Why Some People Will Never Wake Up

It's amazing to me how many people in our modern world live in massive denial. Try explaining to someone steeped in mainstream news that the United States could face a massive economic collapse. They are likely to laugh at you. I guess this denial is a direct result of having too much prosperity - you just think it will always be like that.

The denial extends beyond just economics, however.

I spent most of my adult life in Los Angeles, and, having survived a major earthquake there, my ears pick up at any earthquake news. So while I understand that making a big fuss over a mere 4.4 is a bit silly, it would be stupid to write off a quake found on a new fault in Los Angeles. And yet, here we have a prime example of a person in denial in this comment exchange from a Los Angeles Times story:

Comment from Romarin:

Hello Alarmists! Gotta love this story. No news in a piddly 4.4 quake so never mind that in 99.9% of all quakes the first one is the largest. Now, it's they are purporting it to be a precursor of the "Big One" yet to come.

Good luck with that. Waiting for a big one. oh, hey, SETI just made contact with an ET from a galaxy far far away. Ha, ha, hehe. Now go get a life.

Response from If You Say So:

The 6.7 Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994, beneath the San Fernando Valley. The death toll was 57, with more than 5,000 injured and over $20 billion in property damage.

Two seismic clusters, located 25 km to the south and 35 km to the north-northwest, preceded the mainshock by 7 days and 16 hours, respectively.

Right. So believing in the scientific theory that a small earthquake could possibly be a precursor to a larger one is on par with believing in ET. Wow.

If you think that's bad, it gets worse. Some well-paid idiots in the Los Angeles City Council want an investigation done to see if this quake was caused by...


Uh, yeah. Let's go waste taxpayer money on fracking studies in a city that lives on top of numerous active faults, many of which have not even been mapped yet! Talk about denial! Or agenda! Or both!

Los Angeles is a great study in denial - beyond the obsession with youth and beauty. I had recently gotten out of college and was living with my boyfriend in Venice Beach when the Northridge Earthquake hit. It was nasty. I had previously experienced my first big quake (the Landers quake of '92) out in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles, and that was a gentle, rolling motion that felt like being on a boat.

The Northridge Earthquake felt like trying to stand on top of a moving jackhammer. It was a violent quake, extremely violent. And it terrified me. (See the picture of the brick storefronts above: I'm not 100% certain of the location, because it is not in the photo credits, but that appears to be Santa Monica, which was devastated by the quake. That would have been about 5 minutes from me.)

I'm not sure what possessed me to stay in Los Angeles after that traumatic experience, but stay I did. I justified it in my mind that these big quakes only happened every 20 years or so, so I had until about 2014 before another big one was due. (I actually planned to get out of Los Angeles before then, and I did.)

Still, every time I felt a minor earthquake I would run to a doorway, afraid it would turn bigger. (Note: Big earthquakes start with little jolts. If you ever do experience a quake, don't assume it will stay small.) Before I went to bed at night, I would wonder if I would be woken up by another nightmare quake, in the same way the Northridge Earthquake woke me up.

Here's what interests me about psychology. Some of the folks I knew who had been in Northridge brushed it off and didn't really think about it too much. And then there were all the people I met who moved to Los Angeles after Northridge. They had never experience a large earthquake. They only experienced little jolts every once in a while. You get used to those little jolts, and eventually they don't seem to be such a big deal.

Those people who have experienced only the little jolts, and never the big ones, have no idea what might be coming. And a good many of these folks, attuned to be cynical due to a media far too focused on mocking alternative viewpoints, are in complete denial of the danger a massive earthquake poses to them.

(Never mind trying to tell them that they are also in danger of Fukushima radiation.)

Here's the flawed thinking:

You see, tragic earthquakes "only" occur in far off places, in third world countries, where building codes are non-existent. That's something that happens to them, not us!

This is further compounded by these lines of thought:

For years, scientists have been going on about the "Big One," and it hasn't happened yet. And California was supposed to drop into the sea! And it hasn't happened yet. Therefore, any warnings that a "Big One" might occur are just silly fantasies being pushed by people who want attention and/or money.

This is the same type of thinking that makes people scoff at the idea of an American financial collapse.

It can't happen here.

People who warn about it are just fear-mongering.

When the full-blown cynicism gets into gear, the knives also come out: Anyone who talks about a financial collapse has a "tin foil hat" on. They are "crazy." Annoying. Off-putting. Worthy of derision.

I once in a while see folks like that on this website. When you stray off of certain approved topics, the cynical folks go into mental shut down mode. Then the concern trolling starts: "I really hope this website doesn't continue this tin-foil hat trend. What a shame that would be. Tsk tsk."

I don't know if it's a particular thing about Americans these days, or just a trait of human nature in general, but what ever happened to open inquiry? Tolerance of differing viewpoints? Curiosity over why people think the way they do?

And what about the people who have woken up? Why do they wake up? Were they asleep in the first place?

What is it about certain people that they have broken through denial and have fully faced an uncertain future, willing to accept that it might not be as easy breezy as the past was?

It can't just be about IQ. I know people with very high IQs who are in complete and total denial of the fragility of our economic system. They believe every word Paul Krugman writes. They are selective about what facts they allow into their brains. They would laugh and mock this website with excessive vigor.

I wonder, actually, if part of the ability to see past the mainstream media programming has to do with how much of an outcast you are or have been. People who feel like they fit in, and consider themselves to be "well-adjusted," don't have a psychological need to think outside the box. They benefit from our culture and feel good about being a part of it.

Consider the outcast, however. By outcast, I don't mean nutjob or loser. I just mean someone who isn't part of the "approved" culture that is pushed by the media. Maybe you simply live in flyover country, or you are a biker, or you (gasp) go to an evangelical church. Or, like me, maybe you were a nerd in high school and never part of the popular crowd.

Since I never got validation from the popular group, I don't seek it now.

You have to be careful, however. There's a tendency, when being an outcast, to flip your allegiance from the greater culture and grasp on to your own outcast group even harder. This is perhaps why fundamentalist Latter Day Saints are so damn crazy and evil.

People need group approval and validation, it seems.

So think about how difficult it would be for the average adult steeped in the mainstream culture to break free of their own accord. They've got their nice suburban house, a good job, and a subscription to Netflix. They are busy watching Game of Thrones. They drive their kids to school and after-school activities. They feel good about themselves in their McMansion. They don't have time to think more deeply.

Only a disruption to their tony lifestyle could jar them into questioning.

Young people are still forming their worldview, so if they are given a reason to jump from one group to another, they might still do that. This young woman went from being an avid Obama supporter to finally realizing he was a fraud:

(She can now add to her list Obama's new executive order that allows him to seize assets of any American if you're caught enabling any resistance to the new puppet regime in the Ukraine. Oops. There goes my bank account!)

Yet kids, much more so than adults, are also easily swayed into groups based on what's cool and hip, and not what's smart or realistic. This is why some of them are busy being Juggalos or agonizing over words like "bossy," rather than dealing with the bigger reality of the national debt.

Now, journalists are saying that Millennials are not being put into boxes like their generational predecessors, but I'm a bit skeptical of this. Being "independent" for a lot of them still means voting a certain way and rallying around the latest politically correct cause.

If they were more awake, they would be marching on Washington to demand that politicians stop burdening them with massive debt. When I start seeing stories about Millennials turning to farming as a life path or learning how to be self-sufficient, then I might have a bit more hope for them.

But right now, one of their biggest concerns is banning the song "Blurred Lines" from college campuses, because someone interpreted it as a rape song. (I'm not speaking to the merits of this song, but considering I've heard an actual rap song that calls for the rape of the Virgin Mary, Blurred Lines is tame by today's standards. My inner Conspiracy Theorist wonders if Robin Thicke in his black and white Illuminati Beetlejuice suit had been put up to writing the lyrics precisely to cause an uproar on college campuses! ;-) )

A hyper focus on potential cultural offense, and a lack of awareness of fiscal realities, means that most of these young people probably aren't even aware that folks are warning of a financial collapse.

There's a Big One coming, and they haven't even felt the little jolts yet.

For quite a lot of folks, young and old, they will never believe the Big One is actually going to hit until it hits them. And by then, it will be far too late.

Stephanie blogs sporadically at a number of websites, including Freeople and Free Thinking Christianity.


metalsbyamile's picture

2nd is almost 1st

in horseshoes. Now to read the article and get to bed.

Patriot Family's picture

The Question Is... How Fast Will It happen?

The question is do we see a major collapse happen in short order, with a series of events rippling through the economic system very quickly?  Or do we expect the collapse to be a series of minor events over a period of years that take us over a series of small cliffs and relegate most people to a much lower standard of living?  I think that is much more likely and realistic.  Either way, being prepared is a necessity.  It's also necessary to avoid complete fear mongering.  I see a lot of that among some of these so called prepper sites.  Fear spurs action - but also bad decisions.

Keep stacking.

dgstage's picture

JS Alert



sierra skier's picture

I take the 5th

Now to read.

Most folks are so much more concerned with that is directly in front of themselves and the next fifteen minutes they can't be concerned with what goes on in the real world. My son is the other way around, as he worries far too much about the things he can't change.

I grew up in LA and remember earthquakes from the early 1960s and on. I moved to the eastern Sierra in 1974 and experienced 3 6+ point earthquakes in 1980 up here. California has quakes going on all of the time though most are unfelt because they are so small.

It most certainly pays to be prepared for any type of disaster or situation  that may arise. Perhaps some day we will have a turnaround and folks will become a little more foresighted. Those who refuse to admit to themselves that disaster can happen will be the ones who fare the poorest if at all.

 We can only hope.

dgstage's picture

When Its Too Late some Will Awake

and when this happens in the good old USA


waxybilldupp's picture

Everybody on spring break?

This new post from Stephanie has been up for almost 25 minutes and only 3 comments.  What the heck?  Madhatter should have slid in with a "top-tenner" about 20 minutes ago.  

I've gotten so tired of all the doom and gloom for I don't know how long I finally said the hell with it.  I ordered a boat about a month ago and will be picking it up next week.  Screw it all, I'm going fishing.  The garden will still get done, even bigger than last year, but I'm running out of time.  Just turned 68 and going to retire from my retirement job in a couple months.  One kid graduates from college in May, the last one should be done next January.  I could use the money to stack (more) and prep (more), but I am skeptical that the end of the world as we know it is going to happen anytime soon.  I think the erosion is just going to keep on keeping on.  Meanwhile, I've decided to live life.  Hope I'm right.  Mrs. Dupp and the grandkids hope so too.

wax off

GuerrillaCapitalist's picture

Normalcy Bias

I've given up trying to awaken friends, neighbors and extended family. I've found it's a waste of time and it simply pisses me off that folks won't consider an opinion that is counter to their comfortable notion of how the world works.  I'm reminded of the old saying: It's like teaching pigs to sing, it doesn't work and it only annoys the pigs.

Beyond most folk's normalcy bias, we must consider the great ignorance of most Americans. They simply don't have the context with which to process current economic and political news.  I'm afraid they're going to regret that willful ignorance. 

I Run Bartertown's picture

A Gift

Economic collapse is just a pothole in the road,

The last, best chance to be violently jerked off course

on the way to the brick wall we'll hit (or maybe just a swamp we'll sink into) with the collapse of civilization.

"There's a Big One coming"

From your lips to God's ears angel. We need it.

This Russia and China stuff is getting interesting. May seems so far off to wait for Putin and Jinping to announce the new pipeline. If it's happening, it could be the mother of all front run opportunities for somebody. I'd imagine we'd be seeing major flags popping long before then in the $ and bond markets.

I'm feeling more and more ready to

misinterpret some signal

as a prelude to metals launch

and go all in

on credit.

treefrog's picture


tail end charlie.

but in texas, obozo's fifth!

Inline image 1

Nick Elway's picture

Some people can't wake up because of their salary..

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Upton Sinclair

Then Some people wake up but are still not able to do anything about it...

"Less than 1% of readers have GOTS. Why?".. Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

FYI I put some GOTS posts.. "How I got certificates and direct registration" in the Paper Armageddon thread: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/380103#comment-380103

I find myself lackadaisical about more prepping,  I wonder if Noah's wife said "You're being too negative!  Why are you building that Ark when we could be going on a vacation instead?"    It's like I'm Noah's neighbor..getting the same weather forecasts he got but not getting down to Ark-building.

Maybe I need to have a talk with my subconscious..

marchas45's picture


Earthquakes was the reason why I left Ca. My wife was deadly afraid of them. I spent most of my life in Ca. 33 years but the wife had enough, either we leave together or she's going alone. Guess who won that argument LMAO

Welcome to Maine. Lol

And your right Stephanie Californians take them for granted including myself and I was through a few doozy's.

metalsbyamile's picture

Why some people will never wake up. We found it

A viral image of the Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing two weeks ago was combined with a scene in the 1960s show “Gilligan’s Island,” and it was combined with scenes from the show “Lost.” (Screenshot of Twitter)

They can read a stop sign from  10 miles up but can not find a 777.

Patriot Family's picture

People seem to go through

People seem to go through phases - blissfully ignorant, waking up but influenced by sites selling fear along with commodities and prepper advice, a couple years of panic buying and blowing budgets, then finally understanding that small slow steps to preparedness pays off in a big way over time... then prepared to transition from one economic reality  to another and hopefully prospering regardless of the situation.  My wife and I are in the stage where we carefully plan and make the dollars spent on preparedness count.  I'm also ready to spend some time having a little fun.  I need a vacation in a really bad way :).

stephanie's picture

@marchas45 - your wife was right about leaving California ;-)

One of the pieces of news that really hit home to me how vulnerable SoCal is was from SurvivalBlog.com - I don't know if this was the exact article I read years ago but it's the same info:

Bug Out? Sure, If you can. Did I mention the 10 foot vertical shift? This would place a 10 foot cliff along the fault line and the I-15 freeway, the 2 freeway, the I-14 freeway and the I-5 freeway all cross the fault line. These freeways are all the major corridors out of Southern California. At the I-5 freeway and the 210 freeway interchange the overpass failed in the Northridge quake of 1994 (magnitude 6.7) and the San Fernando quake of 1971 (magnitude 6.6). The freeways in Southern California are bad in rush hour or when it rains, imagine how bad it will be when everyone is trying to get out of town. I do not believe bugging out of Southern California will be possible. The transportation system will be in shambles. It would be impossible to evacuate Southern California. With the number of inhabitants and the freeway congestion on a good day this would be impossible.


After the Northridge Earthquake, the 10 freeway was unusable. It had collapsed at Fairfax, right at the exit I used to take to go to work every day. They ended up running the freeway traffic on surface streets by making Pico and Olympic one way alternative "freeways." What a nightmare that was. And that wasn't even that bad considering what could happen!

Boswell's picture

"Next Month"

Not everyone is asleep, I think they are just laying low under the surface...

I was at the gas station today and the guy in front of me was filling up a bunch of big gas cans. I said: "Looks like the end is near!", he came right back with: "Next month!"

We chit chatted a bit and off we went.

Undecided's picture


Many of my customers are downsizing.  Selling the McMansions and buying more "practical" homes.  Its not that they don't sense the financial collapse but they are bracing for it based on what they think.  They are doing this so that they don't have to give up their lifestyles.  It perplexes me.  They have a dilemma of keeping up appearances and worry.  Freeing up capitol not to prepare but to continue.  Everyone is a diyer now thanks to hard times and youtube.  Don't believe me just go look at all the unsquare walls, grout joints that don't line up shit, decks that are wobbly after only a couple of years if that.  Rant Rant Rant.  Can't charge enough to do good anymore.  Or they pay some shitty company who has done shitty work for years because they believe they get what they pay for.  People will argue over nickles and dimes (and they aren't even silver ones) and then blast out a dollar as if it were nothing. Its crazy out here. So rant off.

We should not forget that this is the land of hopes and new beginnings.  It has been bred into us because that's what we were.  I am not struggling per se in this economy but I am struggling with those who refuse to adjust.  Credit is misleading and I despise it, not because I didn't suffer from it but because I adjusted. Babble Babble.

There are many opportunities right now, what we lack are the people to recognize them. Its like saving the wagon maker so the automobile industry doesn't do away with them.  People are preserving the American Dream despite the Americans.

AlienEyes's picture


Another great post, Stephanie, and spot on !

I like your style because all one has to do is look around and see the very people you are writing about.

We have more than a few in denial right here in Turdville.

Bollocks's picture

No Baloney Maloney

I'm looking forward to reading your post properly tomorrow stephanie - my reading glasses are a bit fogged-up at the moment frown.

Mariposa de Oro's picture

A slow grind down

is what I expect.  I've quit trying to warn people about what's coming.  I've decided to enjoy life while I can and do preps in a fashion that allows flexibility due to my situation.  Whatever will be, will be and there isn't much I can do about it.  If there's a huge collapse, I'll deal with it as best I can.  I'm not too concerned as I think we're just going to be ground into the dirt, so to speak.

Burt Reynolds's picture

They call them sheeple for a

They call them sheeple for a reason!

BagOfGold's picture

The "Land of Oz" is in chaos!...

Enter Project Magic Wand...

"Eye" is upset because the sheeple won't wake up...& the Evil Empire is screwing them over!...Everyone hopes & wishes for a better universe...but unfortunately nothing is ever done!..."Eye" asks for help from some loyal Turdites...& the magic wands are beamed down on the Evil Empire...using the suppressed Tesla Technology...There is much resistance...but they finally relenquish their power when the "Great Shoe" arrives...Change was facilitated "from within"...by "going back" to smell & pick some flowers...collect the magic wands...in order to arrive in time for our ride...back in the future!...If there are any questions...please look up the answers in your manual!!!...



Bag Of Gold

Fred Hayek's picture

Not just comfortable

I think that a significant part of the refusal of some affluent people to consider thinking outside the box is not just that they're comfortable and don't have the time.  They have plenty of fvcking time.  They're drowning in time.  They restlessly reach for their "smart" phones in public and thumb their way down email messages they don't care about from people they don't really like because they're somewhere they don't really want to be and while they're there they have time to fill.  They have plenty of time to think outside the box. 

The problem is a couple of things.  One is not comfort but insecurity.  The typical bloated, McMansion dweller when not comforting him or herself with more food does so with the notion of his success and how it took place in a meritocracy.  If it's all a potemkin village, if it's all the Truman Show, if the basic nature of the U.S. economy is a fraud then how real is that success?  Is there meritocratic success in a play?  In kabuki theater?  What if someone succeeded in an industry that only exists in its current state because of ever expanding public and private U.S. debt?  Do you think Alec Baldwin's character in Glengarry Glen Ross would easily accept the notion that he's actually Willy Loman without the help of the atmosphere created by the Fed?  He'd greet that notion with a hail of epithets.  "Winners" don't want to be told that they won a rigged game.  Their egos won't let them admit it.

Another problem in getting people to think outside the box is simply getting them to think.  Our culture in the U.S. is horrible.  I watch movies from the 70's and it's like another planet.  It's not like everyone's walking down the street quoting Shakespeare but familiarity with higher culture was a common thing.  I was watching some John Cassavetes movie and in it there's a shlub of a guy bemoaning how despite the fact that he reads poetry, girls won't go out with him because he's sort of ugly.  He reads Swinburne, he says.  My fucking lord.  Swinburne.  You can't even imagine a guy saying that in a movie today.  Only the most mocked aesthete would say such a thing in a movie in 2014.  That's one tiny example but it's in everything.  Despite having everything right at hand.  People could read every syllable ever written by Swinburne (incidentally, I confess I haven't read any) on their "smart" phones anywhere today.  But they read none.  How did we become so unintellectual since then?  I remember in the early 80's, a buddy and I mocking my little brother with the nickname "Stupid by Choice!".  He wasn't and isn't stupid but he recoiled from anything even hinting of being intellectual, books, classical music, jazz, foreign movies etc.  To paraphrase Whitman, he's now multitudes.  And this is in everything.  Our politics is a pathetically dumb false dichotomy.  I'm a bit of a comedy aficionado and  in the late 70's and early 80's, in movies you had Bill Murray.  The typical Bill Murray character was a goof off but an adult, a clever one and at least sort of real.  Since then, there have been the comedy wastelands known as the careers of Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey.  An adult whose stock in trade is the hissy fit of a child and a man who might actually be a cartoon.  There's less thought in everything.  With less thought in general people will certainly be less likely to consider scary thoughts.  We, all of us here, are indulging in what the general populace considers to be a sort of fascination with a horror story and one with way too many intellectual allusions.

Marcus's picture

ignorance vs. stupidity

Don't be too hard on those who are ignorant, stephanie. Chances are they're ignorant of their own ignorance ("they know not what they do"). One thing I've learned as time goes by is how ignorant I used to be, and no doubt I'll be making the same assessment about myself 10 years from now (which means I'm still ignorant and always will be). We're all born ignorant and only through hard work, discipline and self-examination do we stand any chance of ameliorating it somewhat, if at all. Stupidity, however, is something entirely different. Time may heal many things, but I doubt if stupidity is one of them.

lakemike49's picture


maybe next time i can join in, tell it like it is, but not tonight enjoy your sense of humor. keep it up how can i say this. if reverse was a gear  i found it ,if forward comes next we will see , forward into the fog.

no cents no dollars

getting better  lakemike

optimize's picture

Awake or Brain Dead

After beating myself to death trying to get a girlfriend (now ex-) to wake up, I've determined that it is better to just let them sleep and let them be Zombie food.

Yes, you can't help the child if you don't put your own oxygen mask on first...but if the child refuses their own mask to  the point of trying to knife you (figuratively, of course), I say let them die.

Sometimes it sucks to know as much as we do.

JY896's picture

Interesting interview about waking up...

...Zero Hedge, and an interesting character not unlike Turd. Former stockbroker and financial planner turned ZH contributor and now site and forum proprietor Cognitive Dissonance talks about waking up, waking others up, and his journey to try to tell the truth. Probably too much introspection for many (clocking in at 2+ hours), but perhaps interesting to those who know/like Cog. Have not listened to the whole thing yet, but good to put a voice to the name.

PS: Did I mention the interview is very long and introspective?

Cog has a website at http://twoicefloes.com/

Bollocks's picture

keep stacking

A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation.

The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all.

This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners.

video interview: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/21/as_wells_fargo_is_accused_of

argentus maximus's picture

@JY re Cog Dis

Thanks for the link.

I'd reckon that Cog has for a long time been one of the best voices on Xerohedge.

atarangi's picture

waking up


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