I recently had a phone call with someone over something business related and in the course of the call the person I was speaking with attempted to utilize multiple manipulation tactics to achieve their goal. This person didn’t have leverage on me but felt that only I could get what they desired. I have had similar experiences in the past but what made this one particularly interesting was that the following night of the call I had a dream that put desperate tactics into clarity.
In this dream I had taken up temporarily smoking (I don’t smoke) and I was in a movie theater. On me I had an almost finished cigarette that for some reason I was holding on to. Sitting in the row in front of me was a woman who upon looking at me and seeing the cigarette made it her sole mission to get me thrown out of theater. She left to look for management and when she did I discarded the cigarette and moved to the other side of the theater thinking that maybe I simply smelled like smoke and this woman would be satisfied with my move, she was not.
After being pulled from the theater I then began the task of trying to convince management that I didn’t actually smoke in the theater. However, it was the mission of the theater management not to believe me. I tried everything from begging to aggression, none of which worked. The entire time the thought that kept passing through my head was, “why did I ever start smoking in the first place?”
The utilization of desperate tactics is a method of trying to get something you currently don’t have, this much is obvious. However, desperation does not necessarily cause people to use desperate tactics. The use of desperate tactics is often the result of desperation and a personal mistake. When we put ourselves into desperation because of choices we make as opposed to the choices the universe makes for us we will be more likely to do things that are evil or underhanded. Why do we do this? Maybe we believe since we made the choices to get into the mess we are in that we can make choices via bad tactics to get out, unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
If you find yourself starting to utilize desperate tactics to get something you want, the next question should not be ‘what tactic you should I employ next’? but instead ‘what can I change in my life to avoid situations like this in the future’?
Discovering corruption is integral to the entire human experience. In an imperfect world our bodies are designed to try and fight anything that can hinder our progress and physically it takes the form of our immune system. Like many things in our lives, the body can be used as an example to explain larger more complex social issues that might seem unrelated.
When it comes to corruption, and by extension morality, the first thing to realize is that there is no perfect system yet. In the same way our immune system can fail, so can we when we try to identify corruption. While many argue about morality in terms of what is right, what is wrong, or if there is some divine origin or not, I see morality in a different way. Morality is merely our tolerance for things that may or may not get us to our perfect goal. I use the word may because it is really hard to know for sure if something we consider moral is indeed progressive in nature.
What we are constantly doing with morality is trying to find the “sweet spot”. The sweet spot is enough focus to move us forward but at the same time being able to allow things that would hinder us otherwise. Imagine you had to warm up a small point on a wall and you could either choose a laser or a flash light. The flash light, representing a large tolerance, could warm up the spot at a slow rate. The laser on the other hand could warm up the spot much quicker but it requires you to be on target. This has been the case with human morality since the dawn of time; trying to find the right amount of rules, not too many and not too few. Divine morality which people often call upon as a standard has deviated greatly in tolerance over time. If we look at Judaism for example, it has 613 Mitzvah (rules). Neo-Judaism, also known as Christianity, has significantly less. Using this example as a reference, Christianity would be the flash light where as Judaism would be the laser.
It is difficult for a lot of us to think in tolerance terms. Every action must be either right or wrong even though it is completely possible for an action to be simultaneously both right and wrong such as a person stealing food to feed their starving family. We, as architects of the future, have a challenge on our hands. As technology proliferates everything we do new questions of morality will need to be tackled. So how do we go about this?
The easiest way is through modelling. The very idea of corruption is based around the idea that something should be one way but what is really happening is different. Our immune system functions by identifying things that don’t belong and this same method can be utilized for discovering corruption. When a model doesn’t exist, or needs to be changed, it can only be changed through a democratic function. Any kind of model change outside of a democratic function will ultimately not be able to survive and will collapse under the needs of the whole.
Once we have established a model then we can start seeking out the anomalies. Who is involved that shouldn’t be? Who is doing something they don’t regularly do? Once we establish for ourselves the way things should function it becomes much easier to figure out what is not functioning properly.
In real life practice we do this all the time and just don’t realize it. When a husband or wife suspects their mate of cheating it is because there is corruption present in their model of reality. It might be unconscious subtlety that makes the person believe they have some kind of intuition or special powers. In fact most things that could be considered exceptional intuition are a result of understanding models. You can actually utilize this method to gain intuition through basic deduction instead of relying solely on the itchy feelings you get.
In order to identify if there is corruption taking place follow these steps.
- Identify the Model
This can be one of the most challenging parts but is the most important. Figure out what is “normal” or what “should” be happening. This can be challenging because what you consider to be normal might not actually be normal. The easiest way to figure out normal is to figure out long lasting precedents. While it is true corruption can be there from the start, this is not usually the case.
- Identify Anomalies
What doesn’t belong? Again, this can also be difficult. You need to try and stay as objective as possible. If you feel something is wrong, you might have the need to prove yourself right. If you’re out to prove yourself right versus trying to discover true corruption you will identify things as deviant that actually aren’t. If you are emotionally invested in the potential corruption you think exists, it might be prudent to ask for feedback from a third party.
The final step is to do some kind of exploration to see if the anomalies you identified in step 2 are actually taking place and if they are a product of corruption. There is always the possibility that something might be off or different for valid reasons.
There is no win that comes without a loss, to either yourself or others. For every victory there is some form of sacrifice that occurred to make the victory possible. The best athletes in the world will sacrifice their social lives, future career potential, and their daily comfort just so that they can win.
Most entrepreneurs will fail on average at least four times before achieving success. The biggest losses come when we are incapable of accepting the reality of loss in the creation of victory. A perfect example is in a relationship if one partner is incapable of accepting a loss. The obsessive need to win can destroy a relationship because compromise is a form of mutual loss. For a relationship to “win” there must be mutual loss.
Our primary perception of victory comes from human competition but this isn’t necessarily the best model to portray victory. This model of victory and loss does little to demonstrate balance of priorities. Instead of teaching our children that they can achieve certain things if they sacrifice other things, we teach them that they must simply be better than others. The other problem with the traditional model of victory and loss is it does a sore job of explaining that time sacrifice can possibly compensate for genetic inefficiencies.
The idea of sacrifice applies to the entire human race as well. All victories we have made as a race have come at some kind of loss. Almost every choice we make is on some kind of sliding scale and as the times change the scale size may vary but the scale never stops existing. It is important to realize that everything has a cost and we must understand the sacrifices we will need to make in order to achieve victory going forward.
We talk about balancing forces regularly. The most common is this concept of Karma. Since Karma is religious concept with after life meaning, I am instead going to call it balancing force. There are two types of balancing forces in our world direct, and indirect. I am going to touch on both of these types in this article and also explain how you can utilize both of them to improve your life.
Indirect Balancing Force
A large amount of the time I hear people use the term karma in a sentence it is out of smite. You’re cut off while driving, someone gets the promotion you wanted, or you are bullied in high school. What do you say? “Those people are going to get what is coming to them!” The problem with this is that not only does this not help you, according to the way we believe balancing forces to work, you are probably completely wrong. Let me give you a scenario. Every day you got bullied in high school and all you could think was, “one day that bully will get what is coming to him.” The only problem is he actually did get what was coming to him every day when he went home and got beat by his parents. In this scenario, the positive points he gets at home is negated by his bullying. If there is a universal score board, he has nothing to lose or gain.
The real truth is that the universe doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. People who are mean and aggressive become rich and successful while other people who are very nice won’t be able to afford their mortgage. Now it is very true that there is a common story that exists where the mean jock will go on to work at a grocery store for the rest of his life and the quiet nerd will go on to be super successful, but this isn’t always the case.
If you want to believe in an indirect balancing force (Karma) you need to completely change how you view events that occur to you. When someone cuts you off in traffic instead of saying, “that person will get what is coming to them!” you need to say, “Thank you, this negative event you have caused me will make my future brighter.” Since you don’t have access to the universal score board, you have no idea what another person’s “score” is.
I personally don’t believe in a universal score board but I do believe in an indirect balancing force for another reason. We are all connected through our interactions. If I hold the door open for someone there is a connected event with that person that is created. If there is a person watching this occur, there is another connected event created. The combination of these connected events can have consequences on an individual. While it is impossible to predict ultimate outcomes, being mean to everyone is not going to have the best outcome.
Direct Balancing Force
Obviously relying on an indirect balancing force isn’t something most of us can be satisfied with. That is why we created systems of justice. Now these systems don’t always work as they should, but they are our first pass of bringing an ideal to reality. A direct balancing force also applies to when a person works very hard and is then rewarded for that hard work.
When it comes to direct balancing force there is really not that much to talk about because it is a force of our own creation so we have a general understanding of how it works and its current flaws.
Creating Reward Scenarios
Have you ever done something that you knew you were supposed to and then something positive happened shortly after? When positive things happen within a short time frame of an action we did, we sometimes like to create a relationship between the two and this is a very good thing.
Good things actually happen to us all the time but the problem is we can never be 100% sure why these good things happen. It could be that you are some how being rewarded for something you did, or it could be random. Regardless of why a good event occurs, you should associate it with an action you think most benefits your life.
This is partially deluding ourselves but it works out in our favor. If something good happens to you randomly and you accept it as random, besides possibly making you feel more lucky, the event has no force. Now if you believe the positive event was caused by something you did, then that event has more meaning. Depending on the positive event it may be impossible to know what actually caused it. It might very well be that it was caused as a reaction to something positive you did. If you can’t know, it is better to give the positive event some force to allow it to help shape your life for the better.
There is a very popular trend right now that is revolving around the keyword “natural” and this is a good demonstration of our tug of war with existing nature. Our existing environment provides for us but it is also our biggest limitation as I discussed here. The strife can split humanity into two ideological spheres, one that believes we can progress without supporting existing nature and another group that will aggressively defend it. In practice what we actually have done is a messy hybrid of both. We will build cities and then line the streets with trees. Presently the use of trees is not just for aesthetics, it is required for oxygen. So while we try to accelerate full speed ahead we are forced to bring some of the vestiges of our past along with us.
As we progress forward you will always have entities that try to hold humanity back. This is not a bad thing because it is important to make sure that changes we make are the correct ones or as correct as they can be. However, as a race, we can get caught up in things that really don’t matter as much as we think they do.
There are a lot of people making money from telling us what we should or shouldn’t be doing in order to live longer. While there is no denying that things we eat and do could affect the length of our life, what these gurus will usually fail to mention is that they can’t actually save you. The biggest threat to the human immune system and our life is not fluoride in water, genetically altered food, or even smoking, it is aging. Aging is the single biggest human killer. It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat or how much you exercise, you cannot prevent aging.
This is not to say you should not try to exercise or eat healthy but you should not get caught up in the obsessions of people who believe that there is some natural state of humanity we need to conform to in order to live forever. With all the things that are apparently poisoning us and killing us from genetically altered food to processed sugar, we have incredibly long life spans compared to our ancestors because of modern medicine. We don’t need miracle healers to fix leprosy anymore because we can do that ourselves.
There is no “natural” state of man. We stopped being natural the moment we started using fire. We fly through the air in mechanical contraptions and talk to each other across the globe. Even “organic” agriculture is an unnatural process designed to benefit the growth and progress of the human race. If you get caught up in all the things that may kill you, what will kill you is that obsession because you will have stopped living.
The history of our lives is defined through a series of reactions we like to call choices. The way we react is a direct result of exposure to previous circumstances that helped us establish a log of contextual discriminations that we will then use to make future choices in our life. It is highly probable that if we were exposed to a different set of circumstances (like being born some where different) and encountered a similar situation, the choice we would have made would be different than the one we made in our current lives. Thought it is highly difficult to know this for sure.
Belief in the deterministic view of life has a significant amount of challenges. Would a criminal still have committed a murder if they had better parents? This challenges the very core of morality because humans, generally speaking, are obsessed with blame. The biggest motivational and religious speakers will use blame to get their various messages across. Whether it is blaming sin, lack of vision, or passion; blame seems to be a primary motivational tool. Many religions will go so far to condemn people to an eternal after life of suffering based on the reactions they have in this life. We want to believe we have an extraordinarily large amount of control over our lives and to confirm this illusion we must blame others for their improper reactions. It takes exceptional types of human to publicly say that a rapist or murderer should still be treated like a human being because they are merely victims of circumstance.
There are some that believe that a deterministic view of life would undermine human society. That even if determinism is true, if it is public knowledge, people will use it as an excuse to commit crimes. However, people use far lesser excuses to commit crimes. It is a vicious circle because even the people who commit crimes want to believe they have free will and in doing so will also blame themselves before taking a more objective stance or view of their life. Determinism would require a psychological shift in humanity but would resolve a lot of existential as well as moral issues.
If we are a product of circumstance that means every blessing we have received is like winning the lottery. Any time we experience any joy at all it means a large amount of circumstances, that are beyond our control, lined up in order to make the event that brings us pleasure occur. In this situation envy ceases to exist and all pleasure derived from life becomes miraculous under the context of determinism.
We see our world through emotion and this is unavoidable. Our emotions tell us when there is something wrong with our lives and helps us to figure out how we want to react to different events in our lives. The common belief is that our primary motivator and decision making process should revolve around obtaining happiness. Our emotions, however, can be our biggest deceivers such as short term highs that result in longer term negative consequences like the emotional catastrophe that the use of highly addictive drugs can bring on.
In Naturalization & Happiness I talked about how after one year a person becoming a paraplegic and a lottery winner were equally happy. The biggest deception that can occur is when life moves someone to a new state in their life (The Flow) and it is so superior to their previous life that they become elated and stagnant. I met a man who was pushed into the flow by his father having a stroke and he was compelled to move. He lost his good paying job at a corrections facility and all his previous friends. He kept repeating to me how it was so strange that life can just suddenly make a complete turn. Though he was making less money he, throughout the conversation, kept insisting he was more happy now. Yet he talked very little about his own life and instead talked about his brother who he helped put through aviation school and was now making almost twice what he was. The entire conversation was marked by him trying to convince me of all the reasons his life was better now but it only convinced me that while it may be better he was still lacking something.
Happiness is a funny thing because it doesn’t really care about long term goals but instead forces us to live contextually. If you are both hungry and thirsty, you may become happier when your thirst is quenched but it won’t last. Happiness is a valuable tool for evaluating our present situation but it shouldn’t necessarily be the tool for planning longer term goals which could provide significantly more moments of happiness then your present trajectory. We tend to let our momentary happiness guide our relationships as well by staying in relationships that ultimately we know, consciously or unconsciously, will not last. Marriages that end in divorce don’t necessarily start sad or in turmoil but it is because society teaches us incorrectly. We are bombarded constantly regarding the context we are in with messages like you only live once or the glorifying of people that have won a lottery in the form money or otherwise in the media.
If possible, we should all avoid living in contexts. This can be very difficult and sometimes feel impossible. Both Bill Gates and Buddah in their stories share the common characteristic that they both chose to not live in a predefined context or conform to what everyone else expected them to do. Not conforming to a context might not be the greatest for your immediate happiness but can ultimately lead to significantly more happiness down the road for both yourself and others.