"Most people are in arrested development and cannot use logic." Jacob.
"Competition and capitalism are hated to-day because of their tendency to destroy poverty and privilege." William Hutt
"America is unique in that our economy is totally dependent on global charity." Peter Schiff

Friday, June 17, 2011

Deep Psychological Insight from Harry Browne

In his book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, he makes a seemingly obvious, but very profound, point. That everything has a price. He applies this idea as an aid to getting free of some horrible trap one  may be in. It's horrible because it is horrible; it is a trap because there is a high price to escape from it.

In other words, pay the price and you are free.

What I got from this is that when trying to change something, say break a bad habit, there will be discomfort. When I try to break the habit, I might feel the discomfort and think, "I don't like this. I have to wait until I am somehow further developed so that I will be able to kick this habit without the discomfort." Result: I put off breaking the bad habit indefinitely. When I eventually try again, the same thing happens.

All that is pre-Harry Browne. Post Harry Browne, when I try to kick the habit and the discomfort sets in, I think "Good. Here comes the price. Paying the price is what sets you free. Just as you won't get a new laptop without paying for it, you won't kick this habit without paying for it in initial discomfort."

In other words, paying the price is part of the process, not an unnecessary outside bother that can be avoided somehow.

This makes me feel good. When I experience the withdrawal symptoms from kicking the habit [no guys, it's not a drug addiction. But I'm not going to confess to the whole internet universe about my ....let's move on].

Where was I? Oh yes. When I start feeling the discomfort, it makes me feel good. Great! Here it comes. I'm actually paying the price now. This is what is setting me free.

One might argue, "Smiling Dave, you are just kidding yourself. What you call the price is not really a price. It really is just a side effect, an unpleasantness unrelated to kicking the habit. Your freedom comes from the simple inaction of just not snorting the cocaine. The sick physical feelings of withdrawal and the emotional angst you can no longer kill with coke are effects, not causes, of your kicking the habit. They are a sales tax, not a price. Meaning you pay them to a parasitic outside agency, not to the person selling you the object."

To which I reply, "Not so. When I start getting the shakes from lack of meth and feeling so lonely I could die, that's my body and soul telling me, 'Dave, you do meth to avoid these pains and feelings. It's a trade off here. Do the meth or feel this pain. It's up to you.'

Which is exactly what a price is. Something you have to give up in order to get something you want more. And indeed, sales tax is, in that sense, part of the price, as every shopper feels instinctively.

Final caution. This is a new idea to me. I don't know if it will actually work in practice. The experiment has begun, but final results are not in yet. I can only say that so far so good.

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