Issues #19-21 Issues #25-27 Issues #28-30
Volume I [Year 2000]
Volume II [Year 2001]
Issues #6-8 Issues #9-11 Issues #12-14 Issues #15-18
Volume IV   [Year 2003]
Issues #31-33 Issues #34-35 Issues #36-38
Volume V [Year 2004]
Issues #39-41 Issues #42-44 Issues #45-47 Issues #48-49
Volume VI   [Year 2005]
Issues #50 & beyond
Issue #22: "The Tao of Dumbo"
>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<
SLOGAN OF THE MONTH:
"The Working Mind: Often imitated. Never intimidated."
"The thought of death makes the authentic man."
Miguel de Unamuno [1864-1936]
"The secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to live for."
"Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that
will never do any harm to the world."
"It often shows an excellent command of language to say nothing."
"A man is judged by his Values; his Values are marked
by that which he will not compromise."
"The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark
forces of time and ignorance, which envelop our future."
John Maynard Keynes [1883-1946]
" T h e    T A O    o f    D U M B O "
The part of "Dumbo" that relates to the Working Minds philosophy is the 'magic' black feather that Timothy Mouse gives to the young floppy-eared Dumbo, to override Dumbo's fears. That pseudo-magic black feather serves precisely the same purpose as all religions, of ALL faith or belief.
The turning point of the story is when Dumbo is on top of the ever-higher diving board, looking down at the water tank target, which Dumbo is supposed to dive into, in order to earn his keep. Dumbo loses the magic feather, but the show must go on, and Dumbo overcomes his fear on his own and he jumps and then lets his ears free and flies around the circus tent to everyone's stunned amazement on his own, and that sets up the happy ending.
So too with the 'magic black feather' of religious faith or belief, of any dogma or truth. Without it, we are left to our own devices, which we are anyway. The only world that exists is the world available thru Objective Reality, this existential Universe that we each inhabit. Whatever action or achievement was or will be accomplished by you was with no causal help from outside forces, from whatever religion you espouse, nor by Random Chance, nor some predetermined Fate nothing was accomplished in your life by any generator except yourself [your Self].
For most people, actions are guided by collaboration with the Culture-Structure-installed False Mind the constant 'Little Voice In Your Head'. For example, prayer is just a different internal conversation with your False Mind.
To give your Natural Power away to the constructed false edifice of any religion or belief is to dis-empower your Self. When it comes down to taking any important action, your False Mind will direct you, as is its function and its design, away from action that empowers. All religions and beliefs are false, and the False Mind loves them.
I respect all religions. I need not take anyone's religious beliefs away from him or her. But only because some religious Values have been the best, well intentioned though fatally flawed attempts by Mankind to solve a problem or two, to attain the minimum level of spirituality. But each and every Religion is a delusion and dishonest at the core, and thus dis-empowering, and I will have no truck with them.
Each Religion has some small, underlying Central Abstract Value, though many of that Religion's practices be in opposition to the Central Value. This is akin to saying that a greasy, drive-thru hamburger has nutritional value: both Religion and fast-and-greasy food are low value deals, and there are many, many places and disciplines from which to obtain better value.
Skip the Religion and keep the teachings that empower.
Go ahead: Your Developing Working Mind standing in the question 'What will empower?' will guide you wisely in this area.
==>  New Dutch-language Objectivism site
==>  And a Japanese-language site at
==>  "Dumbo" video & DVD: click here
==>  New page of Ayn Rand Quotes just installed at
N E X T   M O N T H: "The Class System of America"
I N   J U N E: "The Distinction Trust"
==>  "Dumbo" video & DVD: click here
==>  New page of Ayn Rand Quotes just installed at
N E X T   M O N T H: "The Class System of America"
I N   J U N E: "The Distinction Trust"
Issue #23: "The Class System of America"
>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<
SLOGAN OF THE MONTH: "Please think responsibly."
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
Ayn Rand [1905-82] (in "Atlas Shrugged")
"Take what you want and pay for it, says God."
"Decisions are made by those who show up."
"The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."
Henry David Thoreau [1817-62]
"The secret of happiness lies in the ancient saying 'Become what you are'."
Alan W. Watts [1915-73]
"Life ain't no fiesta."
Zane Grey [1872-1939]
"The true cause of the enormous ills that now dismay so many Americans the universal sleaze and 'dumbing down', the floodtide of corporate propaganda, the terminal insanity of United States politics has risen not from any grand decline in the national character ... but from the inevitable toxic influence of those few corporations that have monopolized our culture."
Mark Crispin Miller
I was recently granted the title of RingMaster for the Objectivism WebRing, which suffered severe casualties
during the migration from Yahoo. Anybody with an Objectivist website or webpage can apply to join the ring at
[NOTE: Libertarians should instead search from the WebRing.org homepage
& join one of the 29 listed Libertarian WebRings.]
Many readers may not have noticed the FREE 'Working Minds Preview Edition' in three ebook formats touted near the end of each month's issue, and other links & news tidbits. Therefore, the format of WMail is now reorganized: slogan & quotes, then bulletins (if any), then the essay, THEN the links and news tidbits, THEN the reminders, and still last are the links to Add/Change/Remove yourself on the mailing list.
C-SPAN's "American Writers II" series features AYN RAND Sunday May 12th, repeated Friday May 17th,
see local listings for exact schedule. Other authors in this series include Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner & Kerouac.
The AR episode webpage is http://www.americanwriters.org/writers/rand.asp
" T h e    C L A S S    S Y S T E M    o f    A M E R I C A "
This is the category you don't want to be in. There are sub-categories, which clarify the distinctions inherent in this lowest Economic Class in America. Basically, this is the land of Non-Survival, where tomorrow's needs require all of today's effort, a numbing scramble to keep from moving backward, to keep from dying of starvation or disease.
Lowest of the Underclass are the indigent, those unable to feed and clothe themselves the Homeless Class: people living on the street or in their cars or in somebody's garage or basement, without basic shelter or food. This also includes people who have nowhere else to go, stuck in decrepit nursing homes until they die from neglect or ill health, also the mentally ill, and residents of the prison system.
Just above the Homeless Class are the Jobless: people who pay for their basic needs from welfare and other government programs, 'under the table' employment, day labor the guys standing across the street from Home Depot, the guys who hang advertising on your doorknob and people who are temporarily or permanently outside the ranks of the Full-Time Employed.
A recent strategy in several professions is the intentional creation of part-time workers. Dentists have been doing this for more than a decade. Each dentist hires a dental hygienist or RDA for two or three days a week as an 'independent contractor', eliminating the need to provide government-required benefits, such as full-time employees receive. The hygienist is then required to hire out to another heartless dentist, to fill out the workweek. Employee #1 works for dentists A and B, employee #2 works for dentists B and C, round and round in a life-threatening game of musical chairs.
These hygienists work a full-time schedule but do not have a full-time job, and since the majority of dentists, especially those hiring new employees, support this practice, the worker has no hope of getting any such benefits while pursuing their career.
Many dot-com and high-tech companies also design themselves to offer only part-time work in many categories: even though pay for programmers is high, they are 'on contract' and job benefits are non-existent.
Then there are the Illegals (Alien or otherwise), who will do anything to survive, even giving up future benefits, such as Social Security, since their sweatshop job is cash-only and the existence of their income is not reported. They also typically give up all protection by the government, such as OSHA safety standards, overtime pay, freedom from discrimination & harassment and such.
THE WORKING CLASS
This Economic Class also has sub-categories, the lower of which may make less money than some of the Underclass. The work may be full-time, but federal minimum wage these days is $5.15 per hour, with overtime only after 40 hours per week. That is $200 a week gross, which is just $10,700 a year (before deductions). Thus the explosion of two- and three-income households, which has sucked away so many low-paying jobs.
I found a chart at http://www.dol.gov/dol/esa/public/minwage/chart2.htm that shows the U.S. minimum wage has gone DOWN 35% in 'constant dollars' (buying power) since Tricky Dicky and Milton Friedman and George Shultz devalued the dollar by ending the Bretton Woods Agreement (1969-1973). NOTE 11/2003: That page is gone, this page at Oregon State displays the matter nicely: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html
Meanwhile, the employment statistics lie: The Federal Labor Department compares jobs filled with total workers to figure the Unemployment Rate. With so many working two or three jobs per family or household, counting individual workers and comparing that figure to total workers produces an entirely different statistic.
Call them 'Minimum-Wage Working Class', and the next sub-category 'Workers With A Decent Job'. This is full time, above minimum wage employment, with overtime and vacation time and sick time, maybe a pension or 401K or ESOP program. The old rule of thumb is 'making your age': if you are 40, then making a $40K annual salary constitutes success. Even with inflation, this is a good measure.
You could survey your friends and co-workers on this, but the Culture-Structure has taught you that this should be a secret: ignorance is bliss, divide and conquer. Ask the receptionist, the janitor, and the grocery clerk. They will think you rude, but maybe one or two will tell the truth; if any lie, it will be to give an inflated number, not a lesser.
But the minimum wage is not enough, requiring multiple jobs per household. Thus the Living Wage movement, often legislated for contractors to the government. I say that anyone making less than $10 per hour is not making a Living Wage, even for a single individual with no dependents. Workers making minimum wage and supporting a family will never see a glimpse of the ephemeral American Dream.
The Labor Department provides only median income data. (I love it that the report is 'Consumer Income': not Citizen or Resident or Employee or Worker, they only track consumers!) Average hourly wage, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is around $14.50, so that gives $30,000 per year. The median income (1997) is given as $55,000. So it is difficult to define the parameters of The Decent Job. So I'll draw the line a different way.
THE HOME-OWNER CLASS
A century ago, the Upper Class was defined as folks who were able to travel (as in the household would move to the country place, or the family would take their steamer trunks to Europe on the SS Barataria, on The Tour) =AND= they had servants. The Middle Class was defined as folks whose lifestyle included only one of the two; the Lower Classes had neither.
These days, you can define the Middle Class as those who own their home; the Upper Middle Class are those with more than one home. Most people in America these days either rent their dwelling space or are paying off a mortgage, so that would be where I would draw the line. The Home-Owner Class in America includes people who own their dwelling outright, even if a tar-paper shack on the wrong side of the tracks.
They have to pay property taxes, they have to feed themselves, but they will not be 'on the streets' unless something dire happens, like the end of Social Security (which is the original purpose of the Social Security program). The renter or mortgagee, however, cannot live on Social Security: they will have to choose between food and shelter, or stand in line with hundreds of other hungry folk to find a Decent Job or settle for what they can find below that, if they are not too decrepit or unschooled to do the work.
In Los Angeles these days, every job opening attracts 200 to 300 applicants, which belies the 'recovery' touted by Alan Greenspan. Coupled with the decreasing value of the dollar 1970 value halved by 1980, halved again by 2000; see Tricky Dick comment above the situation is dire. Upward mobility, the cobwebbed American Dream, is no longer available. Everybody is moving backwards.
THE WEALTHY CLASSES
Here I use my Benchmark, mentioned elsewhere. The President of the U.S of A. got a raise with George Dubya's inauguration, to $400,000 per year. With perks, such as travel and embassy dinners and Camp David vacations, I suggest a Benchmark figure of $500,000 half a million dollars annual income for the Leader of the Free World.
So anyone who earns or receives MORE than the Benchmark is a member of the Wealthy Class in America: anybody who makes more than the incumbent President.
At the top of this category is the Oligarchy, who are defined as the one percent who own fifty percent of everything in America. Same for other countries, the phenomenon is worldwide. The Oligarchy in the U.S. increased their assets by 40% in the last 15 years, which means that the 99% non-Oligarchy population suffered a reduction of an equal amount.
The Pareto Principle is useful in a lot of ways: "Eighty percent of the people do 20% of the work, and 20% of the people do 80% of the work." In defining the Oligarchy's co-conspirators among the Wealthy Class, this principle suggests that 20% of the people then own 80% of everything.
Which leaves 80% of the population fighting over just 20%, which is exactly what the Oligarchy wants. The average citizen is too scared, too busy trying not to lose ground, holding onto what little we still have with cramped fingers, so that we do not have any chance to organize, to form unions to redress grievances, to demand efficient government and products that work and entertainment that does not insult.
We have no chance in America and elsewhere for the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression; freedom of every person to worship [a deity] in his own way [or not]; freedom from want; and freedom from fear.
The populace is afraid afraid of losing their wretched jobs, of SUV drivers behind them going 80 mph, of sickness with no insurance, of random violence, of cops and politicians and clerics gone bad, and don't forget global warming and the crazy weather. The Oligarchy is determined that economic movement is DOWN-ward only, toward serfdom, then they not only won't have to pay benefits, they won't have to pay wages. Taxation without representation will flower anew the majority stopped voting long ago anyway. The infrastructure falls apart, anarchy reigns, mobs riot in the streets. Ayn Rand's prediction of the collapse is fulfilled.
The American Dream is already replaced by Economic Nightmare.
Time to wake up, people.
==>  Info on value of the dollar from ALA/ICONnect
==>  "How to Measure the Shrinking Value of the Dollar" at Information Please
==>  F.D.R.'s Four Freedoms Speech http://www.libertynet.org/~edcivic/fdr.html
==>  Tryptophan is said to be successful in curing cancer. So the AMA had it removed
from the marketplace on the flimsiest of pretexts. If any of you want to begin (or
already have) a campaign to Legalize Tryptophan, let me know of your successes
& updates and I will report them here.
August 2002 update: After reading the linked page above, visit the L-Tryptophan website;
then click there or here to BIOS BioChemicals.
==>  Really good book by David C. Korten that promotes economic & social justice
"When Corporations Rule the World"
David's base is the Positive Futures Network, outside Seattle, WA:
==>  Adobe has announced the availability of the Public Beta version of their
Adobe Reader for Palm OS.
Nov 2003 update: If you have a Palm or other PDA unit, go to
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readerforpalm.html for current free download
The free WMPE ebooks are on http://www.working-minds.com/ebooks.htm and
with the above software, you can copy WMPE to your & others' handheld PDAs!
==>  In the planning stage: The 'WM Quotations Quarterly'
(cuz I keep finding more great quotes than fit in the monthly WMail). cancelled / no link now
==>  Excellent pro-feminism [Women of HERstory] site at http://www.undelete.org
N E X T   M O N T H: "The Distinction Trust"
I N   J U L Y: "Injustice For All"
Issue #24: "The Distinction Trust"
>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<
SLOGAN OF THE MONTH: "Reason is the only frontier left."
[[ Go ahead: Add this slogan to your email signature block/s.
To do so is an act of Objective Rebellion. ]]
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Jesus of Nazareth [Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25]
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead [1901-78]
"Oppression reigns unchecked throughout most of the world."
cartoonist Aaron McGruder
"What is to give light must endure burning."
Viktor Frankl [1905-97]
"Only the artist is free because he is of single purpose. He knows
what he wants and wants only that and that frightens people."
"One day I will leave this world and dream myself to reality."
Crazy Horse [circa 1840-1877], in 1874
"Where society is ruled by ... a privileged elite, barriers must be created to prevent
those outside from understanding reality and acting on it in their own interests."
Noam Chomsky (in 1991)
"The American economy is the eighth wonder of the world;
the ninth is the economic ignorance of the American people."
Arthur Levitt, former chair of the New York Stock Exchange
NOTICE: I have installed PayPal® software to use in selling my fiction ebooks. The plan is to SELL the detective novel, but to GIVE AWAY the four-chapter 'Working Minds Preview Edition' (to get people started in developing Their Working Mind).
Then whenever I get the complete ebook and-or paper versions of the WM books ready,
those also will be FOR SALE online.
Meanwhile, the detective novel is being translated into Croatian for publication
in Europe, possibly out by September.
T h e    D I S T I N C T I O N    ' T R U S T '
Any venue where you see or hear the phrase 'Good Things Are Happening Here' is a context where you cannot trust the other content. So far I've seen this phrase on bus benches and billboards in Los Angeles, and on chain movie theater screens. We all know that advertising cannot be trusted, yet the ad media are quite effective in brainwashing you all, in replacing Reason, in stultifying the hearts and minds of the citizens. You know it is an ad, you believe the ads anyway, you buy their concepts or goods and add the price to your debt burden you have as much chance as a salmon swimming upstream: the ads sing their propagandist tune, and you swim right alongside all the other fools. The Collective gives orders, and you obey.
Overt propaganda, which you did not even detect, you are so inured to its effect. But after reading this, some of you can and will catch and count you'll miss a few while deep in your customary state of Unconsciousness the times that you are presented with this or similar phrases. Point each occasion out to your fellows, whatever the setting, and break the thought[-less] patterns of the numbed, those whose minds are so full of balderdash that no room exists for the exercise of Reason.
You have good reason not to trust others, or it would seem so. The real problem is that the Collective [aka the Culture-Structure] has decreed that all must obey the dictates of the Collec- tive, and never, never seek guidance from within, from your Individual Self. Advertising, for example, tells you what to buy, where to buy it, what is hot or chic and-or popular, so that you will know what is expected of the Collective Consumer. The 9-11-01 tragedy got milked clean in just a few months, down to the Presidential directive that spending money is a patriotic act.
And there is the clue: Patriotism is not accorded to one's country, but for the economy. Fly the mighty greenback high! Salute the Federal Reserve! Bow as you enter the check stand!
President George Dubya Bush cannot be trusted, for his first allegiance is not to the U.S. of A., or at least not to the people in it. His Enron pals will never see the inside of a jail. Co-payments for veterans were raised 350% so that Dubya can cut taxes for his wealthy friends. Let American school kids starve in illiteracy while the Military-Industrial Complex makes a fortune from the delivery of a doubtful Star Wars system. And of course, the Enron mess. The sad saga continues.
We all know that anyone in politics cannot be trusted; it is the nature of that game. Even the Good Guys in politics can be trusted maybe half of the time which is execrable. Your government U.S. and otherwise cannot be relied on at any level, except that they do just enough to keep the machinery moving and to prevent riots in the streets (which doesn't always work). Crime is up or down, but you are afraid to walk the streets at night, and in a lot of areas, are in serious danger in full daylight. Each generation learns less in the school system, as standards are lowered or discarded, so that today a high-school diploma is next to worthless. Go to college and you get to fight for a minimum-wage job, or one that requires 60 to 70 hours a week of soul-breaking, mind-numbing effort while the Oligarchy stashes tax-exempt profits in offshore banks.
Automobiles begin breaking down after only 2-3 years of use, partly because of poor design and also because the infrastructure has deteriorated: potholes abound, bridges are weak with rust, traffic wastes your time and wears engine parts stop start, stop start and if an SUV dings your car in the parking lot, the parts cost three times what the car is worth.
First you have to take a Stand, to Trust Trusting. There must be there is a Value to refer to that will work more than not, that will Empower rather than dis-empower, and that Value is Trust. You can Trust yourself [your Self] to Listen to the Self, which gets easier with practice, so that your Rational Self-Interest is brought to bear, one central manifestation of which is the Intention to Empower.
When you set out to Empower, from Intention, then you are likely to reach that goal. To the extent that you can evoke Empowerment as a goal, for yourself and for others, then you can Trust your actions. Whatever corruption or numbing or flaccidity has replaced your Self, the decision to clean up your act, to become Responsible, is your Responsibility. Only the Individual can Stand for being an Individual, Responsibility requires the Stand for Responsibility. The desire, the Stand, the Trust of one's Self, calls forth Proper Action.
You must locate a Value that you Trust, which will be your touchstone for who and what to Trust. You may have to change your party affiliation, even to the extent of registering Independent. You may have to replace all your 'friends'. You may have to renegotiate commitments to family and loved ones. You may decide to start over in a new career field or a new city, one that is a better one for you.
Thus is the line drawn between Trust and Not Trust. By looking at your Trusted Value such as Empowerment, or Well-Being, or Contribution you will then determine what can and cannot be trusted. Not all the after-effects of this Stand will appear to be good news. Some tough choices will demand your attention, but these are choices long ignored and once addressed will return your Power to you. Each such choice will clear up nagging illusions, speed up results, and open new doors. The Stand to BE Responsible, kept in effect, will produce your intended Empowerment.
This Stand for Responsibility will present to you a strange world where others expect you to honor your Stand, to Keep Your Word, to generate on-goingly your Stated Future, the newly-defined Trusted Value, which makes you the generator of Trust. The Forces of Endarkenment cannot do this, they will in fact need to halt your progress, but the best revenge is the making of progress, the generation of Empowerment in spite of their malice. (The Culture-Structure is always out to rob you of your Power and your Self. No matter what you do they will oppose you. Why let them have it without a fight?)
Be the source of an environment of Trust, and others will gravitate toward your Power, so that they can do the same. You can lay claim to being cause of your environment at all times, for that is exactly the existential case.
If someone generates Endarkenment, then that person shall live in darkness.
Whoever generates Empowerment shall have Power.
Generate Trust and Value and Empowerment =OR= generate Endarkenment, by default. You choose.
I trust your developing Working Mind to make the right decision.
==>  A new Objectivism site in Turkish is being built at http://www.objektivizm.com.tr.tc
==>  U.S. postal rates increase EFFECTIVE June 30, 2002 (third time since WMail began):
37 cents for first ounce & 23 cents for each additional
==>  New 'Economics or Else!' page at Maison d'Κtre Philosophy Bookstore
Good [free] pro-labor newsletter at the Economic Policy Institute at www.EPInet.org
Visit the WM 'Things to Worry About' Class War & Economics page at
N E X T   M O N T H: "Injustice For All"
I N   A U G U S T: "The No-God Universe"
You can obtain a free e-version copy of the Preview Edition of "Working Minds: A
Philosophy of Empowerment" by visiting the WM website ebooks page at
The free Preview Edition can also be requested via the link here:
GENordell [at] Working-Minds.com just put "FreePrvwEdition" in the Subject field, and specify your choice of Adobe Acrobat PDF file or Microsoft Reader LIT file or M/S Word DOC file.
==> Visit and-or bookmark the Working Minds website:
http://www.working-minds.com     [note the dash!]
==> Forward this e-mail to anyone who is into philosophy or economics.
==>  Participate in these philosophical webrings:
..and the Ayn Rand Webring at
==>  Take a look at previous issues at
CONTACT: G.E. Nordell (editor) at GENordell [at] Working-Minds.com
Easy enough to ADD or REMOVE yourself from this mailing list
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