Myths We Live By

American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths

studiostoks / Shutterstock

Our society should’ve collapsed by now. You know that, right?

No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.

Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.

So … shouldn’t there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn’t it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren’t on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone’s going to work at gunpoint? No. We’re all choosing to continue on like this.

Why?

Well, it comes down to the myths we’ve been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.

I’m going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I’m going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled “Hundreds of Myths of American Society,” (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other shit to do.

Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.

If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.

Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.

Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!

What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?

No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world. Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he’s driving the car? That’s what our election system is—a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, “I’m steeeeering!”

And I know it’s counterintuitive, but that’s why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what’s stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.

Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.

Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.

Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.

The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”

If you’re not part of the monied class, you’re pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times, “97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence.”

That’s the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don’t have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn’t advertise on beer coasters.)

Myth No. 4—The police are here to protect you. They’re your friends.

That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)

The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.

We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.

Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.

This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).

If we’re lucky, we’ll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn’t truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Nowdoes your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you’ll feel alive!

The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won’t keep running around the wheel. And if we aren’t running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.

Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.

According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.

Ask yourself what we’re working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:

I plant the food—>I eat the food—>If I don’t plant food = I die.

But nowadays, if you work at a café—will someone die if they don’t get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-piss-latte? I kinda doubt they’ll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.

If you work at Macy’s, will customers perish if they don’t get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could’ve known. So that means we’re all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.

So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we’re not doing that at all. And no one’s allowed to ask these questions—not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn’t compute with our cultural programming.

Scientists say it’s quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years. I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don’t need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, “Stop it. … Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic.”

One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and … leave the shirts wrinkly.

And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.

Myth No. 1—You are free.

And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.

I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.

Try building a fire in a parking lot to keep warm in the winter.

Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.

Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.

Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, “Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore.”

Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don’t have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you’ve drawn on a napkin to give them instead.

Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)

Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something … while black.

We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever.

Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it’s almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)

Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers—most of the time—don’t need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.

It’s time to wake up.

If you think this column is important, please share it. Also, check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show “Redacted Tonight” and weekly podcast “Common Censored.”

Lee Camp
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show “Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp” on RT America. He is a former comedy writer for…
from:    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-society-would-collapse-if-it-werent-for-these-8-myths/

Signs of the TImes

There is Something Extraordinary Happening in the World

Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.

A few months ago I freed myself from standard-procedure society, I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unaware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll point out the 8 reasons that lead me to believe it.

No one can stand the employment model any longer

We are reaching our limits. People working with big corporations can’t stand their jobs. The lack of purpose knocks on your door as if it came from inside you like a yell of despair.

People want out. They want to drop everything. Take a look on how many people are willing to risk entrepreneurship, people leaving on sabbaticals, people with work-related depression, people in burnout.

2. The entrepreneurship model is also changing

Over the past few years, with the explosion of startups, thousands of entrepreneurs turned their garages in offices to bring their billion dollar ideas to life.

The vortex of entrepreneurship was to find an investor and get funded. To be funded was like winning the World Cup, or the Super Bowl.

But what happens after you get funded?

You get back to being an employee. You may have brought in people not sharing your dream, not in agreement with your purpose and soon it’s all about the money. The financial end becomes the main driver of your business.

People are suffering with it. Excellent startups began to tumble because the money seeking model is endless.

A new way to endeavor is needed. Good people are doing it already.

3. The rise of collaboration

Many people have figured out that it doesn’t make any sense to go on by yourself. Many people have awakened from the “each man for himself” mad mentality.

Stop, take a step back and think. Isn’t it absurd that we, 7 billion of us living in the same planet, have grown further apart from each other? What sense does it make to turn your back on the thousands, maybe millions, of people living around you in the same city? Every time it crosses my mind, I feel blue.

Fortunately, things are changing. Sharing, collaborative economy concepts are being implemented, and it points towards a new direction. The direction of collaborating, of sharing, of helping, of togetherness.

This is beautiful to watch. It touches me.

4. We are finally figuring out what the internet is

The internet is an incredibly spectacular thing and only now, after so many years, we are understanding its power. With the internet the world is opened, the barriers fall, the separation ends, the togetherness starts, the collaboration explodes, the helping emerges.

Some nations saw true revolutions that used the internet as the primary catalyst, such as the Arab Spring. Here in Brazil we are just starting to make a better use out of this amazing tool.

Internet is taking down mass control. The big media groups controlling news by how it suits best what they want the message to be and what they want us to read are no longer the sole owners of information. You go after what you want. You bond to whomever you want. You explore whatever you may want to.

With the advent of the internet, the small is no longer speechless, there is a voice. The anonymous become acknowledged. The world comes together. And then the system may fall.

5. The fall of exaggerated consumerism

For too long, we’ve been manipulated to consume as much as we possibly can. To buy every new product launched, the newest car, the latest iPhone, the top brands, lots of clothes, shoes, lots and lots and lots of pretty much anything we could our hands on.

Going against the crowd, many people have understood that this of way off. Lowsumerism, slow life and slow food are a few excerpts of actions being taken as we speak, pointing out by contradiction how absurdly we have come to organize ourselves.

Fewer people are using cars, fewer people are overspending, and more people are swapping clothes, buying used goods, sharing assets, cars, apartments, offices.

We don’t need all of that they told us we needed. And this consciousness of new consumerism can take down any company living of the exaggerated end of it.

6. Healthy and organic eating

We were so crazy we even accepted eating anything! It only needed to taste good, and everything would be alright.

We were so disconnected that companies started to poison our food and we didn’t say anything!

But then some people started waking up, enabling and strengthening healthy and organic eating.

This is only to get stronger.

But what has this got to do with economy and work? Just about everything, I’d say.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society. If we change our mindset, our eating habit and our way of consuming, corporations will have to respond and adapt to a new market.

The small farmer is getting back to being relevant to the whole chain of production. Even people are growing plants and seeds inside their homes as well.

And that reshapes the whole economy.

7. The awakening of spirituality

How many friends do you have who practice yoga? What about meditation? Now think back, 10 years ago, how many people did you know by then who practiced these activities?

Spirituality, for too long, was for esoteric folks, those weird-like and mystic people.

But fortunately, this is also changing. We’ve come to the edge of reason and rationality. We were able to realize that, with only our conscious mind, we can’t figure out everything that goes by here. There is something else going on and I’m sure you want to get hold of that as well.

You want to understand how these things work.

How life operates, what happens after death, what is this energy thing people talk about so much, what is quantum physics, how thoughts can be materialized and create our sense of reality, what is coincidence and synchronicity, why meditation works, how it’s possible to cure using nothing but bare hands, how those alternative therapies not approved by regular medicine can actually work.

Companies are providing meditation to their employees. Even schools are teaching the young how to meditate. Think about it.

8. Unschooling trends

Who created this teaching model? Who chose the classes you have to take? Who chose the lessons we learn in history classes? Why didn’t they teach us the truth about other ancient civilizations?

Why should kids follow a certain set of rules? Why should they watch everything in silence? Why should they wear a uniform? What about taking a test to prove that you actually learned?

We developed a model that perpetuates and replicates followers of the system. That breed people into ordinary human beings.

Fortunately, a lot of people are working to rethink that though concepts such as unschooling, hackschooling, homeschooling.

Maybe you’ve never thought of that and even may be in shock. But it’s happening. Silently, people are being woken up and are realizing how crazy it is to live in this society.

Look at all these new actions and try to think everything is normal we were taught so far is normal. I don’t think it is.

There is something extraordinary happening.

from:    http://humansarefree.com/2015/12/there-is-something-extraordinary.html

Check Out Your Thinking

Several Signs That You Are A Slave To The Matrix

Filed in Matrix Articles by on July 18, 2016

matrix-big2From bibliotecapleyades.net

Today’s world is a strange place.

 We are inundated with signals from early on in life, encouraging each of us to walk a particular path, establishing blinders on us along the way to discourage us from looking for alternatives to what the herd is doing or thinking.

 Life is so complex that overtime, if we are paying attention, we realize that there are an infinite number of possibilities to what the human experience could be, and we come see that the world is on fire because individuals all too infrequently question why things are the way they are, failing to notice that their mindset or behavior needs adjustment in favor of more intelligent, common sensical, or sustainable patterns of existence.

 Not meant to be overtly critical of anyone’s lifestyle choices or personal situation, the following signs that you’re a slave to the Matrix are meant purely as an observational approach to helping you identify the areas of your life where you may be missing an opportunity to liberate yourself from someone else’s self-destructive design for your life.

  1. You pay taxes to people you’d like to see locked up in jail

    This is perhaps the biggest indicator that we are slaves to the Matrix. The traditional notion of slavery conjures up images of people in shackles forced to work on plantations to support rich plantation owners.

    The modern day version of this is forced taxation, where our incomes are automatically docked before we ever see the money, regardless of whether or not we approve of how the money is spent.

  2. You go to the doctor, but you’re still sick

    Modern medical care, for all of it’s scientific progress, has sadly become sick care, where we are rarely advised to eat well and tend to our mental and physical health, but instead are routinely advised to consume expensive medications and procedures that are pushed by the for-profit healthcare Matrix.

  3. You’ve picked Team Democrat or Team Republican and argue with your friends, family and co-workers about politics

    This is what the control strategy of divide and conquer looks like in our society.

     Both of the major parties are corrupt through and through, and independent candidates are not even allowed to participate in public debates.

     By believing in one of these parties and burning your personal energy on arguing with other ordinary people you are turning over your soul the Matrix, and doing your share in making sure that ‘we the people’ will never be united against corruption.

  4. You work hard doing something you hate to earn fiat dollars

    Work is important and money does pay the bills, however, so many people lose the best years of their lives doing things they hate, just for money.

     The truth about money today is that we do not have money, but instead, inflationary fiat currency that is privately owned and manipulated. Since it is still necessary to get by in this world, it is best that you get more value for your time by doing something you enjoy or by working with people you do not despise.

    It is easier than you may think to live on less money than we believe we need, we just have to be willing to go against the grain realize this.

  5. You’re willing to accrue personal debt to fund the acquisition of a consumer oriented lifestyle

    Each time a credit card is swiped it creates digits on the balance sheets of the banks that are most involved with the financial looting of the world today.

     These digits are then multiplied electronically by the fractional reserve system, which exponentially increases the power of these institutions.

     To participate in this, and by agreeing to pay this fake money back with interest, in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, is a strong indication that you are bound by one of the main tenets of the Matrix – consumerism.

  6. You converse with real people about the ongoing happenings of TV shows

    TV is the most potent tool used for mind control, and the ‘programming’ that is available, while certainly cool, fun, or entertaining is geared to reinforce certain behaviors amongst the masses.

     Dramatizing the ego’s importance, over sexualizing everything, glorifying violence, and teaching submissiveness to phony authority are the main features of modern TV.

     By taking what is happening onscreen and making it a part of your real life, you are doing your job of supporting the matrix’s desire to confuse us about the nature of reality, proving that something doesn’t have to actually happen in order for it to feel real to people.

  7. You don’t have anything to hide from total surveillance

    If it does not bother you that someone, somewhere, working for somebody is watching you, listening to your conversations, and monitoring your movements, then, you are a good slave to the Matrix.

     Invisible surveillance is an insidious form of thought control, and by using the logic of, ‘I have nothing to hide, therefore, it will do me no harm to be surveilled,’ then you are mindlessly admitting that you have an earthly master and are not of sovereign mind and body.

  8. You think the world would be safer if only governments had guns

    This is a violent world, and criminals engage in criminality against honest people at every level of society, including from within the government.

     Sure, in a perfect world, weapons wouldn’t be necessary for anyone but, sadly, our world is anything but perfect, and firearms are indeed a very effective form of protection against common criminals and abusive governments alike.

     The willingness to forego your right to self-defense is a sign that you’ve relegated personal responsibility to someone else. Having the masses abdicate personal responsibility is one of the most important aspects of controlling them.

     Welcome to the Matrix.

  9. You knowingly drink fluoridated water

    Of all the health debates taking place today, the topic of fluoridated water is the easiest to understand, for it is a toxic by-product of an industrial process… poison.

     Water is supposedly fluoridated to aid in dental health, which is debatable in itself, but if this were so, then the involuntary fluoridation of public water is a medication without your consent… a form of slavery. Knowing this and continuing to drink fluoridated water is a sign that you’re content with your slavery to the Matrix.

     Here are scientifically validated reasons to end public water fluoridation.

  10. You knowingly consume toxic poisons like MSG and Aspartame

    These two chemicals are widely known to be toxic to the human body.

     Knowing this and continuing to poison yourself with tasty, but chemical-laden processed foods is a sign that the Matrix has programmed you to place less value on your health and future than on your immediate gratification.

  11. You depend on the pharmaceutical industrial complex for the management of your own mental health

    The use of psychotropic medicines is rising rapidly in our society because people have been convinced that mental and emotional states can be classified as diseases, while the truth about natural mental health has been obfuscated by corporate media and a for-profit medical establishment.

     If you’re taking psychotropic medications, then you are under one of the most potent forms of mind control available. Part of this control is to convince you that you have no authority over your own mind.

     This is perhaps the matrix’s most terrible lie, and by willingly taking these psychotropic medications you are conforming to the worst kind of slavery, and inhibiting your natural mental and emotional responses to the life stressors that are signaling to you that you need to change your behavior and habits.

  12. You haven’t yet stopped watching your local and national news programming

    The mainstream news media is a tool of control and manipulation, and by continuing to support their ideas and world views by giving them your attention you are volunteering to be a slave to this not-so-subtle form of mental programming.

     Even the local news is scripted at the national level by agents of the handful of corporations tasked with shaping our opinions of events.

  13. You’re more concerned with televised sports or other mindless distractions than you are with the quality of your natural environment

    The Deepwater HorizonAlberta Tar Sands, the rise of Fracking, the sacrifice of the Amazon, and Fukushima are all life-changing events that will severely impact our future on planet earth.

     To be unconcerned with all of this while tuning into a never-ending stream of sports trivia and distraction-based living is a sign that your sense of self-preservation has been stolen and replaced with an impulsive tendency for triviality and escapism.

  14. You’re skeptical of any area of life that hasn’t been ‘proven’ or validated by modern science

    The very essence of science is the inquiry into the unknown, implying that until science can grasp something, it is unexplainable.

     By discrediting or ridiculing experiences that other people have, which yet evade scientific understanding, like near-death experiences, acupuncture, or the life changing effects of Ayahuasca, then you are slavishly reducing your understanding of the world to a narrow range of possibilities.

     The Matrix is made possible by the efforts of volunteer gatekeepers who are unwilling to think outside of the box.

  15. You’ve never questioned the popularized version of ancient history and the origins of our civilization

    There are many unanswered questions about the origins of the human race that point to a different version of human history than what is taught in school.

     Read ‘20 History Questions They Refuse to Answer in School‘ to discover some of the many ways in which our history has been hijacked.

     By never questioning what we’ve been told about our origin we are acquiescing to many of the imposed belief systems and narrow-banded views of human potential that the Matrix promotes.

  16. You haven’t yet realized that you are a spiritual being living a human experience

If you can relate to any of the items on this list, then the Matrix has you, and it is now your duty to engage more deeply in your liberation.

from:    http://howtoexitthematrix.com/2016/07/18/several-signs-that-you-are-a-slave-to-the-matrix/

Living Simply/Simply Living

10 Ways Minimalism Can Change Your Life

Alanna Ketler

The minimalist movement — a lifestyle which opposes the Western consumerist ideal  — has been gaining popularity in recent years, as more and more each day we are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements all geared towards the same thing — convincing us to buy more. Consumerism in general has risen steadily since the Industrial Revolution, and it is doing so at an exponential rate. Since the 1950s, people across the globe have consumed more goods than the combined total of every person who existed prior to that.

This shift has been the result of carefully crafted marketing efforts, all aimed at teaching us to crave the latest and greatest, and we have been trained well. We believe the newest things are the best things, and the more expensive the better. Gone are the days when products were meant to last, since that is not a business model which makes for repeat customers. Most products these days are designed intentionally to fail after a certain amount of time; this is known as “planned obsolescence.” This tactic, combined with our manufactured desire for more stuff, has created a phenomenon called “perceived obsolescence,” where we perceive an object as no longer desirable not because it no longer functions, but because it is no longer stylish or trendy.

But when you take a step back and look at all of the stuff you own, can you really say that it’s all worth the money and effort that goes into keeping it? And that everything you own has some use or provides some sort of value to your life? Did you really need the latest 3-D Smart TV or the boots that are fashionable this season? How would you feel without these items? Would you be okay? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes, and that you might just be a lot better off without them.

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” -George Carlin

Here are 10 ways minimalism can help improve your life.

1. More Financial Freedom

Less stuff means less debt and therefore more money. All it takes is a shift in perspective to realize that maybe that new phone, expensive jacket, or whatever it may be is just not that important. Viewing these expenditures as unnecessary can stop you from feeling like you need them in your life, and this simple shift can save you a lot of money — money which could be better spent on cultivating a healthy diet and lifestyle for yourself and your family, travelling the world, or even saving up for a house.

2. Less Stress

Having fewer possessions means having fewer things to worry about; you not only have less stuff to pay for, you have less stuff to take care of.  We all know how great it feels to have a clean space that is free of clutter, and the fewer things you have, the easier this is to achieve. Your life will feel much calmer with less stuff in the way. Having less in general also means having less to clean!

3. Much Better For The Environment

The less we have, the less we have to throw out or replace. Consumerism is wreaking havoc on the environment, so paring down our lives can make a big difference for the planet. Not only do we avoid contributing to mounting landfills, but by decreasing our demand, we decrease the amount of products being produced, which means fewer resources are being expended and less pollution is entering the ecosystem.

4. Have More Time & Be More Productive

Fewer possessions mean fewer distractions and more time to be spent on things that really matter. Spending time with your friends, family, and loved ones, going for a walk or a hike, gardening, meditating, exercising, or yoga — all of these things can enrich your life more than a video game or fancy clothes ever could.

5. Set A Good Example

A minimalistic approach to life sets a great example for the people around you, including your children, family, and friends. If your loved ones see how truly happy you are without so many things, they may be inspired to start reducing, too. We need to be the change we want to see in the world, and this is one way to do it. Rather than preaching change, show it. Be a positive role model for your children and show them that we do not need to accumulate things to be happy and we do not need to do what society tells us to do. It is important for children to know that we can choose how we want to live our lives.

6. Ability To Live In A Smaller Space

Aside from the average size of houses having increased by about 1,000 square feet in the past 40 years, many American homes still don’t have enough room to store all of their owners’ belongings. Garages are filled with stuff instead of cars and storage facility usage is at an all-time high. If you didn’t need such a big space to store all of your possessions, you could have a smaller home or even a tiny home, which would make owning a home in the first place become a much more attainable prospect.

7. Not Feel Tied Down Or Burdened

From my experience at least, having a lot of possessions can create a feeling of permanence. The more possessions we have, the less likely we are to pack up and leave if we feel the calling. Having to pack and move so much stuff around is almost not worth the effort, so oftentimes we don’t bother and just stay put. How much of life are we missing out on because we are tied to our things?

8. Freedom From The Comparison Game

I saw a meme recently that said: “No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say ‘she had a really expensive couch and great shoes.’ Don’t make life about this stuff.” This is so true, but in our society if we do not have what others do we feel inadequate or less than them in some way. As a result, we are constantly striving to buy more, to impress others with what we have. Is this really important in the grand scheme of things? This is a great question to ask yourself.

9. Give Up Attachments To The Past

Sometimes we feel the need to hold on to things that only serve to remind us of the past — things that no longer matter and which are often tied to unhappy memories. Why do we sabotage ourselves in this way? The past is the past; leave it there. Some things we hold on to can bring up happy memories, but do you really need those objects in order to remember?

10. Be Happier

When you see the benefits of all the previous points in your life, I promise, you will feel happier. More importantly, you will realize that you absolutely don’t need possessions to make you happy; you will see that happiness lies within you and within the people you care about most. As Jim Carrey once said:

“I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so that they can see that it’s not the answer.”

from:    http://www.zengardner.com/10-ways-minimalism-can-change-life/

Media SIlence on Environmental Change

How the Media Prevents Meaningful Discussion About the Condition of Our Environment

For a normal human being who understands the value of having clean air and water to consume, clean soil to grow food in, and of living in a habitat that can support life, it is frustrating to watch one environmental calamity occur, after another without ever seeing a mainstream, non-politicized conversation about the condition of our natural world. It seems that merely expressing concern over the direction the environment is going is enough to solicit a number of stigmatized labels, such as hippie, liberal, terrorist, downer, debbie-downer, slacker, tree-hugger, climate changer, Al Gore, global warmer, Agenda 21′er, and so on. There is an extreme cultural bias against environmentalism, from many angles. Environmentalism is not a public priority.

What is at the root of this indifference toward the quality of our natural world? We certainly are a society that is highly preoccupied with security, but, for some reason, when it comes to securing a healthy environment, most of us look the other way, or put these concerns well below others.

THE CONVERSATION

The public conversation on any popular issue in America today is led by a handful of media companies who provide ‘news’ and ‘debate’ on the selected topics of each day. In this way, a narrow and focused message is syndicated across America, and we hear the same news and information repeated, often verbatim, by local, state, and national media. The model of a consolidated media, working for profit, bringing us an endless narrative, is very effective at setting societal priorities, at supporting hidden agendas, and at coloring the truth on any issue.

Lying by omission is one of the most effective ways of hiding the truth. By simply not mentioning an issue, then, effectively, a lie is told that the issue is irrelevant. The total picture of the truth is manipulated in this way by our mainline media, making it unlikely for consumers of media to connect the dots amongst environmental issues, linking their long term fall out to developments in policy and disaster clean up.

By effectively omitting critical issues from the ongoing public conversation, this most important subject is rendered unimportant, or the illusion is created that the environment is under responsible stewardship by the proper authorities. The media plays a significant role in shaping how this nation reacts to environmental catastrophes, and time and again the tactic of lying by omission is used against us to obfuscate the truth about what is happening to our natural world.

WHO STANDS TO GAIN?

Over the course of the last century our society has been heavily influenced to value a consumer oriented way of life over traditional ways of living. Our economy is driven by consumption, and the mainline media reinforces our dependence on and desire for this lifestyle by continuously reiterating the enjoyment and value to be had in acquiring more things. If the public were to lose interest in this lifestyle, this economy would collapse entirely.

As the primary sales agent of our consumeristic cultural paradigm, the media absolutely must refrain from demonstrating how our consumer based lifestyle lays waste to the earth, jeopardizing health and wellness for all. Our mainline media must do their best to camouflage this crisis in order to keep itself alive, in order to keep it’s coiffeurs filled, and in order to keep all those involved employed. A catch-22 of Biblical proportions.

For this, the prevailing manner of reporting on the environment issues has become to ignore all stories about the environment except the ones too big not to mention, then to brush those off the radar with haste. Once an environmental story is gone from the front page it is rarely ever mentioned again, even though the effects of environmental catastrophes are felt much later than the actual event.

WHAT DOTS?

The point of omitting environmental issues from the discussion is to inhibit people from connecting the dots on how the pattern of serious environmental destruction is directly related to the way of life being touted by the media. If people connect the dots, they may see how participation in the economy and this way of life is participation in ecocide, and thus, suicide. Upon realizing this, they may go further to make the connection that life is more important than the quest for wealth and materialism, and change their personal behavior to support the things which support life, rather than supporting the things which extract, pollute, and rape this wonderful earth.

If too many people change their behavior, then this economic system will collapse.

At present there are a number of extremely critical environmental issues that are going largely unaddressed by our policy makers and so-called leaders. As a service to the conversation about the quality of our world and the quality of our health, here is a list of the top 20 environmental issues routinely omitted by the mainstream media.

  1. Fukushima
  2. The Gulf of Mexico Core Exit Oil Spill
  3. Tar Sands Athabasca
  4. Appalachian Mountain Top Removal
  5. Depleted Uranium
  6. Nuclear Energy and Spent Nuclear Fuel
  7. Pipeline Spills
  8. Fracking
  9. Air Pollution
  10. Genetic Modification of Plants and Animals
  11. Soil Depletion and Erosion From Mass Agriculture
  12. Electro-Magenetic Pollution
  13. Widespread Pollution of the Oceans
  14. Sea-life Die Off and the Collapse of Ocean Fish Colonies
  15. Rainforest Destruction for Industrial Agriculture and Oil Exploration
  16. Water Pollution
  17. Widespread Overuse of Pesticides and Herbicides
  18. Trash and Landfills
  19. Animal Poaching and Species Extinction
  20. Geo-Engineering and Chemtrails

Perhaps seeing all this in one place will help support the overall picture of where our lives are going if we continue to sideline and ridicule any meaningful public discussion about how our lifestyles support the destruction of the natural world. Without pigeon holing concerned people into labels like, commie, collectivist, dirt worshipper, liberal, eco-terrorist, or whatever. against our long term interests of having a planet that can sustain and and is worth living on.

CONCLUSION

Connecting the dots on these issues raises the question of how these issues are inter-connected. The continuous thread that runs through each of these calamities is an industrial hubris that seeks, first and foremost, ever-increasing profit. This is supported by governments, both corrupt and manipulated by economic hitmen. Behind this lies the arrogant human assumption that human beings are somehow separate from the earth and it’s creatures, and somehow in control of the natural forces of the world.

Whether you want to call it global warming, climate change, industrial accidents, unfortunate events, mismanagement, or what have you, the fact remains that our natural world is becoming increasingly toxic and the future for our children looks rather dim without a mass awakening and acceptance of this issue as a top social priority. As the natural world continues to degrade, it will eventually become impossible for the media and industry to hide the extent of the damage that is being done, no matter what illusions we are spoonfed.

Simple, common-sense environmentalism shouldn’t be reserved for political hacks like Al Gore or globalist supporters of Agenda 21. You shouldn’t have to be a carbon credit trader to be concerned about the radiation leak at Fukushima, and you don’t have to be a Rothschild to understand that oil in the backyard isn’t good for the family dog.

As individuals it is up to each of us to re-think our dependance on consumer culture and reinvent how we relate to the natural world. For inspiration on this, please view this thought-provoking talk by Sebastião Salgado.

from:    http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/media-prevents-meaningful-discussion-condition-environment.html

Media Images & Response

7 Negative Attitudes Pushed By The Media

tv-madness

Like it or not, we live in a media driven world. We spend 11 hours a day bombarded by television, radio, Internet, and other forms of media, a non-stop onslaught on the psyche, an ever-churning series of images, sound bites, opinions, and advertisements, but precious little substance.

The media provides shared experience, collective memory. Unfortunately, many of the ideas we’re exposed to are negative and self-defeating. The pervasiveness of these negative ideas makes them hard to ignore; easy to internalize.

If you’re curious about the cumulative effect of all this media upon the mind, here’s a list of 7 negative attitudes common in the media and tips for dealing with them.

1. Mindless Consumerism: The average American is exposed to 247 commercials everyday. Buying things has become reflex, due partly to the ideal lifestyle flickering on the television: big house, giant SUV, three-car garage, flat-panel television. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life, but are you buying things to improve your life? Or to compensate for feelings of emptiness? Find something to believe in; fill the void with something real.

2. Poor Body Image: Never before in history have we been surrounded by so many examples of physical perfection, shaped by cosmetic surgeons, airbrushed by artists, and distributed by print and video. Remind yourself that fitness is more important than perfection.  And while it’s true that Americans outside the media are fatter than ever, even physically fit individuals struggle with a poor body image. Yes, attractiveness is an advantage, but your value runs deeper than your appearance, and those actors don’t look half as good without make-up and lighting.

3. Roaming Eye: Television gives everyone (men in particular) the idea that the world is overflowing with beautiful, willing sex partners; even if it’s true (which depends largely upon your own skills with the opposite sex), that roaming eye, that tendency to want what you don’t have, can be destructive if not monitored and controlled. Like all the elements in this list, human nature is the root here.  Remind yourself that relationships are built upon more than physical attraction.

4. Destructive Communication: Electronic media brims with insults and anger. On message boards, gentle persuasion has collapsed beneath the weight of incivility. In real life, victory is seldom obtained with witty one-liners or rude put-downs. Hone those communication skills. Learn to Persuade without offending. Connect.

5. Clique Mentality: As if cliques weren’t prevalent enough, television programs often have casts that are socially, ethnically, and racially homogenous. That’s fine; it’s free enterprise at work, for the most part, and not every story involves a melting pot. I make no bones about it; I’m simply reminding everyone not to be afraid of diversity in the real world.

6. Stereotypes: As evolved as we believe we are, television is overflowing with stereotypes: the dumb jock, the bubble-headed blonde, the geek with a pocket protector, all products of lazy writing. Most of us are smart enough to recognize a stereotype for what it is, but I question the subconscious impact of such repeated exposure. The best defense is to remind yourself that every human being deserves to be evaluated as an individual, no matter how prevalent or justified a stereotype might seem.

7. Danger Fixation:
 We’re wired to pay attention to danger, which is why the Discovery Channel broadcasts so many programs that show the world being destroyed by tsunamis, earthquakes, and giant asteroids; why the news leads with gunfire and bloodshed. Remind yourself that there are just as many positive forces in the world as negative; your focus on the negative is a matter of personal choice and perspective.

Listen, I’m not trying to say all media is bad; it’s not. Movies in particular can be wonderful works of art or much-needed distractions, and there’s nothing inherently evil about television, radio, print, or the internet; quite the contrary, all forms of media provide wonderful channels of communication.

Furthermore, I’m not blaming the media for anything.  I want to be clear: I do not believe there is any media conspiracy. I can attest from my days in radio that the media is simply a collection of independently owned businesses, working for profit.  An argument can be made that we have ourselves to blame for all this negative media (a solid argument indeed), and that television, radio, and print are simply providing what sells.

Of course, I agree with all of that.  But in their quest for profit, the media does pander to the lowest common denominator, like a giant lens magnifying and reflecting the darkest parts of human nature.  I’m not saying it’s wrong; I’m simply saying it is.

And we’re receptive to it.

Earlier this year, I watched a short film entitled Evidence. More art film than documentary, the film focused on the faces of a group of small children as they watched television: their blank expressions, comatose eyes. Every now and then, their facial expressions hitched in response to some image on the television, but for the most part, they appeared undead.

I’ve never forgotten that film. And now, whenever I’m watching a sitcom or gameshow, I think of the way my own face must look, staring blankly up at the glowing screen. Sometimes, this compels me to turn the tube off and go outside, exchanging the gloom of the TV room for the calming brightness of sunlight, the sound of commercials for the chirping of birds; detaching from the hive mind long enough to find some peace and quiet and develop some memories (and a few ideas) of my own.

Source: “Have You Fallen for these 7 Negative Attitudes Pushed by the Media?”, from johnplaceonline.com

from:    http://theunboundedspirit.com/7-negative-attitudes-pushed-by-the-media/

Supermarket Tactics to Get You to Buy

by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D.

Ten Ways Your Local Grocery Store Hijacks Your Brain

Be a Savvy Consumer & Avoid Retail Traps
Published on March 14, 2012 by Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D. in The Mindful Self-Express

 

Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.” David Ogilvy

 

 Images of Freshness Surround You

What’s in a brand name? Well, it turns out, a whole heck of a lot. Did you know that people rate the identical beverage as tastier when it’s in a “Coke” can than in a “Pepsi” can?  This, and other juicy “behind the scenes” tidbits of information, are now being revealed to the public in books appropriately titled “Buyology” or marketing guru Martin Lindstrom’s latest bestseller “Brandwashed.”Below are 10 great examples of how consumers get baffled by branding into parting with their hard-earned

t(1) Fooled by Fresh Flowers

Do you notice that upscale supermarkets, such as Whole Foods, place fresh flowers right next to the store entrances. This creates an image of “fresh from the farm” delectability that sets the tone for the consumer’s shopping experience. Would the shopping experience start on such a good note if cans of Spam, dog food, toilet cleaner, and dusty old light bulbs were the first things you saw? Hmmmm…

(2) Crazed by Counterfeit Crates  

Notice those stacked cardboard boxes filled with fresh apples and oranges? Well, if you look closer, it turns out that in Whole Foods, all those boxes are actually part of one giant box with partitions.  This is deliberately done to create the image of workers piling the crates of freshly picked fruit on top of one another. However, according to Lindstrom, store bought apples can be as much as 14 months old. Eeek!

bananas at whole foods

 

(3) Baffled by Bananas

Surely, the bananas are just bananas, right? Uh… no! Lindstrom writes in a 2011 Fast Company blog post:

Dole and other banana growers have turned the creation of a banana into a science, in part to manipulate perceptions of freshness. In fact, they’ve issued a banana guide to greengrocers, illustrating the various color stages a banana can attain during its life cycle. Each color represents the sales potential for the banana in question. For example, sales records show that bananas with Pantone color 13-0858 (otherwise known as Vibrant Yellow) are less likely to sell than bananas with Pantone color 12-0752 (also called Buttercup), which is one grade warmer, visually, and seems to imply a riper, fresher fruit. Companies like Dole have analyzed the sales effects of all varieties of color and, as a result, plant their crops under conditions most ideal to creating the right ‘color.’

(4) Muddled by Missing Milk

As you search for the milk and eggs that most people make a quick stop for, did you notice they are at the back of the store. This, also, is no accident. Having to walk down the aisles to get to your basics makes it more likely you’ll pick up some delectable, yet expensive impulse buy, placed precisely at eye level, along the way.

(5) Exasperated by Expiration Dates 

Speaking of the milk and eggs, did you notice that the milk has expiration dates, as do some bottled waters and many other purchases, such as, perhaps, cola, or toothpaste. Bet you think that some official governmentbody is looking after your interests by ensuring optimal freshness. Wrong! . Actually, some of these products don’t actually expire, or expire long after the date noted. If the milk in your fridge isn’t all rancid and lumpy and smells fresh, it’s probably fine to drink. Stores often add these dates to have you throw out the products and replace them more often, leading to more sales & predictable time periods for re-ordering.

(6) Dedazzled by Bottled Waters

Now, about those bottled waters… did you know that in most areas, tap water is perfectly safe to drink. In fact, some bottled waters actually are tap water, with filtering or some other ingredients to make them taste a bit better. Others are gathered from the same reservoirs that your tap water comes from. There is no protective regulation ensuring bottled water has to come from some melted arctic glacier, despite the blue labels and glacial pictures. In some cases, bottled waters, such as Dasani, can actually be dehydrating, rather than thirst-quenching, due to the high salt content. Now that stinks!

shopping cart with fruit

(7) Oggling Oodles of Organics

Moving right along, how about those green products we pay the extra bucks for? A few years ago, brands, such as Method hand soaps, were making a killing, but now the regular brands have gottenwise and are rolling out organic and green versions. You will see some spurious advertising, such as, “Now much greener, we use 20% less plastic in our bottles;” that should remove the guilt at buying a product destined for the landfill, huh? The term “organic” is also sometimes used when it shouldn’t be, such as the case of the farm with fat, happy chickens grazing the land; only they bought the stuff they sold to the stores for top dollar from the overcrowded, dark chicken coop down the road. Of course, not all organic products represent fraudulent advertising, and, if you care about how animals are treated, terms such as “grass-fed” or “free-range” can denote more humane practices, resulting in healthier, tastier food.

(8) Exasperated by Faux Environmentalists

Actually the green washing and cleaning products are better for the environment, but here consumers are the shady ones. Research shows many people buy the “greener” products, not to save the environment, but to keep up with the bicycling, composting Prius owners next door (I do live in Marin county, California, you know!). There seems to be status in showing how altruistic you are, especially if you pay a higher price to help the environment—a phenomenon known as “competitive altruism.” Some lab research shows if the buying decision is kept completely private or the price is the same, people make less “green” choices. This is probably due to the status aspect. “Well, bring on the social pressure,” is my motto!

(9) Tracked by Techno-Geeks

Finally, marketers are getting all the more surreptitious and Machiavellian (in some opinions) in how they collect data on us unwitting consumers. Google just recently changed their privacy practices to make “opting in” to being tracked the default option, so that Adwords can pop up the words most likely to generate clicks. Same with those supermarket cards tracking every purchase. No wonder they offer such big card-only discounts.

(10) Nailed by Neuromarketers

The new (and “hot”) science of neuro-marketing, uses fancy brain-scanning technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at what brain areas light up at different stages of the purchasing process. In one study, experimenters could predict buying choices, 7 seconds before consumers knew what they were going to buy. As Velma from Scooby Doo once said, “Jinkies!”

While these examples provide a source of anecdote and amusement, they really do give new meaning to the Latin phrase “Caveat Emptor,” or “Let the Buyer Beware.” So, next time you’re at the grocery store, skirt the perimeter, look on the top shelves, bring a list, and don’t get too seduced by the pastoral green fields on the food labels. If you want ‘fresh from the farm,” visit your local Farmer’s Market instead.

for more information, go to:    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201203/ten-ways-your-local-grocery-store-hijacks-your-brain