"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Get Out of My Way, Sheep!
Grandpa was some old guy that my mom took in off of the streets. We weren't related in any kind of way. He was an old drunkard that cleaned bricks for his booze money and collected Social Security. I don't say this to disparage him, but to give you some background as to who and what he was.
Anyway, this man, that we called 'Grandpa,' would sometimes say things that, at the time, appeared to be pure junk. However, after sifting through my experiences, they turned out to be pure gold. I am going to share with you one of the truest pieces of information that I have ever heard.
One day, this man told me, 'Son, whatever you see the world be, don't be it.' As he picked up his half-gallon of Wild Turkey and started guzzling it, I looked at him. Now, here was this old drunk trying to tell me about life. To all appearances, he was a goddamn failure at living life. What nerve . . . .
Well, I will tell you, that old man was so right, it's scary. The messed up thing is that all the great ones know this, almost instinctively. Ever since I started going the other way on things, I've come to realize some powerful truths. The world you see, hear and interact with is a false world. I don't mean like the Matrix or something, but more along the lines of the idea that what's being shown, isn't what's true.
Robert J. Ringer in his book Looking Out for Number One mentioned his experiences in the financial world with the contrarian outlook. He stated that the more someone offered information affirming one thing, the more likely that the opposite is true. In other words, the more someone spouts that they've got their shit together, the more likely that things are really screwed up. I completely agree with Mr. Ringer's 'Financial Sanskritese,' but would like to extend that to the other realms of life.
We are being told that the good times will never end in the stock market, that we are free, that God loves us, that a job, car, house and 2.2 kids will make us successful, that we war to ensure safety, that everything will work out and that we are the greatest nation in the world. Now, let's walk the other way. Let's take the contrarian point of view and see what you come up with. I won't do it for you, I want you to truly see it for yourselves.
I know that you'll say that I'm cynical and pessimistic and that I am paranoid and have trust issues. However, the very fact that you would think that lets me know that I'm on the right track. No one likes contrarians. The guy short selling stocks or taking a bearish position in the markets is loathed. The guy who bets against the point coming back, in Craps, is called the 'Wrong' bettor. Even though entropy increases over time (entropy being disorder), destruction is always easier than construction, and the number seven has the highest probability of appearing on the dice, hardly anyone can accept the idea that maybe, just maybe, things are more f*cked up than they appear.
They won't believe that maybe the politicians really are lying, that the financiers and bankers are on the edge of pushing the nation's finances into the abyss, that their priest or minister is full of shit, that their freedom is more like slavery or that following the crowd is the way to the slaughterhouse. Well, I'm here to tell you that I believe all of these things to be so, and maybe you should too.
So, I walk the path of the contrarian. I cannot tell you how difficult it is. Where others see progress, I see regression. Where others see prosperity, I see poverty. Where others see faith, I see myth. Where others see the greatest life, I see the most horrible death. Where others shout 'truth,' I whisper, 'liars.' Where others see civilization, I see entrapment and enforced conformity. I rebel against most of what I'm told and piss on the experts, while seeking counsel from children, drunks and bums.
It's a hard life, walking a different path. Unlike the ancient aboriginal Americans, there is no 'Contrarian' society for me. Thus, I embrace Anarchy, with a feral intensity, knowing that for me, there is no other way.
Do me a favor, please. Don't listen to me. Take this article and flush it down the toilet. However, next time you are watching CNN or reading the paper, see if you feel that little twinge inside your mind, that is a sure sign of Contrarianism. Next time you pay your taxes or put money in your 401(k), check for it. Next time you're at the store, looking to purchase that box of tasty 'Great Guggly-Muggly O's' or getting yet another Xmas gift that you didn't want and won't use, pay attention to the bile rising in your stomach and know, beyond all doubt, that your inner Contrarian is calling out to you. Have a happy holiday season . . . if you can.