The Comforting Lie


Column by Vahram G. Diehl.
I know you often feel alone in this life. I know at times you feel lost and overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable forces stacked against you. I know at times you wish you could just forget all this and fade into nothingness. The temptation can be truly unbearable. But the most important revelation you can have is that it is not the world that needs changing. It is this very mentality you must do away with.

I'm certainly not going to attempt to mystify with beautiful lies the enormous atrocities being committed directly against you and those unimaginably more severely upon others. Go find a guru for that. He'd love to have you buy his book or attend his workshop retreat and learn why the universe is just so damn perfect and wonderful. I have little use for flowery rainbow painkillers or esoteric voodoo distractions. We both know the odds are stacked against us.
It is the nature of your mind to seek out order even where there is none. So desperately needing pattern and familiarity, the mind notices only what appears to conform to a presupposed system of coherence and congruity. It needs a map to organize what the senses bring upon it in every moment. It has been shaped with the singular purpose of finding and solving problems every chance it gets, and to do this it requires a superimposed plan of action and order. Left to its own devices, it will never willingly acknowledge The Terrible Truth that pervades our world... the Terrible Truth that THERE IS NO PLAN.
Throughout history, all but a few have been blind to the true nature of things. Where tyrants saw no order, they assumed an authoritarian right to impose it. They made slaves, fools, and soulless halfwit automatons out of those who would otherwise not be so inclined to fit the mold they arbitrarily chose for the world. Every time a spark of natural independence and curiosity arose in budding minds, The Comforting Lie promptly squelched it for the duration of that lifetime.
The Comforting Lie has taken many forms, more often than not invoking an absurd and improvised sense of patriotic duty or supreme mandate from an unknowable higher power. In its principle form, The Comforting Lie enables us to believe stories that our senses and inherent capacity for reasoning cannot normally accept with integrity. It makes the impossible appear natural, and the inconsistent seem logical. It dulls the finer senses of the observant empathetic intellectual and encourages him to ignore the blood-stained elephant hiding in plain sight.
The Comforting Lie creates a psychological social landscape wherein the most barbarous and deplorable acts of inhumanity are transmuted instantly into acceptability and necessity. It condones and encourages incredible amounts of animal and child abuse and control. It turns billions of good, honest, and capable people into debt slaves funding mass murder and decimation, yet being proud and happy to live with an illusion of freedom in exchange for their souls and wages. It destroys ambition and drive for positive change because it never allows you the dread, anger, and sadness which would be healthy reactions to such terminally unhealthy human conditions.
Where there is anger, there is enticement for action. Consciously directed anger can become, through patience and practice, the most powerful and influential force for positive change. Because you grew up in a world which taught you to run from your anger and to shame its unruly hold over you, it remained your enemy throughout life. The fire that burns inside you, if ever let loose, could consume its caretaker who never learned to manage and direct it. No guiding influence over raw passion and fury ever developed in the atrophied minds of the emotionally castrated. Your greatest potential strength now only threatens to destroy you if left unchecked.
I want you to know that no one is powerless. However, if you continue to accept defeat before you even begin, it will indeed appear this way for your remaining days. And then you will die, and no signature of your existence will be left except fleeting memories in the minds of a few of your fellow humans who, but briefly, were aware of the tiny blip on the radar of the universe you called your life.
If you have the courage to embrace your discontentedness with the way things are, there is a small chance you might start to be useful. There is a chance you might start to harness what very little real power you actually possess. There is an even smaller chance you might start to leverage that power into greater and greater avenues for change. There is a fraction of a speck of a potential that you may, with time and discipline, rise up above the masses and establish yourself as an influential figurehead who affects multitudes. You may become a champion for progress by making use of every tool and opportunity at your disposal to increase your power to positively influence society worldwide.
I know your life is not what you ever wanted it to be, and I know it seems hopeless that it ever will be. I know you are terrified because it seems like you are becoming a victim to the unknown and devastatingly unfamiliar. But no matter how obscure yet extraordinary you may pride yourself in believing your thoughts, values, and troubles to be you are never the only one feeling the way you do. Seek out and find that minutia of humanity, which shares who you are, and whom you can call community. Work with them to achieve the goals that none of us can hope to accomplish alone.
You are standing on the edge of the deepest, darkest cliff you have ever dreamed in your most gripping nightmares. All your fears, insecurities, sins, shames, and prejudices expand to fill the void beneath you. Every inclination in your body tells you to run away, to avoid the danger and darkness within you and around you. You will return to the "real world" countless times in futile attempts to forget what lies within, always tearing away at your sanity and consciousness whenever granted a momentary weakness to latch upon.

When you finally stop running, when you face the storm and embrace all that it brings with it, only then will you stand a chance of making it through to the other side. Only then will your life really begin. Only then will you start to make a difference in the world. Only then will you really know what it is like to be awake and alive. Only then will you value your time enough to make best possible use of every moment. Only then will you know what you really want and have the dedication to achieve it. Do not waste another day of your life lost and aloof without this clarity. We need you.

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livefreeretiree's picture
Columns on STR: 13

Gregory helps young people and the older people who have trouble relating to them.
View his website on education and youth coaching here:
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mjackso6's picture

I hate to say it, but this sounds like something lifted straight from Ayn Rand, right down to the arrogant, evangelical tone. I realize that religion is the farthest thing from the author's mind, but this entire article has the tone of a sermon, and begs the same question in my mind that all sermons do, i.e. "By what authority do you preach down to the rest of us? Have YOU embraced everything you're preaching about and are do YOU think you're changing the world?"

painkilleraz's picture

The beauty of writing is that you do not have to read it. No one is forcing you to read this article, not too mention, I fail to see what you are speaking of. He isn't preaching he is imparting to those who desire to learn. :)

Regardless, what I find interesting is how so many people has so much to say, and yet, they rarely actually do anything other than that. (talk)

I know V well, he is a brilliant and shining example of an agorist/voluntaryist in all facets of his life...much the same as I and others I tend to surround myself with. Sure, there are some areas we cannot currently avoid, yet, we know that the more we live this life and show others it is possible, the more likely it is to become a widespread reality. :)

If I may make a suggestion, write a counter to this- I always enjoy seeing point/counterpoint essay "battles" ever since Paine and the "pastors" that countered him :)

Marvin's picture

Thank you for the article.

livefreeretiree's picture

You're welcome!

painkilleraz's picture

In response to the article, first it is good to see you writing again!

Second, yes, once we simply stand firm and face our fears, life and more we are able to better adjust, embrace or avoid what we need or do not need. I have grown more in the last 5 years than in my entire 35 years combined.

Well written, keep up the great work V-

livefreeretiree's picture

Growth, done well, is exponential. The more you know, the faster you learn. The more tools you have, the faster you acquire tools, etc.

Good to be back in the game.

Samarami's picture

I, too, have wondered what happened to you, Vahram, and am glad to see you back on board. Your input is valuable here to many of us. This is a good piece.

My 76 years have seen much in the way of dynamics and change for me to the Comforting Lie. I've embraced rank liberalism, later arch conservatism. I was certainly not born with a libertarian spoon in my mouth, much less that of anarchy. But they did develop as time developed and as I had the opportunity to observe consequences -- over time, lengthy periods of time.

I don't think any of these things simply "appear". Each of us has to examine consequences and work our way back to origins, etc., and be willing to admit error. Today I'm not as prone as I was in youth to pick up a baton and run with it helter-skelter off towards the sunset.

Nowadays I speak of anarchy -- or one facet of anarchy -- as having divorced all the "isms". I plan to live well past 100. I suspect in that time I'll uncover some hidden "ism's" that will need to be exorcised.


livefreeretiree's picture

They are all just labels, ultimately. Some labels are useful and accurate to reality; some are entirely misleading and illusory. The point is to be able to look past the label itself and see what the label is *pointing* to.

I love talking to you old farts. Makes me feel antiquated.

Samarami's picture

Don't pick a fight with an old man.

If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you

livefreeretiree's picture

How very Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque of you...
Keep in touch:

Suverans2's picture

And, we "old farts" love talking to individuals who are still "wet behind the ears"; it makes us remember when we, too, thought we knew it all and had all the answers. ;)

livefreeretiree's picture

I am omniscient. Bow before me.



livefreeretiree's picture

Suverans2, incidentally, has just provided a beautiful demonstration of precisely the reason I took a break from publishing my articles on sites like Strike the Root.

Suverans2's picture

You know what they say, cretin, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen".

livefreeretiree's picture

"2 + 2 = 4", said the old man, and the townsfolk all praised his wisdom of a long life well lived and many timeless lessons learned through decades of experience.

"2 + 2 = 4", said the young man, and the townsfolk all told him to stop being such a smartass and disrespecting his elders by acting like he already knew everything. And all progress was promptly trampled to smithereens.

Suverans2's picture

My advice to you, Vahram G. DIEHL, is, don't throw a punch, ("I love talking to you old farts. Makes me feel antiquated."), if you're not ready to take a one, ("And, we 'old farts' love talking to individuals who are still 'wet behind the ears'; it makes us remember when we, too, thought we knew it all and had all the answers.); especially since you are so sensitive. ;)

livefreeretiree's picture

My advice to you, Suverans2, is to learn to recognize friendly rhetoric... (Trust me, I already know everything, remember?)

I am happy to oblige you by going somewhere where there is less "heat". And here I was thinking that liberty-seeking individuals were all on some kind of team... seeking the same goals and all. Turns out most of them are still assholes. Guess it's one of those lessons a young guy like me needs to learn.

Suverans2's picture

And, yet, you didn't recognize my friendly rhetoric.

Suverans2's picture

Just curious, have any of these "liberty-seeking individuals" here at STR called you an asshole?

AtlasAikido's picture

Am I and/or you asking the right questions? (Curiosita) One of the seven principles of Da Vinci. See my latest posts...

AtlasAikido's picture

You could be targeted for wearing a livefreeretiree, button, let alone refusing in some way to bow down to your betters. Much truth there...

Now, you may want to agree with Vahram and post for the experience. Understood. After all, I did so myself, though in a less totalitarian America.

But if you are a radical for exposing comforting lies, keep your mouth shut, your smile pasted on, and your demeanor lackadaisacle, for your own safety. Obey everyone in a uniform or expensive suit or. Turn away from anyone who *suggests anything disruptive as some posters above* are clearly doing. Oh, and keep posting the truth about what you see! Thanks Vahram!!

GregL's picture

Nice article Vahram.

I first became aware of you through an article you wrote on STR about a year ago, and was impressed enough to visit your web page and put it on my list of favorites.

There are a lot of thoughtful people, who read STR and could benefit from your thoughts, so I’m sorry that the reactions of some have caused you to reconsider whether it’s worth it to continue posting your articles here. You have a fresh way of looking at things and of expressing yourself, and I hope you’ll continue to contribute to STR.

AtlasAikido's picture

Agreed. But I would think that re-considering leaving again, as an *on-going* option continues to make abundant sense. There are other sites.,,, etc etc...

The posters on those sites would have a field day with Samarami and Suverans2 no matter how long their tenure or years on earth. In any event this site really needs to have a down vote arrow big time!!

Samarami's picture


    "...There are other sites.,,, etc etc...

    The posters on those sites would have a field day with Samarami and Suverans2 no matter how long their tenure or years on earth. In any event this site really needs to have a down vote arrow big time!!...

Now ya got my curiosity up: what's with the "field day" toss???

I mean, I made a tongue-in-cheek joke about Vahram's "old fart" comment in good humor. I can't speak for suverans2, certainly; but has my jokester post been taken as insulting to Vahram? And if so, why did he not mention that directly -- why did you have to make that insinuation???

I've been on Lewrockell, Mises, c4ss, ZeroGov and others for a number of years -- before STR, in fact; and don't think I've ever been in any kind of "posters' pissin' match".

And we do take a few digs at each other at times. For the fun of it, mostly.

Anarchy in a statist world is too painful to not develop a healthy sense of humor. Just sayin'.


AtlasAikido's picture

Sam: To convey tongue in cheek or sarcasm in print you may want to add (sic). Perhaps redundant and highly elementary for you but it would help. You were a little hard to follow.

Indeed instead of sic perhaps use: Urban Dictionary: sarcasm intended Abbreviation - Sarcasm is very hard to get across when using the internet, so typing SARC-INT will make sure people get your hint from the get-go, and saves precious time explaining that you were actually being sarcastic etc...

In respect to Vahram, his stated reasons for being absent, the subject of his return article and given the interaction he was having with Suverans2 (and supposedly others), adding SARC-INT could have been useful in such a post by you: "Samarami, posted on this thread May 18, 2012 "Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you". [SARC-INT]

So "what's with the "field day" toss???" Indeed! Nice set-up Sam! But I think I will pass...


livefreeretiree's picture

In case there is any confusion, my "old fart" comment was made entirely in good humor with someone I have shared at least a few genial interactions with on this site in the past (Samarami). I took his response in good humor as well. I associate in person and online with far more people 2 or 3 times my age than I do with peers my own age (I am 23).

I've also dealt with way too many condescending (mostly older) commentators and critics who presumably feel threatened by the way I state my views. The whole "yeah, that's nice, but you are young so you're still wrong" attitude grows old (forgive the pun) rather quickly. One's age alone is no cause for merit or reverence in my mind. In fact, the older you are the less excuse you have for not having accomplished anything with yourself. If anything, extra praise and respect should be given to the youthful for the lack of time and experience they have had to get where they are physically or intellectually.

I will check out these other sites though... and please do send me an email sometime, Sam. I would like to continue communicating and collaborating with an old fart like you.

Samarami's picture
    "...If anything, extra praise and respect should be given to the youthful for the lack of time and experience they have had to get where they are physically or intellectually..."

My earnest journey towards liberty began, I now remember, when I finally admitted to myself that as an educator I was learning much more from students than I had from intellectual foxholes consisting of brick and mortar (and made up mostly of state conditioning). This would have been before 1970.

It is poignant that the bulwark of Dr Ron Paul's support comes from the young -- mostly first and second year college students. 'Tho I do not advocate participation in election scams -- even to "vote" for Ron Paul -- I see that support as a portending of things to come.

Move aside, you old farts!


AtlasAikido's picture

Actually in many ways the young have less lies to shed as they have had alternate sources of education via,, TED, Khan Academy, MIT, all free online...

One's own freedom is paramount. Young or old it makes no difference (yes there are some advantages one way or another). But there is only one entity (The Most Dangerous Superstition) that pits the young against the old and vice versa. This cancer is a false alternative. And comes from asking the wrong questions and accepting so called philosophical truths (assumptions) that are traps. That does not mean all philosophies can or should be conflated. Some ARE better than others (unlike religions).

The Irrelevance of the Impossibility of Anarcho-Libertarianism
by Stephan Kinsella on August 20, 2009
in Killer,Mises Blog Posts

He also refers to why he is an anarco-libertarian....

But again there is no need for politics per se as I point out in prior threads...

livefreeretiree's picture

Thank you for the kind words, Greg. It is always nice to know when someone appreciates the effort I have put into articulating myself instead of just scanning for possible modes for criticism and condescension.

Suverans2's picture

Un-f**kin-believable! All this hullabaloo because the kid's feelings were hurt. Sheeesh!

AtlasAikido's picture

Well said Vahram!! Your responses have been priceless!!

The "Comforting Lie" article written by you is a beautiful identification and expose of the Big Lie and the Little Lies too many men apparently live by. Keep it up as long as it makes sense...

Glock27's picture

I read the article (I'm a nubie). It was quiet esoteric I thought.
As I research Liberty, Anarchism, freedom and etc, I have come to the conclusion that none of this is going to work, and none of it is real. They are nothing more than ideas congealed into an aspic of philosophy. They carry tons of flavor and are quiet magnetic to a select few while the rest of the sheeple wander aimlessly into the void that soon will enshroud us all in chaos--all of us. Ergo, what philosophy we espouse is essentially usless; its the "comforting lie" we hold so dearly too, just as I hold dearly to the hope that the retarded branches of this current government will get smart enough to stop the coming chaos. This is the comforting lie I hold onto, as I hope to die in comforting peace rather than chaos.
I have no illusions and recognize that no political philosophy is going to be acceptable across the board. I enjoy "Strike the Root" when I come here, but I do wonder why it must be so brutal with one another.
Peace be with you.

Samarami's picture
    "I have no illusions and recognize that no political philosophy is going to be acceptable across the board."

Glock, this statement makes you "one of us" -- as much so as the oldest old-timer. So please stick around and continue to post when you feel it moving inside you. Your input is important to me and I think most if not all of STR.

After all the squabbling is over most of us agree that no political philosophy is acceptable across the board, and that political action is futile.

Abstain From Beans, I say.


AtlasAikido's picture

As Sam already addressed, the ideas of STR are neither as moot nor esoteric as some assume: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Lew Rockwell to Ron Paul Delegates: Consider Skipping the Convention [for yourself]

By all means Abstain From Beans as an individual but I would add not as a "We" or even an "Us". It is a false alternative speaking for others and thinking of you and I as being a "we". It is a trap! It is the methodology of the matrix. It is is the language of master slaves sociopaths and stockholm syndrome patients and their Comforting Lies.

The "We" Trap is the Group Trap; The "We" is a Comforting Illusion and it gets its power via assumptions and acting on those assumptions as if they are the only alternative. Ref: "Harry Browne's How I found Freedom in an UNFree World".


AtlasAikido's picture

But on the other hand as it relates to the article and an alert. I better have a working PLAN, test bed, framework or prototype that reflects reality *for myself* AND that meets the requirements of live and let live NAP--non aggression principle--and Galt's Oath (Non sacrifice of others nor oneself i.e. trade); and a way of living that easily models refers to and communicates those essentials in inter-relationships (in a remnant division of labor society. I have covered this on other threads and that can be perused by looking thru the tracking feature on my avatar).

Regarding plans and so forth: I will use and comment on Mike Gelb's book "How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci" as a framework.

Sfutmato is Leonardo Da Vinci's fourth principle--a willingness to embrace paradox and things going up in smoke including plans. While it is necessary it is NOT sufficient. In fact it is a call to unnecessary risk especially when prototyping: The Certainty Trap

More specifically what Leonardo Da Vinci--via Michale Gelb--describes as his second principle, Dimostrazione--a commitment to test [model thru to proof of concept] and his third principle Sensazione--the continual refinement of the senses, [or anything that I choose to progress via incremental improvement and prototyping]. More on that later...

Samarami's picture

We is indeed a dangerous word to be bandying about.


Glock27's picture

Sorry this is so late, but that makes a lot of sense. I like what you say here. There are so many traps and many ways for them to camoflaged--I, we, you , them, he. she, those. And then theres other ways to bait the trap to lure one into the mess.

AtlasAikido's picture

A Leitmotif of Counter intuitives. I look and learn Da Vinci's seventh and final principle: Connessione--A recognition of and the appreciation for the interconnectedness of things and phenomena.

This is what SHTF looks like. The government lies. The corporate cover ups. Downplaying of the severity of the crisis. And then… panic.

The very things Rand presciently depicted in "Atlas Shrugged": government, companies and media colluding in the name of economic rescue at the expense of the entrepreneur.

# There's No Way To Contain the Radiation
Mac Slavo on government lies, corporate cover-ups and the potential evacuation of 10 million people.