The Sanctity of Your Mind

Posted on July 11, 2017 by Robert Ringer


Some years ago, one of my readers expressed his disgust with the fact that grown adults play what amounts to nothing more than children’s games and are paid obscene amounts of money for doing so. This all-too-true phenomenon is made possible by the fact that so many adults find enchantment in the distractions of false hero worship and the need to align with the ridiculous abstract concept of a “hometown team.”

He concluded by saying that “This illustrates the overall immaturity of the average modern American and the blaring emptiness of the American soul, as well as the modern sports businesses that prey upon these people.”

I thought he did a pretty good job of succinctly setting forth one of the most glaring symptoms of the cultural decline of America, so much so that his summary prompted me to ask myself why?

Why have we become unthinking and non-objective automatons, unable to disengage from our societal programming?

Why do grown adults get paid obscene amounts of money to play children’s games?

Why do other adults find enchantment in the distractions of false hero worship and the need to align themselves with the ridiculous abstract concept of a “hometown team?”

All these questions were answered by Aldous Huxley in his classic novel Brave New World. The “somas” Huxley wrote about were the perfect drug for controlling the masses, used by the government not only to keep people in line, but to make them docile and happy in the process. Hero worship and the absurd attachment to the self-delusive concept of a “hometown team” is the new millennium’s version of Huxley’s somas.

The hero worship of athletes whose contributions to the world include such remarkable feats as being able to “dunk” a ball through a metal hoop at a distance of zero feet … run like an antelope for fifty yards with a sphere-shaped ball under their arms … or hit a little white ball 400 feet is an integral part of the disintegration of American culture.

When an NFL team executes a big play — like, say, intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown — the reactions of the crowd are enough to make one think someone had just announced a foolproof plan for curing cancer. Fans go bananas, waving their “terrible towels” (or their home team’s equivalent of such), high-fiving one another, and screaming like asylum inmates for their “hometown” heroes.

It’s easy to chuckle and wave aside these Homer Simpson-like antics as nothing more than harmless nonsense, but such a deranged attachment to athletes for whom the town of their current team is but a stopping off point in their careers actually serves a purpose: It takes the spectators’ minds off their own lack of accomplishment and misery.

So long as they are mesmerized by their imaginary cause (that a bunch of athletes who temporarily reside in their city somehow make them more worthy people than opposing tribes in competing cities), it makes it a whole lot easier for scheming politicians to continue robbing them blind without fear of backlash.

I’ve often been asked if I believe professional sports will crumble right along with the demise of the U.S. economy. It’s an interesting question, to which my answer has always been in the negative.

In fact, if it comes down to it, I would not be surprised if, in the future, the government used your tax dollars to completely subsidize professional (and even college) sports teams in an effort to keep millions of knowledge-challenged minds perpetually engaged with childish distractions. (As you know, local governments have already subsidized new stadiums to the tune of billions of dollars.)

But what about the $40 million or so a year that a guy like LeBron James is paid not for working, but for playing a game every day? Surely, when the economy can no longer be falsely propped up by more borrowing, printing of fiat currency, and raising taxes on the middle class, won’t the government step in and do something about the obscene incomes of professional athletes?” I don’t think so, and here are three reasons why I feel that way:

First, because it’s important to the government that people continue to believe that wealth without work is possible. Our artificial way of life is solidly based on this widely accepted falsehood. Without such a belief to cling to, people would pay closer attention to more serious matters, which could lead to violent rebellion, which is something governments want to avoid like the plague. This is why lotteries and gambling casinos are such an integral part of American life.

Second, professional athletes are the engine of today’s somas. By being the gladiators in our modern-day colosseums, they play a key role in taking people’s minds off the meaninglessness of their own lives.

Third, people are so addicted to the mind-numbing effects of sports idolatry that they will not hesitate to wipe out what’s left of their dwindling savings in order to pay a few hundred bucks for just one more pair of tickets. When crunch time comes, you can be sure that the last thing an addicted sports fan will give up is tickets to his favorite sporting event — his family’s empty stomachs be damned.

Now, please don’t let anything I’ve said here depress you. While it’s true that you can’t do much to change the mind-set of several hundred million people, it’s equally true that you can do a whole lot about your own mind-set. Further, you certainly can teach your children and other close family members that the way to fill their empty souls is not through false hero worship and wild cheering for a team to which they imagine they are somehow connected.

I can still remember the first time the thought occurred to me that the players I was cheering for (I was an obsessed Los Angeles Rams fan) not only did not know me, they had no interest in either my well-being or the well-being of the city in which they were temporarily living due to their profession. The extent of their attachment to the city they performed in was money — period. But don’t tell that to the lost souls in the stands who wildly cheer them on.

The question then becomes, once a person realizes the absurdity and emptiness of being an addicted sports fan, what can he do to escape his addiction? I can say from firsthand experience that the answer to that question is to find a meaningful purpose in life.

Granted, it’s a hard thing to do when the political crime syndicate in Washington is continually urging him to gorge on its soma-poisoned apples, but it most definitely can be done. The challenge of our time isn’t global warming … or North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program … or Russia’s interference in our elections … or illegal immigration.

The challenge of our time is for the individual — not the group — to develop the self-discipline to refuse to relinquish possession of his mind and thereby ignore the lemming effect of the pop culture that surrounds him, then focus on rational ways to improve his own life. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” I second that.

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.

49 responses to “The Sanctity of Your Mind”

  1. Reality Seeker says:

    The mindless primitive lurks in all of us just beneath the subconscious, rational mind. Like a caged neanderthal he yearns to be released. From time to time the handcuffs of reason are loosened and the gag removed. He then paints himself in tribal colors and quickly heads out to the nearest rock concert or sporting event or stupid-ass movie theater. Upon arrival the dull-wit wolfs down a GMO hotdog, some over-buttered & salted popcorn, a bag of M&Ms and gulps down a few soma- light beers. Fed and watered and surrounded by the other members of the tribe the dumb shit is now really in the mood for some barbaric yawp. And if he's lucky, he'll get to see a member of the opposition tribe get injured, bloodied and/or die. ……

    …….And just like the infamous Mr. Hyde, the more the mindless primitive is let out, the more he wants to stay out….

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      Now that is an excellent commentary! Good one!

    • Jim Hallett says:

      That just about summarizes the current experience of being a sports fan at a live stadium. Civility and sportsmanship are rarely on display, and people even lose their lives if they happen to root for/wear a cap or uniform of an opposing team. I do enjoy sports – particularly baseball and college football, but I have become increasingly disenchanted, despite having seen games in EVERY MLB city and most of the big-time college towns, so I rarely attend in person, and only watch some. I still have my favorites, but realize it is not a very important aspect of life, so spend much more time and effort on things that do build the sanity of my mind (which means avoiding anything having to do with he District of Criminals in DC!).

    • Harry Hagan says:

      Really well put! Excellent. Thanks! So true.

      • stephen leonhard says:

        This mindless attention to "sports" is repugnant. I once complained to the president of my collage about this emphasis and he quickly said that without athletice our small college could not exist! Isn't that a dreadful testamonial!

  2. randy Randy says:

    Perhaps our love of the sporting contest and the hometown dynamic feeds a subconscious desire to vanquish enemy invaders.

  3. LLLL says:

    And Barbarism is on our doorstep.

  4. Wil says:

    Oh, to be able to judge but alas not to cure yourself.t

  5. TheLookOut says:

    Robert, thanks for the perspective on this national lunacy.

  6. Jurgy says:

    Professional sports is nothing more than entertainment, and the athletes at the top of the game are paid accordingly, just as any "A list" actor would be paid for a feature film. I believe that sports evolved as a part of our human nature – a polite means to compete and demonstrate who is superior. In our modern era our sports competitions rewarded with accolades and vast amounts of money are most certainly better than the days where the winner was rewarded with life and the loser – death.

  7. Jim Plouffe says:

    What is the difference between the sports world and corporate world where management is paid obscene amounts of money without even playing in the game?

    • PeterM says:

      Q: What is the difference between the "sports world" and "corporate world" where management is paid obscene amounts of money without even playing in the game?

      Excellent question? Perhaps no difference, as we essentially deal with matters of "supply & demand". Great thoughts have been expressed by the author and, the massive lunacy of this American sub-culture
      is evident. One ought not to be surprised anyway, given the normal automatic outworking of this so-called "post-modern day" culture and traditions that is deeply rooted in the mundane, the trivial, the "soul-less",
      the silly and all. This abiding sub-culture that is firmly rooted in "entertainment", "fanfare" & "lunacy" and all that are associated with it!

      • Marlena Bennett says:

        Rah! Rah! Rah! for Mr. Ringer!! My thoughts exactly and I couldn't have said it better myself. What a guy – he always cuts to the chase and leaves us more aware than we thought possible. Thank you sir!

      • Paul L. Fruend says:

        Sorry Peter, Management has to be in the game. They put together the game.

  8. Muthuswamy N says:

    One way to think is that these athletes have made their careers, alright, but watching them does not help in making my career and my life better. In fact it drains my most powerful of all resources namely time.

  9. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    Sounds like, maybe, you either never played a sport, or, were any good at it. I, and others, know how it feels to hit a homer or shoot a goal in ice hockey, or… But, I do agree with you. Basically. And yet, I believe that great numbers of people are not congenitally fit to think in highly evolved terms. Yes, Gov't kicking in big dough to build stadiums got my attention a times. I DID wonder, WHY? But, the process maybe has been going on, even if embryonically, since way back when. Something about HOW WE ARE, maybe?

    • Phil says:

      I think Mr. Ringer was a pretty decent basketball player back in the day, can't get him on that : )

  10. Travis McGee says:

    I've been a Green Bay Packer fan for 70 years. All this time I thought it was fun to be a fan. Now I realize it is all meaningless and just a way to fill the void in my worthless life. Rather than leaving my season tickets to my heirs, I shall sell them while I'm still alive and buy some excellent single malt Scotch.

  11. GMH says:

    Mindless, wasteful and distracting as sports fanaticism (the long form of the word “fan”) appears, professional sports are a vital safety valve for draining aggression. Pro sports provide a less dangerous outlet for the driving tendency of men (yes, it’s a guy thing) to form into gangs and go attack other gangs over the hill in hope of thrills, power and booty. (World history in a nutshell.) In a nation insanely awash in weapons, this is a critical service. Take a look at all the countries ruined by endlessly warring militias who enthusiastically wreck their own lands with real bombs and guns and you might cheer your local team twice as hard.

  12. Andy Andy says:

    Time for you guys to stop taking yourselves so seriously. I am a lifelong fan of Boston's professional sports teams. Since leaving Boston 20 years ago, I have enjoyed reading the Boston sports page online while savoring my morning coffee. That 10 minutes I spend brings back many fond memories of time shared with my father and grandfather, my brother and my friends. I don't think I'll consider my life wasted for this lifelong interest.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      I too am a fan of all things Boston, my favorite US city. I relish the good memories as well, and have enjoyed many games all over the country. My biggest disappointment is not in any "time wasted" watching sports, but the fact that there is so little sportsmanship anyplace. I also root for the University of Michigan Wolverines, but as you say, taking a few minutes to enjoy a sideline "hobby" is fine, but I no longer fuss and fume over the results, since I cannot control them at all. I have been "fortunate" as a sports fan, since the 3 Boston pro teams (I do not follow the NBA at all!) and my UM teams have won more than their fair share of championships, so it makes for some friendly "bragging rights", but I do not take it too seriously, especially with the Cultural Marxists destroying western civilization outside our doorstep each day!

  13. Steve says:

    "By jumping and screaming "We're number one! We're number one!" people whose number is pretty far down the list can vicariously sharer i their team's triumphal quest for enduring greatness." Dinesh D'Souza, The Virtue of Prosperity

    • thebacksaver says:

      Nobody says it better than D'Souza (with the exception of RR) . He is a brilliant and courageous writer and speaker.

  14. Blank Reg says:

    No difference in the behavior here, and when rabid fans cheer wildly for a politician during campaign season. In a collapse, will pols go too?? I’d be more than happy to help them go.

  15. Jim Hallett says:

    Your final paragraph in the above article, Robert, says it all. Since we all as individuals CAN control our own minds (and thus much of the results of our lives), while we have NO control over the outcome of any sporting event, our time is much better spent on the former with less attention to the latter.

  16. Ivan says:

    Strategies to attack a nation are the usual infrastructures, bridges, roads, and runways. If our sport arenas, stadiums, and coliseums were attacked we would loose through insanity.

  17. Charles Moeller says:

    Professional sports is bread and circuses for the masses.

  18. Harry Hagan says:

    panis et circenses. Bread and circuses: it's at least as old as Rome in its heydays. And then there's this old chestnut: all things in moderation.

  19. Paul Herring says:

    I'm wondering whether there's any difference between professional sports now and in the Roman Empire when the circus was the big form of entertainment for the masses. The powers-that-be then needed to keep the people distracted/sedated so that they wouldn't rise up in rebellion and perhaps take their positions. Is it really any different in that respect now?

    Professional sportspersons are paid obscene figures. Yet, what do they really do for our communities? The police, nursing staff, and those working in emergency services are paid trifling salaries by comparison yet they do a wonderful job in the main. How unbalanced we've all become.

    • Reality Seeker says:

      Look on the bright side, Paul, at least your wunnerful government isn't throwing Jehovah's Witnesses to the lions, yet…. Of course, when history repeats and the new Nero finally takes charge anything is possible. Just look at Russia: how Mormons and JWs are being persecuted.

      Of course ancient Rome finally split into an eastern empire ,Constantinople, and and a western empire, Rome, and Rome fell because the elite couldn't sluice enough tax money from the producers to fund expedient government fixes. When the army finally went unpaid that was it. What is so amazing is at the height of its glory Rome boasted a population of up to a million and a half. And during its Dark Age the population shrank in Rome to under 30,000. Sheep were herded in the once mighty city center. Constantinople survived as the center of Roman culture and life went on, but less than two hundred years later its secular government disintegrated and ironically the Roman Catholic Church filled the power vacuum… In 1453 the great city finally fell to the Ottomans …. I wonder when that'll happen to Washington?

      • Paul Herring says:

        Always appreciate your remarks, Reality Seeker. Yes, governments seem capable of stooping to any lows in order to hang onto power. I often wonder why they allow into our country (and yours probably) foods which simply have no food value. And worse, are actually harmful because such foods will render people stupefied to the point that even if they wanted to overturn their systems they aren't physically or mentally capable of it.

        • thebacksaver says:

          Foods? hhmm… care to elaborate?

          • Paul Herring says:

            With respect I'm not wanting to get into correspondence here. However, your local supermarket may have ingredients listed on food packages which will tell you of their food value/non-value. They do in Australia.

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      RE your first paragraph: Yes, PLAY is a human need, part of our nature. And if we can't do it ourselves, we find vicarious experience a satisfying substitute.

  20. Steve V. says:

    As Jurgy wrote, sports are essentially just entertainment, with the best "actors" paid accordingly. However, one would think that the level of fanaticism and interest should fade over time, esp. once a thinking person reaches 40 years of age or so. I personally always hated the home teams, simply because everyone else liked them. (Even as a child it seemed dumb to follow the herd.) I *chose* my teams: 60's Yankees and Baltimore Colts, 70's Buffalo Sabres. By 1980, most of my interest in sports melted away.

  21. Peter G says:

    You have clearly presented the issue, so there is no need to further expand on it My comment is that until the individual chooses to think independently, make his own choices and take responsibility for his own actions by not ceding authority to others over himself, progress to higher levels of man's potential will not occur. Civilization will stagnate or regress. .

  22. Bob says:

    Watching the ball go back and forth from one end of the court or field to the other end is not exactly complicated.

  23. Ken says:


  24. JupiterJap says:

    My guess is Rome perished not due to lack of taxes as much as promiscuity with no treatment for venereal disease. And the peeps probably sleeping with their animals and at the same time with each other getting mono and weird crazy diseases from bestialty tying knots. The way some girlfriends look, why am I not surprised as to who does that. They probably hook up with the stray dogs in the Walmart parking lot.

  25. Joe S says:

    We Major in Minor things. Remember "Bread and Circuses".

  26. Phil says:

    I may be off on this, but it seems that Ayn Rand (or it was one of her progeny, perhaps Peikoff) once characterized blind celebrity worship, especially of athletic heroes, as a desperate attempt to acquire unearned self esteem – pretty much as Robert describes it here. Since reading that years ago, alas, LSU football has never been the same.

  27. Carl-Edward says:

    I think that only an individual with an essentially collectivist mentality, could lavish blind devotion on an athletic team or seek an identity through worship of an athlete, singer, actor, actress – what you please. The same applies to adherents of causes, or those who pledge allegiance to a government.

  28. patg2 says:

    I absolutely couldn't agree more with everything you said. I despise spectator sports for all those reasons and many more. I had the misfortune of having a relative who influenced our children. Some of them seem to be growing out of it, thankfully. And sure, the government will subsidize it with my money, against my will.

    In town, there was a church that had a parcel of land intended for a youth center, in a bad part of town. I can't think of a better use for the land. But the city wanted the land for a sports park, and exercised eminent domain, and took the land from the church. The land was next to a hospital. Like patients need screaming fans when they're trying to sleep. They attracted a ball team, which stayed a short time and then left. What a boondoggle! And paid for by tax funds, and expensive. They still use it, but it never paid for itself because the team left, and even if it had, the city would never have refunded the taxpayers their money.

  29. stephen leonhard says:

    There is a certain amunt of exercise in turning your head from side to side to follow the bouncing ball.