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Author’s Note: I remember struggling for words when—many years ago—I decided, that instead of continuing to get angry about the lies my husband Steve had been telling me, it would be better if I could help him see why being honest was important.

The words I struggled to find back then seem insignificant to me now, having finished reading chapter eight in Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life (“Rule 8: Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie”) which in large part has inspired this article.

Previously I had assumed that everyone knew it was wrong to lie, but eventually came to understand that many people grow up to think lying is normal.

Little did I know that solid answers would emerge from delving deep into the dark and murky world of lies and deceit.

If you care about the security of your family—alongside that of our global human family—I hope you will find the courage to follow.

Disclaimer: Although I quote Jordan Peterson and Four Horsemen (the documentary) extensively throughout this piece, the interpretation of the views they expressed is my own.

Big Lies

A Bridge Back to Reality in a World Filled with Corruption

“The capacity of the rational mind to deceive, manipulate, scheme, trick, falsify, minimize, mislead, betray, prevaricate, deny, omit, rationalize, bias, exaggerate and obscure is so endless, so remarkable, that centuries of prescientific thought, concentrating on clarifying the nature of moral endeavor, regarded it as positively demonic…”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 217

Humans are astounding in their ability to lie. Not just small lies, but complex, cross-referenced webs of untruths, spun to create totally false and complex realities. In my line of work, I get a fairly unique (while often depressing) perspective on this, hearing real life stories that rival most soap operas.

A small sample:

  • the man who pretended to be going to a job every day, while for years he had been spending his days putting money into poker machines after mortgaging his family’s home and cars
  • the woman who used an affair she’d had to blackmail her husband (figure that one out)
  • more than one eminent intellectual who, behind the scenes, was addicted to junk food, sloth and reality TV

Unfortunately the kind of deceit that hurts families is not limited to failing marriages. The 2008 housing crisis in the US being one glaring example… 

Conspiracy Theories

With the human tendency to lie so clearly in focus in my day-to-day work, I have often wondered why many people become derogatory towards anyone interested in ‘conspiracy theories?’ If husbands and wives living under the same roof can conspire to cheat one another, surely conspiracies must exist all around us?

I have come to understand that there are true dangers in considering that governments, churches and corporations may be lying to us, but that ‘treasure’ is also hidden there despite the danger.

On the surface isn’t it only right for us to consider that we are not being duped by people in power? Shouldn’t skepticism be considered a sign of wisdom and discernment?

There is plenty to enjoy in the mystery exposing possible conspiracies offers, alongside the mental flexibility required to rearrange your inner knowledge base when considering new and unprecedented information.

Like old news-reels that can be reviewed—and even laughed at today—now that we have a better understanding of CGI (computer graphics) in cinematography. 

With only a little understanding of how chrome-a-key and green-screens work for instance (and how to spot them), it’s easy to see that much of what is passed as real life, present and past, simply isn’t or wasn’t:

Why should we believe anything that we are not allowed to question? Isn’t that just gullibility? If governments will lie to us about the reasons we wage war on other countries is there anything that they would not lie to us about?

Love conspiracy theories or hate them, please stick with me on this one… I am not here to tell you what you should believe. What I hope to do is explain what this has to do with your own personal security and why the idea of conspiracy divides so many people.

If conspiracy theories annoy or downright scare you—there is a healthy reason for this we will get to in a moment—but if they bother you to the point that you refuse to consider important information put in front of you; that is a clear sign of codependency.

Avoiding the discomfort conspiracy theories cause will not save you from what you fear. You need to squarely face what it is you are afraid of, giving yourself permission to gather as much information as possible, along with time to get clear in your thinking.

If you love conspiracy theories there may likewise be a problem…

  • Is there a reason you are obsessing about a potential broad scale deception?
  • Would uncovering this deception be useful in your life right now?
  • Is your interest perhaps a warning sign for something closer to home?

Even more important, how do you connect with others?  

Many people believe that sharing religious and political beliefs is essential for people getting along with one another.

Therefore, it only makes sense that telling people what they believe is lies and that they should instead consider your version of reality is not a good strategy to build trust with people.

Building trust is essential and we will speak more on that shortly, but first I would like to challenge the belief that sharing beliefs is essential for us to get along with each other.

This belief is so ingrained that even befriending a racist or fascist for instance (let alone being one) was in some circles considered grounds for social ostracization. Shunning people—we have been taught—is the best way to ‘teach them a lesson’.

Logical I suppose except that it doesn’t work, instead check out this man’s strategy:

The truth is that ostracising people we disagree with can only lead to our opposing beliefs becoming further  entrenched and divisive.

When we truly understand the danger in the belief that sharing beliefs is essential for us getting along with each other—belief itself becomes something much less likely to divide us.

This comes straight back to building trust with each other, because—if in your mind—I have to believe what you believe for us to maintain an empathetic connection with each other, that will not leave much space for honesty between us.

It may even be a good strategy to encourage people to lie to you.

Consideration, trust and building flexible power structures in your home and community is much more important in determining the success of your relationships.

Tricky enough when dealing with politics and science—but how much trickier does this become when we begin talking about faith and religion?

Faith & Belief

At one stage in my life I was told by a church elder (in private thankfully) that following my own conscience in regard to my religious beliefs was narcissistic vanity.

That really got my attention.

I don’t pretend to know everything about narcissistic vanity but as an author on the subject, I certainly know narcissistic vanity is NOT a person open and outwardly following their conscience.

Sociopathic narcissism is often (and even typically) exposed as the opposite:

  1. a man who professes to be a moral church leader is found to be running an immoral double life with negative impacts on his family and community
  2. a woman who professes to be charitable and respectable, is discovered to be blackmailing her husband; generally by accusing him of being abusive and/or worthless if he doesn’t subsidise her over-spending
  3. a father or mother is found to have set up one of their children as a foil to gain sympathy

Narcissists often rise to positions of authority in churches (and other organisations), with the chaos they create driving more honest and conscience driven members to the fringes or out-lands.

Uncomfortable to talk about? Yes…  but were not the faithful in the Bible admonished to call evil by its true name?

Honest questioning is not the sign of a trouble maker or liar, but generally of an honest and genuine person.

People often question their faith at times in their life when other issues may be sending their life off balance. Family members ‘preaching’ or becoming rigid, pious or judgemental at these times will rarely ever be helpful.

Smoke and Mirrors

Perhaps our hall of mirrors begins with our parents’ misled benevolent desire to ‘protect’ us as children…

Give them a ‘childhood’ we say, with ‘childhood’ our code word for ‘fantasy protection from reality’. Then pride ourselves on our goodness.

Peanuts cartoon saying Santa Claus a hoax? By our trusted authority figures? Think of how many people would have to be into it!!!
Image courtesy of False Flag Weekly News

Collectively, we use Santa’s fantasy kingdom as a (conspiratorial) moral tool to teach our children to be ‘good’, while individually we do things like replace their pet that died with a new one—without telling them—and in both cases hope they don’t ask too many questions.   

Understandable? I guess so. Children are not equipped to deal with the harsh realities of poverty, death and betrayal—and consequent difficult emotions such as jealousy, boredom, grief, loneliness, and guilt. But then neither are most adults.

Allow people not to face the tough stuff for long enough and most of us will never be ready.

We tell ourselves this ‘protection’ makes us caring and devoted parents, but let’s consider if this is honest…

“Only the most cynical, hopeless philosophy insists that reality could be improved through falsification… It denounces truth as insufficient and the honest man as deluded. It is a philosophy that both brings about and then justifies the endemic corruption of the world.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 212

Isn’t lying to our kids about Santa a perfect example of insisting reality can be improved by falsification? Could this be a philosophy that brings about and then justifies endemic corruption? It might sound extreme, but let’s unpack this…

Is there even more that we avoid when we conspire to deceive our children about Santa’s worldwide charitable enterprise? Could we be hiding that many children will be lucky to get a meal at Christmas, let alone—ever in their life—receive a store-bought toy? Are we hiding from them—as well as ourselves—the fact that this fantasy supports an economic system that keeps many of the people who make our clothes and toys, in what amounts to modern slavery?

I wonder if the actual people who make those toys wouldn’t prefer a bit more credit, instead of it all being given to Santa’s elves in their cute-looking sweatshops?

And what about us parents?

Are we truly being magnanimous in protecting our children from feeling they owe us a debt; relieving them the burden of thanking us for the Christmas presents we worked so hard to buy them?

Or perhaps we are really protecting ourselves from ever having to play bad guy; not wanting to ever threaten not to buy them a present this year, because they have been ‘bad’, and instead shift the responsibility, making Santa the arbiter of justice and discipline in the family?

Or could it be that we need the fantasy, because deep down we are worried about how soon they will discover the deficiency of the justice, truth and meaning we have settled for in our day-to-day reality?

In Santa’s defence, there may be some benefit in unifying our standards in regard to virtues such as reward for good behaviour, generosity, and the kind of benevolence that doesn’t need much thanks (and is happy to let Santa take the credit), but surely there must be a way to do this without conditioning everyone to co-operate in such an exploitative and deceptive conspiracy? (I have some ideas we are putting in place in our family and always welcome discussion.) 

But no matter how carefully we hide it, the truth will eventually come out. So there is really not that much to worry about, is there?

Of course there is no Santa living at the North Pole… just parents working in jobs they don’t like, to buy presents they will never get thanked for that will most likely be broken and thrown on earth’s already burgeoning trash-heaps before Christmas week is over.

Back in the real world, the behind-the-scenes Christmas news reports will tell us the Santa-lie is vital to drive the economy, a beast we don’t understand but to some degree all slave to feed. Christmas spending is up this year (they say) and it’s a good sign, isn’t it? *Applause* Don’t worry that the economic beast we are feeding is already so big that it’s close to devouring many of us.

With reality this bleak, peel back the layers of fantasy we protect ourselves with and life can seem almost impossible to face without Santa’s hefty sugar-coating.

Best delay the truth until our children’s adolescence, we rationalise. But our lies reinforce the bad system we have now compromised our honesty (with ourselves and our children) to maintain.

Not that I am against tradition… just that we need to question what we can do when we notice tradition has been hijacked and no longer works in our common interest.Santa’s Pagan History

We need to recognise that we live in a society which is intolerant and inflexible about working to improve the situation, even when we come to see things are going badly.

Instead we must find the courage—individually and as families—to question and even challenge accepted norms if we wish to throwing off the suffering created by our current financial system and live a life free of deception…


We tell ourselves lies are terrible things and pride ourselves on our honesty. But just like Santa’s just and benevolent fantasy world we so carefully wrap our children in, society’s comforting ‘big lies’ are hard to challenge.

We slave (and compromise our honesty) to offer our children the protection of a ‘childhood’, but by a younger and younger age every year, children watch fantasy violence and horror on the screen, much worse than most will ever face in reality.

Except it is fantasy, right? And so of course it won’t really hurt them…

Meanwhile, we congratulate ourselves on our ‘real life’ hunting. Through expressionless mannequins in the clothing department to anthropomorphised smiling cows and chickens in the deli, we come home showing anyone who will listen how clever we were to hunt down quality at such a bargain!

But how much would we have been comfortable to pay for the same dress if it was our friend or neighbour who made it? And do we know what kind of life the animal had that is now on our plate at the table?

Fantasy horror is much easier to resolve in minds than real life injustice, that if acknowledged we might have to work for years setting straight.

Too hard to contemplate right now? Maybe… but the years will pass anyway and if we don’t begin cleaning up our act now, where will we be ten or twenty years from now?

Hypnosis or Compliance?

Our grooming starts early to play along with society’s big lies that we have built our comfortable lifestyles on… starting with trained compliance.

A bell rings and we get out of bed in the morning, another to let us know our food is ready, and another when it’s time to head for work or class.

By the time we are adults, how many of us have the luxury of planning our own day?

Considering the following video, what individual finding themselves on a stage would in front of a crowd this size have the confidence, let alone stage craft, to resist this man’s suggestions?

What Happens if You Resist?

A few years of conditioning, and soon most are easily led. Refusing to play along (even when, as in the case above, the game is built on nothing but words) and make decisions for ourselves eventually becomes terrifying. See how fast the young man falls to the floor when the hypnotist pretends to shake his hand (but probably tugs it down hard) and says, “Sleep again.” Considering the hypnotist’s haughty arrogance, the young man was probably relieved to get off so lightly.

Later, when asked if he remembers what happened on stage, instead of explaining he had no idea what to do except go along with the game, what could be simpler than to just say, “I don’t remember anything.” That is what is meant to happen when we are hypnotised, isn’t it?

Telling the truth is never easy in a society whose comfort is built on big lies…

The pressure to lie and go along with the game may normally not be quite so obvious and public as a hypnotist’s stage, but big lies are generally built on much more than words.

Steve and I never lied to our children about Santa, for instance, but even in our unquestioned role of authority as parents of our children, we still faced criticism and condemnation for it.

Even without a TV in our home, pressure from the wider community was so great that in the end our children decided it was us who were stupid for not believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny.

The evidence was in every shop they walked into.

I even remember a strange man telling our younger son, when he was acting up in our local supermarket, that Santa was watching him from the air-conditioner vent in the ceiling.

Creepy? By society’s standards apparently not, but our children certainly thought him a weirdo.

Trained Compliance Coupled with Society’s Lies May at Some Point Leave You Stranded

Trained compliance fools you that you are thinking and planning when in reality you are just choosing. Think menu items, holidays and what classes you take at school.

We are taught to trust the experts on such things, but when built on lies these choices may leave you stranded… 

Like millions of Europeans who were offered subsidies and pressured to invest thousands of pounds in new diesel vehicles, after VW and other European car manufacturers had lied for years that diesel technology was now clean. Protests have raged in France since they have since been hit with a 10 cents per litre carbon tax on diesel. This happened as a result of the deceit being exposed and truth finally coming out in the US that diesel is not clean and probably never will be

So much pressure and money had been spent on the idea of making diesel clean that none of the technicians given the job to make this a reality had the courage to be honest and admit they couldn’t do it.

When the deceit was finally exposed everyone looked for a scapegoat, while ignoring the structural arena that had been missing for encouraging and rewarding honesty.

The lies had gone on so long that the cars could not be improved or modified. In the US and Australia millions were recalled and warehoused, but in Europe owners faced a no win proposition; accept an insufficient subsidy to replace their expensive diesel cars or otherwise be made subject to the carbon tax on diesel.

The French took to the streets in violent protest:

Just like the car industry is now being forced to reconsider their ethics and clean up their act, hopefully families too can find an arena for honesty to begin cleaning up their internal corruption.

Conspiracies might distract, entertain and help hide what otherwise would be inexcusable health risks, dangers or blatant abuse or exploitation, but lies are not something you can build anything meaningful on.

You can pretend to believe in Santa, sure, and maybe even dress up as him, but your family cannot decide to visit his workshop at the North Pole or set up a log cabin next door to his place.

Trained compliance is also not co-operation, like playing catch, or building something together which involves reciprocal action.

Trained compliance also instructs you to not co-operate with anyone outside the system.

We push this grooming to an alarming level, unwittingly training our children to comply with a system—which we actively putting ourselves outside of—when we innocently play Simon Says with them.

Where did this game come from (and who the hell is Simon?) and why on earth would we train our children by repetition not to act on our simple instructions?

All innocent fun, you might say, and that I’m taking this too seriously? Possibly… but where does this same type of conditioning (while growing up) leave the woman who now suspects her charismatic husband is interfering sexually with one of her children? How has trained compliance prepared her in any way to deal with such a thing? What will happen if she tells the police? Where will they live if he loses his job and goes to prison? What will she tell her family, friends and neighbours? What kind of reassurance and positive future can she honestly promise if the child in question even tells her mother directly that her father (or father-in-law) is sexually assaulting her?

Or any man or woman witnessing corruption in their workplace, who considers becoming a whistleblower?

If there is not even an arena to tell your own children the truth about Santa—when everyone knows what the truth is—who is going to support you if you say bad things about men in your life who people assume are protecting you and whose status you rely on in your community?

Peel back the layers of fantasy we protect ourselves with and we suddenly might have to face dangers and responsibilities that life has not adequately prepared us for.

Jordan Peterson talks about this danger in this short movie:

From 12 Rules for Life…

“It is our responsibility to see what is before our eyes, courageously, and to learn from it, even if it seems horrible—even if the horror of seeing it damages our consciousness, and half-blinds us. The act of seeing is particularly important when it challenges what we know and rely on, upsetting and destabilizing us… Nietzsche said that a man’s worth was determined by how much truth you could tolerate. You are by no means only what you already know…

Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges the previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better. Sometimes such deaths virtually destroy us. In such cases, we might never recover or, if we do, we change a lot. A good friend of mine discovered that his wife of decades was having an affair. He didn’t see it coming. It plunged him into a deep depression. He descended into the underworld. He told me, at one point, “I always thought that people who were depressed should just shake it off. I didn’t have any idea what I was talking about.” Eventually, he returned from the depths. In many ways, he’s a new man—and, perhaps, a wiser and better man. He lost 40 pounds. He ran a marathon, he travelled to Africa and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He chose rebirth over descent into Hell.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life pages 223-224

Instead of defending truth (which in truth means rewarding the courage required to question everything and consider anything), many of us are unprepared for the inherent danger involved in facing truth, and so instead protect the lie and denigrate the whistleblower.

For instance, I have heard it a common scenario in cases of father/daughter incest for a girl to first find the courage to report her father’s crimes, only later to retract her statement and accuse herself of lying after being pressured to do so by her mother.

Easy to judge, but where exactly is it spelled out how mothers should protect their children (and themselves) in this situation? Who is going to help this family deal with the physical realities of this husband and father’s exposure, let alone the social stigma? Where is the safe space or platform for honesty? 

Boys subjected to sexual assault more commonly fail to report the crime until much later in their life, and again are often denigrated for doing so. 

The truth is there is no safe space (if we do not create it ourselves) and it can be almost impossible to speak the truth in a society built on the comfort of lies.

But maybe I am going the wrong way here? Shouldn’t we trust our mothers, fathers, leaders and institutions? Aren’t whistleblowers, conspiracy theorists and anyone who accuses anyone of rape highly suspect?

The truth is all systems, even families, will continually be subject to corruption (which could simply be described as self-serving deceit) unless they organise to protect themselves accordingly.

This danger is ever present because of the proclivity of all humans to deceive ourselves about our own self-serving tendencies. Because that self-serving criminal is present in each of us and always avoids leaving us open to being caught red-handed…

Fall Guys and Scapegoats

Anyone (including ourselves) involved in extorting money (or tangible and intangible resources such as love, sex, care, sympathy, attention—or, in the case of sadists, the opportunity to hurt or abuse people) from within a system will have a scapegoat or fall guy. This may be a person or it may be a philosophy or ideology we use to excuse certain actions.

A wife may excuse her excessive drinking on her wayward daughter, or a husband his cheating ways on his wife’s jealousy. 

‘All men cheat on their wives’, however, is an example of using a philosophy as a scapegoat. Jordan Peterson in the segment I have edited below—First Do No Harm—calls these ‘low resolution ideologies’. In our thinking we simply call them ‘bad programmes.’

A particularly nasty bad programme has sometimes been called the biggest lie ever told…

In Crime and Punishment there is a character called Peter Petrovich who was enamoured by the lie of trickle down economics. In the novel he says..

“I have been told to ‘love my neighbor,’ and I did love him, what came of it?. . . What came of it was that I tore my coat in two, shared it with my neighbor, and we were both left half naked, in accordance with the Russian proverb which says: If you chase several hares at once, you won’t overtake any one of them. But science says: Love yourself before all, because everything in the world is based on self-interest. If you love only yourself, you will set your affairs up properly, and your coat will also remain in one piece. And economic truth adds that the more properly arranged personal affairs and, so to speak, whole coats there are in society, the firmer its foundations are and the better arranged its common cause. It follows that by acquiring for everyone, as it were, and working so that my neighbor will have something more than a torn coat, not from private, isolated generosities now, but as a result of universal prosperity.” 

― Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

As Steve added wisely when discussing Peter Petrovich, “This is not about resources but liberation, you could just as easily say, if one man has his hands tied behind his back in poverty, and the other’s hands are untied; the second man should should use his free hands to liberate his neighbour and together produce more than they ever could individually”.

Peter Petrovich is dealt with very harshly in this tale, humiliated when his own self serving interests, aimed against the poor and fueled by self congratulation and conceit, are exposed publicly.

Only liars who remain scrupulously and consciously honest with themselves about the truth in matters that they are deceiving others about are ever successful career criminals.

If unconscious—as bad programmes often are—the corrupt individual uses the lie they have swallowed as an excuse to hide the truth from themselves. This kind of corruption causes chaos, creates systems that deteriorate and as with Peter Petrovich, sets up an especially unpleasant end for the perpetrator.

Hiding From Our Own Corruption

This is the reason I object to people who insist that narcissists (in reference to people with traits of narcissistic personality disorder) know exactly what they are doing.

Quite the opposite, the biggest fool in a chaotic system is the narcissist who has hidden the truth from him or herself; their own bad programmes are in fact responsible for most of their own problems.

Exploiting others leaves a person vulnerable to blowback and disclosure when the people they exploit become angry.

Because of this, exploitative people are usually very vocal about their bad programmes (whereas a successful criminal might stay quiet) to draw in support from other people using the same excuse. This is the only way they can continue hiding from the truth.

It is for this reason that I find NPD indistinguishable from something called groupthink.


Associating only with people as guilty as yourself is the easiest way to protect your bad programmes.

When we lose vertical attachment in our communities (strong intergenerational relationships that transcend class), whole generations become susceptible to groupthink.

This type of groupthink is sometimes also referred to as peer attachment. It is a tendency that is encouraged by separating children into classes based on sex and age group in school. With schools then divided on a socio-economic basis we have a ‘class system’ that can only encourage groupthink. 

Natural that we should want to only talk and listen to our peers? Perhaps, but there are dangers in groupthink that while remaining mostly hidden are leaving us lonely and our communities divided.

The men possessed by the bad programme ‘all men cheat on their wives’, for instance, can only hide the truth from themselves by attracting a crowd to immerse themselves in who hold the same self-serving programme. Places where they may run into people who will challenge their thinking, become places they actively avoid and dismiss any value in attending.

Church, school meetings and community events may all become zones that eventually disappear from this man’s field of consciousness.

Besides all the other negative consequences this will produce in their lives, this bad programme will put them in a kind of self imposed cage where the squares they inhabit on the chess board of life can only continue shrinking.   

This tendency for the world to shrink happens with everyone who uses bad programmes to scapegoat others, leaving many older people confined to their home and TV set with the entire world ‘out there’ eventually becoming a concept which only produces anxiety.

We witnessed this recently visiting the beach across the road from our house where we regularly camp, sometimes for days on end…

There are gates which the rangers close at night to stop revellers in who haven’t set up camp earlier. For this reason we leave one car on the outside of the gate and our beach 4WD on the inside.

After a few days parking near his house, one of the neighbours came out to talk to us.

He plied us for negative information on what happened ‘down there’ and was unhappy when we described it positively.

After hearing him out we were amazed to discover that for 18 years he has not set foot on the beach he lives right at the head of the road leading down to.

The stories he told—which had scared him away—had nothing to do with reality.

This situation had resulted from his prejudice towards trail bike riders.

Because they rode past his house making noise, him and his wife and friends had eventually ascribed every problem in society on them. In his view they were junkies and hoodlums and personally out to cause him misery and harm.

Despite all the time we have spent camping in this piece of paradise there was no way to assure him that his opinion needed to be reconsidered.

Positive information about the beach only upset him.

This is a fairly innocent example of how groupthink can shrink a person’s world.

Back to our original and more sinister example…

When society gets together and unconsciously conspires to use the Santa conspiracy as a means to avoid looking at the problems inherent in a consumption-based world economic system, everyone participating in this—even those with the slightest inkling of what is going on—is guilty of groupthink.

At this level the need to ‘hide the truth from ourselves’ reaches a scale where all manufacturing must be moved off-shore to make sure we can avoid the reality of where the injustice of our self-serving bad programmes have led us.

Much easier to feel good about the bargains we find shopping if the slave labor used to produce them is well out of view.

The result is a narcissistic/codependent economic system which can only result in a world that is divided and at war. 

Groupthink by definition encourages conformity and discourages dissent, and results in irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcomes.

The ‘must view’ reality of foreign aid…

When we lament the loss of local manufacturing jobs and refugees flood the borders of countries that were once considered western safe havens; Santa’s hens have come home to roost. 

A Glimmer of Light in the Darkness

We will miss the opportunity to change our cognitive map and free ourselves from groupthink if we do not work on creating a safe space in our personal lives for honesty.

Beyond listening to others, a universal axiom could be proposed to protect ourselves which is:

‘The most likely reason things fall apart is because of corruption in a system.’

If fully assimilated, every time a system began to malfunction or deteriorate, this fact would cause us to look in the right direction.

A family falling apart, for instance.

This will not happen, however, until we are able to find the courage to look at our self-serving and exploitative actions and de-programme ourselves from the worst of our bad programmes.

Rather than have an honest system audit to find out where resources are not being fairly distributed, instead when things fall apart our corrupt system sets up ‘experts’ as arbiters of ‘the facts‘. 

This generally takes shape as a hunt for the stupid person or group that we should blame for things not working out better.

These experts then rationalise that being ‘smarter’ obviously entitles them to a larger share of whatever is on offer. After all, they are the ones holding it all together, aren’t they?

This is because at the highest level, where groupthink excuses its very own existence, is the bad programme… ‘things fall apart because people are stupid’.

This has led to a form of intellectual totalitarian thinking that in the past hundred years may be responsible for the deaths of well over 25 million people. And this just the ones that died towards just the first half of this time frame! The real death toll and suffering this bad programme has caused is incalculable.

In 1865 when writing Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky clearly saw this ‘pestilence’ as he called it coming. Albert Camus more than 80 years later wrote a book called The Plague as an analogy for the same totalitarian bad programme that had decimated Europe by the end of WWII. By that time Camus would have been much more fearful to write directly of what the plague was that his story referred to, leaving us to presume it was simply Nazism. 

I would suggest that metaphor ran deeper and that he wrote The Plague after being inspired by Dostoevsky’s pivotal passage in Crime and Punishment (and hoped others would draw the same connection). The same passage which at last morally redeems Rodion Raskolnikov, Crime and Punishment’s central character:

“Raskolnikov was in hospital all through the latter part of Lent and Easter. When he began to recover he remembered the dreams that had visited him while he lay in his fever and delerium.

He had dreamt in his illness that the whole world was condemned to fall victim to a terrible, unknown pestilence which was moving on Europe out of the depths of Asia. All were destined to perish, except a chosen few, a very few. There had appeared a new strain of trichinae, microscopic creatures parasitic in men’s bodies. But these creatures were endowed with intelligence and will. People who were infected immediately became like men possessed and out of their minds. But never, never, had any men thought themselves so wise and so unshakable in the truth as those who were attacked. Never have they considered their judgements, their scientific deductions, or their moral convictions and creeds more infallible. Whole communities, whole cities and nations, where infected and went mad. All were full of anxiety, and none could understand any other; each thought he was the soul repository of truth and was tormented when he looked at the others, beat his breast, wrung his hands, and wept. They did not know how or whom to judge and could not agree what was evil and what was good. They did not know whom to condemn or whom to acquit. Men killed one another in senseless rage. They banded together against one another in great armies, but when the armies were already on the march they began to fight amongst themselves, the ranks disintegrated, the soldiers fell on the neighbours, they thrust and cut, they killed and ate one another. In the towns, the tocsin (alarm) sounded all day long, and called out all the people, but who had summoned them and why nobody knew, and everybody was filled with alarm. The most ordinary callings were abandoned, because every man put forward his own ideas, his own improvements, and there was no agreements; the labourers forsook the land. In places men congregated in groups, agreed together on some action, swore not to disband—and immediately began to do something quite different from what they themselves had proposed, accused one another, fought and killed each other. Conflagrations were started, famine set in. All things and all men were perishing. The plague grew and spread wider and wider. In the whole world only a few could save themselves, a chosen handful of the pure, who were destined to found a new race of men and a new life, and to renew and cleanse the earth; but nobody had ever seen them anywhere, nobody had heard their voices or their words.”

—Crime and Punishment Page 523, F. Dostoevsky

Have men ever thought themselves so wise and unshakable in the truth as they do today? Have they ever considered their judgements, their scientific deductions, or their moral convictions and creeds more infallible? Have people ever been so ready to find and accuse a scapegoat?

Groupthink has caused this ‘plague’ to grow so virulent in the last few years, that even the best of us have become self righteous in our viewpoints, that social discourse often resembles ‘tribal’ warfare.

Not so much from the openly hostile socio-political arguments that once dominated face to face social interaction, but now from the rigid beliefs many hold and wall themselves up with, not feeling safe to speak honestly with anyone.

Without the arena for honesty (despite the abuse and vitriol) the internet provides, it is almost certain that WWIII would have broken out a long time ago.

I have put together a flow chart detailing the overarching results of this this bad programme here;

Click image to view

As this chart details, stupid people are not really to blame and instead this is a smokescreen to protect corruption.

Chastising whistleblowers, the persecution of those who call for negotiation or open dialogue, silencing or jailing revisionists, and deriding alternative viewpoints should alert us to the presence of groupthink.  

Instead of targeting stupidity, again we must open our minds and protect an arena for honesty. 

Big Lies Are More Common Than We Think

“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility, because the broad masses of the nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victim to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

–Hitler A 1925 Mein Kampf pages 172-173

  • What colossal untruths was Adolf Hitler speaking of?
  • If the victors wrote history, just what parts of our history books should we discredit?
  • Who cleans up war propaganda for the text books once a war is over?
  • Am I crazy if I think there are aliens and UFOs out there—or crazier if I don’t believe in aliens and UFOs at all?
  • Is it morally wrong to investigate the claims of anyone who claims they are a victim?
  • Did we really go to the moon or was it a staged-for-TV event filmed on a sound stage?
  • Is the Bible and most history as we know it mainly political propaganda written by a select few in the interests of a few ruling families?
  • Can we believe what is presented as reality (including the news) on TV, or is it fictional propaganda put together with computer graphics (CGI) and crisis actors?
  • Are our politicians and world leaders lifetime actors?
  • Do famous musicians and celebrities really die when the media tells us they do, or are they simply cashing out (of the game)?
  • Is the earth really flat, and every picture we have seen of our globe and the solar system photo-shopped or computer-generated?
  • Most importantly, should we mimic George Orwell’s totalitarian state and employ ‘thought police’ and arbiters of ‘fake news’ to ensure people don’t consider such things?
  • Is the question of ‘truth’ so settled in our minds that we would feel okay about a new political/religious inquisition?

For a long time, these kinds of questions would have seemed absurd in western society. We prided ourselves that this was because, as a society, we had become so tolerant and open minded. The truth was, however, more likely the opposite. Learned compliance and groupthink had taught us to censor ourselves (and others) so effectively that this kind of policing of public discourse became unnecessary.

So many people believed in aliens and UFOs in the late twentieth century that you were in fact considered weird if you didn’t. We had, after all, grown up with My Favorite Martian and Star Trek. Yet everyone still knew that speaking about such things at work or in the classroom was 100 per cent forbidden. No one had to police it as no one ever crossed that boundary.

To this day most churchgoers keep in step with the tenets of their faith, and most journalists (who want to keep their jobs and stay alive) know what bias they must take to get their stories through their editors…

How many subjects a day do you censor yourself from talking about?


If we consider the particular hell totalitarian certainty has unleashed on this planet (Hitler, Stalin, Mao), perhaps we should be glad to find an age dawning where hopefully the fear is passing and cracks are appearing in this self-censorship. 

Considering the number of incredibly convincing liars I have met in my time, I say (a very Aussie) ‘all good’ to what I am going to tag as a new post-totalitarian era of questioning.

Why should we be scared of people finding the courage to cautiously peel back the layers of all we believe we know to be true, and question what is indeed fact or fiction?

If we find their facts or reasoning stupid, so what? Hardly anyone gets the levers of true power in their hands, let alone people who are stupid out of sheer ignorance. The problems the world faces (and has always faced) are more often the result of corruption and not stupidity.

For too long we have been so scared of getting any answer wrong that we have not been prepared to really consider if what we believe is right… or more importantly, honest.

Because truth and honesty are different things. Just about anything we consider truth changes over time, and all we can ever really hope to do is explore it.

Honesty, however, is a more potent commodity and we will never reach the right answers without protecting an arena for it. Feeling confident to speak honestly is also the only protection we will ever have against corruption—our own and others. 

Finding the courage to question what others find obvious (and listen to ideas we might first believe stupid) will better prepare us for those times in our lives when our ever-so-certain world view may dissolve into chaos, and we are forced to face the horror of a certain reality that would be irresponsible and cruel to intentionally blind ourselves to.

Whether exposing it causes chaos or not, child sexual abuse for instance is not something our society should continue to remain silent about until the perpetrators are past the age of being much of a danger to anyone.

Likewise, we might ask: is studying old testament stories from a time when polygyny, and capital punishment as a spectator sport were normal, or dead facts about dinosaurs really helping our children learn about managing the world they are living in right now? How much more courage might they learn from being en-couraged to go out and investigate for themselves new ideas about science, history, religion or cosmology?

Peel back the layers of ‘facts’ we use to protect ourselves (from looking stupid) with and reality might get a lot more fun and interesting.

The complex and dangerous social realities most children grow up in these days require a character stronger than those produced by the trained compliance and grooming which has taught us to censor ourselves and others.

Questioning ‘settled science’ or ‘received wisdom’ takes exactly the type of courage that should be en-couraged in our children if we want them to grow and be equipped to defend and protect themselves, and rid our societies and institutions (and ourselves) of the bad programmes that allow us to remain blind to corruption. 

12 and a half million views and still most commenters are trying to figure out if the movie above is real or satire

How much more of an alive and enlightened world might this create than the one we have now, filled with young adults who, so jaded by the artificial realities they have been wrapped in, and juxtaposed to the cold hard totalitarian facts that ‘reality’ is based on—like addicts or psychopaths needing a bigger and bigger fix—feel they need ever more shocking fantasy horror realities, just to relieve their boredom?

Won’t This Lead to Anarchy?

Just how many layers deep do the lies that ‘protect’ the corruption in our systems go, and how much questioning of ‘truth’ should we tolerate?

What path to follow if new adventurous enquiries lead us to decide that we cannot continue to support our religious beliefs, settled science, or any other facet of our consensus reality?

Again, Jordan Peterson lights a path for us…

“… How then to envision the future, and establish our direction, without falling prey to the temptation of totalitarian certainty?

Some reliance on tradition can help us… It is reasonable to do what other people have always done, unless we have a very good reason not to. It is reasonable to become educated and work and find love and have a family. That is how culture maintains itself. But it is necessary to aim at your target, however traditional, with your eyes wide open. You have a direction, but it might be wrong. You have a plan, but it might be ill-formed. You may have been led astray by your own ignorance—and, worse, by your own unrevealed corruption. You must make friends, therefore, with what you don’t know, instead of what you know. You must remain awake to catch yourself in the act. You must remove the beam in your own eye, before you concern yourself with the mote in your brother’s. And in this way, you strengthen your own spirit, so we can tolerate the burden of existence, and you rejuvenate the state.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 221

In this clip that I have edited from a lecture of Jordan Peterson’s, he highlights the need for caution as we move forward. This clip is central as it also brings us back to how this all relates to our long term relationships…

Differentiating the argument means leaving all of those bad programmes aside and having the courage to address the issues we disagree on (when necessary) with a mind to addressing and solving the problems.

We must stop insisting that we alone have all the answers and instead create a space to hear all sides of important arguments, minus the smokescreens.

Consensus requires diplomacy and finesse—unlike the bad programmes that often encourage us to blame the unshakable ‘stupidity and evil in others’ and in doing so throw out the baby with the bath water.

For instance, at a financial level this is not about overturning capitalism for a new economic system, but instead finding the courage to deal with corruption

How do we help others when the class system has left a divide so large that rich and poor have come to appear different species? We can no longer wait for government or schools to provide a level playing field, instead we must begin by setting up more equiptable systems in our homes and communities…

And before we rally against the corrupt state of our institutions, first we must build trust in ourselves (by learning to be honest with ourselves) which alongside a multitude of other benefits will help us learn to be prudent in our honesty with others.

But this is tough, because honesty is something we do not often find highly valued. Instead we reward politicians, lawyers, salesmen, writers of fiction, propaganda, and other spin doctors…

“You can use words to manipulate the world into delivering what you want. This is what it means to “act politically” … to craft speech and action in a manner … to bring about that end. Typically calculated ends might include “to impose my ideological beliefs,” “to prove that I am (or was) right,” “to appear competent,” “to ratchet myself up the dominance hierarchy,” “to avoid responsibility” (or its twin, “to garner credit for others’ actions”), “to be promoted,” “to attract the lion’s share of attention,” “to ensure that everyone likes me,” “to garner the benefits of martyrdom,” “to justify my cynicism,” “to rationalize my antisocial outlook,” “to minimize the immediate conflict,” “to maintain my naivety,” “to capitalize on my vulnerability,” “to always appear as the sainted one,” or (this one is particularly evil) “to ensure that it is always my unloved child’s fault.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 212

And prudent we must be—alongside protecting this arena for honestly in our family and other important relationships. It is not everyone you can be honest with in the big bad world we live in.

In Hold on the Your Kid’s (a book I have referred at least a thousand people to read over the years) Gordon Neufeld tells the story of helping young men in prison that he is counselling to hide the fact they have been crying when they leave speaking with him.

There are plenty of places in the world that you must be careful how much you expose of yourself.

Building trust to share ourselves honestly and building authentic relationships is nearly synonymous.

Do you put yourself above your family in your local hierarchy?

Have you built a safe space in your home where your family feel you understand their needs and they can speak honestly?

Why Live Honestly?

Being honest means first grappling with our true nature…

“We rebel against our own totalitarianism, as much as that of others. I cannot really order myself to action, and neither can you. “I will stop procrastinating,” I say, but I don’t. “I will eat properly,” I say, but I don’t. “I will end my drunken misbehavior,” I say, but I don’t. I cannot really make myself over in an image constructed by my intellect (particularly if the intellect is possessed by an ideology). I have a nature, and so do you, and so do we all. We must discover that nature, and contend with that, before making peace with ourselves. What is it that we most truly are? What is it that we could most truly become, knowing who we most truly are? We must get to the very bottom of things before such questions can be truly answered.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 193

If we are to succeed in producing a post-totalitarian age of exploration, authentic dialogue and a more fluid, useful and adaptive base of knowledge, truth cannot remain the cold hard (and Jordan Peterson calls them ‘dead’) facts from the past.

“Truth will not come in the guise of opinions shared by others, as the truth is neither a collection of slogans nor an ideology. It will instead be personal. Your truth is something only you can tell, based as it is on the unique circumstances of your life. Apprehend your personal truth. Communicate it carefully, in an articulate manner, to yourself and others. This will ensure your security and your life more abundantly now, while you inhabit the structure of your current beliefs. This will ensure the benevolence of the future, diverging as it might from the certainties of the past.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 230

Facing and grappling with our true nature is not the same as allowing our worst traits to rule us. Facing our faults is not the same as rationalising them…

“Live in truth.” This means, “Act diligently towards some well-articulated, defined and temporary end. Make your criteria for failure and success timely and clear, at least for yourself (and even better if others can understand what you’re doing and evaluate it with you). While doing so, however, allow the world and your spirit to unfold as they will, while you act out and articulate the truth.” This is both pragmatic ambition and the most courageous of faiths.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 227

And finally…

“To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into being. Truth builds edifices that can stand a thousand years. Truth feeds and clothes the poor, and makes nations wealthy and safe. Truth reduces the terrible complexity of a man to the simplicity of his word, so that he can become a partner, rather than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly the past, and makes the best use of the future’s possibilities. Truth is the ultimate, inexhaustible natural resource. It’s the light in the darkness. See the truth. Tell the truth.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 230

Small Lies Are not as Innocent as We Think

And of course, this kind of truth (honesty) requires that we stop lying…

“The smallest of lies is where the big lie starts. It is not the mere misstatement of fact.

It is instead an act that has the aspect of the most serious conspiracy ever to possess the race of man. Its seemingly innocuousness, its trivial meanness, the feeble arrogance that gives rise to it, the apparently trivial circumventing of responsibility that it aims at—these all work effectively to camouflage its true nature, its genuine dangerousness, and its equivalence with the great acts of evil that man perpetrates and often enjoys. Lies corrupt the world. Worse, that is their intent”.

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life pages 228-229

Blaming poverty on the poor is the small lie underpinning ‘the biggest lie ever told’ of trickle down economics.

“Your suffering is your own fault if you don’t ‘just leave’ a bad marriage,” is another of these mean small lies this quote alludes to. It ignores important questions that need to be asked and the facts that must be considered. It takes complex and often criminal situations, and pretends they are simple (if the victim was just not so stupid). It trivialises the desperate and unendurable plight of far too many individuals, while ignoring the elephant in the room that society’s basic social structure, the family, is breaking down.

Worse, the advice to ‘just leave’, is a radical solution that may have profound implications for the family in question. Rather than solve existing problems, without other meticulously well thought out interventions put in place, leaving can easily create even worse problems the family may never recover from.

Lies Help us Feel Safe but Often Lead to Tragedy

We have seen where the lie of trickle down economics ends; with the worst inequality humanity has ever suffered. 

But what about the corruption in families?

Gentlemen, stand up and take your pick of the small lies society feeds you with:

My wife should be okay about me…

  • working late and not calling
  • locking myself away with porn
  • flirting (and more) with other women
  • talking to her like she is not worthy of me
  • making unilateral decisions that affect my whole family
  • not spending enough time being with and thinking about my family

Now say in unison…

“All men do those things, and if she has a problem with this she is just being jealous and controlling!”

Now ask your conscience if that is not a very bad programme justifying behaviour that in truth you know is unjustifiable?

You can argue all you like and I might be wrong. But if I am, that will be of little consequence. If you argue, however, and it is you who is wrong and deceiving yourself, what particular nasty hell might await you when your family’s system dysfunction at last goes into a tailspin?

If you think divorce is the end of the line, think again. That is not even close to the bottom of where this type of self-deception can pan out.

“First a little lie; then, several little lies to prop it up. After that, distorted thinking to avoid the shame that those lies produce, then a few more lies to cover up the consequences of the distorted thinking. Then, most terribly, the transformation of those now necessary lies through practice into automised, specialised, structural, neurologically instantiated ‘unconscious’ belief and action…

After that comes the arrogance and sense of superiority that inevitably accompanies the production of successful lies (hypothetically successful lies—and that is one of the greatest dangers: apparently everyone is fooled, so everyone is stupid except me. Everyone is stupid and fooled by meso I can get away with whatever I want). Finally, there is the proposition: “Being itself is susceptible to my manipulations. Thus, it deserves no respect.”

Hell comes later. Hell comes when lies have destroyed the relationship between individual or state and reality itself. Things fall apart. Life degenerates. Everything becomes frustration and disappointment. Hope consistently betrays. The deceitful individual desperately gestures at sacrifice, like Cain, but fails to please God. Then the drama enters its final act.

Tortured by constant failure, the individual becomes bitter. Disappointment and failure amalgamate, and produce a fantasy: the world is spent on my personal suffering, my particular undoing, my destruction. I need, I deserve, I must have my revenge. That’s the gateway to hell. That’s when the underworld, a terrifying and unfamiliar place, becomes misery itself.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life pages 228–229

Any of these small lies can spiral downward until we encounter a man left bitter and hopeless. His wife has finally peeled back the layers of fantasy which failed to protect herself and their children, and changed the locks and put a restraining order on him for physical/verbal aggression (even when she may have been just as aggressive as he was). 

When his manipulation and lies fail to work any longer, instead of facing the reality that he didn’t have the right to ignore and neglect his wife for years and harden himself to her suffering, he reaches for that most addictive and seductive (self-made) opiate and hallucinogen: self-pity.

If captured by this fully he may descend to the hell Peterson speaks of as the final act of the drama. Abiding in this pit is the evil (but common as grass) psychotic delusion that life offers nothing sweeter than revenge. Feeling that life is against him and he has nothing left to lose, our dupe goes out and does something violent and crazy to get even with the very people he loves and should all along have been protecting and defending.

Look through the news and you will see this story play itself out every day, constituting a mostly unreported world war with ‘all civilian’ casualties.

Everyone is hurt by this drama as it rips through the very fabric of our society and social structure.

Wealthier men may fare better when their wife finally puts her foot down, and they trade an unhappy or disgruntled wife in for a ‘sportier model’. But where does this leave his first wife, and what example does it set for their adult children who would probably fare much better with parents who managed to run a co-operative partnership?

And if his bad programming persists, chances are the wealthier man will still die alone with no one around who really cares about or understands him.

Men kidding themselves this has been caused by feminism or any other ideology beyond their own control, is a fantasy that will only land us all in this particular hell if they persist with it.

This is not about emotional manipulation/domination by wives (a subject which certainly needs two eyes wide-open attention) but an arena where only men can lead the necessary, stabilising revolution, and stop the downward spiral.

From Steve…

“We are pitted against each other by people in power who know exactly what they are doing. For us to bicker and fuss about unimportant issues and problems, we are adequately distracted from working together and forming strong and stable communities.

This real manipulation sets our lives apart in the hierarchy.

Numerous examples in politics, sports, philosophy, and even the arts can be provided.

Strong and stable families are governed mainly by themselves, and excel at sharing resources—making stable families poor societal consumers. These attributes are not in the interest of most governments or corporations.

Yet the concept of the free and mobile individual was set forward as the key to success in both the capitalist and socialist philosophical models of the twentieth century. Families are a fascinating and exponentially more powerful expression of the same idea: a free and virtuous cog in the larger productive mechanism that is the society, the economy, and the culture.

The functional family occupies a special place in society, and if humanity is to flourish, it must continue to do so.

Hence building stronger families is in many ways a positive revolutionary act. We are faced with no other option. Healthy societies are underpinned by powerful and aware individuals who are free to explore thoughts and ideas within the reasonable confines of basic decency and ethics.”

–Steve Cooper Good Fathers and Mothers   

As Steve, Jordan Peterson and myself have been espousing, it is indeed time for men to grow up and leave behind the fantasy that they can stay young and irresponsible well past adulthood.

This is indeed about basic decency and ethics.

Women in large part have been left to provide the last moral bulwarks on an already stricken vessel. Left alone forever in this role for much longer and they will undoubtably soon end up as self-obsessed and narcissistic as their menfolk.

The sewage, called ‘popular culture’, spewed at us twenty-four hours a day seems intent on this.

Can we protect ourselves from the impending collapse of western society? To do so men must find valour in leaving aside teenage preoccupations, and focus instead on protecting their wives and children.

“We can open our eyes in modifying what we have where necessary and keep the machinery running smoothly. Or we can pretend that everything is all right, fail to make the necessary repairs, and then curse fate when nothing goes our way… without attention, culture degenerates and dies, and evil prevails.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 228

The truth is that women need this protection more than most consciously realise. They have been deceived into believing they have been liberated, but much of this liberation was in fact deception… 

It is my personal experience that, despite the noticeable decadent degradation of much of society, a woman is more often than not an incredible asset to a man’s emotional, financial and physical security. 

One way or another men and women need to learn how to share and cooperate with each other…

Men once again must lead the way with this for a number of reasons. 

The first is that while women will model behaviour from men or women, men will generally only model behaviour from other men. This gives men a distinct advantage in families instigating cooperation and sharing.

And while many women still have a desire for a more cooperative partnership with their husbands, they do not have the same mate-ship with other women that men have with each other. Instead women can often be ruthlessly competitive and unsupportive of one another…

Women unfaithful to their husbands, for instance, are statistically more interested in other women’s partners than they are in single men or male prostitutes.

There is a reason for this.

Status is much more vital to survival for women than for men, and society still attributes status to women mostly through a male partner.

What is the female equivalent, for example, of the terms beach bum, cool dude, dreamer, drifter, easy-going guy,  etc. ?

A woman without status does not gain the freedom associated with these words but more generally becomes a figure of derision or open to exploitation.

My extensive life experience shows to me clearly that it is much easier for a man to turn his back on status than it probably ever will be for a woman.

A lover, even if he already belongs to another woman, has a lot more status (and security) to offer than most single men (and certainly more than a male prostitute).

A man disrespecting or undermining his wife’s status (in any arena) affects her sense of security in more ways than he may ever comprehend.

Really think about that.

Climbing down from the ‘heights of greatness’ we all have aspired to in this era of dog eat dog class warfare is especially difficult if we fear that those ‘below’ us might wish to take everything from us.

Sharing and working together isn’t easy in a world attuned to scapegoating and groupthink.

This is why we must differentiate the argument at high resolution (as Jordan Peterson wisely says at the end of the movie above titled First Do No Harm), and get right down to the basic issues that stop men and women from working together; wrecking homes and marriages and leaving our children vulnerable.

More coming in Part 2 on our ideas of how to do this but first let’s begin the discussion…


For fifteen years, the Coopers have offered themselves as humble guides and mentors, helping families avoid cynicism and chaos. Leading the way as peer support specialists whose own family has traversed love's dangerous terrain.
Taking you to that place inside yourself that you can't go by yourself. Helping you get back in touch with the power of love within you to restore the sanity in your marriage whether you stay or leave.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. not particularly “easy”/pleasant material to absorb and digest,… certainly portrays many of the negatives and dysfunctions that have promulgated themselves in the technologically developing world,… I believe “alienation” was a way we were beginning to describe it “back in the day”,… I tend to “believe” that a “group oriented” (so-called) “answer”, may tend too much toward the deficits of “groupthink”, and that the individual (male or female) needs to become “individually responsible and accountable” and regrouped in ways that (to some) might resemble “salvation” ~ in ways that validate the value of the individual, personally, and create real motivation to be fundamentally “responsive and responsible” in patterns that do align us with human images and potentials, as they are presented in biblical literature,…

  2. Finally have gotten time to review well this wonderful work! Thank you, Kim!
    There is so much work to be done in relationship even after it moves solidly from crisis mode…and that includes relationship with oneself. Thank you, Kim, for addressing that here with such depth and insight.
    I am convinced that without this sort of introspective work within ourselves and our families, we are doomed to an existence in which the heart beats though the patient has died or a return to the former conditions either in the current generation or in the next.
    Looking forward to continued learning in the next article!
    Keep up the good work!!!

    1. Thanks Jane, it has been a long and sometimes painful intellectual journey for me – but one which has delivered insights that are bringing Steve and myself and our family closer than ever. I may take a break and publish a few older articles and then get back to part two once our families winter solstice Christmas festivities (we celebrate Christmas in June as it is winter now in Australia) have passed (:)

  3. Thank you, Kim. We are so blessed with the heart and mind you put to the topic of healthy families, communities and nations.

    For now, my focus is on healthy communities, faith communities. I have seen first-hand how narcissists/codependents ravage a faith community. When I was working on trying to heal my marriage, I internalized Kim’s four pillars for a happy home. I use this also when working on trying to heal a damaged faith community.

    1. Greet the narcissist(s) by name and with a smile.
    2. Stop the abuse.
    3. Increase emotional intelligence.
    4. Use Challenge to increase positive growth.

    At this time, the administrative body in my faith community is asking me to head up a worship/meeting/fellowship committee. I am taking my time to answer, because of the times the unchecked narcissist on the administrative body has flipped out and decimated me when seeing that he could not control me, as a person striving to observe honesty and integrity. (My use of truthfulness and steadfastness came at a cost to my health, and I’m still receiving treatments.)

    I am deciding how best to proceed in responding to this adm body. I am seriously considering to put my focus on the skill-development of the adm body itself, and not on the narcissist, in its ability to recognize the tactics that manipulators use to control agendas, and thereby meetings and communities.

    1. That sounds like a good idea Dana. Also focus on where he exploits people or takes more than his share of the resources. Don’t announce it at first but keep an eye on that as that is the aim of his game.

  4. My husband refused to engage with me or the kids until u stood up to his abuse of me. Now, I’m the scapegoat. The kids are his foil – his supply, along with his flying monkey family. He is the super dad now. I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with him, but his manipulating to cover his own contempt and deflecting to me is the hidden elephant. I know my kids are learning to enjoy a false love. What can I do without causing more harm? He’s alienated me in many ways so their trust is damaged toward me, and, they’re all boys.

  5. Thank you for this work Kim! Very thought provoking. I often reflect and wonder about what’s underlying the struggles we have as a society, and how I can have a positive effect on it and on my family. Starting with myself is a great message, and an ongoing challenge. But I also believe the effects can be far-reaching with the courage and love it takes to stand alone in honesty. You’ve re-inspired me with your message – thank you.

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