(Friday Filosophy 1/20/23)
Happy Freakin’ Friday!
Welcome to a crisp new edition of Friday Filosophy – the weekly postcard where I challenge you with a question, idea, or topic you may want to think about. Today let’s look at something we discuss frequently: your brain.
Or more specifically, how you develop, care for, and protect it from being co-opted by the forces that want to manipulate and control it. For me, my greatest fear is developing what I think of as “concrete brain.” Once moisture in concrete evaporates, it cures and hardens incredibly strong. But in that strength, there is no pliability. This can be an incredible metaphor for the human brain.
You already know many people with concrete brain. Their minds have been cured. For the last 40 or 50 years they’ve used the same deodorant, voted for the same political party, and cheered the same sports team. They possess an intractable, finished view of the world and the people who inhabit it. Now their days are spent collecting data to reinforce that worldview.
If they think immigrants want to replace white people in America, they watch the Tucker Carlson show to see footage of people scaling border walls. If they believe all Republicans are homophobes, racists, and anti-Semitics they watch MSNBC for the Greatest Hits of nitwitted fear mongers like Marjorie Taylor Green. If they believe the whole world is fucked and everyone is crazy, they watch reality shows like The Bachelor, Judge Judy, and The Kardashians. If they believe the world has flaws but is inherently good, they might be watching Nat Geo specials, taking long walks in nature, doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles, reading poetry, and hopefully, listening to my Power Prosperity Podcast.
For most people, concrete brain used to set in at the later stages of life. Today, because of 24-hour cable news networks, social media, and advances in manipulative marketing, people are developing this phenomenon in their 30s or even 20s. The “Anxiety Industry” (Matrix) needs you to be living in fear and hatred, and they have the data, social scientists, and computer algorithms to make that happen. They can take your casual predisposition toward a subject and drive you down a rabbit hole of stimuli to convert you into a raging culture warrior.
You are progressively transformed from someone who wants to know what is right – to someone who simply wants to be right.
There is no randomness; your life is the result of all the media narratives, blogs, podcasts, movies, television shows, and social media posts you’ve been consuming over the last three to five years. Everything you think and do today is a lagging factor of that previous consumption. You really are living in the Matrix, it’s just not the version you saw in the four-movie franchise. Here’s how I described the Matrix in Radical Rebirth:
The real Matrix is a collection of machines used for surveillance and data-gathering. (This includes every online search you perform, what you buy, every website you visit, your social media posts, the things you ask your voice assistants, the apps running in the background on your phone, and what you stream for entertainment.) Then this data is exploited to manipulate your habits, moods, identity, beliefs, and behaviors. The objectives are to make you feel powerless, needy, and helpless – and drive you to take self-destructive actions that reward the managers of the Matrix.
If you want to escape the Matrix, you can't let your ideas become your identity. You have to be exposed to opposing viewpoints and be willing to use the Steel Man technique. And you have to become ferociously mindful of the upstream you allow to feed your brain. Now more than any time in human history it is vital that you don’t allow others to manipulate your thoughts. You must develop the self-awareness to rise above yourself and mindfully think about what you think about. You must become the thinker of the thought, not the conduit for it.
On the podcast this week I shared something simple, but I think is one of the most overlooked aspects of living a prosperous life.
Your Secret Weapon for Prosperity
P.S. If you’re not changing your mind frequently, you’re not really using it.
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