Mankind: The Failed Experiment

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Robert Ringer


As I think about the havoc that has reigned throughout the world century after century, I am reminded of one of those ancient-astronaut books I read many years ago that set forth a fascinating theory.

The author believed that munificent aliens from another galaxy visited the earth eons ago and created man.  After a long period of tinkering with their creation, the aliens finally concluded that man was a failed experiment, packed up their gear, and moved on to another galactic destination.

The validity of the author’s theory is subject to debate, of course, but the fact that man is flawed is not.  There are two closely linked flaws, in particular, that I believe are at the heart of most of mankind’s problems.  The flaws I am referring to are the average person’s (1) desire for instant gratification and (2) predilection to be ruled by those whom he believes can best satisfy his instant-gratification needs.

Since time immemorial, the coming together of those who yearn to be ruled and those who seek to rule others has resulted in thousands of sociological marriages made in hell.  In every country where you see chaos, the naïve protestors in the streets clamor for their tribal savior to be handed the reins of power.

Because their brains are not cluttered by knowledge, facts, or logic, this phenomenon is able to repeat itself year after year, decade after decade, century after century.  It’s always about “power to the people,” “democratic reform,” and other buzz phrases that are destined to fade into oblivion shortly after a new power structure becomes entrenched and the masses are forced to sit down, shut up, and once again do as they’re told.

In this regard, Harry Browne’s classic, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, made a huge impact on me back in the seventies.  The sum and substance of Browne’s message was that the world will never be free, thus it’s up to each individual to discover ways to live as freely as possible in the world as it is rather than the world as he would like it to be.

So what does all this have to do with man’s being an experiment that failed?  Simply that if you’re serious about leading a prosperous and purposeful life, it’s important to understand that a majority of your flawed fellow citizens will never figure out that no leader, no matter how noble his intentions, has the power to improve their lives.

Conventional wisdom says that the way to bring about change in a “democracy” is through the electoral process.  It’s a lovely theory, to be sure, but the reality is that elections, at best, only slow the government’s drive down the road to serfdom.  At worst, they actually accelerate it, as we saw with the election and reelection of Barack Obama.

It’s true that power holders can dole out freebies to this or that group of “deserving” citizens (and even non-citizens), but they cannot give them happiness, self-esteem, virtuosity, solid moral standards, or any other invaluable abstracts that are essential to leading a meaningful life.

If it’s important to you to find freedom in an unfree world, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the world to change — because it won’t.  Now, I can just hear some readers saying:

“But, Robert, I hear that the U.S. power grid might be destroyed by a solar flare or terrorist attack.”  That’s true, but you can’t do anything about it.

“But, Robert, the government continues to ignore the Constitution, which could lead to a dictatorship.”  That’s true, but you can’t do anything about it.

“But, Robert, North Korea, Iran, and other countries who hate America are intent on bringing us down.”  That’s true, but you can’t do anything about it.

As my longtime readers know, there’s not much that’s happening today that I didn’t predict back in the late seventies and early eighties — when Ronald Reagan was in power, no less.  Where I erred, however, was on the timing of events.  Harry Browne cautioned that even though the outcomes of many events are totally predictable, it’s generally impossible to predict with any degree of certainty when they will occur.

The reason it’s so difficult to predict the timing of events is because of the infinite number of unforeseeable factors that continually come into play.  Thus, Browne concluded that even if you know that certain catastrophic events are inevitable, the best thing you, as an individual, can do is press forward with your life, because most of those events may not occur during your lifetime.

My late friend William Simon, who served as Secretary of the Treasury under both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, put it in dollars-and-cents terms.  He once confided in me that even though he believed that the government, in a last-gasp effort to hold onto the reins of power, would ultimately confiscate most of the assets of the wealthiest people, he felt it was prudent to continue trying to earn as much money as possible.

When I inquired as to the logic behind his statement, he explained, “Even if the government ultimately confiscates 80 percent of your wealth, I’d rather have $100 million than $1 million.  There’s a big difference between being left with $20 million and being left with $200,000.”  In a world that is far more uncertain than when Simon spoke those words, his seemingly simplistic viewpoint still sounds logical to me.

Free advice:  Don’t debate this subject with your brother-in-law Joe or cousin Bill.  The likelihood is that they don’t get it and probably never will.  They’re too busy talking about the NBA playoffs and watching fake reality TV shows.

The fact is that it’s not your duty to help people see the light.  Better to keep your own counsel, keep your head down, and keep moving forward.  God’s plan will be what it will be.

The reality is that the only thing over which you have control is your own thinking and your own actions.  You may be part of the experiment that failed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be one of the lesser-flawed humanoids who have managed to survive to this point in time.  And the first step toward accomplishing that is to think. 

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

32 responses to “Mankind: The Failed Experiment”

  1. kauai_mike says:

    Nothing so sweet as self reliant, can-do gumption! You CAN be free in an unfree world!

  2. TheLookOut says:

    Robert, as you, Harry,and others have pointed out so many times
    personal freedom is indeed personal, thus will be achieved only
    via each one's personal efforts.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Agreed! Too bad most of the Influencers in society – the govt. criminals, the public indoctrination forced schooling system, the media liars et al. (as well as cousin Joe and B-I-L Bill) – promote EXACTLY the opposite. Since they are deluded into thinking all men are equal, they want some external force like the State to impose such "equality" on all of us. The real challenge is trying to think fresh thoughts (we have 50-60K every day, but at least 90% are just instant replays of the day before) that allow us to enjoy a great deal of freedom, despite the slavery around us.

    • Rick G. says:

      That is absolutely correct.

    • Tony Lauria says:

      Indeed, personal freedom requires a personal solution.

  3. John Warner says:

    Anyone who thinks logically must be a short term pessimist but to stay positive must be a long term optimist.

  4. noah300g says:

    Many of our 'older' politicians are counting on the fact that their irresponsible deficit and debt-increasing policies will not lead to the inevitable crash and breakdown of society until after they are dead, which is why they have no desire to slow down, halt, much less reverse their abhorrent behavior.

  5. Scott Theczech says:

    What truth! Thank you Mr. Ringer.

  6. larajf says:

    Yup, time to get the head down and start amassing wealth in gold and silver, guns and bullets, seeds and soil.

  7. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    Yes, achieving Meaning, Purpose and Value in human life is the Good Life.The Way of Materialism is the antithesis. Within the former, however, there IS some degree of NEED for Prosperity. That is to learn how to get, earn "enough". The problem can come, however, when the negative attitude of "enough is never enough" creeps in and a person becomes a Materialist. Aristotle said it when he taught The Golden Mean, "that which lies between excess and deficiency". Or balance.

  8. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    Learning the nature and uses of Human Mind is also necessary, and that in relation to true Spirituality, NOT mere religiosity.Right use of MIND is the cause of all GOOD in human life.

  9. Rocketman says:

    Really great and thoughtful article Robert. I reminded of a cartoon that I saw many years ago. In the 1950's a flying saucer lands in the center of a town. All the inhabitants are running away from the saucer saying things like "Help!" "Save me!". Fast forward to today and the same saucer lands and the inhabitants are saying the same thing, only this time they are running TOWARDS THE SAUCER.
    Anyone today in this Amerika needs a backup plan or needs to be starting one.

    • Rick G. says:

      Lol! And they are frantically saying, "I need my EBT SNAP benefits", "I want my Section 8 housing, " I want my $15 an hour", "I need my 'free' college tuition", "Income equality now!", "Universal free health care now!"……… nauseum.

  10. Albert J. Segalla says:

    Good thoughts, Robert,

    America will remain a free and prosperous country to the extent we deserve it.

    Perhaps a good way to deserve the blessings of liberty is to understand and promote the basic human rights to Life, Liberty, and Property. That is what our founders did and it worked.

  11. Jim Hallett says:

    Mankind is a failed experiment, first and foremost, because our time on Earth is precisely to evolve and learn from our mistakes. The real problem, as you so clearly point out, is that other forces could care less about evolution of their souls, but rather to grab all they can while here, and let the chips fall where they may. We are NOT all equal, and those who put forth greater effort in providing a valuable service to others deserve to be rewarded with more material wealth than the do-nothings. Materialism is not the ultimate "prize" as such, but it does afford one more opportunities to pursue personal goals and to avoid the criminal "grabbers" in society more easily. I am re-reading your 1983 classic "How to find Happiness Despite the Collapse of Western Civilization" and most of what you predicted has in fact, occurred (not the accelerating interest rates from a prime of 21.5% during the Carter and early-Reagan years, since the criminal Federal Reserve manipulated things outside of any free market economics). Without a moral foundation (and it is largely GONE!), we have to be the master of our own ship, and steer as clear as we can of those who operate with an "Anything Goes" mentality. Methinks, it is easier to operate this kind of approach outside the USA than within its borders, since the US Govt. sees itself as the world's arbiter and policeman, and is busy exporting its immorality all over the world. Such a mass departure from the original idea of America!!

    • Rick G. says:

      Jim, I wish you lived close so we could go over "How You Can Find Happiness" book together and discuss it. A great book indeed! Everyone should get a copy and read it!

      • Jim Hallett says:

        Even though written in 1983, it just proves that real truth NEVER goes out of fashion and is always timely. Along with Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World", I like to re-read these classics from time to time to keep my thinking on track. Even with trying to avoid the media and other Libtard Liars, a lot of that still seeps in, since it has infected most of casual conversation amongst the masses. I love stimulating conversations about values and other important stuff, but it is VERY HARD to find amongst the unenlightened herd that one finds in the coffee shops or other meeting places of the world! We must keep the faith, and educate (without force) where we can, but the task is often very daunting indeed!

  12. Rick G. says:

    About Harry Browne, his book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,, is fantastic! Highly recommend! Incidentally, he ran as the Libertarian candidate for president in 1996 and I voted for him.

    I remember those books about ancient astronauts that were very popular in the early seventies. The one you might be referring to is probably one by Erich von Daniken, "Chariots of the Gods". He had a long list of others too. If I remember correctly, this is the book which started it all. From there, an avalanche of similar books followed. I remember one by an author I cannot recall offhand, "God Drives a Flying Saucer". I found these books interesting, intriguing, and entertaining. I wish I had kept them.

    There is never a shortage of tribal "saviors" out there who promise you the moon, but only end up taking away your freedoms…….Hussein Nobama, Bernie Sanders, et. al., and now we have a new one, get this, Andrew Yang who promises you a guaranteed $1,000 a month for everyone 18 to 64 years old. Wow! Not just a one time payment of $1,000 to every man, woman, and child that George McGovern promised in 1972, but $1,000 A MONTH! These nutcases have to be doing some really hard crack to come up with such perverted ideas like this. And, oh yeah, he is feverishly working out the "how" of this monstrosity being paid for. I must include President Trump in this list which I resent doing, but I just have to. I know he is up to his a** in alligators and he is doing the best he can. But whenever he is selling a point, he sounds like a used car salesman. I do know a used car salesman who talks just like him. I hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but where the rubber meets the road, he can't save us either. So, as for me, I stopped going around like a street corner Bible preacher trying to convince the masses that the sky is falling. They just stand there, mouth open in astonishment, looking at me like I have twelve heads! People are only interested in getting a piece of the plunder pie. Actually, they would rather take the whole bakery instead. So I have decided to save my breath, keep my blood pressure down, and just draw an enclosed perimeter around my life, which I call my "Circle of Concern", and just operate from within. It works for me.

    • Steve V. says:

      Erich von Daniken was in idiot.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      That is the wise sanity approach, Rick! One of the reasons I want to spend at least part of the year outside the US is to just get away from this media circus and mass consumerism (financed by debt!). However, I don't recognize America anymore, and often feel like an anachronism. Like Doug Casey always says, you need to associate in phyles with people who share your values and not just a name derivex from the patch of Earth you were born on.

  13. patg2 says:

    Every human being has an evil streak. And instant self gratification is one of the consequences. The most government can do is get out of the way. Anybody who advances that is welcome as far as I am concerned. That's the main reason I support Trump. But our ultimate liberty doesn't rest with any government institution or leader. It rests with God alone. Government should restrict itself to doing what is constitutional, because it does help curb evil. And there is nothing wrong with seeking to force government to obey the Constitution.

  14. W L Morrison says:

    Sounds as though you revisited the 'expediency factor' – very good. When I bought the hard cover version of your book, "Restoring the American Dream" somewhere around 1978 or 1979, I waited until the paperback version came out. I immediately purchased 100 copies and through the years passed it on to friends and acquaintances – the reply when they finished was always the same: "I am so darn angry." We all should continue to be "So darn angry."

  15. Karl G says:

    Thank you so much Mr. Ringer. You are the few common sense advocate out there!

  16. hon says:

    Ancient Aliens is a weekly program on the History channel that explores the ancient-astronaut theme in great depth. It makes you think outside the box of possibilities.

    • patg2 says:

      When I was a teenager, I sincerely hoped there were benevolent aliens out there who would share wonderful advanced technology with us. As I learned more, I totally lost interest. I do not consider this a remote possibility. I spent several years analyzing data for SETI non-stop to help them prove there is no intelligent life out there that happens to use old-fashioned radio signals strong enough to reach earth. This ancient alien hypothesis is God-in-a-box to explain why there is NO evidence that evolution ever happened. Our complex collection of life forms cannot be explained otherwise. God is automatically ruled out. Very scientific of them. NOT! Oh, and by the way. I talked to Coral Lorenzen (personal acquaintance who investigated UFOs) shortly before she died, and she said, "Stay away from the UFO aliens. They are malevolent!" I think she's right, and I don't think they came from another planet. They're spirit beings.

  17. Jurgy says:

    yet, somehow, the human condition continues to improve …

    • patg2 says:

      Oh, I emphatically disagree. It just changes. In the 20th century, tyrannical leaders killed more millions of people than in the rest of history combined. And we continue to axe-murder and poison millions upon millions of innocent unborn children. The atrocity du jour: starving young children to death for the crime of being sick, aka Alfie in Great Britain. Anybody who thinks this is an improvement is a prime candidate to buy my bridge.

  18. Wayne says:

    “But, Robert, the government continues to ignore the Constitution, which could lead to a dictatorship.” That’s true, but you can’t do anything about it.
    Sorry to disagree.. Every time the Court doors open the Constitution is on trial. It is up to each of us to see that it stands. That is the cost we pay for Freedom. Eternal Vigilance!

  19. Gary Waltrip says:

    Harry Browne’s philosophy reminds me of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

    You can’t do everything, so prioritize and do what you can.

  20. freedom says:

    the role and essence of mankind on a universal scale has not yet been determined , and the person himself can not define it in the absence of understanding the structure of the universe

  21. MikePinsker says:

    I recall well Harry Browne and "How I Found Freedom in an Un-free World." it was actually referred to me by my psychologist. – and I must say, it significantly impacted my life. I didn't know he once ran as a Libertarian but it makes sense. I also bought your early books, Robert and can see Browne's influence in your writing. I was a real estate broker in LA and your references to the broker getting screwed – also rang true.
    Of everything you write in today's piece, your summation to THINK, this being one's real hope for sanity as well as a happier life – is what I, also got out of Browne's writing in 1973. Thanks for reminding me!

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