If There is Money in it, They are Experts at it
From the time mankind began to think, they also began to deceive each other – and to develop defenses against being deceived. However, they sometimes also developed a strong need to be deceived, and aggressively sought out those who would deceive them most successfully.
As you may have guessed, this posting is about deceit – especially its more modern, virulent forms. Where it has come to be accepted as a normal part of business. Which has become our dominant way of life – if we could call it life.
My favorite example of this is a woman I knew back in Silicon Valley. She got tired of working for other people and decided to go into business for herself – solving the world’s problems, one patient at a time. She became a therapist. Her technique was simple – the patient would tell her his problems, and she would listen very carefully, concentrating all her attention on him. At the end of the hour, she would tell him what his problem were – and how to solve them!
Almost all the problems were about smoking or losing weight. I asked her if she could solve these problems. She thought my question rather strange “Of course,” she said. I thought about this and came to the conclusion that the secret of her success (and she did develop a reputation for being successful) was that she had complete, total confidence in herself And this belief automatically transferred itself to her patients.
It helped a great deal also that this was California (specifically, the coastal strip from San Diego to San Francisco) the home of every kind of craziness, where everything seemed possible. This was its greatest export, one that many other areas have tried to duplicate. They had trademarked success itself – and my friend was part of this.
It was also the home of the latest two booms – the dot-com boom and the housing boom – that have nearly ruined America. We have believed in success, and it has bit our ass.
This is also affecting the area I live in now – a scenic valley on the coffee-growing area of Costa Rica. The first time gringos laid eyes on it, they saw money. It was so beautiful, how could people resist it? So they went into Real Estate, the original American scam, and lost their shirts at it.Gringos know exactly what they want – they want what other gringos want – and what they do not want is rain – the same rain that makes our valley so green.
Real Estate did not work, so the tried another tack – developing tourist attractions. “There are all kinds of things for you to do here,” they said. And they imported things that had worked in other areas, such as canopy tours, where you are suspended from a cable attached between the trees, and slide along the cable. To work properly, there have to be a number of large trees in a large forest, and you transfer from one cable to another.
This area does not have many large trees, they were cut down long ago to grow coffee. So all the tourist gets is one short cable ride with views of some distant scenery. If they are not satisfied with this, they can go rafting. There is a river flowing through the valley and one short stretch of it does have some rapids. A rafting company provides a ride through these – for a trip lasting about 15 minutes. If they compared this with a real rafting trip, lasting most of one day, they would soon realize they had been had.
All of the tourist attractions being developed here have one thing in common – you don’t get much for your money, and they are going to fizzle. There are many other areas in Costa Rica that have substantial natural advantages, and these have been developed fully. Our little valley cannot compete. All the hype in the world is not going to change this.
But I have got off the subject, talking about my little corner of the world, and the scams at work here. Let me get back to the larger world.
As I said, we now live in the world of Business – and much of business now involves deceit (Marketing or Advertising). This happened gradually, over centuries, until this shocking change now seems natural – when it most certainly is not. It has resulted in a new kind of people no longer able to detect deceit – who accept it, want it – and want it better and better all the time. They have to be entertained all the time.
This also applies to politics, which has also adopted the same techniques of deceit. This is what the public wants, so this is what the public gets. If they end up being deceived, this is only because this is what they wanted in the first place.
I mention Religion last. Not because it is the least important, but because it has merged into Business. Or perhaps I should say Business has merged into it. Because Religion has always been heavily interlaced with deceit. As any religious person knows – but does not want to talk about too much. Religion is the prime example of people wanting to be deceived – and I hardly need to cite examples.