In the age of almost total fake news, we see a drive by people for authenticity and transparency. Is that a good thing? Depends.
If you’re on a first date, you want to present your best self, not bring out all flaws and deal killers at once. We expect a certain amount of propriety and manners. Call it self-control or acceptable misrepresentation.
For example, your wife asks, “Does my ass look fat in these jeans?”
Run for the hills.
Don’t buy into the social requirement for authenticity. How can you be authentic when you don’t really know your true self? Most efforts at transparency come up short.
In most public interactions, authenticity is overrated. TMI is so common that everyone knows what it means. You cringe when someone you don’t know that well goes into sexual or financial details of their lives that you have no reason to know.
No one who is famous blurts out their innermost thoughts or feelings. We don’t know what Melania is feeling as she goes down on the President. Not my business.
Insisting on transparency with strangers leaves you open to exploitation. Authenticity is best left to keeping your promises and living according to your principles. Beyond that, it’s nobody’s business.
1138. Just Say No
No, we are not channeling Nancy Reagan. We are not talking drugs, but favors. We are taught to help others and be agreeable. Bah, humbug.
My last ex is the champion of asking for favors. I’m still asked, and I still comply.
In many ways, civilization is somewhat based on reciprocity. We do favors for people in anticipation that they will return the favor when you need help down the road. Tit for tat.
It works for humans because we have long memories. It’s a part of our everyday lives.
At this age, I don’t have time to waste on the demands of other. One of my main goals during the first 77 day test is to say no as much as possible.
It is all about me.
1139. Question Everything
Questioning everything is a big job. I’m not always sure I’m up to the task. But at a minimum, I have to question any facets of my life that are preventing me from moving toward my vision.
Time is short.
To leap forward, you have to cut that anchor to the past. I want to treat the past like a foreign country. Even though I used to live there, all of those residents do things differently.
Know that the critics are waiting for you to fail. Friends and family will populate the critics. You will be criticized as being unpatriotic, screwing over your family, and ignoring your religion. Especially if you look for a new bride abroad who is younger, taller, prettier, sexier, smarter, and better educated than you can find at home.
You will now be a good kind of hacker. You will hack your life from among the ashes of your past.
You decide what rules you will follow. The great text for living your life the way you want and getting out of boxes was the late Harry Browne’s How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. The pdf is free here: https://charleslamm.com/foundfreedom.pdf
You will need courage to demand freedom. But with most of Browne’s advice, he recommends action and staying under the radar.
If you hate paying taxes, find a way to organize your affairs so you have no legal tax obligations. If you want a trophy wife from Russia, don’t talk about it. Show up at your class reunion with Svetlana on your arm.
People who try to make you feel guilty for taking your own path have their own agendas or pathologies. Don’t give in to the dark side. Maybe they are just jealous that they don’t have the courage to break their own chains.
The days we have left on Earth are too precious not to live true to yourself. As Harry Browne would advise, determine the cost to break the chains, and pay it.
Believe in making your own rules for your own reasons, and walk the walk.
1140. I think a new reboot is in order. Diabetes is still a battle. It doesn’t seem to be kept under control with diet or meds or exercise alone. All 3 have to be factored in at the same time. I have been holding off on exercise, and it’s not getting better. Back to walking and the gym and home workouts. I have a feeling I will need hernia surgery soon. I want to be in as good of shape as possible. To this end, I have to put my personal activity chkline in place beginning Monday.
1141. ChkLines - Personal Development
1142. Democracy is vastly overrated.
It's not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people's thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.
1143. “FREEDOM is the opportunity to live your life as you want to live it.”
Easier said than done. This first sentence sums up the entire book by Harry Browne: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.
As IBMs*, there are few excuses left for not living the lives we want to live. Maybe a few valid reasons, but I doubt it. If not now, when?
1144. “Hoping to be free, many people engage in continual social combat—joining movements, urging political action, writing letters to editors and Congressmen, trying to educate people. They hope that someday it will all prove to have been worthwhile.”
We made these mistakes over the years. We marched on Washington and protested everywhere. End the war. It did end, but not until Nixon milked it politically, no matter how many Americans or Vietnamese died during his delays.
1145. “There must be a way to be free without having to wish for a miracle. It must be a way by which an individual can change things without having to rally the rest of the world to his side.”
This is where the IBM* has to lead. Introverts. We don’t need approval of others to take action to improve our individual lives and those of loved ones around us. We don’t need the help of the world.
1146. “How could you live your own life when you have responsibilities to your family,
your friends, your job? How could you possibly ignore the demands that others
make upon you?”
I’ve given into this myself. Recently, I have put my life on hold to take care of my mother. We don’t have the funds for a nursing home unless we sell her house. No one else in the family is retired, so I am stuck with her. Until I finally ignore or overcome my giving in to the needs of others, I will never be able to live the life I want as a perpetual traveler. The only thing I can do is to build an online income that will support that lifestyle, or if all goes well, make enough money to pay for the nursing home. At that point, others will have to take over or accept my offer to pay for the home.
1147. “It's not likely that you'll ever gain your freedom by joining, marching, picketing, or complaining—because all those methods rely upon changing the attitudes of others. What I have in mind concerns the use of methods over which you have complete control.”
In our fractured, identity politics victim society, whining about your problems will not get the job done. At this age, we can march and protest, but it’s a lot slower than the late 60s.
1148. “One reason is that you're unaware of the many alternatives available to you.”
1149. “The second reason you're not free is because you've probably accepted without
challenge certain assumptions that restrict your freedom. Our culture is saturated with philosophical "truths" that are commonly accepted and acted upon—and are rarely challenged. I think of these truisms as traps.”
This is where I fall short. Our parents took care of us when we were little. Now that they are old and frail, our culture demands that we put our lives on hold to take care of them. But how many years do we have left? And what about being someone’s child makes me a suitable caregiver?
1150. “We'll be dealing only with your freedom. Whether the ideas would work for others is unimportant; what you have to decide is whether they can work for you.”
1151. “More than for any other reason, I'm free because I've chosen to live that way. I've concentrated upon the things I control, and used that control to remove the restrictions and complications from my life.”
1152. “Every day of my life is mine to use as I see fit. My time isn't committed to the state, to society, to a treadmill, or to fruitless relationships with people with whom I have nothing in common. I have no fear that the phone will ring any moment to tell me of something new I "must" do with my time.”
1153. “Even in an unfree world, you can be free.”
1154. “THERE ARE TWO IDENTITY TRAPS: (1) the belief that you should be someone other than yourself; and (2) the assumption that others will do things in the way that you would.”
1155. “We know that you are different. You're different from everyone else in the world. Just as no two persons' fingerprints are identical, no two people are identical in terms of their knowledge, understanding, attitudes, likes, and dislikes.”
1156. “Each person will act in keeping with his own identity. This means he'll be bound by the limits of his own knowledge and experience—even if he wishes he weren't. To expect him to act otherwise is to fall into the Identity Trap and hope for something that can't be.”
1157. “You can't control the natures of other people, but you can control how you'll deal with them. And you can also control the extent and manner in which you'll be involved with them.”
1158. “The purpose of knowing "truth" is to be able to make it work for you. You need the truth in order to deal with things as they are and get predictable results from them.”
1159. “Others can suggest what you "should" do, or what "ought" to make you happy, but they will often be wrong. You have to determine for yourself who you are, what makes you happy, what you're capable of doing, and what you want to do. Be open to suggestions, but never forfeit the power to make the final decision yourself. Only then can you act in ways that will bring you happiness.”
1160. “You're in the Identity Trap when you let others determine what's right or wrong for you—when you live by unquestioned rules that define how you should act and think.”
1161. “And you're in the Identity Trap when you allow others to convince you that you don't even have a right to challenge these things.”
Our society is increasingly not allowing us to challenge scientifically unproven ideas like global warming, now called climate change. Anyone who does not buy into the bullshit is called a climate denier.
1162. “No one can tell you what identity you should have. But we can discuss some ways to look inside yourself to discover the identity that's naturally yours. Only then can you act consistently, purposefully, and in ways that will bring happiness to you. And every artificial identity that you cast off will bring more freedom to you.”
1163. “Instead of taking for granted assumptions about what you "should" be, start from the inside—from inside of you. Find out who you are—that unique collection of feelings, desires, perceptions, and understanding. Respect what you see in yourself.”
1164. “Recognize each person you deal with as a different, distinct, individual entity, and you won't have identity problems. Try to avoid labeling individuals and then expecting them to live up to your labels.”
1165. “You can decide for yourself which of the people you meet have the most to offer to you and develop relationships with them, based upon the compatible values between you. The alternative is to throw away your precious life trying to change others, to make them see what you see, to make them into what you want them to be.”
1166. Avoid the trap:
1.You are a unique individual—different from all other human beings.
2. Each individual is acting from his own knowledge in ways he believes will bring him happiness.
3. You have to treat things and people in accordance with their own identities in order to get what you want from them.
4.You view the world subjectively—colored by your own experience, interpretation, and limits of perception.
1167. “These observations can help to keep you out of the Identity Trap. You don't have to try to live a life that isn't yours. What others say you should be is based either upon what they are or upon the way they feel you'd be of more value to them. Neither can be a valid basis for determining how you should live your life. They're doing and saying what makes them happy, and their conclusions are drawn from their own limited, subjective experience.”
This is key. Others who influence you with flattery are looking out for their own happiness, not yours. Don’t be manipulated.
1168. “TO BECOME FREE requires a well-conceived plan of action. It can't be achieved by occasional spur-of-the-moment hunches. To be free, you must know what you're doing and why. Otherwise, slight setbacks can cause you to discard your plans and give up.”
The plan of action is only the beginning. Be the Stoic, and take action.
1169. “The Intellectual Trap is the belief that your emotions should conform to a preconceived standard.”
This one is personal. I am an unpaid, unwilling care giver. I can no longer hold back feelings of hate toward that person. The fact that I am trying to deny that anger and hate is an intellectual trap.
“Or when you believe you should love your mother —even if there's nothing lovable about her.”
1170. “The Intellectual Trap is an attempt to regiment your emotions so that they'll react according to an intellectually determined standard.”
1171. “The two basic emotions are happiness and unhappiness—the feelings of mental well-being and mental discomfort.”
1172. “Other emotions are variations of those two. Positive emotions include love, affection, self-satisfaction, pride, anticipation of pleasure, any form of the glow we call happiness. Negative emotions include fear, hate, disappointment, sorrow, jealousy, guilt, any kind of mental discomfort.”
1173. “Negative emotions can act as signals to you, letting you know that there's an uncomfortable part of your life that needs attention.”
1174. “The Emotional Trap is the belief that you can make important decisions at a time when you're feeling strong emotions. It's the reverse side of the Intellectual Trap.”
1175. “Not only do you feel; you think. Thinking is the conscious, deliberate, volitional attempt to perceive identities and utilize them. You can think to observe, to identify, to create, and to establish the conditions necessary for your happiness. Your thinking and action create conditions to which you respond emotionally. You think in order to be able to feel happiness. Thinking is the means; feeling is the end.”
1176. “I've found that it's a good rule to never make an important decision when your emotions are in control. ”
1177. “THE MORALITY TRAP is the belief that you must obey a moral code created by someone else.”
1178. “Morality is a powerful word. Perhaps even more powerful is the word immoral. In an attempt to avoid being labeled immoral, many people allow themselves to be manipulated by others.”
1179. “Personal morality is an attempt to consider all the relevant consequences of your actions.”
1180. “And it's important that you form it yourself. No one else (including me) is qualified to tell you how to live. A realistic morality has to consider many personal factors: your emotional nature, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and, most important, your goals.”
Curating the best ideas to help IBMs*, and relating my testing of those ideas, is the whole point of IBM*. I hope men around the world will contribute their experiences.
1181. “You must do the same thing, too—if you want your code of conduct to work that well for you. Your rules have to consider everything that's unique about you—your emotions, your aptitudes, your weak points, your hopes and fears.”
1182. “A universal morality is a code of conduct that is presumed to bring happiness to anyone who uses it. I don't believe there can be such a thing. The differences between individuals are far too great to allow for anything but the most general kinds of rules.”
1183. “An absolute morality is a set of rules to which an individual is expected to surrender his own happiness.”
1184. “There's no way someone else can become your authority; ultimately the decision will be yours in choosing the morality you'll live by—even if you choose to cite someone else (you've chosen) as the authority for your acts.”
1185. “The Morality Trap is the belief that you must obey a moral code created by someone else. If you're acting in ways you hope will satisfy someone else's concept of what is moral, chances are you're using an ill-suited code of conduct—one that won't lead you to what you want and that may trap you in commitments and complications that can only cause you unhappiness.”
1186. “You are responsible for what happens to you (even if someone else offers to accept that responsibility), because you're the one who'll experience the consequences of your acts.”