The Critical Mind, Inner Scripting, & The "Game" of Trading

Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - 10:18am

As the prices of gold and silver flick up and down, moving towards the end of their first trading range I thought to myself "What should I write about today?" This is always a difficult question to answer, and I expect I begin four or five essays for each one that actually gets finished, and that's not counting the several versions of the final blog contribution!

The range of possible subjects is indeed very wide, but I have special skills in some areas and I prefer to return to these in order to know I am presenting something which is of value and maybe not all that commonplace already. I like to pick topics which are somehow related to trading, timing the markets, and the pitfalls and obstructions which pop up either expected or unexpected to bar the route of progress and encourage diversion away from the best direction.

Cycles, politics, geopolitics, TA, the behaviour of markets through recorded history, weakness within the individual which must be overcome, interpretation of recent events, or clues so as to gain insight into the plans of larger movers and shakers, and the next expected stages of the western/global fiat money system all can pass within the orbit of these weekly articles.

Hmmm .... the passage of time and fiat (paper) vouchers for actual things? Did you ever see Peter Sellars and Spike Milligan's best work on that?

YouTube - The Goon Show - What Time Is It Eccles -.Flv

Classic! And also the seeds of many great things which followed. Other great comedians stood upon the achievements of these giants to add their own achievements to the world of laughter.

So for today let's look at another original giant in his field, an often overlooked giant - what he did for us that we can use. I will in the process reintroduce that subject of Zen and the art of trading, which good traders appreciate, but newcomers just have not yet got. That's because balance always is a tough thing to describe and explain.

In our markets and trading zone, TA is usually taken to be the abbreviation for Technical Analysis which is the art or craft of charting. But outside the world of financial markets this is not the case. TA is also the abbreviation for Transactional Analysis. Transactional Analysis is a way of psychological classification of human to human interactive behaviours which can mask unseen underlying relationship states. It was developed by Eric Berne, a Canadian psychologist, nearly three decades ago.

Berne wrote many books, and his work has of course been taken further since that time, but if you are new to this, and you trade, and want to make money from trading instead of losing your money, you really need to read Berne's book "Games People Play".

There is a byline I saw which is very to the point: We think we’re relating to other people–but actually we’re all playing games.

Now I will add this to that comment above : We think we are driving ourselves but much of the time we are playing inner games. That can be absolutely disastrous while trading.

Here are a couple of comments from the Amazon page for the book:

This book could improve your life.

This is one of the best books that I have ever read. I read it and recognized many games played by people I knew. I recognized some games I played myself, but did not like.

Games people play

Great book that has been around forever.
In a nutshell, the author suggests that ppl,have hidden agendas/ulterior motives behind all of their actions. This may come as no surprise to you, but the way the book is written makes this all extremely fascinating.

He describes many people little games and motives such as destructive games, attention-getting games, sympathy-seeking games, etc. what is nice is the book tries to give you the ability to put a handle on them; define them, name them, see the "moves" associated with them, describe the "payoffs" associated with them, and plan antitheses to them.

Very interesting and a fun read.

I don't want to make an overly big deal advertising a book written in 1967, but if you haven't read it and you trade, read it soon (and weep for faulty motivation you had while choosing and making past losing trades ). And it's a great stepping stone into something modern on the subject of inner life scripts which we regularly follow without noticing.

For today here are a few of the "games" Berne describes and fleshes out in this book:

  • IFWY: If It Weren't For You
  • WAHM: Why does this Always Happen to Me? (setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy)
  • SWYMD: See What You Made Me Do
  • UGMIT: You Got Me Into This
  • LHIT: Look How Hard I've Tried
  • AIA: Ain't it Awful
  • So if you/I have been posting, chatting, or having conversations regarding the markets and our interactions with the markets .... and if one of us introduced a topic which falls under one of the above short headings ... then you/I will benefit from looking at our "life scripts". Berne's "Games" is a great start. Wikipedia had a page on the book but it's very condensed and a poor substitute for reading it in Berne's clear and gently witty words. It does explain the separate adult, parent and child "portions" of the ego within us and driving our behaviour.

    So that's "TA" dealt with. Let's move on because there's more.

    Here is a page about hypnosis:

    Let me draw your attention in particular to the closing two paragraphs:

    These techniques, and others like them, are designed to create the trance state, which makes the unconscious mind more readily available to receive new information. Hypnotic language also involves delivering that information in a form which the unconscious mind is more likely to accept. Deliberate confusion and ambiguity, metaphors, puns, analogies, stories and so on are all ways of smuggling the message in past the conscious mind, which tends to be more critical and analytical.

    Finally, it's worth bearing in mind that politicians, advertisers and salespeople are all well aware of hypnotic language patterns. As such, a basic familiarity with those patterns can help you to defend yourself against those who don't necessarily have your best interests at heart.

    I prefer to describe the language of hypnosis for entrancement and communication of information directly to the non critical (trusting) part of the human mind as: visualization, metaphor, story, emotion-feeling-sensation, and delivered with parental demeanor while speaking to evoke inner child as listener within the "target" of the exercise. An inspection of the various hypnosis and self hypnosis products available suggests strongly that an audio effect, a slight echo, which increases vocal timbre is also required for best effect.

    And so we find that news readers and chat show hosts tend to evoke the respected grandparent , uncle or parent figure. The key adjective is "charismatic". We also find that politicians try to embody a "personal story" within their speech making. Assertions are best, a little confusion helps, and some contradiction is surprisingly a help rather than a hindrance in order to "slip inside the recipient's acceptance".

    A slight drowsiness helps a lot, like maybe when you are tired in the evening and chilling out in front of the TV. Possibly at a real meeting the biggest speaker comes on last, after attendees are tired from the earlier speakers. Tiredness on the part of the recipient/target helps. Is mood music being used on the occasion?

    Repetition by the speaker is very effective. Repetition by the subject is best.

    For visualization it is not necessary to go further than Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech (a 1 minute excerpt link) and it's far reaching effects. Visualization of a drowsy state, together with repetition until a mantra (to be repeated later internally) formed within the listeners' minds permanently altering their world view. Of course church figures also use these techniques to "communicate" with their flock and all of the above features are contained within their work too. It must be so or it would just not work.

    Link to Dr King's full speech here:

    Soooooo ..... when you decide to put on a trade, or make a life decision ...... is it your inner child deciding? Are you receiving a picture from outside which motivates the decision? Is the person who brings you the information a silver haired parent/grandparent figure with a friendly smile? Are you being subjected to emotion and sensation or to information and facts? What was the voice like which brought you your "decision making information"? I leave this to you, reader, to apply these criteria to that which we are continually exposed, the many voices of the"Sheepleherds" of society and the financial markets.

    We cannot balance unless we have an idea regarding where the centre is.

    Now it says on my piece of paper I have here that I am running out of time. Got to fly!

    Next week readers ... summer vacations are over! Children go back to school, and the old work routine returns. The traffic will be chaotic! Markets are soon due to wake up again! Imagine the flood of news that will appear and have to be taken in, tasted, and digested or spat out. Gusts of trading volume will blow away the balmy summer trading range boredom when that happens. I can't wait! I'll be right here letting you know what I think is coming down the pike and how we can best deal with it!

    PS Did you see that? A visualization to remember happy vacation, a friendly family reference, a motivational rally comment, visualization of the trading decision making area with me included, and followed by a motivation to listen to me over the coming weeks and do what I say! This is easy! Torches of Freedom indeed! Roll over Bernays!

    Once you see it, you only unsee it if you are made to visualize, or emote, sense, observe the luminous screen (trance inducing optical amplification!) or otherwise bypass the critical mind. Now I wonder why it is that Kramer is appearing in my mind as I type this? Hah!

    Have a good day everybody!

    Argentus Maximus

    The author posts daily commentary on the gold and silver markets in the TFMR forum: The Setup For The Big Trade. More information about the author & his work can be found here: RhythmNPrice.

    About the Author


    Aug 31, 2014 - 10:21am

    Numero Uno

    fresh cup of joe, settle in for some morning reading and low and behold the first on AM article

    Going to be a good day


    Aug 31, 2014 - 10:26am



    go, silver!

    Aug 31, 2014 - 10:46am

    Silver coins lose out to clad in last 50 years

    It was a half century ago, in 1964, that the United States officially ended minting circulating silver coins. Granted, due to a compromise between President Lyndon B. Johnson and U.S. Congress some silver would be retained in the half dollar for a few more years, but the death of specie and birth of fiat currency coins was at hand beginning in 1965.

    This may have been the climax, but the United States is only one of the many countries whose coinage had been composed of silver that were at the time converting from silver to base metal coins. U.S. bank notes would continue to be redeemable in silver, but this too was halted in 1968. Despite the outward appearance of these events the worldwide demise of specie in favor of fiat coinage actually began years earlier.

    Although the fiscal activities of the United States are usually used as the example, in fact the date in which each country switched from silver to base metal circulation coinage varies from place to place. As the spot price of silver increased countries worldwide increasingly sought to decrease or cease the use of silver in coinage.

    Mexico is a good example through which the slow demise of silver coinage can be followed. A 1905 monetary reform reduced the silver content of most coins (The 1 peso was the exception until 1918 when its silver content was lowered to .800 purity.). Only two years later silver was reduced to 0.720 fine content, then in 1947 reduced once more, this time to 0.500 purity. In 1950 0.300 fine silver 25- and 50-centavos as well as 1-peso coins were introduced.

    Ironically a 0.720 fine 5-peso coin was introduced at the same time. In 1957 the 1-peso coin silver content was reduced once again, this time to 0.100 fineness. There was no change in the 5-peso coin purity, while a 0.900 fine 10-peso coin was introduced.

    At the time of the introduction of the nuevos peso in 1993 ringed bimetal coins with a 0.925 fine silver central plug were issued, but this experiment, at that time the only circulating silver coins anywhere, soon failed.

    The Soviet Union withdrew all circulating silver coins during the early 20th century, long before most other countries. In 1931 all silver 10-, 15-, 20-, and 50-kopek as well as the 1-ruble coins were ordered withdrawn. Soviet Premier Josef Stalin was not pleased with the pace of the recall of these coins. He allegedly had several high ranking bankers shot, which encouraged the public to turn in all silver coins much more expeditiously.

    Canada felt the pressure of the rising cost of silver during the early 20th century, decreasing its silver content coins from 0.925 fine to 0.800 fine in 1920, then reducing the metal purity once more in 1967 to 0.500 fine, then ending all silver circulating coins one year later.

    France withdrew its silver content coins early in the century, ending all its 0.835 fine coin production in 1920. It resumed some circulating silver coinage in 1960, but by the early 1980s once again all its coinage was being struck in base metals due to the rising price of silver.

    A significant number of countries ceased striking circulating silver coins during World War II. Notable among these, Ireland had been striking 0.750 fine silver coins since 1928, but discontinued them after 1943. Great Britain ceased its 0.925 fine or sterling silver circulation coinage after 1946, a year after the end of the war. [Actually, Britain ceased .925 coinage in 1920, it ceased .500 coinage in 1946 -- DB]

    Australia and New Zealand continued the practice longer. Although Australia lowered its silver coin purity from 0.925 fine to 0.500 fine in 1946, it did not cease silver coinage production until 1964. It then issued a lone 0.800 fine 50-cent coin in 1966. New Zealand coinage continued its 0.500 fine content continuously through 1956 [1946], then changed to base metal coins.

    Switzerland’s currency has always been associated with stability. Its banks are a magnet for depositors across the globe. Swiss silver coins of 0.835 fineness were issued continuously between 1875 and 1967, with the 5-franc coin struck once again in silver during 1969. No silver coins have been struck for circulation since that time.

    There are many other examples that could have been illustrated here, but readers are likely more familiar with these. The price of silver coupled with politics caused the demise of silver coinage. Will fiat coinage continue, or at some future date will governments be forced to begin issuing specie coins again, even if in significantly higher face value denominations? This is the 50th anniversary of our fiat coinage. Who knows what may be next.

    Fred Hayek
    Aug 31, 2014 - 11:01am

    Excellent piece, AM! And speaking of games being played . . !

    I recommend that everyone take a look at what Eric Hunsader of Nanex somehow found over at the CME's web site. They have an incentive program for central banks to trade equities and futures!

    There's also a piece about this at zerohedge.

    Just another brick in the wall of denial about market manipulation removed. I suggest that folks send copies of these links to their manipulation denying friends.

    Aug 31, 2014 - 11:50am

    Thanks for the fifth

    I wrote it down on a piece of paper and it will be enjoyed through out this awesome day!!!

    sierra skier
    Aug 31, 2014 - 3:19pm


    What a nice quiet Sunday.

    It is interesting when I take the games that folks play and apply them to politics. Those in office are so visible in the games they play if one looks with them in mind. Perhaps hypnosis properly used with these folks would help straighten them out so they could run our world the way it is supposed to be run. But alas I believe for hypnotic suggestion to work well the subject has to be predisposed to the idea,,,, so maybe not.

    Aug 31, 2014 - 3:23pm


    Lol @AM that was a great read and brought back some good memories and I actually go with what my inside is telling me and not my outside conditions because those are always wrong.

    As for the time, hell I don't know, my dog ate my piece of paper. I'm still laughing. Keep Stacking

    Andreas van de Kamp
    Aug 31, 2014 - 3:46pm

    Well actually not so nice

    Europe is at the brink of a war. Ethnic russians in the Ukraine want to secede. Nobody asks Kiev to kiss Moscow's back. They just have to allow for the fact, that they are located in the backyard of a world power, that insists on having a buffer zone. Cheers, Andreas

    Aug 31, 2014 - 6:53pm

    Well You Got Me Going AM

    Had to do another Silver Recliner Report. Lol

    Video unavailable
    Aug 31, 2014 - 6:54pm


    I can't believe you included that wonderful Spike Milligan/Peter Sellers video starring Eccles. Having grown up in England in the '50s and '60s, I am very familiar with The Goon Show.

    However, I'm very surprised to see it posted here. I was under the impression that this piece would be unfamiliar to Americans. It certainly falls outside the "humor paradigm" of American comedy.

    Anyway, thanks for the memories -- and the laughter.

    Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

    10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
    10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
    10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
    10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
    10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
    10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
    10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

    Subscribe or login to read all comments.


    Donate Shop

    Get Your Subscriber Benefits

    Private iTunes feed for all TF Metals Report podcasts, and access to Vault member forum discussions!

    Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

    10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
    10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
    10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
    10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
    10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
    10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
    10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

    Key Economic Events Week of 10/7

    10/8 8:30 ET Producer Price Index
    10/9 10:00 ET Job Openings
    10/9 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
    10/9 2:00 ET September FOMC minutes
    10/10 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
    10/11 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

    Key Economic Events Week of 9/30

    9/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI
    10/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
    10/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
    10/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
    10/2 China Golden Week Begins
    10/2 8:15 ET ADP jobs report
    10/3 9:45 ET Markit Service PMI
    10/3 10:00 ET ISM Service PMI
    10/3 10:00 ET Factory Orders
    10/4 8:30 ET BLSBS
    10/4 8:30 ET US Trade Deficit

    Key Economic Events Week of 9/23

    9/23 9:45 ET Markit flash PMIs
    9/24 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
    9/26 8:30 ET Q2 GDP third guess
    9/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
    9/27 8:30 ET Pers Inc and Cons Spend
    9/27 8:30 ET Core Inflation

    Key Economic Events Week of 9/16

    9/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute & Ind Prod
    9/18 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Perm.
    9/18 2:00 ET Fedlines
    9/18 2:30 ET CGP presser
    9/19 8:30 ET Philly Fed
    9/19 10:00 ET Existing Home Sales

    Key Economic Events Week of 9/9

    9/10 10:00 ET Job openings
    9/11 8:30 ET PPI
    9/11 10:00 ET Wholesale Inv.
    9/12 8:30 ET CPI
    9/13 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    9/13 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment
    9/13 10:00 ET Business Inv.

    Key Economic Events Week of 9/3

    9/3 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
    9/3 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
    9/3 10:00 ET Construction Spending
    9/4 8:30 ET Foreign Trade Deficit
    9/5 9:45 ET Markit Svc PMI
    9/5 10:00 ET ISM Svc PMI
    9/5 10:00 ET Factory Orders
    9/6 8:30 ET BLSBS

    Key Economic Events Week of 8/26

    8/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
    8/27 9:00 ET Case-Shiller Home Price Idx
    8/27 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
    8/29 8:30 ET Q2 GDP 2nd guess
    8/29 8:30 ET Advance Trade in Goods
    8/30 8:30 ET Pers. Inc. and Cons. Spend.
    8/30 8:30 ET Core Inflation
    8/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

    Key Economic Events Week of 8/19

    8/21 10:00 ET Existing home sales
    8/21 2:00 ET July FOMC minutes
    8/22 9:45 ET Markit Manu and Svc PMIs
    8/22 Jackson Holedown begins
    8/23 10:00 ET Chief Goon Powell speaks

    Key Economic Events Week of 8/12

    8/13 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
    8/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    8/14 8:30 ET Productivity & Labor Costs
    8/14 8:30 ET Philly Fed
    8/14 9:15 ET Ind Prod and Cap Ute
    8/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories
    8/15 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Permits

    Forum Discussion