The Love Of The Marvellous And The Disbelief Of The True.

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by rlb21079, Aug 26, 2003.


    The Love Of The Marvellous And The Disbelief Of The True. (abbr.)

    "Well, son John," said the old woman, "and what wonderful things did you meet with all the time you were at sea?" - " Oh! mother," replied John, "I saw many strange things." -- " Tell us all about them," replied his mother, "for I long to hear your adventures." -- " Well, then," said John, "as we were sailing over the Line, what do you think we saw?" - "I can't imagine," replied his mother. -- " Well, we saw a fish rise out of the sea, and fly over our ship!" "Oh! John! John! what a liar you are!" said his mother, shaking her head, and smiling incredulously. "True as death? said John; "and we saw still more wonderful things than that." -- " Let us hear them," said his mother, shaking her head again; "and tell the truth, John, if you can." -- " Believe it, or believe it not, as you please," replied her son; "but as we were sailing up the Red Sea, our captain thought he should like some fish for dinner; so he told us to throw our nets, and catch some." -- " Well," inquired his mother, seeing that he paused in his story. "Well," rejoined her son, "we did throw them, and, at the very first haul, we brought up a chariot-wheel, made all of gold, and inlaid with diamonds!" "Lord bless us!" said his mother, "and what did the captain say ?" -- " Why, he said it was one of the wheels of Pharaoh's chariot, that had lain in the Red Sea ever since that wicked King was drowned, with all his host, while pursuing the Israelites." -- " Well, well," said his mother, lifting up her hands in admiration; "now, that's very possible, and I think the captain was a very sensible man. Tell me such stories as that, and I'll believe you; but never talk to me of such things as flying fish! No, no, John, such stories won't go down with me, I can assure you!"

    Such old women as the sailor's mother, in the above well-known anecdote, are by no means rare in the world. Every age and country has produced them. They have been found in high places, and have sat down among the learned of the earth. Instances must be familiar to every reader in which the same person was willing, with greedy credulity, to swallow the most extravagant fiction, and yet refuse credence to a philosophical fact. The same Greeks who believed readily that Jupiter wooed Leda in the form of a swan, denied stoutly that there were any physical causes for storms and thunder, and treated as impious those who attempted to account for them on true philosophical principles.

    The reasons that thus lead mankind to believe the marvellously false, and to disbelieve the marvellously true, may be easily gathered. Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder's welcome. We all pay an involuntary homage to antiquity -- a "blind homage," as Bacon calls it in his "Novum Organum," which tends greatly to the obstruction of truth. To the great majority of mortal eyes, Time sanctifies everything that he does not destroy. The mere fact of anything being spared by the great foe makes it a favourite with us, who are sure to fall his victims. To call a prejudice "time-hallowed," is to open a way for it into hearts where it never before penetrated. Some peculiar custom may disgrace the people amongst whom it flourishes; yet men of a little wisdom refuse to aid in its extirpation, merely because it is old. Thus it is with human belief, and thus it is we bring shame upon our own intellect.
  2. Bolts


    Yup. This is the number one problem facing traders, I think. Too quick to see what they expect to see, and too reluctant to see the unexpected things that can teach them lessons.
  3. Volatility is a function of risk perception!
  4. There are 2 categories among common people (not only traders and I exclude the "Big Money"):

    - those who have no economical education and/or judgement (because some have education in theory but are incapable to put it in practice). They are pure (naive) believers and some are so religiously believers that they will spread the scam with fervor and above all self-interest.

    - those who have this economical education and/or judgement but also know that the first category is the mass that they can't fight so they also follow as by fatality. A subcategory will purposely exploit this naivety by doing exactly the same thing as the first category : helping to spread the scam. They will do it with a serious tone so that they could even convert partly the reasonable ones. Among them are of course analysts, traders, financial journalists etc... This is the "greatest fool theory": everybody thinks that he is more intelligent than his neighbor and that he will always find a greater fool than him.

    So it is not irrational exhuberance it is rather a pyramidal scheme of self interest. As in the famous prisonner dilemna of game theory all of us are like prisonners who depend on others decision and cannot escape the global negative result because we cannot communicate (one to all). Only the authority can do so. In real world only medias can target the mass. And their messages are from the Big Money. We behave at term for the Big Money's interest not for our interest (at term I insist since at short term we behave for our interest). Big Money can communicate between them and make agreement for their global interests and so can escape the prisonner's dilemna contrary to us.

  5. The main trick to fool the people and make the Big Money interests realise is to use the "free" economy pretext whereas as Rothbard the libertarian economist warned in a Washington Post article that those who are supposed to defend the free economy that is to say the official political defensors uses the libertarian arguments in speech to get the votes from people but in fact they betray the free economy for this Big Money interest. Big Money doesn't want free economy, they use only free economy in RETHORIC not in ACTION. This mean that the majority of people do only judge on appearance and labels and not by observing true facts. This is why history foolishness repeats since it is so easy to fool the people and you don't need to fool the people all the time you only need to fool them enough time so that things become irreversible so that even when they realise the truth it is too late.


    By Murray N. Rothbard
    Friday, December 30, 1994 ; Page A17
    E. J. Dionne is wrong in identifying the Republican elites, in particular the Gingrich faction, with the libertarian revolution {op-ed, Dec. 6} . The truth is that since we have been stuck with a two-party system, any electoral revolution against big government had to be expressed through a Republican victory. So it is certainly true that Newt Gingrich and his faction, as well as Robert Dole, have ridden to power on the libertarian wave.

    But to speak, as Mr. Dionne does, of "the rise of libertarians as a key party constituency and the centrality of libertarian ideas to many of the party's new leaders" is going a bit too far.

    As Ralph Nader -- no libertarian -- pointed out, it took less than a month for Gingrich, Rep. Dick Armey and the others to betray the new revolution by collaborating with President Clinton and a discredited Congress to push through the World Trade Organization, which institutionalizes government management of world trade, complete with punitive sanctions and fines.

    Anti-interventionism (smeared as "isolationism") is at the heart of the Old Right, as Dionne mentions, and it is also the source of the libertarian split from the conservative mainstream during the Cold War. Yet, now that the Soviet Union and the Cold War are happily dead and gone, the Republican and Democratic elites continue in lockstep to favor pushing other countries around for their own alleged good, while imposing vast burdens on the American taxpayer. Gingrich and Dole, in fact, criticize Mr. Clinton's foreign policy for not being interventionist enough.

    What could be a clearer example of the rift between the Gingrich-Dole-Armey Republican elites and the mass of the American public? The American people couldn't care less about Bosnia or Somalia or Haiti; they resist government-made multinational trade cartels, and they oppose foreign aid. Yet the Republican "conservatives" are at least as enthusiastic as Democratic liberals about these programs.

    The same is true on the domestic front. The libertarian Old Right was born in opposition to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. Yet Gingrich has repeatedly emphasized his devotion to FDR ("the greatest figure of the 20th century"), to his statist political program ("the truth is we would have voted for much of it"), and to his legacy ("He did bring us out of the Depression"). Accepting as truth the most damaging anti-capitalist cliche of the century, Gingrich reveals his ignorance of history as well as of economics.

    Gingrich's support of the libertarian revolution is, so far, only lip service. His concrete proposals would likely expand the welfare state's burden on the taxpayers, for example, by forcing states to create and operate a vast array of government orphanages and group homes. Instead of being rearranged, spending should be slashed and the money returned to its original owners.

    The Gingrichians had petty reservations about the Clinton crime bill, but they enthusiastically supported the dangerous nationalization of crime-fighting functions, which, according to both libertarian precepts and the Constitution, are supposed to dwell exclusively in the states and local communities. And we should never forget that Gingrich advocated a compromise with the president on health care.

    Indeed, if a Democrat had delivered Newt Gingrich's acceptance speech, calling on the nation to "reach out together as a family" and promising to right every social wrong, Republicans would have ridiculed him as another Mario Cuomo. But call social engineering the "opportunity society" and it becomes "futurism."

    Dick Armey, who in his early years in Congress was indeed, as Dionne says, influenced by the libertarian Ludwig von Mises, has also succumbed. In addition to his vote for the WTO, Mr. Armey has emphasized his strong support for the "untouchable" Social Security.

    Social Security, now the largest government program, was also the biggest single tragedy of the New Deal. It plunders income and savings, wastes them in government spending, and then taxes people again to pay for the "insurance" benefits. No libertarian could pronounce this bankrupt and disastrous racket to be sacrosanct.

    As Dionne would be the first to understand, though, none of this means the prognosis is hopeless. The Republican sweep has brought to Washington a number of libertarian-minded backbenchers. They will pressure the Republican elites from the libertarian right, reflecting both passionately held ideology and the libertarian mood of the people who elected them.

    The writer is S.J. Hall distinguished professor of economics at the University of Nevada, and heads academic affairs for the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala.
  6. Charles Mackay's book online text can be downloaded here:

    This kind of book is full of usefull insight nevertheless it does put too much accent on people's foolishness whereas when you read the full History Governement and Financial Interest are the main initiators. It is after a ruining war than the King of France accorded to John Law the right to create the central bank and emission of papers. It is after restoring the King's finance that the collapse and ruin of people began. So it is even more usefull to understand the historical alliance between the Big governement - Big corporate and the history of war and finance than to study mass psychology alone. The people are not so fool they are pushed to behave like fools collectivelly whereas individually they wouldn't obligatory do so. Today nothing has fundamentally changed : same interests of government and big corporates (+ a new variant: big syndicates to add some spice to the game) so same kind of lies and results expected... as long as people don't take consciousness as the whole that they are only prisonners of their whole attitude - I think it can take one thousand years for them to change - that they have power but that they don't believe in their power. The few that believe in their power are embrigaded in political parties or worse in sects so that they lose their capability of free thinking and above all real action.