What Makes a Fool

My Favorite Fool

Some people occur to us as intelligent and bright. Others, however, strike us as painfully dumb. If you asked folks, “What makes a smart person smart and a dumb person dumb?” many might quickly reply that it is the amount of knowledge one possesses that makes them smart or birdbrained.

For the average case, I would disagree. Lack of knowledge means they don’t know too much, but does that make them foolish? After all, don’t most of us know about a certain topic in which others are clueless (usually job-specific information)? Does this make us smart and them “dumb”? More specifically, is this really the quality that makes one seem intelligent or unintelligent–simply knowing something that others don’t? I don’t think so; that’s an incomplete picture.

I’ve noticed that what a person knows actually has little to do with whether they strike us as smart or a few fries short of a happy meal. What really makes a person sound unintelligent is not a lack of brain content, but rather an overestimation of it.

Think about it; you must know some graduate students, business people, doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists, engineers, etc. who shock you with their stupidity. “How did they get into [insert college with impressive name]?!” Humans can possess a ton of information but still really strike you as a few noodles short of a casserole. How? They lack one important piece of information: the limits of their information.

If you are over-confident about your knowledge, you are less likely to ask for help or go and look up something that you don’t know because you won’t admit to yourself that you don’t know it! When someone “does something stupid,” what really happened? They didn’t stop and think, “how should this be done?” And why didn’t they stop and think that? Because they were operating under the assumption that they already knew. This also applies to “saying something stupid.”

We want to fix this, never be a dingbat and become clear about what we don’t know, but knowledge is funny–we don’t know everything that is unknown to us. We know some of it (for example, I know I don’t know biochemistry), but the stuff that we don’t know that is unknown to us oddly doesn’t exist on our mental map. The only way we can go about dingbat prevention is building a habit of evaluating our knowledge and, when appropriate, saying “I don’t know.” We can help ourselves by developing an attitude of humility when it comes to our knowledge.

The difference between dumb and not-dumb is “I don’t know.” The difference between not-dumb and smart is “I don’t know, let me go and find out.”

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Rampant Ignorance and Irresponsibility In Nutrition

Nothin’ to say!

Let’s say you were invited to a random party. You show up, you don’t know anyone, and you see a bunch of people smoking something in the corner. It doesn’t even look like a joint and you can’t identify it by smell.

“Hey you, take a pull of this!” someone in the circle shouts to you.

What do you do? If you’re someone who is decently responsible and has some concern for your health, you most likely will do one of two things:

1. Politely decline, or 2. ask what it is, hoping it’s whatever you are looking to smoke.

Why don’t we do this with the foods we eat? If we don’t know what “erythritol” or “cyclamates” are, or any of the other ingredients that we’ve never heard of nor can we pronounce, isn’t eating foods containing those mystery ingredients the same as taking a drag of a mystery joint rolled by mystery people containing mystery ingredients? We cannot do either and say that we are responsible for our health.

It seems that we engage in this contradictory behavior simply because it’s the norm and we got used to it. But it’s a funny thought; should we arrive at the pearly gates and be asked why we ate something that with some research we could have found out was lethal, all we could do is shrug our shoulders and say “I dunno.”

If asked why we ate things without asking what was in them, what response could we have that would not qualify us as irresponsible with our privilege of health?

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Some good resources for this topic are Google web search and the GoodGuide (opens in new window) app for smartphones which is free and allows you to scan a product and see its nutritional content, its impact on the environment, and the company’s level of social responsibility. It’s a good start!

Every Meal is Proof the Universe Wants You Here

The universe arranged this buss up shut with beef, pumpkin, and aloo with an orange solo for me. Universe works wonders.

Right before you dig into your next meal, stop and consider your situation. Imagine that you have no past, that you were just plopped into existence at that very moment. Consider just what that moment is, and what it could have been.

No matter what your situation, it at least includes some food that you can eat, probably in comfort. It also includes some degree of health, ie life, otherwise you wouldn’t be eating or reading this.

It includes some man hours in terms of preparation, the harvesting of some things that grew out of the Earth that resulted from millions of years of marvelous engineering, and probably the forfeited life of an animal.

In that moment, everything is arranged so that you may have that meal and keep it moving.

Considering these things before every meal has given me a sense of joyful indebtedness to the universe. As meals keep rolling in, you can’t help but wonder “why?”

The Traffic Analogy: Reconsidering Self-Organization

Traffic Jam

China. Nine Days of Traffic. Where are you going?

Some of the time, traffic jams are caused by accidents or poor driving conditions. Most of the time, however, they are due to human driving mentality. A video can explain this pretty well; it came from Japanese scientists at University of Nagoya studying how human tendencies can create traffic:

What we see is a slow in speed create a ripple effect that spreads backwards causing traffic for no apparent reason. In real-life traffic situations, these ripples are generally created when a driver is on another driver’s tail and the driver in front hits the brakes. On the other hand, these ripples are generally avoided or reduced when the follower leaves enough space between him and the car ahead of him. In other words, it is in the individual’s self interest to allow space between them and the car in front of them if they want the system to move quicker.

Self-organization affects us not only on the road but also in just about everything. And by that, I mean government. This traffic thought reminded me of some very fundamental assumptions of capitalism and free market principles–specifically capitalism. Capitalism is a system built on the assumption that individual pursuit of rational self-interest, and the preservation and advancement of the self, can lead to economic prosperity* (See “Adam Smith” on Wikipedia). So how has that been holding up?

As we see in the traffic example, driving as fast as you can is actually not the most rational way to get to where you want to go the fastest. Allowing space ahead of you to absorb breaks in the flow or traffic or to let people move into your lane and get up to speed improves the system for everyone. And similarly with capitalism, we see that rapid advancement of one entity is not only bad for the whole but ends up being bad for the individual. It is not rational to chop down all the trees in the world to sell as lumber to maximize your company’s profit (we need some trees for air).

It is no secret that there are fundamental flaws with capitalism. Nevertheless, it often seems as though capitalism is the most efficient system for self-organization because human nature appears to be full of greed and self-interest. “Socialism and communism just cannot work!” As we have seen them, they certainly cannot work. Capitalism has produced far better results… but we can’t turn a blind eye; capitalism and its ideals are failing us as well.

I used to be capitalism’s #1 fan, and I mentally closed off other possibilities. Reading Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein compensated for my lack of creativity, however, as I learned that in our history we did, indeed, self-organize without the principles of private property and rational self-interest. In the book, he points out that during hunter and gatherer times, we naturally acted in the best interest of the whole. This amazing trait was due to one simple truth: interdependence. Without the group, an individual in the wilderness would soon be dead. While the thought of reverting to hunter-gatherer times is a bit silly, it serves as a reminder that individuals acting in the best interest of the whole is possible.

What’s funny is that although we have advanced from hunter-gatherer times, we are still subject to the same interdependency–it is just harder to see. When you can sit in your house and order everything you need with a credit card and never interact with a human, you begin to believe you don’t need anyone else. But we can’t forget that without the trees, or the birds, or the insects, we would all be dead. If the Chinese make a species extinct, that will affect us all. If nuclear bombs go off, that will affect us all. Consider even, that without each other, money has no value, nor does prestige exist. Interdependence is law.

When we embrace our interdependence, we will increase our chances of survival. One who knows of his dependency on the whole will not steal from it. It is misguided to aim to create this interdependence. It is more correct to aim to realize that we already are interdependent.

Assumptions on these levels are healthy to question as #OccupyWallStreet protesters crowd the streets with unclear demands. They are healthy to question as voters prepare to rate politicians who offer band-aid solutions to problems and, along with the media, generally ignore conscious discussion of the underlying beliefs we share as a community. These days, we have become distracted by topical issues such as “what is the proper tax rate” or “should there be outsourcing,” and have moved away from more fundamental questions such as “what is the role of government?” Are we working in harmony with the natural law of interdependence?

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.” Mohandas Gandhi

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*While one can easily argue that there is more “economic prosperity” today than there has ever been in history, one would have a much more difficult time stating that capitalism is the most effective system in “economic prosperity” advancement. I put quotes around “economic prosperity” because that term’s meaning is overwhelmingly subjective.

For more information on the traffic study, find the New Scientist article here (opens in new window).

When Does a Runner Become a Runner?

Do you have a to-do list or a bucket list? Most of us do. Some of us have “make a bucket list” on our to-do list. Each list has things to check off and do, followed by the satisfaction of being able to say those are things we “did.” I went skydiving, I ran onto a football field naked, I got an STD in Thailand.

Those are things we did–but what about things we do? …and keep doing? What item is on the list that you want to do everyday, from here till as far as you can see?

If you ran a marathon, are you a runner?

Read this:

An inspiring quote, truly applicable to anyone

Any path to greatness is surely filled with practice and repetition. Something that happens once can certainly impact your life. But what can happen in just one day that actually defines your life? It’s what you work on day-in, day-out that will define you.

A runner runs. Whether he runs a marathon, never runs a marathon, or runs with one leg, he is on a quest to express the runner in him. He sees the kind of runner he would like to become but he doesn’t know the extent of how great a runner he could be. And he’s curious, he wants to find out. Nothing that can happen in one day will give him that answer–it is purely a matter of journey.

What’s worth doing every day?

Don’t Take Stuff Personally

Yeah, yeah.

People will say stuff to us that gets under our skin, or they might just do something that irritates us. And when we get irritated, a lot of crappy things happen.

When we get irritated, we’re more likely to do things we otherwise wouldn’t do. We might say things to hurt people, lose our ability to focus on the task at hand, or do something stupid. But more importantly, when we lose our cool, we are actually letting something else affect us. We are losing our power because something distracted us and swayed us in a direction we did not intend to head. Staying calm and handling things with a level head is not only good for our daily work but also prevents us from hurting our loved ones. Have you noticed the wiser the person, the less they lose their cool?

I’ve seen that the #1 reason someone loses their cool is that they take something personally. To take something personally, our ego must be at play. Think about it (and we all ‘love’ people with huge egos). Let’s look at some more specific reasons to not take things personally:

INSULTS

If somebody says something with the intention of hurting/affecting you, they are really projecting their own issues. It actually has nothing to do with you. A person who walks around calling people’s faults for enjoyment is suffering their own issue. A happy person doesn’t do that. So when someone tries to bring you down, a progressive approach might be to be concerned with why they feel the need to attack their fellow humans. To take their word seriously and get brought down prevents growth for both parties. It’s really an opportunity to help.

If somebody does or says something (/to you) unknowingly or unintentionally that could be offensive, they were acting in ignorance. And unless you’ve experienced nirvana, you suffer ignorance as well and it should be forgiven. A more appropriate action would be to fill that person in for their own benefit. To get angry because a child commented on your blubber really is a losing strategy. Let the child know they could hurt someone’s feelings.

All reasons I could give really derive from the concept that a statement or action cannot be separated from its source. When you take away the scissors from your 3-year-old and he says “I hate you mommy,” you may not like his choice of words but you know that he is unaware of his actions. You know better, and you certainly don’t get mad at him at tell him “go feed yourself you little brat!” and storm off into your room because of what he said to you. The source must be considered in every statement. Anytime someone says something that could be offensive, the source is either trying to hurt you or is ignorant–neither of which call for taking the comment personally.

The only way that you can be insulted by someone is if you believe the insult to be true. If someone tried to insult me by calling me “gay,” they would fail, because it’s clear to me that I’m heterosexual. If someone called a girl a “bitch,” and she had just been dumped by her boyfriend because he claimed she was a bitch, she might be insulted. “Maybe I really am a bitch! Ouch!” This is where being secure in yourself comes in. Insecurity is your ego feeling incomplete and just waiting to take anything and everything personally.

Compliments, too

There is also reason to not take compliments personally. This one is a bit more of a stretch for most people, but we can start with a simple example. Suppose someone says “you’re so good-looking!” If you take that comment personally, you will eventually get an inflated ego. You aren’t your looks; you didn’t create them or choose them. You could recognize that the person is in fact complimenting your genetics.

But what if they complimented my outfit? I put that together! Me me me me me!

You still can’t remove your physical body from the outfit. But who gave you your sense of style? Style is not created, it’s stolen piece by piece from things you have seen in the past. If someone compliments your intelligence,  patience, or even the way you handled a situation, can you take full credit? Pass the credit along to your teachers, mentors, experiences, and education and keep moving forward. I suppose if you’re feeling down about yourself you can tap into it to boost yourself up, but come on now. The result of this mentality is humility and un-messable-with status. Those are great things. Hubris always kills the main character. Think about it: someone can be so good-looking and amazing, but the second you hear them being conceited, all attraction is lost, no? Why is it that the people we respect the most are totally humble?

When you take something personally, it’s a lose-lose. Nothing is totally your fault or totally to your credit. Practicing removing yourself from the situation helps to both keep you on track and to not get too caught up in yourself.

What You Have

Oh yes, oh yes.

If you’ve lived on this planet, you’ve heard that “you don’t know what you have ’till it’s gone,” or some similar phrase. You’ve probably experienced it, as well. Something as simple as the hot shower in the morning feeling so great just when you know it is time for you to get out.

Is there a way around this? Is there a way to totally soak up the essence of something so that when it does end you can say “that is okay, because I did know what I had?”

I don’t think it something you can do in the past or future. To try to get the most out of something that has already passed sounds like a coping mechanism rooted in self-deception. On the other hand, to try to get the most out of something in the future defeats the purpose, because to soak up something and to truly “know what you have” is something that can only happen in the present.

You soak up the essence of that beautiful hot shower when you step in, turn it on, say “thank you” to the universe for the hot shower, and just enjoy it.

Seek and Find Out

Nadal after winning his first grand slam

“Seek and you shall find.” Wow! What a big guarantee. If I seek, I shall find? Honestly, that sounds like a cheesy, empty promise that I can find in a fortune cookie in a second-rate Chinese restaurant where they yell at you when taking your order at the counter.

A lot of people are job seekers but they aren’t finding. Some people send out daily applications, visit recruiting agencies, and have created personal branding website things. Often times it leads to the business venture. So many fail in their first year because stuff just couldn’t work out.

Being fit is important to a lot of people. They invest in the athletic wear, get the right supplements, buy a gym membership or home equipment. But it’s hard when you have a big family or a demanding job.

As a country we want change. Our political leadership is failing us, we seem more and more divided, and we just can’t take it anymore. What can we do?

There are people who get jobs, start businesses, are fit with jobs and families, and people who bring about change, however. Are those people different or have some special set of talents? The more I learn from people I admire, it seems not.

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those online guys who has a big following, started some great businesses, and became a best-selling author. His simple response when asked about what made him so bad ass was “I out worked you. Straight up, I out worked you.”

As a nation, it’s hard to say we’re seeking political change when the average American spends over an hour per day watching TV and being active voting for Project Runway contestants on Twitter, but not one hour per week researching candidates or economic policies.

As a person trying to get fit, it’s hard to say you want a six-pack when you don’t work out because “you don’t feel like it.” Saying you want to start a business but you don’t have time because you have to check out Perez Hilton.

You get where I’m going with this. The first step is honesty. Trusting that what you’re doing right now is exactly what you want to be doing, that you’re lying to yourself when you say you want to be fit as you shove a Twinkie into your face. Every second you’re making a decision. Every second you spend watching TV is a decision to watch TV and not to learn to play the harpsichord or whatever you (say you) want to do. The first step is that honesty…”so this is what is important to me.” How does that sit with you? Does this provide fire under your behind to make you want change? (Related post on embracing dissatisfaction, opens in new window – No Shame In Dissatisfaction)

Some people might respond “well, I’m not willing to give up my side things or distractions. I guess I don’t really want x y or z if it comes at the expense of my relaxation time when I get home from work.” Okay–that is good and dandy. There is nothing wrong with that.

But I want to make you think. I want to impregnate your mind with something that could drive you crazy, crazy enough that over even months of thinking about it, you reach the point you can’t sit. Did you ever wonder: What can you say that you actually tried your best at…and failed?

What have you done where you have sacrificed your TV time, where you have done something when you didn’t feel like it, where you could say you did everything in your power to accomplish, and failed? Could you be rich? Could you change the world? What can you say that you cannot do even if you gave 100% of yourself to? What if you closed off your cell phone and spend all day working on it? Is there something even worth giving this 100% to? It certainly would be a beautiful passion. Something that you’d stop watching TV for, stop doing things that you can admit are not necessary. Can you call yourself a seeker until you have tried?

Aren’t you curious about the extent of your abilities? What would it be like to die and say “I never tested myself?”

Here’s a good video for those who have not seen it. Good motivational tool. “The Secret to Success” by Eric Thomas

By the way, curiosity is a great form of motivation. I wrote about it a little in the post Why You Should Have Curiosity .

The Expectations Box

box.

“You can’t be let down if you don’t have expectations.” The worst part about expectations, however, is not that they allow the possibility of let down, but rather that they tend to cause tunnel vision. Expectations cause us to look for what we think is there versus what could be there.

It’s probably an instinctual part of survival–if every time you see a bear you get attacked, you are likely to run the next time you even smell a bear. But with this good comes a bad. Our mind becomes conditioned and we enter the process of reaffirming our beliefs.

If every girlfriend you had cheated on you, it is possible that you begin to expect all girlfriends to cheat on you. If you’ve been robbed four times and every time it was a black male, it’s possible that you begin to keep your guard up around black males. If you get poor service at the post office and the DMV often, it’s possible that you expect that government workers to be lazy.

What happens when we allow this to take place? We keep the girl who truly loves us at a distance. We push her away. We close out relationships with an entire race of people. We bring down the postal worker as we approach them with a stink attitude. The next person in line finds a hurt postal worker.

We could have had love. We could have found a friend. We could have made someone’s day.

But expectations don’t just affect our relationship to others.

I grew up with several interests, and one of them was money. I was fascinated with it and I had grandiose dreams for my future. Throughout school I had small businesses on the side, my father and mentors were business men, I even went to school for business. Money was going to be a huge part of my life. I had that expectation. Well, right now, I’m letting go of that expectation and for the first time opening up to the idea that money is not what really drives me. I’m finding more fire in things such as reading and writing. Life begins to look a lot different, but I am very glad to be here. I wouldn’t change it for anything and it makes me happy with my path. My expectations of me were boxing me in.

Good: “What if you dropped expectations of others?” Better: What do you expect of yourself? And are these expectations allowing you to be open to a you that is entirely different from the one you know?

You think you know you, but you may very well have no idea. Expecting good behavior from yourself surely is helpful. But do you expect yourself to act up when your significant other talks to the opposite sex? Do you expect that you won’t finish things you start? Do you expect to miss your bedtime again tonight? Why is that you? Can you at least be open to the idea that that isn’t you? And the you that you envisioned, being secure and thorough, and sticking to plans…can you give that you a chance? Please?

Is it because you’ve missed your bedtime ten nights in a row? Is that why you expect you’ll miss it again tonight? Isn’t that expecting the girlfriend to cheat, the postal worker to be an ass, and the black guy to be a thief? Aren’t you imposing the same faulty judgment process on your own self?

Maybe you’re the person that you dream yourself to be, that secure person who does everything they say they will. Maybe you are totally different from who you think you are.

Occupy Wall Street, Banking, War: A Silly Question

War and banking seem to be two big concerns these days. I have a silly question to ask meant to get people thinking about connections between the two, and perhaps provide more direction to the “generally dissatisfied movement” of today (I think it’s more than Occupy Wall Street).

I’ll offer a personal opinion on war, a personal opinion on economics, then bring it together.

war

I might be going out on a limb on this one, but I think it’s fishy that we always have a reason to go to war. I say this because we, as a country (USA), in our two-hundred and thirty-five or so year history, have never had a period of peace. We have been at war since our inception. This might refresh your memory: Timeline of United States Military Operations (Wikipedia, will open in a new window). Again, we have always been at war. We are always at war. We are never at peace.

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon spends a lot of money. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all fifty states spend on health, education, welfare, and safety combined (Business Insider, “15 Facts About Military Spending that will Blow your Mind,” interesting, will open in new window). We spent about $700 billion in 2010 alone. To give you an idea of how we stack up against our neighbors here on this planet:

The Biggest 'n Baddest Countries--All money spent on war: who spends what % of it?

To make sure you get that right, the USA spends 43% of the world’s military expenditures, and its next biggest competitor is China, who spends 7.3% of the total world military expenditures. We, at #1, spend about $700 billion, they, at #2, spend about $115 billion. Big difference.

Okay–so we’re always at war and we spend a lot on it. Something, somewhere is wrong. Well, I suppose one could say that we are the police of the world and we are doing good but there are a lot of problems with that, more than I’m equipped to speak on. If you’ve never heard of the USA having conflicts abroad, the World Policy Institute published this report (will open in a new window) that presents data on how the USA seems to continuously sell arms to political regimes and in many cases profit off of the war by selling arms to both sides of the same conflict. Consider that the USA used to have great relations with both Hussein and Bin Laden before we launched wars to capture them so that we could end what is continuing.

My guess is that what is going on with this USA-monster-military-always-everywhere thing is what has gone on since the beginning of civilizations, and is purposeful: the attempt of a group to gain power. I know, it sounds crazy. But this is a personal view of mine on war. For war to be what it is to the USA, someone, somewhere must be gaining power and making money.

Next I’ll share with you a person view of mine on economics. First, I must give a little background. Let’s start by asking “where do we get all that money from?”

Money and Banking

Our war is funded by debt. No? You must have not heard about our little spending problem. It looks like after we add up the income and expenses we miss the mark by about one and a half trillion dollars…every year. We owe fourteen trillion dollars, so no, we do not have money for war. It is financed by debt.

This is not strange. Throughout our history, we have taken on more debt in times of war–the citizens of the country won’t squabble over debt when it’s debt used to go to war.

Why can we take on so much debt? We need to have a little background on how banking in our country works. It’s actually surprising how many well-educated people I know in this country who don’t know how the Federal Reserve works or what it does. It is important to understand it before we get to my main point.

The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 to help prevent market crashes. They decided the best way to do this was to give the Federal Reserve the power to control the value of the US Dollar. They also decided that the Federal Reserve should loan our money to us and be a private entity that cannot be audited–that is right: we cannot perform a financial audit on the private organization that lends the US people their own currency. They gave the Federal Reserve the power to control the value of the US dollar by allowing it to control the supply of the dollars in the world market by adjusting the interest rates at which it would loan these dollars to banks and by setting the required amount of capital a bank must have to cover its debts. If this is all confusing, perhaps I could try to give a better description in another post, but for now, all you need to know is that a private bank lends dollars to the US people and it controls the value of those dollars.

Next, the US Dollar is the reserve currency at the World Bank. That means the US dollar is the most official currency on Earth, holla. But why is a piece of paper the most official thing on the planet?

We arrive at my simple point, sorta. It’s regarding the gold standard. US bills used to look like this:

Notice it says "payable in gold coins"

The problem with this is we wanted to create more money, and we didn’t have enough gold to back it, so we had to just make the paper itself the instrument of value. We can print a lot more paper than we can create gold. Alchemy isn’t a popular major these days.

If you’re lost, it’s okay, I jumped around. Start from here: We used to have our dollars backed by gold. In fact, in Article I Section 10 of the original constitution, those founding father guys required us to never “make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Why could they have wanted this? Well, let’s look at today. If our dollar has replaced gold, and we give a private institution (the Federal Reserve) the freedom to print it, that means we’ve given someone the freedom to print gold.

Our ability to print gold is closely linked to our ability to keep taking on debt. Credit card companies won’t loan you money past a certain point, but if you had a gold machine and could churn gold out of thin air, you would certainly get your credit limit raised.

I personally we believe that our dollar should be backed up by some naturally occurring resource so that the government cannot create money out of thin air to spend on things (such as war). That is a personal view of mine on economics.

okay, so what?

So all of that for a stupid, simple little question designed just to make people think:

Do you think we would drop as many bombs as we drop, fire as many bullets as we fire, and fly as many drones as we fly if they all had big chunks of gold in them?

I say “no,” and the more purposeful part of the post, a thought to all Occupy Wall Street people, and people generally dissatisfied with the state of things:

I suggest looking towards our mysterious Federal Reserve and it’s ability to create money out of thin air. We get caught up with GOP vs. Democrats, liberal vs. conservative, Fox vs. MSNBC, but this deserves our unity and attention. We could not go to war without debt, and the Federal Reserve profits off our debt as they loan us our US dollars at interest. Does that strike you? It strikes me. That is a pretty big conflict of interest. We can’t even audit the Federal Reserve–it is a private institution!!

Think about how large of a role debt has played in everything: the subprime mortgage crises happened because people could not repay their debt. The average American is in $8,000 in credit card debt. Our nation is in $14 trillion of debt. Every dollar represents the dollar plus interest owed to the Federal Reserve. All of that debt carries interest, and we might at least ask to whom is it owed. Unfortunately we have no idea who is behind the Federal Reserve.

I don’t have answers regarding how everything is played out down to Wall Street, political agendas, etc., but it seems to me this Federal Reserve and the mechanism used to create “money” out of thin air is a much more massive problem than anything we normally consider. Unfunded liabilities of over $100 trillion dollars? What does that even mean (US Debt Clock , will open in new window)?! There is something wrong with the system. I salute the dissatisfaction and movements generated by them.

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I may be one of very few who believe that Tea Party-ers and Occupiers of Wall Street actually are mad about the same thing. I might go as far as believing that they are intentionally set against each other because they certainly spend more energy hating and trying to disprove the other than they do trying to be realistic about the root of the problems they agree upon. Same spirit, different news channel. Does anyone have interest or suggestions regarding unifying all of the dissatisfied parties of the country?

 

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison, Political Observations, 1795