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The WMail Newsletter
Volume IV   [Year 2003]   Part 2

Issue #34 August: "Meaning"
Issue #35 September: "Debt and the Working Mind"

Issues #31-33 • Issues #36-38

Volume I   [Year 2000]
Issues #1-5

Volume II   [Year 2001]
Issues #6-8 • Issues #9-11 • Issues #12-14 • Issues #15-18

Volume III   [Year 2002]
Issues #19-21 • Issues #22-24 • Issues #25-27 • Issues #28-30

Volume V   [Year 2004]
Issues #39-41 • Issues #42-44 • Issues #45-47 • Issues #48-49

Volume VI   [Year 2005]
Issues #50 & beyond

Issue #34: "Meaning"
[August 2003]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"The flames kindled by the Fourth of July, 1776 have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished
by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them."
— Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826]

"No art is possible without a dance with death."
— Louis-Ferdinand Cιline [1894-1961]

"All the crookedness ain't outside the law ...
the real fine work begins on the inside and stays there."
— Max Brand [1892-1944]

"Either you must govern or you must be governed."
— Sir Henry Wilson

"You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages.
The Dark Ages – they haven't ended yet."
— Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. [1922-2007]

"If literature is to have any dignity, it must enlighten life."
— A.B. Guthrie, Jr. [1901-91]

"The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default:
by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise
on basic principles."
— Ayn Rand [1905-82] (in 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal' 1966)

"True happiness is not attained through self-gratification,
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
— Helen Keller [1880-1968]

"I used to be different, now I'm the same."
— Werner Erhard

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong,
is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
— Theodore Roosevelt [1858-1919]

"Except for election day, politics is all show business."
— G.E. Nordell


I now know more than I ever wanted to know about Outlook Express, as the result of (this time) Windows 98 infarcting. The good news is that this reconstruction included the email folders from last year. My laptop, however, now thinks that it is connected to a network (I bought it used). So this issue goes out late – albeit finely tuned.


" M E A N I N G "

        Virtually nothing that most people do is from Free Choice. The Culture-Structure has pre-programmed you all since birth to be a mindless cog in the machinery of Consumerism. Your primary desires are Materialistic or Hedonistic, collapsed into a false merger with Survival.
        Like over-populated lemmings, the societies of Planet Earth charge toward the precipice, never stopping to Reason, to Choose, to seek the guidance of one's Self – much less guidance from Silence. If you do attempt any such contemplation, you will be pushed aside or trampled by the mindless mob behind you.

        The Universe is Existential; the Culture-Structure of Mankind is not. A plethora (love that word!) of False Meaning is crammed into every subservient individual, which is the supreme False Purpose of each and every local segment of the Culture-Structure. This False Purpose is to keep you running the proverbial treadmill, the Rat Race. And as Lily Tomlin has pointed out: "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."

        The first requirement of becoming a Free Individual is setting aside ALL of the (False) Meaning that was forced upon you by the Culture-Structure, of the Culture-Structure and for the Culture-Structure. All of it, each and every, one at a time, now and forever.
        This is not to say that you should reject all such meaning, for that is merely knee-jerk resistance. Refusing to pay taxes, refusing to marry and-or propagate, refusing to participate in the marketplace or the election process – these are negative actions and such re-action merely gives the same power away as blindly obeying the dictates of the Culture-Structure. You play the game by refusing to play the game: switching to 'not that' is not any different.

        What has to take place is giving up Meaning itself. All Meaning. The existential act of choosing 'No Meaning' is the eye of the needle thru which you – all Mankind – must go. Not easy, but Life is not easy, nor standing as an Individual against the (False) Meaning machine that is the Culture-Structure.
        Besides, how easy is your life now, going along with the Culture-Structure? You have no Self, no Choice, no Satisfaction in life, Life is empty of real Meaning while you agree to and settle for the False Meaning that the Culture-Structure is built on.

*          *          *          *

        A simple methodology for setting aside all False Meaning is to live from the context of Empowerment. When you stand on Empowerment, you cannot act from False Meaning, the two realms are mutually exclusive. Just as the self-generated context of Love displaces Hatred, just as the self-generated context of Purpose displaces Hope.
        For some of you, this can be a memorable day, The Day when you threw off the shackles of False Meaning. For others, it will be an on-going struggle to discover another damn False Meaning and turn loose of it – by standing in Empowerment and maintaining each new opening, and then searching for another False Meaning, an on-going search.
        What becomes available after the commitment to existential Self-hood [No Meaning] is that you can then begin to construct Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose. You will then call the shots in your Life as an Individual using Reason, which to the extent that you invoke it, will displace the silly and dis-empowering anti-Reason [False] Meaning provided by the Culture-Structure.

*          *          *          *

        The Universe provides no a priori inherent Meaning for Life. The quest for the Official Meaning of Life is a distraction, so that you and all Mankind have no access to Power.
        All this False Meaning that you inherited was made up. If some Official Meaning actually existed, then why has the Culture-Structure not located it? Folks have been pretending to look for the Official Meaning of Life since Mankind first walked upright, so where the hell is it??
        The good news and the bad news is that no such Official Meaning of Life exists. Bad news for the Oligarchy when this knowledge becomes widespread, because all the meaningless crap – the treadmill, the rat race – that drives society becomes visibly meaning-LESS!
        The good news is that Meaning, like Wealth, can only be created by the Individual. Meaning exists only because you say so: If you parrot some inherited False Meaning, then nothing is created. But notice the pressure from the Culture-Structure to lend credence to 'benefits' of you committing to their False Meanings: if you had no inherent Power, then why would they brainwash you to do their bidding?
        ONLY an Individual can create Meaning, and it is as simple as speaking that Meaning into existence.
        The other good news is that you surrendered your natural right to create Meaning by parroting all those empty False Meanings of the Culture-Structure – money, fame, 'fun', status, security – none of which have or will produce a satisfying Life. But if you once surrendered it, all you have to do to regain your Power is to say "No more!".

        You all have no idea how to create Meaning. What is required to create Meaning is giving up all the inherited False Meaning and stand in existential Nothing, or 'No Meaning'. From there, the Individual Self can invent Created Meaning – Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose.
        One way to clarify this process is to choose freely to create Empowerment. Standing in Empowerment, the Meaning that you create will not be False.

        So even if what you create seems to appear the same as before, you will be in an entirely different ballgame. Take 'family', for example: the inherited False Meaning of 'family' has no Power, things don't work, grudges persist, the concept comes with a ton of baggage – mothers are such a way, fathers & sons & daughters are this way, relatives are like this or that. What the Culture-Structure provides as Family is a messy soap opera – surf across the cable channels and the news – or some pseudo-deal like "Father Knows Best" which is delivered in the context 'not real'.
        But the freely-chosen Meaning of Family is fresh and clean when invented from No-Meaning. What you create from there has no baggage, you can create Family as it should be: Family as Love, as Communication, as Warmth, as Laughter, as Contribution – down the generations past & present.

        The other good news is that once you invent yourself as a Free Individual, nobody can take it away from you. They can kill you for it, but they can never take it from you. In point of fact, the Culture-Structure is designed so that you all surrender Meaning & Power on-goingly: Stop giving it away, halt the surrender of the Self, and you will retain all the inherent Power that you can possibly need. While you create and maintain Freely-Chosen Meaning and Purpose, nobody can take it away – no way, no how!
        Your Self-hood cannot be taken away. The only reason that you lost it was because the Culture-Structure cheated you by offering their False Meaning in its place. All you had to do in return was to surrender your Power...
        All that is necessary to recover your Power as an Individual is to Stand AS an Individual from this time forth. The Individual can then throw off the shackles of False Meaning by the mere existential Act of Will of saying so, and then inventing freely: creating bright and shiny new Meaning, which cannot be taken away.

*          *          *          *

        At the end of June, I was party to a one-on-one conversation on this subject (in the context of homework from a Landmark Education seminar). And when the other person asked "Why bother?", my ad hoc response went over quite well. In writing it down later to append to this essay, it evolved into a poem. (I don't try to be a poet, but I never argue with my muse.)

the world takes no notice
as I strap on my rusty armor
(that chafes at every joint)
and clamber up to sit upon
the skittish steed
that is my Purpose

the windmill takes no notice
as I lower my wobbly lance
and jab my spurs against the flanks
of my tired and wheezing mount
and point myself hell-bent toward the looming giant

the world may take no notice
or if it sees, not care
but for a moment or two
my Purpose is my Self

and for a moment or two
my Life is such
that I feel the wind upon my face

*          *          *          *

        How you will know that you got this done, that you have chosen a Meaning that is sufficiently challenging, is that your new Freely-Chosen Meaning sings in your veins, and when you are In Action per your Stand In The Matter, you will experience the sharp thrill of the wind upon your face – and experience that you are empowered.

        How you will know that your new Freely-Chosen Meaning will provide Power is that only YOU can get this job done, and that the outcome is not certain, that if you do not take this on, to completion, then it will not happen.
        Save the whales? World peace? Other people are doing something about these matters, tho much more needs to happen. But that book or invention that you've been thinking about for years, that you 'put on the back burner', what about that? Or doubling the reading scores at the school that your kids go to? Or organizing your neighborhood to replace the blight of poverty with the presence of Pride – those are big enough Meanings that you will have to generate Power, by empowering others.
        Said another way, your new Freely-Chosen Meaning isn't big enough unless it requires you to give it away to others.
        The bigger your commitment, and the more daunting it may seem at first, the more that will be required of you, the more empowerment your commitment will generate and the less you need care about the rancid, not-working False Values of the Culture-Structure – standing in empowerment, your choices will empower others, and the satisfaction in your accomplishment increases accordingly.
        This Working Minds thing is what I have taken on, and it won't get done unless I generate a far greater reach, get a huge conversation started, put billboards along the Golden State Freeway, get written up in Time Magazine – like that.

        Once you generate and maintain momentum in such empowering activities – in each and every area of your Life – then there can be no turning back.
        Your Life has meaning, and the Oligarchy has lost another mindless minion – you are free!

        Once you are empowered – once you empower your Self – nobody can take it away.

        Just step off the treadmill of the Culture-Structure and you will be free.

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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        also http://www.DoNotCall.gov

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        in the Recall Circus – as an Objectivist!
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N E X T   M O N T H: "Debt and the Working Mind"

I N   F E B R U A R Y: All-Quotes Issue

Issue #35: "Debt & the Working Mind"
[September 2003]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"Everything you can imagine is real."
— Pablo Picasso [1881-1973]

"Cogito ergo consume."
— Darby Conley

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
— Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826]

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from
the achievement of one's values."
— Ayn Rand [1905-82] (in "Atlas Shrugged", 1957)

"Money is da most important thing."
— Arnold Schwarzenegger {at his first political press conference, 6 August 2003}

"The old Greeks coined a noun for the man who took no part in
public matters, and from it we got our word 'idiot'."
— columnist L.M. Boyd [1927-2007]

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with
the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
— Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826]

"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off and build your wings
on the way down."
— Ray Bradbury [1920-2012]

" D E B T    &    t h e    W O R K I N G    M I N D "

        The subject of debt has been covered in previous issues of WMail, but there is more to be said, and possible actions to consider, actions that you can take that will put money in your own pockets, and that of your friends and family, but will also have the greatly-desired effect of starving the Oligarchy.
        The Oligarchy derives about $1.35 TRILLION DOLLARS each year in extortion from the citizens of the U.S.A with neither your knowledge or consent. This money is handed to the Oligarchy from two sources: interest on the U.S. National Debt and on Consumer Debt.
        The U.S. National Debt will deliver $800 BILLION DOLLARS in interest to the Oligarchy this year. In addition, U.S. consumer debt will add another $550 BILLION DOLLARS in interest to the coffers of the Oligarchy this year.
        One way to define the Oligarchy is that they are all the recipients of this extortional largesse – they run the U.S.A., they own it, they get whatever they want: Supreme Court decisions, wars, environmental protection rollbacks, financial bailouts – all the usual.
        Folks in other countries have the same problem, just different amounts in different currencies.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The reliance on consumer debt by practically everybody in America keeps the population enslaved by the Oligarchy. Buy more shoddy goods on credit, give up your freedoms one by one to stay employed, work harder and longer to receive less and less in pay while the debt gets ever bigger. Americans "owe their soul to the company store" (as in the 1955 Tennesssee Ernie Ford hit song) while the U.S. Oligarchy has enough extra cash to have bought 30% of planet Earth – and the Oligarchies of each and every other country own similar portions.
        Without a shot having been fired, U.S. workers have become indentured servants, required to surrender their freedoms until the debt is paid off. [Before America invented itself, immigrants could sign a written contract, agreeing to trade passage to the Colonies for a term of indentured servitude, which had a finite timespan, often something like three years. During the term of servitude, many were treated little different than slaves.]

        There is, however, a way out: Buy nothing except to replace what is broken or used up. Perhaps this is indeed happening, given the disastrous state of the U.S. economy, but expect that it is less a matter of conscious thrift than that money is tight due to George Dubya's misfeasance. You, as a Free Individual, must prevent your own sacrifice to Materialism, and the only means to accomplish this is to pay off ALL your consumer debt. Now!
        If you cannot live on your income, then you are a willing victim of the Culture-Structure, and deserve what happens when it comes time to 'pay the piper'.

        Make payments on credit cards of double the minimum. Put any bonuses or windfalls into the reduction of your debt load. Once credit cards are reduced, cancel any that charge an annual fee, and-or renegotiate each card down to the lowest rate possible. Cancel outright any card that charges more than 20% APR – 'usury' is the term for any higher rate.
        [When I receive unsolicited offers for another unwanted credit card, I look at the interest rate. It is quite fun to take a red marker and write "XX% APR is usury!!" on the form and then send the form back to the bank in the striped prepaid envelope.]

        Once the bulk of the debt problem is gone, once your credit cards are all paid off, maintain a 'no unnecessary purchases' lifestyle. Keep one or two low-rate cards for emergencies, but get rid of the rest. Put the money that you were paying to reduce credit card debt into some savings program – I.R.A. or 401K, whatever – and maybe begin to treat yourself and your family, now and then – but avoid Materialist toys, shun equipment and spend time.
        Take a couple weeks off work and visit a National Park (off season), see Yosemite Valley and the Grand Canyon as a family unit. Leave the head-phones home and talk to each other. Or pack the kids off to the grand-folks or to camp, and take the spouse off to a luxurious week – alone together – in Banff or Hawaii or just at a motel on the beach or a lake somewhere. Spend a week on horseback in the Sierras or Rockies or Adirondacks.
        Live a better life, an un-enslaved life – on a cash basis.

        Depending on where you look, the statistic for consumer credit/debt in the U.S. may or may not include mortgages on primary residence property. One's mortgage falls outside the credit card debt category above, and can be addressed concurrently, or later.
        Once your high-interest credit card debt is reduced or eliminated, you can begin to reduce your mortgage, which these days may have interest of around 5% or lower. If yours is not that low, then refinance. If you were refused because your credit card debt was too high, then you can try again when you have solved that problem as above. Then make a practice of double payments on your mortgage, which will take years off the duration of the loan.

        Once you are free of all debt to the Oligarchy, two things will have occurred: First, you are now a financially independent Individual, who has retrieved his/her soul from servitude to the Oligarchy, and second, the Oligarchy will no longer make anything from your consumer excesses – as was the case when you were in debt.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        But there is still more that can be done to retrieve the trillions on trillions of dollars of extortion money paid to the Oligarchy since the creation of the problem upon Ronald Reagan's ascension to power.
        Most of what needs to be done is political, if America can muster the will to clean up the mess. In general, we need to do whatever Bill Clinton did to balance the federal budget. We also need to spend money to fix the broken infrastructure – roads, schools, the environment – which will have the wonderful side effect of putting unemployed Americans back to work. (The Oligarchy hates this idea, as they can make little profit from actual labor by the citizenry – extortion is so much simpler.)

        Here's a new idea that will also have a major negative effect on the usury inflicted on the folks who've not heard about Working Minds economics, which effect will of course also benefit those of you who have completed the above.
        Why is usurious interest forced on the consumer, while savings interest rates are about equal to mortgage rates? (Duh: the Oligarchy wants it that way, so that is how it is.) My answer, however, is that this occurs because the American voter has not yet demanded their economic due.
        What if a law was passed that required financial institutions to pay interest on money paid into a credit card account?
        Such a law will be difficult enough to propose and enact anywhere, perhaps being enacted first in one or two progressive state legislatures, but perhaps this will be a tad easier by including the proviso that the interest rate on deposits for a bank's credit card accounts be 5% under the interest rate on outstanding debt on those cards.
        Get the picture? Usurious cards that charge 26% APR would be required to pay interest of 21% APR on all deposits; cards that charge 11% APR on credit balances will have to pay only 6% APR on any deposit balance.
        Greatly beneficial: the bankers will have to reduce the APR to prevent such magnanimous payouts, which will make the entire credit marketplace fiercely competitive. Much capital will be diverted into savings (instead of to profligate consumerism), and those funds will be available for Objectivist/capitalist investment. Interest on regular bank savings accounts will then increase in order to compete against credit card deposits – no legislation necessary on that.
        Care must be taken to protect such savings, but maybe not to the safety-level of F.D.I.C. protection: anything is better than 25% APR, which guarantees loss of equity.

        You can take action on this proposal on your next credit card invoice, by keeping track of interest rates for each card, by paying off the highest-rated first, etc. You can start by making all purchases in future by cash or check or debit card – from this day forward. You can start by voting in every election from this day forward, and paying particular attention to economic issues on the ballot and in the legislature.

        Add up all the interest that you paid over the last 12 months on all your credit cards, gas cards, department store cards, etc. This is the amount that you will save by stopping the practice of living a lifestyle based on credit card debt. If you don't stop, you may as well write a check for this amnount payable directly to the Oligarchy...

        You have a choice right here between economic slavery to the Oligarchy =OR= the economic freedom of the Working Mind. You can make the choice for yourself and bring others on board by example and by enrollment – loved ones first, co-workers, neighbors, anybody and everybody.

        You have nothing to lose but your chains.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        I reported in Issue #32 [February] that George Dubya had increased the National Debt by 11.5% in the two years since he was crowned as President. Bad news, this percentage is now 18.5%, for a grand sum of $6,791,411,645,291.54 – as-of Labor Day Weekend, per the U.S. Treasury website.
        Time for a little number crunching: the I.R.S. website shows that 130,904,889 individual tax returns were filed in 2002, so by dividing debt by taxpayers, it turns out that each and every taxpayer owes a portion of $51,880.50. I'll bet you really don't like that number, which YOU will have to pay off somehow, as will every other taxpayer in America.
        So we'll try a different calculation: same giant debt, but divide by population, spread the pain around. That comes out to only $23,551.14 – whew! But wait: that actually means something different. While the burden is spread thinner, in some places the burden increases; for example, under this calculation a family of four owes four times that figure, or $94,204.56!
        That is extremely tough on a young couple just out of college, dealing with two kids and student loan debt and the rotten economy, and no health care and another kid on the way and a whole passle of idiots ready to elect to office more of the same idiots who make the mess worse and worse...

        While the Republicans, obeying the Oligarchy who bought their souls, preach and practice giving tax cuts to the wealthy, in fact they have increased the burden on YOU. The amount that you have to come up with to pull the U.S. out of bankruptcy (calculated as-of today) is either $52,000 per taxpayer =OR= $23,500 for every man woman and child in America. And the interest clock is still ticking...
        If you have kids, then each of your children currently has the responsibility to pay a $23,500 debt that they do not understand. Reagan-Bush wrote the check, and each and every one of you have to come up with the money.
        Thought I was too strong in saying that U.S. workers are indentured servants? Well, the figures cited in this Public Debt section still do not include your Personal Debt.

        Remember the tax cut/rebate just last May? How much did you get, what was your 'gift' from Dubya? For most taxpayers, it was a few hundred dollars, or two or three dollars a week – whoopee, don't spend it all in one place.
        Calculators ready? The tax cut was $320 billion, divide by taxpayers, the result is $2,444.52 – an amount that was added to your share of the National Debt, right? That being the case, if you received less than $2,444, then George Dubya ripped you off for the difference!! And Dubya flat lied and said he was doing 'the people' a big favor.

        No matter the bilge from the politicians on both sides of The Aisle, this is a physical, math-simple calculation. Somebody is going to have to cover the National Debt, pay it off sometime, and the longer we wait, the greater the burden on your children and even your grandchildren. This is a physical issue, it is Objective, these are numbers, as compared to the wishful thinking of the benumbed sheep of America expecting some magic rescue (with identical economic issues in every other country around the world).

        Didn't know that you are an indentured servant? Well, you are. As long as YOU are made to pay the interest and not even the principle on the National Debt, and the Oligarchy sits back and stashes $1.3 TRILLION DOLLARS in their [collective] pockets EVERY YEAR, you will never see daylight, economically, and your grandchildren will curse the XXth Century for the damaged ecosystems, the illiterate population, the bankrupt economy that is YOUR legacy to them.
        Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be born into indentured servitude, if not outright slavery unless a large number of people get to work and rip away the curtain hiding the false 'wizard' that is behind the Culture-Structure.

        You have nothing to lose but your chains.

* *          * *          * *          * *

Prior WMail issues on similar topics include:
Issue #9: "Reason-Based Taxation"
Issue #16: "The Priests of Commerce"
Issue #19: "Virtual Tea Party"
Issue #21: "Tax Revolt"
Issue #23: "The Class System of America"

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.

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N E X T   M O N T H: All-Quotes Issue

I N   N O V E M B E R: "Responsibility"

I N   D E C E M B E R: "Time Structure"

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