is best manifested in our obsession with politics and to blame all of our wins or losses not on us – the individual, but on some political party in a white building somewhere.

•    So in this world of psyops, it is of no surprise that people over consume.  After all, we are being programmed to do that.

•    The reality is that every item that you buy requires real estate to hold it, unless you consume it.  Every item you buy eventually falls prey to entropy, and ends up in a landfill somewhere.

•    Often the life expectancy of an item is artificially limited – either by psyop (you must buy the latest iPhone kinda thing), or by designed obsolescence or by poor manufacturing quality.

•    Cars, for example, have routinely been designed to last 5 years – to coincide with the financing plans around them, so the car owner is perpetually in debt to a finance institution as they move from vehicle to vehicle.  All the while being enticed to the newer, shinier model, so that the car manufacturers can continue to push out more vehicles.  Mainly by robots.

•    When you visit a car graveyard as I do periodically, you see steel products that should have lasted longer than they did.  I remember that the last time I bought my wife a car, we traded in her mini-van for it.  I asked the car sales guy what happens to the mini-van?  He said, “I don’t know – probably will end up on the streets of Mexico City being used as a taxi or something.”.  Funny thing, when I went to Mexico City and saw all the cars there, it was like seeing my wife’s car everywhere I looked.  Yet they all work, provide income for the taxi drivers and Uber operators and got me and my family from point A to point B.

•    Every car we have, has to be garaged.  This means buying real estate to do that – real estate that the square footage for the car is often as large as many people’s apartments.  That land could have been used for income generation purposes, but we use it as a liability to the cars that we buy.  And many people buy many cars, forcing them to rent or purchase more land to house the cars as they depreciate in value.

•    The same is true of most of the items we find in our garage.  They were purchases in our history that represented something we were into at a point in our lives, and yet are no longer of interest to us.  Yet most of us won’t get rid of them – those items become like photos in a photo book of our past.  However the cost of the real estate to house them is paid for every month as we make a mortgage payment or rent payment.

•    The popularity of minimalism is understandable.  Tiny houses, living on the road in an RV or a van, etc. is attractive, but as we see even in modern day cinema, it may be the only option many have.  It just shows that where some people choose to have little, others have no choice.  But in both cases, they are still human and still deserve to seek out happiness – unconstrained.

•    There are many traps all around us at every corner.  The credit card that you buy that thing you don’t need, becomes reason to buy the thing you don’t need.  Whether it be the “frictionless” transaction experience or the reward points, they give you every reason to go into debt with someone else’s money to buy that thing you will eventually regret buying.

•    The concept of “retail therapy” and the cable TV channels and programming that promote it, show us just how suspectable we are to programming.  The TV programs are actually programming of us – they form a belief system and a philosophical way of thinking that we are not in control of.

•    Once you master the art of wealth extraction, then what?  Well it is control of behavior and manipulation of mass decision making.  You have to ask yourself who benefits from all of this, and then the smoke starts to clear and you realize you’ve been duped.  It’s ok – we’ve all been duped.  It is why your garage is full of crap you no longer need.

•    The art of saying NO to things is the starting point.  It is why some people are wealthy, secure and unconstrained.  And why others are not.  You will never be unconstrained if you keep spending money.  

•    There are many things you can do that can become habit to effectively refactor the programming of your mind and return the control back to you.

o    First, lose the credit cards altogether.  There is no reason to have them unless you are using them to harvest travel reward points.  And the only people who should be doing that are those that can maintain a 0 balance on the cards every month.  If you are not that person, then stop trying to be that person.  You’ve got work to do in other areas first.

o    Second, remove the perception that there is any benefit to you to have “frictionless transactions”.  No Apple Pay, No Samsung Pay, No Google Pay.  No NFTs.  No tap & pay.  Nothing.  Use cash, or crypto currency.  If you do that, so that the transaction is full of friction, you have yet another reason to stop and think before you buy that thing.

o    Before you spend anything more than $50, take 24 hours to think it over.  That means recognize that you desire to purchase something.  Then let that desire ferment.  If, after a few days, it is gone, then it wasn’t anything more than some short term need for something.  You will likely find 75% of those things go away.  Then you are 75% richer for doing that.  

o    Recognize the negative impact of your consumption on everyone else.  No, it is not creating jobs.  Don’t listen to that BS.  It is creating landfill content that we can’t sustain.  It is supporting communist regimes around the world that manufacture this crap.  It is supporting poison and other toxins that are leeched into our world directly or indirectly in order to make shareholders richer.  Ask any farmer in Australia what the impact of climate change is on their drought ridden crops, or people living in suburbia worried that the next fire season could be worse than the previous one that almost wiped them out.  Ask anyone in a flood plane or even in cities like Memphis or Houston that have become flood planes just how it feels to be paying a mortgage to a bank every month for a home you can’t sell because it is no longer desirable to live with the risk of weather events wiping you out.

o    But this isn’t about being a good citizen.  This is about being selfish.  I will go out on a limb – I’m not into the concept of conservation and climate science because I believe in it at a global level.  I’ll be honest – It is a 100% selfish thing.  I don’t want the place I live in to be a shit show.  That’s it.  It is that simple.  

o    Right now I’m seriously considering buying an estate in a foreign country and moving to live the majority of time in it.  A place I can farm, I have plenty of land, that isn’t suspectable to weather events – at least not as long as I and my family are around.  Yes, it may seem prepper, but that’s the reality.  Our over consumption of the crap we don’t need has created a place that is less enjoyable to be in, year after year.

•    Will any of this change and turn around?

o    No.  There are small slivers of hope.  I believe that electric cars will help.  Not because of their emissions.  But because the lack of mechanical moving parts will mean that a car should last 15 years.  And that maintenance on that driver train should be trivial.  But the problem here is battery technology.  What are people going to do with the batteries after they have reached their life expectancy of charge cycles?  What do you do with that old laptop computer you had that doesn’t hold a charge anymore?  Or that phone from 5 years ago that doesn’t hold a charge?  Do you throw it into the landfill because the manufacturer has some new & improved one which, by the way, solves the battery problem?  Or do you just find a 3rd party service center to replace the battery?  I know exactly what I do.

o    We are not reducing population.  This is not some conspiratorial statement, but in a world that has doubled its human population from the day I was born and likely will triple it by the day I die, I don’t see how we can stop consumption to a point where we don’t destroy every resource around us.  The concept of scarcity has become more of a subject of video games like SimCity than a reality that we are really facing.  The masses are entertained by series like The Walking Dead, only to realize that the bulk of the story line is not about Zombies, but how humans handle massive adverse events like pandemics, etc.  And how we go from a world of scarcity, to a world of natural abundance but that humans are now the scarce resource.

o    Yes, we should embrace sustainable power generation and sustainable food generation, etc.  But it is all for naught if you buy the 2021 iPhone.   Why?  Because the Apple shareholders expect their 10% year on year revenue increase and the only way to do that is to ensnare their customers into the “walled garden” of Apple products, so you get customer loyalty by way of hypnosis.  And guess what….  The day that iPhone is announced, there will be long lines of hypnosis infested humans camped out at 4AM to be the first to buy it.  If you can’t see that as the illustration of herd hypnosis, I don’t know what is.  

•    It all starts with you learning the art of NO

o    Everything you buy requires you to produce to get it.  Remember, you cannot produce less than you consume.  The only way to bridge that gap is with debt.  And debt is the enslavement that will ensure you are constrained.

o    When you need to buy something, mentally link the level of production required for it.  Your production.  The labor hours that you are giving away for that thing.  Know that you have a finite number of hours, and your time scarcity should be managed.  Is this the best way to manage it?

o    And that labor hours that you feel you have an infinite supply of – well, you don’t.  There’s a quality & quantity aspect here.  Your time would be better served being with your family or providing a way that your spouse doesn’t have to work 50 hours a week to provide for the family.  That comes down to the commitment to say NO to consumption.  Once you achieve that, then you can work better as a team on a common goal.

o    If you are buying things like cars, real estate, etc. and you don’t have a business case for buying them (ie. The real estate generates rental income that not only pays the mortgage, but generates equity in an increasing asset, etc.) then you have no business buying it.  Sure, we all need the odd bit of entertainment, but if your concept of entertainment is to immerse your head in a TV screen or a smartphone – only to be pumbled by psyops to force you to “talk to your doctor about ….” Or “you must have the latest ….” Then how the hell is that entertainment?

o    If you need to relax, go outside in the sunshine and read a book.  And don’t buy the damn book – go to the library.  Remember libraries?  Where people shared access to books?  Guess what – you are a person.  You deserve to be included in that community.  So take advantage of it.

•    Celebrate those that demonstrate extreme frugality

o    If you haven’t read it, find a copy of the book “The Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn.  You can find it used on eBay (yep, another way to avoid it going into a landfill), or you can probably find it at your local library.  There are 3 books in total and although they are dated, the principles still hold true.

o    Check out the YouTube channel “Prepper Princess”.  If you want to see how living a quality life looks like, on an extreme budget, that’s the best example I’ve seen in years.

•    You don’t have to be a minimalist

o    The most misunderstood thing here is that you don’t have to be a minimalist.  But when you travel like I do, you start to appreciate the real cost of carrying around more than you need.  Not only is it expensive with airline luggage costs, but it is just a royal PITA.  

o    You start to look towards more portable items – things that have little footprint.  Don’t buy books if you have to take them with you – get a Kindle.  Don’t buy a new printer.  Stop printing things and scan & email all your documents.  Rather than buying the latest iPhone, how about you pay off the one you have and unlock it so you can SIM swap to a cheaper phone plan, but also get SIM cards from all over the world in your travels.

o    You don’t need a massive wardrobe of clothes.  But someone who is homeless or has clothes scarcity probably would appreciate the sweater that no longer fits you, or that you want.  So how about donating it to Goodwill so they can enjoy it?

o    Don’t plan your vehicle purchases around your financing plans.  If you are thinking that you have 60 payments on a car, which means that in 60 months you buy a new car, stop it.  Your car, if properly maintained, will last you 20 years.  And if you spend all your time on the road, how about you find a way not to.  There has to be a job closer to home or that you can work from home.  Why are you taking the car as a cost of doing business when you probably don’t need to use it 9 times out of 10 if you changed the way you work.

o    Share.  Learn to share what you have with others.  Whether that is lending your lawn mower to your neighbor, or your family members, etc.  Then you only need one mower.  What about your Internet?  Do you need 500mb/s of bandwidth?  Really?  What if you segmented it and let your neighbor onto your Wifi?  You both could then share the cost of it.  

•    Move to buying everything local

o    If you use cash to purchase most of what you need, and you buy it from local farmers, service providers, etc. then you begin to create the parallel society that will be there if the world goes to shit.  The relationships that you build in that economy will be longer lasting.  It will self-police based on quality because reputation is everything.  People start to act like decent human beings because it is in their interest to do so.  They can’t survive in that economy if their reputation is poor, so they do what is needed to ensure win-win situations.

o    The quality of the product when you seek out “farm to table” options is far better.  You won’t need to eat as much when the flavors are not diluted with chemicals to allow them to store for weeks.  You can complain that it is more expensive to buy your produce at the local farmer’s market, but it actually is cheaper because you probably won’t need as much.  Which means less consumption, which means those things don’t own you.

o    Start to sell off what is in your garage.  The decluttering of your mind is the greatest benefit, but more important it is a way to generate cash income.  Or accept crypto-currency.  You get the currency without a counter party sitting between you and the transaction, like a troll on a bridge.  If you are selling that old motorcycle that you never ride to someone, demand cash or crypto.  What a great way to generate real money rather than some credit card transaction.  Avoid Venmo, Cashapp, etc.  They are just scams that will extract money or privacy from you.  Cash works.  Accept it.

o    Don’t let borders stop you.  If you are lucky enough to live near an international border, consider that economies are different on both sides of the border.  So traverse the border to your benefit.  If you absolutely need something, go to where you are treated best to get it.  That way you will plan out the purchase, and you won’t fall prey to a high priced, low quality option just because it is close by.  If we all just have an excuse for why we are going to pay 5x as much for something because we are either too lazy or too busy avoiding the reality of life, then we only have ourselves to blame.  Most of the time the real reason you are strapped to the chair at work all the time is because you bought things you couldn’t afford, use credit to bridge the gap between production & consumption, and sold off your time well ahead to some banker or counter party so you are now enslaved.

•    Debrief & learn

o    Of all the things you have, how many do you actually use?  And in retrospect, what purchases were smart and what were dumb?  It is ok – we all make mistakes.  It is human.  It is normal.  It is common.  But what allows you to transcend is to step away emotionally, review and debrief the situation and learn.

o    What could you have done differently?  What would have avoided the mistake?

o    What are you going to do right now to remedy it?  Can you sell that item and reclaim some of the money from it?  Let’s be real – you won’t get back what you spent for it.  Unless it is some piece of fine art or collectable, it won’t do that.  And most of the time, if you are waiting around for something to become a collectable, the day to day costs of real estate, power, heating/cooling, etc. that is needed to protect it from its natural entropy means that your perception of what it really cost you is probably about 10x less than the true cost of ownership.  So maybe it is better to quit it and remove that cost from perpetuating.

o    Remember – for the most part, you don’t own things.  Things own you.

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