• Sim

Unpopular Opinion Series

Warning: Context in this series is especially important. It's written, as indicated in the last post, as a trigger and hijacker of the nervous system's learning systems. The tone of this posts is therefore harsh and crude. This is NOT a representation of how I coach my clients. This is however a dig/stab at how people generally reason and the tone that they often use themselves. The main point of this series is to trigger a reaction to plant a seed upon which people will reflect. And it is thus meant to be polarizing and attack the current paradigm. There are caveats and expansions necessary on each subject and post, even at the extensive writing done in those posts.

#1 Information processing:

Physical and psychological digestion are very similar, if not exactly the same. Information follows the same path as our physiological eating process: We taste, we ingest, we break down, we digest and we either assimilate or defecate. It also happens to follow that this process has been hijacked. Meaning that if we look at the general public likes to eat, it is engineered to taste. Sugar is put in everything, thickeners, flavor enhancers or substitutes, and heavily processed carbs a plenty. In the first order, our taste has been changed to match that engineered “feed”. Then on top of that our reward centers and microbiome, even our digestive capability are completely altered. The assimilation of nutrition is compromised when the gut lining and microbiome are compromised.

Now compare that with how we deal with information, with a palette so skewered towards the sweet. That's why common speech keeps reflecting that principle: “I'm not going to sugar coat it for you”. Isn't that fascinating that it is so commonly used? Because people don't even get to the first stage, taste. If it's not sugar-coated they spit it out. If it doesn't match the palette and source they like, it's immediately discarded. You will basically always eat the most readily available food, just like you always gobble up the most available information (as truth). When changing nutrition from a processed diet to a more natural nutritional template, the taste buds get scrubbed and you start being able to taste the flavors and nuances of unprocessed foods. Following the path of information for someone who has been changing their mental diet, the information they come in touch with: it is allowed to go through THE PROCESS. Instead of the childlike, I don't like the taste so I spit out, throw a tantrum until it stopped being suggested to subsequently strike it from the mind.

When we do ingest something, it makes its way to digestion: reflecting/reflection. Where we take it apart, look at it from different angles, try to find what this piece of information could mean in the greater picture and its implication to the way we live our lives. Where we then follow the process of assimilation a la Bruce Lee style: we assimilate what is useful and exterminate the waste what is useless. There's also a reason why the sign of a mature mind and intelligence is “ the Ability To Hold Two Opposed Ideas in the Mind at the Same Time, and still retain the ability to function.” presented by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most people can't even ingest what isn't sugar-coated, let alone have the ability to hold 2 conflicting thoughts without creating massive cognitive dissonance. The problem with your information is that most likely it's not even yours. Spoonfed, engineered to taste and sugar-coated. Just like you didn't hunt/gather/cultivate your own food. The “news” sites have come to little more than what supermarkets are: saturated with the engineered feed with all the whole and fresh foods on the sides somewhere. That doesn't mean you can't make better decisions, such as only shopping whole natural foods. You do have the possibility and ability, in as far as censorship goes, to find/access any information you want. The general issue with this last part is that even though the possibility to access this information is the same, few are willing to put in the effort to actually read in-depth.

The effort people put into their diets/nutrition and preparing it is synonymous with how they deal with information. This is why for instance the information in nutrition and exercise that has been “popular” and thus dominant came from bodybuilding because it was the most easily accessible. From there it is taken at face value and thus propagated and repeated until it has become “truth”. Anyone willing to put in even a modicum of effort would've found the context, nuance, and origin of certain ideas. The point here: the less effort you are willing to put the more you will stick to the most dominant and most accessible information without taking the time to do the EXTENSIVE and COMPREHENSIVE reading. Which, to return to the initial analogy is akin to choosing your source of food. If you don't take the first step in source and trying to taste different things, you will never cultivate depth of understanding. Finally, our ability to assimilate information is compromised if we lack the fundamental structures of weighing and dealing with information., which requires a completely different state of mind.

#2 Stress an amplifier:

Stress as a creator is the dominant paradigm, which is evident in how people perceive stress and use it in their language. “I was stressed” which is supposed to serve as either a justification and/or an excuse.It's an explanation, but it's neither of the former. I use creator in the sense that stress “magically” creates something (a flaw/failing/shortcoming, usually) that “wasn't” there before. Which if we look at how stress works in the nervous system and your brain in general, it's an amplifier. Why most people either A) don't like that or B) don't want to accept that is that it does not just imply but dictates how you behave under stress is your responsibility. If you accept the creator paradigm you can absolve yourself of responsibility and ownership.

If you look at the polyvagal theory and cyclical nature of things you can see how fight/flight/freeze becomes enhanced. We also know that information is stored in different locations when one is parasympathetic vs sympathetic, so unstressed vs stressed. And that the blood vessels in the Prefrontal cortex get squeezed shut, which are all natural biological phenomena under stress there for a good reason. However, that doesn't grant you a free pass to behavior how you like under stress or duress and then pass it off like you can't help yourself. You should have been working on the ability of the nervous system to regulate these states and its threshold for going from parasympathetic to sympathetic. And then learning how to navigate the sympathetic, and of course learning how to come back parasympathetic.

Stress inoculation and stress management isn't a mystery, addressing the NS through its own language and changing Vagal Tone. If however, you try to think your way through, you're going to be sorely disappointed. How well, or rather how poorly, people are equipped to deal with stress is apparent in the current situation. It's immediately made clear in how people exemplify their coping mechanics. And as clinical psychology is coming to find addictions inside coping mechanism is an attempt for the Nervous System to regulate (obviously towards the parasympathetic). The higher the stress, the more people reach for conditioned coping mechanisms and routines. The dominant coping mechanism will take center stage such as food, media (including porn), alcohol, drugs, work. And the dominant behavioral pattern will also come to the surface. Whether that's emotional withdrawal and ignoring (freeze state), running away (flight state), conflict/confrontation avoidance (flight), or conflict and confrontation approach (fight state) anger and even physical violence (fight).

Not dealing with your stress coping mechanisms is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette while saying a Hail Mary for some comfort. How we see people behave in general with stress and especially now is their coping mechanisms amplified. Although I'm not against positive inspiration to use the quarantine/lock-down as a constructive experience, it's largely based on wishful thinking if you weren't dealing with stress constructively before. And this is on you, even if you don't like to acknowledge it. It's clear by how society is structured and how you see people behave that the nervous system isn't doing a good job auto-regulating, which is of course also tied to the fact that very little attention is being directed towards ACTIVELY working on the regulation of the nervous system. For those who don't auto-regulate (self regulate) well, your relaxing (pulling the NS to parasympathetic) is an active thing, as in coupled to action instead of passivity/ inaction. There's a reason why the Special Forces and High Performers alike get various breathing drills. There's a reason why even after binge-watching your favorite shows you are still stressed when you stop, or it comes back as quickly as it “went”: you haven't DONE anything to regulate the stress.

It IS your responsibility to build stress tolerance, threshold, navigation, coping and even the constructive use of stress. Because when you don't, it bleeds into the rest of society of a representation of how you treat people when you are under stress. Whether that is your ability to lead, reason, or just, in general, be a good human being. This obviously doesn't mean you should be perfect, there's no room for that type of absolutism here. It just means you need to take your responsibility to do what you can in “times of peace” so you are prepared for “times of war”. Or rather that you take the advantage to work on your patterns and mechanisms when things aren't that serious so you don't go over the edge when they are. That choice IS yours, and it is yours to make when you understand the implications that putting in the effort is to everyone's benefit. The obvious stress tolerance protocols: breathing, meditation, constructive self expression through art, sleep. Stress inoculation: Intense workouts/training, cold exposure, a combat sport with a resisting and alive opponent.

#3 Time as an amplifier

If you saw the previous post on how stress is an amplifier, you'll understand this much more: Time (in the first order) is an amplifier as well. Which shouldn't be all that surprising if you look at the state of people today. The "hero's" sentiment of: "if I had time I would do A, B or C" has pulled the illusion from people's reality like a magicians trick being exposed because the wires and trap doors were left uncovered.

As seen most people's lifestyles just got amplified: more Netflix, more social media, more wasting time. Populations tend to follow a bell curve, so most people would be in that 80% in the middle. That also means that time, although a factor, wasn't an issue. You are the issue. Big surprise, right?

Another illusion that we might as well "reveal" is that money is an amplifier as well. Which is also represented well in the general public who win/inherit or have a massive capital injection and manage to piss it all away.

So then, what is a creator? Necessity is.

Look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there's your creator right now. Coupled to time in its second order. Some, and this is definitely NOT the majority, will come to a point where after sitting on the couch for 3-4 weeks eating crap and getting fat(ter) get a "sudden insight" that is a confrontation of their laziness and slow but noticeable decline. Encapsulated by the phrase: "I really NEED to go do something right now".

I have met very few people who find that need within themselves, that which I've dubbed for myself as the unyielding drive. Because, as I've been upfront about this before, motivation is another such illusion. I am NOT motivated, I am however very driven by need(s). Motivation is predicated on dopamine.

Stemmed by inflammation =low dopamine production. Nutrition according to the "dietary guidelines" = low dopamine production (because rara it's made out of amino acids). Overlay a society that enforces external dopamine production through everything else, and tell me: how are you supposed to be motivated? And what will you do when it went as fast as it came?

We are masters in self-deception, or rather: in letting ourselves be deceived. The point here is that if you are using all the low order mechanics to get through life, it's not going to turn out the way you think it will. If you instead find the need and a modicum of willingness, you'll be on the right path.

#4 Absolutism and One-Dimensional thinking

Absolutism and binarism are indicative of a larger issue of autoregulation in the nervous system. How so? Well, life is nuanced, complex, multidimensional, interconnected, interdependent, dynamic, organic, cyclical, works in degrees and spectra all bound by parameters and conditions. Now there is only one instance where absolutism exists and that is binary: life or death. Which is found in the sympathetic side. Fight/Flight/Freeze, three branches of the same overarching state: survival. It never ceases to amaze me how binary, absolute and one-dimensional people think. Which then, when I look at this framework, changes surprise to understanding. As per the previous posts: most people have a poor time regulating their nervous system. On top of that, most people are stressed without “knowing” they are stressed because of the way they perceive stress. But it's apparent in the way they think and behave.

As mentioned a few times now: the prefrontal cortex holds our capacity to use logic, reason, and rationality. Now, when stressed the blood vessels in the PFC constrict and the blood is sent to the hindbrain. Which houses, you guessed it, everything that has to do with stress and survival. The sympathetic and thus the limbic brain and brain stem use quick “thinking” or rather fast processing to threat assess and provide a reaction. Think of those mechanics as a Quick Reaction Force. Which is what we refer to as instincts, they are there to keep us alive, not just keep us safe. Again, that implication comes back, keeping us alive is synonymous with survival mechanics. The PFC or rational thought is SLOW. If we tried to rely on that in the wild we'd be dead before we recognized what the threat was. Our NS operates on: rather safe than sorry. So it will react, in the face of threat/danger, rather than wait for “You” to make a decision.

Carry that over to how most people live their lives. First off: people are generally not doing anything to mitigate stress, their coping mechanics are generally learned and or conditioned. Secondly, they keep themselves in stressful environments and dynamics. To understand where I'm going with this we need to look at how stress has been encountered historically in the anthropologically and evolutionary biological sense. Which was short duration, low frequency, high intensity. A good example everyone keeps using: a tiger or bear. That encounter is usually short, doesn't happen that often and is VERY intense. Now contrast that with how our lives work: long duration (near-constant stress), high frequency (each day, several times a day), and a cyclical intensity which usually medium as a baseline interchanged with high and low instances. This is where chronic stress comes from. And if you've been paying attention to the two previous posts, if the threat or danger never passes it pushes people to anxiety and depression because the system tries to fall back on its last viable survival mechanics: freeze by playing dead and downregulating energy production.

This means that most people unknowingly have severely reduced PFC capacity and capability. “But but, I can think and work, and so on”. It doesn't mean you can't think, it means you don't think WELL. What I mean by that is that you can't think nuanced, lack depth of thought, lower speed of thought, compromised ability to think in several dimensions (hint hint). The more stress is present, the more, as you should be picking up on by now, the narrowing of thinking ability happens. We speak of tunnel vision during stress, it's not just vision, it's your whole cognition. If you haven't experienced profound clarity of thought, being able to connect notions, thinking in multiple dimensions, thinking in-depth, then you have no experience to match what I'm saying. Which then most people attribute to whatever excuse makes them feel best. The point is that if you can't entertain conflicting information or complex structures you are first and foremost stuck in sympathetic.

Binary and absolutist thinking is what I've run into the most in my interactions with people, especially in my previous environments. A nervous system under stress (childhood trauma, environmental stress, inflammation, poor sleep, a shitty job, toxic relationship, meaningless life, etc) doesn't allow access to complex, why would it? You are “fighting for your life, you are in survival mode. It doesn't pull your intelligence into question, because that isn't the issue. At the same time, we can't state you're exactly smart if you have reduced PFC capacity. Re-activity is a symptom of the sympathetic state. The knee jerk trigger REACTIONS that I see around me, whether that's on my own posts/articles or those of others is only representative of the state of the nervous system, and not necessarily the information displayed. It's easy to manipulate people in that state because everything is an outrage to them. If, or rather when, you identify with these characteristics of that state: you have some work to do. Again: people try to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) their way out by thinking. Everyone can tell you that your outrage in itself doesn't matter. Or to “calm down” and how much good does that do? CBT, as COGNITIVE should be emphasized double, states that there needs to a fair amount of cognition present. Which is predicated on what I wrote above. Thinking, offering perspectives, and all those other cognition “ticks” are relatively useless to a constricted and reduced PFC. On top of that, the hippocampal volume shrinks. Which is a key player in memory and LEARNING.

Knowing about the hippocampus shirking points at another fallacy people live by, which is that your brain by some unbeknownst magic does not change. Your brain is as plastic is anything else in your organism, it changes to the imposed “demands”. Or rather: it changes according to the supplied dominant information. I see for most people this is an Ah... moment. Yes, you are responsible for the volume of your own brain anatomy, sucks, right? To know all this stuff is on you? But let's skip the poor you and the perpetuated celebration of victim-hood in today's society. The amygdala during extended periods of time enlarges, the hippocampal volume shrinks, there are more parts that either shrink and expand according to the stress duration, intensity and the state the organism finds itself in. If you're thinking I'm pulling this stuff out of my ass, read The Psychotherapist's Essential Guide to the Brain and The Selfish Brain Theory. And of course: I've been studying this on my own for a decade. Neurogenesis and neuroplasticity are ALWAYS present. The way you live your life, as is indicative of your stress, changes your brain according to the way you do so.

Another symptom of absolutist and binary thinking, as is explained by tunnel cognition is the focus of a single thing, whether that's a single word, a single taboo, a single sentence in a 3-hour podcast or a 20-minute article. Which also makes sense in light of reduced PFC and a smaller hippocampus, because people that do that have a hard time learning as the NS requires them to incessantly focus on a single thing that has triggered them. It should be obvious you can't properly learn like that. You CAN learn some stuff, but it is and never will be the same as when the PFC and hippocampus are running on 100% in all areas (volume, blood flow, nutrient flow, etc). Unstucking yourself is again fully within your own hands. Once you leave the binary world of survival, you will see and experience very differently. Whether you want to accept it or not, everything is predicated on biology. Everything we experience has a biological imprint: changing genetics, epigenetic signaling, neuroanatomy adaptations, musculoskeletal adaptations, cardiovascular changes, mitochondrial adjustments. I implore you to move towards regulating your NS and experience new levels of thinking. Whether or not you can experience it isn't the issue, it's whether or not you will put in the work.

#5 Education & Opinions

Building on and following up on the previous post (there's a reason why this is a series, people) is that it's easy to understand why people are generally uneducated. This doesn't mean that they didn't go to school. The way I see education is that you are intrinsically driven to learn and understand. School isn't a measure for education, anyone can memorize information. Memorization does not equal understanding. And it sure as hell does not equal intelligence. There's a reason why, even 2000 years ago, Epictetus wrote that only the educated are free. And if you know anything about Stoicism you would know that he was not referring to “school smarts”. With reduced PFC and hippocampus capacity you aren't exactly in the best position to learn, let alone understand something in depth. I am sure this triggers a lot of people because it's an assault on your intelligence. Because it's an enforced societal idea that formal “education” equals intelligence, which it doesn't and I'm not sorry to burst that bubble for you.

This also builds on the first entry of the red pill series, in which I talked about information in its accessibility and its digestion. We technically all have the same access to information, however, most people use only or predominantly the most available information. On top of that, bringing back effort into this equation: most people spend more time watching Netflix, browsing SoMe and other similar things than reading on whichever topic. Hence my point that most people are A) generally uneducated in most matters, B) aren't driven to learn C) do most of their learning following enforcement or necessity for professional purposes. This isn't about saying you can't watch Netflix or whatever, if you are grasping for an absolute statement, you've come to the wrong place and you need to reread my previous post. It means that you are willfully ignorant and uneducated. And that your efforts are not directed towards a depth of understanding nor learning. Yes yes, you have your moments and occasional spurts and bursts of motivation which you try to put to good use, it's however generally not very lasting. All this is predicated on what is your dominant paradigm, not what you do occasionally which is a poor metric for anything if you were entirely honest with yourself.

Watching the news doesn't equal reading a well written and sourced article. Then, of course, reading even a good article doesn't equal reading the sourced research materials. It doesn't end there because it never ends. And this is where most people trip up, seeing it doesn't end that means there is a constant energy and effort requirement. From there you'd have to read the contributions, find how it connects to something else they mention and you will have had to go down several other rabbit holes before ACTUALLY somewhat understanding what they were talking about in the first place. This is how I, like most other people I know that interested in understanding, go about things. I run into studies in which I don't understand a term, or a mechanism/theory/whatever, I go look that up, which leads to another thing you need to know and you keep going until you circle back. Time is the other element if you think you're going to get a grasp on something in a few months: you have been lied to. What I know and understand right now, as with anyone else in any field, is a build-up 10 years of learning. Information stacks, it builds, you and the information evolve together.

I can already see people's eyes roll back in their skulls. You think anyone that knows anything that is even slightly relevant is just sitting there twiddling their thumbs waiting for a brilliant flash of insight? How could you have an insight without any information? That juxtaposes people's position right here. The intelligent and most intelligent get these insights because at some point in their processing of the accumulated information they make a connection between information. This brings into question 2 things: 1. That your singular and one-dimensional source of information somehow equals cross-referencing multiple sources in a multidimensional approach (like the dimension of time: history) and 2: That your opinions supposedly carries the same weight as more educated person., I can feel the blood boiling. “How dare you insinuate, NAY: state that my opinion doesn't matter”. No one is attacking your freedom of speech (how ironic would that be?), you are free to express your opinion. Whether or not it matters is largely based on whatever weight is behind it in terms of research, articulation, depth of understanding, level of relevance and level of accurateness and a bunch of other parameters like experience over time. This is why I vehemently oppose people's “need” for 1-minute videos, 2-minute articles, and summaries: you aren't learning shit. It doesn't even fulfill a single parameter listed above.

Another societal perpetuation that is based on air and low level “rationality” is that understanding something equals agreeing to something. History, which is especially relevant now, is a good example. If you understand where things like the holocaust come from, or why nationalism and right-wing parties are on the rise, you have a better grasp on what is going on today. Nowhere does that imply or demand you agree. It's a crucifixion fantasy from the social justice warrior society. So they have something to “pin” you on. Somehow understanding the horrors of history and today is a taboo. Or other recent information being a taboo or falling into the taboo category does that somehow signal an “evolved, elevated or enlightened” approach to dealing with information. Dear God, the hypocrisy is almost too much to bear. Which leads me back again to the first post: if you can't entertain conflicting thoughts, you're in for a bumpy ride. Which is, of course, predicated on the last post regarding your neurobiology. I'm sure people are ready to take out their stakes, torches, and pitchforks. “but you don't understand everything about everything, you are not an expert, etc”.

Ah yes, another fantasy of the modern world: that you need to be A) an expert in something to have an informed opinion and B) that you need to know everything to depth or in its totality to have an informed opinion. A somewhat respectable scientist will tell you about how much they don't know. So, where are you going with the ridiculous demand? No that doesn't run counter to what I said before, it's just another part of it. There's a big difference between being informed on a topic to a decent degree, in the sense that there is understanding and just parroting something someone said. Which describes the brunt of my conversations with people as parrots in general. This includes my loved ones, and especially my parents. I've directly conveyed this to my mother, that she is parroting information without doing any of her own research. And she wasn't insulted, so if you are: good luck with that. Just because an “authority” said something, that on its own doesn't mean much. If you're gonna pull out the time excuse, reference back to time post and sit back down. This whole piece is not about being right, and so ultimately correct (see absolutism post) it's about having weight behind your opinion, so it's actually informed to better and deeper degrees. Not the news, not 1 article, not 1 podcast episode, not 1 book. Put in the time, and then put in some more. And while we're at it, a certificate is not a guarantee of expertise. Experience, time, understanding, extrapolation, depth of reasoning is a much better indicator of that. Bring something to the table that is valuable, staked in effort, energy and earnest reflection, if you so desire your opinions to matter.

#6 The Value of your Word

Another virtue that has atrophied into non-existence, at least in the general public, is the value of your word. The government lies, religious institutions lie, historic accounts lie, etc. Absolutism alert: doesn't mean that everything is a lie. Moving on. Society enforces that lying as a whole is acceptable. This post isn't necessarily about the spectra and degrees of lies, we can save that for another occasion. It's about what follows, which could be called the natural sequence. That natural sequence is: I say something, which is my word, and I follow through with it. Again, linguistics have a strong indication of that, found in: in-deed. When you give your agreement, you are stating that it is so in deed, in action (behavior). The bible (really? Yes, really) points at this (and of course, if you are philosophically inclined it's plastered all over the place): you shall know them by the fruits of their labor. Or.: you shall know them by the consequence of their actions. In another interpretation, I like to go with: you shall know them by their fruits and their labor. Which is more like you will recognize them by their rewards (consequence) and their actions. The point of all this is that people's worth and value is measured in their behavior. “talk is cheap” “actions speak louder than words do” “don't tell me, show me” “leading by example”, is anyone picking up on the general theme here?

The general dissonance arises when there is a misalignment of speech (word) and behavior (action). Society has tolerated and thus condoned bullshitting. It's “impolite” to call people on their bullshit and hypocrisy. But by all means let's keep enforcing, enabling and encouraging this type of socialization. The real irony is that people mistrust politicians because of empty promises, empty words and a word of no value, yet do the same thing in a way that is only different in degree. Most people are thus not aligned with deeds. They are all show and no go. Absolutism alert: this doesn't mean you can't change your mind or come back from what you said provided you can deliver valid reasoning to do so that is followed by an action appropriate to that reasoning. This whole situation is generally accepted and of course, then agreed upon that it is “just”. Some of us learn the hard way what value other people have in our lives. And if there is anything that is proof, given enough time, is how someone behaves. I've had my fair share of empty promises and perpetuation of “expertise” and “authority”, and most surely “moral superiority” while those are the very people whos speech/word misaligns with their actions over a considerable amount of time.

All the social environments I am no longer a part of displayed this eager submission to the misalignment in various degrees. I have childhood “friends” (or had rather) that I knew I could trust as far as I could throw them. Because of that very saying of one thing but the doing of something else. Done enough times it completely erodes trust. This is of course based on the value one places and the belief on the importance of action and your speech. To me, having my “suspicions” confirmed enough times is alike a mark on your forehead that reads: untrustworthy. People have learned that it's ok to say anything or say what people want to hear to make the sale, to get people to like them, etc etc, this is a long list. Which highlights another hypocrisy: they applaud for real and genuine expression and vulnerability. Which stays at applauding as afterward they keep feeding, encouraging, and celebrating the same fake shit they partake in daily life. You want people to be more real and honest, but your own behavior doesn't reflect that. That's a funny way to go about it. And as a matter of fact, if it's not within the bounds of accepted beliefs/dogma that same realness is punished. What we have now societally is when we value talk, empty conjecture and theory are the dominant and preferred paradigm.

Which is why you can't say that we value people based on behavior, it's a taboo to feed the illusion. Behavior is an embodiment of beliefs. And to carry along that thought, what you look like physically is the natural extension of your beliefs. So by looking at someone you can see their beliefs, and deduce their general behavior (obvious outliers, such as disease etc, are of course obvious, no need to point them out). If your belief supports that action and deeds don't matter that much, your physicality will reflect that. You don't enact something you don't believe, you may very well say stuff you don't believe in for the sake of agreeableness/politeness/”civilized behavior”/non-conflictual/confrontational but then proceed to act completely opposite. This is also why in Stoicism (and Greek Philosophy in general) there is an emphasis on philosophy being acted out, which you would of course know: if one would read such things. Why would you trust anyone that constantly does the opposite of his/hers given word? You wouldn't, and nor should you. That's why it's “impolite” to call people on their falseness. And given Nassim Taleb's eloquent saying: “If you see a fraud and don't say fraud, you are a fraud.” or in other words: YOU are part of the problem. You can deliberate the morality of this all on your own. Although I'll give you my 2 cents.

The overarching problem gets inflated when those who are in a leadership position are phenomenally false and two-faced to which they create dissonance in people's psyche when they are found out. There's also the halo effect in general: just because you are in a leadership role, that doesn't automatically transfer that “expertise” or “authority” to any other thing that particular role. Everything is bound by context, parameters, and conditions. So although they might be a great leader and possibly even a good example in that very narrow context, that doesn't mean that is extrapolated. Actually, this is where even more cognitive dissonance happens in people in a notion they can't seem to separate. Just because this person is an utter failure in alignment and upholding virtue, that doesn't mean he or she is a bad person. With bad I mean, morally evil. We can totally separate that. This extends to cutting people out of your life or environment, it doesn't mean they are morally evil or “bad” people. It just means they are no good in your life, or not good enough. A moral failing doesn't equal being morally evil. But neither does that equate to being trustworthy. If you don't practice what you preach, well, you don't deserve to preach. Maybe you shouldn't even deserve to speak at all, because what use/good is your word anyway? If you preach and don't practice, but then walk around like you are somehow superior to anyone: it's moral masturbation. And I laugh at you for sitting on a high horse made out of plywood, like a person claiming to have an expensive car underneath a tarp while it's a pile of boxes in the shape of a car.

The revealing, as stated, is what causes moral injury in general. You broke the image that the person has of you, and thus you lose their trust. It's really easy to see in a person when they've become aware of the truth, or rather: become aware of the charade. Especially the people that are bound by one-dimension, absolutism or binarism will have a very hard time dealing because they refuse to acknowledge that that very authority is contextual. This doesn't mean you can't be forgiven for a lapse of judgment or a moment of weakness, again: no need to be absolute nor hold this perverted idea of perfection. Just like anything, it needs to follow the proper ratio: which should be as high as possible in favor of congruence and alignment. The erosion of a philosophical backbone (framework/support) tricks people into believing that these things don't matter. However, the more integral you are, the more virtue is extrapolated, the more you are equipped to lead and more importantly: be worthy of being trusted.

#7 Psychology and Science

Warning: This isn't representative for all sciences nor methods. It just aims to convey that science is used as an absolute and a belief system.

One of the biggest logical fallacies present is that science is somehow absolute. You are forgiven for thinking this if you don't know or pay attention to the history of science and how things work both back then and today. Scientists and researches alike are refuting themselves very often, which is fine if you're working towards a better explanation. And that's where the general confusion starts setting in. Science, at its roots, is about providing the best explanation possible, it's a constant work in progress. Yes, things like gravity are relatively absolute, which is a kind of oxymoron: relatively absolute. Now when you get into gravitational fields and black hole theorems or proofs, gravity is relative. There's also all the work Einstein did, so that's a good starting place to read up. The general issue science faces are that it is bound by set parameters and conditions. You can't measure what you don't have a measuring tool for. And you don't know what you don't know. And you can't measure or prove what you don't know. Science, for all its progress, is still very limited in what it can measure and explain. The funniest logical fallacy is people pointing at religious dogma with such condescending and moral high horsing attitude while falling in the EXACT same rabbit hole with their scientific dogma. Oops. I guess we aren't so rational after-all, right? Let alone “more evolved” it's a laughable notion when you use the same mechanic of belief just using a different subject as a “cover” for it.

And that's what scientism is about in general: using it as an absolute, a dogmatic belief system, and in most cases a one-dimensional one at that. Do you like to point at the implications of the church holding scientific progress back? What about science holding scientific progress back? Cat got your tongue? Plenty of scarcity of resources, money and political games involved. Science on its own isn't the issue, weaponizing and wielding it out of its context is. Especially as a belief system. “Wait wait, science is nothing like religion, it's not something you believe or not: it's truth”. Oh yeah? Truth in what context, of what we understand to be “true” today? Probably or at least partially. And then: what is your definition of religion, or rather what is religion mechanistically in the psyche? Well, what if, and you're gonna have to hold on your chair for a minute, religion is a way to explain internal and external phenomena? In the sense that gives analogies to compare what happens in the psychology to its environment, just because the analogy is extremely outdated and only applicable in that point and time in history contextually doesn't mean it's universally wrong. And what if they were looking for a way to explain things, in the best way they could with the best they had at their disposal? They didn't have science and had to make sense of the world, what do you want them to do? Let's couple neurobiology and neurology to this. The brain and nervous system, as presented in all biological life, want to fight back entropy. Entropy being disorder, chaos, the unknown and surprises (Karl Friston: prediction error). That's why we turn on lights in a room we know perfectly well. There is no “rational need” to do so, and yet we generally do, especially if we're going to be in there for both short and extended periods of time that don't even need to rely on the visual cortex. Fighting off entropy is needed. We as a species try to minimize surprises, especially the unpleasant ones. Negentropy is our ability to create internal order by, you guessed it, providing an explanation to take out the unknown element. Unknown in the wild natural world is a threat to survival until it can be familiarized with and thus made known. We NEED to explain things, one way or another. And I would argue in light of this: does it matter whether or not you use religious or spiritual notions or science? and for my personal preference: both

They're both trying to do the same thing: explain things. The trap is that you start using our modern mode of explaining things through science as an absolute. Not too long ago, they thought the earth was flat (which interestingly enough is making a come back). Really not that long ago they thought that genetics were all that mattered. Hundreds of thousands of scientific theories have come and gone. I would say that what essentially matters is to look at it as puzzles pieces of a puzzle that won't be solved in any of our lifetimes. Einstein improved on Newton, others are new improving on Einstein. Darwinism is being improved upon. With the emergence of quantum theory, quantum physics, quantum biology, and biophysics we're getting glimpses of other dimensions of reasoning. But here you are, holding on to absolutes. Which opens another rabbit hole. That somehow your experience doesn't matter, and apparently: neither do your beliefs. Let's take nutrition for example, there are too many parameters to determine whether or not something is right for you. Yet if we were to believe a single study, everyone should be eating x amount of food A or macro-nutrient B. And yet, I like many others like me, are sensitive to a host of foods that are dubbed according to science “superfoods”, not if they cause inflammation or digestive issues they're not. So who is right? Ah, I can hear the quiet resentment: "obviously, science is right, right?" And that's exactly a HUGE issue we face. Person A eats B or C and gets issues, but surely the science can't be flawed? And most surely that person should keep eating like that even though it's causing said person issues. Very little people seem to oppose that line of thinking because they BEHAVE like that daily. “well, research (science) said this was good for me, but I don't seem to feel better or get better.” Ah yes, the paradox of following the absolute dogma of external authority, so very conducive to your sense of self and your health. The example points to two issues: the absolutism with which science is used and the general and dominant psychological paradigm in regards to its own absolutism and perception of authority. While we're on the topic of a very interesting notion that I've seen shared plenty: science doesn't care about your feelings. Which is in the first order is exactly the issue, in its overriding experience as an “authority”. In the second-order the very people that share that have almost ZERO biological coherence. Where's the circadian synchronization? Where are the anti-inflammatory nutritional protocols or lifestyle habits? Nobody sees the irony in people sharing “science doesn't care about your feelings or beliefs” and then NOT doing what science is pointing at? Come on.

Context, nuance, parameters, conditions, and constraints are paramount in placing science in its proper place. If everything was so wildly extrapolated, why is everyone not super healthy, super fit and living their best life according to science? Lest we forget: the current dietary guidelines are based on science. Even when the US is now considering changing its recommendations about cholesterol. Surprised? Why would you be? That's the issue with dominant narratives, it is a narrative, it's a story. Just because science says something, that doesn't mean automatically that it is the ultimate truth. But obviously, people aren't fit or healthy because of their own fault and not science, right? So either you are thinking other people are stupid or just lazy, possibly both, but science can't steer them wrong? Or are they operating on the wrong information, reference back to post one and two in this series. And then subsequently the rest of the series, because even if they had better information, they most certainly don't act towards it. So it's really both the human and the science that form the larger issue. The point is that a lot of people extrapolated the monarchical structure of religion and overlayed it on science, allowing to fester as an absolute. You don't need to point out science has valid things, that was never the core thinking of this post, and it that's your impulse refer to absolutist post. It's about following a free-energy principle of neurology coupled to reducing prediction errors for the use of science as a dominant narrative or rather: as a belief system. And in the final analysis; what do you think science, in general, is attempting to explain and measure? Nature. It's not some other mystical magic or anything else, their taking measurements of natural phenomena. You know, nature, that very thing you are disconnected from. There's an additional issue that seems to pop at any given time which is the whole:“ I don't want to be or become a nutritionist/virologist/lipidologist/doctor any type of other -ist is a bullshit statement you are using so you don't have to do the work yourself. To not put in any effort, time and energy. It's just another “hey, this isn't my problem” even when perfectly good opposite proof exists in many cases. There's also pretty good set parameters for what makes a good research study and what doesn't (Peter Attia's series digs into this). Of those parameters, Time is a HUGE factor, and there are very few studies that run a long time, so the implications or harm of certain things is not clear whatsoever. The parameters for what makes a good study are also not an excuse to go for the “oh, but you are cherry-picking” quick draw. You can believe and come with whatever opinion you want, the oft weaponized pseudoscience is another great one to hide behind. Maybe, just maybe, if we moved on from using things to hide behind we put in some real-world effort in enlarging our understanding we'd move forward in a more cohesive manner. All that really matters as a take away is this: take it upon yourself to be your own authority of your experience. If you NEED to know: you will put in the effort. And your opinions will reflect your effort. But you can't cry wolf if you don't put in the effort.

#9 On Health

Stress always lays bare the weaknesses of a system, hence the term stress test. It's a test for weakness in structure/technique, etc. The pandemic, as information surfaces, points at that most people were generally suffering from other health implications. The issue pertains, at least it's an issue for me, that there's supposedly a subcategory of people that get sick that is “healthy”. Now I can believe that they are healthy in regard to what people or even the establishment think about what healthy is.

For most a "Normal healthy person" is binge drinking almost every weekend (or has a “moderate” enough alcohol intake each weekend), has poor nutrition, constantly exposed to artificial light, destroyed circadian rhythm, environmental toxins, low activity level, high oxidative stress. Are you telling me this is normal or the definition of health? Does no one see anything wrong with this picture? That's common, but by the gods, this never should be considered normal nor healthy. And if you think so: you are delusional.

How about your gut lining and liver being the first line of defense. And what are compromising those: excessive food intake, excessively processed foods, and carbs, alcohol, anything that causes either gut lining damage or too high an amount of inflammation the body can't clear. The metabolism and health are complex, yeah, but that's not a nullifier of some extremely simple things that we know are just plain bad for you.

Then we also have a better definition of health. An organism of which its systems are not compromised. Meaning: balanced microbiome, integral gut lining, strong immune function, uncompromised liver, uncompromised lymphatic system, good respiratory system, uncompromised vascular system, strong mitochondria, and if you're holotropically inclined: minimal electron loss and the right cellular frequencies.

There's another common issue that seems to follow this notion of what it takes to be healthy. The first one is a skewered perception of what it takes. The skewered perception is in A) the time it takes for damage to accumulate (hence the chronic exposure terminology of a low-ish dose over a prolonged period of time) and B) the individual factors as epigenetics, microbiome, gut lining integrity, lymphatic system health, liver health (all organ health really), micronutrient levels (minerals and vitamins), quality of sleep (which determines all of the above). This ultimately means that it takes for one person to be healthy (see top criteria) isn't what it takes for YOU to be healthy. Even though biochemically people are very similar, any change in the microbiome in regards to bacteria balance, fungi and parasites change uptake. Plus that certain foods compete for the same pathways and you have a picture forming why even eating the same way someone else doesn't have the same effect for you. There are most definitely fundamental processes to go down but there are some significant variances in how goes down when something is deficient or damaged.

There's an overarching logical fallacy that is too painful for me to bear at times. This notion that eating healthy is more expensive. Which tells me one thing: the amount of money you are willing to spend is how much your deem your health is worth. Spending more money on food (if it's right for you) isn't a wasted investment, it's the BEST investment. I understand people live under certain budgetary constraints, but these are more often than not self-imposed. That is if you're buying alcohol (pretty pricey in Norway) you're throwing money down the drain. Going out to go drink is an amplification of that same principle. Plenty of people love to put money in other places than their health, yet proceed to complain that eating higher quality food is expensive. Right. Absolutism alert: No one is saying you can't socialize, the dominant paradigm, however, moves you either towards health or sickness, something you control. So it isn't that those foods are technically more expensive, it's that you don't want to spend that money on that. The irony of the whole thing is that when people get sick with even something mild like the normal flu or a pounding headache all they want to do is feel normal and healthy again. Yet doing anything preventive seems so far fetched it's kind of hard to compute at times. There's a good via negative here. Because you don't know what you have prevented or are preventing illness/disease wise.

There are many different topics to handle that would take forever to go in-depth too. I'll take the two most illustrative examples. This one first: ”The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.” Now: I don't generally trust much that comes out American associations for a variety of reasons. There's a personal variance that needs to be kept in mind like age, height, muscle mass, water, and fluid circulation, liver's ability to break it down, etc. Those guidelines are illustrative that a large number of people fall into. Given that there's a large contingent of people that do this on a weekly basis, how healthy are those livers? Add to the following explanation. Sleep is our predominant recovery mode to get rid of waste, toxins, inflammation and systemic damage to the system. It does a large part of healing everything from muscle, DNA to brain cells. What's the first thing that people cut when faced with a “lack of time”? You guessed it. Which then compromises the immune system, and of course severely degrades the rest of your health. Given a long enough sleep deficit coupled to a circadian mismatch and you've created a breeding ground for disease. Sleep isn't just important, it's VITAL.

So this wildly inaccurate picture of health is not a representation of what health should be. Or rather what it is in, well, actually healthy people. Those that fit the criteria given above, I'm sure we could add a few more those listed above. Environmental toxins are hardly mentioned and inflammation although largely “recognized” as a problem doesn't really stay on anyone's radar. This post really isn't about the pandemic at all. It's about societal failure in the health department. There are scores of people that I know that are regularly sick with some form of flu or cold. Bad nights are a more common thing with the eternally echoed sentiment “I'm so tired”. The government nor society is geared towards optimal health, even though its long run that would make the most sense. Yes yes, I'm sure they try to provide decent enough guidelines with what they think or believe is right. That hasn't exactly done all that much. Which circles back to your individual responsibility to be healthy. Which of course is based in the first post I made on the availability of information. This, of course, leads back to effort and this little chasing our tails in the Red Pill series continues. I know why people aren't healthy, it's not a mystery. Right now being healthy is our main act of rebellion to the state of today's society and culture. I'm pretty sure a revolution or uprising against the system/matrix isn't in the cards. So the only thing left to do is stack the deck in your favor. As long as you play the victim (bar some people that have been truly unlucky genetically) you won't do what it takes to heal. Which is neglect in your personal responsibility, even society is CHEERING for that right now. “Yes! Don't be healthy, don't limit your food intake! Most certainly don't have any restrictions! You only live once, right? Gotta enjoy it! Why deprive yourself!!” Restrictions (as a positive constraint) or even a very much needed restriction of certain things is a demonized notion. Deprivation has become its own taboo. Fasting: “how dare you starve yourself or perpetrate that starvation is health!” insert triggered hypocrisy here. Cutting out alcohol is near cultural treason and very much the base for social ostracization/exile.

I wonder when taking care of yourself became this negative thing. I'm sure some people will come to the ever so wonderful good Samaritan sentiment: “oh no, you don't understand, we just think you should have balance.” What even is balance? Did you not read these above-listed criteria OR the science post in this series? What if you're intolerant, but come high water or hell, YOU SHOULD LIVE “BALANCED”. Haha, you go right ahead. Ratios matter, but an intolerance matters a whole lot more. Coupled with all the other deficiencies and competing pathways, your balance is not the golden balance you think it is. On top of that, as much as I occasionally relish in it, people love to use those terms that put others in a category so they don't have to deal with it. “Your lifestyle is extreme”, “This guy is crazy”. When being healthy and doing very NATURAL things to be healthy is regarded extreme you know we've crossed the threshold into absurdity. Your idea of balance is based on empty air, so are your excuses. Absolutism Alert: does that mean you can never have anything “good”, no it doesn't mean that. It means that the dominant paradigm has to be around health to enjoy a treat. In the first post in this series, I talked about how reward centers and taste has been completely altered, so of course, this perception of what you “need” to be healthy is completely tipped in the favor of everything that isn't good for you to begin with. When we let others dictate what health is for us, we willingly relinquish control over our actual health. Only you can feel what is right for you, provided you create the contrast to figure it out.

#10 The Universalist paradox and its implications in the nature of tribalism.

It's one of the more interesting notions that I've come across, which is “nice” in theory but seems to fall apart each time it needs to be practiced. The entry here is this perpetuation of everyone fights their own battles and that as such we should treat people with kindness. Yes, everyone deals with their own stuff, and some have some more to deal with than others. Yet the very people who plaster that all over their social media and use it as the universalists motto hardly ever follow through with that. Why? Because it's an impossible task to follow through with. If you read (and you damn well should have) my previous posts you have a better understanding of the brain and nervous system works. And in truth, your NS cares about you predominantly, and specifically your survival. Given enough of communitas (feeling of community), emotional connection, love and a sense of virtue and duty, someone will sacrifice their life to save the lives of others. As is generally seen in acts of heroism throughout wars and of course daily life.

However, bringing it back to the neurology: the more the system is under stress the more it narrows its focus. And you don't need to look very far to see this in effect. It wasn't too long ago people were hysterically buying everything THEY thought they needed. The universalist paradox about unconditional sympathy and social duty fell apart right before their eyes. The majority of people were selfish. Both here in Norway, in Belgium and most notably in several places in the US where, a minority but significant enough number, of people, were fighting over supplies. Scarcity is a trigger for the nervous system that engages survival mechanisms: the preservation of Self AND the tribe (your immediate family in this case). Yes, there were selfless people in these situations and places as well, but as you saw: in times of stress and need that isn't the norm, initially. Because the NS isn't wired that way under stress unless of course you actually are doing what I referenced in the stress amplifier post #2 in this series.

Which leads me back to my initial point: there are conditions and parameters (context) for what is possible in behavior and thinking wise for each instance. How many stressed people that have a hard time regulating their nervous system snap or go off on someone that just possibly was the straw that broke the camels back (that day)? What if that person is dealing with their own mental health issues? “well” you say “I was stressed”, again reference to post #2, it's not an excuse. There are 2 prerequisites in my mind that have to do with how you treat people as a baseline. 1. your own regulation of stress and the work you do on your nervous system and 2. overcoming your own struggles. The most compassionate and understanding people I know are the very ones that have had to overcome some serious stuff. Compassion comes from understanding, understanding comes from suffering the bite of the same demons. And usually, it works that those who have turned from being hunted by their demons to being a demon hunter that they carry on to point one. Which is another thing where the universalists strikeout. The universalists perpetuation is that you are responsible for other's emotions, which is a flawed notion to its very core as it tries to supersede biology. Again: reading the previous posts about stress and how behavior/thinking is dictated by your neurology (such as an available PFC and a decent hippocampus). You CAN'T be responsible for people's emotions, because unless they are doing the work, they aren't even in charge of them, especially not with an enlarged amygdala or other neuroanatomical parts like a dis-ordered HPA Axis. Which is probably why this whole politically -correct-snowflake-don't-trigger-anyone paradigm comes from. Which is another symptomatic treatment of a problem that is quite simply solved (even if it is hard to do, but who said it had to be easy?) by doing the work on your nervous system.

Your only duty is conveying your information as clear, concise, precise, respectfully and truthfully as possible. There's no way to save anyone's feelings when their nervous system is run on a hair-trigger. That being said, they are the same people that expect everyone to care about everything and everyone. Again: it's a totally incompatible idea to biology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology. It just doesn't work. And the hypocrisy in people is relatively easily pointed out: Where was this reaction with Ebola? So if it stays in Africa, it's not a problem for you? What about Swine Flu? What if the virus only had stayed in China? I'm sure you probably wouldn't have given a single shit. We can carry this line to everything that is STILL happening in the world. What about the Christian prosecution by IS(IS)? What about the kidnapping, sex and slave trade of girls worldwide? What about people starving from hunger? Did you know that more people have access to mobile phones than clean water (what does that say about our priorities)? What about all the people committing suicide? What about all of those who die from preventable diseases like cancer and diabetes? What? You don't care? The point at large here isn't that you should care, it's that it is propagated that we should while we CAN'T. Look at Dunbar's number that states we can generally only maintain connections with 100-150 people. In neurological terms: that's about the amount of social information you can process. When it goes above this it just turns into an arbitrary number. To which you have ZERO connection. Now for the absolutists, they would immediately reach for: “so that means we just shouldn't care or do anything?” said with spite and venom. No, you can definitely do something, but then DO something (more on that later). Should care is a pointless statement, seeing that no one seemed to care about anything else outside of their immediate environment when the virus reached the doorstep, which refers back to my previous points in this whole series. Where I'm going with this is that you are expected to “carry the weight of the world” on your shoulders, or rather: your psyche. While it is not even made for that, because it can't do that, and I don't think it should. It pays to be selective with your information and thus what you care for and are WILLING to put action towards.

There are a few souls whose mission is to help the unfortunate, and I admire that. However, they don't do that because of some arbitrary numbers. They do it because there is an emotional connection present that is only possible through proximity or any REAL connection to the place/people that are suffering. The general public though seems to want to the “status” of caring over actually doing something. Yes yes, donating money could potentially help, though if you look at the impact and use of monetary means of SOME non-profits, well, their results speak for themselves. Next to that, you need to understand this: this is the first time in evolutionary biology history where you can get a reward by bypassing action. Al throughout history you HAD to DO something to get a reward (dopamine/endorphins). Now, you can change your profile pic, like a post, and even donate your 20 euros and you feel “good”. But you didn't do anything. Spreading awareness is great if it leads to action. Evolutionary biology is based on an action then reward, not the other way around. You wouldn't get food by sitting on your ass all day. So now there is this convoluted notion and perception of what you are doing. An example to illustrate: in Oslo, not too long ago, they had a climate strike. It was a few thousand people that showed up to protest the climate implications of today's society. Now, funnily enough, they predominantly just stood there. If instead they with all those several thousand went and cleaned up Oslo, wouldn't that send a statement that they actually CARED about their immediate environment enough to DO something about it? A large part of those very people won't even pick up the trash of other Norwegians from the street. So, you want to solve the climate problems how? I don't see it when there is a misalignment of values AND of action. Most of these people aren't even taking their individual responsibility, but expect a whole nation to just do what they feel must be done. Right.

The further illustrate this example of how your nervous system cares about survival first is how in the panic buying inside supermarkets the foods that were empty were: meat, eggs, butter, and milk. Now, where was all the environmental outrage? Weird, right? Survival doesn't have much room for idealism. Although the following is a generalization, I've seen enough of them all over social media that it speaks volumes about a part (but I'm unsure about the majority) of vegans. Which claim to value “all life equally” and yet proceed to send death threats to those who eat ancestrally/carnivore/ or high animal-based diet. It doesn't stop with death threats, they actually WANT them (the meat-eating "murders") dead, believing the world would be a better place. So then you don't value all life equally, you value life you DEEM worthy equal to yours. Which, and the paradoxes keep coming, is only your tribe. The problem with universalists ideology is that it tries to eradicate the motion of tribalism, trying to do undo a few millions of years of evolution. Good luck with that. People like to point at tribalism and use words that are supposed to shame or check other people into avoiding it. Words such as “group think” and “echo chamber” are supposed to bring to the “righteous” side. But then again, universalist exhibit the same type of groupthink. Or are you going to tell me you came up with all these “glorious” idealizations all on your own? This is the issue with trying to go against nature, and most notably OUR nature. A certain amount of groupthink is inevitable, and for good reason, if you want family units, and social groups to survive. Which in the final analysis is what people care about when stressed. If you're going the absolutist route with: “Oh, so you think we should go back to tribes then or even back to nature?!” and "groupthink lead to atrocities in the past". When your PFC works well enough you can see we can use the best of both worlds, modern society and our proclivity towards tribalism. AND using tribalism CONSTRUCTIVELY. I care about moving forward in correspondence with our nature and with nature in general. In many cases, people are overly focused on the what, instead of the how. If you manage to keep a sense of individualism as part of a tribe with strong ethics and values, you will feel what most people are missing today: a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of being needed and mattering. Like any other thing, if this is centered in a higher-order there will always be an influx of new thought, a tendency towards evolving the tribe and what it is about.

There's a reason why military units THROUGHOUT HISTORY are structured the same way. Because we'll gladly serve and care for those we love. We'll also serve when we are part of a larger identity. I can corroborate with my personal experiences, Belgium (generally) doesn't have a national identity. So I've always been disconnected from it, and many others feel the same way. Compare that with Norwegians who are (generally) more nationalistic in the sense that they are proud of their nation and it's traditions and will thus protect and serve it more than for instance Belgians. What is a nation but a big tribe? The point is that we don't need to pretend to care about others the same way we do about our family or tribe. In a way, there is always an Us vs Them. It's paradoxical to take nature out of the human and the human out of nature. Before you go off about tribalism is the source of all that's evil, I posit this: is it the what or the how? There is no place for absolutism here. There are plenty of ways, if we are indeed so “evolved” and “civilized”, to use our own nature towards constructive behavior and implications that COULD even serve the greater whole provided we maintain a humane (as in natural) approach to it. Instead of fading into the obscurity of 7 BILLION people in an Empire of Nothing to paraphrase Jack Donovan. If we were to even attempt to scale what a billion people means, quoted from Jack Donovan's book: Becoming a Barbarian (if you haven't read his books or essays, don't bother coming with abstract categorizations of his literature).

“If you started writing down the names of one billion people (that's just one out of seven) at an average rate of 6 seconds per name, without breaks or sleep, it would take 190 YEARS or so to write down those one billion names” Now, does that somehow sounds like something one person is supposed to deal with? Let alone a nervous system that can deal with 100 social connections.

The whole large issue is encapsulated with this modern fetish of top-down change. While looking at history, it hasn't exactly worked out very well. Which we can extrapolate to even just change on a personal level: how many people try to THINK their way to change, which is the top-down version through their “superior cognition”. It's wishful thinking alongside a big slice of lack of understanding. Which is why individual responsibility, duty or whatever you want to name, it matters. And obviously not just with what you say, since that's pretty much meaningless, to begin with, but represented in action and behavior in a dominant pattern. Bottom-up, in this example, is from the individual towards our immediate environment. People desperately want to make an impact, and they want their input/opinion/thought to matter, be meaningful, they want to feel like they are a part of something and subsequently neglect the lowest hanging fruit which is DOING things locally. An organism, the human organism, is made out of cells, if we did what we could to take care of them like our mitochondria and cells at large, we would enjoy better health. The world is made out of small communities and I wager that if we did we could locally in our immediate environments, to the best of our ability, we would induce more profound changes. We run into another issue here: someone else needs to do it for people. And as seen with my Norwegian counterparts, if they're not even willing to pick up the trash of another, why would expect those very people to put in an effort into their local environment? It's never a question of can we, it's a question of will we? Ultimately it's on you to take the lead, step up, and change your environment. Waiting for the government(s) to do it for you is going to be an endless wait. Maybe we are looking among the branches for what is found among the roots?

#11 Categorization

Another victim of the universalists and religious dogma that apparently needs suppression is judgment. It's another misunderstood component of the human organism. Judgment, like bias and heuristics, are recognition shortcuts happening in parallel processing that use the sympathetic and amygdala for recognizing threat level and subsequently categorizing it. So this process follows 2 initial categorizations, which are the most important: safe or unsafe. Which runs through the memory filter of known or unknown. A judgment, bias or heuristics is a fast/quick matrix that runs to stem entropy in the psyche. In the first order they are all about survival, and more to the overarching point of this series: that's what it generally comes down to. (reading tip: Thinking Fast and Slow) taking a page from the book, this fast and parallel processing system is called “system 1”. Even with all this being the case judgment has become the poster child of non-acceptance and has been put on the executioner's blocks to be made an example out of for all those other “non-virtuous” characteristics. One of such judgments, which is by far the most ridiculous to attempt to execute is sexual attraction synonymous with physical attraction. Something I noticed in myself over the course of the years is that my window of what I find attractive has shrunk extremely to a really small window. The more I advanced my own physicality, the more I found a lot of those same traits attractive in a woman. And obviously, the more I understood health, the more I knew/know what to look for. And that's exactly what happened. These mental checklists we have are criteria of conditions, aka judgments that are to be fulfilled to weigh who will be the best match. For me that's inherently simple: preferably blond, blue eyes, sharp facial features, low body fat percentage, proportional amounts of muscle. Which perfectly describes my girlfriend, for a good reason. There seems to be this demonization of what you deem attractive through this hijacked mechanic of “pure intentions” because it's somehow discrimination. Being selective doesn't just imply discrimination, it directly means discrimination. The issue isn't the discrimination in a romantic/physical/sexual sense but in the judgment, those Social equality warriors put on it. You are attracted to what you are attracted to, anyone that's making an issue out of that is trying to take everything natural and biological and throw it in the trash for “inclusion for the sake of inclusion”. It's a pipe dream, born from a distorted intention. You should NEVER be ashamed for who you are attracted to nor be shamed for it. I can hear the ringing of the ears of those “pure intended”. “That's just superficial” well, yes, that's how those shortcuts work, especially in a male. How we look matters for how you consolidate your Self-image, so yes: looks matter. Absolutism alert: they are not the only thing that matters, it shouldn't be the ONLY dimension. Also: what's wrong with using my preference shortcuts? I'm supposed to convince my visual cortex and arousal system that this is wrong? Usually, those that complain and demonize the superficiality of things are those who are doing the least with their physicality.

To take another example out of a different realm of social engagement. These same shortcuts of judgment, bias, and heuristics jump into the forefront when people are speaking. speech is revealing, and there are a plethora of red flags I have that have some astoundingly loud alarm bells. What you say (and how you say it) is indicative of what you believe. It's easy to spot the institutionalists, universalists, liberalists, and all the other -ists and -isms. This allows me to place you, not for WHO you are, but definitely for what you believe and how closed or open-minded you are. I often remark that (when my organs aren't messed up) I can see through the matrix. The matrix being these conditioned and programmed beliefs/dogma/perspectives and filters. It allows me to judge and weigh what I will say and how I will say it if I'm so inclined to play the same social games.

To continue along the line we started with, categorization for survival follows another interesting mechanism: dehumanization. Which in nature and the time of tribes was important. Because that dehumanization allowed for self-defensive / killing for survival. You don't need to like it, but it got your ancestors here. Absolutism Alert: not ALL of your ancestors had to kill. However, this mechanic in itself is not evil. It's actually extremely brilliant. “That's a horrible thing to say!”. Form follows function, and in this case, the function is that this categorization of Us VS Them allows people to dehumanize so that when they do kill another human being it doesn't completely destroy their psyche. It looks like that, in general, we don't really want to kill other human beings. But, as Maslow's hierarchy of NEEDS suggests, when it is needed we better have something in place to deal with that. Of course, that mechanic has been weaponized to some astounding degrees. Which for war use makes total sense, because blood makes the grass grow green, right. The morally evil in the world is where this mechanic has been used to commit widespread atrocities as the Nazi regime did and the Russians did in WW2, and of course what is happening in China and several places in the middle east right now. We know the psyche as a free energy system doesn't want to have a loss in energy, which means we need a framework to act as a fail-safe to stop this loss of energy aka entropy in the mind. Dehumanization is that framework, that leads to order in the psyche. When used in the right context, for the right reasons with actually pure intent, like let's say: protect your child from someone that is either about to harm/kidnap/mutilate or even kill her/him you would in that very instant need to rely on lethal force. Or rather the possibility of lethal force. Which is where the self-defense system arguments fall in place. But let's be honest: most people aren't going to do self-defense and nor will they enter a martial art. And where were those systems when our ancestors lived in tribes? It's great that we can try to rely on the possibility of non-lethal force today, and of course, there is a place for it, but that's not the point. The point is that evolution decided we needed something that allowed us to kill other human beings when it was a matter of survival, without the possibility of non-lethal force. Echoed in the statements: it was either him or me. Seeing that the nervous system cares about the most is your survival: it's definitely going to be the other guy.

Seeing that much of society is safe, or at least relatively safe, this dire need for survival isn't activated. Although it activates in other ways to perceive something that isn't life-threatening as life-threatening (refer back to earlier posts). This means that these judgments, biases, and heuristics get a tertiary order in their categorization. Which is still based on an extension of Us vs Them. Like categorization for the need of absolving personal responsibility or the dismissal of thoughts/ideas/beliefs that run counter to your own. Again: form follows function, it is there for a reason. This ties back to how I lead in this paragraph, this survival mechanism is extended into other things, especially when it comes to belief. I'll address three categorizes in random order. The first one being health as briefly mentioned in the first post. If the dominant information enforced by the system is that normal natural health practices are extreme that means that if this notion is accepted in the psyche you can wash your hands from doing what you need to do to be actually healthy. You then don't need to think about it, because according to the “consensus” (no matter how unscientific) you are “healthy”. This form of self-delusion is my favorite because it keeps being rammed in people's throats while the effects of this delusion are running rampant all over the western world. The categorization usually follows the same type of “thinking”, as “health freak”, “extreme”, “health nut”, “compensating for something”, “superficial”, “deprivation”, the list goes on and on. This is a smart way to rationalize your way out of health, no matter how counter-intuitive it is to the survival of the organism long term. And of course, the nervous system is predominantly concerned about right now, the present moment, so long term thinking is a faculty most people don't have access to due to stress. Another good one is conspiracy theory, or rather conspiracy theorists. I know you read the first posts, because what would be the point attempting to jump in here 11 posts in? That would be really unwise, or to be blunt: plain not smart. As referenced in point one the ability to hold and entertain conflicting thoughts/information is the sign of intelligence because it is indicative that there is a framework in place that fights back psychic entropy of this conflicting information. Seeing so many people base so much of their self-image on their beliefs (following point) it's extremely painful to even hear conflicting information. Which of course leads us to another weaponized form of categorization. If, or rather when because it's so out in the open right now, you can DISCREDIT someone as a conspiracy theorists that means that you A) don't need to deal with that information (dodged a bullet there, right?) and B) that this person then obviously falls on a lower social ladder then you and you can feel better about yourself because you are a good law-abiding citizen who is not tainted by these filthy anti-governmental ideas. “Good riddance,” you think and say with such conviction while hoping that not a single word that your friend said was true. Because it would mean we've been fostering and allowing corrupt governments (or parts of governments), billionaires and companies to operate unpunished. While the government will most surely pat you on the head and whisper soothing words, your version of the world is being balanced on a razor's edge.

Both of these lead to the fundamental point of categorization which is belief as a whole. Because of course, you need to believe something, how else can the psyche order itself? However, there is a pretty big dividing line of an internalized belief system that is based on experience and consciousness and an externalized belief system imposed through governments, institutionalized religion, and of course the scientific concourse. This whole system fosters an entrenchment of belief, and of course preferably the most socially and consensus available and acceptable belief. Wouldn't want to commit social suicide, would we? It's often funny to hear people think it's unbelievable societies have waged war over belief because in the end, that's the thing that matters the most. What you believe, as related in the previous points is how you will live out your life. Which in the work with my clients is always a lengthy process to change. If we really were so rational everyone likes to put forth, we would change our minds in light of better information. However, as you well know by now by reading the full series, that's only possible when the PFC and hippocampus are working as they should. Because then you can use rational faculties to accept new information and to that extension a new belief system. The world is still waging belief wars, between political and societal structures, obviously, religion is still in the mix. It's waging a shadow war on biology, for absolutely absurd reasons. It extends to science and thus, as often pointed out in this series, information in general. Because it's all information anyway.

The overarching point of all this isn't to not judge, nor be biased, not use heuristics or bypass categorization, it's that we can work on taking people out of one-dimensional categorization and apply multidimensional categorization. Even give people a chance to recover from making a poor initial impression. This whole shortcut mechanism and known vs unknown categorizing is also why initial impressions stick with people and are hard to change. I've botched plenty of first appearances which are hard to recover from, precisely because people hold on tight to their initial impression. Why categorization in social terms is so potent and powerful is because our social environment directly translated to our chances to survive. Making the wrong call in categorization was a risk that involved death. And to this day could still carry that risk. But as seen, if we aren't able to regulate the nervous system we become entrenched in a categorization or entrench others in them defining them solely on the merit/basis of one trait. By all means judge, but judge wisely, and be prepared to change your judgment. That would be a much more natural way to go about it, provided the PFC and nervous system allow that to take place as such.

#12 Victimization

From categorization, it's easy to move to victimization. Which is generally an issue, however much it is celebrated. Obviously, self-identification with a single category brings certain self-limiting and self-defeating beliefs. This victimization in categorization runs over a spectrum. Very often any type of diagnosis, whether clinical/through others/ or done yourself is an immediate anchor for self-identification. Throughout history, every category has been a victim of something. Victimization is not about having been a victim to something, as much as it's about staying a victim about something. Which I know absolutists and universalists hate to hear. And before anyone comes forth with how somethings are extremely morally evil and thus the victim is right to be a victim. Yes that's true, they were an unwilling victim of something morally evil, however, there are plenty of examples of people who went through unimaginable evil and trauma and that through hard work, will, and a host of other factors overcome those circumstances. Victor Frankl does a really good job of distilling this in his book Man's search for meaning. Coming from a man who survived Theresienstadt, Türkheim, and Auschwitz (that's 3 concentration camps) should lend at the very least some credence. James Stockdale (Vietnam POW for 8 years), another good example. So is Rhonda Cornum, I would suggest reading up on all three and making your own conclusions of their stories.

It's not often seen in history that each category bemoans themselves. Which is why I don't think it's natural AT THIS SCALE. I get that you bemoan yourself, or feel sorry for yourself, feel taken advantage of, betrayed, feel like the system is out to get you, or doesn't provide any opportunities. It's the easiest route to take and trust me: I have taken that route many times. My whole environment was set up for that exact thing, to victimize oneself. My biological father was an expert at it, everything was someone else's fault, and of course, it is. How can it not be? I can safely and confidently say that the decks were stacked against me to phenomenal degrees. To degrees, a normal person in the west would never experience nor understand. By the gods, I had been given my very own get out free jail card that I could use as an excuse for EVERYTHING. I could be excused for everything, regardless of what it was because of my condition. And that's probably exactly why I hated it. I wanted to be normal after all, and even though I thought normal as good back then, normal has taken a turn for the worst today. It's unfathomable people want to celebrate self-victimization in other people. How is that supposed to help them advance? “Advance? What do you mean advance?” ah yes, I forget: growth isn't what matters, homeostasis is. The identifier and signifier of a person stuck in survival mode. Where this whole notion probably comes from, of course, you are willing to celebrate victimization if you constantly feel like a victim yourself. A victim of the state, the government, the world, the universe. why you, right? Like feeling life is just some cruel joke. If you're going to point at all the unfair stuff happening throughout the world, I'm sure the other apologetic and guilt-ridden universalists would applaud you. Nature isn't fair, and hell: there's a global effort to improve the worst affected regions, which has taken a quantum leap over the last 2 decades. You want what? All unfairness to stop? Refer back that the universalist post.

There is "inherent" victimization from the health perspective. And it's always voiced in the same ways. "It's easy for you", "If I had time", "those superhero movie physiques are unrealistic" "beauty standards whatever" (seeing this focus is on health OBVIOUSLY anorexia is not a good thing). There is a deeper laying misconception you don't know has a dark-side/underbelly unless you are part of the "industry". 6 pack abs doesn't equate to health. There are a LOT of fitness influencers, bodybuilders, and physique athletes alike that have down-regulated hormonal systems (chronic fatigue), severe gut issues, and minor (to major) autoimmune diseases and least mentioned of all: a very unhealthy relationship with food due to tracking calories and macronutrients. And of course the I-need-to-punish-myself mentality. Perhaps a part of this whole self-punishment perspective is a remnant of institutionalized religion and then, of course, all the wealth/western living guilting shaming done by organizations and institutions alike. We know neurologically there are two systems that hang together: punishment and reward coupled to avoid or approach. If you're anxious or depressed, it's easy to find “your” systems. Where things get interesting is that these systems like any other system have been weaponized to some MASSIVE scales and degrees. Which then uses punishment and avoid as it's two major directives. When there is an enforcement of self devaluing while enforcing an external worth system, of course, if you live under that long enough you're going to feel victimized. Even when you don't “know” why. It's ironic, isn't it? That the same institutions, organizations, and ideals we uphold, perpetuate and protect are readily the same ones that abuse those two systems to devalue our sense of Self and externalize our worth. Most people that have come to me as PT felt this subconscious need to be punished. To “atone” for their “sins”, their poor eating habits, their poor lifestyle. They'd come in and be like “just make sweaty and burn as much as you can”. This, my dear friends, isn't training people, it's agreeing to punish them. The whole paradox of this attitude is that it blunts training effects. The HPA axis changes hormonal response to attitude (or rather state) if you feel you need to be punished that's not an internally incentivized state, it's an externally enforced state that you adopted as an “internal” program. To which the HPA axis responds with: nope. Your effects will ALWAYS be minimal if it is against your will if you are in Flight or Freeze when you don't want to be there when you feel you need to punish yourself. When you feel like you are a victim of your own life, your own routines, your own meals. Why on earth would the organism reward such behavior with the results you are looking for? And when it does: it's 9 out 10 short term results.

We can all be at a low(er) and healthier fat percentage provided you are willing (read: necessitated) to figure out what it takes. Nothing is standing in your way. I mean even people with severe autoimmune diseases can make it work (often actually putting their autoimmune disease in remission because they focused on health instead). The caveat is that your low(er) fat percentage should be an indication and reflection of your health practice. Surprise, right? This isn't the case in the fitness industry, cause it is not even based on health, to begin with. It's based on outcomes only and then the end justifies the means. Outcome-based means mechanical, it means you think it's just going there and doing the thing. It doesn't ask for awareness, it doesn't ask for personal responsibility, it doesn't ask for ownership, it doesn't ask for the right attitude or the right state. This leads to a second-order of victimization where people come to this weird idea “I've done everything and I still have no results!”. You've done everything as checking of the box, mechanical, drone-like, and expect things to fall out of the sky rewarding you what you should be doing regardless. Also: there's no skin in the game. Or rather soul in the game, your experience, and authority of Self never makes it to the cut. People just expect other people to get the results for them. If I come to a PT session that means I should build muscle. If I buy a meal plan from a “nutritionist” that means I should lose weight. This is the problem with peripheral work, outcome-based, wrongly incentivized, and awareness absent "work". The PT isn't lifting weights for you and the nutritionist doesn't eat your meals for you. Plus, if you've been paying attention, if the nervous system is shot to pieces these things won't just “fix” things. I've heard the same sentiments echoed of people self victimizing and lamenting their results and that they “just don't get it” while binge-watching Netflix compromising sleep, staying “ok-ish” meal wise throughout the week to blow out the whole weekend from Friday night. Working a job they hate with a lifestyle they can't maintain. Hey, you're right you are a victim of something, and in this case, it's your decision making. And of course, the sociocultural enforced lifestyle which people hang on harder too than some of their closest relationships. Obviously, victimization doesn't end at health. It seems to be the dominant paradigm for everything and largely drives this incessant need for equality of outcome. Equality of opportunity is of course desired. It has become a mixture of entitlement as a cherry on top of the layers of self-victimization. "I want the results, but I don't want to do the work or sacrifice anything WHILE I expect to get the same as the ones that are willing to do the work and make the sacrifices". Nothing illogical to see here, move along. The Stoics had a good solution for self incited suffering: stop desiring the thing. Not many people will go that route, especially with the state of the nervous system. Which is especially relevant in the victimization of the material and financial. “This is expensive”. Really? What's the issue here?

That you A) spend money on too much other worthless shit B) don't actually want it and are just looking to get out of it C) haven't upgraded your financial situation D) are overreaching. Expensive is a matter of context. To me a G6 private airplane is expensive. And because my PFC is working close to as it should, it's easy for me not to desire it, so I'm fulfilling my Stoic duty there. However, on the MANY occasions, I've come up to that “this is expensive” obstacle I've been forced to face my own self limiting narratives. As in: what have I actually done to make this inexpensive? And just like the health narratives, the financial narratives are hard to look at for most people. Because of the largely ingrained narrative and paradigm that is based on scarcity and lack. It was hardly ever around or available growing up, my parents weren't well off. They were getting by and they made sure we didn't lack anything we NEEDED and made sure that we got an extra here and there. However, the narrative of lack is very present in most lower and middle class (according to income) families. So you can either face and own up your shortcomings in the narratives that lead to a lack of effort, a lack of learning and a lack of understanding OOOOOOR you can throw your hands up in the air and maintain that last vestige of pride and say “it's not my fault”. “it's not my fault this is expensive, it's not my fault I can't afford this”. It's funny when people ask: “isn't that expensive?” Well: I'm not pouring my money down the drain with liquor, it's not more expensive than your drinking habits. Oops. Absolutism Alert: yes, there are things that are expensive that are beyond the reach of people forever, even if they work for it. But hey: you could always go the Stoic route, as much as it is untraveled and even despised by some.

Health and finances are the tip of the spear, anything can leave us nailed firmly in place by victimization's self-limiting nature. It's not a coincidence some people feel like they're not worthy of health, finances, and even love. And what's more is that often times they feel the need to feel guilty for what they do have, instead of being grateful. Even now in several places in America, but not limited to America, positivity shaming happens. This weird unfounded notion takes place that we should all suffer. And sure enough if “the collective” is having a hard time, so should you. Because how dare you be happy. Which isn't a thing of the present situation alone, this style of “thinking” (read: feeling) is constantly present in the victimized my mind. “How dare you have a better body than I!”. “How dare you be more successful and wealthy than I!”. “How dare you have someone that loves you!” It's actually hard for people to feel worthy because they are constantly being told they are not. It's even harder to enjoy certain things guilt-free because they are made to feel guilty at every turn. Coming from a Catholic upbringing and country I would've in the past been quick to attribute that to institutionalized religion. But has far surpassed that in widespread adoption by however wants to feel superior about something but instead uses this as their means. A change in mindset if we're looking at it top-down is not in the cards for most. If you instead spent some time building wins and successes with the hand you've been dealt, you'd at the very least feel like you made the most out of said hand. The Stoics have a very in-depth part in their philosophy about consent to destiny, which is great for whatever befalls you and the ordeals of fate. They've got a great victimization antidote in there, just as Buddhism does. The philosophical perspective opens you up that you are possibly more than that little categorized one-dimensional box you are self identify with. And if that's the case, then perhaps you might find yourself no longer victimized.

#13 Men: shade of a shade

Men, a category that has been altered to an astonishing degree. The contrast and the divide seem to get bigger each day in the modern western world. When I see pictures of pre WW2, the early 1900's, the 1800's the physicality of men is a STARK difference. I understand men bemoan the next generation, especially when they haven't been raising/guiding and leading them. You don't need to go back very far to see we are a shade of a shade. Like how Testosterone levels were higher in previous generations and have been dropping consequently per generation. Chapter 2: our worst mistake, section: the return of Indiana Jones in The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino, MD we can see another STARK contrast between pre-agricultural man and post-agricultural man. Hence, a shade of a shade. The descent of man is apparent. Now, if you strongly believe men don't need muscle, allow me to burst that bubble really prudently. As most research is highly representative that muscle mass and strength is correlated with longevity. Which, physiologically, is beneficial for both genders. Hence the small uptick in training seniors in strength training, surprise surprise, right? So unless you're living under a rock trying to hide from biology and evolutionary biology, muscle is not only important for men, it's indicative of masculinity.

Muscle differences both in fibers and structure are one of the biggest differences between the sexes. And it is there for a good reason. And yes, they are different. If you'd look at the strengths of a trained man vs a trained woman, they're easy to see. This also doesn't mean women are weak in the traditional sense, nor should they be. It just happens to be they are generally weaker than most men, which is obvious for both anthropological reasons and evolutionary biological reasons. As a human: you should have muscle. As a man, you should definitely have muscle. “but we don't need it in society right now” biology doesn't give a flying F#ck about that, your musculoskeletal system still needs it in the right proportions, and it's smart and rational to have in reserve. Because we don't “need it” socioculturally doesn't mean it's not important. And that was just the difference in muscle mass and T levels. Virtue wise, dear lord, it's been a steep decline. From religious guidelines to warrior honor code and Ancient Greek philosophy, which is upheld by a minority of men. Most people's first grasp here is the bodybuilder “argument” a rather low order excuse. You're grasping at straws to not take up any responsibility for your health is just that, grasping at straws for a get out jail free card. Absolutism isn't necessary, you don't need to go to the end of the extreme like using the “bodybuilder card”. Enough muscle proportionally to your frame to be strong, capable, healthy, and have some in reserve for when you age: that's it, you don't need to do more than that.

Virtue derives from the word Virtus, which was more of indicative or encapsulation term for masculinity used by the Romans. And then especially to capture what made a man a man and the appropriate behavior towards this nature. Which has a lot to do with the chief tasks of being a man. To protect, preside, and provide. The first 2 have fallen so far in the rear-view mirror they're a speck on the skyline. The last one has lost a lot of its significance. And whether you like it or not men are no longer needed to provide, but that doesn't mean they don't want to. Before the whole gender stereotype role riots: just because of my pro men statements, doesn't mean it's anti-women or their rights. Men want to feel needed, and most of them given the chance to, enjoy and want to be the sole provider. Women in the workplace have changed the need for men being providers in both society and then in the household. There's a reason why there are more men wishing/wanting and searching for more traditional nuclear family arrangements (and even pre-nuclear family). Men don't just feel like they don't matter (or don't matter as much), they're generally lost, as in without guidance. Something summed up perfectly by Ryan Michler: If men don't teach, boys don't learn. There's a large segment of men who haven't had the luxury of growing up with strong role models, or even constructive peers. Which comes at the cost of a crisis of masculinity. Which generally moves beneath the surface. It's very much apparent in tens of thousands of men flocking to figures that are providing a framework. If you take that as an argument against biology, it's most definitely not. Just because men don't know how to mean doesn't mean biology has failed or fell short. It's a societally enforced picture of masculinity that leaves men wanting and confused. It's easy to dismiss if you're not part of the category of people that have been let down by their role models or peer groups. And yet it's the most important topic I address with each male client. A topic I see addressed in several sources and mentors who are standing up for masculinity.

There's a very important piece to address: men and women have always been cooperative elements. This whole war on the sexes makes me wonder about what the incentive could be to instigate it. If the incentive is money as in the bottom line of a company, it makes perfect sense. But it is still equally deplorable because for some reason an advantage for men is seen as something that comes at the expense of women. While that wouldn't be the case if they were indeed a cooperative element instead of a competitive element. For most of history, this cooperative element is present, even in more developed and larger societies. The unity of sexes is far more valuable than the competition of those sexes. Especially in regards to what men want and even need.

Beyond that, there's the whole element that although perpetuated to a certain degree is something that most people don't make use of. And that is the environment. About 4-5 years ago (or even more, memory doesn't serve me at the exact time) there was a question during a self-defensive seminar or course. Where the person posing the question was aiming at a “solution” for a mindset difference. The question was about the eastern block men who seemed to be ready to get down to business whenever. And what one must do to get on par with that or weather it. I've repeatedly thought about that question because I wondered the exact same, and I've always understood it was born from fear. Even though I didn't understand why. While it's so inherently simple it was almost laughable. Their environment makes them hard. Hard men are made. You can look at the history of eastern Europe and see why they are formidable men, to this day. And if you look at history: Spartans weren't born. They were MADE by ONE MAN. One man that understood something early on and that was that society was going the wrong way. Musonius Rufus, the grandfather of Roman Stoicism, often uses the Spartans as an example for a plethora of things, but most definitely as a model for what it means to be a man. So coming back to the whole thing. This question that was posed was because we have been lulled in the soft embrace of comfort and thus weakness. And if we don't enforce to bring environmental conditions that create mental resilience, robustness, and do I dare say antifragility (fall down 7 times, get up 8), we are largely prey for other nations that are more mentally together. Which was exactly what Lycurgus of Sparta saw. I've been around Eastern block guys and the contrast between them and my Belgian compatriots was massive. Now obviously there's a certain bias that runs here (which you can never really take out of anything anyway) as I mainly met Albanians in school. The majority of which were at 17/18 built like a shit brick house. They were bigger, stronger, more muscular, more athletic in general, more assertive and "aggressive". Which points at any other thing that is generally not understood or even known. The environment is your sympathetic NS trigger. Which we “get” but it plays a HUGE role in why these guys were mentally stronger but mainly why they were physically stronger. The signal for muscle being built comes from the Fight state triggers. As long as there is ample time to recover so that you are not constantly sympathetic, your system will get the dominant environmental trigger to build muscle. Just like for instance in prisons, testosterone runs a whole lot higher, because it NEEDS to run higher. Because the environment demands it, through the sympathetic and your ability/capability to enforce your will on others or stand your ground. Same for the military, boots (the term for guys in Bootcamp) have a very noticeable increase in lean muscle mass in a very short time.

Environment wise, it's generally understood that we learn things from behavior. Hence my post on your word, it virtually doesn't matter. And whatever you say surely doesn't matter if your actions don't match or align. We learn from behavior. We learn from seeing others DO. Again: if men don't teach boys don't learn. But if soon-to-be-men don't see in their environment what it means to be a man, they won't be men. They will be boys trapped in a men's body. Men learn how to be men from other men, behaving like men. People have this weird notion of nature vs nurture. There is no versus, they are technically one because you can't have the one without the other. And we need our environment to model after something. There is a core nature of masculinity concealed in all men, for it is nature. However, society has become great at layering so much shit on top of it that men don't even know it's there. And as long as men are distracted by the constant comforts of daily life they won't even get a slight hint that it's there. The Greeks generally understood this, the philosophers did anyway, and of course the Spartans. Plato who was way ahead of his time wrestled and taught all his pupils to wrestle or got them into wrestling. Socrates was constantly hanging out in ancient gyms and of course: wrestling. The modern notion of philosophers is these weak, soft, fragile theorists. While ACTUAL philosophers were strong, capable, and robust. For a real philosopher, it was embodied in lifestyle. This is why philosophy is important for men (obviously for women as well) because it points you to your true nature. Only by shattering the illusions of that constant comfort and a low-grade environment can we see where the seeds of strength and robustness lie. Which is why I oppose that top-down solution of thinking your way out. The person that posed the question about the difference in mindset was trying to figure out a way to think his way there. Instead of DOING his way to the hardened mindset by setting up his environment to build that same capability those eastern block men have. Strength is a virtue. And Virtue is rooted in the masculine traits. Even 2000 years ago Musonius Rufus opposed androgyny and said it was against nature for a man to shave and make himself less manly. Or to fluff himself up with fancy haircuts and trinkets to be more like a woman. Anyway, this shade of a shade degradation is obvious in the mindset and mental fortitude in people. And even though we can improve it, as seen is martial arts and self-defense, it's still subpar (depending of course on the academy, style, instructors, etc). What I mean with this generalization of subpar is that the 5 stages of nervous system control hardly ever make the cut. Again, there's a lot of one-dimensional perpetuation or some might even do 2. I haven't heard/seen much of schools (if any) that use these 5 (save for possibly those that are trained by current or ex-special forces operators). Those 5 stages being: 1. Building the parasympathetic 2. Building the threshold where one tips from parasympathetic to sympathetic, aka the zone (where flow happens) 3. learning to navigate the sympathetic, using Fight state 4. Going from sympathetic to parasympathetic. Great from Fight, needed skill when pushing too far into flight or freeze. 5. Going from sympathetic back to zone (same as 4) The issue is that most people can't do this, don't do it well, don't even know about it, AND that they don't even know how to fight, don't know to defend themselves and will generally regulate into freeze or flight. That going into freeze or flight was one of the most common things I saw during stress drills. Again: I'm biased, but this is what I see in general attitudes of people even when it comes to life/work stress. Why would they, or you, be prepared to deal with the stress of a violent interaction?

I can hear the one-dimensional fanfare blustering in the distance. No, muscle doesn't mean everything. That should be obvious from all the other posts I made that one thing isn't/can't be/shouldn't be everything. I'm aware I'm harping on muscle, strength, and fighting capabilities. However: I “know” (am acquainted or interacted with) plenty of muscle-bound dudes that are still reacting and living out of their trauma cycle. There are great fighters out there with zero sense of any other virtues. The list goes on. The whole point is to be multidimensional and not one dimensional. Like Spotterup (@spotterup) their view and the idea of the classical whole man (based on Greek Philosophy, there it is again) Gunfighter, Writer, Wildman, Monk. The archetypes of Jung do a similar thing: Warrior, Magician, Lover, King. Being a man, at its core, is always integrity: as in wholeness, that's exactly what integrity means. To be full/round/complete and thus undivided. This split of the psyche is still, of course, a division of sorts but a division that only aims to categorize and name certain traits so we can “isolate” them and work on it. The masculine core, as obviously perpetuated by Greek philosophy is that of unity, being undivided, and whole. This only seems to be possible with changing the environment by introducing adversity and the NEED to harden up. And obviously introspection. What's the point of being hard when you don't know when to be “soft”. And before you start conceiving of whatever triumph style approval of the last statement that you will probably use in some way excuse yourself of doing the work: what is the point of being soft without even the capacity (let alone the ability) to be hard. We haven't lost the essence of masculinity as much as “men” in general aren't bridging the gap to reclaim it. It's right there in nature, in the wild, in the environment that has always forged capable men. The people we celebrate, no matter how flawed they are, like Caesar, Alexander the Great, obviously the Spartans, Hollywood action movie characters have all one fundamental thing in common. They did what they thought was right. Now, what is right will, seemingly, always be up for discussion. Stoicism supplies us with plenty of guardrails for that. There's, of course, the major thorn in the proverbial side which is: Doing what is right > thinking what is right. Like I've stated many times before now: doing (behavior) matters more than what you say, and most surely stands above what you think. Especially if you think all the “right” things and then proceed to act like a petulant child. And hell, why would men bridge the gap when A) hardly anyone is leading them to do so and B) society is telling them the opposite (be soft, be quiet, be still, be normal, don't stand out, don't be better than others, be compassionate, be nice, be caring, don't incite conflict or confrontation, don't be loud, this is a long list).

Pointing this out isn't just Taboo, it's heresy. “How dare you impose on my freedom to interpret manliness as I like!” It's because you can't perpetuate what you like. Or of course, you can perpetuate whatever you like, because of freedom of speech. However, that doesn't mean your interpretation, perpetuation, conditioning, and/or programming is right. It's funny because I've come across a lot of bitterness, resentment, and anger both in myself and other men. One of the most highly charged instances was getting familiar with the manosphere. That's where I borrowed the red pill terminology from, who then, of course, got it from the matrix. Most of them, that don't get their shit together after X amount of time, are upset that their programming and conditioning is wrong. Which is what I meant before with basing yourself in one ideology/dogma or as encapsulated by the last post: in one category. Of course, you will adapt and conform to the most dominant and available information. If that information is that list I summed of the societal “norms” then you will be upset when you are the opposite. And that's exactly where a big part of the problem lies. That we try to “define” things or perpetuate the rightness of an idea. While it's right there in nature. Should we just erase our entire hominid history or our western inheritance of masculinity from the Greek and Roman ideals? Stoicism perpetuates that what is right is whatever is in accordance with nature. Then what is more right to be more of what you are? Instead of societies: “wait, hold on. No, no, be LESS of what you are. I mean, that's obvious, right? We gotta protect the weak! For god's sake man! Think of the weak!”. Or should we make the weak stronger? A whole man would, of course, protect the weak, he always has. However, when the pendulum swings that the only thing that matters is weakness, or rather: deconditioning and moving away from the nature of Man. Then the meek will indeed inherit the earth and push aside their protector class. This is obvious in history when a society softens they tried to push out those pesky qualities that could lead to any resistance, uprising, or bring any type of conflict.

The problem with disregarding biology or history is that it leads to this constant reinventing of the wheel. I have no problems with improvements, but a lot of these “improvements” on masculinity are more regression than anything else. History already did the work for us, 99% of it can just be overlayed to what we have society wise now. If you're coming at with me with “But you are perpetuating YOUR idea of masculinity...” Well, no. That is: I take ownership over that I align with the nature of masculinity as perpetuated by harder, more capable, stronger, and more wise men of ancient times and current times. What I'm doing is carrying the torch. Seeing that so many other torchbearers are getting ostracized. What I want is to return to our former glory. Well, I even what you to join along if you are so inclined. When, or rather if because it's definitely a big IF, for most, we return to nature in the sense that follows it for what it has given us, we can be back on the right track. Meaning evolving and moving forward creating strong offspring, resilient people, capable leaders, and of course: being healthy.

Pictured below Gaius Musonius Rufus “The Roman Socrates”.

#14 A look behind the curtain and the magician's tricks.

Electrons, protons, neutrons, frequency, mitochondrial energy production (because no energy = death), minerals and cellular water plus their balance and water structure, oxygen, vitamins, bacteria, enzymes, blood (and all it's energy substrates), all nerves, hormones, neurotransmitters, electrical signals, neurons, the brain waves and the brain's electromagnetic field, the heart rate, it's variability and the hearts electromagnetic field, the living matrix, fascia, muscle tension, everything you have ever experienced, everything you have ever felt, your subconscious processing of internal and external input (light, sound, smell, hormonal balances, vagal tone, etc), the general subconscious and memory your nervous system state, your neuroanatomy and which parts are shrunk or enlarged, your cognition and awareness. This is ALL you. All of it. Not one thing, not one thing more than the other. This whole integral organism that works in a non-dual, non-binary fashion. This organism, for which even our best words use a dualistic fashion of interdependence, inter-dynamics, and interconnection still perpetuates a certain divide. There is no divide, you are the WHOLE organism, doing whole organism things. That being said: that is why this series is written the way it is. And although in the world of magicians, a magician should never show his tricks, I'll show you my hand and perhaps you understand what is going on. This series is written explicitly and deliberately for a visceral experience. What that means is really simple: Our nervous system learns through high emotional charge and of course repetition. The more stressed someone is the more they learn through emotional charge. Because it makes sense that fear, like a dangerous place, would cement an event or happening with a place association in our memory (think PTSD). Think back to your own experiences, what are the days you remember the most? Those are either your worst days, best days, or most eventful days. All of which carry an emotional charge closer to the extremes of the spectrum. This emotional charge is part of a rapid learning system because survival needs this to be successful. Repetition and higher cognitive learning take place when there is minimal stress. Knowing this is how platforms like Facebook and Youtube grew and still grow. Think about the most viral things, they are either an outrage thing or a heartwarming thing. Some bells should start going off in your head by now. Youtube and then FB had its cute kitten thing. And then FB came up with something more ingenious: Outrage. It goes viral much quicker, gets way more interaction, and most importantly: Keeps people coming back. Why? Because it fuels a pathway of survival and it's associated learning system. Which then becomes a loop. When you read something outraging, you get a rush of hormones and you just CAN'T WAIT to share this with your friends. Funnily enough, it works on another anthropological and evolutionary biology level: You would and will and do get rewarded to tell your tribe about imminent danger. Guess what you are all doing half the time on FB sharing outrage pieces (most of which are fake news btw)? You are fueling the emotional fix (addiction even) and feeding the machine (system/matrix). You are doing EXACTLY what Facebook wants. The best example of this currently, and God bless you guys for making this so clear to me, is all this sharing about Trump. Especially when the American media DELIBERATELY takes things from context to twist them in outrage clickbait stories that most won't read but will still share. Oops. The whole point of this polarization is to get your attention. And to get you up in arms. Everyone that is sharing the one-dimensional information of misleading headlines is only doing Facebook's bidding. You aren't making a single change to anything. Obviously, you think what you are doing is right by “warning” people. What you are doing is fueling the same addiction cycles needed to keep this platform relevant and alive. This is generally how marketing works and exactly why I chose to write in a polarizing way. With a mix of condescension, triggers, bold statements, etc. The game is easy to play. And I'm well aware of how many people I trigger when I write what I write. I know people are reading and not interacting, but that will have had some type of emotional reaction. And that is exactly the point. To plant seeds, I know I won't change anyone's mind. But I did get to you if I got a reaction out of you, I got what I wanted. This also means: you are easily manipulated. You understand why now. This also brings me to the major conclusion of this series. If you reread the thing above who and what you are, it points to a different perspective. That is as soon as you categorize yourself and anchor yourself in one-dimension you are being played like a fiddle. You are easily manipulated because you are easily placed and subsequently programmed to defend that identity and anchoring religiously. It makes you think, doesn't it? If we're all that, how you go about your life thinking you are that one little part cognitive part that for most people is severely reduced. Although what happened isn't your fault, what happens next is. What you do next is up to you, because you have now been shown part of the matrix. Part of the system you keep feeding unwillingly, like a drone or robot, programmed to respond in the most predictable way. Part of this outrage army enamored by sensationalism and moral superiority when share things that point at how other people are “idiots”. “aaaah” you sigh in fulfilling your civil duty by sharing the news-headlines confirming your biases of a certain president. “I'm so much smarter” you smirk in glee reveling in your uncompromising intelligence and superior understanding of how to run a nation. Something I always try to impress (in the literal sense) my clients with is this idea of internalization vs externalization. Whatever is going on out there, it means very little to someone that lives internalized. That person, like me, is not easily manipulated (but does run into those similar traps from time to time), doesn't base their ideas/beliefs on things external to them, doesn't share or participate in outrage culture to feed the FB machine. Internalization is an inner focus, your mission, your immediate environment, your tribe, your own emotional regulation, and bypassing emotional addiction cycles. The outrage thing isn't going to stop, and you won't be the one to stop it. The only thing you can do is exit the matrix through your own internalized practice and refusing to participate. So you're at a crossroads. Take the Red Pill and realize a big part of your beliefs and life needs a serious upgrade. Take the Blue Pill and wait until things go “back to normal”.

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