YOU STARTED IT—A Psychological Game Causing Major Trouble Aboard Spaceship Earth


By Richard John Stapleton

I am convinced the art of politics around Spaceship Earth now and always has been based on a psychological Game I have named YOU STARTED IT in which politicians, militaries, citizens, subjects, and voters act out roles on a Drama Triangle composed of Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims, switching about from time to time from one role to another, depending on which person, interest group, identity group, organization, or nation they are dealing with, feeling sanctimonious and self-righteous attacking, threatening, sanctioning, and possibly destroying the other because the other attacked or threatened them first.

One can build a case the YOU STARTED IT psychological Game builds employment and makes the elite rich richer in all countries and provides a form of entertainment for the masses. Many humans consider fighting in wars as Rescuers and Persecutors for Victims to be more heroic, exciting and exhilarating than staying at home doing boring routine work.

YOU STARTED IT playing under capitalism necessarily entails zero-sum competition and non-winner outcomes among individuals, groups, and organizations, including nations, and precludes Earthian humans from establishing I’m OK–You’re OK life positions.

Love does not make the Earthian human world go round: Insatiable greed–for stimulation, recognition, structure, money, and power–is the prime driver.

How much longer humans will survive aboard Spaceship Earth remains to be seen if they continue playing psychological Games at their historical levels. If global warming and climate change does not do them in nuclear bombs will. Both threats are increasing by the day. The increasingly severe droughts and wildfires of 2020 are a wake-up call that most humans are ignoring. Economic and political troubles are also increasing around Spaceship Earth, especially in the US. The same causes and forces that caused WWII have recurred, becoming stronger by the day, especially in the US, thanks to humans playing YOU STARTED IT at all levels.

The Covid plague and USian presidential boss Don Trump are probably the most serious threats facing Spaceship Earth at the moment. The plague–Trump or no Trump–could cause a severe Earthian economic depression and many millions of premature human deaths. Trump is now playing YOU STARTED IT with China and others using the Chinese govt handling of the Covid-19 disaster as a pretext. He would destroy democracy in the US if he starts a civil war playing YOU STARTED IT with what he calls the radical left in the US. He has poured gasoline on fires of hate in tweets and in speeches at racist rallies. His Mussolini-like demeanor, posturing, belligerence, and bullying in the first and possibly only presidential debate of 2020 was telling. Let’s face it: he wants to be a fascist dictator, to better Rescue his Victim followers and supporters, and to better Persecute their enemies on one of the most dramatic Drama Triangles of all time. He’s one of the most addicted drama addicts of all time on national and international stages.

His personal fate is now in the hands of his Covid-19 infection that he probably brought on himself trying to prove what a tough guy he is by not wearing a mask, probably causing Covid-19 infections among his supporters and followers who copied his idiotic leadership behavior.

The Julian Assange trial in England is also telling. USian and British governments, despite their imperialist actions around Spaceship Earth squelching democracy and freedom for others, playing YOU STARTED IT persecuting enemies to rescue their victim citizens, have historically been among the most democratic and ruled-by-law countries internally for their own citizens and subjects. Both countries have espoused free speech and truth-telling. They have also probably practiced it more than most countries, which is not saying much. Both countries strongly believe in keeping secrets from their subjects and citizens.

The Assange trial has not received much coverage in USian mainstream media. Was it squelched? You be the judge.

The main issue in the Assange trial is free speech, more specifically whether Earthian investigative reporters have a human right to tell the truth about the secrets of governments, including the US govt. Up to now the precedent in the US has been that they do, if they can get the facts. If Assange loses the precedent will change and investigative reporters all around Spaceship Earth could be reduced from truth-tellers to mere lackeys of fascist states.

If Assange loses the first trial in England he still has two appeals left in England before a final decision to extradite him to the US is made. If he loses three trials there it’s possible the English government will still decide not to extradite him to the US. If he is extradited to the US he faces a harsh sentence if convicted of whatever it is the US Govt finally decides to charge him with.

For doing what? Telling the truth about war crimes of the US government.

Also at issue in the Assange case is whether so-called Great Britain is really a great independent nation or is merely a vassal of the so-called United States. 

As reported by investigative reporters Craig Murray, John Pilger, and Alexander Mercouris the integrity of the Belmarsh trial has been suspect from the beginning because of the way it has been conducted. For one thing it’s sited in an isolated courtroom almost impossible for the public to access, and few reporters are allowed. Assange inhumanely has been forced to sit in the courtroom in a glass cage, barely able to hear what is going on. Some have called it a show trial and have accused the judge of being biased, establishing arbitrary short time limits for defense presentations, not allowing certain evidence, and what have you.

The oral testimony of expert witnesses has not only been cut short but entirely excluded in some cases, the judge having decided to only accept written testimony from some expert witnesses that is simply read into the court proceedings. One such expert witness has been Noam Chomsky, a professor, the truth-teller laureate of the US in my opinion, whose books and writings on US imperialism have been suppressed in USian mainstream media. His written testimony read into the Assange trial record is posted below in an article by Craig Murray.

The case of United States v. Julian Assange in England has not gone well for the US govt’s lawyers. They have submitted two superseding indictments and are having problems proving just what crime it is Assange committed. An underlying issue is whether he is being tried and persecuted for political, not legal, reasons.

Courtenay Barnett, a British lawyer practising in the Caribbean, has published several articles in the Effective Learning Report explaining the Assange case, reposted below as sources for this article.  

If justice is not served in this case democracy will have been mocked and both the UK and the US will have been pushed backward, back toward serfdom and fascism.

Benjamin Franklin, a major force behind the writing of the USian government Constitution, was asked by someone on a street in the 18th Century what kind of government he, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et. al. had created on the North American continent after rebelling against the English hereditary monarchy. He famously replied that it was “A republic, if you can keep it.”

He also said the former British colonists fomenting the rebellion had better unite and hang together in support of the new republic, otherwise “We shall all hang separately.

A republic is not a full democracy but it’s freer than a monarchy or a fascist dictatorship.

Human life all around Spaceship Earth would become less free if the new precedent in the Assange ordeal becomes law, since citizens or subjects of all countries could then theoretically be imprisoned in the US for disclosing secrets of the USian government.

For Assange such a change could result in cruel and inhumane punishment. Experts in sources such as those posted below have estimated if Assange, an Australian, is extradited to the US he could receive a sentence of up to 175 years in solitary confinement in a USian maximum security prison for disclosing Wikileaks files.

Unfortunately, not only is freedom not free; it’s unequally distributed in all walks of life.

Freedom in any country is distributed among the population on a continuum from most free to least free–whether the country is democratic, fascist, monarchist, capitalist, socialist, communist, or what have you. The freest are an elite minority at the top who can feel, think, learn, and do about what they want to, much more than all the rest, having many options in adult life. The least free are those at the bottom of the human hierarchy who have to feel, think, and do what they are told, having but one option in adult life outside of prisons, getting some sort of job, if they’re lucky, to do the bidding of some sort of boss day in and day out. And then there are all the rest situated at myriad gradients of freedom between the two polar extremes of the continuum.

In most cases where one is situated on the freedom continuum is a function of her or his accident of birth, not free-will ability, work, or merit. Earthian human life is not fair, or at least it never has been. Maybe there’s hope though. Who knows?

Suffice it to say the next month of USian history, up to the 2020 presidential election November 2, will be interesting, probably disgusting, and possibly terrifying.

For more information regarding my use of Transactional Analysis  to create better discussion groups and democratic processes see my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning.

For more information on how to co-construct better organizations and economic systems using transactional analysis see my book   Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”   for some management science ideas on how Earthian humans might eventually co-construct an economic system that is fair, viable, and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth, making it possible for all Earthian humans to develop an I’m OK–You’re OK life position. 

This would entail Earthian humans peacefully reducing through natural attrition the human population aboard Spaceship Earth, never doing work that machines can do better, and delegating the day-to-day management of systems for scheduling, producing, and distributing the necessities of life to artificial intelligence programs and supercomputers.

This can be done using linear programming based on the general algorithmic matrix algebra form

Max CjXj, s.t. AijXj ≤, =, or ≥ Bi

as I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.” . 

Flying aboard an airliner about to land at night moving at four hundred miles an hour at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, which would you rather have landing the plane, the plane’s radar and computer systems or the pilot and co-pilot, seeing nothing out their windows but clouds and lightning?

I am indebted to Buckminster Fuller for making it possible for me to read in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth the metaphor in the immediately above paragraph and for planting seeds for other ideas in my essay “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.,” such as computers and AI robots being the best hope for mankind and humans not doing work that machines can do better, being paid to think instead with what Fuller called mind grants. To my knowledge Fuller was the inventor of the appellations Earthian and Spaceship Earth.   

For details regarding my transactional analysis and management science qualifications see my RJS Academic Vita at   

Unfortunately it seems to me one can build a case Earthian politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games, mostly wasting the rest of their time and energy pastiming and engaging in rituals (shuffling paper, filling out unnecessary forms, attending useless meetings and rallies, and the like). It seems to me almost everything consequential in both domestic and foreign policy in all countries entails moves in a psychological Game, i.e., Rescuing, Persecuting, or Victimizing individuals, groups, or organizations in some way, which it seems to me is why completely unemotional AI robots and supercomputers could do a better and fairer job calculating the wins, losses, and tradeoffs involved in global decisions than imperfect, untrustworthy, limited, emotional, immoral, unethical humans, such as most of the presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and monarchs of some 200 nations now delineated aboard Spaceship Earth, especially the current president of the US, so as to create policies and systems that would maximize the chances of survival of the Earthian human population in the long run.

It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points in order to comprehend global cases, systems, and processes, while being inundated with fake news and true facts of states of affairs generated daily around Spaceship Earth, made public on the Internet, and elsewhere, to see what’s really going on, using primarily inductive and analogical reasoning, based on probability, not deductive logic. Almost never can anyone prove with deductive logic that a general proposition about psychological, social, economic, or political states affairs is absolutely true. About the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers that are generally acceptable and true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong. Telling someone something you know is fake as if it were true is worse than telling someone something that’s fake because of genuine ignorance. A good case in point these days is most USians calling FICA insurance premium payments “payroll” taxes. It’s hard to know if sayers calling FICA payments payroll taxes really do not know any better or if they really do know better but are overtly lying about it go along with the crowd to get political brownie points for conforming to a group lie. FICA payments are premium payments for a retirement insurance policy.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are false and fake, is debatable, as is proving whether it’s getting easier or harder for most people to know what’s fake and what’s not. Political parties, Earthian governments, and Mainstream media lie by omission with alacrity, information about the Julian Assange case being a case in point.

If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum at go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at .

Feel free to respond with comments and criticisms about any of the SOURCES listed below using the RESPONSES post on this blog masthead at the top of this page; but please refrain from making ad hominem attacks. Criticize and correct any of the facts, data, evidence, reasoning, and conclusions in any of the articles; but please refrain from slandering and defaming the characteristics and reputations of the authors illogically using slanderous or defamatory comments trying to prove their arguments and conclusions in their articles are wrong, and yours are right, starting more YOU STARTED IT psychological Games.


October 4, 2020

Here is John Pilger’s opinion of the Assange ordeal.

“Pilger says Assange hearing a Stalinist show trial,” Independent Australia, BIG NEWS NETWORK,

October 2

What next?

“Here Are 6 Ways Trump’s Covid Diagnosis Will Change the Campaign,” by Chris Walker, TRUTHOUT,

October 2

Must reading for understanding the Assange ordeal.

“Assange Hearing,” by Craig Murray, CRAIG MURRAY.ORG,

October 1

Here is a detailed scholarly account of the trial. A good read

“LETTER FROM LONDON: The Surreal US Case Against Assange,” by Alexander Mercouris, CONSORTIUM NEWS,

September 25

An interesting twist in the Julian Assange case

“The lion’s share of today’s Old Bailey proceedings in Julian Assange’s extradition trial was spent on battles over mental health and dire risk. The prosecution continued its attempt to minimise the dangers facing Assange were he to be extradited to the United States for 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. While the defence has its case on Assange’s fragile mental health well plotted, the prosecution is hoping that witnesses such as Dr Nigel Blackwood, consultant psychiatrist with the National Health Service, will punch holes in the argument. They will certainly hope for better efforts than those made by their own witnesses, Seena Fazel, a psychiatry professor who seemed too professionally tentative to land firm blows against Assange’s diagnosis for Asperger’s syndrome, or dismiss the health risks facing him in the US prisons system.”

“Assange on Trial: Mental Health, Managed Risk and Publication Chronologies,” by Binoy Kampmark, COUNTERPUNCH,

September 19

Right. Don’t extradite Assange.

“Pepe Escobar On The Assange Trial: The Mask of Empire Has Fallen, Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,

September 12

Here is another cogent article by Courtenay Barnett, in which at issue is whether the UK and the US are already functioning fascist states joined at the hip or still have some hope as independent democracies.

“A Speech for Julian Assange,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,

September 3

What now?

“NSA Surveillance Program Exposed by Snowden was Illegal, Rules Appeals Court,” by Chris Walker, TRUTHOUT,

April 19, 2019

So it is

“Assange – A Dangerous Precedent,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,

April 10, 2019

The Assange trial is a moral, as well as legal, issue.

“Julian Assange – Revisited,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,


Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, certified transactional analyst, educator, octogenarian emeritus professor of management, writer, editor and publisher

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