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                                  Chapter 2 
   * Tools of Thought  
   * Language  
   * Strength And Leverage  
   * IQ As A Potential  
   * Useful Thinking Techniques  
   * Memory  
   * Procedures for Carrying on a Discussion  
   * Criticism  
   * The Scientific Method  
   * The Military Staff Study  
   * Notes on the Significance of Intellectual Context  
   * Faulty Thought Processes  
   * Piagetian Operational Stages  
   * The Use Of Emotions As Tools Of Cognition  
   * Introspection  
   * Orwell - Newspeak - Brainwashing - Prolefeed  

   * Tools of Thought 
   A human being is the only creature with the ability to see the world as 
he wants it to be rather than as it actually is. It is this trait that makes 
it sometimes so difficult for him to recognize reality when he is confronted 
by it. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that his mind didn't come 
with an instruction manual. 
   Most people believe that consciousness is some sort of indeterminate 
faculty which has no nature, no specific identity and, therefore, no 
requirements, no needs, no rules for being properly or improperly used. Such 
people subvert, starve and abuse their consciousness in a manner they would 
not dream of applying to their hair, stomach, or toenails. Even among those 
who realize that the mind has requirements, there are few who realize also 
that thinking is not an instinct. One of the most widespread myths is the 
belief that everyone "just knows" how to think and that no learning process 
is required. Assuming the knowledge of how to think to be self-evident, 
people take their own mental processes as necessarily valid; as not to be 
questioned or examined. People do not improve their thinking because it has 
not even occurred to them to consider the possibility of doing so. Thus the 
most important of human functions is left to blind chance--or worse, to 
subversive influences maliciously imposed upon them with the intent of 
corrupting their mental functioning. Nothing can be more infamous than 
intellectual tyranny; to put shackles on the mind is in some ways vastly 
worse than putting chains on the body. An example of such (self-inflicted) 
enslavement can be seen in people's willingness to lie, cheat, and fake 
reality without any concern for what this does to their own minds and their 
own lives. The man who lies chronically makes himself especially vulnerable 
to being deceived because he diminishes his capacity to discriminate truth 
from falsehood. If you tell yourself a lie often enough, you'll eventually 
convince yourself it's the truth. Then when you come up against difficulties 
and dangers, you won't believe in them and thus won't be able to take the 
proper precautions against them. 

   * Language 
   "Man lives in a world of ideas. Any phenomenon is so complex that he 
cannot possibly grasp the whole of it. He abstracts certain characteristics 
of a given phenomenon as an idea, then represents that idea with a symbol, 
be it a word or a mathematical sign. Human reaction is almost entirely 
reaction to symbols. When we think, we let symbols operate on other symbols 
in certain, set fashions--rules of logic, or rules of mathematics. If the 
symbols have been abstracted so that they are structurally similar to the 
phenomena they stand for, and if the symbol operations are similar in 
structure and order to the operations of phenomena in the real world, we 
think sanely. If our logic-mathematics, or our word-symbols, have been 
poorly chosen, we think not-sanely."    ......Robert Heinlein. 
   The "logic-mathematics" that Heinlein speaks of is NOT an instinctive 
bundle of knowledge! It is something that each individual must recognize and 
learn, lest he be left floundering in a mire of intellectual chaos. 
   Our minds contain the world in symbolic form. The explicit awareness of 
the nature of those symbols gives us the power to shape the world to the 
achievement of our goals. 

   All that is necessary for language to become corrupt is that those who 
use it lose (or fail to acquire) objectivity. More primitive generations of 
mankind had objectivity forced upon them by the exigencies of their life: 
the hard facts of reality would kill them if they failed for a moment to 
recognize and accomodate those facts. Modern man, however, is greatly 
sheltered by the nature of his technological civilization and the structure 
of his society. These things provide him with the opportunity to live as a 
parasite upon other men, thus minimizing his necessity for dealing directly 
with the facts of reality. 
   Consider, for example, President Clinton's description of his 1994 tax 
law as a "bill of rights." He does not have the ability to discriminate 
between a politically expeditious label (after all, who could be opposed to 
such a sacrosanct American tradition as our great "Bill of Rights"?) and the 
actual nature of "rights." He lacks objectivity. Thus, he may be perfectly 
sincere and totally honest in naming his tax law, but nevertheless his 
cognitive deficiency results in the semantic corruption of the concept of 
rights. Much of such corruption, associated with Newspeak, is the inevitable 
consequence of a mere lack of objectivity. 
   The world has long observed that small acts of immorality, if repeated, 
will destroy character. It is equally manifest, though rarely said, that 
uttering nonsense and half-truth without cease ends by destroying intellect. 
Just as a currency, through the process of becoming more and more inflated, 
has less and less purchasing power, so words, through an analogous process 
of concept inflation, through being used more and more indiscriminately, are 
progressively emptied of meaning. 
   For people who write advertisements, language no longer has any cognitive 
meaning at all. They use words simply as tools to manipulate other people's 
economic behavior. For example, developers that used to sell houses now sell 
"homes." Even the word "townhouse," a relatively common term a few years 
ago, is falling aside, being replaced by the supposedly more sumptuous 
sounding "townhome." There used to be a good, clear, cognitive distinction 
between a house and a home. Now, that difference has been altered past the 
point of meaning. With thousands of "homes" springing up all over the 
country, how can we possibly still attach sentimental meaning to places that 
we can REALLY call home? 
   This phenomenon severely restricts attempts to deal with derivative 
concepts also. Consider "homelessness," for example. Attempts to combat 
homelessness are almost exclusively directed toward putting the homeless 
people back into dwellings. But this is a superficial approach to the real 
problem, for houselessness is only one aspect of homelessness. "Home" 
implies basic shelter, but it also entails connection to a community, 
including friends, family, businesses, organizations that share common 
values and beliefs, such as clubs and churches, as well as caretaking 
institutions. Having your own home means much more than just having a 
dwelling. It's your own special corner of the world. It's the place that 
warmly welcomes you at the end of a hard day's work. It's where your kids 
learn to crawl, walk, and run. It's not just a place in which to live your 
life, it's a cherished part of your life. You can buy or be given a house, 
but you can't buy a home. You can only make a home. Homelessness marks not 
merely a loss of residence but also a rupture of community and family ties 
and spiritual existence. The mere fact that you dwell in a house does not 
entail that you are living in a home. 

   "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish 
thoughts."  ......George Orwell. 
   There is perhaps no better analysis and critique of the corruption of 
language than that given by Orwell in his book, "1984." Orwell contends that 
political language has been corrupted by insincerity and that the debasement 
is aided by honest writers who adopt the corrupted language by default. Many 
words have become almost meaningless, and to use them without defining in 
what sense they are being used is, at best, to foist that corruption upon 
the reader; at worst it is to commit outright fraud. 
   Corruption of language blunts the edge of critical thought in favor of 
timid orthodoxy, a process necessary to both totalitarian ideology and 
religious dogma. To control language is to control people's thoughts--and 
ultimately to control the people themselves. The very fabric of our 
existence rests upon a self-awareness which is built out of language. With 
corruption of your language comes an inability to know yourself, or even to 
HAVE a self. 
   Without semantic competence, you have no means of identifying the 
essence of either your own ideas or opposing ideas. Integrity becomes 
dubious at best, self-contradiction becomes easily possible, and rational 
persuasion becomes meaningless. Besides engendering intellectual chaos, 
incompetence in language creates a social caste system. Those who can 
construct well-formed sentences can think clearly and therefore be more 
independent; those who cannot are more ignorant, less productive and more 
easily intimidated and manipulated. Those who don't (or can't) think for 
themselves become the slaves of those who do. The greatest weapon of 
exploitation, manipulation, and oppression is the misuse of language. It is 
only by being aware of the function of language as a tool of social, 
economic, and political control that we can begin to fight those who use 
language against us. 

   Words denote concepts--and concepts must be used in specific ways if they 
are to serve as tools of knowledge. Grammar consists of the methods of 
combining concepts into coherent groups. We are able to recognize, remember 
and manipulate concepts only if their arrangements are coherent--only if the 
sentences we use are grammatical. We are able to follow a lengthy symbolic 
presentation because we use words first, then words organized into clauses, 
then sentences, and then paragraphs. We have to focus gradually and in 
installments, especially when a very complex issue is being considered. 
   There may be a dozen concepts in a sentence, and if you just strung them 
out at random you couldn't hold them all in your mind at once. But if 
several of them are integrated into each clause, and the clauses are 
integrated into one proposition, then, and only then, can you hold all the 
dozen in your mind. 

   * Strength And Leverage 
   I see two major aspects to intellectual competence: one is intelligence 
(that which is supposedly measured by an IQ test) and the other is the tools 
and procedures by which that intelligence is applied. I call these aspects 
Strength and Leverage. 
   Strength pertains to the innate competence that is genetically built-in 
to the nervous system. Is this alterable? Is it enhanceable? Is it even 
measureable? I doubt it, but I do not know for sure. My only real knowledge 
of this attribute is a relative one--I can see that I possess a greater 
ability to perceive, identify and integrate the facts of reality than some 
other people do (and, of course, that some other people possess a greater 
such ability than I do). When I make comparisons between myself and others I 
observe introspectively that there is a difference in fundamental 
understanding--a difference which, as far as I can tell, does not depend on 
the use of any acquired intellectual tools. I can identify that "fundamental 
understanding" only in a very subjective sense. I cannot make a specific 
statement explicitly defining it or describing how it works. 
   Leverage is quite a different thing. It consists of the intellectual 
techniques by which Strength is applied to achieve an understanding of the 
world. Language is by far the first and most fundamental element of 
Leverage, followed closely by Mathematics. Some other important elements are 
the Laws of Logic given us by Aristotle, the Scientific Method, the 
procedures of the Military Staff Study, and the principles of the philosophy 
of Objectivism. 
   The first and foremost benefit of the application of these tools to your 
life is that it puts you into close cognitive contact with reality. If the 
primary function of intelligence is to understand reality, then an 
intellectual tool which puts you in contact with reality enhances your life, 
and thus is a major benefit to you. Those folks who find everyday experience 
a muddled jumble of events with no regularity and no predictability are in 
grave peril. The universe belongs to those who, at least to some degree, 
have figured it out. 
   If eighty percent of what someone thinks is confused or nonsense, then he 
is only making use of 20% of his potential. Just because his brain cells are 
firing actively doesn't mean he is thinking as clearly or as efficiently as 
he could be. If you use all of the memory of a computer for running a 
useless program, then what percentage of it are you really using?  
   Most of the elements of Leverage constitute a particular subset of 
acquired knowledge: epistemological knowledge, knowledge of "how to think." 
It is clear that in regard to Leverage there is a great potential for 
enhancement of one's intellectual functioning, and, to the contrary, lack of 
Leverage or use of mistaken Leverage can seriously inhibit or even 
destructively interfere with this functioning. 
   I believe strongly that the level of one's manifested intellectual 
competence can indeed be raised. It is clear to me that the best way, (and, 
perhaps, the only way?) to go about this is to improve one's Leverage. 

   * IQ As A Potential 
   As you know, there are aptitude tests for many fields of endeavor. They 
are tests designed to determine whether or not (or to what extent) you have 
a potential ability for a given activity. They can tell you if you have an 
aptitude for Mechanics, Mathematics, Gymnastics, Music, Chemistry, Cooking, 
or just about any other occupation you might care to consider. I submit that 
an IQ test is nothing more or less than an aptitude test for "Thinking."  I 
would like to draw an analogy between Intellectuality and Music, in order to 
shed some light on just what the significance of IQ is. 
   Consider that in the realm of music there are two things necessary to the 
formation of a musician. The first is, of course, an aptitude for this field 
of endeavor--what we might call an "M.Q." or musicality quotient--
representing your potential ability to engage successfully in this activity. 
And the second is the means by which this potential is actualized. Having 
the highest MQ in the world will not automatically result in your being a 
good musician. To become one, you must undertake a lengthy period of study 
and diligent practice in order to master the procedures involved in 
transforming your potential into an actuality. No one will dispute this in 
regard to music, but how many realize that the same principle applies to 
intellectuality? You have to LEARN how to think, in just the same way that 
you have to learn how to make music. And when I say "learn how to think" I 
don't mean just "get educated." I don't mean just go to school and acquire a 
multitude of facts in a large number of fields of study. One would not 
become a musician merely by acquiring wide erudition in the fields of, say, 
Geology, Anthropology, Economics or Political Science. No, one must study a 
particular set of principles--those pertaining to the field of music. Just 
so, to transform an IQ into a practicing intellectual proficiency you have 
to study a particular set of principles--epistemological principles. A 
person is no more born with an automatic knowledge of how to think than he 
is born with an automatic knowledge of how to make music. I'm sure that each 
of you is aware that there was a time (maybe, if you are younger than I am, 
you can even remember that time) when you first learned the proper 
formulation of a syllogism, the nature of an ad hominem argument, or the 
pitfalls of the post hoc fallacy. Just as there are proper ways and improper 
ways to address your hands to a musical instrument, so there are proper and 
improper ways to address your mind to the task of identifying reality. If a 
musically untrained person puts his hand to the keyboard of an accordion the 
result will be a discordant raucous racket, simply because he is ignorant of 
the proper procedures. Likewise, if an epistemologically untrained person 
puts his mind to a philosophical problem the result is likely to be a 
hideous hodge-podge of insane idiocy--for the same reason. You may have a 
very high potential--either MQ or IQ--but before you can actualize that 
potential you've got to learn how. 
   This thesis was confirmed when I observed the members of the various 
High-IQ societies. I was rather disappointed with these people. In examining 
them I found that the possession of a high IQ is no guarantee at all of 
intellectual competence. Having a high intelligence does not remove a 
person's weaknesses, ignorances, prejudices, blind spots, or ambitions; it 
just gives him more power and energy to indulge them. An untrained mind has 
little control over its own power. 

   * Useful Thinking Techniques 

   Some Elements of Problem Solving: 
   Perhaps the most important thing in problem solving is to get everything 
written down so you can see it all in one big picture and hold all its 
aspects simultaneously in your mind. It is important to have everything 
explicitly available to you, rather than held merely implicitly. 
   Implicit knowledge is that which is available to your consciousness but 
which you have not conceptualized. Implicit knowledge is not a substitute 
for explicit knowledge. Values which you cannot identify, but merely sense 
implicitly, are not in your control. You cannot tell what they depend on or 
require, what course of action is needed to gain and/or keep them. Implicit 
knowledge, since it has not been identified, cannot be challenged or 
   Before you can solve a problem, you have to identify it. Before you can 
identify it, you must have an intellectual frame-of-reference that includes 
such ideas as "fundamentality" "concept" "fact" "definition" and all the 
other ideas required to make identifications. Therefore, no problem-solving 
technique can be comprehensively effective if you are not using, at least 
implicitly, the precepts of Objectivism. 

   The Rule of Fundamentality: 
   How can you tell a principle from a non-principle such as a personal 
esthetic preference? By what technique can you identify fundamentals and 
distinguish them from superficials? 
   Look for the underlying trait that causes and explains the more 
superficial attributes. You must observe the relationships among the various 
characteristics and identify the one on which the greatest number of others 
depend--the fundamental characteristic without which the others would not 
exist. This is the essential distinguishing characteristic of the entity. 
Metaphysically, a fundamental characteristic is the one that makes the 
greatest number of others possible; epistemologically, it is the one that 
explains the greatest number of others. 
   Consider this "definition": Man is the only animal that can speak French. 
   To determine whether or not the attribute of French-speaking is 
fundamental, look at what happens to a man if that attribute is removed. 
Would he still be a man? The the answer is clearly "yes" thus the attribute 
is NOT fundamental. If the attribute were indeed fundamental, upon its 
removal the man would cease to be a man. A fundamental attribute is one 
without which the entity under consideration would not be what it is. 

   False Categorization: 
   Just as you can have definition by non-essentials, you can also have 
classification by non-essentials. If the attribute being used to make the 
classification appears in more than one of the categories that you are 
formulating, then it is a non-distinguishing attribute. The entities that 
possess that attribute cannot be distinguished from the entities in other 
categories, since the others also possess that attribute. The attribute is 
distinguishing only if it appears in only one of the categories. 
   Categorization serves a purpose, but your goal affects what you consider 
to be essential. For example: usually, the essential attribute of a piece of 
furniture is its function, but to an interior designer it can be legitimate 
to regard its style as an essential characteristic. 

   Thinking in Principles: 
   A principle is a fundamental primary or general truth on which other 
truths depend. 
   To think in principles is to identify the essence of a set of concretes 
(objects, actions or phenomena), then identify the necessary implications or 
consequences of this essence. You thereby reach a fundamental 
generalization, a principle, which subsumes, and enables you to deal with, 
an unlimited number of particulars. 
   It is not the role of principle to provide particularized concretes for 
each individual but to enable their discovery. 

   For successful goal-achievement, you should have a clear and explicit 
statement of your goals and the rationale for them. This provides you with a 
firm and continual awareness of the principles that guide and shape the 
actions you must take to achieve those goals. It will enable you to live 
according to your philosophy by taking the appropriate actions to implement 
its principles. In the absence of a solid, explicitly-held ideological 
foundation, your principles, and thus the consistency of your behavior, will 
ultimately be compromised. You must be able to clearly visualize a state of 
existence in order to fully understand what that state requires of you and 
what, if any, benefits you may receive from it. 
   First you must know your objective. Unless you know what you want, you 
can't possibly decide how to get it. 
   Ask yourself three questions: What do you want to do? What are you 
capable of doing? What are you actually going to do? Be clear that these may 
be three different things. 
   Consider alternative means of attaining objectives. It's not often that a 
goal can be realized in only one way. 
   List the pros and cons of each alternative, then analyze all courses of 
action available and select the best for the given situation: the one that 
appears most likely to achieve the results you want. 
   When you are evaluating objects or prospective courses of action, be sure 
you list them in order of their relative importance to you. This firms up 
your value hierarchy and helps you avoid sacrifice, the giving up of a 
greater value to obtain a lesser value. 

   Don't overlook the valuable function your emotions can perform. You can 
usually tell when a decision accords with your subconscious knowledge: it 
brings a sense of relief. Good decisions are excellent tranquilizers; bad 
ones often increase your mental tension. When you have decided something 
against the grain, there is a nagging sense of incompleteness. The feeling 
you experience is your subconscious mind telling you either that your 
decision integrates all the data the subconscious holds--or that it doesn't 
integrate all the data. 

   I find that there are three levels of clarity to which I can hold an 
   The first, and lowest, is just having the thought inside my head, usually 
in a rather vague form. 
   I can force myself to the second level of clarity by making a verbal 
statement of the thought. When I have to translate vague, unspecific mental 
images into spoken words, the idea becomes more precise and unambiguous. For 
this reason I deliberately talk to myself quite frequently--or talk to my 
cat (but he rarely finds any of my ideas worth commenting on!). 
   The third, and highest, level of clarity is reached when I sit down and 
put the words into written form. This way they get saved as perceptual 
concretes and I can review them and rework them and rearrange them until I 
get a really accurate presentation of the idea. Remember that it is harder 
to put your foot in your mouth when you have your pen in your hand. 
   A biographer of Thomas Edison, commenting on Edison's 3,500 notebooks, 
remarked that Edison "reveled in his notebook drawings as sheer process, the 
life of his mind in full gear. He wrote literally to find out what he was 

   When trying to define a concept, you may find it useful to consider its 
opposite and see if it would be appropriate to define the concept in terms 
of the negative (or absence) of its opposite. For example: Freedom as the 
absence of Slavery--Innocence as the absence of Guilt. 

   Batting Average - Track Record:
   One of the best ways I know of to gain a more precise comprehension of 
the world you live in is the process of keeping "batting averages." A good 
place to start this process is with the local weather service. Just keep a 
daily journal in which you record the weather forecast, and then alongside 
it a note of your observations of the weather that actually occurred during 
the forecast period. This will give you REAL knowledge of just how useful 
the weather forecasts are. 
   Another place to apply the process is to your favorite economic 
forecaster. Be careful--you may discover to your dismay that his advice is 
pretty much useless for anything except getting your money into his pocket. 
   You can turn this process back through time and make some interesting 
discoveries. For example, consider the FedGov's forecasts concerning 
petroleum supplies: 
   In 1917, the Interior Department reported that only 27 years of oil 
remained. In 1920, the US Geological Survey reported only four years were 
left. By 1924 this had changed to six years. An ad in the WSJ (21Jan1976), 
placed by the American Electric Power Company, showed a wistful-looking baby 
over the caption "By the time he's out of 8th grade America will be out of 
oil and gas." The ad quoted US Government figures claiming that "our proven 
reserves will only last 12 years." 
   Claims like these keep Chicken Little busy, but have no other practical 
use. The real danger in them is for the gullible people who put their money 
where the mouths of the prognosticators are. Don't be gullible--calculate 
the batting average of any person or institution that makes forecasts you 
consider relevant to your life. This process can be a great help to you in 
deciding where to invest your money and your time so as not to waste them. 
   KEEPING SCORE ON OUR MODERN PROPHETS by Kurt Saxon contains four years of 
observations on such people as Jean Dixon. It clearly shows their laughable 
record at prophesying. 
   The most important batting average you can keep is your own. 
   An important thing to keep in mind is that the records you maintain MUST 
be in WRITING, and must be written down immediately as the observed 
phenomena occur. You shouldn't trust your memory, or you may end up 
accepting things via the fallacy of proof by selected instances. 

   Much of good thinking is merely avoiding fallacies. If you are thinking 
within the context of a logical fallacy, then no matter how competent you 
may be at handling concepts your ultimate conclusion is very likely to be 
   A Handbook of Logical Fallacies 

   Always remember not to demand absolute perfection. You are neither 
omniscient nor infallible--the best you can do is just the best you can do, 
and if you are going to live in the real world rather than in a fantasy, you 
will have to accept that. 
   Thoreau: "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one 
advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live a 
life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common 

   * Memory 
   Perhaps the gravest and most widespread intellectual flaw is the implicit 
belief that one's personal memory is accurate and permanent. In fact, it is 
neither. But with a little help from the tool of literacy, it can become 
both. Memory is a fickle, deceptive thing--and the memory you should most 
mistrust is your own. There are very few people who recognize this flaw and 
take the appropriate precautions to overcome it by using literacy as an 
adjunct to their fallible memory. Most people have never learned how to 
remember, and in the Hindu Land of Endless Paths those poor souls are 
condemned to repeat their follies forever, and never gain Nirvana. But 
mature people don't have to be reminded repeatedly, they do know how to 
   David Hume: "As memory alone acquaints us with the continuance and extent 
of perceptions, it is to be considered, upon that account chiefly, as the 
source of personal identity. Had we no memory, we should never have any 
notion of that chain of causes and effects which constitute our self or 
   But memory is not written in stone; it's highly susceptible to 
reconstruction. Much of what we remember of our own past is nothing more 
than a mirage. In order to know your self you must remember your past. You 
have to preserve knowledge of the important facts of your life, and you have 
to acquire the power to reproduce and coordinate your memories competently. 
Only thus can you preserve the continuity of your self--the knowledge of who 
you are. This is the function of a journal, and the reason why everyone 
should keep one. It fixes--solidifies--your history. You must preserve your 
history in writing. You can't hold all the significant information in your 
head simultaneously, and you are a pretentious fool if you think you can. 
   Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory. As Nietzsche observed: "I did 
it, says memory; I couldn't have, says pride--and remains implacable. 
Eventually, memory yields." 

   Einstein: "It is well possible that an individual in retrospect sees a 
uniformly systematic development, whereas the actual experience took place 
in kaleidoscopic particular situations. The manifoldness of the external 
situations and the narrowness of the momentary content of consciousness 
bring about a sort of atomizing of the life of every human being." 

   Of all the aspects of human intellectuality, memory is probably the most 
easily and readily improvable. Just a little effort in this direction will 
soon produce a considerable increase in your nemnonic ability. (I never can 
remember how to spell that word.) 
   Here are a few techniques I use to improve my memory: 
   Be literate: a little notebook in the pocket serves as a memory flywheel. 
The three levels of cognitive clarity I mentioned above are also three 
levels of memory retention. 
   See reference 
   Memorize poems and short stories. By the time you can recite the Rime of 
the Ancient Mariner (it takes nigh onto 25 minutes) you will have a middling 
good memory. 
   Get someone to whom you can recite back things you have read. After I 
have read the latest SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, he leafs through it and asks me to 
describe what's on each page. 
   These little exercises have given me an enormously powerful ability to 
recall things I see and hear. In fact, I have been surprised to discover 
that although I did not have an exceptional memory during my youth, I have 
actually developed a photographic memory during the past couple decades. 
   Bear in mind, though, that while you are exercising your memory you must 
consult an objective observer. What you must test your memory against are 
objectively observable facts, NOT the memory of another person! This is VERY 
important! Don't play the "memory game": 
      Are you listening to me? 
      Yeah, I'm listening. 
      Well then tell me what I just said! 
   Observe the two fallacious assumptions involved in this exchange. First, 
he assumes that his recall is better than yours. Second, he assumes that HIS 
memory is to be used as a standard of comparison against which YOURS is to 
be measured. 
   If you test your memory against someone else's, you aren't really making 
a scientifically valid measurement of your ability. Worse than this is the 
psycho-epistemological damage you are inflicting on your mind. Whenever you 
succumb to the memory game you are telling your subconscious mind that 
reality is to be determined by reference to another person's consciousness. 
You are making yourself into a social metaphysician. 
   It is quite all right to use someone else as an observer in order to 
confirm the accuracy of your memory, but NOT as a standard of reference for 
your memory. 

   "I think, therefore I am," doesn't quite make it. "I remember, therefore 
I am" is more like it. 

   THE ART OF CROSS-EXAMINATION by Francis L. Wellman. 
   Wellman shows how surprisingly unreliable memory frequently is. 
   THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD by Carl Sagan, 1996, Ballantine Book 345-40946-9. 
   In Chapters 8 and 9 Sagan deals with the unreliability of memory, memory 
manipulation, fraud, hallucination and fantasies. 

   * Procedures for Carrying on a Discussion 
   The First Law of Debate: Anything is permissible, if you don't know what 
you are talking about!! 
   David Kelley: "Discussion among rational people is best conducted as a 
partnership in discovering the truth, not as combat or indoctrination. 
Discussion and debate are values only if they are means to the discovery of 
the truth." 
   If a sensible discussion is to occur, the participants must do several 
   Agree on the subject to be discussed. 
   Define the terms encompassing this subject. 
   Identify the principles underlying the various approaches to dealing with 
this subject. 
   Decide, by examining the consequences which ensue from the principles, 
which of these approaches is the best one to use. 
   Determine the best way to implement this approach. 
   Each participant must make a contribution appropriate to the presentation 
the others have made. Each must try to further the investigation. 

   If you want to make a presentation to a hostile audience, here are some 
   Your purpose should be merely to make your position known, clearly and 
briefly, so that your audience can see what your ideas are. If anyone wants 
to learn more about them, the burden of intellectual responsibility lies 
upon them to solicit, not upon you to impose. Proselytizing is not really 
the libertarian way. As a libertarian, you must recognize the right of the 
other person to live his life according to HIS choices, not your choices. No 
matter how stupidly foolish you believe those choices to be, it's HIS life, 
NOT yours. Don't try to shove your ideas down his throat. We are NOT 
Jehovah's Witnesses! 
   You owe a rational statement only to those who are making an effort to 
know. Those who are making an effort NOT to know should not be a concern of 
yours. A positive interest is one that says "How can I benefit from this 
man's ideas?" A negative interest is one that says "How can I poke holes in 
this man's argument?" 
   Your procedure in such a presentation should be: 
   To educate only those sincerely interested in learning. 
   Not to refute contentious assertions nor to correct dogmatic errors nor 
to challenge erroneous assumptions. 
   Not to attempt discussion with intellectually loose people nor those 
whose approach involves ridiculing or belittling rationality. 
   You can argue with error, but not with irrationality. 

   Argument by analogy is always dubious at best. No analogy is ever a 
perfect comparison, and your opponent is quite likely to direct his response 
not to your thesis but only to your analogy. He will expose the inevitable 
inadequacy of the analogy and then presume that in doing so he has 
demolished your thesis. The use of an analogy is effective only when you are 
attempting to clarify your thesis in the mind of someone who is trying to 
understand it. When your adversary is NOT trying to understand your 
position, but only to reject it, then introducing an analogy will be 

   If you want to communicate with dummies you will have to make allowances 
for the dummies. And you will usually find that the allowances preclude 
effective communication. 
   Anyway, I figure our ideas are so much better than theirs that if we get 
only 1/10 the exposure we'll win. 

   * Criticism 
   The experience of having my essays published, and dealing with the 
resulting feedback, has led me to identify several types of criticism: 
   Irrelevant: Remarks that have no rational justification, do not in any 
way apply to the idea being criticized, and contribute nothing to the 
subject under discussion. But can this really be called criticism? 
   Combative: Remarks intended mainly to provoke dispute. This is what I get 
from the kind of person who listens only for the purpose of contradicting 
   Corrective: An analysis that exposes an important flaw in the 
presentation, thus clarifying the subject under discussion. 
   Contributive: Commentary that expands upon the idea presented, furthering 
it and widening its applicability. 

   In dealing with criticism you should keep clearly in mind the distinction 
between a denial and a refutation. A denial is merely a declaration of 
rejection. A refutation, on the other hand, is a logical proof that 
demonstrates an error. 

   When you are critiquing someone else's presentation, be alert to whether 
he has persuaded you by the internal logic of his analysis or has posed a 
testable statement that can be checked against the evidence. If he has not 
done either of these, then beware of what he IS trying to do. 

   * The Scientific Method 
   The cognitive processes required for scientific thought are very 
different from those that underlie so-called common sense. This is because 
nature is just too complicated to be comprehended by the type of simple, 
day-to-day observations, never systematically made, that result in 
commonsense explanations for various phenomena. Common sense provides no 
more than some raw material required for scientific thinking. 
   The scientific method is an epistemological technique used to form 
scientific concepts. It is comprised of several elements: 
   1) Recognition of facts that appear to be related, but whose relationship 
is unknown. 
   2) Observation and experimentation to collect data about those facts. 
   3) Analysis of the data. 
   4) Formulation of an hypothesis that attempts to explain the 
   5) Testing of the hypothesis against all known evidence. 
   6) Continual testing as new evidence is obtained. 

   Some precepts of the Scientific Method: 
   New and speculative proposals do not warrant consideration as long as the 
observed facts are adequately accounted for by the theories that already 
   A proposal should not be considered if no credible evidence has been 
presented that it has any value. (See the FALSIFIABILITY fallacy.) 
   Those explanations should be accepted which involve the fewest 

   Propositions derived by inference from scientific data: 
   Assumption - something accepted without proof. It is incorrect to speak 
of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving 
it to be either. (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption.) It is 
better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on 
whether or not deductions made from them lead to a firmer grasp of reality. 
   Conjecture - a speculative idea which, although backed by little or no 
evidence, can serve as a guide for further investigation. 
   Hypothesis - a tentative explanation backed by too little evidence to 
support a firm chain of cause-and-effect. One formulates a hypothesis being 
guided by one's knowledge of fact. The hypothesis should explain the 
greatest number of, and/or the most fundamental, aspects of the phenomenon. 
Using the hypothesis, one next deduces how entities under certain conditions 
should act. Then, if one observes such action and, within the context of 
one's knowledge can account for it only by the hypothesis which predicted 
it, it follows that the hypothesis has been confirmed. But because we are 
not omniscient, that same context of knowledge might give rise to other 
hypotheses. This is why we need the process of experimental confirmation. 
   Theory - a working model supported by a preponderance of the evidence. 
   Law - a description that has been found to be always invariable under the 
same conditions. 

   Almost every scientifically conducted experiment can, at least ideally, 
be reduced to two broad steps: first, determine the variables that affect 
the outcome of the experiment; second, set up conditions such that one of 
the variables can be altered while the rest are kept constant. From the data 
obtained in this way the experimenter can modify his hypotheses as to which 
variables matter, in what way they matter, to what degree they matter, and 
which don't. Thus his mental image grows closer and closer to an accurate 
representation of reality. 
   Scientific knowledge (to be precise, the progress of scientific 
knowledge) is cumulative in nature. You start with a foundation and then you 
build upon that foundation. That's why science has progressed such a 
tremendous amount during the past 300 years. If physicists spent all their 
time arguing about the validity of the First Law of Thermodynamics, they 
would never make any progress at all. And if mathematicians spent all their 
time arguing about whether or not 2+2=4 there would never be any progress in 
   But you must always remember that one of the really important skills of a 
scientist is in knowing what things to doubt. Doubting must be VERY 
carefully selective!! Its improper application has sometimes been disastrous 
for the progress of science. On the one hand there is the impulse to regard 
almost NOTHING as being open to question. On the other hand is the impulse 
to regard EVERYTHING as being open to question. On the one hand are the 
"know it alls" and on the other hand are the "know nothings." Obviously 
neither position is true. Humans are neither omniscient nor totally 
ignorant. Doubting is at least as important to the advance of science as is 
believing. Moreover, doubting is a serious business that requires extensive 
training to be handled properly. People without training in a particular 
field do not know what to doubt and what not to doubt; or, to put it 
conversely, what to believe and what not to believe. Undemocratic as it may 
seem, one man's opinion is NOT necessarily as good as the next man's. A 
scientist MUST doubt. It would take much longer for valid theories to become 
established if overcredulity on the part of scientists led them to explore 
all the blind alleys indicated by newly-presented theories. Scientific 
manpower is too limited to investigate every idea that occurs to everybody. 
The advance of science depends on scientists in general being kept firmly 
oriented to the direction of maximum possible return. 
   Drawing the line between observation and interpretation is difficult. 
It's easy to lose track of your assumptions and fail to notice which 
"keystones" in the edifice of your theory are merely soft clay. The triumph 
of the scientific method is that eventually, through collective effort, 
mistakes can be overturned. Science accepts error as something to be 
corrected over time. 
   In contrast with science, belief systems based on magic and religion do 
not admit the possibility of being wrong, or of anything being unexplained. 
Any question can be answered (however unsatisfying the answer may be to 
someone trained in scientific thinking) from within the totally closed 
system: Why did Grandma get run over by the cement truck? It was God's will. 
Or it was bad karma. Or her dog was having a critical biorhythm day. The 
essential constraint that separates science from the mystical is 
experimentation--a phenomenon notably absent from magic and religion. 

   Most people act as if the scientific method were disconnected from their 
daily lives, but a wider awareness of this method of thinking would help 
greatly in framing current social debates. Other fields of study should work 
at constructing the rigorous ladders of inference that have made scientific 
fields so successful. But such intellectual behavior would be suicidal to 
many fields. 

   * The Military Staff Study 
   A technique you may find quite useful in dealing concretely with problems 
is the Military Staff Study. It is a six-part process: 
   1) Statement of the problem: One problem only, isolated and precisely 
stated; not merely a description of a "bad" situation. 
   2) Assumptions: Make only those assumptions which are necessary and 
justified. One assumption must not conflict with another; if so, prepare a 
different study for each. 
   3) Facts bearing on the problem: A fact is a statement of conditions 
known to be true. Don't mix fact and opinion. 
   4) Discussion: Produce a logical and orderly critical analysis of the 
problem through the integration of the facts and the assumptions. If the 
facts and the assumptions are shown to conflict, then you must change the 
   5) Conclusions: They must not be merely a continuation of the discussion. 
They must point directly to the need for certain actions. 
   6) Recommendations: The actions which, if taken, will solve the problem. 
They must not pose alternative courses of action, and must be susceptible to 
simple approval or disapproval. 

   Thinking always helps, if one does enough and it's the right kind. That's 
why some people make a success of life and others don't. A reasoned proposal 
might be overruled by other considerations; some of the noblest of human 
acts have been carried out in defiance of reason. It is also quite true that 
spectacular blunders occasionally follow in the wake of the keenest 
reasoning. But, by and large, clean and orderly thinking justifiably enjoys 
a most favorable reputation. 

   * Notes on the Significance of Intellectual Context 
   Why is it that so frequently when you are speaking to a person who 
believes in authoritarian, statist ideas, that person apears to listen but 
does not really hear what you are saying? Governmental Authority is, for 
him, an axiomatic concept. He literally cannot see any other context--cannot 
conceive of a society which is not founded on coercion--and if you venture 
outside his framework of thought, he merely accuses you of expressing vague 
generalities. It is as Orwell said it would be: "You will lose the ability 
to think certain ideas, and then you will be totally incapable of ever 
trying to act on those ideas."   
   In such a discussion, most people quickly reach a point where they are 
not able to respond even when they have the discussion in front of them in 
writing. This is because they have reached the boundary of their 
intellectual frame of reference and they cannot cope with the questions 
without the mental flexibility (or the willingness) required to expand that 
frame of reference so as to encompass an area which contains the answers. 
They are prisoners of an inadequate reality assessment, and it is usually a 
waste of your time to engage them in discussion, simply because they will 
find your presentation to be quite literally incomprehensible.  
   This helps explain why the average journalist cannot get a sentence 
straight if it is phrased more subtly than his own mind can make phrases. It 
explains also much of the unresolvable controversy in the field of social 
science. The assumptions shared by most contemporary social scientists 
restrict their analyses to relatively minor consequential details. Questions 
dealing with fundamental principles are outside their pale. Their analyses 
take place within an institutional context that is itself taken for granted: 
the framework of government control. This profoundly affects how their 
questions are framed, and thus studied and answered. This thinking procedure 
renders social scientists incapable of questioning much that is fundamental 
to their fields, and creates an intellectual barrier which is one of the 
biggest stumbling blocks to the furtherance of libertarianism. 
   This phenomenon has an obverse side also: I have sometimes been so 
befuddled by a question or proposition that I had to stop for a while and 
figure out why it seemed so "out of whack." The answer lies in the fact that 
its underlying premises are so disparate from mine that it is not at all 
amenable to a direct response. I can't answer the question, because it is 
overflowing with assumptions that I reject. There are certain questions that 
must be themselves questioned--challenged at their root--because they 
consist of attempts to smuggle false premises into the mind of of the 
listener. "Who created the universe?" is one example. "Have you stopped 
beating your wife?" is another. 
   Ayn Rand had a keen eye for the shared premise underlying false 
alternatives. For example: Beneath modern philosophy's false alternatives of 
rationalism and empiricism, she recognized their shared assumption that 
abstract knowledge of reality cannot be validly derived from perceptual 
experience. Her ability to identify underlying context is what gives 
Objectivism much of its intellectual power. 

   * Faulty Thought Processes 
   The Readers Digest syndrome: 
   When I was about 15 years old I subscribed to the Readers Digest. A year 
or so later I let my subscription lapse when I came to realize that I was 
reading essentially the same sort of stuff over and over again. Five or ten 
years later I picked up a another copy and found it to contain just what I 
had read when I had been a subscriber. Although I had been growing and 
maturing intellectually, developing more powerful cognitive processes which 
enabled me to better deal with the problems I faced, the magazine had 
remained on the same intellectual level--dealing perpetually in the same way 
with the same problems. 
   An attribute of a small-minded person is that he does not progress 
intellectually. This applies equally well to magazines and other social 
institutions. If they are not progressing, then once you have had a year's 
worth of exposure to them that's all the useful stuff you're ever likely to 
get. Any further exposure will be essentially repetitious. Like the Readers 
Digest. Or like the Libertarian Party, which today is still struggling to 
cope with the same problems it faced at the time of its inception in 1972. 
As of March 1995, there were 84 people registered to vote as Libertarian in 
Wyoming. That's all the progress the LP had made in 23 years, and yet it 
still considers itself to be presenting a viable political alternative. 
   The hallmark of a fool is not that he makes mistakes, but that he is 
making the SAME mistakes today that he was making ten years ago. 

   We all know that correlation does not imply causation, but is this true 
just because we haven't got powerful enough search techniques for sifting 
through large statistical databases?  No. Mere correlation can never be 
proof, because if you don't know what the underlying cause is you can't know 
that it will continue to operate. However, this does not mean that 
statistical evidence should be ignored. Statistical evidence IS evidence, 
and at very least, it can be a basis for hypothesis. 

   In any argument between two people who hold the same basic principles, it 
is the more consistent one who wins. The inconsistent person will present 
his ideas in a weak and contradictory form, and thus will create in the 
minds of the audience an impression of incompetence, evasion, or cowardice, 
while his adversary will appear to possess greater honesty and courage. (See 
"Anatomy of Compromise" in CAPITALISM THE UNKNOWN IDEAL.) 
   Argument is futile when it is directed not toward general principles but 
merely toward the specific phenomena which are consequences of those 
principles. Perhaps the best examples of this are debates about legalizing 
drugs. They usually devolve quickly from a brief and superficial 
consideration of the principles underlying the anti-drug laws into a dispute 
over the specific means by which the drugs would be distributed if they were 
to be legalized. Thus the principles themselves are never fully examined, 
and the subjects raised are merely attempts to dilute the agenda of the 
   A disagreement that does not challenge fundamentals serves only to 
reinforce them. If, for the question: "Do you want slavery?" your opponents 
manage to substitute the question: "What kind of slavery do you want?" then 
they can afford to let you argue indefinitely; they have already won their 

   Consider a Determinist (or a Solipsist) versus an advocate of Free Will. 
The Determinist, to the extent that he adheres to his principle, will be 
disinclined to engage in any great mental activity. His motivation to do so 
is undermined by his belief that the result of such activity is not subject 
to his volition. The free-will advocate, however, suffers under no such 
handicap and will not thereby be deterred from making the fullest 
application of his intellectual faculties of which he is capable.  
   People who believe that definitions are arbitrary, or are to be accepted 
or rejected according to their authoritarian backing, are people for whom 
there is no hope of meaningful intellectual interaction. They are in the 
same category as the Determinists--but whereas the Determinists believe that 
cognition is absolutely fixed and unalterable, these dummies believe the 
obverse: that cognition cannot be firmly tied to an objective reality. 
   Reason is not automatic. If men were the automatons that behaviorists 
claim they are, the behaviorist psychologists could not have invented the 
amazing nonsense called "behaviorist psychology." So they are wrong from the 
   To argue against such persons as Determinists, Solipsists, Behaviorists, 
those who claim human beings are not rational, or who claim there is no way 
to choose between good/bad or right/wrong, is to apply to them a premise 
they spend all of their effort disproving: that reason is involved in their 
theories. There is little point in replacing mindless bigotry or dogma with 
mindless acceptance, so you should consider those people only long enough to 
expose the specific nature of their irrationality. Those who deny reason 
cannot be conquered by it. Leave them alone, for they are in a mysterious 
mental state which is too lunatic for serious consideration. They have made 
a conscious choice to remain ignorant. You should make a conscious choice 
not to waste your time on them. Just because they choose to close their eyes 
doesn't mean the sun has been turned off, it only means that they are 
stumbling blindly in the darkness. 

   "There are certain demands of the ideal, certain claims that a man cannot 
put aside without hurt to his soul." ....Ibsen 
   There are moral issues that are beyond debate and discussion. There is a 
point beyond which a man cannot go and still maintain his dignity and self- 
respect. There are things a man cannot do without risking damage to his own 
   You can do violence to your soul by arguing with someone who asserts: 
     Success is irrelevant to the process of proof. 
     Human beings are not rational creatures. 
     There is no such thing as morality (or ethics) 
       To a great many people, voluntary vs involuntary is not a fundamental 
distinction, and thus it has little importance in their minds. And you will 
get nowhere trying to argue from a context in which this distinction IS 
fundamentally important. 
   I have learned never to argue with such people. Such debate imbues a 
false sense of significance. If you debate with him, he acquires a 
fraudulent sense of importance in his mind, but his ideas acquire a REAL 
importance in YOUR mind. 

   Thus do the principles one chooses have a considerable influence on the 
efficiency of one's thought processes. 

   * Piagetian Operational Stages 
   Piagetians contend that children have their views of the world bound up 
in concretes. This they call the "concrete operational stage," when children 
are generally incapable of imagining a situation with any of its variables 
somehow different. Kids at this stage have a lot of difficulty with "what 
if" questions. Only sometime during adolescence do children become able to 
deal adequately with conceptual abstractions. This is called the "formal 
operational stage." It is during this stage that young adults become able to 
deal with propositions that are contrary to fact (What if there were no 
Federal Reserve Bank?); to imagine several alternative explanations for the 
same phenomenon (What really caused the Great Depression?); to deal with 
metaphor (What is meant by the market's "invisible hand"?); to understand 
that classes are not merely groupings of individual entities but may also be 
themselves conceived of as abstract entites (What are those elements that 
make up justice? How does justice become an element that makes up something 
called freedom?). 
   What is true of conceptual abstractions is also true of independent 
judgment. Humans are not entirely capable of fully independent judgment 
until adolescence. Their extreme sensitivity to the opinions and judgments 
of others during adolescence is partly a result of their need to formulate 
independent abstract judgments about the world, combined with their 
knowledge that they are not very sure of their reasoning processes. This 
makes adolescents simultaneously feel the need of approval more urgently 
than in other periods of life and be more susceptible to perversion of their 
proper development by means of selectively-applied approval/disapproval. 
   Piagetians contend that nearly 50% of the adult population never 
adequately learn how to use the capacity for formal operational thought. 
Half the population is often bound to the reality of the moment, impotent to 
imagine how things might be under different circumstances. Just imagine 
yourself at a cocktail party and ask the person you've been randomly thrown 
up against, "What if there were no local zoning laws?" and you'll likely get 
a blank stare. Press him with, "What if there were no minimum-wage laws?" 
and you'll be getting rather close to his threshold of irritability. The 
ways of the economic world are pretty uncomplicated for this guy. When he 
thinks gasoline prices are too high, he wants someone to MAKE them lower. 
When he thinks his salary is too low, he wants someone to MAKE it higher. He 
has no notion of conceptual analysis, and is a walking example of what 
survives when a mind becomes a victim of infant mortality. 
   Someone who does not think in principles tends to rely by default on 
social customs, and thus does not function independently in practice. The 
collectivist ideologies have a concrete model they can use to exemplify 
their view of society: the model of the family. Liberals stress the 
nurturing role of the family--its unconditional support for every member. 
Conservatives stress the authority of the parents in teaching virtue and 
enforcing standards of behavior. These aspects of the family are understood 
in a primitive form by preconceptual children, and can be grasped by non-
conceptual adults. But there is no comparable form in which it is possible 
to grasp the concept of individualism, or any other of the principles of a 
free society, because those concepts presuppose the need of adults to 
function independently. To those who do not think conceptually, only what is 
immediately seen is real. At the level of principles, no ideology can be 
understood, much less consistently advocated or practiced, by those who 
function non-conceptually. This is why anti-ideological pragmatism is so 

   * The Use Of Emotions As Tools Of Cognition 
   The normal relationship between reason and emotion is harmony, not 
conflict. Conflict occurs whenever a man's conscious conclusions contradict 
those of his subconscious. When this happens, the conscious ideas may be 
correct and the subconscious ones mistaken. Or the reverse may be true: a 
man may consciously uphold a mistaken idea, while experiencing a feeling 
that clashes with it, a feeling arising from a correct subconscious premise. 
In both cases, however, the real clash is between the two ideas. And the 
only way to resolve the conflict, to know which side is correct, is to 
submit both ideas to the bar of reason. Even if its intellectual root 
happens to be true, the feeling itself cannot know or judge this; only the 
rational mind can decide questions of truth. Emotions are not tools of 
   There is no alternative to reason as a means of knowledge and no 
supplement to it. If you attempt to give emotions such a role, then you are 
not engaging in a process of cognition at all. On the contrary, you are 
subverting the integrity of your mental processes and invalidating them--by 
introducing as their guide non-objective elements. An unanalyzed emotion, 
i.e., one whose intellectual roots you have not identified and validated by 
a process of reason, is merely a subjective event of your consciousness. It 
may be compared to a floating abstraction--a higher-level proposition which 
you have not reduced to perceptual data. In other words, it is a mental 
state disconnected from reality, a state whose relation to fact you do not 
   If you seek to think rationally, you must grasp, then deliberately 
implement, the distinction between reason and emotion. You must learn the 
difference between thought and feeling--between logic and desire--between 
percepts and concepts on the one hand, and hopes, wishes, hatreds, loves, 
fears on the other. By a continuous process of explicit self-monitoring, you 
must ensure that in all your cognitive activities, feeling is set to the 
side and is not allowed to direct the course of the inquiry. A rational 
inquiry is one directed not by emotion, but by thought--one which accepts as 
evidence not any species of passion, but only provable, objective fact. 
   The above is not an "anti-emotion" viewpoint. Emotions play an essential 
role in human life, and in this capacity they must be felt, nourished, 
respected. Without them man could not achieve happiness or even survival. He 
would experience no desire, no love, no fear, no motivation, no response to 
values. The epistemological point, however, remains true: the role of 
emotions, though crucial, is not the discovery of reality. I cast no 
aspersion on eating or breathing if I deny that they are means of cognition. 
The same applies to feelings. 
   Objectivism is not against emotions, but emotionalism. Our concern is not 
to uphold stoicism or to abet repression, but to identify a division of 
mental labor. There is nothing wrong with emotion that accompanies or 
follows from an act of thought; this is the natural and proper human 
pattern. But there is everything wrong with emotion that seeks to replace 
thought by usurping its function. 
   Perhaps the most prevalent manifestations of the attempt to substitute 
emotion for cognition are questions that begin, "Do you feel....?" rather 
than "Do you think....?" This use of emotional terminology to describe what 
should be cognitive activities is widespread in American culture. 
   (The following material is extracted from Lecture #6 of Barbara Branden's 
   The attempt to use emotions as tools of cognition is a process used by 
people whose intellectual focus is on feelings rather than on truth and 
knowledge. Their fundamental technique of thinking is to refer to their 
emotions rather than their rational faculty. They use reason only as a tool 
of rationalization--to justify ideas which have already been accepted on the 
basis of their feelings. 
   Instead of storing conceptual integrations and evaluations in their 
subconscious, these people store specific memories of concrete events along 
with the emotional responses associated with those events. Then any new 
phenomenon which is perceived to be similar to (i.e., has an accidental 
resemblance to) the aggregate of stored memories will evoke the associated 
emotional response, and thus will be formed a judgment of the new phenomenon 
on the basis of associational connections rather than conceptual 
integrations. Notice that this process is based on irreducible concretes, 
and that no classification according to fundamental distinguishing 
characteristics is involved. That aspect of any phenomenon having the most 
striking emotional impact is considered to be its defining characteristic. 
   Ideas are also stored as concretes: as memories of something heard, read, 
or thought. These concretes are not integrated with other concretes, but are 
stored as slogans. Conclusions about any subject consist of the memories of 
events, plus the corresponding emotions, plus the remembered slogans. People 
who function this way are typically unable to define their terms; for them, 
the meaning of a word is a jumble of memorized examples, emotional 
associations and floating images. 
   Their primary focus is on the emotional connotations of phenomena. If a 
presentation does not arouse strong emotional response in them, it will have 
very little effect on them at all. Ideas themselves will have no motivating 
influence on them. They will respond not to the cognitive content of an idea 
but to the emotional content of its presentation (it is this response that 
gives demagogues so much of their following). They do not judge the truth by 
its correspondence to reality--they judge reality by its correspondence to 
their feelings. 
   They are psychologically set to grant primacy to their emotions, which 
set and direct their perceptions. When necessary, their perceptions are 
distorted to fit the emotion, or simply ignored. Only what fits the emotions 
is permitted entry into consciousness. Thus they become intellectually self-
   They make no distinction between emotions and thoughts--they "feel" their 
thoughts simply because the thoughts are non-conceptualized. What they do 
not do is INITIATE a process of conceptualization. Theirs is a passive, not 
an active, consciousness. The end result is the explicit, open reliance on 
emotions and the rejection of conceptualization, which, in their minds, has 
become a meaningless process. 
   This is the reason why some men jump to conclusions irrationally. They do 
not identify principles, but just act on an emotional response. This also 
explains much context-dropping. Without a principled basis of firmly-held 
concepts, it is impossible for them to hold an ideational context and relate 
specific concretes to that context. 

   * Introspection 
   (These ideas on introspection were originated by Edith Packer.)
   As Objectivism emphasizes, emotions are not tools of cognition, and they 
should not themselves control your behavior. Nevertheless, emotions have 
enormous psychological significance. 
   All emotions are derived from some type of cognition; they have no 
independent existence apart from the thoughts, conscious or subconscious, 
which underlie them. Emotions are not in conflict with, but are a product 
of, the evaluations which underlie them. Emotions are psychosomatic 
responses to a perceived object, event, or situation, identified and 
appraised in accordance with the perceiver's knowledge and value-judgments. 
As these statements imply, every emotion presupposes perception, 
identification, and judgment. 
   The ideas you hold in your conscious mind are fed into your subconscious 
mind and act as instructions for its functioning. The emotions that result 
from this functioning can reveal its nature to you. Armed with this 
knowledge, you can "reprogram" your subconscious by changing the evaluations 
made by your conscious mind. Thus the ability of a person to identify and 
understand his emotions is crucial to his happiness. Emotions are an 
essential means by which we experience ourselves and respond to our 
evaluations of the world around us. Emotions are the single most important 
signal indicating the nature of our subconsciously-held value-judgments. 
Understanding your emotions enables you to get in touch with what is 
uniquely you: your individuality. 
   Life can be experienced to the fullest only if you know yourself, and you 
cannot know and understand yourself without a definite commitment to a 
conscious policy of introspection. Introspection is a cognitive, 
intellectual process directed inward, focusing on and identifying the 
internal processes of your consciousness. Just as extrospection is a focus 
on the various aspects of the external world, so introspection consists of 
an awareness of and focus on your intellectual and emotional life. The 
requirements of mental health include both: knowledge of both external and 
internal reality. 
   It is important to be aware of the difference between actual 
introspection and what is often mistakenly believed to be introspection, 
namely the continuous defensive observation of one's behavior and feelings 
(usually of anxiety) in anticipation of real or imagined disapproval. Such a 
neurotically self-conscious focus amounts to asking "How am I doing?" during 
all of one's interactions with other people. This cannot be considered 
introspection, because introspection seeks answers to the questions of "What 
am I doing?" and "Why am I doing it?" but this process seeks an answer to 
the question "What do other people think of what I'm doing?" 

   * The Six Steps of Introspection 
   Introspection of emotions has to take place in a series of six steps: 
   1. Identify the type of emotion or emotions which you are experiencing. 
   2. Identify the generalized (universal) evaluation underlying each of 
those emotions. 
   3. Identify your personal evaluation--the particular form in which you 
hold the universal evaluation. 
   4. Determine the correctness of the underlying evaluations you have made, 
both universal and personal. Discover whether your evaluations are true or 
false in light of the facts. 
   5. If the evaluations underlying your emotions are incorrect, identify 
the problems which led you to make the incorrect evaluations. 
   6. Consciously reinforce correct evaluations in order to correct the 
inappropriate thinking methods that arise from your psychological problems. 

   Keep in mind that each of these steps is an integral part of 
introspection and each of them is equally important. Furthermore, each step 
is a prerequisite of the next. 

   * Step 1 
   Identify the type of emotion or emotions which you are experiencing. 
   Good questions to ask in order to figure out what type of emotions you 
are feeling are: Am I feeling positive or negative emotions or a combination 
of both? Do my emotions concern other people or just myself? It may also be 
helpful to make a list of the different emotions that you are experiencing 
and what you think each is a reaction to. Even people who are completely 
inexperienced at introspection will be able to name some emotions if they 
try. Do not worry at this point that you do not know all the emotions you 
may be experiencing. You will probably discover others as you proceed. 

   * Step 2 
   Identify the general (universal) evaluation underlying each of your 
   It is important to know that each emotion has at its base an abstract 
evaluation which is the same for everyone who experiences that emotion. As a 
result, emotions can be classified on the basis of the kinds of abstact 
evaluations that underlie them. Once a person makes a particular kind of 
evaluation, the die is cast. From that particular type of evaluation, only 
one general type of emotion can follow, and the type of emotion will never 
vary from person to person or from time to time, nor does it matter whether 
the person undergoing this emotion-generating process is aware of it or not, 
or whether the evaluation that gives rise to the emotion is based on facts 
or is completely incorrect. The essential relationship between the 
evaluation and the emotion which follows remains. 
   For example: if a person consciously or subconsciously concludes that 
something in reality poses a threat to his well-being, he will automatically 
feel fear. Thus, the man who sees a speeding car bearing down on him will 
feel fear. And so will the man who jumps at the sound of a truck backfiring 
on a city street, if he thinks it is the sound of a gun which is being fired 
near him. The emotion will be of the same type: fear. Only the concretes on 
the basis of which the evaluations were made will differ. Thus, the value-
judgment underlying fear will always be something to the effect: "I am in 
danger. Something is threatening my physical or psychological safety." 
   Similarly, if a person concludes, "Some injustice was done to me," he 
will automatically feel anger. 
   It is important to understand clearly that once the appropriate 
evaluation is drawn, anger will inevitably follow. Or, conversely, if a 
person is feeling anger, he has to realize that at some time in the past he 
came to the evaluation, "Some injustice has been done to me." 
   If you have difficulty identifying the evaluations underlying your 
emotions, due to repression or lack of experience in introspection, I 
recommend that you ask yourself such questions as: "Do I think some 
injustice was done to me?" "Do I evaluate myself as unworthy?" "Do I think I 
can never achieve this or that particular value?" If the answer is "Yes" to 
all three, then you will know that you must be feeling anger, self-doubt, 
and depression. 

   * Step 3 
   Identify your personal evaluation--the particular form in which you hold 
the universal evaluation. 
   A good way to distinguish steps two and three is to remember that the 
universal evaluation is the abstract evaluation; the personal evaluation is 
the concrete form it takes in the case of any particular individual. 
   For example: individuals differ in what they consider unjust. Suppose 
that two people both experience the universal evaluation that some injustice 
was done to them. As a result, they both feel angry. But obviously there are 
many ways, based on many different concrete experiences, of reaching the 
identical universal evaluation and therefore the identical emotion--in this 
example, anger. Ms Jones' personal evaluation may be: "My next-door 
neighbor, whom I liked and respected, drove her lawnmower through my flower 
garden." But Mr. Smith's personal evaluation may be: "My best buddy asked my 
girl friend out for a date and is stealing her away from me." Thus, the 
personal evaluation will differ from individual to individual, but the 
generalized perception of an injustice--and the subsequent emotion of anger-
-is the same for all. 
   A person may have identified the type of emotion he is feeling, and may 
even be familiar with the corresponding universal evaluation which underlies 
it, but this does not imply that he knows what concrete event triggered it. 
   What you need to do in step three is to identify the specific experiences 
and thoughts that led you, in your individual case, to make the universal 
evaluations. Go over the specific events of your recent past and the types 
of things you have been thinking about. Even better: write down all the 
details in the form of a monologue. Your personal language may lead you to 
discover emotions that you had been unaware of. For example, your monologue 
may include words expressing hopelessness about your ability to cope with 
the world. If you identify this, you may be able to realize that you are 
also feeling depressed. If you have written down all the details, such an 
identification will be MUCH easier. 
   Suppose Mr. Smith wakes up in the morning and feels anger and a nagging 
feeling which he identifies as self-doubt. He is aware that he is concluding 
that someone did him an injustice and that his self-worth is threatened in 
some way. But he has no idea what particular concrete triggered these 
feelings or why he feels the way he does. 
   Suppose he discovers that the only unusual event he recalls was that his 
boss praised his co-worker, Mr. Lamb, enthusiastically. He can then ask 
himself: "Did I think this was an injustice to me, and did this cause me 
self-doubt?" As a result, he may come up with the following personal 
thoughts: "Yes, that praise of Mr. Lamb was outrageous. I happen to know 
that Mr. Lamb wastes hours during work talking about baseball, while I work 
my head off. No wonder I feel anger and self-doubt. If this can happen, 
there must be something wrong with my boss and with the world, or with me 
for not knowing how to deal with it. I can't find justice and will never 
find it." As you can see, Mr. Smith has discovered not only what concretes 
triggered his emotions, but also how he personally interpreted those 
concretes, and how his personal evaluations led to his feelings of anger and 
   The identification of personal evaluations may be of great help to 
repressed people who do not experience varied and deep emotions. 
Technically, emotions as such cannot be repressed. What is repressed are the 
evaluations that produce the emotions. Remember, an emotion is a consequence 
and cannot come into existence without the underlying cause: your 
evaluations. A represser evaluates, but his subconscious does not allow his 
evaluations to come into conscious awareness, The result is that he does not 
know what certain facts mean to him. He may feel some general discomfort, or 
a vague unpleasantness, but in general he will not feel strongly about 
things and will not be able to identify the type of emotion he is feeling. 
   A represser should go over carefully his written account of his recent 
past. Then, if he finds anything out of the ordinary, he should ask himself: 
"What do I really think about this fact? What do I think an unrepressed 
person would feel under the circumstances?" If he does this, he may be 
surprised to discover that he in fact leads an active inner life of 
appraising concretes which he cannot allow himself to acknowledge, given his 
fear of experiencing emotions. 
   In such a case, a good technique to use is to pretend that each emotion 
has a voice, a voice that expresses the thoughts which underlie it. 
   I hope you can see the importance of discovering your personal 
evaluations. It is step three which shows most directly your individual and 
personal way of making judgments based on your values and your general 
psychology. Therefore, it is crucial to spend sufficient time on this step 
to squeeze out every possible concrete detail of the thoughts underlying 
your emotions. Knowing your detailed personal evaluations is a prerequisite 
to succeeding with step four: judging the correctness of your evaluations. 
There is usually much less subconscious resistance to identifying personal 
evaluations than there is to admitting their possible incorrectness. Thus, 
the more thorough you are in step three, the less chance you will have to 
sabotage step four. And most people do try to sabotage step four, whether 
they do so consciously or subconsciously. 
   I must stress the need to work hard at step three, because even 
individuals who often introspect will have a tendency to rush through it. 
Most people do not believe that their personal evaluations have to be 
spelled out in detail. In addition, many individuals often sabotage the 
introspective process by immediately damning themselves for emotions they do 
not approve of. Evaluating yourself on the basis of what you FEEL is 
unwarranted, and it does not help you to change the unwanted emotions. Such 
disapproval of your emotions serves only to undercut your further progress 
in introspection. 

   * Step 4 
   Determine the correctness of the underlying evaluations you have made, 
both universal and personal. Discover whether your evaluations are true or 
false in light of the facts. 
   Up to this point, the process has been limited to understanding emotions 
in terms of the evaluations that underlie them. We did not question whether 
any of these evaluations were correct or not. But it is obvious that a 
person can easily make a mistake or misinterpret facts. Usually he can point 
to some objective facts supporting his evaluations, but often other 
important facts will have been left out of consideration, or filtered and 
distorted due to mistaken basic premises. Other neurotic problems can be 
operating as well. For example, most people are compartmentalized to some 
extent. The most brilliant person, who in his work applies a rigorous policy 
of testing his objectivity in evaluating the facts, may apply a totally 
different method of evaluating the facts of his personal life. In testing 
the correctness of your evaluations, it is important to be aware that you 
may feel resistance toward making an objective assessment of the facts. Such 
resistance is not a matter of deliberate evasion, but can result from 
subconscious feelings of hurt and anger that may cause you difficulty in 
seeing the facts objectively. 
   To check whether your evaluations are true or false, ask yourself such 
questions as: Do the facts I have considered support my evaluation? Did I 
leave out facts which would be germane to my evaluation? Am I aware of facts 
which, if considered, would lead me to draw different evaluations? Am I 
resisting acknowledging any facts which would lead me to draw evaluations 
opposite to those I have drawn? Are the connections which led me to arrive 
at my evaluations logical? 
   Of course, the more you know about your personal method of thinking, the 
more successful you will be in discovering the particular type of question 
you need to ask yourself. It is very important that the questions be tailor-
made to fit your specific psychology. 
   In addition to formulating questions tailor-made to your particular 
psycho-epistemology, you should also be inventive in finding solutions to 
bad thinking habits you become aware of. 
   You can prepare for step four of introspection by constructing a table of 
concretes you view as threats, with each threat rated on a scale from one to 
ten in terms of its seriousness. Then, each time you wish to test the truth 
of your personal evaluations of these potential threats, you could ask 
yourself: Am I rating this concrete as a ten, when it is in fact only a two, 
which I really do know how to handle? 
   Often, when the problem is not pervasive, relief from negative emotions 
can be achieved right at this step. If you can conclude that there is in 
fact no threat, your fear and sense of being out of control may subside 

   * Step 5 
   If the evaluations underlying your emotions are incorrect, identify the 
problems which led you to make the incorrect evaluations. (Of course, if you 
discover that the underlying evaluations are correct, after you have checked 
all the relevant facts, you would stop with step four.) 
   Step five can be the most difficult one of all. And success in carrying 
it out will depend on many factors. More than anything else, it will depend 
on the extent of your knowledge of your psychological processes. The more 
familiar you are with your core evaluations, and the type of defense 
mechanisms you use to counteract your self-doubt, the easier it will be for 
you to discover why you have made inappropriate evaluations. (Core 
evaluations are basic evaluations that are held subconsciously. They are 
fundamental judgments about three areas of everyone's life: self, reality, 
and other people.) 
   Suppose a person with genuine self-esteem finds himself feeling self-
doubt. He should then ask: "What did I do that I do not think is worthy of 
me?" And, having discovered the action he disapproves of, and corrected his 
evaluation, he will be able to endure the anxiety until it passes. He will 
not permit defense mechanisms to spring into action. Such a person will also 
be able to avoid any repetition of the action he judged to be unworthy. 
   In contrast, a self-doubtful person who discovers an inappropriate action 
would be inclined to conclude something to the effect: "Of course, I did 
this unworthy thing. It is par for the course with me, given the kind of 
person I am." Or, even more likely, such a person will automatically 
initiate some defense mechanism, in order to avoid the self-doubt, thereby 
inadvertently perpetuating it. 
   If you know very little about your psychology, then at this point you may 
have some real difficulty. You may need to deeply examine your whole 
psychology and life-patterns because you need to understand better how you 
function and why. You may discover that you are not actually reacting to 
your present problem, but to some painful event in your distant past. It may 
be that your first love, after a long, close relationship, inexplicably left 
you for another man. You may discover that as a result of this painful 
experience you made a number of subconscious conclusions, such as: "I'm not 
desirable as a man. It's not safe to be in a close romantic relationship, 
because it causes me pain and self-doubt. I can avoid such suffering by 
being in romantic relationships in which I unilaterally set the terms." Thus 
you compensate for your masculine self-doubt by continually trying to prove 
to yourself that women find you attractive. Any rejection makes you re-
experience the loss that devastated you in the past. 
   Another example: let us imagine that Mr. Smith is aware of the fact that 
in his childhood he concluded that his parents always favored his brother, 
and that on this basis one of the core evaluations he developed is that 
whenever people have a choice between him and someone else, they will 
automatically favor the other individual. Knowing this, Mr. Smith could say 
to himself: "This situation probably reminds me of the past painful 
incidents with my brother, where I felt pain, anger, and self-doubt. My 
evaluations in the present situation are based on my subconsciously held 
core evaluation that I automatized a long time ago. I can see how that core 
evaluation influences my present interpretation of facts whenever the 
situation appears to be similar to the old, painful one with my brother." 
   How much you can accomplish at this point will depend also on how 
important the issue is to you, and how much time you have available. 
Obviously, you cannot spend all the time needed to unravel every 
insignificant or minute emotion and its causes. Sometimes, too, the reason 
why you made the error in evaluation will be clear to you before you ever 
get to this step. For example, you find out later that the friend who kept 
you waiting did so because he got into an accident and had no way of 
notifying you. In such a case, you would know that you were justified in 
your evaluation, but that you were unaware of all the facts. 
    Even if you are not successful at step five in the beginning, by 
persisting at introspection you will gather a lot of factual data which will 
at least show you how your psychology operates. And, hopefully, it will lead 
you to some explanation of why it operates in that manner. If, during the 
course of your life, you have kept a written journal of significant things 
that have happened to you, and your responses to those things, you will find 
these notes enormously helpful in the process of introspection. 

   * Step 6 
   Consciously reinforce correct evaluations in order to correct the 
inappropriate thinking methods that arise from your psychological problems. 
   I have emphasized that the kind of emotions you experience are the result 
of the type of universal evaluations you have made. From this, it follows 
that if you change these evaluations, the emotions will change. Thus, if you 
become convinced while introspecting that no injustice has been done to you, 
your feelings of anger will disappear. Your subconscious will automatically 
arrange this change for you. 
   This will happen because your subconscious operates on the basis of a 
program established by your conscious mind. Your subconscious does NOT have 
the capacity to reprogram itself. It is only the conscious mind that is able 
to check the appropriateness of the program, and it is only the conscious 
mind that can do the reprogramming. 
   Step six is designed to do just that. You should say to yourself at this 
point: "I programmed my subconscious inappropriately in this area. It 
operates inappropriately and causes me great suffering. I am hereby adopting 
a different policy, which will take the place of the incorrect one." You can 
say: "I have to accept the responsibility of consciously judging each 
separate situation based on the facts." 
   If you persist in doing this, you can eventually reprogram any aspect of 
your subconscious. 
   Probably many of you have had this experience: you realize that your 
evaluations of the facts are mistaken, yet even after having understood the 
correct evaluation, the old evaluations may subsequently resurface and you 
find yourself again in the grip of the resulting inappropriate emotions. 
Don't despair. Simply go over all the facts again; reinforce the correct 
evaluations by re-asserting your knowledge of the actual facts. If you do 
that, your subconscious mind will eventually get the message and the 
unwanted emotions will then disappear permanently. 
   It is important to remember that reprogramming your subconscious mind is 
rarely, if ever, an instantaneous process. It takes time, maybe lots of 
time, so be patient with yourself. 
   I might add that repressed people, as a rule, have to reinforce their 
commitment to experiencing emotions. They have to convince their 
subconscious that there is no need to fear emotions, and give their 
subconscious an order to allow its appraisals of concretes to enter 
conscious awareness. 

   * Closing comments 
   Do not be afraid to introspect. Most people do not discover terrible 
things about themselves that they cannot correct. If there is something 
wrong in your psychology, it will stay wrong if you do not find out what it 
is. If you don't introspect, what is wrong will become more and more 
entrenched, undercutting you and causing you to become more unhappy. 
   Do not judge yourself on the basis of the emotions you feel. It is your 
evaluations, which underlie the emotions, that you should be judging. If you 
are damning YOURSELF for the emotions you feel, you will change nothing. 
   Further, be careful not to judge yourself at times when you are 
overwhelmed by negative emotions. If you do, you are in the position of 
being in the hands of a drunken juror deciding a life and death issue 
concerning your life. The fact that you may FEEL you are no good, does not 
mean you are no good in fact. Your behavior, not your emotions, is the 
deciding evidence. (Always remember that although you may not have direct 
control over how you FEEL, you DO have direct control over how you ACT.) 
Thus, make sure that your standards for judging your worth are the standards 
of a rational and cold sober juror. 
   Introspection is very difficult for most people. The process has to be 
learned. Unfortunately, we were never taught how to do it when we were 
young, and now, as adults, we have to teach ourselves. But introspection is 
difficult only in the beginning. The more you do it, the easier and less 
time-consuming it becomes. If you persist you will get the hang of it. If 
you do, it will pay you wonderful dividends. You will get acquainted 
intimately with the person that you are. You will discover your good 
qualities and will be able to see which qualities you have to change. It 
will give you a greater sense of control over your life, because knowing 
your emotions will help prevent you from automatically acting on them. A 
conscious, consistent commitment to introspection will give you freedom from 
self-doubt, and you will become a happier person. 

   * Orwell - Newspeak - Brainwashing - Prolefeed 
       1984 by George Orwell - New American Library (Signet) #451 CY688 
   This is the most prophetic book of the 20th century. Orwell's concepts of 
Newspeak and Prolefeed are indispensable to an understanding of the 
development of American culture during the latter half of this century. A 
thorough knowledge of Newspeak, as it has been implemented in America, is 
the best means by which one can avoid an immense quagmire of faulty 

   * Newspeak 
   The effect of Newspeak is not to extend but to diminish the range of 
thought and to make all other modes of thought impossible, so that an idea 
divergent from the prevalent philosophy will be literally unthinkable. 
   This is done partly by stripping undesirable words of unorthodox 
meanings. For example: The word "anarchy" still exists but it can only be 
understood as meaning a completely lawless and chaotic state of nihilistic 
destruction. It cannot be used in its old sense of "a social condition from 
which the institutionalized use of coercive aggression is absent" since 
politically such a condition no longer exists even as a concept, and is 
therefore nameless. 
   Another example is "inflation." When people today refer to inflation, 
they do not mean an increase in the quantity of money substitutes, but the 
general rise in prices and wages which is the inevitable CONSEQUENCE of 
that increase. This semantic innovation is by no means harmless. First of 
all there is no longer any term available to signify what "inflation" used 
to signify. It is impossible to fight an evil which you cannot name. You no 
longer have the opportunity to resort to a terminology accepted and 
understood by the public when you want to describe a financial policy you 
are opposed to. You must enter into a detailed analysis and description of 
this policy with full particulars and minute accounts whenever you want to 
refer to it, and you must repeat this bothersome procedure in every 
sentence in which you deal with this subject. Second, those who wish to 
fight inflation are diverted in their struggle away from the fundamental 
nature of inflation and are forced to direct their attentions to its 
consequences. They end up flailing at the symptoms rather than eliminating 
the cause. Merely snipping at the leaves of the weed rather than hacking at 
the root. 
   An especially corrupting abuse of language can be seen in the ambiguous 
use of the words "think" and "feel." This use equivocates cognitive 
assessment with emotional response, and leaves the victim unable to 
discriminate between his thoughts and his emotions. 
   The special function of Newspeak words is to destroy meaning. In Newspeak 
it is seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further than the 
perception that it IS heretical; beyond that point the required words are 
nonexistent. It would be possible to say, "government is unnecessary," but 
this statement could not be sustained by a comprehensible argument, because 
the requisite words (such as "anarchy") are not meaningfully available. An 
example of a phrase designed to destroy meaning is in this suggestion, made 
by a proponent of international trade barriers: "A more accurate name than 
the persuasive label 'free trade'--because who can be opposed to freedom?--
is 'deregulated international commerce.'" If accepted, his proposal, that 
his adversaries use this mouthful of multi-syllabic obfuscation as the name 
of their political goal, would be the first step toward destruction of the 
concept "free" in the minds of his opponents. And in the minds of their 
   Nowhere is this semantic fraud more blatant than in the government's 
dishonest descriptions of its own activities, in which words are used merely 
as tools to manipulate the social environment. 
   For example: In 1993, Congress required the Dept. of Health and Human 
Services to examine the feasibility of shifting some biological weapons 
research from the Army to the National Institutes of Health. Thus, under the 
direction of the Dept. of Health, the National Institutes of Health will now 
be engaged in germ warfare. Orwell was right--"War is Peace" or, more 
appropriately, "Health is Death." 
   Perhaps the most long-lasting and widespread manifestation of the 
government's use of another of Big Brother's slogans ("Freedom is Slavery") 
is the "selective service." 
   In Newspeak, certain words are deliberately constructed for political 
purposes--words which are intended to impose a desirable mental attitude 
upon the person using them and to make it impossible for him to hold any 
contrary attitude. This is the explicit goal of the "Politically Correct" 
   What a Newspeak user acquires is an outlook similar to that of the 
ancient Hebrew who knew, without knowing much else, that all nations other 
than his own worshipped "false gods." He did not need to know what these 
gods were, and probably the less he knew about them the better for his own 
orthodoxy. This sort of orthodoxy was explicitly fostered during the 
McCarthy era of the early 1950s, when accusations of "communist!" were 
thrown around indiscriminately while no one, neither the accusers nor the 
accused, had any idea of what a communist is. Nor did they dare ask 
publicly, for fear of being labeled a communist merely for making the 
   Thomas Szasz coined the very useful word "semanticide" to designate the 
murder of meaning. Semanticide is the ultimate goal of Newspeak. 
   Many words, such as "freedom," "patriotism," "liberty," etc. have been 
appropriated by wanna-be tyrants (especially by Right-wing political 
Conservatives) who use those words to designate the opposite of their 
historical (and cognitively correct) meanings, thus leaving the majority of 
people with no way to distinguish libertarians from our totalitarian 
enemies. Conservative zealots claiming to speak in the name of 
libertarianism have fomented a dangerous agenda that is corrupting our most 
cherished ideals and deceiving others about our fundamental principles. 
   Because of this semantic corruption, you will frequently hear the claim 
that libertarianism has not been defined. Remember this: the fact that you 
have encountered some ignorant and/or dishonest people does not absolve you 
from determining the truth. 
   The only way I can see to combat this dismal situation is to attack it 
not on its surface, by making futile attempts to persuade people of the 
correct definitions of those critical words, but at its roots, by renouncing 
epistemological relativism and asserting the idea that DEFINITIONS ARE NOT 
ARBITRARY. Unless your audience realizes this, any argument you engage in 
will be merely a verbal battle of wits with your adversary--the outcome 
dependent on who can make the most clever use of phrases that are 
meaningless in the minds of the audience. 
   The result of Newspeak is boastful inarticulateness on the part of those 
who haven't anything to say, and helplessness on the part of those who have. 
   "Those who cannot carry a train of consequences in their heads; nor weigh 
exactly the preponderancy of contrary proofs and testimonies may be easily 
misled to assent to positions that are not probable." ... John Locke 
   People who can't analyze and dissect their language cannot separate 
meaning from words and thus cannot perceive an existence separate from the 
words used to describe it. For those people, the Law of Identity is quite 
literally meaningless. After they have been told enough lies, they may just 
abandon what feeble and implicit hold they ever had on the Law of Identity. 
When they end up as schizophrenics you can do anything you want with them, 
EXCEPT make them technologically competent. 
   Freedom of the mind requires not only the absence of legal constraints 
but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not 
the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes 
awareness of other possibilities. 

   * Brainwashing 
   These are the elements of brainwashing. At least some of them are used, 
in greater or lesser intensity, by all authoritarian organizations, and by 
anyone attempting to assert psychological dominance. 

   Get your victim at your mercy. 
   Take away his ordinary inputs--his accustomed environment. Isolate him 
and deprive him of social support, to develop an intense concern for 
   Deprive him of all opportunities for self-expression. 
   Control his perceptions, with darkness or bright light, or by creating a 
barren environment and restricting movement, to fix the victim's attention 
on his predicament and to eliminate distractions. Inundate him with strong 
and novel sensory experiences. 
   Subject him to physical degradation, by prevention of personal hygiene 
and imposing various other humiliations, so as to reduce the victim to 
concern with "animal values." 
   Induce debilitation and exhaustion, by semi-starvation, exposure, sleep 
deprivation and induced illness, so as to weaken the victim's physical and 
mental ability to resist. 
   Demonstrate omnipotence, to suggest the futility of resistance. This is 
carried out by such techniques as pretending to take cooperation for granted 
or demonstrating complete control over the victim's fate. 
   Issue threats, to cultivate anxiety, dread and despair. 
   Enforce trivial demands, to develop a habit of compliance. 
   Perform occasional indulgences, such as unpredictable favors and 
unexpected kindness, to provide motivation for compliance. 

   * Prolefeed 
   One element of brainwashing, "control of perceptions," gives rise to the 
phenomenon of "Prolefeed." Prolefeed augments Newspeak, in that its effect 
is to render people less able to make rationally-based value judgments. In 
doing so, it leaves them more receptive to judgments imposed on them by 
authority figures. Responsibility for the implementation of Newspeak must 
rest mainly with the government, and those who worship it, but Prolefeed is 
the product of the advertising industry of America. Corporate advertising in 
America is likely the largest single psychology project ever undertaken by 
the human race, yet its stunning psychological impact remains mostly ignored 
by mainstream psychologists. (But not completely ignored: the February 2001 
issue of Scientific American magazine contains a splendid essay "The Science 
of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini, in which he presents an analysis of the 
techniques used to influence people's judgments.) 
   There is nothing unethical in attempting to persuade people to purchase 
your products, but the techniques the advertising industry has used in 
pursuing this goal have had unforeseen results which are psychologically and 
intellectually devastating. Advertising, both commercial and political, has 
resulted in a merciless distortion of authentic human needs and desires. The 
victims learn to substitute what they are told to want for what are in fact 
their objective needs. By the time they reach adulthood, their authentic 
feelings are so well buried that they have only the vaguest sense that 
"something" is missing from their spiritual life. Having ignored their 
genuine needs for so long, their souls are empty, but the emptiness is 
continually denied. 
   It is far easier, in the short run, to listen to the commercials, which 
are always beckoning, always promising, always assuring that this time, with 
this product or this candidate, it will be possible to fulfill the heart's 
desire, than to take the initiative of making difficult independent personal 
   Prolefeed is a format of radio and TV programming whose result is 
intellectually debilitating. It is a format of information presentation 
which, by inducing detrimental psycho-epistemological programming and 
deprogramming, results in severe inhibition of cognitive efficiency. The 
cognitive debilitation results, in part, from continuous exposure to 
unceasing repetition of phrases or melodies which contain just enough 
cognitive content to possess a minimum of intelligible meaning, thereby 
distracting the mind from self-generated activity, without giving the mind 
sufficient content for significant externally-induced activity. Observe, 
please, that it is not the CONTENT of the input that induces the debility, 
but the FORMAT of its presentation. 
   Consider a common phenomenon: there is a radio playing in the background 
at the place you are working. In order to concentrate on your work you "tune 
out" the radio--you make an alteration in your mental functioning which 
renders your conscious mind unaware of the sounds of the radio. Since your 
ears (unlike your eyes which can be physically closed to sensory input) are 
continually feeding signals into the brain, all the sound that enters the 
ears is transmitted into the brain. Thus there is a part of your mind that 
is always aware of this sound. The only way you can "tune out" the 
background noise is to erect a barrier between your conscious mind and that 
area of the subconscious mind that receives input from your ears, a barrier 
that prevents the awareness from getting through. The psycho-epistemological 
programming that erects these barriers is one of the most pernicious aspects 
of Prolefeed. Not just because it produces the psychological self-alienation 
of a divided mind, but because it inflicts a profound impairment of 
judgment, an impairment resulting from the conflict of the subconsciously 
acquired prolefeed information with consciously derived value-decisions. 
   "You turn on the radio; if you have any soul, you go crazy." ... Richard 
   Frequent instantaneous shifts of subject matter--e.g., interrupting 
programs with commercial messages--inhibit the mental function of 
integration and diminish the attention span of the victim, thus promoting 
schizophrenia. Such interruptions immediately following an information 
presentation can inhibit the victim from consciously evaluating the 
information. Thus he will be more likely to accept it subconsciously as 
truth, and will be left in a condition wherein the ideas in his mind have 
not been critically examined. Without firm awareness of its truth value, he 
will experience a nebulous state of uncertainty regarding his knowledge. 
   The story line of a TV program is interrupted every several minutes by 
commercials. This process breaks the viewer's concentration on a single 
subject and, over a long period of TV viewing, instills a habit of jumping 
from idea to idea. How many children who are diagnosed with Attention 
Deficit Disorder merely have a habit caused by this on/off of TV viewing? 
With this habit from TV already formed before children ever go to school, is 
it any wonder they can't concentrate for any length of time? 
   Consider The Orienting Response, an automatic subconscious 
visual/auditory somatic reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. (It's what 
directs the focus of your attention when a car horn beeps nearby.) It is 
part of our evolutionary heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and 
potential predatory threats. In this phenomenon, the brain focuses its 
attention on gathering more information while the rest of the body quiets 
down. The simple technical features of television - cuts, edits, zooms, 
pans, sudden noises - activate the Orienting Response, thereby keeping 
attention focused on the screen. In ads, action sequences and music videos, 
these features often occur at a rate of one or more per second, thus keeping 
the Orienting Response continuously activated. Thus it is the form, not the 
content, of television that has a significant effect on the subconscious 
   We're bombarded with advertising, a steady chattering in our eyes and 
ears. So we learn to tune it out. In order to function, we have to make 
ourselves deliberately blind and deaf to a part of our environment. The 
advertisers know that we do this, so they increase the size, color, 
intensity, volume, and repetitions of their ads. They give us more, better, 
and different ads. And we try even harder to tune them out. Commercials are 
designed to catch your attention and instill remembrance, an increasingly 
difficult process because its effects dampen its effectiveness. The din 
eventually gets painful because it is cumulative. People unable to hear one 
another speak raise their voices--which encourages their neighbors, who 
can't hear themselves speak, to shout--which makes their neighbors, who 
can't hear themselves shout, scream. Eventually we are so tuned out that we 
can no longer see the sky, the stars, the souls of our lovers, and the 
reality of the world we live in. 
   Such programming causes severe value hierarchy distortions. It does this 
by presenting mundane things as having supreme importance. Consider an 
advertisement showing a man about to bite into a hamburger. His facial 
expression clearly and blatantly portrays the idea that this hamburger is 
the greatest thing ever to enter his life. One wonders how he contemplates 
his wife when he goes home from work at night. After he has displayed such 
an attitude toward a hamburger, what could he have left to display toward 
   Being continually bombarded with the notion that each product--whether it 
be a hamburger, chewing gum, the latest model Chevy, or a political 
candidate--is a sine qua non of the utmost value and importance, is a 
process that severely distorts, and even destroys, any rational value 
hierarchy and leaves the victim in a judgmental vacuum, lacking a sensible 
means to evaluate the phenomena which are IN FACT important to his life. 
   Years of value-depravation crush all emotions, all hope, leaving the 
victims with eyes that have stopped seeing, ears that have stopped hearing, 
and souls that have stopped living a long time ago. It is truly the twilight 
of the gods. 
   It must be strenuously emphasized that people are, at least in part, 
their own censors, and thus are themselves responsible for much of the 
devastation I describe. They refuse to buy newspapers or watch TV shows that 
challenge them to think or that upset their prejudices, so they get fed this 
dreadful pap. The goddam TV does, after all, have an on-off switch! But this 
cultural phenomenon is extremely difficult to break out of because, as you 
can deduce from what I have said above, a primary effect of Prolefeed is to 
render you incapable of perceiving the primary effect of Prolefeed. In 
somewhat the same way that being a chronic liar eventually changes your soul 
in such a way that you are no longer able to perceive the spiritual effects 
of being a chronic liar. 

   It is no mere coincidence that the rise of popular radio and TV 
programming in the 1950s and its widespread availability (the transistor was 
invented in 1948) immediately preceeded the plunge of the SAT scores of 
American high-school students from 1963 onward. (See my essay on Education 
in America.)  See reference 
   Prolefeed has had a devastating effect on American society. Mammoth 
quantities of brutally superficial distractions bombard and fill the minds 
of today's youth, resulting all too often in a complete inability to 
express anything even remotely seeming to ensue from a rational thought 
process. Children grow up in an environment of commercial and political 
lies and manipulations that is tantamount to cultural child abuse. Every 
time an official lie is told it teaches young people not to trust social 
institutions. Thus when something like the AIDS epidemic comes, they will 
ignore admonitions to protect themselves. 
   Society reaps what it sows in the way it nurtures its children. 
Psychological stress sculpts the brain to exhibit various antisocial, though 
adaptive, behaviors. Stress, whether it comes in the form of physical, 
emotional or sexual traumas or through exposure to violence, famine or 
pestilence, can set off a ripple of hormonal changes that permanently wire a 
young, growing brain to cope with a malevolent world. Once these key brain 
alterations occur, there may be no going back. Throughout this chain of 
events, violence and abuse pass from generation to generation.  
   But while you are contemplating lugubriously the weltanschauung of 
Orwell's book, keep this in mind: the world Orwell depicts can have only a 
limited actualization. For this reason: the men in the white coats KNOW what 
is real. They HAVE to know. Without those men, there could be no 
technological civilization--there would be only barbarism. NO society rises 
above barbarism except by recognition of the Facts of Reality by someone who 
is instrumental in the conduct of society. This is why no matter what the 
State decrees, someone HAS to know reality: the scientists who conceive 
material wealth; the engineers who translate those conceptions into 
functioning technology; the mechanics who maintain this technology. These 
people HAVE to be in cognitive contact with objective reality. That 
cognitive contact is an unconditional prerequisite to the existence of a 
technological civilization, and it is a continual limitation on government 
   And here you can see one of the major contributions of Objectivism: Rand 
has made philosophically EXPLICIT the function of the men in the white coats 
(who are only briefly and tangentially referred to by Orwell). This explicit 
depiction carries within it the seed of destruction for Statism. 

   On to Chapter 3
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