by James Altucher, LRC
I feel bad. I feel like a sucker. Like one by one I fell for every lie. I talk about “don’t do this”, “don’t do that”, and yet I fell for all of them. I’ve been in everything from a cult to the cult of homeownership, the cult of college, the cult of sex, the cult of drugs, every cult imaginable, the cult of corporate safety, the cult of money. Why couldn’t I just be smart from the beginning? Why does it take stupidity to become smart? Or maybe I’m still stupid. Who knows?
Let’s do one of those psychology tests where I ask you something and you say the first word that comes to mind. Here’s the usual responses I get after years of doing this:
Me: Home ownership. Other: “Roots”
Me: College: Other: “Good job”
Me: Good war. Other: “World War II”
Me: Success. Other: “Fame and money”
Me: Iran. Other: “They want to kill all the jews”.
Me: Voting. Other: “Doing something for your country”.
Home ownership – think about why you want to own a home. Just really take a step back and forget about all your biases. You think “renting is flushing money down the toilet”. You might think “home ownership is ‘roots’ for your family”. Why do you think these things? Isn’t it suspicious to you that everyone else says the same slogans? That I just wrote down the exact things that are you in your head when you try to justify buying a home?
Does it make sense at all that there is a trillion dollar industry (over 20 trillion to be exact when you add in mortgages plus the part of the economy that is dependent on home building) that wants you to own a home? Banks, the government, home builders, furniture makers, real estate agents, etc are all the priests and ministers of that religion. Don’t you think a small part of that 20 trillion goes into hammering again and again the marketing message that you need to own a home?
Just do the basic math on home ownership. It does not work. It will NEVER work. Maybe if home prices go down another 80% but that’s it.
But this isn’t about home ownership. I’ve bought and sold two homes. And I lost money on both. So maybe I’m just bitter. Who knows.
This is about hypnosis. Why we believe, at the bottom of our hearts, the things that are told to us that have such obvious trillion dollar agendas.
Like college. Here is what everyone says: “You won’t get a good job if you don’t go to college”. I’ve proved countless times how this is a lie. Yes, you won’t get a 90 hour a week job at Goldman Sachs if you don’t go to college. And yes, there is no chance in hell you can be a proctologist (although I have known people to start a private practice in this without any degree at all) if you don’t have a medical degree. Ok, you win. On those jobs.
But don’t you think this trillion dollar industry (where costs have gone up ten times faster than inflation, three times faster than the scam healthcare industry) might have an agenda when they put out these “statistical” studies.
What else happens in college? Well, one in four women are raped in college. But because college campuses are one of the few places in the country (Indian reservations maybe being the only other) that provide their own security, you never hear about this. Campus security is not there to protect you. It’s there to hide things from you.
So you can get a job at Goldman Sachs, but you’re more likely to be raped. Or, I guess, be the raper. You choose.
But “don’t you learn how to think” in college? I don’t know, do you? Did you really learn how to think there? Does it really cost $200,000 to think? And what is so great about thinking. Since 1950, when college started becoming almost a pre-requirement for success, incidence of depression has gone up 50 times. How come colleges don’t report on this statistic?
Again, ask yourself where you got these slogans. Even my ten year old repeats the slogans. They are marketing slogans created by, again, a trillion dollar industry.
Insurance. “Everyone must be insured”. “Insurance companies can’t deny you because of pre-existing conditions.” Everyone says this. Again, why does everyone say the exact same thing. Again, this is a trillion dollar industry. They are telling you what to think.
Let’s think about this for a second. Let’s say you have a pre-existing condition. Do you really think they are going to charge you the same amount that someone without a pre-existing condition is charged? Of course not. Your prices are going to go up. A lot! And everyone’s prices are going to go up. Do you think the insurance companies are going to lose money? Of course not. And if you don’t sign up, you have to now pay a fine (a “tax”) to the government. So who wins in this? Do you win? And then the other side tries to go to the other extreme. “Death panels”. Oh my god! Someone’s going to decide who lives or dies?
Of course not. The other side of a lie is not the truth. It”s just another lie.