How to be a mentally sovereign human

We all showed up naked, slimy and clueless in a world of inexplicable sensory input we couldn't make head or tail out of. We were then taught what's what by people who showed up under the exact same circumstances a blink of an eye earlier. The amniotic fluid is barely washed from our tiny naked bodies before we find ourselves in a marriage and a day job, staring down at a small pair of eyes looking up to us for guidance. This is not a good environment for developing mental sovereignty, the ownership and authorship of your own cognitive relationship with life. ...

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Who wants to play the status game?

When you first meet someone, you "feel each other out" to see where your lives might connect — where are you from, what do you do, what music/art/books do you like, etc. You are looking for common ground on the basis of which your conversation might proceed. Call this the Basic Game; I'd like to contrast it with two more advanced games that can be played in its stead, or alongside it. In the Importance Game, participants jockey for position. This usually works by way of casual references to wealth, talent, accomplishment or connections, but there are many variants. I can, for instance, play this game by pretending to eschew it: "Let's get straight down to business" can telegraph my being much too important to waste time with such games; or your being so unimportant as to render the game...

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