submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Cede Not the Power Within
July 13, 2016
Hot Springs, VA
"Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.... An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us..." - Valerie, V for Vendetta
The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,152. Gold closed at $1,335 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $46.80 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.51%. Bitcoin is trading around $660 per BTC today.
I'm not exactly sure where this entry is going to go. As regular readers know, I sit down weekly to write about whatever is on my mind.
No script. No filter. No agenda other than the spreading of ideas.
I do try to tie these entries in with one of my books or finance courses for commercial purposes so I can tell wife Rachel that I did some work today, but I am not always successful in that endeavor.
What's on my mind this week is power - personal power.
It is very clear to me that there is a concerted effort underway to destabilize the western world. The shooting in Dallas complete with racial undertones is the most recent example, but these supposedly 'random' events have been occurring regularly for a few years now.
In the U.S., it's horrendous police brutality followed by riots and shootings. In Europe, it's various acts of violence and a forced refugee crisis.
The media fuels fear, anger, and distrust after each attack, and there is an immediate attempt to push a political agenda. All the while blame is tossed about and the actual victims and their families are used as chess pieces in a sociopolitical game. Further, there is substantial evidence suggesting that nearly every one of these violent incidents is financed by and/or connected to a political organization of one stripe or another. Zero Hedge typically connects the dots in ways the television media will not for those who want to explore this statement further.
After the 24-hour media cycle blasts political spin regarding these events, you can check your Facebook feed or listen to the coffee-pot talk at work and see that plenty of people are very quick to take sides according to the public narrative. This collectivizes the issue and integrates an "us vs. them" mentality into the public psyche.
Instead of seeing a tragic and unnecessary act of violence, those who buy the spin see "conservative vs. liberal", "black vs. white", "Christian vs. Muslim", or what have you. This perspective necessarily transfers power away from the individual and cedes it to the leaders of whichever group the individual happens to support.
That is collectivism, and it is what keeps the political class and the media in business. Instead of dealing with people as individuals, these institutions can only deal with people as collectives. They attempt to scoop everyone up into groups and then assign value, rights, and motives accordingly. Those who play their game perpetuate their fear and control paradigm.
The leaders of each group communicate the beliefs, feelings, policies, and actions that all members of the group must adopt as their own. Then people who are completely unconnected to the event take up the group's cause as their own, necessarily subverting their own interests and manufacturing anger towards people who identify with other groups.
It is all an abstraction, and these acts of violence would stop if people stopped fueling the fire. Again, nearly all of these violent incidents are linked to political organizations pushing an agenda. The reason these organizations organize and finance violence is because they can count on the state-corporate media to push fear, anger, and confusion each and every time. People who are immersed in fear, anger, and/or confusion can be manipulated into believing and accepting certain agendas.
Suppose people ignored the propaganda instead of fueling it?
The aggressors would go to jail, the families of the victims would be able to cope with their loss in private, everyone else would continue on with whatever they were doing, and there would be very little incentive for future aggressors to act.
And human civilization would benefit from countless individuals using their personal power for good rather than ceding it to ego-maniacs, demagogues, politicians, and morally bankrupt individuals. Sorry for repeating myself...
Now I tend to be something of an idealist, but I don't think there is an ounce of idealism in today's entry. I am a young man, but I am old enough to know that personal power is real. It may be intangible, but it is not abstract.
I also know how easy it is to give away your personal power to someone else. Indeed, the entire system of industrialized education seems to be geared towards conditioning individuals to cede their power to one institution after another every step along the way, though not everyone falls victim to this conditioning.
I went through this system just like everyone else, and unfortunately I accepted the social conditioning to a large degree. At one point, I was a people-pleaser incapable of making independent decisions without considering what others - especially my "superiors" - wanted me to do. This was true of my immediate circle as well as the people in positions of power on television.
I know this sounds strange, but think about it: how many people actively support everything their chosen political party hands down to them? How many people center their moral compass around an external, arbitrary, and sometimes incoherent set of values because a television figure proclaims them to be right?
So I spent nearly all of my time traveling someone else's road, not my own. I wasted an extraordinary amount of energy seeking the approval and acceptance of others every single day. I gave away all of my personal power freely, and a life of what Napoleon Hill called drifting was the result.
Then one day I woke up and decided it was time to walk my own path. What I discovered was that all of the power I had unwittingly gave away became available to me at that point.
It was only when I learned to focus this personal power that my true growth as a human being began. It was only then that I became self-referential. That is to say, I was able to view my own thoughts and actions in light of their own merit regardless of what others thought about them. I became driven by internal forces rather than external influences.
So to bring this all together, the people who found their calling and achieved great success in this life each did so only by focusing their personal power intensely. This is true of great business leaders, as Think and Grow Rich famously documented, but it is equally true of social and spiritual leaders. I suspect this was why Jesus of Nazareth spent forty days in the desert before beginning his mission - to cut out all distractions and really focus his power.
What's interesting is that very few of these great leaders claim any superiority; nearly all of them suggest that anyone could do what they have done if they just focused on it.
What's also interesting is that the world - across time and place - always seems to oppose the great leaders who have accessed their internal power. To name the best examples: from Socrates to Jesus to Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr.... the world always seems to rise up in opposition. The world also attempts to make an example out of these leaders so as to discourage others from following in their footsteps.
This is true of the innovators and disruptors in the business world too. I have read numerous stories detailing how people challenging the established business order were hit with absurd regulations and frivolous lawsuits designed to crush their spirit. But those destined for greatness always rise above.
Despite what the world may say, I firmly believe that every single person drawing breath has the capacity for greatness. The world constantly assaults us with distractions, road blocks, fear, anger, confusion, and injustice in an attempt to sway our personal power and impede our greatness.
Those who have tapped into their inner power just laugh in the world's face...
More to come,
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