The One True Thing

Until you see clearly how the rules of society work, you will be trapped within a system of control.

What you mistake for reality is instead a fabricated simulation, designed to keep you trapped right where the system wants you.

Your social conditioning, education, and family structures program you with a set of beliefs, values and norms – often unexamined – that “properly” align you in such a way that you focus your life and labor on keeping the existing social hierarchy in place and that you never deeply question this arrangement.

Put visually, your culture is in the shape of a pyramid. And what keeps you pinned to your particular layer is your belief system.

Every civilization has its own defining narratives that, while beautifully diverse, all generate exactly the same structure: a pyramid consisting of many more people at the bottom than at the top.

Every civilization throughout history had One True Thing that determined each person’s position on that pyramid.

In some past eras, it was royal bloodline. In ancient Egyptian culture, it stemmed from being a direct descendent of the Sun god Ra. And today, it’s a function of how much money you have.

No matter the marker, the pecking order is held in place because everyone accepts the rules. They’re fully understood by the citizenry, and are only rarely questioned (usually at great personal risk).

But even though accepted as “100% true” by the participants of one culture, social markers often don’t translate when applied to another.

For instance, if you traveled back in time to the height of the Aztec empire with $1 billion in cash, your paper bills wouldn’t have any accepted value. You’d probably have trouble acquiring even a single tortilla with them.

Your modern currency just wouldn’t be money to that ancient culture.

Similarly, the highest of the high priests of the Mayan culture, decked out in their amazing plumage headdresses would be granted neither power nor awe by today’s society. At best, they’d be valued as a curiosity; perhaps as entertainment in a traveling circus or Las Vegas show.

But under no circumstances would one of those high priests be granted a powerful spot at the top of our current pyramid. Why? Because the Mayan’s ‘One True Thing’ is not our ‘One True Thing’. Their system of religion-based power and control does not fit with our system of money-based power and control.

Trapped In The Matrix

Throughout all of civilized history, the 'One True Thing' absolutely ruled our way of life. There has been no escaping it. Your position on the societal pyramid has been absolutely determined by your relationship to the prevailing social marker.

Due to ignorance and/or fear, the vast majority of people in every civilization never question their culture’s prevailing ‘One True Thing’. Instead, they live their lives as good, dutiful, compliant citizens. Largely because “that’s just the way it is”.

Further, because each layer of the pyramid is afraid of the masses sitting beneath it, its residents actually defend the system quite vigorously. Each layer of middle management in this architected hierarchy works hard to keep things as they are, lest they lose their advantage over those below them.

This is why the police are busy clubbing, gassing and rubber bulleting Yellow Vest demonstrators across France. This is just one layer of management trying to keep the other (lower) layers from upsetting the whole pyramid.

This is just protecting their own self-interest. I seriously doubt if many of the police involved truly care about protecting the people who socially outrank them. They probably despise those elites just as much as the Yellow vests do.

But the cops are committed to vigorously beating the Yellow Vests because doing so justifies their existence within the cultural pyramid. To do otherwise would be to more closely examine their own lives – and how unfulfilled, sometimes miserable and unprofitable they really are. That’s an existential trip most are unwilling to take.

They figure it’s best to just break out the clubs and get busy defending … something.

Self-Education Is The Path To Freedom From The Matrix

The 'One True Thing' that our current culture is fixated upon, just as surely as any prior civilization has ever been sure of its own explanation for the few being supported by the many, is money.

If you have it, you can literally live like the gods of old. Every comfort is available to you, every freedom, the ability to go anywhere and do anything – without consequence.

It’s that powerful of an idea.

It doesn’t mean that people with more money are necessarily better than anybody else. But culturally, we willingly act as if that’s the case.

Now, given the importance of money in society, let me ask you a question; “How much were you taught about money in school?”

Were you taught how it is created by banks during the act of making a loan? Or, that the Fed can simply create it into existence at will?

Were you taught the tax code? All those rules and wrinkles that can benefit you enormously if you know of them?

Were you taught which careers, investments, and strategies created the most wealth? Or which ones are tax-protected? Or which ones will condemn you to a life as a wage slave and tax donkey?

Did you have an amazing teacher that taught you about managing your personal income and balance sheets?


Me neither. None of that was imparted to me during my time in the education system (and I have an MBA and a PhD).

That information, while easy to learn and understand, is strictly withheld from public education for one reason and one reason only: it’s the language of the protected classes. The rich have access to that information; the masses don’t.

If you want to move up and out of your economic layer, you have to learn that language. You have to self-educate.

Luckily this information isn’t hidden or forbidden. But you have to seek it out yourself. You won’t find it in mainstream resources – and certainly not in the news, especially the financial press.

In Part 2: The Path Forward we lay out a process for self-educating your way out of the prison of the social pyramid. These include our learnings as well as those imparted to us by the extremely successful entrepreneurs we’ve spend the past week with at a secluded investor summit outside of the US.

It’s amazing how many of these investors who have reached true financial freedom, where their passive cash flow from investments exceeds their living expenses, attribute their success to “unlearning” what they were taught in school. And then learning the rules to beat the wealthy at their own game.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The following should give us pause in the ever increasing spiral of debt:

I think money and wealth gave you a position in any ancient society, just as today, maybe more sublime in the past. Any closeness to royal blood and priesthood was most likely more important in any ancient society than today.
“How much were you taught about money in school?” Not much, but I notice my children wondering about it. I try to induce seeds for thought. I had a hard time explaining to my wife how money, currency, is created today. It is easer with children who hasn’t got their mind so disturbed yet.

Uncle Tommys’ video is a confirmation of what hopefully most of Peak Prosperieties followers know to be true. “Take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”. For 25 years I have watched in amazement at how the American economy keeps chugging along, always keeping in the back of my mind that I need to be prepared for leaner times. The most recent economic crisis that I needed to put that plan into action was the 2008 implosion. Fortunately for me and my family of 6, I’ve owned my home since I was 30, paid cash for everything my business requires to operate and had been living debt free so I could exist on very little income for an extended period of time. Up to that point, I saw contractors showing up to home building sites and lumber yards driving these brand new Crew Cab Ford, Dodge and Chevy Diesels, and they didn’t even think or worry about continuing to make the payments for 8 or 10 or 12 years at $600-$1000 a month, just for their truck. By the middle of 2008, most of them were gone. Now they were waiting for work in their 1990 Ford Ranger.
But just like Hitler said right before the fall of Germany in WW2, “Protect the banks”. And the banks once again in 2009 came to the rescue to kick the can down the road again after a few years. Giving the illusion of stability and prosperity. And now those same contractors are back, with their new Crew Cab trucks, their swagger. Seemingly no recollection what happened 10 years ago. They don’t mind trading 5 years of their lifeblood of time, converting that to paper, only to have to give it back to the bank and have nothing to show for it due to the business cycle. Must be ok in their minds. I think the only thing that will change this charade that money equals power, control and intelligence will be a failure of the debt based fiat currency. When all you have left are your skills and talents you can offer to help and trade with others.
But there is still that nagging little voice in the back of my mind, warning. “Ice Berg Ahead!”.
But the Captain replies, “Re-arrange the deck chairs. Band, play louder. Full speed ahead!”
Thanks Chris for helping keep the focus.

This is excellent stuff, Chris. The question, as always, is how to pitch the message to get past the denial. We need to keep trying. Toward that end, here is one of my attempts to explore the some of the same themes as your post, that may be of interest. The Age of Modernity and Its Discontents
In this short paper (10 pages) I try to summarize an integrated description of the worldview that characterizes the modern age and tends to trap our thinking in it.

In Dickens’ classic “David Copperfield”, this topic was summed up very nicely by the character Mr Macawber;
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
In other words, it is better to make 10 thousand a year with living expenses being $9,999.99, then to make 100,000.00 a year with a living expense of 100,000.01.

… absolutely true but this is a numbers game. The majority of people are simply not smart enough to learn anything but the skills necessary to conform and of the intellectuals who could learn, personality types and patterns leave them enduringly docile.
That’s why those on top continue to reign. The propaganda media and advertising machine has become a siren to a society populated in majority by sheep.
The tides only change when conformity begins to hurt, when the sheep finally stampede. At which point any shepherd with sufficient charm and influence can coral them into some other “new order”.
Nevertheless, just as science and education broke the catholic regime that dictated lifestyle throughout Europe for centuries during the middle ages, so it is that the most likely way to break the current cycle of imploding societal self-destruction is to focus again on education, by perhaps including psychological studies, political history, personality patterns in our schools
Sadly, before that happens you have to silence the puppet masters of humanitarianism who want everyone to believe in various flavors of fairy floss; like the right to religious exclusion and the bigotry of hate-less speech or anti-populism.
And so it is very much a chicken or egg problem.

The banks came to the rescue? I think not. The banks were rescused by a system they control.

It absolutely was the central banks that postponed the financial system from crashing. It sure as heck wasn’t our governmental leaders. The federal reserve and the unelected families that control them understand how to control most of the population, bread and circuses. Unfortanately, most people either don’t want to understand, hence they take the blue pill, or they are so influnced by modern culture they cannot see any other option. There are probably many options to get ahead in the system but the one I chose was to not buy into the debt based lifestyle. I don’t want to spend my waking hours managing fiat currency, I see it as a trivial pursuit. I would rather prepare to defend what I have traded my time for. If things get really bad, it is not going to matter how many houses or businesses you own if a greater Alpha comes across your path, you may be leaving planet Earth, or you’ll wimper like a baby begging for your life. Most people have never been in a situation where nobody is coming to help you, you’re on your own. Everything goes back into the toy box once you take the dirt nap from this age. I recommend a great read that explains the creation of the Federal Reserve, “The Creature From Jeckyll Island” by G. Edward Griffin.

I dont know, years ago I did what the alternative financial people were saying and got out of the markets and into PM’s. I took a conservative approach. Stayed out of real estate since it was in a bubble.
The result? The markets soared. Real estate boomed. PM’s languished or went down. I’m in the financial doldrums.
My friends who threw caution to the wind and loaded up with debt like the mainstream was telling them to do are now rich.
Eventually the markets will shift like we’ve all been predicting but by then I expect we’ll have digital currency so will be unable to realize any gains or protections offered by PM’s.
The truth is, we were fantastically wrong in our predictions. None of us knows how this will end or when. It could go another 10 years or 10 weeks. Betting against the bankers while they retain power is guaranteed to fail.

Great report Chris, and exactly what I have been thinking about lately. In fact I just released a new report, to help parents set their kids up for success with a ten step plan to help them start investing early to learn the ropes. Inside, we compiled 20 years of research and experience, dumbed into one simple plan, just 10 steps, designed to be totally foolproof, requiring no maintenance, ready to automate, and totally free. I will also be releasing children’s books on the subject-
Keep up the great work!

I propose that PP readers will find this excellent interview a most entertaining and relevant compliment to Chris’s insights. (spoiler alert: place a timer in front of you and see if time bends)
In this second wide-ranging talk with Anthony Blake, author of A Gymnasium of Higher Intelligence, we discuss J.G Bennett’s ideas of higher intelligence, the active vs. the receptive will, unconditioned nature, living language, and the trouble with the metaphor of “tool."

I do agree the best chance to break the current American culture, is through education, but if you look at the studies, apart from the few exceptions, public education is a complete and utter failure to teach critical thinking and analysis. The Pavlovian style of instruction in our publically funded classrooms are, however, achieving exactly what the self perceived elites and political class want. Producing sheeple.
Go spend 6 hours a day for 12 years sitting in a classroom, listening to people attempt to teach to the lowest common denominator. Most of whom, have actually zero experience in the private world of work.
They’ve spent 16 to 20 years in a classroom listening to someone else tell them what and how to think, and in the later years of their education the instructors and professors have an even more slanted perspective they try to influence with.
I know many who have gotten into public education, and they are well intentioned people, but I have been told they are stuck in a system where they have little or no ability to teach anything other than what is in the syllabus, approved by the government. What are they going to do after spending all that time and money to get their degree? Quit and do something different? Probably not.
The basics of education are necessary and can be taught in half the time, I know because I’ve done it with my children, the social engineering is not. Once my kids turned 16, they started college. If public education was not fully funded by mandatory tax theft, and people were given a choice where they wanted to spend their education dollars, it would wither and die.
Why do you think educators are deathly afraid of charter schools or anything else that would introduce competition to their guarenteed paycheck and retirement. Doesn’t do much to develop incentive. It is similar to welfare. Why excell and take risks if I can follow a comfortable mold and go with the flow. In Washington State, the figure per child per year is $18,000. And what do people actually pay directly? Maybe $3500. For all of their kids.
That is my property tax burden to fund something I don’t agree with, but I have no choice, refuse to pay my tax, and eventually the government will own my property through interest and back taxes when I sell. If you want to trust the education of the most precious thing in life, your child, then pay the full price of admission, obviously you think it it is worth it.
Quit asking me to pay a part of it, I believe it is the greatest contributing factor that got us into this shit storm we’re in right now.
But in socialism, it is easier to have someone else pay for and take care of your child while you live for yourself. An underperforming, government monopoly, pinned up by an unaccountable bureaucracy of cacooned people. Textbook repeaters. If they read it from someone who read it from someone who read it from someone, then it must be true.

QQQBall wrote:
The banks came to the rescue? I think not. The banks were rescused by a system they control.

Yes. The banks were bailed out by the government. The crash was a failure of capitalism.
And the government bailing them out was a step towards fascism in that the government now runs cover and protects that failed system.

The banks were bailed out by the Federal Reserve, which has nothing to do with the Federal Government. They are their own unaccountable, unelected little kingdom of bean counters and their families.
Maybe Chris could add his insight.

S7 wrote:
The banks were bailed out by the Federal Reserve, which has nothing to do with the Federal Government. They are their own unaccountable, unelected little kingdom of bean counters and their families. Maybe Chris could add his insight.

Interesting point, and I think correct as well. I recall that at the time of the crash the govt took on maybe about 1T in infrastructure spending and loans to various companies. And the fed began expanding it balance sheet from about 1T to about 4.5T over the next few years. The world did significantly more QE to try and keep confidence in the system. 10 years in, none of the QE has been able to be reduced.
I dont know how to differentiate those bailouts. Both strike me as just ways of getting money into the system to bail out failed actors an keep the illusion that the wheels are still on the bus. The fed route is maybe just more obscure and unintelligible to most people as bills didnt need to be passed thru congress.

I have no idea if the crash was a failure of capitalism. Is capitalism diametrically opposed to socialism? I think not.
If the two aren’t, you may be right.
The bailout --and the approach to fascism–is evidence that we already were completely under the control of socialism.
So the crash is DEFINITELY a failure of socialism.
(as an interesting aside, the practical unavailability of healthcare should also be viewed as evidence that our healthcare system has long been socialized. It was easier to get healthcare in the Soviet Union, than it is now in America. But the old Soviet healthcare didn’t come close in value to the unsocialized healthcare that individuals and even individual hospitals could provide. The Klaipeda Seaman’s hospital, for example, was well known as a better place to go.)

Michael_Rudmin wrote:
I have no idea if the crash was a failure of capitalism. Is capitalism diametrically opposed to socialism? I think not. If the two aren't, you may be right. The bailout --and the approach to fascism--is evidence that we already were completely under the control of socialism. So the crash is DEFINITELY a failure of socialism. (as an interesting aside, the practical unavailability of healthcare should also be viewed as evidence that our healthcare system has long been socialized. It was easier to get healthcare in the Soviet Union, than it is now in America. But the old Soviet healthcare didn't come close in value to the unsocialized healthcare that individuals and even individual hospitals could provide. The Klaipeda Seaman's hospital, for example, was well known as a better place to go.)

Thanks. I am not sure that I follow what you are saying. I think that discussions around fascism and socialism are hard because the words are defined in many different ways.
I mean fascism as simply when the government and private industry partner to bolster one another. IE in 2008. When the corporations went hat in hand to the government to save them and then the government legitimized the corps by bailing them out and not jailing the worst ofenders. Now, ten years down the road, the govt is using nationalism to further bolster corps with rampant mil and defecit spending (tax cuts), and fear mongering of the outsider and so on.
My socialist definition is technically more like social democracy, where the government is primarily focused on delivering rules and services that favor the citizens, not a takeover of the means of production. Means of production socialism doesnt seem to be anything that would be paletable in the US, I think.
If in the US medicine is already socialized enough to be claimed as socialist medicine. Then why is medicine in other countries, (who are usually even more socialized) spend way less and have equal or better outcomes that we do in the US? It doesnt seem to follow that as med becomed more socialized that the outcomes become worse. And sure, there will be a rock star facility here an there, even my Senator, Rand Paul, went to the rock star facility in socialist Canada for this surgery recently.

To some extent, nobody has a better right to define fascism than Musollini; but many can make their observations.
That said, I tend to take a Hayak lean on both fascism and socialism.

I remember having a one-semester (or was it one-quarter?) high school class back in the 90’s that was focused on personal finance… and it was actually a requirement at my school. They only went into basic personal finance stuff (balancing your checkbook, budgeting, and very basic business principles like supply and demand) and didn’t really go into how money or the economy worked. But from what I’ve heard from most other people after high school (and read here), it sounded like even that token effort was more than most others received. There certainly does seem to be an effort in the US to keep knowledge about money only for the ‘high priests’.
Interestingly, I found here in Asia they air these financial education music videos (‘Cha-Ching’) for kids about budgeting, saving, and entrepreneurship on Cartoon Network. It’s all in English and would be just as ideal to air in the US. Yet, they don’t. I suspect it’s less about intentionally keeping people ignorant and more about them not wanting to give up advertising slots and not wanting to discourage kids from buying the toys and games that advertise on the network. Still, it shows the prevailing attitude in the US. And if the trend continues, I have little doubt that Asia will be the new center of geopolitical and economic power in the next couple decades.