Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Is 2012 The End Of The World Or The Peak Bubble In Crazy?

What better way to kick off 2012 than with a post about the end of the world?  If one is willing to look, there are literally millions of web sites and countless organizations (crowds) around the world espousing some type of apocalyptic outcome to this year.  I’m going to combine countless of my prior posts into a cohesive view as it pertains to 2012 and the interests associating this year with the end of the world.   Yes, this post is very substantially tied to economics.   

We have talked about the madness of crowds and unsubstantiated beliefs countless times on here.  As a part of that, I noted several times that Gustave Le Bon’s seminal work on crowds is a favorite of mine.  Since Le Bon wrote his work around one hundred years ago, there aren’t too many economic entities attempting to protect its financial worth.  So, you can order it on Amazon for next to nothing or, since the last time I highlighted Le Bon’s work, it has now become available to read online or download for free.   How fun is that?  Don’t say I never gave you anything. 

By crowd or by mob, I am talking about any group of people whose purpose is driven by the basal animal instincts and its associated lower order processing of the pre-human brain (amygdala) rather than by reason and the search for truth that is characteristic of human consciousness and our higher order brain activity (cortex). 

One person or a small group of people may be instigators of the crowd but once it achieves some level of critical mass, it takes on a life of its own.  As Le Bon essentially remarked, the crowd or mob takes on an identity of the most base and unreasoned characteristics of any entity or mind contained within it.  Or, should I say, the characteristics of its most inhumane, unhuman, unreasoned and often insane participants.   Adolph Hitler, clearly psychotic and insane, was an incarnation of the crowd.  Our society today is dominated by crowds.  Often unreasoned, inhuman, self-interested factions fighting each other and society over a world that doesn’t exist anywhere but in their own mind.  And their behavior is often driven substantially by animal instincts including fear, anger, terror and other pre-human, impulsive, unreasoned brain functions that leads to the dynamic of crowds or mobs. 

While this post may not seem to have any particular relevance to economics, it most certainly does.   The study of human behavior and associated social dynamics is economics.  Economics is not the knobs and dials of data such as the Purchasing Manager Index or Gross Domestic Product.  Why do you think a majority survey of economists has never, in the history of the profession, anticipated any major economic shift or catastrophe?  Because economics as it is taught is a myth.  A belief system of hocus pocus.  In other words, if most economists today were told they needed to understand human behavior rather than sitting in their office cubicle, far away from society, playing with their GDP spreadsheets and dreaming up endlessly useless statistical theories, they never would have chosen economics as a profession.  The wrong people who don’t understand human and social behavior are taught the wrong topics.  And, so we have a completely useless profession that would never perpetuate itself were it actually have to compete on merit in the real world.   

Human and social behavior is the real world.   What is going on in society today as it pertains to this post is severely impacting economics and our society.   It is in fact a driving force in both.  

Charlatans, soothsayers, conspiracy theorists, politicians, political parties, UFO conspirators, 9-11 truthers, extremists, political PACs driven by enormous special interest money, lobbyists, Wall Street, apocalypters,  the military-industrial complex, demagogues, haters, anthropenic climate fear mongers, fear mongers of all types, Nostradomus cultists, anti-government militias, survivalists, Mayan calendar terrorizing, prophecies, 2012 religious manipulators and the like are rampant in the world today.   These are all examples of people or organizations that incite the crowd, not through truth, but through paranoia, fear, divisiveness, anger and hate.   They all perpetuate some level of delusion to the crowd.     

There is no ancient text that prophesizes about 2012 being the end of the world.  The Mayan texts, most of which were burned by the Catholic Church, thank you very much, never said that 2012 was the end of the world.  (It wasn’t just the Nazis who loved book burning.  All unaccountable bureaucracies who have the ability to create a mob-mentality through its followers seek control and perpetuation over truth and knowledge.)  The Mayans understood to some degree, of which we really don’t know, the cyclicality of life.  And may have even understood the earth’s precession as the basis of that cyclicality. (NASA)  

The Nostradamus writings or quatrains, which are akin to wildly vague gibberish that any self-interested mind could hijack and exploit for personal power or greed, never foretold of Hitler as is often cited and never foretold of 2012 being the end of the world.  Don’t listen to the people telling you he did.  Read his work yourself.  It just isn’t there unless you have a wildly overactive imagination capable of substantial rear view mirror curve-fitting.      

There is also nothing in historical Christian texts associated with 2012.  Period.  Do you know how many times the power mad have hijacked religion to terrorize people into believing a particular time is the end of the world?  Martin Luther told his followers that the Pope was the Antichrist 500 years ago.  Every time we see an uptick in fear or uncertainty, the power-mad exploiters  are there to step up the rhetoric about the world ending.  As an aside, does anyone else find it one of the world’s greatest paradoxes that Jesus of Nazareth was just about the most anti-religious person in history yet religion is foundationally based on worshipping him?  From all accounts, Jesus of Nazareth was a spiritual (inner truth, love, compassion and connectedness to the cycle of life) mystic and even his healings and many sermons were based on well-understood Essenes mysticism.  From what we know, Jesus of Nazareth completely rejected the formal ideology surrounding religion because of its influence by man (mob-crowd) and corruption-manipulation by  the human ego.   How many people throughout history have died in the name of religion?  We see these very reasons today in the  exploitation of religion and the associated crowd that is so common. 

Similarly,  the remarks about aliens giving us the knowledge of how to build pyramids or how to build  semiconductors is based on what?  A hieroglyph?   And where are those beliefs coming from that aliens are going to come back to save us in 2012?  If one understands even rudimentary capabilities of science, they would know the human mind is more than capable of this type of invention.  Being someone who has earned a living in this field, I can assure you that we didn't need to crack open some secret spaceship's control system to reverse engineer a microprocessor. It's quite well understood physics and the creation of the human mind. 

UFOs?  Isn’t it rather preposterous to imagine that a life form with the intelligence and knowledge to likely bend space and time to come to planet earth would then be so unsophisticated that its mode of transport crashes into a field like a 1955 Chevy that blew a piston rod?  And then our government is going to pick them up and hide them in Area 51.  Or that they are going to fly past my neighborhood like a B-17.   From what we understand, it could very well be plausible that earth is the  only source of intelligent life.   

The reality is we don’t know what we don’t know.  And, that ignorance truly does create a sense of bliss.  Of peacefulness knowing what you don’t know.   The human mind is capable of inventing and curve fitting incredible fantasies to 2012 or countless conspiracies or other paranoid mob-created delusions that exist no where else but in our mind.  Then through the speed of dissemination of the internet, television, mass marketing and media, we create a crowd mentality that then adopts the delusions of a single person’s mind.    Umm, can you say that is how Adolph Hitler came to power? 

The world has seen all of this insanity before.  Countless times.  This is all part of the madness of crowds that is as old as civilization.

What social sciences and the study of human behavior tells us about this type of mob mentality is that it does often come in the end of times.   Not just the end of times that many in today’s mobs would have us believe.  It is the end of times as defined by a destabilized society.  A destabilized society where the whims of man and the associated crowd have arisen to replace the rule of law and reason.  A destabilized society where secrecy, paranoia, fear, unstable economics and Social Darwinism or survival of the fittest has often replaced sanity, reason, transparency, democracy and the rule of law.  We are a society  ruled by the whims of man and that often leads to the unstable crowd that Le Bon wrote about.    

Anyone who becomes part of any crowd outsources their search for truth, their life’s path and their own identity to someone else.  Aldous Huxley once said that nearly one in four people are so impressionable they will believe anything authority tells them.   Is it really one in four?  Does it matter?  Many people seek an identity provided by someone else.   Who is consistently there to provide it?  The politician and political parties who spend billions manipulating the crowd.   President Obama was many people’s savior.  Someone who was going to make their life better.  Well, only you are going to make your life better.  Those who fall prey to political misinformation, charlatans and other manipulators have outsourced their thinking.  They are part of the crowd.  That is the whole basis of politics as it is practiced in the United States today.  

Yes, many historical individuals and civilizations have foretold of major shifts in the future.  Do any of them have merit?  We really don’t know.  Are some people capable of seeing the future?  Again, we really don’t know.  Or were their future predications based on the same elements of manipulating the crowd to terrorize people for some personal profit or motive as we see today? 

Some ancient science did understand the  cyclical aspect to life.  Some foretold of negative consequences and some foretold of positive.  One positive foretelling is that soon the vernal equinox will move beyond that of Pisces to that of Aquarius.   In other words, we will soon be entering the Age of Aquarius or a period believed to be marked by harmony, peace and understanding for humankind.  Yes, that may all be gibberish too.  (Interestingly, but of no reasoned relevance, the most brilliant mathematician ever to live, Isaac Newton, believed in the coming Age of Aquarius.)  Regardless, my point is that there is substantially less money to be made by foretelling of a better world than terrorizing the animal instinct of unreasoned fear that exists within all of us.   And, that is not consistent with human behavior.  ie, The mob or the crowd always resolves itself to the most base animal instinct.  And the unstable human mind seeks to control and the easiest mechanism to accomplish this is through terror and fear.  ie, Fear sells if you are intent on creating a crowd or a following.  

Life is cyclical.  We already know that.    As we wrote years ago, when the Roman empire collapsed, some measurements concluded that global wealth peaked for 1,000 years.   Could that happen again?   We don’t know. 

So, what do we know?  We know that beliefs are driven by many dynamics including crowds.  We know that most beliefs are unsubstantiated and therefore are only relevant to our personal journey.  We therefore know that society cannot be based on beliefs.  We know that anytime a belief becomes part of a larger dynamic, and it is not based on reason or the search for truth, it could have a detrimental effect.  We must therefore conclude that a civilized, reasoned and rational society must not be ruled by beliefs.  It must be ruled by rules.  Rules that are based on reason and not unsubstantiated beliefs.  That is why we have a separation of church and state.  And, similarly, just as rules govern our society, they must govern our economy.  Regulations are the rule of law applied to economics.   The free market, void of regulation is an unsubstantiated belief not founded in reason or rules.    

So let’s turn this back to economics.  When reason and its associated rules and laws are dismantled, a civilized society becomes less civilized.   When rules and laws are dismantled, they are replaced by the whims of man.   Then, when we see the rise of man in lieu of laws, civility and reason, we often see those most able to create or manipuate a following or a crowd rise to levels of authority.   And, what is the most effective method of manipulating the human condition?  Of creating a crowd?  It is through fear.  That is the method of those who are best able to manipulate the crowd.  ie, The charlatans, soothsayers, conspiracy theorists, politicians, political party leaders, UFO conspirators, 9-11 truthers,  political PACs attempting to manipulate, lobbyists, Wall Street con men, apocalypters,  the military-industrial complex, demagogues, haters, anthropenic climate fear mongers, Nostradomus cultists, anti-government militias, survivalists, Mayan calendar fear mongers, prophesizers, 2012 religious manipulators and the like that seem to be rampant in the United States today. 

Today, in this country, we see endless examples of crowds defending unsubstantiated beliefs rather than defending reason, civility, respect and the rule of law.  

It was a generation ago that the United States was the envy of the world in literature, art, science, economics, freedom, reason and the rule of law.   Today all of those dynamics are still there.  But, the difference is that we have also become much more of a source of charlatans, soothsayers, conspiracy theorists, politicians, political party leaders, UFO conspirators, 9-11 truthers,  political PACs attempting to manipulate, lobbyists, Wall Street con men, apocalypters,  the military-industrial complex, demagogues, haters, anthropenic climate fear mongers, Nostradomus cultists, anti-government militias, survivalists, Mayan calendar fear mongers, prophesizers, 2012 religious manipulators and the like. 

What has happened?  It’s the rise of the crowd or the mob.  Of special interests driven not by reason, the rule of law, respect or the search for truth but instead by personal profit and power.  This dynamic exists primarily because we have a government that is for sale.  And, that government is willing to dismantle or rewrite or manipulate the rule of law to the highest bidder regardless of reason or intent.    That highest bidder might be the military-industrial complex or it might be Saudi Arabia or it might be corporations or it might be religious fanatics.   But what is common is that the vacuum created by the dismantling of the society’s rule of law and our economic rule of law (regulation) has created a form of anarchy.  Survival of the fittest.  The free market as Orwellian dunces and Wall Street con men  like to call it.  Those most able to shit on their fellow man  or manipulate and terrorize  gain power or an audience (crowd) has often risen to replace the rule of law in a society.   Think Adolph Hitler. 

The power vacuum that exists with the dismantling of the rule of law has been replaced by the whims of man.  Now you know what it is like to live in a society dominated by the whims of man in lieu of a society of laws and reason.  That is, often the most disturbed minds have gained authority. 

Today the United States looks a lot like Germany after World War I.   We have a broken economy, massive poverty and a society still run by the military-industrial complex, elites and the money both used to bribe government into a self-serving, self-fulfilling catastrophe.   Within a short period of time, Germany, which was once the European bastion of liberty, art, culture, science and progressive ideals became home to a dystopian post World War I society full of charlatans, soothsayers, conspiracy theorists, politicians, political party leaders, lobbyists, corporate  con men, apocalypters,  the military-industrial complex, demagogues, haters, and others who went mainstream.   After World War I, a war driven by elites, the corporate state and their interests,  society and the rule of law crumbled under an anarchy of self-interested authority.  Germany became dominated by the whims of man in lieu of civility, respect, reason and the rule of law.  And, that power vacuum gave rise to the con man, the manipulator and the associated crowd willing to embrace their beliefs.    Germany was full of the same type of prophetic, conspiratorial, and apocalyptic crowds as the United States today.  In fact, apocalypters in Germany also foretold of the end of the world at that time.   Adolph Hitler’s rise was a product of a devolving society and collapsing rule of law driven by corporate and the military-industrial complex induced government corruption.   Now, the United States is not likely to become Nazi Germany for reasons we have discussed before.  But, the point is to highlight the spiraling instability of a society being stripped of reason, civility and its associated rule of law in favor of the whims of man.  

This is all directly tied to the crumbling of society and the values of its political class.  A fish rots from the head first.   Fix our government and our society will recover.  And, so will our economy.   It’s that simple. 

If we don’t restore the rule of law, respect and reason to our society by fixing our government, the charlatan, the manipulator, the banksters and the con man will only gain more control and our society.  And with it we will see an ever-increasing scope and scale of crowds similar to the 2012 true believers.  And that means our society will continue down the path of devolving into into some type of Orwellian, post-apocalyptic dystopia with even greater wealth disparity, greater poverty, greater unemployment, greater corruption and even more insanity replacing reason and the rule of laws.

2012, rather than being the end of the world, could very well be the peak bubble in crazy.  Crazy is the new black.

posted by TimingLogic at 11:58 AM

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