Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mental Capital: Not Losing your Marbles

Do you ever get the feeling that society is losing its marbles? Have some of your friends gone mad and can now only talk stridently about transgender bathrooms, Brexit and the latest presidential Tweet? Do you want to avoid the same fate? Then read on ...

An essential aspect of Holistic Resilience is mental capital. As I outlined previously, Holistic Resilience means taking account of all your different forms of useful and available capital and treating them as essential components that make up a larger whole.  But mental capital is an especially important one, because you can get by for a while without some of the other forms of capital, but you won’t last long at all without any mental capital. But what is it?

Mental capital is that weightless, difficult-to-quantify stuff that is stored within the bony attic of your skull. It encompasses your intelligence, skills, charisma, philosophical outlook and – with a bit of luck – some common sense and a sense of humour.  

[Note: actually, nobody is able to prove these things reside within the brain, and there’s a growing amount of research into the idea the brain is simply a transceiver that accesses information from other realms, but for the intents and purposes of this piece we’ll just assume that your brain is the storeroom of your mental capital. Oh, and another thing, you have two brains as opposed to the standardly assumed one, but that’s not really relevant here.]

Thus, without looking after your mental capital you would not only be very dull and uninteresting, but also functionally dead. This may account for the popularity of all those zombie movies. Those shambolic, brain-gobbling walking corpses are they really just an uncomfortable metaphor for those who haven't managed to hold onto their mental capital and, on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, have reverted to the undead.

It might surprise some people to learn that being an undead zombie type of person, far from being an unsatisfactory situation, is actually considered the ideal when it comes to being resident in a Western country. An ideal —that is —from the point of view of those who stand to benefit from such a state of affairs. In the minds of politicians and business tycoons, having control over a population who have let their mental capital dwindle to apocalyptically low levels, must be a bit like how a shepherd feels with a couple of well trained border collies at his command able to make the flock of sheep go exactly where he wants just by whistling.

How did it get to be like this?

The industrialisation of our technocratic societies has given our handlers some great new tools to exploit us. They can easily make us do things that are against our self-interest, such as buy a product (no matter how shoddily made) or inject our minds with an ideology (no matter how half-baked) almost at the push of a button. This is achieved through an elaborate mind control system called the media, and the clever part is we think all the stuff that appears in our heads was our own idea!

Thus, if you ever find yourself buying a brand new car on credit even though your other one works just fine, or if you catch a reflected glimpse of yourself marching around the streets wearing a pussy hat and demanding that millions of people from alien cultures be allowed to flood your homeland and make those same streets unsafe for you, then you might want to stop and think for a moment. A good question to ask yourself in such a situation is: who stands to gain from this? 

If you think like this for long enough you'll probably start to suspect that powerful forces are — you know — toying with you. And that's not a good thing. You may feel that the whole thing is a bit ... sinister.

Ever get the feeling that ...

We now live in a world where the president of the United States can type 140 characters into Twitter on his iPhone and, within minutes, cause hundreds of millions of people around the world to descend into a state frenzy and lose their minds. It’s an enviable amount of power that would make even a grand wizard in an epic fantasy novel jealous, but he — and others at that end of the food chain —only have that power because people willingly give it to them. So, given that any degree of resilience would necessitate protecting oneself against such intrusions on your valuable mental resources, how best to put up a firewall?


We all like to think we possess some degree of intelligence. We might not think of ourselves as being a genius per se, but we at least like to think of ourselves as more intelligent than them (with them being those stupid dunderhead ignoramuses who just won’t listen to reason).  But what is intelligence?

Some people say you are born with intelligence and some say it's a question of nurturing.  Whatever, we’ll probably never know because, ironically, we’re not intelligent enough to truly understand it and measure it. Still, one way NOT to measure it is by using IQ tests. These can be gamed, as has been proven i.e. you can get better at them by anticipating the types of answers required and seeing through the underlying logic. IQ tests measure a person’s ability to do IQ tests.

Perhaps a better way of understanding intelligence is to assume there are many different categories of it, and that everyone has varying levels of each. In the 1980s the American psychologist Howard Gardner identified nine different types of intelligence, including categories such as existential, natural, musical and bodily-kinesthetic. We intuitively know this to be true (intuition being another type of intelligence our ancestors used, yet has fallen out of use since the Enlightenment). Everybody is clever in certain ways, and our current obsession with measurable and narrowly-defined notions of intelligence have got us into the fix we’re in today.

From a personal perspective it pays to figure out where your gods-given talents lie, and make use of them accordingly. It also pays to build up your knowledge and improve your theoretical model of the world and how it works, because this is probably the best survival tool you’ll ever possess. A standard school education doesn't really do this as, like IQ tests, the focus there is on getting a good score. So how does one build up intelligence?

Reading a lot of books is a good start, especially if they are challenging, offer different viewpoints and span a number of eras to illustrate how ideas wax and wane over the ages. But this is perhaps not for everyone (especially if you are more oriented towards interpersonal methods of intelligence and learning), so in this case you may learn more from watching videos on YouTube and attending talks.

“But who can I trust? Who is right and who is wrong?” goes the cry. The answer to that is that there is no answer. You’ll just have to figure it out yourself. Saying that, there are a few red flags that indicate the person on YouTube from whom you are trying to download intelligent ideas is shovelling smoke:

  • They have large staring eyes (or narrow dead ones) and they never smile. It is easy to imagine these idealogues holding a knife dripping in blood or ordering the execution of people who disagree with them
  • The production quality of their videos is too good for an amateur production (indicating they are probably being funded by some billionaire somewhere)
  • They believe the Earth is flat or that we are being controlled by Lizards in human meat suits
  • They have a made up name (indicating they have likely been convicted of something and done time inside)
  • They claim to know and speak “The Truth”
  • Their every utterance is dripping in sarcasm
  • They begin their TedX presentation with a slide of planet Earth

Simply put, if you cannot imagine having a long and engaging conversation with them over a cold beer beside a fire, then they are probably not worth listening to.


Everyone has some skills, but not many people have any useful ones outside the narrow area of specialisation they have ended up working in. Skills are a strange thing because you can’t tell who has them simply by looking. That person sweeping the street with a cigarette dangling from his lower lip might be the next Jimi Hendrix, and the woman handing you your change in the supermarket might be a talented artist destined to be known down the generations.

These kinds of skills are great for the upper realms of human experience, but could they truly be considered useful? In terms of resilience, perhaps it’s time to get back to basics with some foundation skills that will make life a lot easier for you as the service industries made available by cheap oil go the way of the dodo. Any list is likely to be a long one, but at the very least, some competence should be sought in:

  • Cooking. You should be able to cook a basic meal from scratch using whatever ingredients are available. Storing food is also a valuable skill
  • Harvesting food from nature. Aside from fishing and hunting, this means learning to forage for edible plants and also growing your own vegetables/fruits/nuts
  • Self defence. Being able to protect yourself and your family from attack
  • Mending things. This could include sewing worn clothes, fixing broken electrical appliances or stopping the leak in your roof
  • Education/story telling. Passing on your knowledge, traditions and cultural norms to your children or the children of others

Telling stories around a camp fire is a useful skill

Character and charisma

Your character is made up of the personality traits that define you as a person. Good character has to be worked at and is not simply a case of writing virtue signalling platitudes on Facebook. However, like intelligence, good character is  anathema to modern society because it shows a certain level of resistance to accepting the norms handed down by social engineers. Given that our societies are now in an advanced stage of psychotic breakdown, having the strength of character to resist the tide of half-baked pseudo ideologies, such as cultural Marxism, can make you stand out from the herd.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about this beyond living with honour and sticking to your guns. Remembering that your duty is to your kin – meaning your family and your community (in the absence of a tribe) – is what gives you honour, and is where you will draw strength.

Charisma is slightly different. Some people seem to have it and some people don’t. It’s that indefinable quality that makes other people want to be around and listen to another. Unfortunately, a lot of people with charisma are not necessarily worth being around, and some are downright psychopaths. And charismatic psychopaths, from a personal resilience perspective, should be avoided at all costs as they will suck the life right out of you like a vampire. In past times, when people lived in small clans of no more than 150, psychopaths were identified and disposed of before they could inflict much damage. Quite often this would be disguised as a hunting accident (“Yeah, Quarg just kind of slipped off the cliff and fell onto his spear when we were chasing the bear.”) or they would have their throats slit and their bodies tossed into bogs so that they couldn’t reincarnate.

In the modern world it is illegal to slit people’s throats and toss them into bogs, so psychopaths are now permitted to rise to prominent positions in business and government, where they able to inflict the most damage.  If you suspect a psychopath is feeding off your own mental capital the best thing to do is ghost them. This means you completely block them out and never have contact with them ever again. Being glib, vain and shameless creatures, they will come crawling back to you with flattering remarks and gifts, but you should never let them near you again.

A European bog body - a tradition of getting rid of psychopaths that is no longer allowed

Mental stability

Assuming you’re a regular type of person with no overwhelming pathological mental health conditions, there are certain things you can do to help keep your peace of mind in an increasingly insane world. These things are often remarkably simple, some suggestions include:

  • Alcohol and recreational drugs. Alcohol is a depressant, marijuana eats away at your character and psychedelics can open your mind so much your brain falls out. Moderation is the key here.
  • Sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep is super important to mental welfare. A lack of either triggers a whole host of reactions by your body, including feelings of depression and stress, and your immune system suffers too. Conversely, a good night’s sleep (or several; many of us are so sleep-deprived we need up to a week to fully recover) will have you feeling clear and sharp. Incidentally, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and prevents REM, which is one reason why you wake up feeling so lousy after hitting the bottle.
  • Nature. The modern world has isolated most of us from nature and this is making us extremely unwell and depressed. It is very hard to be depressed when you are surrounded by wildness and nature. 
  • Exercise and diet. Vigorous exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which give you a feeling of wellbeing. Also, following a healthy diet with all the right vitamins and minerals (preferably from wild plants or biodynamically grown food) means your body will be stronger. Avoid putting glyphosate into your body, which causes inflammations and cancer, and is most readily found in non-organic wheat, lentils and dried pulses.
  • Trolling. Don’t be a troll. If you find yourself hammering away of your keyboard late into the night passive-aggressively hurling insults at strangers over some cause du jour, this means your mental health is slipping.
  • Digital crack. Similarly, limit or exclude from your life Facebook, porn, computer games and mainstream news as these will all rot your brain and turn you into a gibbering, salivating digital untermensch.
  • Annoyances. Eliminate those little niggly things. Do you need a filling in one of your teeth but have been putting it off? Have you relegated that important paperwork to the bottom of the pile? Are there a dozen annoying things that need fixing around the house that you never seem to get round to? Get all these things fixed and you’ll feel a lot better. 
  • Clutter. Also, get rid of everything in your living space that doesn’t belong there. Make everything tidy and clean and you’ll feel like a weight has been removed.

But most of all, stop allowing unfettered access to your mind by the parasites who benefit from feeding off it. Instead, simply ignore them and do something creative instead. Play the guitar, paint a picture, create a garden, design a role playing adventure ... all of these things exercise your creative capacities, meaning you have added something of value to the world, rather than responded negatively to something of no value. 

Common sense

This, unfortunately, is not as common as it once was and should perhaps be renamed. It is yet one more thing that is being taken away from us and preventing us from living as authentic and individual human beings. Wikipedia defines it as:

“[the] sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by ("common to") nearly all people.”

Given there’s no way to teach this there’s very little to be said about it other than that it’ll probably be a long hard slog before it resurfaces.

A sense of humour

Finally, having some sense of humour is an important aspect of mental resilience. Some of the funniest and seemingly light-hearted people you’ll ever meet are those who have been through the worst times. Call it “dark” or “gallows humour” if you like, but being able to laugh in the face of existential adversity is a human attribute of the highest order. [Just remember, there's a fine line between gallows humour and outright nihilistic cynicism; don't walk on the wrong side of the line.]

Following the much-quoted Kubler Ross model of change (a euphemism for "grief") will inevitably eject you out its backside as a changed person at the “acceptance” level. Congratulations, you’ve survived! 

Now, how do you react to the feeling of impending doom that has been instilled in you? 

Hopefully, with your new Stoic outlook on life, you'll decide to make the best of it and lighten up a little. After all, there’s literally no point moping around complaining you were born, and dramatically screaming “Why me?” at the sky as rain pours down and lightning flashes around you. 

Get on with your life in the best way possible. Be thankful that you’ve been jolted awake rather than face living the rest of your life cocooned in some blandly cosy yet false notion that everything is awesome and you’re in control. 

And then make some jokes about it.


  1. Nice piece Hepp. I only take issue with the reason for using Anon names on the net. You can have issues with Trolls if you use your real name, and you can have problems on the job too. I lost one job due to stuff I was writing on the net. So I don't write off a YouTuber just because they are using an anon name. The content is what is important, not the name. Similarly, I don't give a vid or article credence just because it's written by a famous or rich guy with lots of letters following his name. These folks often spout the biggest bullshit.

    1. Good point - I don't have any issue at all with people using pseudonyms, just those who do so in order that they can act like a moron. Similarly I don't care about initials after people's names (I think I may even have a few - I'll have to check), but you have to use your real name if you want to sell books.

      In terms of YouTubers, I know of at least a couple who are trying to establish cult-like followings and get money from people, even though they've been banged up for similar stuff in the past.

  2. Indeed, if you are in the game to make MONEY, then you pretty much have to use your real identity.


  3. Excellent Post Jason The time for trying to influence by now entrenched Heads in the MSMhas disappeared As per your Post above Its all about Friends, Family and self

  4. Regarding anonymity and pseudonymity: the argument could probably be made that there is certain kind of collateral damage that has arisen in lockstep with the rise of the internet - and that would be the increase in what I, for lack of a better term, call anomie creep. It is related to the decline in social cohesion that correlates with the same forces. Screenism has an uncanny way of removing agency and autonomy from its users. And looked at in aggregate, it mitigates against the conviviality and sense of common cause and purpose that unfolding circumstances currently require of us and that physical proximity of co-habitation (what used to be called community)should naturally and organically incentivize. Of course I could be dead wrong about all of the above. Excellent essay, by the way:reasonable, grounded and wise. No polarizing ideology here!

    Brian, Canada

    1. Hi Brian. All good points. Anonymity has its uses - I'm not knocking it. Trolls also have their uses - just look at sites such as 4chan. My point really is that some people become obsessive with it, and they are only able to do so because they are anonymous. If they actually went around insulting people so much in real life they wouldn't last long!

  5. Some of the mental capital attributes you describe will be tough to improve on what you were born with, but one, skills, is wide open for improvement. I have been volunteering at a folk school, and in addition to helping it with its mission, I have taken classes and have so far butchered a deer, forged a knife from scrap iron, and learned how to do restorative pruning of fruit trees. A point on all these types of skills is that you cannot just read about them. They must be done as hands on learning experiences, in order to become tacit knowledge. I described this in a recent blog post.;postID=1455840673145243560;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=8;src=postname

    1. Hi Steve. perhaps I used a couple of poor examples. But you're right - you need to actually practice things to gain skills in them. Our hands can also do the learning.

  6. Sound stuff. I'm still appalled at the lack of basic skills most of the kids I come across display; not one 10-12 y.o. could tie a reef knot at an event I was demonstrating at recently, out of about 200 who wanted a "go" at cordmaking. Not cross with them, but cross with a society that doesn't realise that knowing what knot to use - or not to use - can quite literally save your life. Ditto knowing which berries are safe to pick & eat, and which are not...

    But I'm left rather intrigued by the second brain mention - would that be a reference to the gut/brain link? Possibly very relevant, if so; eating & drinking a high proportion of fermented foods has helped one of my kids enormously with mood & brain function.

    Even more intrigued by the brain-as-a-transceiver idea; that would explain a lot! Kind of like Pratchett's stories sleeting through the universe, looking for minds to land & develop in... Huge potential for mischief there, methinks.

    1. Hi TW. Yes - the two brains thing will blow your mind(s). If you look into split brain research you'll find a lot of stuff on how the two hemispheres of our brain are effectively completely different 'you's'

      The left side contains your conscious mind and can handle language and everyday life, but the right side is home to your subconscious and only works in symbols. Furthermore, the right side has many - some might say - supernatural abilities, such as being able to see into the past and future and travel into different realms.

      I can recommend reading "The Daemon" by Anthony Peake if you want to know more.

      As for the transceiver idea. Again, there has been a fair bit of research into this. For example, nobody knows where memories and skills are stored - some people have lost most of their brains in accidents yet retain all memories. They have even done experiments with a certain type of worm that has the ability to regenerate. They put the worms in mazes and allow them to crawl around until they find the exit. When they have done this enough times they clearly know their way around the maze and can escape without making any wrong turns. They then chop off the heads of the worms, making sure not even a bit of brain matter survives. The worms - in time - grown new heads and brains and, you guessed it, have somehow retained the knowledge of how to escape the maze.

      It's a fascinating field ...


I'll try to reply to comments as time permits.