How to get rich

Among the more interesting human perversions is the desire to be lied to. The opposite is the desire to be told the truth, but this, to my mind, is not a perversion. I have met at least one fellow human, in possession of a philosophy degree, who speculated that there might be a third, “middle way,” between these extremes. He is dead now, but while he lived, he described himself as an “Antinomian.” (As an “Antediluvian,” I was on the other side.)

Let me stick with the perversion with which I started. There are many circumstances when even a “normal” person, if we could find such a being, wants to be told untruth. He does not want to believe it an untruth, however. I remember when my Antinomian friend died. I did not want to believe it, although the evidence conflicted with my fact preference. I could not imagine him not being alive because, theretofore, he had always seemed to be alive, even when absent. Perhaps it was a small thing, in the context of the whole world, but to me the world had radically changed, by his death. By dying, my Antinomian (who could be quite charming) had refuted his own philosophy, and my first instinct was to call him, and point this out. He was no longer taking calls, however.

Gentle reader will, if he has reached mature years, be aware of “the stages of grief,” whatever they are. This is because he will have experienced them. Let me suggest that, to some degree, these accompany all corrections. They may be inverted, or proceed very quickly, but consciousness itself has a pattern in the creature who must deal with the true/false dichotomy. For all I know other animals share it in their respective ways; I seem to have observed it in pets. There is a moment of transition in the more sentient animals — now I am thinking of cats — when they rearrange themselves, and seem to choose which instinct to favour. They don’t look happy.

And humans I have found, often, even more sentient than cats. Our responses may not be subtler, but they can be. The question, “How is this possible?” may be answered with impressive sophistication.

During this monotonous Batflu crisis, I have the luxury of observing contrary lies. In fact there is a range from, “Oh this is nothing, laugh it off,” to, “Omigod we’re all going to die.” Here I note an argument for something in the middle, however, and even for keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

But what (mostly pseudo) scientists call “confirmation bias” is powerfully at work, in everything we do. Were it not, we would not be able to function. That taking things for granted, such as “gravity is still working,” is a forgivable inference, I’d be the first to admit.

What feels new, though it certainly isn’t, is the degree to which the global village’s informers, acting under political but also commercial impulses, exploit perversion. They know most people will believe a lie, no matter how unlikely, once their political beliefs have frozen — to the point of not wanting to hear any contrary information.

As the sage, Iowahawk, observed: “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.”

Find the people who want to be told lies — of commission or omission, it matters nought — and provide them with a regular supply. It is not the only way to get rich; but hooo, is it a good one.