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They certainly don't aim to equivocate.

"So what is wrong with you? Are you a freak? No. You are just human. And you suffer from the same malady that infects every human being. It is a monster in side all of us, and it has many arms: Chronic tension, lack of genuine compassion for others, including the people closest to you, feelings being blocked up, and emotional deadness. Many, many arms. None of us is entirely free from it. We may deny it. We try to suppress it. We build a whole culture around hiding from it, pretending it is not there, and distracting ourselves from it with goals and projects and status. But it never goes away. It is a constant undercurrent in every thought and every perception; a little wordless voice at the back of the head saying, "Not good enough yet. Got to have more. Got to make it better. Got to be better." It is a monster, a monster that manifests everywhere in subtle forms.

Go to a party. Listen to the laughter, that brittle-tongued voice that says fun on the surface and fear underneath. Feel the tension, feel the pressure. Nobody really relaxes. They are faking it. Go to a ball game. Watch the fan in the stand. Watch the irrational fit of anger. Watch the uncontrolled frustration bubbling forth from people that masquerades under the guise of enthusiasm, or team spirit. Booing, cat-calls and unbridled egotism in the name of team loyalty. Drunkenness, fights in the stands. These are the people trying desperately to release tension from within. These are not people who are at peace with themselves. Watch the news on TV. Listen to the lyrics in popular songs. You find the same theme repeated over and over in variations. Jealousy, suffering, discontent and stress."

One of my favorite authors, Glenn Morris, wrote, "You have to go through the door that is concealed to learn anything. That which conceals the door is something we don't want to look at."

Any of you remember the series of articles right after collapse back in early autumn of this year? There were numerous articles posted around here about fear -- whether to perservere with startups, or to cut your losses and wait until you're back on the upswing. Those were the times when all of these monsters come out of the woodwork. I had a lot of fun being able to see the manifestations of widespread panic ... even as my stomach was trying to eat its way out of my body.

If you can master this part of yourself, it is trivially easy to see what drives other people. It is more than social engineering. It is a hack relatively few people know about yet can give you great gifts. It is like a secret handshake when you recognize someone who has waded into the depths of his own psyche, and came back out for the better.

If you guys try these practices -- and it isn't limited to Buddhist meditation, either -- and get decent grip on yourself, I highly recommend going back and watching Batman Begins. Certain things takes on a different significance once you stop running away from your own fears.

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