In the Age of Anything Goes - everything does. At least, everything of any value.
When standards, largely attributed to Judeo/Christian beliefs, are downgraded and summarily ripped away, anarchy fills the void and slowly seeps in the cracks and finally takes over.
It’s not as though we don’t have history to prove this cycle. Though modern education does its best to alter and justify historical accounting, traces of truth still remain so that anyone is able who really wanted to see what happens when human nature is allowed to have its way.
Imagine leaving a group of small children alone in a room with a table full of candy.
One downside of the Anything Goes Era is the inevitable conundrum that the more laws put in place to keep law-abiding citizens in tow, the more that lawlessness, larceny and fraud thrives, succeeds and goes unaccountable and thus is freed up to destroy again and again.
This phenomenon plays out in every way possible, from the obscure individual to the high profile personality. From religion to politics, to giant corporations. Even the once sacrosanct institutions of banking - thievery is enabled to blossom and flourish within a society that has been conditioned to prefer the lie over the truth.
I’ve witnessed this over and over again in recent years to the point I’ve made the topic a personal focus of study. The stories I’ve heard and have witnessed are all different but in many ways exactly the same. And growing in number to the point that there are few who have not experienced the shock of finding out they have been defrauded by a smooth talking liar, most which can be classified as psychopaths by the single defining trait - lack of conscience. These are so good at creating an alternate reality they can convince anyone of anything, including displays of great compassion and concern for others. Dr. Robert Hare describes this as ‘knowing the lyrics but not the music’ in his book Without Conscience - The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.
I recommend this book whether you have ever been scammed or not because ... well, in the age of Anything Goes, you can count on being had sooner or later, one way or another. Knowing how to spot the red flags at the early stage is a skill known as being discerning.
If there ever was an age needing discernment, it is the here and now.
Unfortunately, the scam artists, whether psychopaths or not, all have fine-tuned instincts to know how to recognize who is a good mark. They mostly pick the vulnerable, and those who seem to be straight up and trusting. They are sheep hunters who often zero in on those who show no outward traits of cynicism or natural mistrust and present as meek and mild.
But the most clever weapon a con man has in his arsenal is the victim’s own deep desire to believe what isn’t true. And so the con knows how to tap into the hopes and dreams of his mark. And once locked into a target, he knows exactly what rationale and excuses to use if any questions arise because he has already factored in what the mark is likely to want to hear.
See how that works?
One might correlate this to the way satan finds his prey. He also counts on our deep, unfulfilled desires to be our weakest openings because he knows we’ll hang on hoping that maybe, just maybe, the lie isn’t really a lie.
In the age of Anything Goes - the lie is the new normal so the once reliable test of what is true by action, result, and longevity shifts to vague feelings, empty, albeit good sounding words, and short-term dazzle, and thus the inevitable decay begins.
At the lowest point, when truth at last becomes irrelevant, everything is a scam; nothing is reliable.
I’ve written about this new paradigm as I have seen it unfolding, from many different perspectives. There are abundant scams going on all day every day and there always have been. What is different now is how easy it is to sink into the abyss of delusion because once the standards that held us accountable have been removed there is nothing that can define what is true.
I could see this raw, seemingly mindless process, beginning years ago when I realized that modern life, driven by commercialism and advertising was the foundation of a dark future world, where everything is a lie, and yet no one cares because it’s expected. Now we have multimillion dollar corporations harvesting profile information via our personal electronic devises so to better craft compelling advertising - to make branding and visual stimulation elevated to an art form. Art is just illusion, after all, but let us call it what it truly is - scamming (manipulating) the masses by using their weaknesses in order to take money from them!
However, scamming isn’t always about money - sometimes it’s about power quest or control, whether in personal relationships or politics. Regardless, what I have learned, by hard knock experience, is that, once a con artist has locked into the deep desire and fragile hope of the victim, it’s practically impossible to open his/her eyes to see the truth, until the damage is fully done. Thus the devil has his way... for a time.
But I have to admit, it’s really frustrating to watch. Over. And. Over.