Introverts, Atheism, and Nihilism

There’s an enemy anyone given to prolonged thought has to face.

Sooner or later the question of purpose and meaning looms like a wall.

If all is wiped away when we die, what is the point?  Is life worth it, or just a cruel joke?

Time and again I’ve heard smart Christians present an unmoved mover, a first cause outside of time, as “proof” of a specifically Christian God.

All this really tells us is this universe had to be started from a cause outside the rules that govern our universe.  If that means God, at best we can assume a Spinozan God that’s more of a force of nature than a human personality directly involved in our lives.  And an afterlife or reincarnation?  I can think of no reason to assume such a thing is true.
It makes the most sense to assume this is our one chance since we do not know otherwise.

It’s easy to fall into the trap that atheism is the “rational” approach while anyone religious is simply deluding themselves.  It seems at first to make sense.

But then you have to live your life by the values you have chosen…

Atheist “humanists” like to point out that lack of religion doesn’t cause them to go out and start randomly being evil.  They often live by a moral code.

The trouble is that strong atheism must reduce to nihilism.  One cannot hold moral values if one explicitly believes in a universe without purpose or meaning.  Nothing can be good or bad in such a universe.  Strangling puppies is no better or worse than winning the lottery.  Life is no better than death.

Here, the supreme irony of moral atheists becomes clear.  Despite professing atheism they mostly continue to stick to Judeo-Christian moral laws.  They don’t practice what they preach…because if they did, it would destroy them.

The interesting thing is one cannot be an atheist…at least not for real.  I was inspired to make this post when a reader named luciferslibrarian asked me this:

So I am curious – you mention that you have used philosophy to arrive at meaning. I am an introvert whose biggest problem has always been that I don’t see meaning in anything. The older I get, the worse it gets. When I was younger, I was far more motivated and creative; driven even. Now I find getting started on the smallest tasks almost insurmountable, because I don’t see the point. Most people I know take solace and find meaning in friends and family, but as an introvert with a less than stellar relationship with my family, the social path is not really for me. I also know that toiling in obscurity for some higher purpose is kind of a pipe dream. Can you shed any light?

I replied:

Yes! The biggest problem we have to face is the challenge presented by the yawning nothing of nihilism.

I approach it something like this:

The adoption of nihilism is pretty much guaranteed to destroy civilizations and hamper the progress of individuals, to trick them into living a directionless cursed half life until they finally die.

Nihilism seems to make sense based on what we know, but if we implement it, it’s unquestionably destructive.
As I see it, living by nihilism is against the observable laws of our universe. It doesn’t work. In this sense it is objectively false.

Also, even nihilists don’t really truly act on nihilism. The logical thing to do if you’re a nihilist is to be unaware of the problem of nihilism. That knowledge only causes pain and dissonance and even if it’s the truth, who cares if it has no meaning anyway. Better to be like an insect in the field playing out its role as a biomachine, never doubting.

You can’t even be a conscious nihilist or atheist and really be consistent!

If nothing has meaning, we might as well kill ourselves, start a party binge to drown out the knowledge of our fundamental irrelevance, or have some of our brain removed to remove the pain inflicted by ennui.
Yet no one does the logical thing…

A self professed strong atheist or nihilist is a liar. They clearly continue to believe in some kind of meaning or higher purpose. They can say what they want, but what they do says it all.

Since meaning is a law of existence for a sentient being, we might as well either completely accept that or self destruct.

Faced with a choice…I chose meaning.

At least I chose to follow meaning.  It’s a battle that never ends for a person of awareness.  That creeping feeling of pointlessness and despair is an adversary that’s always there, waiting for an opening.  It’s the price we must pay to be aware.

It’s a fearful thing to face and those who can avoid it through distractions usually do.

I’ve spent some time just thinking about this post, because I know from experience, there’s few greater threats to an introvert’s life than the triumph of meaninglessness within.

Often isolated, without any sources of fulfillment in the material world, many of us don’t make it.  I am convinced that confronting the problem of nihilism is something that can save lives.  Asking those questions without a doubt played a huge role in saving my life.

Far from a dramatic conversion to orthodox religion, I’ve come to see things in a way that diverges from both atheists and theists.

Consulting both reason and my intuition, I’ve long since come to conceive of “God” as something closer to that Spinozan force of nature.  It doesn’t have a mind or personality exactly nor is it remotely human.

Logically, the best way to understand its nature is to observe nature’s workings.

For the most part, it seems to be an impartial thing, but it does establish certain laws that govern our universe…

For years after having rejected strong atheism I was vexed.

Many having gone through the same process as I did become religious.

But all my life I had marveled how absolute morality legislated by a deity tends to lead to hypocrisy and ambiguity in interpretation.

What’s more, “absolute” morals often backfire when “good” people restrain themselves and others happily take advantage of them.

If religious moral law isn’t consistent with observable reality, then atheists with their satirical Flying Spaghetti Monster make an excellent point.  If God’s law turns out to be arbitrary in implementation, the 11th commandment might as well be Thou Shalt Not Tie Thy Shoes.
We’re left with an absurd nothing that reduces to Nihilism!  Orthodox religions need an afterlife to “solve” this problem!

So a key requirement of a life-preserving belief system for a thoughtful person is that it must make sense within observable reality…

At this point, Taoism with its ‘Way’ provided some key inspiration.

There are observable laws of the universe that move us along effortlessly when we follow them and crush us when we fight them.

We see this everywhere in the natural world and in our lives as human beings.

From this perspective, lack of meaning simply violates a timeless law.

If we must either hold to purpose or perish, it is clear what we must do…
Meaning becomes effectively self-evident because we cannot exist without it!

Since finding a way to help nullify the threat of nihilism I’ve since used this basic premise to create the values I live by.  It has served as a genuine map telling me what I ought to do next rather than being a burdensome absolute law that spites the nature of reality in hopes of a better hereafter.

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Introvert Strengths: Acting From Principle

Many a person who has prided themselves on “social skills” and “empathy” has totally misinterpreted my moods and motives.

And when they can’t make sense of me tend to assume there is no logic to my actions.

They are confused because I make decisions on principle.

We can get rich, be liked by everyone, have lots of great sex but it all counts for nothing in a few short years.

There’s a question in my head every day: “What’s going to matter?”
It’s a clean razor that slices away the big mound of stuff every “well adjusted” person is supposed care about in one swift swipe.

The terror of social rejection that governs most people’s lives from their earliest memories to the grave suddenly seems like just an inconvenience.

The best thing about living life on principle: it’s far easier.

Let’s say you want to get rich.  The trouble is everyone would like to be rich.  You can predict every plan to get rich has been thought of and tried endlessly. Society just keeps building its defenses until there’s calluses about a mile thick.

To go out and get rich you’re leading a desperate charge up a hill against an implacable fortress.  All the forces in the universe are arrayed in an attempt to stop you from succeeding.
And should you succeed against all the odds, you’ll become the new keeper of the great fortress in charge of keeping your wealth from everyone who wants to take it…

Since I was teen I’ve had a personal saying:  “Most valuable is gold that only glitters for you.”

When you are an introvert outsider who can see the world as if soaring above, it’s easier to think like a strategist and avoid spending all one’s energy attacking where the enemy is strong.

Where I have striven for objectives I arrived at through philosophy, I have seized them with surprisingly little resistance.

Society is not designed to stop people motivated by principle from achieving their goals!
This alone tells me how few are out there on the same path.

Where the status climber is forever fighting against a tight-packed crowd, I, to my delight, find myself unopposed across a vast plains stretching beyond sight.

I cannot say more in public, but I have succeeded better than I could have possibly imagined and live every day knowing certain affairs are in order that will continue even should I die today.  To me, this is infinitely more valuable than sleeping with a supermodel or winning the lottery.

Though I have often been poor, I will not be surprised if eventually I came to control significant wealth.
I seek wealth, just like all the rest, but my motives and methods differ.

I yearn after wealth to provide the minimum I need for a reasonably comfortable independence and every penny beyond that to bend reality to my will.

The immune system of the Collective Tyrant is very strong against Loud climbers who want fancy cars and mansions.
But will it be able to stop someone who acts from purpose?

For someone who acts on principle, all wealth is just a budget to help achieve certain things and the very concepts of ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ mean little.
There is only ‘enough’ or ‘not enough.’

The Ritual of Unity

The outsider has a special place in the cosmology of the Accepted.

Within any community, there are always tensions, a friction of association that threatens to tear apart the social order.

Of all social rituals among the most important are those that deal with defusing these tensions.

In this respect, an outsider is an important part of the community by not being a part of it. Simply being ‘outside’ implicitly puts others ‘inside.’
The simple existence of an outsider puts the whole social world in perspective.

The shunning and persecution of the outsider, the other is the most powerful of all Rituals of Unity.
To carry out this ritual is to place in that one person all of those amassed woes of society.
And once this living effigy is constructed to symbolically burn it upon the altar of unity.

But it can’t just be any source of otherness, it has to be something sufficiently foreign, hate-able, and threatening. One has to earn it and be worthy of it.

After all, what has become of the United States without a Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia to inspire fear, drive everyone together, and resolve internal disputes for the good of all? The substitute sacrifices that have been offered up since then have been rejected by the Gods.
Without a fitting sacrifice for the Ritual, the society cannot be properly purified of its ills. The people must drift apart and squabble.

If you have often been that one person who just can’t seem to fit in, it behooves you to understand just who you are.
You are a demon, Ahriman, Satan, St. George’s dragon, that snarling little dwarf permanently lodged beneath Shiva’s foot, Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein… the embodiment of everything that tempts people away from their proper social roles and undermines the Correct order.

It is in part for this reason that I identify all Subtle things with shadow, darkness, the night, the moon, the underworld, chaos…

Once you understand your place, just who you are in their universe, there is a certain delicious delight to be taken in it.
And many things in our lives that seemed mysterious stand suddenly explained.

School As Introvert Prison Sentence

Leads To: Knowledge Monopolies: The University

I got pretty good grades in school.  Homework was easier for me than for most kids.  Yet as an adult it’s easy to look back and realize that none of that was important.  Once one gets into college it doesn’t matter.  Once one decides not to go to college it doesn’t matter.  We were told grades were important by all the authority figures, but it was a lie just to try keep us all in line for another day and to justify the system in which every one of us was trapped.

I look back on twelve years of schooling and can’t think of much beyond basic literacy that was truly important in the long run.  Even with literacy, my first reading lessons took place at home, not in school.  Classes at school did teach me useful things.  A lot of the classwork that was boring for other kids was pure fun for me.  Yet did it really need to consume 12 years of my life?  By the time we’re 18, the better part of our youth is irremediably spent on years of school.  Yes, humans have higher life expectancies now but the fact is we start our slide into aging soon after we hit biological adulthood.  With schooling, we get barely a decade to be active in the world at our peak.  People in past generations generally had begun adult-level activities by their early teens or even younger.  Now a college graduate at age 21 is only beginning to be functional in the adult world.  Is our increased life expectancy nearly as great when we have nearly a decade less in which to do things?

What is it all for?  One obvious purpose is the simple containment of youth who would otherwise be roaming around the streets all day.  With child labor laws, there’s nothing better to do than lock them up.   The result is a strange combination of minimum security prison and daycare.  It just doesn’t make much sense to the Subtle understanding.  To really ‘get’ the spirit of school it is most illuminating to examine the extroverted view and justification.

Every well-adjusted person I’ve talked to gives me the same message when I dare criticize compulsory education and public schooling.  “But it’s for socialization!”  Having tipped my ideological hand more than was wise, I end up with an earful of reminiscences about fun extra-curricular activities.  This always confounds me.  Whatever happened to the 7 hours a day sitting at a desk doing nothing?  That wasn’t fun!  It wasn’t particularly social either.

When I express desire for there to be some alternative from regular schooling, I get a blank stare for a second or two followed by “Your kid wouldn’t be able to develop properly.  He/she would be lonely and cut off.”  Every time I hear this ubiquitous answer, I pause for a few seconds before finding a way to just change the subject.

As an introvert in the system, I felt lonely and cut off.  I didn’t fit into the school society at all.  I was non-socialized in school.  I can pass as mostly normal now, but when I first graduated high school, I still had the social skills of a small child.  I’ve spent the last several years learning everything from scratch and I’m finally feeling as though I’m somewhat caught up.  I’ve been through several halfway houses, but I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m establishing a life for the first time after a long prison sentence.  I spent a good portion of that time, especially the later years in something akin to solitary confinement.

It took me a long time to figure out why extroverts assign such importance to collective schooling.  Every well-adjusted person seems to understand the reasons on some intuitive level but lack the ability to analyze their beliefs and articulate them.  I will do my best to translate the idea of ‘Socialization’ into Subtle-ese.

I gather that extroverts value schooling primarily for its ability to imbue millions of children with a common formative experience so that they may smoothly interrelate as adults.

This ability to relate to others is like being able to speak the same language.  It is one of the most critical things we’re supposed to learn.  It’s the base of belonging we need to be able to establish romantic relationships and find careers.  In Subtle terms, I suppose we could consider compulsory schools as a massive network of commonality factories.  In the Surface world, these factories are not idle or pointless, they are busily producing vitally important social commodities.

I think the idea of social adjustment helps explain why nerds are portrayed in popular culture as morally stunted, silly, contemptible, short-sighted, petty people who have missed everything that is really important in life.  The nerds were focusing on all the wrong things in school and they serve as  symbols of everything one should not become.  They are representative of defective units that were never properly calibrated despite the best efforts of the factory workers.  In the movies, nerds are rather unsympathetic characters because they usually rudely reject the efforts of well-adjusted people to save them.  The overall thesis:  social adjustment is open to everyone, but there will always be a few who insist on being self-destructive.

The truth that they never realize is that most people don’t ask for a clash with the system.  Some people are going to have the wrong configuration as they roll down the assembly line.  The standardized parts that seem to fit with most other people just don’t apply.  The true introvert frame reaches the end of the assembly line not only bare of all the necessary components, but dented and bent from going through a long series of incompatible processes.

When I tell a regular person that “School was awful.”  I am often met with agreement.  If the conversation goes on, it becomes clear that most of the perceived awfulness for the Surface person stemmed from completely different problems.  They don’t complain about homework or classes usually.  They talk about all their human relationships and ultimately how it was a time for social learning and tough lessons in human interaction.  From the way they talk about it, it doesn’t sound like it was awful at all.  Most of the time it seems they were having fun, but it got bad for awhile whenever  some conflict arose.  When I realized that this is their definition of  ‘awful’ it was clear there could be no bridging the gap.  In moments like that, it becomes clear we don’t even speak mutually intelligible languages and that we’ve lived our lives in separate universes.  I have difficulty explaining my experience precisely because I was never properly adjusted.

Negative Charisma

A friend of mine was once wondering what stats we would have if we were D and D characters.  We supposed we might have strengths of 12 or so and less than impressive dexterity.  When it came to charisma… My friend stopped and thought for a moment.  “You probably have negative charisma.” He concluded.  I definitely agreed with him.  Never in my life had I stood out and taken over a group of any kind.  Furthermore, I had a special talent for getting people to dislike me without any effort at all.  I’d look back and wonder what I’d done to piss them off.  Negative charisma seemed the best explanation.

Over time, I became better versed in social conventions but the idea of an opposite to the classic charismatic personality stuck with me.  I eventually started thinking of it as a virtue.  Something different than merely being disagreeable, something more than being the  sunny, charming, crowd pleaser that everyone seems to worship.

‘Beware the charismat’ I sometimes told myself.  It was a warning against the golden boy or girl of the hour who walks into the room and mesmerizes everyone.  A charismat is perfect in their mannerisms and dazzling in their conduct.  They are too good to be true, almost certainly disingenuous.  They lack the most important virtue: a flaw.  The charismat is the polished contrived sort of leader that thrives off of mass media in Western nations.

For a Subtle person, the most charismatic and inspirational people are those who act strange and awkward by the standards of Western society, who speak quietly rather than ostentatiously, who know how to share the stage rather than dominate, who know how to collaborate rather than compete.

A truly inspirational person does not conceal all their flaws and does not reveal all their strengths.  The inspirational person is calm, matter of fact,  never boastful, never sanctimonious, never patronizing.

To the Subtle  person, eccentricities are one of the most endearing elements of the human character and figure strongly into the personality of someone inspirational.

Negative Charisma is about substance over form.  A true introvert finds a speaker with a weak voice or a stammer to be inspirational if there is solid expertise, knowledge, and insight behind their words.  It is not about the means of delivery but the content delivered.

One who has negative charisma strives to be underestimated in order to select against those who understand only what is aggressively, outwardly flaunted.  It seemed to me that the fulfillment of one with negative charisma might come in a moment of vindication:  When the Golden person overextends, underestimates and is confronted by strength where they expected only weakness and submission as usual.  In such a moment, a charismat would be exposed with imperfections before their adoring crowd.  The first instance of resistance and refutation to the seemingly unstoppable force of their personality would break their power.   One with negative charisma would prevail as the Golden person was cast down by former worshipers.

Those with Negative Charisma never put themselves on a pedestal.  They never set out to be the strongest, best liked, most charming person.    They have no need to maintain a public image.  Their object is never to move all the crowd but to speak to the most thoughtful persons within  it.  The moment of vindication arrives when one who sits powerfully but precariously on the shoulders of a multitude throws their strength against one who is alone but immovable.

Extrovert Critic: “You Read Too Much”

Builds Upon: Rulers of Celephais,
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Learning

We’ve all heard this criticism.  We read too much.  When we’re seen reading, especially some subject material that seems uninteresting, we seem ‘out of touch,’ ‘with our head in the clouds,’ ‘on another planet.’

In general an introvert submerged in reading is perceived as trading the vibrant world around them for the dusty and colorless world of books.  The experience within books seems like a faded and flat flower pressing compared to the three dimensional, colorful, living flower.

To the extrovert, a book is a pale abstraction that crumbles away against the vitality of actual experience.  By extension, someone who spends considerable time reading is dry, abstract, lacking in personality, vigor, and practical knowledge.

To an introvert, however, there is nothing abstract, cold, or distant about habitual reading.  Rather than distracting from the surrounding world, it sheds light upon it and makes it richer.  For a Subtle person, the information found in books makes the experience of our world immeasurably more beautiful.  It allows us to reach back into time and through the wisdom of ages so that we may put our world into perspective.

Books allow us to perceive the wonders of our world through countless other people scattered across time, place, and circumstance.  To a subtle person, an extrovert lives in a very small pond indeed.  They understand their universe almost exclusively through a random handful of contemporaries.  That they see introverts as deprived is just a symptom of their ignorance.

A Loud person tends to perceive dead words on a page that yield a pale impression and nothing more.  Someone who focuses on all things on the Surface remains on the surface of things.    A Subtle person seamlessly moves beneath the dead words and into the pure meaning they represent.

To a Loud person, the content of books is dead, dry, fossilized information.  You get a can opener and open it up when you need it.

To the Subtle person, books are living streams of consciousness from other human beings in which we can actively participate.  It can be almost like becoming someone else for awhile, a way of freeing ourselves from our own lonely perspective and mental patterns. We are often accused of being selfish, yet we perhaps spend far less time living in the desires and thoughts of the self than do our extrovert critics.

An extrovert could respond that TV and film perform the function of allowing one to step into another’s shoes.  Surely these are more tangible, visceral mediums and therefore far more effective than a book.   After all, we empathize with the characters we see on screen and are drawn into a director’s vision.

However, books operate on another level because they demand active participation and voluntary shedding of our own perceptions.  Visual entertainment gives us the vision and all we have to do is sit back and watch.  There is not much participation, mostly just passive dictation to the viewer.  TV and film can be excellent ways of escaping our own world.  They offer a complete vision to replace our own.

The importance of books that extroverts tend to miss is that one must create the vision.  We must actively concentrate on adopting the thought patterns of another and seeing clearly through their eyes.  In books, we must actively bring our perspective in synchrony with another.  Thus we expand our own perspective rather than replacing it temporarily with someone else’s.   When reading a work of fiction, for instance, we must draw from our own experiences to bring alive the blueprint the author has set before us.   In trying to make the plan come to life, we are reshaping our own mind until we have a key that fits in the door to another mind.   The more we practice, the better we become at falling into the mental rhythm of another human being and escaping the confines of our own solitary vision of the world.  The fluid, multi-faceted understanding that results from reading is a source of incredible euphoria the equal of any of life’s greatest pleasures.

That an extrovert would consider us dead, absent, and isolated from the living world because of reading reveals their inability to see that the dry words on the page are merely a blueprint, an invitation to build something.  A something that never turns out the same for any two people who try it, or even for one person who builds from the same blueprint twice.

Extroverts and the Concept of ‘Deserval’

We turn on the TV and encountering the concept is inevitable:

“I deserve it.” says a waifish, urban thirty-something woman as she justifies buying that expensive dress or that decadent slice of raspberry chocolate cheesecake in the store window.

“Why pay more? We’ll give you the low price you deserve!” says the affable fortyish car salesman with a silver buckle and cowboy hat during the commercial break.

When we turn off the TV encountering the concept is inevitable:

Most extroverts seem to have a concept that there are things they ‘deserve:’

Lower prices, a raise, free health care, flexible mortgage rates, a pension, a secure retirement, a facial, a new set of power tools, disposable income, a stable career, honest politicians……….

How do they decide what they deserve?  Why do they deserve it?  Isn’t the whole idea of deserving completely subjective and fluid?  Another TV cliche comes to mind:

Henchman: Master, I brought you the power crystal as you commanded!  (hands it over)

Cardboard Cutout Villain:  Ah, finally!  I have it now.  Now I will give you exactly what you deserve!

*Henchman greedily anticipates goodies right up to the moment Villain pointlessly kills him with the power crystal*

As an introvert I looked to history and to the people around me without finding any sensical answer.  I was confused.  Surely the concept of deserving was entirely meaningless.  No one gets what they want just because they decide they deserve it!  Why would anyone actually be swayed or flattered by a sycophant assuring you that you ‘deserve’ more?  Why would someone justify their actions with ‘deserval.’  What do they see in the whole empty idea of deserving something?

I got an inkling when I for a time interacted with kids in a classroom setting.  The people I was working for insisted I give the kids points for answering questions in class and taking away points when they misbehaved or didn’t turn in homework.  There was an entire elaborate system on the board for everyone to see with a tally of total points for every kid who passed through the room in the course of a day.  The kids had created an entire system of social prestige around these point rankings that they took very seriously.

Children have a very strong sense of a primal, tribal level sense of social justice.  They would be horrified if they thought one of the students deserved a point and I hadn’t given it.

When given an extra point on accident, even the beneficiary would instantly come forth and tell me to take away the undeserved point.

The kids always screamed for the worst possible punishment for anyone they saw breaking the rules.  When punished themselves, they accepted it glumly but without question.  As much as they hated punishment, they seemed to concede that they deserved it.

I realized that most of these children, especially the extroverted ones carry some semblance of this tribal level concept of social justice into adult life.

I began to realize I was rather strange for not having an intuitive grasp of ‘deserve.’  Upon further reflection I realize that the whole idea ceased to have meaning for me long ago during my own childhood.  Living as an outsider from the outset, I took plenty of punishment just by virtue of being insufficiently protected from the pent up malice of others.   It was clear I hadn’t done anything bad to anger those who gave me difficulty.  There was no reason for any of it.  Whether I deserved or didn’t deserve had no meaning at all.

As an introvert, I was never truly part of the tacitly understood justice system that governed most of the other children.  Partly because of my fundamental personality and predispositions, partly because of the isolation created by my predispositions, I never fully acquired the concept of ‘deserval.’  In absence of this tribal justice, I viewed the school world around me in terms of power relationships.  Bullies didn’t deserve to have power.  They had power because they were able to take power.  Really quite simple.  I also had an inkling at an early age that bullies would never treat insiders the same way as outsiders.  They would even be quite deferent to someone higher ranking.  Was there any reason the people the bullies respected deserved respect?  Not really.  They just had more power.

A group of kids who knew each other in a structured classroom environment functioned well using their inborn senses of deserval.   The point system I had to use made abundantly clear how every kid in the classroom was aware of the exact prestige level of every other kid.  Each kid had an astoundingly precise mental tally of what every other kid deserved or didn’t deserve in class.  Their feelings of justice and injustice were visceral and resulted in emotional protest whenever there was the slightest breach.

Now let’s look at these kids as adults.  Most of adult life takes place outside of a structured classroom and they live in a society full of millions of strangers.  The tribal level deserval impulse runs amok in this environment.  When most people they meet have outsider status, they are not subject to tribal ethics.  Furthermore everyone needs to compete to get ahead.  Even people who aren’t strangers are often competitors.  As pressure increases, everyone has to work hard for survival and for prestige.  When people work hard just to make it, the deserval meter goes right off the charts.  However, they’re hard pressed to find anyone who will acknowledge the fullness of what they think they deserve. There’s no impartial chief or arbitrator keeping track of points on the board.  Most adults get cheated out of what they deserve.  The daily flouting of their intuitive systems of justice makes them increasingly sure that they deserve compensation while others deserve punishment.  Thus getting what they deserve by any means becomes justified on the most deeply visceral level.  Since others do not even seem to acknowledge the intuitive justice system, they are outsiders who do not need to accommodated or given consideration anyway.

This ‘justice gap’ attitude seeps into all of life until a Surface person sincerely believes they deserve to eat raspberry chocolate cheese cake without paying the consequences of eating it.  On the most primal level, deserving is about compensation for the crushing pressure and wrongs inflicted by an unjust life.  When ‘compensation’ is inevitably canceled out by consequences, the Surface person has been cheated yet again of getting any closer to a measure of tribal justice.

The deep and unobtainable nature of this compensation fantasy makes it ideal content for advertising.  What better way to reach people than to promise to soothe their battered egos, to promise to scratch that itch they can never quite seem to reach, to relieve the hurt that nothing seems to cure?