Going off the trail on a hiking path, even if the intent is to take a shortcut in order to take less time or travel less, often ends up taking more time and resulting in more travel. Often, shortcuts are not quicker, easier ways to get somewhere. If the goal is only to arrive somewhere quickly and easily, shortcuts are often a bad idea.

But that’s not always the goal. Hiking paths are almost never used to get somewhere quickly and easily. Actually, most of the time the hiker intends to arrive exactly where they start. In that case if the goal was to get there quickly and easily, there would be no hike.

The real goal of hiking is typically something that can be attained better, despite the risks, by going off the path.

Thinking is similar.

The Rich and Powerful Who Want to Become More Rich and Powerful

The people who own massive corporations have an interest in reducing the barriers between countries, because that allows them to expand their pool of potential customers and potential employees. A massive corporation provides massive wealth and power to its owners.

Especially in an age when people don’t pay for news media directly–meaning that people are not even providing a financial incentive for news outlets to cater to their interest–a news outlet provides control over public opinion and sentiment to its owner or dominant influencer, such as advertisers. Because of their massive wealth and power, the owners of massive corporations have the means of massively owning or influencing news media and therefore public opinion and sentiment.

The least corrupt and most ideal form of democracy grants the power of government to the people, that is, to public opinion and sentiment.

Power of government can be used to make some corporations more successful (and therefore greater generators of wealth and greater sources of power) with things like regulations (that for example burden competitors more), tax policy, special jurisdiction (for example, a government-granted/enforced monopoly), and affecting court cases (for example winning suits against competitors, dropping cases brought against them).

This means that there’s a potential feedback loop where rich and powerful people may be able to increase their wealth, corporate ownership, media control, and government power at a progressively more rapid rate to the point where a few of them have most or all of it.

At no point in this process is there any kind of selection for virtue, and in an environment where there are no disincentives for unvirtuous behaviour it should be expected that those who act without virtue (lie, cheat, steal, murder) will have an advantage over those who act with virtue.

There is also no guarantee at all that those who gain power this way consider themselves to be on the same “side” or “team” as the people they then have power over.

How could this process be detected? How would we know it’s happening?

It would result in a situation where the message from massive corporations, mainstream news outlets, and politicians is in alignment, and where the actions of these reinforce, support, and strengthen each other. There would also be a significant overlap in the ownership of massive corporations and mainstream news media outlets, and if that information is public knowledge then specific names could be found, and connections to politicians and top bureaucrats could be found.

To keep the sentences shorter, non-governmental organisations (charities, global entities), academic institutions, religious organisations, unions, ethnic groups etc. were left out, but it’s easy to see how ownership of or influence on these can be wealth and power accumulation multipliers.

Shutting down most businesses but leaving a few massive corporations running while at the same time providing money to a large number of people from the government is a transfer of wealth from the government (tax payers) to massive corporations, and is a situation that is very profitable to those who own those massive corporations.

Good Life

Good life is achieved by transitioning from being motivated by negative to being motivated by positive.

Choosing to be motivated by good rather than being imposed upon by bad.

Greatness of character, of deed, and of work can arise from terrible things. War can produce glorious courage, scarcity and famine can produce admirable work ethic and innovation, despair can produce profound insight and beauty. But these things are still terrible.

If one could be that gloriously courageous without needing war, disciplined and ingenious without needing scarcity, and insightful and artistic without despairing, this would be even better.

And the best way to do that is to be and do these things not merely to avoid the negative, but because they are good and desired themselves. In order to do that, a stronger motivation than the terror, suffering, and misery of war, famine, and despair is needed, and it needs to be chosen. Terror, suffering, and misery push, they are influences exerted from without, external to the self. The greatness and good the produce are reactive.

What is needed is something willingly chosen, and active impulse from within, something that is not merely a counter-action to external conditions and impositions, but is instead always present and is a source of motivation that is not contingent. At its core this is love, and is expressed in thought, action, and work in myriad forms of the Good–truth, beauty, and virtue.

This means subordinating negative, reactive motivations of fear, anger, and misery to the primacy of Good; not suppressing them, fleeing from them, opposing them, trying to ignore them, but just not acting from them as motivations. Fear can be information that warns, anger can rouse, misery can focus, but they should not be put in charge. In their right places, they are useful helpers.

Mental Grounding

It’s easy to get pushed around psychically by external influences, especially when they’re emotionally “loud”, or your tired, or distracted, or otherwise mentally distressed, and to have them influence your thinking in an automatic and reactive way, and thereby fall into fear and despair, so try to remember to ground yourself in that inner core of your being from which you are able to love (others and the good–truth, beauty, and virtue) and to perceive the ultimate benevolence behind the world.

When I manage to do this, I often become overwhelmed with gratitude for how good my life is, and I’m able to value even some horrific experiences.

The state is facing the biggest mass protest in a long time

The state is facing the biggest mass protest in a long time and, through the media outlets it controls and influences, is trying to discredit it by accusing its participants of the most heinous transgressions in state ideology. Of course, why wouldn’t it? It would be more surprising if it didn’t.

But they’re burning their floorboards to stay warm. People who are in the protest or supportive of it know what it’s about and are likely to feel strongly and confidently about it, so when they see state media reporting absurd nonsense it will backfire and they’ll instead end up discrediting themselves. This is significant because support for the protest is widespread, strong, and growing. There are a lot of people who will now stop believing the news/entertainment, and so it will become less effective as a social manipulation tool.

Pay attention to who clings to the narrative the longest

Pay attention to who clings to the narrative the longest, who’s still adhering to it even now. Not because you should be angry or resentful towards them, but because it’s important information about them, and very valuable when deciding the weight that you should give to their advice and opinions and analysis on other matters. You can dearly love someone who says 2 + 2 = 5, but you wouldn’t hire them to do your accounting.

The Shots Are a Loyalty Pledge

Some people took the shots because they decided it was a good idea for their health. Good for them, I’m glad they were able to get the treatment they wanted.

Separate from that, the way our governments are using the shots is as a loyalty pledge. In order to be considered a fully citizen in good standing, in order to be effectively “on their side”, people need to prove that they will do what they’re told. In this function, the risk of harm from the shots is a feature, not a bug, since taking a loyalty pledge that could be dangerous is a greater demonstration of loyalty.

No one should be in denial that by participating in a passport system or a mandate they are tacitly endorsing it, which means they are approving of the discrimination and social and financial attacks on those who don’t–at the very least, that’s how our governments will see it.

Everyone’s situation is unique; we have different vulnerabilities and different responsibilities. Some are less able to resist the coercive measures than others because they feel a stronger need for the things that would otherwise be withheld from them (entertainment, socialising, etc.). Some may be forced to participate in this system in order to feed their families.

But just as there may be situations where one needs to steal to feed one’s family, stealing remains wrong. If you allow the necessities of your situation to push you to believe the passport systems and mandates are good or OK, then the manipulations being done to you have succeeded in corrupting you, and you have lost your most important freedom and autonomy: your independent ability to determine for yourself what is good for you and what you ought to do. The most important place to be free is your mind.

Please take this in the way it is meant–as something for you to consider for yourself for your own benefit. I don’t want to try to change peoples’ behaviour by inducing a sense of guilt in them. Stoking peoples’ negative emotions (fear, anger, resentment, despair) in order to manipulate them isn’t the way I’d prefer to interact with people, my preference instead is to appeal to higher ideals and motivations than that (and in any case, my power to manipulate people in that way is massively dwarfed by the abilities on the other side, so it would be pointless to try even if I wanted to).

How to Listen to the Experts

The point of an expert is to give you some knowledge you don’t have, either because they’ve studied the topic more, or they have some experience you don’t have, or they’re better able to understand something complex, etc. It’s up to you to then decide what to do with that knowledge.

The point of an expert is not to tell you what to do. Listening to an expert does not mean simply doing what they say. Being an expert does not mean dictating motivations, values, interests, and fundamental assumptions about the word–these are things you choose for yourself (if you are free) and then use to interpret and assess the expert’s knowledge, and from this synthesis make a decision.

Are Social Media Owners Motivated by Greed?

The purpose of censorship on social media is sometimes said to be solely for maximising profit. The motivation is purely to keep people engaged so that they’re exposed to more ads, so that there is more ad revenue, and therefore opinions, ideas, and values that would scare away advertisers need to be blocked.

This misses the most valuable aspect of what a mass social medium (like Facebook or Twitter) offers. Especially now, when direct unmediated human interaction is rare, for a significant proportion of people, a significant proportion of their interaction and communication is through online media. Peoples’ understanding of what’s happening in the world, what the world is, what is good, and nearly everything else comes through these online media.

For most people, the biggest influence on what they believe is their peer group, or whatever person or group they hold in high esteem. It’s difficult to overstate the intensity of social instincts in humans–people tend to act from these without thinking, without being conscious of it. And fear of ostracization and isolation can overpower even fear of death, as demonstrated by people who kill themselves when something taboo about themselves is revealed (whether true or not), or when they believe that no one loves them.

The real value in controlling social media and online communication in general is the power that comes from being able to manipulate and fake peoples’ perceptions of what their peer group or esteemed group believes and thereby manipulate and alter their beliefs. If communicating some concept or expressing some value becomes forbidden and impossible then people won’t form beliefs based on them.

But even if it’s not fully suppressed, even labelling and categorising it as somehow not OK is enough to signal to peoples’ social instincts that it should be avoided. While this applies most to those who have respect for the institution that applies the label, even those who don’t will still be influenced, they still understand in a sub-conscious instinctual way that these concepts or values should be avoided. At the scale of these institutions, a large effect isn’t required on the individual level in order for there to be large effects on society.

Belief is the basis for power. Armies of men with guns are very powerful, but only if they believe in the legitimacy of the authority that directs them. If that belief goes, the authority can’t wield the power, and it goes too.

Remember, Twitter was able to censor the American president, who in popular imagination is (or was) considered the most powerful man on the planet.

If the people in control of a social medium were solely motivated by profit, and were somehow ignorant and unaware of the power they held, then they would be greatly undervaluing their asset, and because of this would likely sell it to someone who understands its true value and wants its power.

Without peering into the minds of those who actually control these institutions (whoever they are), we may not know for sure that they aren’t solely motivated by profit, but given what we know about the nature of these institutions (they are means to power), and given what we know about the richest and most powerful people (that they want more riches and power, and wouldn’t be hindered by moral considerations), it seems too unlikely, and a bad assumption to make.