Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lost Dollar Continues

I am going to do something I don’t do often. I will continue where I left off on the lost dollar post of a few days back.

If like most, including myself, you were a little confused when it was pointed out we had lost a dollar.

If you were not a little baffled and immediately knew the mistake which had been made, then it is possible the confusion only occurs when things are verbally explained.

Stop NOW! If you haven’t already ready the post on the lost dollar, stop now! Skip down a few days and read it first.


Riddle of the Lost Dollar

When you hear the answer, you will immediately realize there never was a lost dollar. You will believe all is accounted for and there was no loss.

However, if you like myself were baffled by the riddle, then you are in good company. I can tell you: I am a CPA and while I knew there wasn’t a dollar lost, I was baffled as to why it appeared so.  I enjoyed a good half hour trying to understand what had happened. That’s the real story of interest in my adventures with reality. It’s now been 15 years and today I can say I know what occurred and why I was baffled.

We’ve all heard the maxim:  “the figures don’t lie”. You should also know the corollary axiom:  “Yes, but most liars figure”.

Realistic Credibility

Figures help convince others where mere assertions fail. They bring credibility by adding support for the conclusion asserted.  In attempting to convey a belief (which are always about reality),  the premise or assertion is never accepted as a belief unless there are references that one can recognize as consistent with how they view their reality or how they conclude the truths of their reality. My communication of supporting calculations provided the details which you could recognized as true.

Since what I proposed seemed to be credible mathematically, they supported the conclusion we had lost a dollar.  To some degree, I also spoke as an authority or peer which for many helps them realize a belief in the lost dollar assertion.

Simply; we believe something when we can see the evidences or references supporting it. We also tend to believe that which everyone else believes.  We weigh both types of evidence and when they meet the standards by which we have previously judged reality, we conclude the belief as true of reality. We never have certainty, just a sufficient preponderance of references to feel our conclusion justified.

This is true of how all beliefs are formed. My explanation and calculations seemed to provide the references for why you should believe the same. To the extent that you form many beliefs by hearing them stated as beliefs of others, my stating the conclusion helped form the belief in the lost a dollar.

You probably felt baffled about the lost dollar.  On the other hand, if I just make the statement:  “My car was stolen last Saturday”, you’d have no baffling experience. You would be baffled only if we touched upon your belief forming process and you felt something was flawed.

Consistent Bias, even when consistently wrong

Consistency also plays a part. Once I made my assertion of the lost dollar, I consistently held to it. I persisted with several contributing arguments and leading you in the manner I wanted you thinking.  This is a well used trick of the federal government in the Internal Revenue Code so most people believe they have a heavy tax burden upon them. … but that’s a story for another time. Like our lost dollar, a false reality is more believable with large volumes of assertions which, though true, are irrelevant to the deciding criteria.

Compound, authority, massive volumes of true but unsupportive examples, a biased toward self doubt, preference to follow the masses and a few mathematically correct though irrelevant calculations and it is no wonder we felt uneasy on the simple lost dollar question.

Consider a complex physical vs psychological reality subject and every proposed change meets monumental challenge, if not impossibility. However, be encouraged; The masses once perceived the earth as flat. Today, people know Einstein’s theories of time and relativity work, even if they haven’t quite figured out how to accept his views of time being a persistent illusion.


In the lost dollar, you followed me in my observations and conclusions. You saw from one perspective that I was correct in each of my stated observations.  Having accepted each as I explained them, you were pressed to accept my proposed conclusion. Yet, knowing the simple truth that we didn’t loose a dollar, you were baffled because you had seen the multiple observations were correct, and possibly felt a little peer pressure to agree.

Recognizing this is how we form beliefs, the simple little challenge felt a bit bewildering; like a challenge to rational reality. Ego doesn’t like that!

Personal Reality

We do the same with personal reality. We observe many things. We listen to others describe the same observations that we too observe. We conclude all are in agreement as to our observations. When someone or an authority proposes an interpretation and conclusion from those same observations, we think to ourselves: did I miss something. How is it that they make that conclusion?  How is it that I didn’t realize that conclusion?    Then, when all around us seem to agree with their conclusion, we are challenged to voice disagreement. We want be accepted as one of the knowing. We don’t want to be ridiculed by the masses that simply follow.

Result: people seldom actually think for themselves. They rarely approach the question by observing all the facts and working to derive the important questions themselves.

In actuality,

  • $30  (we started with 3 persons  x  $10 each)
  • – 3    ( We each received $1 back)
  • – 2    (Bellboy’s tip )
  • -25   (Charge for the room)
  • $0   (Balance – All is accounted for)   We didn’t loose anything

We can each discern the mysteries of the universe for we are intimately connected to “all that is” and “all the wisdom that is”;  Believe it! Realize it!