Don't assume false choices are your only choices.
Consider this classic, but petty, dispute. The husband rolls his toothpaste tube and the wife squeezes hers from the middle. Each annoys the other, and they want to agree on which way is better and both do it that way. Despite years of hashing this out, they still cannot agree. But there is a correct answer (assuming that, for some reason, they can't afford to each buy their own tube).
What they don't seem to realize is that both methods are wrong. Neither method maximizes using the paste that's in the tube, and both present some hassle as the tube gets smaller.
Rather than think of justifications for their wrong method, each spouse needs to think of the problem in a different way. Maybe it's not a matter of squeeze vs. roll.
Suppose you squeeze the tube from the end. When you're done using it, place the cap on it and stand it upside down. This provides several advantages:
- Moves that gel or paste toward the opening throughout 98% of the day (via gravity).
- Easier on the user than fighting a roll or squeezing in two directions at once just to get a dab of paste.
- Takes up far less space on the countertop.
The husband wanted to roll the toothpaste so that there wouldn't be wasted toothpaste. She wants to just squeeze the tube, because her goal is to brush her teeth rather than waste time engaging in toothpaste tube management. The false choice here was between wasting money and wasting time. Why are those the only two choices that a couple will normally consider in this classic dispute?
So now we have come up with a potential solution that is obviously better than the two "choices" to which the matter was formerly constrained. It wastes neither money nor time.
Of course, this scenario plays out over something as inconsequential as toothpaste while each spouse wastes money in other areas with nary a thought. But the conflict is a common one, and it's based on false choices.
Often, what we presume to be "choices" are not choices. For real choice, you must think through the problem to come up with something acceptable. Or, as in the case of toothpaste, maybe just get a life?
Another false choice situation involves those farces we call "elections." Why we even bother to have these, I can't really say. In federal "elections," a majority of American "voters" simply hands over its votes to The Party. It's like buying a Chevy instead of a Pontiac because you don't like GM. As if anything changes for GM by virtue of that "change."
This false voting accomplishes nothing more than sending the message that the stealing, plundering, and general lawlessness meet with your approval. The two non-choices to which most people limit themselves are merely employees of the same company. The result of this is horrendous. Exhibit A might be the millions of people who lost their jobs due to the Porkulus.
Or maybe it's the crushing federal debt with all of its arduous carrying costs. Divide 200 followed by 12 zeroes dollars of debt over 80 followed by 6 zeroes of workers and you come up with 2.5 million dollars of federal debt per worker. Sure, we all have that much cash just lying around, so why worry? Right.
Or maybe it's the evisceration of the Bill of Rights ala the anti-Patriot Act or the various other Constitution-gutting illegal measures passed by CONgress and illegal Executive Orders in the past 10 years. A nation of laws? Hardly. But we "elect" these lawbreakers right back into their grossly overpaid jobs every two years. It's that GM analogy all over again.
You've heard the expression "think outside the box." That comes from a puzzle diagram in the form of a box. Most people cannot solve this puzzle, because they limit their choices to drawing lines that are inside the box. To solve it, you must draw lines outside the box. In other words, don't limit yourself to only false choices.
How can you really comprehend big numbers, so they mean something? One way is to
compare them to a more familiar quantity or scale.
Here's an example. Since the start of the
"financial crisis," the Federal Reserve (which isn't federal and doesn't reserve
anything) has created $29 trillion out of thin air and given it to the major
banksters (who then lavished huge bonuses on their executives). Source: Senior
Scholar L. Randall Wray, professor of economics at the University of
What's the difference between $29 trillion and, say, $400 billion? It's hard
to picture. But compare it to, say, the population of 300 million people in the
USA, and you can start to picture it.
This is a great comparison, because the creation of that money out of thin
air was a currency debasement by that amount of money (inflation, in other
words). And because it's a "taking" from dollar holders, that makes it a tax.
How much was this tax per person?
- Divide 29 + 12 zeroes by 300 + 6 zeroes.
- The per capita tax is just under $97,000.
If "only" a $9 trillion counterfeiting operation, the tax would be only about
$32,000 per capita. For a family of four, that would be $128,000. But it's not
"only" $9 trillion. For a family of four, the damage is $388,000.
And now, with a little comparison, you can see just how egregious this
stealing really is. No wonder that when Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal
Reserve Act, it wasn't by light of day. It was pretty much a cloak and dagger
operation, and guess who got stabbed?
One of the rare ways that tax dollars are spent intelligently is when they are
spent on public libraries. The public library is an amazing resource.
ways you can use your library to boost your brainpower:
- Watch nonfiction documentary videos (DVD or, depending on your library, via download). I watch these fairly often, and it's amazing what you can learn.
- Listen to audio books (typically today, you download and listen on MP3 player). I can go to university while pulling weeds in my yard or doing housework. I use this resource intensively.
Your library is no doubt strapped for funds. Help them out. Here are some
- Buy a movie they don't have. Watch it, then donate it.
- Consider volunteering. If you can spare a couple of hours for a couple of evenings a week, they will have plenty for you to do.
- Be careful with library collection items. Handle DVDs by their edges. Treat books with utmost care, and never eat or drink while reading them.
- Don't reserve items that are already at your branch, unless the need is urgent. This is poor impulse control. Reserve items that are at other branches, yes. But if you can't wait a few weeks for something, you have discipline issues that create unnecessary work for others.
- Watch your county government for wasteful spending, and object to it. That means less cutting of the library budget if they listen and act accordingly.
- See what's at your library and talk it up to friends and neighbors. The more patrons a library has, the more political clout it has. My library, for example, keeps usage and patronage statistics for budget justification. And when that doesn't work, a few thousand phone calls from library patrons tend to get the county board's attention.