Author Archives: Emily Ohlhoff

Putin’s Test

February 25, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Putin feels very deeply that his Mission is to resurrect the Soviet Union. What he has decided to do is a test. Are the Western democracies as weak as they seem, and will they pull a Chamberlain? The latter gentleman is always remembered for his backing away from a bully.

Cuba all over again. However, figuring the odds as Putin has, he is not in the US backyard, I’m in my own damn backyard, and economic obstructionism is his only risk.

From the West’s point of view, there is a strong inertia for the policy that came out from the end of WWII: contain communism.

These three species of subcultures have always been around, and always will be: Utter Freedom, Considerate Freedom, and Fake Freedom. After all, we are part of God’s experiment with free will.

Under Utter Freedom, as with most of the native American tribes in North America before Columbus, there was a Chief yet if you stayed far enough away from him, you were in effect under no rule at all.

Under Considerate Freedom, there is a very active government that is well-intentioned.

Under Outright Totalitarianism, everyone knows who has the power, and how to stay invisible.

Let’s assume that most Americans would agree that the one of the three choices we all want is Considerate Freedom.

A small minority of Americans might prefer Utter Freedom i.e. anarchy but it’s hard to realistically imagine how a country the size of the USA could cooperate enough to remain militarily strong as an anarchy.

If we want to achieve Considerate Freedom everywhere in the world so that we can all get on with life without the war games of yesteryear, how would we deal with Putin’s Test?

Consider:

Some Ukrainians want to move closer to the West (this is using the normative taxonomy – reflecting a bias to consider Russia NOT part of Europe which goes back millennia). Some Ukrainians feel closer to Rus (the original name of the enormous landmass between what we call Europe and India/China).

In Rus, the leader feels so strongly about Russia regaining a former greatness, and the people feel so strongly about the threat of falling out of step, that they will follow the leader into a path which could literally mean the end of the world.

They are all figuring the odds and until the first nuke is tossed they hope it can all be walked back with blarney no one will question anymore since anything goes now in the way of public statements.

Realistically, the West will wage economic war but will not want to be the first to put the torch to the kindling. Not until an inch of NATO soil is touched, at which point, head for the hills.

The comparison with Chamberlain will be answered with “This has always been part of Russia, what business is it of ours.”

It’s all a balancing act.

People will say, “If people want out of the Ukraine, they should move West and we should welcome them in.” Why not? More people will move to Considerate Freedom from Total Totalitarianism the longer we can keep the game going without flameout.

What’s the best positive outcome of the situation?

The hopeful possibility that this will bring all Americans together.

The need to be externally strong does not permit of internal squabbling and separation. We should naturally unite and forget trivial differences when faced with a common threat several orders of magnitude larger. That would be the sane response.

If we do not unite internally we will morally forfeit the leadership of the world we’ve had for three quarters of a Century.

The outcome is still up in the air. Economic sanctions will follow first. We will see what they accomplish. Completely excluding countries that practice aggression from the benefits of world trade and cooperation may take a long time to fully work. Such methods may never have worked before but that’s where creativity can come in.

We will hear about the awful treatment of Ukrainians at the hands of Russian soldiers and our blood will boil.

But we cannot put out violence with violence. We cannot end hatred with hate. Escalation reached its natural limit in 1945 when atomic weapons were first used and their implications immediately understood.

Creativity and consideration are the only tools which will get us to the promised land here on Earth. We had a chance to go that way when Joe Biden took office. But instead our leaders fought each other and fell back into the predictable old ways of warnings and threats to other world leaders.

How long will it take for the human race to outgrow violence and childish thinking?

Mr. Putin has just turned the clock back a hundred years.

Obviously we cannot think of ending the arms race at the present moment. We must continue to carry the big stick. But we can at least speak in the soft voice. It will be a start to walking back this test of our skills.

The alternative ways of being have all been proven bankrupt. What is left to us is creative diplomacy and military readiness.

Best to all,

Bill

The Mental Health Pandemic Is Worse Than Covid

Created February 18, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Data from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that as of 2007, half the world’s population suffers from mental illness at least once in their lifetime. And in any given year, one in five people suffer from mental illness.

I would argue that the problem is even more severe than that. The definition of mental disease is constrained to various known syndromes including depression, schizophrenia, and so on. These statistics do not include the percent of the population who would score as not having a mental illness by standard medical tests, but who are enslaved by automatic scripts playing out in their brains. Including such people in the stats would bring the percentage up to possibly 80-90% of us who are not functioning mentally to our innate capacity to do so.

The strict medical illness definition types and the “normally neurotic” types have probably not been increasing as percentages of the total population. They probably peaked long ago, judging from human history. In fact, the meditation movement may have inched down the percentage slightly in the last half century or so.

The Institute for Health Metrics estimates that 57% of the world population has had Covid so far. The Worldmeter  tracks known cases of which there have been over 400 million globally so far, which is only 5% of the world population. The truth is probably somewhere between 5% and 57% so far. So Covid appears to be less rampant than mental illness and normal neuroses combined.

The two (mental incapacity and Covid) work together, which explains why the world appears to have flown off the handle. It is not just appearance. The world is technically off its rocker.

I visualize the mental strength of the human population to be a grey scale, a continuum, and each individual is not always at the same place on the scale. We can go up and down from minute to minute depending upon what is going on around and inside us.

When reality is too terrible to be faced, the average person will move toward the insanity end of the scale. Mass hysteria has happened many times before, but typically occurs in confined populations such as passengers on an airplane, students and faculty of a school, people living in one town. It could be related to the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) in that it starts with a few people and then others around them start to mirror the behavior of the initial cell. Dr. Richard Silberstein has taught me that the Orbito Frontal Cortex (OFC) has a function of regulating the MNS and thus acts as a check on excessive imitative behavior. Mass hysteria could arise in situations when something has interfered with the proper functioning of the OFC.

In all of the documented cases since the Middle Ages, none has become a pandemic. Until now. Why now?

Certainly, Covid is one important triggering event, causing us to lose most of the weekly experiences we considered the most fun, which make life worth living. But I think it started before Covid. Two other dystopian trends began before Covid-19. One was social media, and the other was a drift toward fascism which some have traced to the anti-terrorism stance the US took as a result of 9/11.

I never considered interactive media dystopian, I always thought it would be the stuff that brought us to utopia. I was forgetting about the large proportions of mentally ill people.

Brexit and Cambridge Analytica showed the world how social media could be used manipulatively, weaponized as a new level of propaganda warfare. The communications industry identified Cambridge Analytica and put a stop to its activities, but no one can stop rogue nations/superpowers/militias from mis-using social and all other media.

When George Washington warned us of the dangers of the party system (it was not part of the US Constitution nor did it exist for the first 20 years of the USA’s existence) he could not have foreseen how the inherent divisive effects of partisanship might interact with social media, fascist tendencies, and widespread mental illness/neurosis.

This is the Abstract from a scientific paper published about a year ago entitled “COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria : In this article, we aim to develop a political economy of mass hysteria. Using the background of COVID-19, we study past mass hysteria. Negative information which is spread through mass media repetitively can affect public health negatively in the form of nocebo effects and mass hysteria. We argue that mass and digital media in connection with the state may have had adverse consequences during the COVID-19 crisis. The resulting collective hysteria may have contributed to policy errors by governments not in line with health recommendations. While mass hysteria can occur in societies with a minimal state, we show that there exist certain self-corrective mechanisms and limits to the harm inflicted, such as sacrosanct private property rights. However, mass hysteria can be exacerbated and self-reinforcing when the negative information comes from an authoritative source, when the media are politicized, and social networks make the negative information omnipresent. We conclude that the negative long-term effects of mass hysteria are exacerbated by the size of the state.

So, it seems that we have the explanation of why the world has suddenly literally gone mad.

That in itself does not constitute a cure or solution. But it points in certain directions where we can look for a cure.

One direction is inside. When a mature adult who has learned enough about life to act like a mensch most of the time (that description might fit all of us in our best moments, but perhaps only one in ten of us in terms of steadiness over time, and during today’s mass hysteria maybe even fewer of us) discovers that he or she is their own worst enemy, it causes one to pause and rethink everything. The automatic ego-emotional impulses which turn us into robots, once exposed to a sane person, begin to come under scrutiny and control, and after a long process, the individual becomes mentally and emotionally resilient. This is manifest in more authentic consideration given to others, courage, fortitude, better decision making, greater creativity, more time spent in the Flow state.

In other words, the way out of this mess is for each of us to take ourselves in hand.

The challenge has never been greater than it is today. The media pressure (social and otherwise) is not going to stop, the vast majority of one’s countrymen and women being largely (hopefully temporarily) “crazy”, the political banditos taking fullest advantage of the situation, none of those driving variables is going to stop just because an isolated few of us start to take back our selves and stop being puppets manipulated by stimuli and by parts of our nervous systems designed to be helpful but prone to becoming perverted. No, it isn’t going to be easy.

But what else is there to do? The only open path is to maximize our own sanity first (put on your airbag then help others).

The Sanity Movement is going to arise, it is a historical necessity. It will be in a sense at war with the negative idea polluters of social media and all media, but it cannot descend to warlike behavior without simply becoming another nutty group vying for attention. It has to spread good healing ideas that really work to calm oneself down and begin acting intelligently again.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

–John Lennon

Best to all,

Bill

 

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Choose Resilience Over Resentment

Created February 11, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey blog.

One reader of last week’s post thanked me and made a special request: write something about resentment and how to deal with it in oneself.

Last week’s post was about the things we do automatically all the time that do us absolutely no good. Things like hating. Resentment is another one of those things that we do that doesn’t help us and in fact hurts us.

The dictionary definition of resentment that I like the most is “Bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”. Such as having been passed over for promotion, not having been appropriately recognized for one’s accomplishments, standing by red-faced while a sibling receives inordinate parental praise which would have been more applicable to oneself.

Some philosophers of psychology have asserted that resentment is a type. People who fall into this type tend to start early, and become wounded by their perception that they are not getting the love they deserve from one or both parents. Because this came about by a comparison between the ideal conditions and actual ones, the resentful type tends to become idealistic and perfectionistic, as if subconsciously assuming that this will “right the wrong”.

The actual effect of having an invisible script that we carry with us in life, without even realizing that we have such a script, is that it will tend to cause us to experience the negative outcomes which we expect. If we expect to be treated unfairly, we will tend to bring about that undesired outcome. This happens through micro-momentary unconscious signaling.

In other words, by giving in to the automatic ego-emotional reaction of showing resentment, and/or anticipatory resentment, which is automatic, one does not lead to being treated more fairly.

Which is more important – getting treated more fairly more often – or blowing off steam by expressing resentment – or causing oneself psychological harm by repressing resentment so that it operates under the radar. It would seem far better to repair real world situations. This is why we urge people to not operate on autopilot, but to exert conscious observation of what we are doing to ourselves, automatic or otherwise, and take control of our behaviors, moving the matter out of the subconscious and into the conscious. This involves metacognition and self-metaprogramming.

Here are some actions recommended when one senses resentment within oneself.

First, don’t let others see that you feel resentful. Subconsciously we all tend to see resentment as a characteristic of weakness, someone who is “a loser” at least in the situation. Far better to show confidence, awareness of one’s own value, no concern as to what others think of you – whether you are really that strong today or not. By acting like the you that you are aiming at being, you build that muscle until it becomes fully authentic.

Take care to continue to treat kindly the person who marginalized you, even if you have evidence that they are out to get you. That demonstrates your invulnerability, and you actually can cause behavior changes in others by this turning of the other cheek.

Second, take some time to contemplate how you might have set yourself up for being underestimated. Were there any signals you sent, overt or subtle, that could have contributed to becoming under-appreciated?

These strategies are aimed at shifting the basis for your inner life experience away from automatic defensive reactions, to enlightened self-management. This shift is a profound one which very few people ever even attempt. It is a shift very conducive to greater effectiveness and happiness, which is resilient to offending experiences, and leads to creativity and Flow state.

The neurological structures and functions within a human being are pro-survival and are there as default systems when we are not in a state of enlightened self-interest performing rationally and empirically. Unfortunately, during the information acceleration pandemic which has been going on throughout recorded history, we settle into living our entire lives in these robotical fight-flight states. Only a relative handful of us conquer our own autonomic ego reaction instincts. Those that do stand out for their accomplishments and their sagacity.

We can all be that way. There is a simple method to it. It is to stop assuming anything, reset to scratch, and observe carefully everything that goes on in and around you, suspending judgment. Use my book Mind Magic as it makes it even easier. But all you really need is you, observing everything without judging it, and ignoring your own kneejerk reactions. With practice, you will find that you don’t feel the sting as much as you used to when someone intentionally or unintentionally does something that you resent. It becomes irrelevant. So long as you can keep doing your work, achieving your goals, maintaining the desired lifestyle, you can let such events roll off your confident back.

Until you really feel that confidence, by all means project it externally, but most importantly, figure out why you have that lack of confidence in yourself. Have you been Peter-Principled into a job that is not your expertise? Do you want to learn how to do that role with greater confidence? There will be ways you can get the learning you need. Or would you rather be doing some other kind of work?

It’s possible that someone is gunning for you, actively wanting to get you to leave. It comes down to how much you love everything else about the job, and what you really want.

If the moment comes when you are formally invited to leave, focus on what you want to do next, the departure although involuntary might be a really good thing for you in the long run.

Always remember the good things you have done in that job, and keep doing things you’re proud of. Whether or not they are proud of you, you can still be proud of yourself. They are not the measure of you. You yourself are the most qualified to know how good or imperfect you are. Don’t be thrown off by people who are working off of guesswork.

Best to all,

Bill

 

Things We Do Automatically That Do Us No Good

Created February 4, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

We take certain things for granted because everyone else does these things, and we find ourselves just “naturally” doing them as well.

One example is hating. It has no beneficial effect on our own lives to “hate” specific things or people. If we don’t want those things or people in our lives, we can simply avoid them, not think about them, fill our lives with what we do want.

Hating doesn’t add any more efficiency or effectiveness to our own life. Like all negative emotions it has deleterious effects on our physical and mental health. It might give us bad dreams. It might be entangled with other thoughts and emotions in ways that are not obvious. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of precious mental emotional resources. It doesn’t add anything positive to our life. And yet we do it.

Habit. Conditioning. Imitative behavior. Fitting in with everyone else by doing what they all do. These are some of the reasons why it never occurs to us to think rationally about hating.

Hate comes from fear. We are afraid that this person or these people are going to do things that will harm the lives of myself and my loved ones, but we feel powerless to stop that from happening, so our robotical mind leaps to the hasty conclusion that our only recourse is to hate them. Hate therefore is an inner subconscious admission of powerlessness. It is better to retain a footing of having some actionable power that merely needs to be figured out and then carried out. Hate excuses us from thinking creatively about actions that might be taken. Even if such actions seem unlikely to make a difference, there is honor in focusing on action, there is dishonor in giving up and simply hating.

The other thing that stops us from thinking about stopping something like hating, is that we may assume that it’s impossible to stop an emotion, it just arises by itself, that we have no control over it.

That’s untrue. In the Observer state and in the Flow state, we can make decisions and keep to them. We are in a higher state of functioning when we are in in those states. They are apparently our natural states, and our crippled state in which we have no control over ourselves is not our natural state. We have wound up in this dwarfed version of ourselves by collectively drifting into a society that does not support our self-expression in our passion work, nor even enable us to discover what our passion work is. An accelerating society that cannot keep up with its own inventiveness.

It is never too late. We are in a position to lift ourselves out of substandard conditions. First of all, we all want it, that will help. However, we’re not in a state of unity, the kind of unity felt by billions of freedom-loving people during World War II. In that state of unity, and coming from the right place and from the good, we prevailed. We need that same unity today in order to set things right, to wind up even better than we ever were before, doing our favorite “work” which to us is “play”, not having strife with others, not having fear nor hate nor all of the other negative emotions which are so rampant today.

You are the only one who can find the hidden switch in yourself to decide to give up over reacting to everything and everyone, to forgive yourself and everyone and start fresh with everyone.

All the world needs now is forgiveness. We have drifted into hate by our loyalty to one group or another. Loyalty is a good thing. Too much of a good thing is where bad things come from. If we wish to express ourself by the groups we belong to, that’s good, but we should think big. Like loyalty to God. Like loyalty to the human race. Like loyalty to the United States of America.

Once we get stuck on loyalties of a more fragmented nature, the likelihood that it can cause harm to our lives begins to increase. The things that made us join one political party may have been right at the time, but things change, the people involved change, the agendas change, and inflexible loyalty under those conditions isn’t fair to ourselves, it’s not thinking rationally about what really moves us forward as an individual.

Judgment of others is not necessary. One can leave them to what they want to be. Hate is preceded by judgment. Neither one is necessary to our own evolution. They are both a waste of time.

Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Your mind can be cleansed by you yourself and it will perform better when released from irrelevancies and poisons.

If you find yourself unable to forgive yourself, ask yourself, have you learned the lesson from the situation about which you can’t forgive yourself? If the answer is no, you must figure out the lesson, and then forgive yourself, knowing that you can react the right way the next time such a situation arises. (Not forgiving yourself after learning what to do next time is a waste of time and evidence of neurosis.) This is rational self-management, like you would expect a manager to exercise over a business. This is where the higher states of consciousness operate.

If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive Republicans, or Democrats, you can’t apply the same procedure. You can’t guarantee that all Democrats or all Republicans have learned their lessons from whatever it is you hold against them. You need to forgive them in advance of such reformation. This is simply because you can only take responsibility for yourself, you can’t control others. Then what is the justification for forgiving them? Because judgment is not yours to pass. “Judgment is mine,” saith the Lord. Live and let live. You know how hard it is to be a human being in this world as it is now. You can help others by forgiving them. If you run up against someone who is unquestionably doing terrible things, and you feel it’s up to you to stop them, then do that, while still forgiving them and stopping hating them because those things don’t help.

“Even forgive a murderer? Even forgive a mass murderer?” Yes, why not, all you are doing is cleansing your own heart, mind, body, and soul, it will make you more effective, and forgiving does not require condoning.

Why make such a profound change in your behavior now, after all these years of life? Because the world is in terrible danger. Civilization is fraying. Species becoming extinct one after another. We need two things to change fast: Unity to work cooperatively and respectfully with one another, not wasting time with insults. Unity within our self, finding our ideal self and sticking to it to the exclusion of old habits. It’s the Supreme Test.

Who could be placing us into the situation of a Supreme Test? It could only be a Supreme Being.

Let’s rise to the occasion and take action toward unity instead of making little excuses, blaming and hating others, and dodging the work we have to do on ourselves to become the Supreme Self within us.