Manipulation techniques in the media

Many people are convinced that they have their own opinions: about politics, the economy, the latest news, sports, and so on. But instead very often their opinions are not theirs: they are born, grown, and orientated, under the astute guidance of newspaper columnists, or television news producers. The opinions of people fall into a furrow that has already been plowed previously.

media-manipulation-techniques-frontIn this article I decided to collect some of the manipulation techniques that the media use to influence the masses, among those that I’m able to see, and among those that impress me the most for how sneaky and damn effective they are. These techniques are used by the media more or less always for the same purposes:

  • get attention (and therefore get money through advertisements)
  • promote the agenda of some political party or corporation

Of course the people who are influenced by the media are never aware of it -they think they have “personal” and “free” opinions- so I hope that, if you are victim of one of these manipulation techniques, this article will be useful for you to realize it. So let’s start with an all time classic:

1. Keeping figures who don’t count much constantly under the spotlight

media-manipulation-techniques-spotlight-for-irrelevant-figuresA fundamental pillar of media manipulation is to keep at the center of the stage, constantly, figures who don’t count much. Often they are figures who are likely to make “hard” declarations, racist, sexist, that easily generate indignation in the public. These figures are typically unpopular and the media are perfectly aware of it, they keep on interviewing them frequently, and their nonsenses are immediatly broadcasted in all the news generating “flames” among people, i.e. fierce arguments.

From their side, these figures who don’t count much are often pleased for the attention received, and they’re not aware themselves of being puppets that are playing in a much bigger game, a game that has the real goal of keeping behind the scenes, far from the spotlight and unknown to the mass, the faces and the names of the figures that really count a lot: bankers, lobbyists, leaders of corporations, and these certainly are much less visible in the news.

It works perfectly: people channel all their hate and insults on irrelevant figures, without realizing that the practical life they have every day (alarm – coffee – rush out of the house – traffic – office – grocery…) depends instead very very much upon the decisions of completely different figures, who are far from the spotlight, and who can use their power undisturbed.

Maybe, sometimes, even these other figures have racist or sexist thoughts, but they certainly don’t make the error of vocalising them on television: they’re smart enough not to make any declaration that could negatively impact their public image, and they are very careful not to overexpose themselves. They prefer to leave the puppets at the center of the stage.

2. Keeping places that don’t count much constantly under the spotlight

media-manipulation-techniques-spotlight-on-parliamentDo you really believe that the parliament is the place where the important decisions are taken? Rarely. The important decisions by now are taken in completely different places: in private villas, on bar tables, in restaurants. And they are taken right by those figures that are unknown to the mass, who discuss contracts worth billions without the interference of tv cameras.

In the meanwhile there’s plenty of media coverage for what happens inside the parliament: the voting sessions, the declarations of the politicians, the bagarres in the main room when the opposition gets upset, the squabbles on marginal issues, and so on.

Let’s clarify: in theory in would make a lot of sense to keep the attention on the parliament… if the parliament really was the place where the laws are made. Unfortunately in practice, and this is true for many governments, the parliament in its entirety is a machine of monstrous inefficiency, that produces a law every once in awhile. It’s not a matter of right, left, center or opposition: it’s the whole parliament that is an unproductive organ.

And in the few cases in which they really get to produce a law, often the process is not very democratic. In fact there isn’t any dialogue between the parts: each politician gets up, takes the microphone, makes his declarations that the opposers barely listen to, and sits down. The scene is repeated with reversed roles. Then everybody votes following indications arrived from the top, from the leaders of the two factions, that often are not even sitting in the parliament, or are not even part of it at all (lobbyists, bankers, etc).

So in a similar way to the previous case, a second manipulation technique by the media -very effective- consists in putting the spotlight on the parliament, suggesting the idea that that in the center of the action, leaving instead that on the tables of a bar, few blocks away, someone else is deciding the fate of the country in front of a coffee.

3. Flooding blogs and online news with trolls

media-manipulation-techniques-internet-trollsIn case you’re not familiar with the slang of internet, in the context of blogs and online news websites, a troll is is someone who comments an article with specific purposes: create divisions in the community, ridicule the author, insinuate doubts between the readers, dampen the enthusiasm.

The estabilishment understood one thing: it’s easy to manipulate people through old monodirectional media, like television. With television the propaganda is delivered to the audience, and the audience can’t do much more than absorb it. But it’s a lot more difficult to keep internet under control. Non only there is a huge variety of opposition sites that spread “inconvenient” contents, but those same opposition sites allow a bidirectional exchange: the users can comment the articles, discuss among themselves, share contacts. And all of this is extremely dangerous for those who keep the power.

So the most effective technique they found to manipulate people -also on internet- is to flood these sites with trolls. Trolls who, as soon as a new article with potentially “dangerous” contents is published, get to work and fill it with comments loaded with skepticism, pessimism, sarcasm, or simply insult the other real users creating flames, so that, if nothing else works, at least they divert the attention away from the original theme that was discussed in the article.

Trolls are difficult to identify, especially because thanks to the anonymity typical of internet they can appear with different names, and seem numerically many more than how many they actually are. The effectiveness of their work stands on the fact that many people have a natural tendency to let their opinions align with the collective opinion (or at least that they perceive as the collective opinion).

In spite of this, with a little training you’ll develop enough sense to be able to unmask them with ease, and at that point you will also realize which are the sites that do real opposition to the estabilishment, because usually they’re exactly those where the troll infestation is more severe.

4. Distracting people with the rights

media-manipulation-techniques-pinkwashingMedia use different strategies to distract the audience, taking the general attention away from important themes and repositioning it on minor themes. A good example is the great relevance that they give to the “rights”, and of these a very popular case are the rights of women and homosexuals.

A word that explain this technique extremely well is pinkwashing, or in other terms “pink” brain washing, that is realized on people by governments and corporations. Media are full of examples of pinkwashing: food products that sponsor the research against breast cancer, interviews to politicians who repeat like a mantra the importance of having gay marriages, countries that promote LGBT tourism and encourage events like the gay pride.

All great causes obviously… if it wasn’t that these governments and corporations often are so friendly with women and homosexuals for convenience more than anything else (after all it’s a strategy that doesn’t cost much and brings great results in terms of reputation), but even more if it wasn’t that while as facade they are so sensible to the problems of these categories, behind the scenes they use horrible practices, that range from “not very ethical” to “criminal”.

In fact, from one side a food corporation remarks the importance of prevention in women’s health, on the other side behind the scenes they fill their snacks with chemical additives that cause addiction (often even carcinogenic…) and use marketing models that are destructive for the environment. From one side a government broadcasts frequent pro-gay spots on television and in the name of equality, on the other side behind the scenes they colonize foreign territories and practice racial segregation. And so on.

There’s a strong emotional component, that of women and homosexuals, that is exploited to manipulate the public. Among the people who belong to these categories, that often historically have been disadvantaged, and that more often have been victims of abuses, there’s a strong desire for validation. And those who control the media understood this well: they provide this validation by pushing constantly the button of their rights, so that then they can trample on the rights of many other categories without too many interferences.

5. Distracting people with meaningless problems

media-manipulation-techniques-meaningless-problemsA second technique that the media use to distract people is to discuss meaningless problems, and among these a case that I like to mention often is the case of dog abandonment.

In my country, Italy, it’s a great classic which is re-proposed every summer (probably each country has its own peculiar case). Looking at the coverage given to this “problem” in the national news, it would seem like every year the roads of the country are invaded by thousands of cruel people, who drive back and forth searching for a street pole at which they can tie their animal. The idea is ridiculous, but unfortunately it works very well because it takes advantage of the emotional component of many people who are passionate of domestic animals.

Obviously, we all agree that abandoning a domestic animal is a terrible practice, but giving so much coverage to this theme, that is numerically irrelevant, means to take room away fron the possibility of showing real problems, much more impactful for the life of people.

Unfortunately the method works, and the result is tragic and comic at the same time: while the parasitic banking system causes unemployment and debt, while in the middle east thousands of people are brutally tortured and killed, while there’s an epidemic of problems linked to the lifestyle, like depression and food intolerances… the news viewers and the readers of newspapers get angry and emotional for the abandonement of pets.

6. Demonizing the real opposition

media-manipulation-techniques-demonizing-real-oppositionThe estabilishment uses the mainstream media to neutralize the real opposers, those who reveal the abuses and start to gain enough consensus to represent a serious threat, with a simple but centainly effective strategy: they give them little coverage, and when they give them coverage, they sling mud at them.

It doesn’t matter that a politician, activist, journalist, philosopher, has a flawless past. If he’s identified by the establishment as a target, there are a thousand different ways to depict him in the media to make him appear as extremist, dishonest, immoral, crazy.

All they have to do is to take a long speech given by the opposer, maybe hours long, and from that speech extract a single phrase that can be misunderstood, and then publish it everywhere in the news. And simply in terms of images, the opposer can participate to a public event and talk almost always with a relaxed expression, but from the recordings of that intervention the media can extract anyway a single frame in which the oppositor had a scowling face, or was frowning, and place that on the first page with an insinuating title.

Obviously, if the person we’re talking about doesn’t have a flawless past everything becomes easier. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to discover that some governments, or various groups of power, have created entire offices dedicated to search for fiscal errors of the opposers, to try to tap them on the phone, and in general to dig trying to find their mistakes. If they made the minimal error, almost certainly it will be exposed sooner or later and will be published everywhere in the media.

7. Giving coverage to the fake opposition

media-manipulation-techniques-coverage-fake-oppositionThose who control the media know well that there is the need for opposition, at least one.

Many people “in the mass” often are not able to see the main causes of many of their problems (i.e. the parasitic nature of the banking system, the corporations that encourage consumerism, the government that works for itself and the lobbies rather than for the citizens), but this doesn’t eliminate the fact that they can feel the pain consequent to these causes: the frustration due to the lack of free time, the boredom/stress due to meaningless jobs, the unhappiness due to too many objects and too few human relationships.

The elite that holds the power understands well that this negative feeling needs a vent valve, otherwise there would really be a revolution that would change the system. And so they provide it, but setting up a fake opposition.

And it really doesn’t require a lot of work: there are many figures that spontaneously fit well the role of the fake opposers, it’s enough to keep them frequently under the tv cameras. Politicians who, in the interviews, declare their contrariness to the actions of the government (and then behind the scenes make agreements with it) or politicians who are really contrary to the actions of the government, but have such bizarre personalities and ideas that they almost succeed in making the main party of the government appear like the “lesser evil”.

8. Giving positive names to crap

media-manipulation-techniques-language-gamesAnother classic manipulation technique, used a lot in the media, is all based on language: they use names to which people instinctively associate a “positive” connotation to call some big crap produced by the corporations and the government.

A simple example, easy to recognize, are the commercials on television (note, to understand if a product/service is garbage you can apply this simple but practically infallible criterion: if it’s advertised on television then it’s garbage). There’s an enormous variety of snacks full of colorants, preservatives, various toxic sludge, whose names contain the words special, happy, diet, light, natural.

But then there are other examples of higher level manipulation, like many actions taken by the government, that are not as evident to the general public. War missions in foreign countries and military occupancy become missions of peace. Tax increments are included in plans for the recovery or treaties for stability. In my country the institute for fiscal monitoring is called equitàlia (from equity). And above everything else there is it, the nonsense word that clogs the news and is repeated everywhere in the media like a mantra: growth.

Political leaders and leaders of corporations continue to repeat everywhere the importance of having economic growth, and people often don’t realize what’s really behind this message, just because often to the word growth they associate something good.

The reality is that pursuing infinite growth -of the economy, the production, the population- on a planet with finite resources is a nonsense and dangerous. It would make more sense, in my opinion, to talk about development, but this words is never used in the media. The reason why the leaders of politics and corporations insist instead with economic growth is that growth generates taxes, and taxes pay the salary to the politicians themselves (who then re-distribute in cascade the money to the corporation “friends”), and allow them to do what they want to do.


Let your opinions be really yours

Many other techniques can be discussed, but these that I described in this short list are definitely among those that I “feel” more, and against which I consider more useful to keep the attention bar high.

It seems to me that there are evident effects of the media manipulation in many people, who have the habit to talk regurgitating someone else’s opinion, rather than talk giving voice to their own opinion.

media-manipulation-techniques-regurgitate-someone-elses-opinionsThe best method to avoid to fall in this trick, and to avoid that your opinion falls in the pre-packaged, pre-plowed furrow of the media is to apply critical thinking. Don’t believe a story simply because everyone else believes it, or because the source is an authority. Become aware that most media are constantly hunting for attention (“attention whores“), and that consequently they intentionally publish many news that generate strong reactions -rage, indignation, excitement- exactly with the goal of capturing the audience.

And always ask yourself, each time you listen to the news or read the newspaper, if the intention of the person who is spreading that news is really to show unaltered facts to inform the public… or instead his intention is to manipulate the publis, at his own advantage.


Notes:

Related: What is the “system”?, How to free yourself from the system

Important things I learned

These are some of the most important things that (I think) I learned, or that I am in the process of learning, in these last years of my life.

Spirituality

● The enormous power of the words thank you.

● The concept of consciousness. That there are different levels of consciousness at which people can live. That also music, movies, art, objects have their level of consciousness.

● It’s not consciousness that is created by matter, but exactly the opposite: matter is created by consciousness.

● Atheism has a fixed point of view, rather sterile. After graduating from the religious non-sense, a further graduation from atheism is possible, and necessary, to progress in the path of spiritual evolution.

● Chronic skepticism is a very counterproductive attitude. I used to be a chronic skeptic before, not believing “in anything”. These days I prefer to keep chronic skeptics at distance.

● I learned some great lessons from Eckhart Tolle’s books, in particular these three:

  • what being present means, the idea of being here and now. And I realized that only a fraction of the thoughts that flow in my mind are useful. The rest are useless, repetitive, distracting noise.
  • what the ego is. I realized that I do have an ego, and a terribly difficult one to tame.
  • the mechanism of drama that drives many human relationships. Most people tend to create unnecessary and avoidable drama, to feed a little “beast” they have inside, a beast that feeds on negative emotions.

Of these three concepts, I think I understand well the theory behind the first two, but I still suck at turning the theory into practice. There are still more unobserved thoughts and more pretense in me than I would like to have. With drama, instead, I think I do well both with theory and practice. I’ve never been a big drama queen.

● The best rule to apply with people who are trying to start drama is: do not engage. Let them scream, gesticulate, cry, while staying absolutely calm, composed, in silence, just replying things like “yes, you’re right”, until they turn off.

● Life is about finding balance in the middle of two types of awareness:

  • that we, human beings, have an enormous power and control over our lives, and we are able to realize wonderful, huge, sensational things.
  • that there are things in our lives that we don’t control at all, and those things could destroy everything we built, in any moment.

The trick is to recognize that both are true, but then decide to have faith, and work hard to realize the wonderful things.

● Healing doesn’t correspond to feeling relaxed and comfortable all the time. Healing, usually, happens through pain and struggle.

● The law of attraction makes great sense, however it seems like many people don’t get the part attraction of it. After believing that something will happen, it is necessary to work -usually hard- to make it happen.

● Every person can be a hero. Even if most people today consider courage as a trait reserved for movie characters only, everyone can cultivate courage and apply it to real life, this life.

● Life tries to “talk” to us constantly, and tries to teach us lessons all of the time. The people we meet, the events that happen around us, they usually carry a message for us. We must stay receptive, like an antenna, to get the message.

● Dreams deserve much more attention than they’re commonly given: “normal” dreams that we have during sleep, lucid dreams in which we can manipulate the environment -they are a lot of fun-, and also daydreams. It is true that, as I read somewhere, dreams are not meant to make us sleep, but to make us wake up.

● Jesus Christ, probably, never existed as an historical figure. He is a fictional character that was invented by the ancient Romans, as a tool of propaganda to dominate the Jews of their times. I heard about this theory in the documentary “Caesar’s Messiah”, and I consider it not only very credible, but also a super huge revelation!

Love

● Love is much bigger than just romantic love, the “couple relationship” type of love that is extensively depicted in movies and books. That is just a part, but there’s also the love for friends, family, strangers, animals, plants, art, work, life.

● Jealousy doesn’t make sense. It’s basically a consequence of mistakenly assuming that the couple relationship type of love is all the love there is.

● If there is a meaning of life, it is love. At the end of the story, what really matters is the love we gave, and the love we received.

Myself

● The most important and difficult challenge in my life is learning to manage my emotions. I am aware now that if I want to succeed at achieving my biggest goals, this is a necessary skill to master. I have no other way.

● I won’t make meaningful progress in life by learning a lot of new notions. I will make it, instead, by learning some specific notions, and by cultivating virtues like courage, honesty and discipline.

● Practicing introspection, to discover what’s inside myself, is very difficult and painful. It’s also the most exciting adventure. And it’s sort of weird: I research, I study, I make efforts, all this without even knowing what it is that I am searching for. But I have a strong feeling that I have to continue digging.

● The inputs that I feed myself with (movies, books, music) impact directly the way I think, and the way I feel. As obvious as it seems now, I wasn’t aware about this connection some years ago. These days, I consciously avoid watching horror movies, or reading books about killers and psychopaths, for example. I prefer to feed my mind with happy topics.

● There are so many things that I don’t know. But the more new things I discover, the more grows in me a sense that there are others to discover…

People

● Having original thoughts is extremely rare. Most thoughts that circulate in people’s minds are someone else’s thoughts.

● A lot of people, when they talk, simply regurgitate what they have been taught as kids. They do this over and over, their entire life, without ever applying some critical thinking to decide if those teachings made sense or not.

● Just because someone speaks louder, or has a microphone in his hands, doesn’t mean that he deserves more attention.

● There’s a huge difference between education and wisdom. Many of the people I know are fairly well educated, but very few of them are wise.

● The world is full of corruption, hate, dishonesty, and still in the middle of this mess there are some people with super beautiful souls. They are so precious that they are worth the quest.

● It’s a great skill to be able to talk, and act, without being driven by emotions. And it’s important to recognize when other people, especially those who are close, like family and friends, give advice that is dictated by their fears and insecurities, so to discard it.

● Many people never change. As much as they’re exposed to clear, useful information that they could use to solve their problems, they will ignore that information and keep on struggling with the same problems, over and over, for their entire life. It’s better not to lose time insisting in helping them, but to focus instead on those who are ready to accept solutions.

● The best way to deal with depressed people is to stay away from them. Happiness is a choice, and most depressed people simply choose to be unhappy.

● There are things that the masses do, but no matter how many people do them: they still make absolutely no sense, so there’s no need to join them. Two great examples in this category are:

  • turning to politics to have the problems of the society fixed.
  • working at jobs where time is traded for money.

Money

● Money is an exciting topic, and not boring as I used to think. Money is very useful to understand people’s emotions, especially fear.

● Money is ultimately just a mental construct.

● Money favors those who produce and control it (banks and governments) and enslave those who have to use it (citizens).

● Having a regular job is not the only honest way to earn money, passive income systems are another option, and a much smarter one under many points of view.

● Economy and finance are two very different things. Economy is more about people, how they behave in the market to meet their desires. It’s a much more concrete, useful topic to study. Finance instead is about paper money, banks, graphs, titles: these things are part of a circus that adds no value to the life of people.

● Making the transition from employee to entrepreneur requires a huge shift in the mindset. An entrepreneur needs very different skills: for example it’s necessary to understand more the psychology of people.

● Understanding the law of supply and demand is super useful, and not just for an entrepreneur who runs a business, but for everybody, because it applies to many situations in daily life.

● You can’t do the right things, if you’re in the wrong place. For example, even if you work hard, diligently and efficiently, but you’re providing your labor to institutions that produce zero (or negative) value for the society -like banking corporations or cigarette producers- then you’re illuding yourself that you’re “doing a good job”.

● I think I understand money enough, now, to be able to become very wealthy if I want, in a honest way, and without even working too much. However, I haven’t decided yet if this is really what I want. Lots of money would allow me to develop some beautiful projects on a big scale (like building hospitals, schools, educational media), but on the other hand, it would inevitably attract the attention of the government. And I’m not sure I want to spend my time dealing with such a gigantic and predatory structure. I need to reflect more about this.

● One of the craziest things of the modern world is that most people spend an entire life working for money, without even understanding what the working is for. They never take some time to learn how money is produced, by who, how it works.

● Few things will put you in an uncommon position as becoming financially free. While everyone around talks, acts and moves driven by the desire of making money, you’re part of a very tiny minority that focuses on other topics.

Health

● Having a healthy diet requires essentially two things:

  • developing a knowledge about nutrition (in particular understanding the concept of density of nutrients of foods).
  • discipline.

● Products based on refined flour (like pasta and bread) are almost as unhealthy as white sugar. It doens’t make sense, as I was doing until some years ago, to avoid sugar as a fundamentalist, but then splurge on pasta and bread everyday.

● If there is one food that I always have to stay alert not to eat, it’s burnt food. The black spots under the pizza, toasted bread, and grilled meat are loaded with a disastrous amount of toxins.

● Most of the honey sold in the stores is as bad as white sugar, because it’s pastorized, heated at high temperature, that’s what makes it as transparent and fluid as syrup. Raw honey is the way to go.

● Dairy products with reduced amounts of fat, or completely fat-free, are actually less healthy than their whole counterparts. The fat in milk, yogurt and cheese is useful to digest fat-soluble vitamins. So it’s better to eat these foods whole.

● Diet impacts the overall health, and also the body figure, more than exercise does.

● Exercise is useful, but too much of it can stress the body and worn it out. I used to go to the gym 3/4 times per week, these days I prefer to go a couple times and pay more attention to the way I eat, instead.

● Despite being super popular, jogging is actually not so healthy. When a person jogs, tissues and organs of the body jump up and down, up and down, up and down, and that’s quite stressing, and pro-aging, for the organism. It’s much healthier in the long run to prefer activities like moderate weight lifting, yoga, gymnastics.


Notes: I expect that these insights will be valid for many years to come, so I wrote this post as a reminder for myself, with some useful indications to follow in the future. It will also be interesting to see if I’ll change my mind about some of them, and if I will feel like adding more.

What is the “system”?

The system is essentially made of three parts. It is important that you identify them, before you can free yourself from their combined action.

government-ministers1. the GOVERNMENT. Many of us grow in a society where the government is considered something necessary, useful, worth a lot of attention. It’s commonly assumed that the politicians in the government have the most important role in the society, because they are seen as “the ones” who are responsible to produce positive changes, and to create better life conditions for the citizens. I think that these expectations are largely unjustified.

Yes, the politicians impact a lot of things with their decisions, but the nature of their role is commonly misunderstood, and the importance of their role is excessively emphasized.

The politicians are mere movers of resources. All they do is to gather public money through the taxes and, after keeping a fraction to pay their comfortable salaries, they redistridute that money to the various sectors, using certain criteria (for example they give 20% to army, 15% education, 16% health care, 17% tourism…). This is their job, simply explained. Similarly to internet routers that route data to various computers, the politicians route public money to various sectors.

So the important question is: what criteria do they use to assign the money? How do they decide which sector deserves more, and which sector deserves less?

If they have good intentions (they work trying to serve the citizens), they assign the money according to what they think it’s best for the citizens. But even in this case, their perception of what the citizens need is usually distorted. Many politicians spend long hours in pompous palaces, do massive paperwork, get lost in the bureocracy. The more time they spend inside the government’s machinery, the more they get distant from the citizens. And not only they get lost in the bureocracy, they also get lost in ideologies (“we are democrats and you are republicans“), and get lost in the ego (“we and right and you are wrong“), as result their action becomes highly ineffective.

Then there are those who don’t have good intentions, and this is not a rare case. Many politicians enter the government paid by the citizens to serve the citizens, but end up working to serve themselves, instead. So the criteria they adopt to route the public money is to get as many personal advantages as possible. They give more to the institutions who work damaging the citizens (for example financing lotteries, cigarette producers, food corporations that use harmful chemicals), subtracting resources to the institutions who work for the citizens (like hospitals and schools). This way they get “favors”, usually money and power, from the institutions who work damaging the citizens.

In both cases consider that the government works on the principle of group consciousness: there will always be a number of its decisions that will go against your interests. As consequence, shifting a lot of sovereignity from yourself to the government, hoping that it will make things right for you, is a losing strategy.

media-distortion2. the MEDIA. Most mainstream media work in extremely deep symbiosis with the government. In fact, the reason why many of us tend to consider the government so important and useful is that, since we were kids, we have been watching its politicians in the news, constantly.

Think about it: when you turn on the tv, what news are given first? Usually it’s something about the government. The president said this. The prime minister said that. The opposition said that other thing. Debate over a new law. We are constantly informed about what the government is doing, and this implicitely creates inside of us the mindset “knowing what the government is doing is important”.

Mainstream media insistently put the government under the spotlight, and often using a very benevolent light: the government’s inadequacies are overlooked, its scarce results magnified. Why? Because they exchange favors, of course. The media that tailor the news in a way useful for the government obtain funds, jobs, favorable laws (all financed by the citizens with their taxes). In return the government can continue its action, as its politicians keep on appearing with suits and ties in the news every day.

Also in the other sectors, the events presented by the media are rarely depicted objectively to inform the audience, but are manipulated to produce a desired reaction instead, to carry an agenda. Most people watch the news on tv and get consequently indignant, scared, discouraged, without even realizing that that’s exactly the emotional response that the person who packaged the news wanted.

The process of selecting which events to show and which events not to show is crucial. Why wars that produce hundreds of deaths are shown and debated for months, while others that produce many thousands are ignored? Why studies that prove the safety of a food chemical are shown, while others that expose its health hazards are ignored? Usually it’s because some lobby makes more money with the first options.

It can argued that pure, objective facts don’t exist, and that everyone who would have to assemble the news would have to do a selection, inevitably adding his personal bias and carrying his own agenda. I agree with this, but then I think it’s very important to try to understand what is the agenda in each case. When you read an article or watch the news, do you see behind the lines the intention of informing the audience, or the intention of manipulating the audience? And in both cases, why? I encourage you to exercise your own critical thinking to answer these questions.

One final, important note: it’s a false myth that it’s important to check the news regularly “to stay updated”. I actually consider checking the news regularly as a very counterproductive habit. The reason is that most news by the mainstream media are about events that will only scare you, issues you can’t do anything about, or things that have nothing to do with you. In the best case they’re a source of distraction, in the worst case they’ll make you seriously depressed.

banking-corporations3. the CORPORATIONS. These are big companies that work for profits, usually with offices/shops in many different countries around the globe.

Corporations exist in almost every sector, from banks to food, toys, clothing, furniture, electronics, cars, tobacco. With a huge focus on making money and the power derived from their gigantic dimensions, many of these corporations developed a predatory behaviour and stopped seing people as people, but as “consumers”. They push a model of non sustainable development which is eventually destined to crash.

The corporations are deeply interconnected with the other two parts of the system: their executives have frequent meetings with the heads of the governments, and they buy plenty of media space to advertise their products.

It’s important to notice that most citizens of a nation don’t realize that behind the decisions of their government there’s frequently a corporation. They only see the government itself, which is the most visible part of the system, without considering that its politicians are often forced to deal with corporations for all the major decisions. Forced, of course, when they are not men put there from the corporations themselves.

Are there corporations powerful enough to control the governments of the nations? Of course: banks. Banks are the most powerful type of corporation without any doubt, and they built a complex financial system which is very hard to understand for the average citizen, and that gives them huge competitive advantages in the market. This without providing any useful value in return.

Of course not all the corporations are this powerful, and not of all them market products of such fake value as paper money. However, selling stuff of questionable value with the endorsement of the governments and using marketing tricks in the media is a common trait of many corporations in the modern world.

The endorsement of the governments explain why crazy things happen under a model of globalization. For example in my country, Italy (currently the world’s largest kiwifruit producer), I often encounter kiwis coming from New Zealand in the supermarket. There’s clearly someone who decided it’s more convenient -for them- to carry kiwis from the other side of the planet rather than from the farmer nearby.

And about the marketing tricks, you just need to turn on the tv to see the plethora of ads related to snacks full of refined sugar and flavor “enhancers”, clothes and shoes that make us “beautiful”, loans that allow us to be owners of houses and cars that are status symbols, latest versions of electronic gadgets that make our previous ones obsolete, and so on.

I think that this consumistic model, pushed by the corporations, will not last. But even until it does, it creates a lot of problems because it spreads the illusion that we become happy by adding objects to our lives. Instead, just the opposite is true: “the best things in life aren’t things”.


Notes: more about the non sustainable model of development pushed by the corporations is explained very well in the documentary “The story of stuff”.

Related: How to free yourself from the system

How I found freedom

how-i-found-freedom-in-an-unfree-world-harry-browneIn this article I’ll discuss the book How I found freedom in an unfree world written by the American Harry Browne. This book is about personal freedom, a topic that often receives too little attention, in my opinion.

Loren Howe defined How I found freedom in an unfree world as “probably the most dangerous book ever written”, and I agree. In fact I’ve known about the existence of this book listening to that premise, I put my hands on it, I read it, and it was true: the power and the beauty of the ideas it contains not only hit me like a train, but they also brought meaningful changes to the way I think -first- and to my practical daily life -then-.

I want to remark that this is not the typical self-help book, in fact, as Browne himself explains in the introduction, he choosed the title “How I found freedom” rather than “How to find freedom” to clearly show that the ideas he talks about are not abstract, but they are achievable and possible because there is at least one person in history who put them in practice: him. He succeeded in increasing significantly his level of personal freedom. Now, with me I’d say we are at least two. But I’ll talk about me later.

how-i-found-freedom-frontWhy should you care about freedom?

The first thing to notice is that very few people care of increasing their level of personal freedom. Almost everybody accepts as inevitable a series of limitations that are imposed by the society, the government, the economy, the public moral, the parents, the friends, the common beliefs. All these causes can limit our freedom in several ways, creating what Harry Browne calls traps. Traps into which, in a certain point of our lives, we get caught.

A very valid point that Browne presents is in the affirmation that, it’s true, a life 100% free from the conditioning of these actors is unrealizable in the real world. On the other hand, it’s also true that today a lot of people accept to live with a degree of freedom of 20%, of 30%, while increasing it to 80%, to 90% is possible. It is possible. And such an increase in the degree of freedom brings huge positive consequences in life.

For this reason the author analyzes in his book the traps, one by one, those in which more frequently we find ourselves trapped and those that oppress us more significantly, explaining with an extraordinary simplicity that there is no reason to remain stuck inside of them: being free is as easy as opening the traps and fly away.

Create your own personal free world

Before commenting some of the most remarkable traps that Browne debunks in his book, I want to try to summarize the global message of How I found freedom in an unfree world, the way I understand it. The message is the following:

Do not wait that the whole world changes, before you can be free. Do not try you to change the whole world, before you can be free. Even in a planet full of problems, unfree people, dogmas and control structures that are huge and appearently very powerful, you can be free now: all you have to do is to create around you a subset of this planet in which you minimize the intervention (or in which you completely exclude the intervention, when possible) of those subjects that decrease your freedom.

You can be free even if the rest of the world is not, which is in fact the title of the book.

Consider that in the world there will still be wars, corrupted governments, unhappy families, abusive relationships, injustices for a long while. Maybe for ever. It makes no sense to live life repeating “if it wasn’t for the taxes/my wife/the job/the prejudice… then I would be free”. What makes sense instead, once identified a cause that limits your freedom, is to take positive decisions that allow you to reduce as much as possible the influence of that cause over your personal world, a world that you can populate mainly with people and structures that act according with your values.

This is a crucial point: we cannot decide how our familiars, our friends, our colleagues, our bank, our government deal with us. But we can surely decide how we deal with them. In particular, we can make choices that regulate the intensity with which these subjects are present and influent in our life.

And we can do this regulation because we have available a tool of enormous power: the power to take positive decisions.

What is a positive decision?

A positive decision is the one where you choose among alternatives in a way that maximizes you happiness. One example could be the one where you choose if you’d be happier going to the movies or to theatre.

Instead, a negative decision is the one where you choose among alternatives in a way that minimizes your unhappiness. One example could be the one where you choose betweeen repairing your roof, with a leak, and emptying your bank account.

As Browne writes, the typical characteristic of a free person is that he spends most of his time taking positive decisions.

Unfortunately instead, the large majority of people spend most of their time taking negative decisions, evaluating what alternatives are the less displeasant, trying not to make things get worse.

the reason why many insist in taking this second type of decisions is that they stuck in the traps. Common beliefs, that are taught to us and repeated to us since we are kids, but that really make no sense. These traps exist until exists the unawareness of having many different alternatives available, every time we make a choice.

Let’s see some of my favorites then, in the following I reformulate the ideas from the book and add my interpretations.

1. The previous investment trap

The previous investment trap is the belief that since in the past you invested a certain amount of resources (time, money, efforts) in an activity, in a relationship, in acquiring an object, that investment made in the past must condition the way you handle the activity/relationship/object also in the present.

The truth, the resources only have value until they’re not spent.Once that they are spent, they become completely ininfluent.

Here I immediately use a personal example: my career. I spent years at the university to get a difficult degreewhich is highly considered in the job market: engineering. I studied so many hours, spent money to buy books and to pay the university taxes. After graduating, following the common trend (“graduate and then go out and search for a job”), I found a job in a prestigious corporation, obtaining what at that time I considered a dream job.

Instead, despite the benefits, despite the career possibilities, despite everybody kept on repeating how lucky I was, after some years I realized it, that type of job made me unhappy. I had nothing to do with that environment, nothing to do with the people were working in it, nothing to do with the common values in the sector. In addition, I understood that even if I considered -and still consider- what I learned in my engineering studies very useful, I wanted to work in another sector.

If I stayd in the previous investment trap, I shouldn’t have abandoned that career because otherwise I would have “throwned away” all those years of study. This is infact what relatives, friends and acquantances repeated.

But the question is, exactly, in what way continuing to do a job I hated would have resurrected those years of studying? Would I have got back the hours spent on the books, or the money for the universitary taxes? No. Once I realized that the job was a source of unhappiness, the choice was simply between adding other years of unhappiness or peacefully accept that I took the wrong path, resign and start from that point a new path more in line with my values and where more likely I could find happiness.

Other examples are easy.

If you invested 20 years in a marriage and now you realize that the marriage makes you unhappy, should you stay in it to not “waste” the time you invested previously? No: it makes more sense to accept the new situation, save yourself other years of suffering and close. Maybe life has in store for you another relationship, and you can be happy at least from that moment on.

If you spent time, money and effort to buy and them rework a house, and after many years you notice that for whatever reason you’re not happy in that house, do you have to continue living in it to “legitimate” the resources you invested in the past? Those resources are lost anyway: you can sell the house and go to live somewhere else, where you can be happy from that moment on.

2. The utopia trap

The utopia trap is the belief that it’s necessary to change the world, aligning it with our standards of pleasant place, and changing others, convincing them to agree with our ideas, before we can be free.

It’s easy to fall into this trap because very often we see things that we consider wrong, for example: iniquitous laws that are approved, malicious behaviour by those who have the power, lies that are spread. Our reaction often is to fight to contrast these things, animatedly discussing with others, doing debates, jumping on the stages to rally people, doing protest marches. In fact, politics is the most classical destination for those who are trapped in the utopia trap.

What we typically try to do is to convince others to embrace our positions, because we want to create a better world, where we could finally feel free.

Well, the truth is that this behaviour not only leads us very often to frustrations, not only makes you waste a lot of your precious time, that you could use to enjoy your personal freedom instead, but more than anything else it’s not necessary.

Why trying to convince others is not the best strategy? Simply because we’re all different and each one of us see the world in a different way. It doesn’t matter how much an argument seems right, true and reasonable to you. It doesn’t even matter how solid and evident are the proofs that support your position. You will find a quantity of people who will ignore your argument or will even contrast it, no matter how good you are at explaining your thesis.

Thinking that what is true for you is true also for the others means to fall into another trap, the identity trap, which is the error of thinking that other people interpret the facts in the same way you do.

I spent a lot of time inside the utopia trap, and I had plenty of experience of the frustration it leads to. For example, I spent years trying to convince relatives and friends to adopt an healthy diet, to make them avoid self-injurious behaviours (like smoking), to agree on my political, phylosophical, spiritual views. And each time, after providing with emphasis proofs, motivations and explainations, I was definitely surprised, negatively, of how little my suggestions were received.

What I understood with time, and of which I had definitive confirmation reading Browne’s book, is that changing the opinions and the behaviours of people is yes possible, but there are two different approaches of doing it, and the first is less intelligent, the second is more intelligent.

The less intelligent method to produce change is all in this phrase: trying to convince others. Rarely it brings results. People don’t change simply because you push them to change. Some people will never change during their life, others change, but only when they will be ready and it will be their moment.

The second method is definitely a better strategy, and explains why some paragraphs ago I wrote that creating the ideal world, an utopia, to be free is not necessary.

This method consists of mainly taking care of our own freedom, ensuring that we are happy and fully satisfied. Living according to our principles and enjoy the consequent benefits. After that, instead of making pressure to convince others, give them some indications. Maybe just even with our own example.

Those who will be interested to the indications we give, will probably follow them. If we’ll be lucky we will have the chance to enter in relationship with those people and enjoy the similarity of views. Instead, it doesn’t make sense to waste our time and energies trying to deliver those messages to who’s not ready to receive them.

If one day the world will reach the stage when a critical mass of people, individually, will be ready to understand a certain message that is valid for us, then probably there will be a global change in the direction that seems “good” to us. But in the meanwhile, it’s important to give priority to our personal freedom, without continuously postponing it waiting for an utopia to happen.

Politics produces change?

Note, as consequence of the utopia trap, that politics is a method to achieve change that is often very inefficient, since it’s founded on the ability to convince others. The job of the politician itself, especially in democracies, starts only after a certain amount of people have been convinced to give their vote to this or that other party.

I think that the role of politics is misunderstood by many, and especially that often it is credited to it an exxaggerated importance compared to other factors that are more determinant to produce changes in the society.

3. The government trap

Harry Browne defines the government a “fascinating topic”. I guess he kept his focus mainly on the operations of his own government, the American one. I think that if he saw the operations of the Italian one he would have probably written the same things more or less, but I wonder if he could have resisted to add a comic vein, considered the big number of dwarfes, jugglers, burlesque and sluts that populate the political scene in Italy.

What Browne writes in How I found freedom in an unfree world can even be shocking at the first reading, especially considering that for ever we have been used to the fact that there is a government, to turn to the government when we have problems, to believe that the government performs socially useful actions.

But is it true? The government adds or subtracts value from our lives?

Browne writes it rather clearly: usually the government creates problems, rather than solving them. If a government that today is composed of n representatives tomorrow doubles its dimension and become of 2n representatives, not only the problems would not diminish, probably a lot of new problems would born.

Why should this happen? Simply because the government intervenes on the free market, the place where the citizens trade goods and services according with their desires, walking over their will and “doping” the supplies. This is in synthesis what a government does: it performs an action which is coercive for the individuals.

Just to make a practical example, related to the period in which I’m writing this article, in Italy there is an airline that doesn’t work at all in the market. The customers prefer to fly with other companies, that are cheaper and that satisfy their needs better. Despite this, the Italian government continues to subsidize this malfunctioning airline, at loss since many years, using the money from the taxes. This way it protects the interests of few groups of powers connected to it.

As a fact, the free market is indicating that this airline must go out of business. If there would not be the doping intervention of the government, the inefficient airline would close and new opportunities would arise for new realities in the sector of air transportation, that could bring innovation and provide a better service for the customers.

A lot of examples of this type can be made, they all lead to the same conclusion: the government is a group of people that doesn’t know exactly what the single citizen wants, or it’s just not interested in solving his problems, or it’s not able to.

As Voltaire wrote: the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other.

The brilliant point that Browne develops is about how to defend ourselves from the coercive actions of the government.Often it looks to us as an entity so big and powerful that we have no chance to be free from its restrictions, its obligations, its taxes.

So here there is an important concept, which is valid not only for the government, but also for all the other oppressive structures of big dimensions: these structures of control that try to limit our personal freedom are big and slow, while we as individuals are small and fast. Using this characteristic of being small and fast, we can still succeed well in our mission of living in a predominantly free world.

We must always remember in fact that we have the possibility of taking positive decisions. For example, to avoid the high taxes that a government imposes, we don’t necessarily have to evade them or to commit in political action to reduce them: we can simply choose a job in which the taxation level is lower, or choose a country where the taxes are lower.

For example I that the tendency that the media have -to give merits and write in positive terms of the entrepreneurs who “resist” with their activity in Italy, despite the Italian government applies very high taxes to entrepreneurs- doesn’t make sense. These entrepreneurs have to carry on their activity with many more efforts and working harder.

What the media do, in reality, is to praise the attitude to slavery of there entrepreneurs who resist. Frankly, I don’t see much sense in keeping on hitting the wall with the head, staying connected to a government that becomes progressively more abusive, in the name of “continuing to produce in Italy”.

Instead I see much more sense in the choice that other entrepreneurs do (on these the media point a negative light, of course) to go outside of Italy, bringing the production estabilishments in countries where the taxation is more favorable.

The latter looks much more like a positive decision.

4. The unselfishness trap

No one knows you as well as you do. Not your mother. Not your children. Not your wife. Not your friends. Not the bank. Not the government. You are the one who knows yourself better.

What descends from this statement? That no one in the world knows better than you what you need to be happy. You are the best person to turn to. Focusing instead on others, your wife or the government, expecting that they act in altruistic way and make you happy is a strategy that doesn’t make much sense. Even if they’re moved from the real desire to make you happy, they have less chances than yourself to succeed, simply because they are not you.

This is valid also in the other direction: we’ve been instructed to be altruistic and not be selfish, when the opposite makes sense. Living your life putting before indiscriminately the happines of others to your own personal happiness, not only will make you unhappy, but very often will not even make the others happy. Because the others need different things, from the things you think, to be happy.

I observed that often is much more pleasant to stay around people who are focused on their own happiness, like kids. Kids have not been trained yet to make choices that go against their own interests to avoid being considered selfish.

This doesn’t mean that sometimes it’s not pleasant to act in a way to make happy the people we have around, especially because later we can also benefit from their happiness, but what surely doesn’t make sense is to do it indiscriminately and with the fear of appearing selfish, otherwise.

5. The box trap

With box Harry Browne means every situation of discomfort you are in and that limits your personal freedom.

It could be a job you don’t like anymore, a ritual lunch with tedious relatives, a social obligation you feel you have to partecipate to.

The point made about this trap is very simple, and it’s not even a schocking revelation, but it’s the prominence that is given to the following concept, that I find very appropriate.

The concept is this: everything has a price. There’s a price for changing things and coming out of the box, but there’s also a price for not changing things and staying inside the box. You pay this second price in instalments, day after day, for all the time you stay inside.

What happens is that a lot of people accepts a limitation to their personal freedom because they think that the price to pay for coming out of the box is too high, but I think that the real reason why they stay closed inside is that they fail to see the real identity of the price.

I use again my personal example of leaving my previous career. When I was evaluating if leaving or not, I took some time to reflect on the scenario I would have faced if really I had taken the decision of leaving. I understood that the heavier price -for me- necessary to get free of the job I hated was not the uncertainty of what to do after, or the possible economic difficulties I would have faced, but the strong opposition I would have had from relatives and friends, and the suffering I would have caused to my parents.

After some thinking, I decided that I was definitely available to pay this price to get free of my box. In fact, I clarified with myself that I gave so much value to the possibility of managing my own time and to do a job I was passionate for, that I would have paid much more than this.

This is again a professional example, but it’s easy to extend to other fields: romantic relationships, social obligations, moral obligations and so on.

In general, as Browne suggests, when you’re evaluating if coming out of a box, it’s conveniente to anticipate mentally the possible scenarios that could realize in this operation, all of them, and evaluate how to reach in front of each of them.

There are always many, many different prices that can be paid to get out of the boxes in ways that increase significantly our personal freedom: cultivate the art of searching for the prices each time you are in a situation of discomfort.

6. The rights trap

The rights trap is a concept where Harry Browne really shines, because he expresses a very simple and a very original idea, that I found definitely intelligent.

The rights trap consists in believing that your rights will make you obtain what you desire. Classic example: how often we hear discussions about civil rights? And how many of us are grown with the idea of having the right to property, the right to be treated with respect, or to have a job?

The most interesting point about rights is this: they imply the existence of someone who doesn’t want to give those rights to us. Otherwise, we would not even talk about it.

An homosexual couple would not invoke civil rights, if there weren’t other people who don’t want that the same-sex marriage is approved. A precarious worker would not invoke the right of having a job, if there wasn’t the entrepreneur who would want to fire him. A tenant would not invoke the right to have a house, if there wasn’t the owner who wants him to leave his house.

Browne considers three different ways to obtain what we want:

  1. Invoke our rights
  2. Act in a way that what we want is also in the interest of the other person
  3. Obtain what we want without involving at all the other person in the situation

In agreement with the author, I also found myself in situations where I experienced that the second and third method work better. Invoking our rights often means searching for support from the government, the associations, consumers groups, that produce unsatisfactory results (sometimes even null results), especially considering, in fact, the efforts spent in the “battle for the recognition of rights”.

A very fitting exaple is the marriage for homosexual couples. In Italy and at the moment of writing for example, it’s still not recognized legally. Periodically and fruitlessly, the debate starts between those who want a law to have it approved (“it would be a sign of civilty”), and those who oppose because not acceptable according to their values. Every tot of time there is a protest march, a manifestation, a talk show in television where the flame burns again.

Actually, for homosexual couples who want to get married there is a simpler solution (which makes perfectly sense also for heterosexual couples) that belongs to modality 3: obtaining the marriage without letting the opposer get in the situation at all. Possible? Totally.

Thinking about it, it would make sense if marriage would a contract of two, because two are the people in love and who want to get married.

Instead, with marriage a lot of people try to give birth to a contract of three, sometimes even of four. The contract of three involves the spouses plus a religious entity, or the spouses plus an governative entity. The contract of four involves the spouses plus the religious entity plus the governative entity (pure masochism?).

There is no need to involve in the marriage the religion or the government: if you want to get married do it, with a party in front of your friends, of your relatives, of those who love you, without any need from an external entity who give you “permission” or his approval to be united. You could let a kid, or a friend who knows you and loves you, celebrate the marriage. Wouldn’t he have more authority for you than a stranger in uniform?

Behind the request of a law that approves homosexual marriage is often hidden, by homosexuaol people, the hope that after the approval of such law their identity would get recognized and the intolerance and homophobic behaviours would decrease, but it’s not like this. If you’re homosexual, who hates you for being homosexual will keep on doing it even if homosexual marriage becomes legal. It’s very likely that you will not make him stop by claiming your rights, on the other hand you have great chances of excluding him from your life.

Isn’t it wonderful?

The other traps

There are several other traps, typical limitations to our personal freedom, that Harry Browne discusses intelligently in How I found freedom in an unfree world.

Many of these descend from two main traps:

the identity trap, that the author actually presents first in the book, it consists in the belief that you have to be someone different from yourself, and in the assumption that others will do things in the same way you would do them.

the group trap, the belief that you can reach your goals better if you share responsibility, efforts and rewards with others, compared to what you can do acting alone.

I avoid to enter in the details of all the traps because, on the wave of the enthusiasm that I have for this book -that I consider very precious-, I would probably end up writing a second version. I close instead, beside with the suggestion of putting your hands on it as soon as possible, with a last message that I consider important.

Your freedom is your own task

In this article I associated often the adjective “personal” to the word freedom for a precise reason: the responsible for your freedom is you and no one else. Don’t consign it to the government, to your children, to your partner, to none of the people closer to you.

You arrive on this world and you find in it some programs, some structures, some thought patterns already pre-packed by those who passed on the world before you. You find a government done in a certain way, a public morality intended in a certain way, social relationships conceived in a certain way.

You have no duty to accept these ways.

Freedom means living your life the way you want to live it. It doesn’t mean living it the way I, Paolo, tell you, how Harry Browne tells you, or anyone else. You can know yourself better than anyone else (know yourself, enormous wisdom from ancient Greece): use this knowledge to select the part of the world that you need to be free.

Good luck!

… and I?

I read How I found freedom in an unfree world several years ago now. As i wrote at the beginning, its ideas brought evident changes to my way of seeing and doing things. Some of these changes are:

– I quit my corporate job to become an entrepreneur, today I focus mostly on jobs I am passionated about, always being careful to have a good amount of free time. I can peacefully say that I prefer to work few hours a day, without feeling guilty because I’m not “productive”, a sort of obligation I felt until some time ago instead.

– I diminished the time spent trying to convince others, stressing myself, and I made peace with the idea that a lot of people simply don’t want to be helped. I still enjoy political and social activism, but I do it with a different spirit, and more targeted.

– I consciously loosened some relationships with long time friends and acquaintances, not very interested to be free, and I had the luck to start new ones with people who are closer to my values. I also learned that no matter how much, a lot, I love my parents, my sister, my closest friends, sometimes they are the most insidious obstacles between me and my freedom. I learned to fight them with determination, when I recognize that their advice is based on fear.

– I oserve what the government does with interest, and I talk with my friends and joke about it… but in the meanwhile I go on with my projects.

– I increased considerably my level of honesty, even if for now I’m still far from the 100% level of honesty I aspire to. Harry Browne’s book made me understand, even more, how being ourselves is one of the most powerful tools to get to freedom, but also one of the most rarely used in the planet. This is a very big work in progress for me, in which I’m working (hitting my head on the wall a lot).

In general, I recognize that reading the book had on me the ffect that now I do more introspection, I listen more to my intuition, and certainly I developed a healthy critical sense regarding the big institutions, especially politicals, banks, pharmaceuticals, religious.

Let’s say it clear, I still have a lot of work to do. A lot. Increasing personal freedom in fact means hard work. But I use this book as a guide, and it helps me a lot.


Notes: Translated from the original article in Italian, published on date August 31, 2014.