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July 2008

The Miserable Human Condition

This article points out that the rich have less leisure time than the poor:

Being rich used to get you into the leisure class. Money meant freedom — from work, money worries, household chores and screaming kids (via boarding school).

Now, however, the wealthy seem to be as besieged as ever. The leisure class has given way to what I call the workaholic wealthy – an elite of blackberry-crazed, network-obsessed, paripatetic travelers who have to keep scrambling to maintain their place in life.

It's amazing, really - the human inability to find hapiness in this world.  If you're poor, you're constantly stressing over money.  If you're well-to-do... You're constantly stressing over money.

Let he who has no irrational belief cast the first stone

Law professor Rick Hills has a really interesting post describing how many secular people view religious believers:

Just a few days ago, I was discussing a mutual friend with a former colleague. The latter was astonished by our mutual friend’s Christianity: “What’s up with that?!” he exclaimed, expressing bewilderment and even nervousness at the thought that a well-regarded – indeed, by academic standards, famous – professor could believe in the existence and beneficence of an omniscient and omnipotent God. If was as if our Christian friend had declared that the world was flat or was dabbling in alchemy. My former colleague even worried that, if a serious academic could believe in God, he was capable of believing in, or attempting, anything -- attempting to walk across the East River unaided by a water taxi, gunning down students in hallways, speaking in tongues at a faculty meeting, you name it.

Hills criticizes that viewpoint.  To which Paul Gowder responds:

Rick, how are you inferring from your colleague's belief that the religious think crazy things (which is obviously true -- transubstantiation? resurrection? reincarnation? world created in six days? some being in the sky cares about whether you eat pork? speaking in tongues? curses? possession? the end times? that children ought not to be educated beyond 14? that children ought not to have blood tranfusions? NAME a lunatic belief, and you can usually find a religion that endorses it, without even getting into the crazy cults) to the belief that the religious do crazy things?

Here is what cracks me up.  Paul Gowder is a great guy, but he also believes some really crazy things.  He's a radical socialist.  How could anyone believe in socialism?  That, to me, is every bit as irrational as believing in God.

How many atheists are Freudian or Nietzschean.  There is no scientific evidence supporting either of those worldviews.  Yet those same people will smugly attack Christians. 

How many atheists believe that financial markets are predictable or that they can "time the market"?

Oh, and then there's me.  I believe that space aliens have visited Earth and that the United States government has covered this up.  I believe it is more likely than not that people in the United States government played a direct role in 9/11.  Really, I do.

All sorts of people believe all sorts of wild and crazy things.

So why is it that we only mock Christians?


Here is an awesome review about an awesome documentary on steroids.  People ask me why I have no respect for authority or institutions.  I have one answer: Steroids.

As a sixth grade I would argue with my biology teacher about steroids.  He insisted they did not "work."  Every doctor said the same thing.  "Oh, steroids don't work."

That was complete and total garbage.  It was propaganda.

Today doctors admit that steroids "work," but now say they are "dangerous."  That, too, it total garbage.  Yet every authority person repeats that lie.  Steroids remain illegal, but you can get all sorts of downers from your doctor.  Yeah, that makes sense.

Steroids taught me at a very early age that most teachers, doctors, and other authority figures are completely and totally clueless.  Just morons who cannot think for themselves and can do nothing but repeat what others have told them. 

Those who know the truth nonetheless have an agenda.  That agenda, of course, is keeping the population feeble and weak.  Go to work and go shopping; but otherwise, stay home, and keep your mouth shut.  Trust us to rule you. 

You cannot get steroids precisely because testosterone makes one more confident.  There's a reason we say someone has "balls."  Testicles produce testosterone, and so someone with balls is not easily ruled.  Someone with testosterone coursing through his or her veins challenges the existing power structures.  Show me someone with no confidence, and I'll show you someone who would do a 180 after a few weekly injections of testosterone.

Show me someone, male or female, who is getting shit done, and you can guarantee that person has higher than average testosterone levels.

Which is why testosterone is and will remain the enemy to the powers that be.  People in power want cows, not bulls.

The Truth, Scrambled

This is an amazing video.  Someone took scenes from "The Shining" and converted it into a trailer for a romantic comedy of the same name.  This is amusing, of course, but there is a deeper meaning.  One can take a few scenes or words out of context to create a totally alternate reality. 

Maybe in jurisdictions where visual aids are allowed, you could present this video to the jury.  "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this film maker turned a horror film into a something harmless if not charming.  That's exactly what [the other side] is attempting to do here.  But we know this film distorts reality.  And we know [the other side's story] is equally distorted."

I Luvz Me Cuz Im Better Dan U

The New Scientist has an interesting article about narcissists:

Narcissistic people do not make pleasant colleagues, but they perform better than average at tasks that would daunt others, according to new US research.

Psychologists consider narcissism to pathological.  It's a mental disorder.  Does that make sense in light of these findings? 

Could it be then, that far from being a "personality disorder," that narcissists simply have a better self-understanding?

What is pathological about considering yourself better than others when, in fact, you are better than others?

We might say excessive self-love is indecent.  But that's a moral judgment, isn't it?

How many "personality disorders" are influenced by moral judgments?  Homosexuality used to be listed as a psychological disorder.  Gays are crazy, according to shrinks.

Relatedly: Is psychology a scam