We All Need Optimal Competition to Supplant the Unhealthy Kind

Created February 17, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The optimal use of competition is to set it up to be good-natured. As if in a debating game. The way the Founders of the Constitution thought about it. Without fierce fear of failure, megalomaniacal attachment to power and political money, without hatred, gaming the system, or violence. The Founders knew there would inevitably always be political arguments along the way, but felt confident that with the checks and balances and good will, we would be able to work things out.

The Constitution itself never mentioned political parties. Jefferson and Washington both warned against the rise of political parties in America. They had seen what happened with the Tories and Whigs in Merrie Olde England. Wigs on the green. At the time, in the American Colonies, being the government was just a particularly hard and risky job without a lot of perks. Like being anything in the Colonies at that time.

In any situation where the lust for winning and the fear of losing has become obsessive, human effectiveness drops sharply. Different brain processes take over. Yerkes-Dodson experiments and later work by others proved that when we care too much about an outcome, we reduce our own power to get that outcome.

Too many of the human beings involved in the process of governing us are now showing their worst sides most of the time because they are so ignobly and obsessively motivated. I say ignobly because a public servant worth his or her or their title serves the public regardless of personal outcomes for themselves. They do the necessary for the good of the people. They keep their solemn Oath. Such were the Founders. If we had them today none of this would be happening. Which is not to say that all of our public servants today are ignoble. But the ignoble ones are showing off blatantly because they have used unfair tactics and are still getting away with it, so they appear at the moment to have the upper hand over the noble ones. 

What if anything can we do about the present disappointment many of us feel when we think about our beloved nation with its high ideals? Firstly, we ought not vote for ignobles. Secondly, smaller degrees of change are easier to achieve, so let’s see what can be done to moderate the behavior of those in government. They should be held to a higher standard. Lying, hate talk, attacking the other party, extolling one’s own party, damning the proposed solutions put forth by others without offering any solutions of one’s own, openly gaming the system (gerrymandering, filibustering, appointing of politically motivated judges) so as to gain and keep power, accepting inappropriate monetary rewards, there are specific guidelines which could be put forth as a new Code Of Conduct Standard for the country’s government decision makers at Federal, State, and even local levels.

That is only a surface change but it will have inner feedback loops that will help people break their conditioning. We’ve been all been conditioned and it’s hard but not impossible to break conditioning. Our conditioning began early and we had nothing to compare it to so we took it all for granted. Later we felt in our comfort zone to stay within the herd of people who received similar conditioning to ourselves, and we might not have even been conscious of doing it. This conditioning resides within brain neurons created by our experiences and affects us strongly. The repetition of reinforcement over decades enforces a self-image which is too much made up of what other people think and too little created by our own fully reconsidered clear-eyed contemplation.

In order for the governments of the world to perform optimally, and nations to be led to peaceful coexistence and compassionate cooperation, authoritarian (will take longer) and democracy/republic leaders need to evolve themselves by knowing themselves better, and by reinvigorating their true individuality. Becoming liberated from conditioned intense attachment to money and power and replacing those drives with loftier inspiration to make a better happier world. We all need this but we all need it to happen for world leaders as much as we need it for ourselves. Without inner changes in all of us, especially those who are supposed to lead us, the species might not make it in time to avert the many ticking timebombs our overwhelmed minds have created.  

Witness the recent slide of a perfectly humane and smart American party into what it is now. But the Republicans I know are nothing like that. Those in highest offices may be acting crazy, but the ground truth is quite different, very few Republicans I know who are not in the government are anything like crazy. It’s not the people; it’s a relative handful, a few thousand mis-motivated people that have arrogated unto themselves a great excess of power already, and they have made clear that they are not at all interested in keeping their oaths to protect the American Constitution. This is a domestic threat to our way of life. It’s un-American. It’s a return to what we sought to replace with Americanism. Because the atavistic governing style staging a comeback runs on bribes, maybe we should call it Bribalism.

The Business of the United States Is Business 

Republican legislators when acting sanely (before the extreme attachment to personal outcome hypnotized them) were pro-business before. Now their core is more the lesser educated, their concern for businesses could be manifesting as good advice and programs for small businesses in this era in which small businesses are arising more rapidly due to the internet. Meanwhile, businesses have transcended the pure profit motive for enlightened self-interest (buzzword: Purpose), which empowers them to take up good causes and aim to make people’s lives better. 

Although this is authentic to US business today, the party which used to cleave to business is not exactly doing that kind of thing as much. Now the GOP is saying only what will hold together the tens of millions of people who keep it in power. This is analogous to milking a brand that is on the decline: it will not avert the decline, but in the short term before that decline is finished, “get as much out of it as you can.” It would be far better to avert the decline by returning to its original brand identity as the Party of Lincoln, the party of business especially small businesses, the party demanding proofs and safeguards from those bringing progressive proposals, the party which completes a healthy optimal competition with the more change-oriented party.    

Republicans rise up to take responsibility for your party. You are true Americans; there are a few thousand people terrorizing the country and they unfortunately turn out to be all too many of the people we together elected, and unluckily for you most of them right now are of your party – but not of your mind, nor of your character. You have to rise up collectively to peacefully take back control of your party and bring it back to the center. No one else can do it but you. Step up, step forward, take responsibility. It’s the right thing to do.

Love to all, 


PS – How to take advantage of the “Yerkes-Dodson Law” (and more) to improve your own performance: https://www.humaneffectivenessinstitute.org/observerness/ 

PPS – I’m not saying bribes are limited to one party. Remember, I’m an Independent. As I’ve written here many times, I see fixed going-in conditions such as progressivism or conservatism to be biases, things which distort objective judgment and obscure and confuse objectivity. Biases block Observer state and Flow state.

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