Thursday, March 8, 2018

Delirium?: Episode 1: Limits


I’m no James Joyce but I'm intrigued by the idea of experimenting with free-associative writing. So here, uncensored, are the thoughts flying through my head as I sit here at my keyboard:

No one needs anything more than a room, a few changes of clothes, simple food: fruits, vegetables, a little protein and bread.

People are more trouble than they’re worth, except in small doses.

How could the human body exist: a heart that keeps beating, a body not in pain, a brain that can apprehend so much?

I’d love to believe in a God, even if it didn’t reach the high bar of being omniscient and omnipotent--as long as it was benevolent. No such thing. A benevolent God wouldn't allow deadly earthquakes or countless babies to be born with painful cancers, who live for a short time screaming in agony and leaving bereft parents. Man created God because s/he needs one to deal with suffering and fear of death and dying.

Ah, benevolence. Most people are benevolent only when it doesn’t hurt them to be benevolent. How about people we see as self-sacrificial? Usually it’s just for show or because they’ve given up on life--They feel they have nothing to lose.

What could make a life worth living? Not pleasure—shallow. Making a difference to one’s sphere of influence without the effort being odious--That’s all I can think of.

It’s hard to understand how most people make peace with their decline and death without it swallowing up their good feelings about living.

At least I’m not living in Burundi.

Shaw was right, “There’s no sincerer love than the love of food.” Alas.

All the media says: Woman good; man bad, or at least white man bad. And the colleges keep saying white men are “privileged.” How much of white male “privilege” is earned? Men have done so much good. They do so much good. It makes me really sad, dispirited. I so believe that decisions based on merit will do so much more good for society than yet more redistribution toward equality let alone based on who has the least.

Why have Asians--from Chinese to Indian—as visibly different from whites as are Blacks--achieved so much more so much faster? And Blacks are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder and the top of the crime ladder. And that’s not just in the U.S. but in most if not all 200 of the world’s nations: majority Black or not, colonized or not, enslaved or not, now or through the centuries.

Diets are stupid. 98% of dieters gain back what they lose and more. I've tried so hard to stay at a healthy weight and I'm still 20 pounds overweight. If you have a physiological tendency to eat too many calories, you can’t often enough restrain yourself. Extreme diets are unhealthy, defying natural selection. They’re painful without benefit, indeed with liability--the extremity and the yo-yoing. We focus on diet in fear of death and dying, especially as, in our ever more overwhelmed health care system, we're less likely to get access to care, let alone quality, error-free care. We feel we have some measure of control over our diet but the the data that diet matters--except for obesity—is meager, so weak that we wouldn’t make most choices based on such iffy data, let alone force ourselves into a lifetime of dietary struggle of love-hate relationship with food.

Restraint: That's so hard to inculcate, in ourselves, let alone by counselors, who spend a lot of time trying to inculcate that in clients. I’m confident that the power to self-restrain is heavily genetic, perhaps in part having to do with the amount of adrenaline and other hormones secreted in response to a given stimulus: food, an obnoxious person, pot, whatever. Some people have more impulse control than others do.

For most people, pot is a better high than alcohol so legalization will dramatically increase its use because of  greater accessibility, all the advertising and soon pot cafes, bars, and restaurants, which will make it top-of-mind. That's  VERY dangerous to our mental and physical health, not to mention the increase in car accidents in which we're the innocent victim, and to America’s ability to compete for jobs, and in developing better products. So evil to legalize it.

Indeed, the government is evil. If it cared about us, it wouldn’t allow legal pot, alcohol, or sell lottery tickets, which, Democrats pushed, even though it mainly soaks the poor.  And a benevolent government wouldn’t wrest half or more of our income (when you count everything--all taxes, user fees etc) knowing government so wastefully spends our money.

Liberals are such hypocrites. And I'm not just talking about Al Gore living in a compound, having 5 SUVs, and flying around in a private jet. Liberals praise diversity but live in enclaves from Chevy Chase to Beverly Hills. Liberal politicians laud affirmative action but exempt themselves from it. Ugh.

Who do I respect? No one in totality. But I do have a lot of respect for medical researchers who work tirelessly in quiet anonymity probably to end up dying having done no more than close some blind alleys. But their cause is just: all the pain of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, so many diseases. Oy. I do respect myself. I try to be Ben Franklin-like and pretty much succeed--I get up early, work hard and long, and focus on improving the lives of people in my sphere of influence. Sorry about the hubris but I’m trying to be really honest here.

I hate getting old. By normative standards, I’ve accomplished a lot but really I don’t think I’ve made much difference. Certainly, the world is moving in the opposite direction from my core belief about what does the most good for the most people: meritocracy over redistribution. Now it’s so often the reverse: redistributing yet more from the more contributory to the less. Sure, the top 1/10 of 1%, which the media focuses on, makes zillions, but that exaggerates income inequality across the population. Most of the redistribution comes from the middle class. The price they pay, the price society pays, well exceeds to benefits of the redistribution.

That’s more than enough, at least for now. I welcome your comments, I guess. I'm actually scared to get them.

I read this, adding some asides, on YouTube.

Here is Episode 2 and Episode 3.

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