Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian who has written two books about how human beings, once much less significant as a minor species in central and north Africa, have, in the last 70 thousand years taken over the world. We did it, he says, because we are the only species who can cooperate in mass because of our ability to believe things in large numbers and line up together for common causes. This unique skill has been the key to us taking over the world.
Here is the link to his TED talk and references.
We have created together, over the last few thousand years, legal fictions of various kinds to act according to, as if they were reality—things like nation states, borders, alliances, marriages, divorces, etc. We have done this because of our ability to believe the same things together and act accordingly in large numbers.
Though professor Herarri is brilliant and charming and must be right, his news is not all good news. Ability to believe the same thing at the same time en mass, is also the ability to be deluded together. Beliefs are often found to be wrong. And to act according to our beliefs is often to act in opposition to contrary beliefs of other large groups of believers. And this results in religious wars and their equivalents, large and small, that have raged all over the planet for thousands of years.
I, personally, have put in a lifetime helping people get over believing in beliefs and ultimately over believing in belief, itself, altogether. I have been a clinical psychologist in Washington, D.C. for over 35 years (where I became an expert on lying, of course—who wouldn’t living in that place and being a therapist for lawyers and bureaucrats). I am the author of the nationwide best selling book Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth, (now published in 14 languages) and a series of 7 other books on pretty much the same topic.
The therapeutic work I do with individuals, couples, families, groups and other collectives…works—because people who are being honest with each other, and get to know each other authentically through Radical Honesty, work their way through to forgiveness and renewal and everyone feels a hell of a lot better having gone through that process.
By far the greatest mistakes and tragedies of human interaction among people who know each other come from holding back, hiding, being careful not to reveal what is so, keeping secrets and lying.
Because of the rightness of Yuval Herarri’s beliefs about the power of people holding beliefs in common and acting in common, we need to talk about the vice imbedded in that virtue. Sometimes groups of people act against other groups with different beliefs.
The belief groups that win are not always the best. But we muddle along. Bloodily, wastefully, stupidly, vigorously ignorant and lying like hell, belief systems evolve, devolve and revolve as we go on.
Honesty is powerful in resolving conflict and renewing burnt out cults of liars, and changing dysfunctional beliefs, for a while, into more functional ones. Still, I do not recommend honesty all the time.
Every time I smoke a joint I don’t call up the local Sherriff and say, “Hey, I’m smoking marijuana over here. I just thought you would like to know.” And, as I have said many times, if you have Anne Frank in the attic and a Nazi knocks on the door and asks, “Are there any Jews in this house?” lie to the sonofabitch. I am not an idealist. I am a pragmatist. And I am not a fool. I recommend Radical Honesty because it works pretty good most of the time, creates and then resolves conflict, relieves and reduces suffering, etc. And it is the only thing that allows us to check with each other, dependably, to see if or when we are crazy—even though checking with each other when we are all crazy, doesn’t help.
Honesty among people related to each other who have conflicts, works because the process of getting over shit is not blocked by withholding. People who give up the resistance that causes the persistence of problems, have things come and go, rather than persist. And they get over things by feeling their way through to completion and forgiveness. Lying simply doesn’t work as well to get satisfaction, even for the person who appears to “benefit” from a lie, because they know they are the con artist who fooled the other and they can never get over anything and move on.
There are lots of ways to lie. But withholding is the most pernicious form of lying. To just not mention what you think or feel or know—keeping it secret—is the most poisonous form of lying there is. This is true in intimate relationships between people, in families, at work and in relationships in general. Withholding is the poison that sickens and kills relationships. Love doesn’t just die. It is replaced. And often it is replaced with hate that comes from idealistic lying.
Meanwhile, politically, economically, and governmentally, secrecy is elevated to a station of high honor. The CIA and FBI are our great protectors. People who categorize what we can know and share and what we cannot, are elevated to positions of authority, respect and wealth. We are supposed to keep secrets for our national security. Why?
Why can’t we be honest with people we don’t know personally? Why should we think that government itself would be an exception to the general rule that honesty is, (among known enemies and friends) in fact, the best thing to try among strangers? Why can’t we have honesty work on a larger scale?
Why do we have almost 30 known secret agencies in our government? (and a few secret, secret agencies as well!) How in the hell can you have a democracy when people cannot be allowed to know what the fuck is going on?
I have something to say to Trump supporters and Bernie supporters and everyone in between. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or one of those Dempublicrats (Dem public rats!)— Secrecy is lying. Protected lying is deadly, on a large scale, sucks, kills, kills the wrong people, fucks up the world, kills other species and will kill almost all of what now lives on earth, including humankind.
In human interactions secrecy kills. Secrecy ruins things. Lying through withholding is much worse than bothersome, shocking or painful revelations. You can get over being hurt by the truth.
It is much harder to try to learn to see in the dark. “Security” is code for a protected lie. Secret agencies lie and are created to lie. Withholding is lying. Secrecy is not only not necessary in 99% of instances in which it is protected, secrecy is the greatest block to the resolution of conflict and the primary cause of further conflict.
The CIA is bullshit. The FBI is bullshit. The other 24 or so military and government “security” agencies of the U.S. government are all bullshit. The politics of secrecy, the arguments of when it is and when it is not justified are also all bullshit.
Diplomacy is not an alternative to war, it is the primary cause of war. Diplomats are not heroes they are liars who create war. You cannot trust any agency that has not only permission but a requirement that it lie to you by withholding. And we are supposed to fucking be grateful for it! “Yes!” They say. “We are here to protect you! And you should be grateful for it!”
Corporations that kill for profit are protected by organized liars within and political and economic legal institutions without. These institutions exist to protect thieves and murderers from having to tell the truth and deal with the consequences.
So we have two sets of hearings in Senate and House committees? One open. One “top secret”. Am I the only one who wants to shit in my hand and throw it at them when they do that?
We protect the right to be lied to. It is our collective Stockholm syndrome. The secret agencies beat us up and abuse us… and we say “They didn’t hurt us. We just fell down the stairs and they really love us and they don’t abuse us” and we heap praise on our abusers for protecting us.
We are damned fools. We are idiots to even put up with secrecy because it defeats the possibility of democracy at all, much less count it as a blessing. The pundits never question the bullshit “work” of the sacred secret agencies. The biggest conspiracy of all, the biggest contradiction of terms, is “Secret Service.” Secrecy is not a God damned service.
The history of the United States as preached by politicians and patriots and teachers and many historians is total bullshit. The history of the United States, like the history of the World, is not a series of wonderful events with true sacrifice and love for others and star spangled wonderfulness but rather a shit storm or subjugation, theft, domination, enslavement, murder and sequential mass hysteria by selfish, insensitive, stupid, cruel, cowardly, perverse, murdering, lying motherfuckers.
One of the greatest developments of our current political times is the uncontrollable, wonderful breakthrough of “leaking.” People reveal information that is supposed to be kept secret to protect people who kill and maim for profit, who kill through withholding, who keep secrets that kill people and get paid money for doing so. Leaking makes me happy. Leakers are heroes. I say if you get pissed off, take a leak. Bless your heart!
Thank God for Donald Trump! He is one of the dumbest fucking liars of all time and therefore the potential savior of America and the World! Donald Trump is a hero because he is an incredible fool and even shit -for -brains dumb asses who are almost as ignorant as he is can see what a lying stupid sonofabitch he is. He works at it. And he doesn’t know when to quit and he can’t stop and he can’t be stopped by anyone else or by learning anything new. Leakers are heroes because they are tired of the Stockholm syndrome and they are not putting up with it anymore!
Capitalism is coming to an end. It is dying. It’s death will kill millions. Those of us who survive the guaranteed world wide economic crash coming up real soon now, will eventually have single payer healthcare and a temporary almost end of protected lying.
And maybe, just maybe, for a little while, before we run into the next little hidey hole of some new secrecy or other for “protection”, the truth will set us free. But not for long because people can’t stand freedom. So we will arrange to become slaves again as soon as we can. (But don’t tell anyone that. Keep it a secret. It is true though, that the truth sometimes will set us free, every now and then, and then we will volunteer for slavery again by trying to preserve it by keeping a secret, or making a special secret.)
There is nothing like a mind. It can turn shit to gold and gold back into shit again. I am telling you right now, secrecy is shit. Never forget it. And it stays that way until you tell the truth about it. Please do us all a favor and admit to your ongoing contribution to bullshit to replace coming forth with the truth.
Steven Colbert asked Louis C.K. “What do you think of Donald Trump?” Louis C.K. said: “He’s a lying sack of shit!”
YOU’RE A LYING SACK OF SHIT! JUST LIKE DONALD TRUMP! ADMIT IT!
I am talking to you now, dear reader. If you don’t know that you are a phony, or if you won’t admit that you lie like hell all the time, automatically, almost unceasingly, don’t waste your time reading any further. This is an article for and by occasionally recovering chronic liars…people like you and me…that make up most of humanity. We fortell the doom of humanity because of our great human power to enter into common delusional systems (cults). And we have a better alternative to our learned life as usual (heading pell mell for meltdown) –the life that proceeds directly from the guilt ridden Judao Christian tradition of moral righteousness in defense of secrecy and lies and bullshit.
The Alternative to Lying
Take a look at this video footage from our cult’s online course, “How to Get Over Shit and BE Happy” These are people who are at the very beginning of the process of admitting how much they exaggerate, withhold, act phony, manipulate and hide out while at the same time playing like they are coming forward with the truth.
And finally, here is an authoritative quote FROM THE ONION (One of the most HONEST FAKE NEWS sites in the world!)
CLEVELAND—During an unexpected moment of clarity Tuesday, open-minded man Blake Richman was suddenly struck by the grim realization that he’s squandered a significant portion of his life listening to everyone’s bullshit, the 38-year-old told reporters.
A visibly stunned and solemn Richman, who until this point regarded his willingness to hear out the opinions of others as a worthwhile quality, estimated that he’s wasted nearly three and a half years of his existence being open to people’s half-formed thoughts, asinine suggestions, and pointless, dumbfuck stories.
“Jesus Christ,” said Richman, taking in the overwhelming volume of useless crap he’s actively listened to over the years. “My whole life I’ve made a concerted effort to give people a fair shake and understand different points of view because I felt that everyone had something valuable to offer, but it turns out most of what they had to offer was complete bullshit.”
“Seriously,” Richman added, “what have I gained from treating everyone’s opinion with respect? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
According to Richman, it was just now hitting him how many hours of his life he’s pissed away listening intently to nonsense about celebrity couples, how good or bad certain pens are, and why a particular sports team might have a chance this year. The husband and father of two said that every time he’s felt at all put out or bored by a bullshit conversation—especially a speculative one about how bad allergy season was going to be—he should have just turned around, walked away, and gone rafting or rappelling or done any of the millions of other things he’s always wanted to do but never thought he had time for.
At various points throughout the day, Richman could be heard muttering to himself that he couldn’t believe he was almost 40 years old.
“Twenty minutes here, 10 minutes there. It all starts to add up,” said Richman, who sat down and figured out that between stupid discussions about favorite baby names and reviews of restaurants in cities he’ll never visit, he’d wasted 390 hours of his life. “And you know what the worst part is? It’s my fault. Here I thought being considerate to others by always listening patiently to what they had to say was the right thing to do. Well, fuck me, right?”
According to Richman, he started thinking about how much time he’s flushed down the toilet being an approachable person after a work meeting in which he let a coworker, David Martin, ramble on and on with an idea everyone knew was “total shit” the moment the man opened his mouth. Richman said that a single glance at the clock made him realize he had just spent 14 minutes of his finite time on earth not playing with his kids or being with his wife, but listening to garbage.
“It was like I stepped out of my body and saw myself actually listening to this man’s worthless drivel—but it wasn’t him who looked like a moron, it was me,” Richman said. “I was nodding my head like an asshole and saying ridiculous things like, ‘Right,’ and, ‘I see your point, Dave,’ when I should have just said, ‘Dave, your idea isn’t good and you are wasting our time and you need to shut up right now.'”
By his estimates, Richman’s receptiveness has resulted in 160 irreplaceable hours of listening to grossly uninformed political opinions, 300 hours of carefully hearing out both sides of pointless arguments, and at least a month of listening to his parents’ bullshit about how important it is to be open-minded.
Eighty days have been wasted on the inane blather of his college friend Brian alone.
“All those hours I could have been relaxing, or reading all these great books, or getting into shape, or working on side projects that I’m really excited about,” Richman said. “But instead I’ve been listening to overrated albums recommended to me by my asshole friends.”
“Did you know that in my life I’ve listened to five days’ worth of people talking about their furniture?” he added. “It’s true. That’s a trip to Europe right there.”
While Richman has vowed to cease being open-minded to absolute horseshit, acquaintances reflected on his approachability.
“I love Blake,” coworker David Martin said. “He’s such a good listener. A lot of people are closed-minded and self-absorbed, but Blake always makes an effort to hear where I’m coming from. The world could use more people like him.”
O.K. folks! We are all ignorant, consciousless, conscienceless cultists. We are just like Tronald Dump. We swim in an ocean of bullshit. We are drowning in it. It may already be too late to do anything about it. Start now to do what you can.
I believe we have to change these beliefs. And we have to start using beliefs like Kleenex napkins or toilet paper…use one and throw it away. Blow your nose or wipe your ass or get over your religion…and throw the fucking beliefs away.
That’s it. Start learning and practicing Radical Honesty for a while until we come up with something better. Radical Honesty is a roll of toilet paper.
P.S. You may have noticed that a lot of Radical Honesty workshops have been available in Europe lately, and not so many in the states… Well, a couple of our Certified Trainers have planned a few workshops in various cities across the states, and they’d love for you to join them! Here’s Trainer Raven Dana’s info on her upcoming workshops, and you can also check out Trainer John Rosania’s upcoming offerings, here.
And, as always you can find all of the Radical Honesty workshops being offered around the world by visiting the Workshops page on our site.