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What’s so addictive about the HOGAB? What are the short-term benefits of living inside the HOGAB?

Would you have to give up these benefits if you lived outside the HOGAB?

  • We enjoy the drama of it all: good guys and bad guys! We are addicted to drama. Our movies, our TV series, and the news that’s made for general consumption show us how addicted we are.

  • When we feel righteous/anger (and we have collapsed the two so we don't know how to be angry without being righteous), it can often give us a short-term feeling of energy and power.

  • When we see others who are not doing well in life because that seem to be prioritizing their Now over Next or their Oneself over Others and they've got they've got a bad life, we conclude that we don't want to be like them so we try to do the opposite by using blame and disapproval against Now and our Others (and the Now and Next of others).

  • Somewhat similarly, you believe like Fyodor Dostoevsky, who wrote, "If God does not exist, then everything is permitted," and your idea of God is someone who sees and judges people as good and bad.

  • When we see ourselves as good compared to someone else, we can feel good about that.

  • Seeing others as bad reduces our compassion for them and allows us to more easily take action to protect ourselves against them and get revenge.

  • Life seems safer by having clear rules of good and bad and right and wrong.

  • We can justify not taking care of ourselves when sacrificing ourselves so we can be the good guy and thereby avoid the fear that others will blame us if we choose to take care of ourselves and others may think we're a bad guy.

  • We get some feeling that others will agree with us and support us if we will just be the good guy and we can even get sympathy and support as the poor victim.

  • Feeling righteous and angry gives us a rush of energy. It feels so right to be right. No need to get curious about the other side. No need to wonder about your own contribution to the circumstances. No need to choose courage to explore the possibility of a win-win.

  • Living in the HOGAB gives us a feeling of solidity about who we are; it reinforces our identity. We are a good, hard-working person, different from others.

  • Some feeling of control, or possible control, and a reduced sense of risk when we know we’re right.

  • We can feel motivated to exact revenge and enjoy that revenge.

  • If we’re suffering, we can feel okay about making or expecting others to suffer also: equality of suffering lives inside the HOGAB.

  • Feeling righteous can provide anesthesia for our own hurt.

  • We can live in the fantasy that, if everyone would just be good and do the right thing, then all problems would be solved.

  • The feeling of justice/revenge that we get from living in a world in which we believe that God and/or others will reward the good people and punish the bad.

  • Somehow the universe seems more understandable if bad things are caused by bad people.

  • We can have some sense of control/influence over others if we think we can appeal to what is right and good and blame what is wrong and bad.

  • We can avoid the fear associated with trying to understand the other person’s perspective or get some alignment with them.

  • We can avoid the fear associated with our Next having to consider what our Now wants.

  • We get a feeling that the world makes sense from the perspective of good and bad, right and wrong.

  • Blame gives us a feeling of, “I know what’s going on here and I don’t need to question myself.” This even includes when you’re blaming yourself, when your Next is blaming your Now.

  • Blaming others dulls our fear or hurt when others blame us.

  • If we didn’t live in the HOGAB, how would we ever protect ourselves from the bad guys?!

  • Buying into the HOGAB confirms that we belong to humanity, or at least, our tribe; the righteous are often threatened by those who are not righteous in the same way. If you had been a U.S. citizen during WW II who expressed disagreement regarding the anti-Japanese posters at that time, you would have gotten a lot of flak for not supporting your country, just as one of a thousand possible examples involving tribes. 

  • Check out this American WWII poster; of course, the Japanese did the same in different forms. For example, the Japanese movie widely released in 1945, "Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei," portrayed the Americans and British in Singapore as morally decadent and physically weak "devils."


Take note of the word "murdering," which is applied to the Japanese soldiers who are just doing their "duty" and being a "loyal and honorable Japanese soldier" (all good things to do when residing in the HOGAB) the same as the American soldiers were doing except we (the Americans at that time) would never think of our own soldiers as "murderers" when that are urged to stay on the job until every Japanese soldier is wiped out ("murdered").

Or what if you were one who questioned this anti-German poster from WW I?


And the Germans had their posters; this one says, "Behind the enemy powers: The Jews."


“One that confounds good and evil is an enemy to good.” -Edmund Burke (a British author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, 1729-1797)


Edmund, would you think I am confounding good and evil? I suspect you might.


  • How could we possibly know how to make choices and guide our lives if we did not live in the HOGAB?! Everything would seem so arbitrary.

  • Living inside the HOGAB is so addictive that we would rather lose and be right than to get what we want.

The compounding, continuing, everyday, personal costs inflicted by the HOGAB are hundreds of times more devastating than wars have ever been

It's not too hard to observe the stupidity of living in the HOGAB at work when it comes looking back at the horrors of nationalism and xenophobia, especially when unearthing the beliefs that fueled the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE) and World War II. To begin to notice that the exact same set false beliefs are at work in maintaining the HOGAB in our everyday thoughts and words in our relationship with ourselves and with others takes more inquiry.

These false beliefs, however, can be fairly easy to notice if we stay vigilant for these common clues, each of which needs to be checked out, since they're not always HOGAB residents.

Any thought (or spoken or written word) that contain any of the following words:​​

  • Should, should not

  • Good, bad

  • Right, wrong

  • Deserve, don't deserve

  • Fair, unfair

  • Responsible, irresponsible

  • Loyal, disloyal

  • Faithful, cheater

  • Must, must not

  • Have to, Need to

  • Just, unjust

  • Proper, improper

Any feelings of:

  • Feeling wronged

  • Feeling abused

  • Feeling taken advantage of

  • Feeling betrayed

  • Feeling abandoned

  • Blaming another

  • Guilt (blaming oneself)

  • Regret

  • Resentment

  • Impatience

  • Ghosting another

  • Incompletion with others, especially your parents

  • Feeling your not good enough

  • Feeling your not smart enough

  • Feeling you're not lovable

  • Feeling you're not respected

  • Waiting for real life to start

  • Trying to prove something (like you're a good guy or that you're good enough)

  • Any suffering (is most probably caused by an inaccurate belief)

Let's have fun noticing (and having curiosity about and compassion for) how the machinery of our mind is addicted to residing in the HOGAG.

Negotiating my parent’s divorce


After my mother separated from my father in 1984, I ended up negotiating the divorce settlement between my mother and father (otherwise the lawyers were going to get everything). I would go back and forth—talking with my father on the telephone and then talking with my mother. I knew better than to let them talk directly because both of them believed deeply in the precepts of the HOGAB and would have just bickered back and forth.


In one conversation with my mother, she said, “I just want to make him hurt for all the things he did to me.” I replied, “Well, Mama, we could focus on doing that. If we do, however, you’re likely to get a less favorable outcome for you than if we focus directly on getting an agreement, without trying to hurt him.” In spite of her desire for revenge and what she viewed as justice, she agreed. She ended up with a favorable settlement with my father.

At another time, in another conversation with my mother, she was going on and on about all the bad things my father did during their marriage (he never beat her or played around). After five minutes of listening to her, I interrupted and said, "Mama, you let him do all those things." Her first response was to get defensive, but then she caught herself and admitted, "Yes, I did."

At another time, when looking back on her decision to finally leave my father, she had a moment of self-reflective insight by sharing with me, "If I didn't keep remembering all those bad things he did [which she let him do], I would not have been able to leave him [and take care of herself] because I would have felt too sorry for him."

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