This blog entry may seem somewhat disjointed, but I'm tired of trying to smooth it out as best I can, so I'll just leave it as it is. It's kind of long, too, but I think it's relevant in its own way, so I haven't cut anything out to make it shorter.
PSI and PTIO
I think most people follow the Philosophy of Self-Importance (PSI). You may or may not have heard of this Philosophy, but you most likely have witnessed its results.
The major aspect of this Philosophy is that whatever someone is doing, just because that person is doing it, that doing is Important.
Conversely, whatever someone else is doing, just because that someone else is doing it, that doing is unimportant. These two concepts are among the many Precepts of PSI.
In this Philosophy, no one is allowed to care about anything or anyone beyond themselves. Not surprisingly, this is actually the First Precept of PSI. This primary Precept overrides all other Precepts, as it should.
This philosophy also rules out its followers having sense of humor. Especially a sense of humor about themselves. This is another Precept.
This brings up the concept of Authority. When I was unfortunate enough to be working for a large corporation, their Rules and Regulations held Infinite Authority. If I did something my own way, for example, instead of following the official blueprint or proper procedure, my boss would talk to me as if I had committed a ghastly, unspeakable crime against all morality and rational propriety. He was totally serious about my crime and his judgement of it, while I didn't really care about the subject at all.
This attitude of mine shocked him even more. How could I even hint that "He-As-Authority" was just an inconsequential bag of hot air, yammering on about something I had absolutely no interest in. I did not live up to his expectations as a suitably repentant miscreant. My laissez faire attitude was totally outside his experience as an Official Corporate Conformer.
When someone thinks he or she is Authority Itself, as my former boss did, or thinks he or she is even a representative of Authority Itself, this is obviously delusional behavior. This person needs to have his or her brain examined in some way, or at least volunteer for psychological evaluation. Of course, this never happens. It is against all the Precepts to question one's self or one's behavior.
I myself follow the Philosophy of The Independent Observer (PTIO). It's just the opposite of PSI in many ways. I consider what I do or say as not any more important than what anyone else does or says. Therefore, I don't recognize Authority or Self-Importance in others nor in myself. When people exhibit this Self-Important mental defect, I think it's funny, and I usually chuckle. I think it's funny and I chuckle because I believe they must be joking. I just can't take this pompous attitude of theirs seriously. They must be pretending to be taking themselves seriously, and must know it's all a sham. But if they are a true follower of PSI, of course, they are prohibited from realizing this. This act of mental gymnastics is achieved by utilizing an intricate feat of self-deception that all practitioners of PSI learn when first entering the Brotherhood.
Pride is another aspect of PSI. Especially pride in possessions. This usually comes out as: "Whatever You Have, Mine Is Better". PSI has many aspects to it, and many Precepts, all of which I won't go into here, as there are way too many of them to list.
When I'm with a group of people, I'm constantly amazed how this Philosophy makes them go through hoops. They're behavior is totally predictable. I usually just sit back and watch, amused. I don't say much in these situations. Firstly, because nobody is listening, and secondly, if I do say something, it's usually to try to prick a hole in their hot air PSI balloon.
This attempted pricking of mine usually results in two reactions. The person either relaxes a bit and admits somewhat to the foolishness in what they've just said or done, or the person is insulted. This is how I judge the extent that PSI has captured a person's soul. Sort of an Insult Index of Reactive Behavior.
There is a third reaction, though, of which I must mention. This of ignore-ance. The person in question either pretends not to have heard my critical comment, or more likely, the person really didn't hear it at all, because he or she wasn't listening in the first place. Not listening to other people when they are saying something is another Precept of PSI.
I've also discovered that the more glib someone is, the more that individual takes himself seriously. A really good talker somehow makes everyone else really good listeners, at least really good listeners in appearance. Usually listening in a position at the talker's feet. This psychological submissive position I never take. But, this act of submissive listening is really an illusion, because these ardent listeners are of course just pretending to listen.
This is the Second Precept of PSI. Practitioners pretending about other practitioners. That is, seeming to be interested out of politeness. This skill of pretending is taught diligently at PSI monthly meetings. It's a form of double-think. You're thinking one way, but acting in a different way. It's a learned skill, but it's not too difficult to learn. I think we are all born with this contrary ability. It just needs to be sharpened up a little.
So, in these situations of talkers and listeners, the talker is actually talking to no one, though he thinks everyone is listening. Not listening, the pretending listeners are incapable of taking what the talker is saying seriously. I think this is a Precept, too. Not to take what anyone else says seriously.
If a practitioner of PSI accidentally slips momentarily into attentiveness, he or she is trained to instantly realize this transgression, and will immediately admonish him- or herself for this temporary display of lack of mental discipline.
The talker may or may not realize the fact that he has no listeners, only pretenders. In the lower echelons of PSI, this is usually not realized by the talker. Only members at the very highest level in the official hierarchy of PSI are aware of this dichotomy. This is the closely-guarded Zero'th Precept, known to only the privileged few, and kept a very guarded secret.
Now, I will admit that what people say is sometimes slightly important...but in most cases not very important. I can state this with confidence because in my life I've listened to thousands of conversations, and I don't remember any of them. Even my own various contributions to social intercourse are lost to my memory. And, I'm sure, to everyone ease's memory who has ever heard them.
In this sense, I, too, am a practitioner of PSI.
As I've indicated, I am (mostly) not a member of PSI. I am a member of PTIO. Practicing this Philosophy, I enjoy standing around idly with my hands in my pockets most of the time, watching everyone around me being faithfully earnest in keeping the Precepts. I float freely, while these others seem to be wearing lead boots. This attitude of mine is a sort of anti-gravity device. While others are stuck to PSI and all it's manifestations by its unavoidable gravitational attraction, I hover about free of all these useless social complications.
It is said that being in love is like being young again. I think being free of PSI has this same effect. For instance, ten-year-old's aren't much interested in adult chitchat, and especially not in adult's solemn deliberations, psudo-seminars, street corner symposiums, somber conferences, steadfast conclusions and pompous formality. This is because children are innocent of these foolish social burdens. In their childish innocence they haven't yet learned about PSI. They don't go to meetings, for one thing. So they have not been indoctrinated in all of the many and cumbersome Precepts.
Unfortunately, we all know where this temporarily happy ten-year-old's ultimate fate lies. The unavoidable gravitational attraction of PSI will eventually prevail over them. Only the very few will discover their own personal anti-gravity device.