When you’re a small kid the grownups tell you cute little lies. Lies about things like those presents under the Christmas tree coming from a hairy obese trespasser instead of your poor overworked mother, or that babies come from a man and a woman loving each other.

Then you get a little bigger and you learn that those grownups pulled a fast one on you. When you’re maybe around seven or eight you learn that Santa Claus was a psyop, and when you’re a little older you learn that babies come from a really yucky ordeal that you can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to participate in.

And it’s like, what the hell man? These grownups were meant to be teaching you the truth about the world, not filling your formative little mind with weird lies for their own amusement and/or psychological comfort.

But at least you know the truth now. You hear the younger kids talking about Santa and storks and you chuckle smugly at their naivety. “The ignorant fools,” you think to yourself. “I’m so glad I know the truth about the lies the grownups told us.”

It’s not until much, much later that you discover that there was one more secret that the grownups kept from you. A far, far bigger one.

This final revelation doesn’t hit suddenly, like discovering your unwrapped Christmas toys a week early while poking around in your parents’ bedroom closet. It creeps in slowly, over the course of many years. It might not even really click in until you have kids yourself.

Many indigenous cultures have a coming-of-age ceremony, after which you are considered by the only community you’ve ever known to be a full-fledged adult in every way. You suddenly begin relating to the world in the context of you being a grownup, and you very quickly learn the lesson that it’s not actually different from being a kid in any clear way that you can draw a line under and make a solid distinction.

The rest of us do not have such ceremonies. We get to be 18, 21, 25, 30, and slowly we come to think of ourselves as adult human beings because we start buying our own groceries and paying taxes and all that grownup stuff. But it typically comes in slowly and takes a long time to congeal.

It’s not until then that we discover the truth behind the final lie that the grownups told us: none of them ever had a fucking clue what’s going on.

But you don’t get to know this truth until your idea of yourself as a grownup has fully locked in. Until then you just sort of subconsciously assume that at some point you’re going to be as confident in your understanding of life and the world as the grownups who raised you and the ones you see in movies. It’s not until you realize that you are a grownup that you realize that this is it: you will never, ever know the answers to life’s big questions, or be able to understand the world in any way that is significantly different from the way you understood it as a kid. The only thing that changes is you lose your assumption that there are people in the world who understand it better than you do.

Grownups guard this secret closely, so closely that we hardly ever even talk about it. Some of us even keep it a secret from ourselves, continuing to stroll through life with feigned confidence in our Bible verses and our philosophy books, pretending to smugly chuckle at the ignorant grownups who don’t know what we know in exactly the same way we used to chuckle at little kids who don’t know about Santa.

But that’s all they’re ever doing: pretending. The only difference between you and the confident-sounding pundit people on TV is that the confident-sounding pundit people on TV have gotten good at faking it. They don’t actually understand life any better than you do, they’ve just learned the secret that you can get pretty much as far as you want to in life by feigning confidence in yourself.

Because it turns out that while human brains are pretty useful for learning skills to help you survive (which is what they were evolved to do), they are not at all useful for understanding what life is, what it’s about, what we’re meant to be doing here, or what really matters. Those things occupy a huge percentage of the things we like to argue with each other about, but nobody actually knows the truth about them. We’re all just making it up as we go along, with varying degrees of feigned confidence in our chosen approaches.

As a kid you think there will come a day when you’re a grownup and you’ll understand what life is, what it’s about, what we’re meant to be doing here, and what really matters. It’s not until you really notice that you’re all grown up that you gain the ability to see that such a day never comes.

And at that point the only choice you have to make is whether you’ll choose to fake it or not.

Personally, I recommend not. It is true that if you get very good at faking it you can have pretty much anything you want in life; you can become a powerful government leader, a millionaire political commentator, or the head of your own sex slave cult. But what you lose is the ability to relate to life honestly and spontaneously; to perceive its beauty and majesty with the innocent eyes of a newborn baby. The latter is far more pleasurable and delightful than anything the former can offer.

Sometimes I think it would be ideal if our whole society had some kind of coming-of-age ceremony, where your grandmother takes you up to the top of the tallest hill or building around and then whispers in your ear: “The secret of adulthood is that none of us really know anything of importance. We didn’t tell you this when you were small because we needed you to trust our authority when we taught you not to drink household cleaning chemicals and to look both ways before crossing the street. But now you are a grownup, and we can remove those training wheels for you. You will never understand this world. Life will always be a mystery to you until the day you die.”

Because then we’d be getting it all out in the open in a very conscious way. We’d skip all those years of confusion, and nobody would be able to pull a fast one on us by pretending to be the only person in the room who understands what’s going on. It would certainly keep us a lot more honest, anyway.


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50 responses to “The Lies The Grownups Told Us”

  1. Caitlin, you’ve prompted a fascinating discussion on this thread about the big question: “What’s it all about, Alfie?” Certainly you, like many who have commented here, recognize the truth in the old observation that it’s easy to teach (or preach) ethics but difficult to ground them in any sort of objective, rational thought. Why DO you care so passionately about the evils around us, feel compelled to oppose them and speak out about them? Why do any of us? Perhaps Albert Schweitzer came closest to answering this question when he distilled the elemental, universal ground of all ethics in a sense of reverence for life, the development within us of our instinctive will-to-live in the midst of countless other wills-to-live in all animate things. To reverence my life–to protect it, nurture it, enrich it, expand it– entails that I do the same, as best I can, for all other living things. This is simultaneously a sublime extension of the Golden Rule and a searing condemnation of capitalism, which commodifies and consumes life rather than reverencing it. In simpler terms, perhaps the best answer to the “What’s it all about, Alfie” question can be found in the hauntingly beautiful song itself, which both Burt Bacharach and Hal David considered their greatest musical accomplishment.

  2. Sorry for posting a second time, but when I was a kid I used to think that it was not only grown-ups, I thought everybody had a copy of the script but me. It wasn’t until I was 40 years old and joined a twelve-step group that I gradually came to realize nobody has a copy of the script.

  3. Dear Caitlin,
    While I agree with you in the main, as a technician, I long ago discovered four out of five experienced, trained “techs” could tune, align, maintain what they were taught, but only one in five could imagine problems, and actually “troubleshoot”, taking symptoms, and divining the cause of the problem.
    I began in mechanics in diapers, keeping my mom’s sewing machine running, not yet two, lived two years in Barcelona, Spain, “navy brat”, then two in Naples, Italy, learned “western history” walking through it, all around the Med with our mom, librarian, language major, adult literacy specialist. She translated every inscription we found into all the ancient languages of the time, teaching herself them, as we went, and into the modern equivalents.
    Both my parents were born and raised in “coal country” surrounded by illiterate adults, the nearest thing to slavery, still in the western world. We were raised in truth, lies were not allowed in our family, and arriving back in the States at age six, I was shocked to find out, America was nothing like what was depicted in my dad’s books from growing up, my only reading overseas.
    I began working to earn money that year, discovering one had to have tools, to be a mechanic, and facing the conundrum, how do you buy tools, before you can work? I’m 61 now, own a machine shop and metal working shop, walk to work each day, and despite my parent’s best efforts, I never could accept atheism, even having been raised to it, I’ve spent literally my whole life, delving into every aspect of science, from molecular biology, to quantum mechanics, astrophysics, and lately, to quantum biology, something just emerging.
    I know the Bible is the oldest contiguous book in the world. I know “the Torah” is accurately brought from five millennia ago, to two millennia ago, word for word, because of “the dead sea scrolls”, evidence of competence in truth, far beyond our own imagination, and the facts of Jesus’ ministry is not merely in the Bible, but fully recorded in Roman records, from taxes, to his crucifixion.
    I remember having a “child’s natural faith in God” at one, having moved to Spain then, gotten eye surgery, getting my left eye straightened, as the surgery had just been invented by a Spanish opthalmologist, practicing down the street from our apartment, Mom seeing his advertisement in the paper. I have vivid memories of the two years, probably because of the four moves to get there, the surgery, changes of patches, weird glasses for months, and finally regaining left eye dominance, being left-handed, as well as being the proverbial “red-headed left-handed step-child”, both parents constantly suggested, as they disciplined me.
    I am extremely dyslexic, barely graduated high school, but am at the top of my peer group, in mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and physics, quantum and astro. My elder sister realized I had a problem with alphabet before my parents, and taught me to see words as hieroglyphs rather than try to memorize letters that didn’t work, and I was reading real books before kindergarten.
    I am a born again Christian, have been since my return from Beirut, in 83, I’ve read the Bible at least a dozen times, and the most singular theme which attracted my attention the first time, was the fact, people described in it, throughout, start to finish, are exactly as we observe so commonly, today, same attitudes, faults, proclivities, as an old song says, “and the buyers and sellers, were no different fella’s than what i profess to be, and it causes me shame because we’re not the people we should be”.
    I spent Christmas and often Easter in West Virginia, where my family was, and lying to children wasn’t common at all, among any family I knew, you couldn’t survive the winters without truth, there.
    My family was always “odd” we moved, every couple years until my dad got on with UPS, and I spent from 9 to 18 living in Chicago. It was “murder capital of the U.S.” in 67, today, it’s murder capital of the world, I enlisted in the Marines at 18, to never have to live there again.
    My experience with technology, and watching how different people react to it, suggests there is substantially more honesty than you suggest, although the level of deceit among the dishonest, can’t be overstated, at least not in my experience.
    I know today, much of what I postulated as “knowledge” in my youth was exactly true, I wasn’t wrong, declaring my textbooks in school full of lies, I’ve fought the deep state to some degree, since arriving back home, and avidly, actively, for forty years.
    I know at the time of our revolt, less than a third of the colonists stood up against empire, breaking its own law, more than a third backed the British, and we didn’t win, we merely stood longer than putting us down was worth, while two ocean empires battled for supremacy.
    We were invaded by socialists, during Mr. Madison’s time in office, and again, by Bolsheviks, as they invaded Russia, and our “deep state” is largely comprised of these, who never were “ideologists”, but revolutionaries, using socialism, communism, and “red brigades” as their means to subvert our culture, and break our sound connections to reason, rational, honest principles.
    One of the single most important factors in my firmness of faith, is the clear and obvious fact, “Man is a fallen creature”, I was taught as a child, “there is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, it hardly behooves any of us, to point their finger at any of the rest of us”, and while this has proven out to be a fair approximation, those who choose principle as the only solid foundation, excel at keeping in “good”, and those who deny all “sound principle doctrine” seem to excel at “any means that accomplishes the goal”, truly delineating between “the will to do right, and the will to get what one wants, without consideration of principle, just means”.
    My parents took we three children to church every Sunday, as atheists, because they had no sound foundation upon which to place the moral standards, one can logic moral and ethical behavior, but without “authority above Man’s himself”, such thoughts remain theorems and can’t be solidly grounded. If we are merely the outcome of millennia of random selection, ethics, morals, the very notion of good and bad, are merely human constructs, ways and means we can choose to get along, but with no factoral premise by which to judge them, except by postulating human life as valuable, first, but how does one do so, regarding the temporal existence of a reasoning creature, with no fixed purpose or reason, just existing, because we do?
    As a child, agnostic, not willing to discard a deep seated “feeling” of knowing people were not only different, but special, selected, and yet unwilling to dedicate myself to something I couldn’t prove out, see, know.
    I made my choice at about 24, after my time in Beirut, tried to drink away six months of war for three months, failing, and accepting an invitation to church. I found the answers to my dilemma after some six months, and my faith has grown ever since.
    I’ve only been aware of your blog for five or six months, I enjoy your enthusiasm, your hatred of evil, and your will to speak openly, no withholding, something I got accustomed to as a Marine, the only place in this world I’ve been, as honest and blunt as my own family was.
    I’m not writing to evangelize you, but to let you know, you speak to those who do know truth, believe in it, and do their utmost, to never let it escape.
    I did “penance” for my “outspokenness” in the Corps, but got promoted ahead of peers, and while fired often, always had someone waiting to take me because of my ways. I spent most of my second decade, teaching Marines how to face real war, because at any given time, less than 20% ever saw it, and it helps survival, to have some idea of how to face it, beyond what books and class can give.
    It’s taken me forty years to find some of the truths I knew and prove them out, the USS Liberty, being a fine example. Since I became a Christian, I’ve been fighting “Christian zionism”, because as a well educated scholar, I know “Israel” we see, is a construct of men, and from real history, evil men, willing to slaughter and murder, drive off people from their own Nation, and presume it as their own.
    Having fought that some 35 years, I see very little change, because most people simply aren’t willing to do the work it takes to “be educated”.
    I believe I was greatly blessed by my dyslexia, it came with a few other “learning disabilities”, but forced me to find a way around it, and by that, I’ve educated myself, the form of reading my elder sister began me on at two, put me at post grad level entering sixth grade, I passed school only by reading my textbooks before the first day of school, and I remember everything I read, something true all the way to the beginning. With this, I am well able to read essays and stories, and also reference material, with time to fully consider, and separate fact from conjecture.
    I spent four or five hours a day reading, writing, and furthering my education, my trade continues to advance, the science I love, expands, and I can’t stand not understanding, not anything. I feel certain in my faith, will bet my life on it, but I also will say, “I’ve bet my life on cliffs, trees, buildings, aircraft and I’ve broken many bones, put faith in things insufficient, enough, I know I live by faith in faith.
    At worst, I can be wrong, and have lived with integrity for no rational reason. At best, my faith is fulfilled, and I’ve done my best to live well, among others, freely sharing, freely helping, seldom needing. I feel good strength in your moral construct, and applaud your insouciance, your utter disrespect for liars, and the fact we have points of disagreement. Without questioning, how can we ever know truth from “sort of true”?
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC, USA

    1. OK, I quit at your paragraph:
      “I know the Bible is the oldest contiguous book in the world. I know “the Torah” is accurately brought from five millennia ago, to two millennia ago, word for word, because of “the dead sea scrolls”, evidence of competence in truth, far beyond our own imagination, and the facts of Jesus’ ministry is not merely in the Bible, but fully recorded in Roman records, from taxes, to his crucifixion.”
      First of all, the Dead Sea Scrolls are from around 100 BC, not 3000 BC. The Torah was not transmitted perfectly from 5,000 years ago, because the Exodus, if it occurred, would have happened around 1200 BC, 3,200 years ago, give or take. When scholars look at the oldest manuscripts, they see differences between then. Whether those are “mistakes” or not is hard to decide.
      If you know of a place where “the facts of Jesus’ ministry…[is] fully recorded in Roman records, from taxes to his crucifixion” please tell the rest of us. Biblical scholars would be overjoyed to find such evidence. The fact is as an individual the Rabbi was simply not important enough to make a mark on the official records of his time.
      If you live by faith, I am happy for you. I don’t blame you for not being able to buy into atheism. It’s an irrational cult, insisting its followers accept the unproven belief that there is no god. My own belief is that if there is a creator god she probably is not like the god the Judaeo-Christians talk about. I don’t require anybody to agree with me. God is an axiom, not a postulate.

  4. I’m in my 50’s now, and my experience of grownup wisdom is exactly as Caitlin has described. I’d add that failure to realize confident-sounding “leaders” are not magically better than you is the source of authoritarianism. It makes people look for a national daddy promising to make everything better during presidential elections. Maybe the cure for an authoritarian society is to stop lying to children.

    My brain picked a soundtrack for this article about halfway through:

    “So pick up your feet,
    got to move to the trick of the beat.
    There is no elite.
    Just take your place
    in the driver’s seat.”

    Sniff ‘n the Tears – Driver’s Seat

  5. Paradox Rocks Avatar
    Paradox Rocks

    Actaully, the powers that be do have a secret knowledge of things. And they keep their secrets by piling falsehood on top of falseood until we cannot tell a lie from the truth anymore, such as the Zionist takeover of the USA that went full retard with the 9/11 false flag psy-op being made possible by intelligence agencies using pedophilia blackmail on politicians in power.

  6. It’s not that we pretend or fake it, it’s that we’ve been fooled (brainwashed) into believing that we know what the truth is. But the truth we are taught to believe in is not really the truth. It is just propaganda. It is a controlled narrative. It is the world that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth that we are all slaves born into bondage, into a prison that we cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for our minds.

  7. 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night— 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

  8. Caitlin I’m surprised (though not entirely) a truth seeking truth teller like you could write about our brain having “evolved” as if it is established truth. I wonder where the world has hidden the physical evidence to support that idea, however. But it’s not a complete surprise because I find all the truth seeking truth tellers are flawed in some similar way no matter how good they are.

    The people who are not imposters, and there are doubtless many, are not feigning any confidence in Bible verses. In fact, the opposite is true. Not only are they not feigning anything, they actually never even had a choice about knowing the truth and were actively against it until the time came. Kind of like the famous “road to Damascus” event for the Apostle Paul. Some of those who are not imposters don’t even realize that either (bit of an “in-house debate”).

    God has given general revelation of some truth in nature, special revelation in the form of divinely inspired writings given through the agency of humans, and special revelation in the form of the life, death, and historically factual resurrection of Jesus Christ from death. We do know the answers to life’s biggest questions, to the extent that God wants us to now, and there is more to come. Most, however, continue in darkness, and left to ourselves that is sadly all that we would ever do. Believe me, there are elements of the truth I wish were not true.

  9. Mary Wildfire Avatar
    Mary Wildfire

    A story, to illustrate my claim that perhaps actually it’s the small children who do know what we’re “meant” to be doing here. WQhen I was about 20, I had a job in a cafe. One evening, for some reason I was there, in the kitchen, after hours (I think I was a dishwasher). A few people were sitting at a table in the dining room. A boy about three years old walked into the kitchen, and so did a medium-sized dog. The boy was fascinated by the dog but also afraid of it. So he kept walking around a big counter in the middle of the room,trying to get a good look at the dog while keeping his distance. Neither of them noticed me, and I just watched quietly. Suddenly, into the room walked my boss, a young black woman. She spotted the dog, threw up her hands and with a cry of outrage, threw the dog outside. Of course I knew she was concerned about health department regulations, but by then I was so into the kid’s head–and the dog’s, it was aware of the boy and I think trying to check out the boy without scaring him–that I thought–“Typical grownup! Always against anything fun!” And I remembered something I’d long forgotten–that when I was a small kid, I thought all adults were crazy–and so did all the other kids, it was an acknowledged reality. They were crazy because they were obsessed with boring stuff and rules instead of the obvious–having fun. We thought teenagers were crazy too, but in a different way. I hoped hard that I would be able to avoid going insane as an adult…I guess I haven’t really achieved that.

  10. It is a boring world if we knew everything. The process of discovering how the world works and how to enjoy it is the best purpose of life. There are many bogus pathways presented to us that must be overcome. A combination of Scientific Method and Buddhism philosophy is the best path forward. Without the former you are unable to discern truth systematically. Without the later you will fail to understand your mind in a practical way.

  11. Life is a mystery, but what do I know?

    1. Everything about the universe. including humanity, swims within the spiral energies of Yin and Yang.

  12. Would be good to have the links to follow up on your read an weep sujestions!?

  13. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    I agree with this exposé.

    But I think there is a way to understand this world and it is by reading what Saint John said in his gospel:

    “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

    So the light (Jesus) has come into this world and people chose darkness. The same story is repeating itself centuries after centuries and more so in our era which is the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus.

    We are very close to the Second Coming. We are witnessing more and more natural disasters: earthquakes, volcanoes, extreme weather etc…

    Keeping my Rosary close.

  14. By sharing with us the Truth that by your efforts you have uncovered, you add meaning to the World : you are MAKING sense. “Life will always be a mystery… ” As a human being, You are the one giving meaning to Life ; this chaotic reality acquires order, somewhat, by your very actions.

    Bless you, Caitlin Johnstone.

  15. read and weep
    1) michael hudson interview about the neoliberal NWO and the global class war (july 4?), and
    2) Epstein, Maxwell, Milcan, and Mossad (july 12?, 2019).

    not that any of these are surprising. just that they are out in the open. spread and share!

    1. ooops! forgot to mention that these articles are at unz reports.

    2. Would be good to have the links to follow up on your read an weep sujestions!?

  16. It takes decades to mature the human animal if he/she is ever going to actually mature into a human adult. It appears to me that the mature humans consistently deal in reality and in the truth, and those who are not mature deal in lies and fraud. Sadly, some humans never reach adult maturity. And, from observation, it appears that mature humans are invariably givers, while the immature humans are invariably takers.

    One positive human trait, however, is the adult attempts to protect the young, but even this good trait sometimes leads to the adults being taken in by lies and deception of the young and immature. Interestingly enough, the deception thing may help explain why there are so many immature humans in power – they use lies and fraud to basically steal from others and to control others. This generates a two class mentality that eventually leads to a plantation system of control where the liars and frauds are the plantation masters and the truth tellers and the naive end up being the slaves.

    Having noted that however, freedom from human slavery is only obtained by knowing and practicing the truth and living life independently from control by the plantation controllers. I suspect that may help explain why, in this age of deception, the truth tellers and the anarchists (i.e. the adults in the room) are so viciously and violently attacked by the frauds and deceptors on the plantation.

    But this human immaturity problem has been with us for many centuries, and there are many observers of the problem, including these observations.

    “Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.” — Samuel Johnson quotes (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784)

    “He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.” ― Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy

    “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world… would do this, it would change the earth.” — William Faulkner

    Will humans as a species ever grow up into adulthood before they destroy life on earth? Time will tell.

    1. Amen. Good post John.

    2. Exceptional post and comment. I would add that the biggest lie is that one needs government. Wrong. You are wired to want government – thank you animal world. As for the human animal to human adult (animal to human) my thinking is that the missing evolutionary adaptation of other people’s property – including the other person not being your property – is the crux of the problem. The animal world functions with ‘my property’ and ‘our property’, it could hardly function with ‘your property’ as a law of nature. With so-called ‘human society’,panarchist it is doomed fail without ‘your property’ as a moral adaptation. According to R. J. Rummel (Death by Government) over 260 million people were killed by their governments in the 20th century. That’s outside of wars.

      1. Panarchist is not supposed to be in the text.

    3. What you describe, John, is not so much a question of maturity, but of psychology. While it is true that psychology does evolve with maturation, so that we distinguish between child psychology and adult psychology, the psychology of “liars and frauds and plantation masters” is the realm of sociopathy. Even sociopaths hone their skills with maturity, but they do not mature into more empathetic, honest, and responsible adults. Far from it. They typically become more dangerous and harmful. With maturity, they become worse human beings, not better ones.

  17. Once again, truth well told. Thank you.

  18. ‘What life is, what it’s about, what we’re meant to be doing here, and what really matters?’

    I really don’t see any mystery here. The reason why we shouldn’t drink household cleaning chemicals and why we should look both ways before crossing the street is that the results of those actions would make us and those who love us feel bad. These are just specific consequences of the general principle: what really matters and what life is about is feeling good and helping others feel good, and not the opposite. This is so basic to the way our psyches work that it’s almost a tautology, every child intuitively shares this premise from the beginning (at least with regard to its own feelings), and the child’s parents use this common ground to communicate with it. As for the specific ways to achieve these objectives, one has to figure those out, partly on one’s own and partly with help from others, but there will always be disagreements about them. Asking about what we’re ‘meant’ to be doing, the way a refrigerator is ‘meant’ (by its producers and users) to keep stuff cold, is wrong: we are not tools, but autonomous living, feeling and thinking beings, and even if somebody external to us were to assign a purpose to us, it would not be legitimate. *We* are the ones doing our ‘meaning’; our feeling of wellbeing is an end in itself.

    1. Yes it is perhaps simpler than we usually think. It all boils down to one word – love. But oh what a tangled web many have woven of lies and deceptions, and all sorts of unloving behaviors! All that makes recovering our basic simplicity quite a complex affair.

  19. JUSTIN w BARNES Avatar

    i dont think anything has ever spoken to me more. Holy shit

  20. You failed to mention Caitlin, that there ARE wise adults who have precious knowledge that their retarded fellow humans are ignorant of. And although these wise ones have the invaluable knowledge of our predicament and how to grow out of it, they may indeed lack definitive answers to life’s deepest mysteries, since there are not any such answers to life’s deepest questions. Some mysteries are properly insoluble in the simplistic terms we ignorantly expect.

  21. I call it the existential predicament. But is there really a small self in the middle of it?

  22. we love you caitlin

  23. ” What life is all about ?” Easy, the main purpose and object in our lives is to obtain as much money as we possibly can during our time on this planet. It matters not, how many lives we may destroy in that persuit, similarly it matters not, the damage we do to the environment, even to our own offspring, who eventually have to suffer the consequences of those actions, as long as you have accumillated as much money as you possibly can, and thus be looked up to with respect by your peers.
    THAT, is the message being pushed these days.

    1. You have got the number one message of our culture dead right Eddy. If we understand this, then we have the option of dropping that program, and going on to lead a life with a different basis – like searching for the real truth and real love.

    2. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
      -RW Emerson

      This was put out there a while back, but, as you stated, Eddy, folks have generally gone with your presented version after all. This quote transformed my priorities along with the overall trajectory of the course of my life. My life’s purpose is to get my fellow community members on board, from the pre-schoolers on up to those in hospice care.

      1. Serving others IS the path to happiness.

        1. Right, I see you’ve already written the same thing as me, but more concisely. Well, it’s arguably not the *only* path – we can also enjoy ourselves on our own in many ways, but *some* form of sharing and pleasing others is probably a must for happiness.

      2. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
        I disagree with Emerson. Useful for what, if not for making others happy? What does being compassionate mean, if not preventing others from being unhappy? Is *any* difference you’ve made really a good thing, and doesn’t it have to be a difference that has made people happier? And if others’ happiness is valuable, why shouldn’t our own be? Both our happiness and that of others should be the goal, and those two goals are easily combined, because making others happy is one of the things that makes us happy the most.

        1. F. Foundling
          Explain your wonderful goal to a classroom of kids:
          “Kids, to live a rewarding life, simply seek to make yourself and others happy”.
          Most of the boys will think ‘exactly, I need to get home and hook up with my internet buddies to get to level 7 of MASS MURDERDOM.
          Most of the girls will think ‘I need to do that NEAR STARVATION diet system to look like Taylor Swift. Then, others will be happier when I am skinny.’
          Clearly, Emerson is stating the very message you are stating, but in a much more useful form. Most interpret “seek to be happy” as “seek out more pleasures”, because the unwise have not discovered the source of true happiness—being valued as a useful (helpful and resourceful), compassionate, and honorable member of your community. Then you are valued by others and yourself in a deep, connective way. You have the confidence to experience all human emotions from sadness to joy.

    3. Eddy wrote: “THAT, is the message being pushed these days.”

      At least with many people, that’s the situation indeed. Washington D.C. is a clear example.

      “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points.”
      — Bertrand Russell: The Triumph of Stupidity, 1933

  24. My grandfather got into many arguments with family members about this. I was the ” first grandchild ” and my grandfather would always say ” if he is old enough to ask the question; then he is old enough to be told the truth “. He felt that being told the truth was the only way to prepare a male child to be able to deal with every hard reality and problems that life crosses our paths with. My grandfather, in private conversations, would tell me the truth. If he did not know, or was not sure, he would tell me so. His attitude was girls can amuse themselves with ” dollhouse fantasies ” but males had to be exposed to life’s pitfalls to know how to be a real man to cope with them. I’m an old man now and my grandfathers wisdom is priceless. Lying to your children or lying to yourself is not a wise thing to be doing.

    1. Excellent message. Sadly there are those who believe in lies and fraud and do what they can to actually take advantage of others.

      1. Being honest among dishonest people is an open invitation to deceits of all kinds. Being old I can just refuse to deal with dishonest people by avoiding them as much as possible. Unfortunately, most human beings are of the belief that always lying is what is supposed to be normal human behavior.

        1. I should have suggested negative lies in my response above. Fraud is negative lies and/or deception by definition.

          For example, it’s OK to lie to an enemy who is threatening your life. If you survive the enemy’s attacks on you, then you told a good lie. It is OK to lie to Aunt Tilly when she asks about the meal she has just cooked. If Aunt Tilly is happy, then I would suggest you told a good lie. Of course, you could be brutally honest with Aunt Tilly, and tell her the problems of the food preparation, but what purpose would that fulfill?

          The subject of lying is one of those sticky subjects that has been with us for many centuries. I suspect the bad lies we tell are those lies that are malicious in intent, and which are used to hurt another or steal from another.

          1. John through my life I found it hard to tell people falsehoods and it has cost me a lot. My cousins girlfriend was cheating on him with a friend of mine. I told her I knew and that she should stop. Instead she lied to my cousin. I lost a cousin and I lost a friend so I ” look the other way now” when I realize that people can not handle the truth. If a woman’s cooking is bad and no one tells her, she will never be motivated to learn how to properly cook. The deep void of the internal universe inside of every human being has a ” master calling the shots” no one can confront this master until they admit that the master exists. The denial of the internal master guarantees that it will always rule you and every thing that you do or think!

  25. I am a firm believer that we learn best by experiencing, rather than hearing or seeing.
    I also believe that experiencing the bitter allows us to appreciate the sweet, but more importantly, to SEEK & DESIRE the sweet.
    Having been deceived or outright lied to, once realized, leaves us forever educated and more immune to future similar displeasures, as our DISCERNMENT becomes sharp and useful.

    I have a Bob Marley quote on my wall that has and will forever inspire and remind me of one of the most useful peices of advice I’ve heard:

  26. When I was in 3rd grade, I noticed all the boys around me picking what male roles they liked, and started play acting that character because that was who they were going to be in life, and from that moment on, most of them never grew up and at the ignorant age of 8 all the choices they would ever make, they had essentially already made. I thought that it was such a waste then when I was only 8 to make such a choice, and to this day at 69 I still haven’t. Liars can be terrible people, people who believe their own lies are even worse, but the worse liars are those that lie to themselves, because not only can you never know them, but they too, can never know themselves.

  27. Or poor overworked father?…..

  28. Or to believe we need “leaders” to lead us.

  29. You nailed another one! Thank you.

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