The human brain is similar to a hard drive in that it has a finite storage capacity. When a hard drive reaches capacity it becomes necessary to compress its contents or optimize the usage of disk space through defragmentation. In the same way, it is not physically possible to remember everything that happens throughout our lives. Our brains undergo a similar process of compressing and optimizing the details of our daily lives — most likely while we are sleeping.
The difference between the two optimization processes is that lossless operations are performed on our hard drives and lossly operations are performed by our brain. In other words, optimizations done on a hard drive preserve all data where as optimizations done by our brain preserve only relevant data. It is the data that is preserved in this process that is used by our brain to construct the stories or narratives it carries with it.
We carry with us all sorts of stories; which are compacted versions of events. And we use these stories to help us understand the world around us.
Problems arise when stories conflict with one another. Two individuals can experience the same event together and come away with different stories. And these stories can diverge further from each other as time passes. It is through societal pressures that one story becomes the officially accepted story. To question that story or to raise any doubts about it eventually becomes a hersey.
There is an episode of Star Trek Voyager where the crew visits a planet where they eventually find it is illegal to think violent thoughts. Unknowingly one crew member violates the law and is arrested by the authorities who charge her with the crime of aggravated violent thought. The basis for that law was the idea that violent thoughts lead to violent actions.
But violent thoughts do not always lead to violent actions. If it were the case, our maximum security prisons would be full of murder mystery and horror story writers. In fact, it is possible to think a thought and take no action toward it; many people think about getting into shape but few actually do it.
If we have a disturbing thought it does not necessarily mean we will act in a disturbing manner. The fact that we consider it a disturbing thought is evidence enough that our faculties are still in tact. We should not be afraid when we have stray thoughts for as quick as a thought comes it also goes.
Somebody recently recommended to me that I read the book War Is A Racket, written by Major General Smedley D. Butler. The author was a decorated solider in the marine corps and transcribed his thoughts in 1935 as the war drums were being sounded for World War II.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.—
Those international war clouds seem to gather quite frequently even today. As soon as one war ends, another starts. When one enemy has been defeated, another rises up to takes its place. Time and again, the cylinders of war find themselves back at the same places they had started from.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge profits.—
Those few beneficiaries of war act as robber barons - they are businessmen who use an unscrupulous method of enriching themselves in times of international conflict. The song they sing is the perpetual song of war. If you want to hear what it sounds like simply tune into the mainstream media; they are one of the biggest champions of war.
Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks... They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed. Then suddenly, we discharged them and… This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda.—
That nation-wide propaganda was very effective because people received their information about the world from only a few sources. Today however, the development of the internet has given every individual the potential to become an information source with a world-wide audience. We are seeing what happens when competing nation-wide propaganda campaigns are conducted on a global stage.
When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars." Well, eighteen years after, the world has less democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.—
We still hear the same slogan about making the world safe for democracy almost a century later. Not only are the slogans the same, but the results have been the same too. It starts by demonizing the leaders of foreign countries and it ends with the deaths of our citizens trying to take our that monster. Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.
1. We must take the profit out of war.
- We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.
- We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.—
Butler Smedley, War Is A Racket pg 51.
There will always be some kind of incentive to war. Perhaps the only solution to prevent war is one where all parties are in a position of mutually assured destruction.
It is a contradiction in terms to assert that any man has a right to do wrong; the exercise of such a pretended right, is the absolute destruction of all right, and the first human being who commits violence, has already prepared for himself a hell of retailation, the justice of which, his own mind can never deny.—
Secondly, inasmuch as this power has given to every man the ability of preserving and maintaining his own existence, it clearly follows, that all men are constituted independent of each other, they are created free, that no man can be subject, and no man sovereign, but that all men are the unlimited proprietors of their own persons.—
Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.—
The rule is that each increment of material possessions brings less joy than the one that immediately preceded it. If one could quantify job, it is likely that a new pair of shoes brings more happiness to a child than a new car brings to a grown man. Also, the first car brings more joy than the second, and the second more than the third. H. L. Mencken said, “A man always remembers his first love. After that he begins to bunch them.”—
School, unless it has truly competent teachers, is the place where scholastically the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”—
It has been said that blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults. Thus, “I am like that” does not help anything. “I can be different” does.—
Different religious and cultural content can produce serious difficulties if each partner feels the strong need to abide by the unexamined dictates of his Parent. Sometimes this difference is glossed over in the early stage of a marriage, only to emerge with fierce urgency with the arrival of children.—
The average marriage contract is a bad one, a fifty-fifty deal with emphasis on the bookkeeping.—
Common relationship wreckers are absolute declarations of “That's the way I am - don't try to change me.” Holding to a rigid “I am a grouch before my first cup of coffee” blames a person's fault on his nature and not his nature on his faults. The “Grouch Before Coffee” racket ruins every morning in many families. What could be the best part of the day, a send-off with enthusiasm to the tasks ahead, is instead a miserable, hostile bedlam. The kids go off to school grumping, husband rushes off to work fumbling for his Tums, and mother feels let down because she just lost her captive audience. The fact is that no one has to be a grouch before his first cup of coffee or any other time. He has a choice..—