You aren’t G-d, and thank heavens, neither am I.

Not that I’m putting Stranger in a Strange Land down.  on a scale of Heinlein books, we’ll say it was my favorite at 14, not so much at 55, but still, you know, yeah “Thou art God” and all that might have been the zeitgeist of the time (or to quote Heinlein at a later date “what some writers will do for money!’) but Heinlein still missed the most outrageous implications of the idea.

And why should he not?  He was a man who believed in personal responsibility and tending your own garden, and keeping your nose off other people’s gardens, so his Martian who has tumbled on to a modified, collective solipsism uses his powers for good…. ish.  Sure, there’s a lot of mattress beating, but in the end, the “special powers” are used to do things like lose weight, fix one’s life, etc.

Being G-d — note, not godlike, which is more what people try to escape to with super heroes and all that — is rather more complicated a business.  You’d be responsible for before and after, for eternity and its sequel.  It’s a job only an insane person would want.  Unfortunately, a lot of insane people are being thrust into that position.  Or they’re going insane after being thrust into that position.

Not that they’re gods, or heaven have god like powers, but they don’t believe in a power or a reality higher than themselves, which effectively thrusts them into the position of deciding what the rules are, and what the purpose every single day.

Humans weren’t designed that way.  We’re creatures of the band.  Our remote almost-human ancestors would have been born into a rigid hierarchy, because ape bands have a rigid hierarchy.  It can change, but it can’t go away.  We were designed to obey rules and boundaries, learned and instinctive.  And the very keeping of body and spirit together, in more primitive times, imposed an order on a primate’s life, whether pre-human or human.  There was food to forage for, and things to hunt, and young ones to look after, and someone had to look out for the lions.

It wasn’t a wide and  formless chaos in which you didn’t even believe reality existed outside your perceptions.

No, I don’t believe in nobility of birth, which makes me rather mad for an ape.  But I do believe in structures, in order, in purpose.

I remember with both fondness and dread the summer vacations of my teen years.  The first month or so was lovely, as I could spend the day doing whatever I wanted.  The last month (particularly if the start of school was postponed way past October as it sometimes was due to stupid political tricks) was heinous.  I could spend the day doing whatever I wanted.

The difference is that in the beginning of vacation, I had a pile of books I’d been accumulating during the school year, I had walks I wanted to take, friends I wanted to touch base with, stuff that had been waiting to be written.

By the end of that vacation I’d done all that, and it was a formless nothing, broken occasionally with housekeeping duties (they were there at the beginning too, but viewed as interruptions.)  I never liked school much (I liked learning, but remarkably little of it happened at school) but by the end of that, it was a welcome relief, because it circumscribed those wide and formless day in which I, mostly, got sick of myself.

Were the social rules thrown out in the late sixties (heck, started to be thrown out in the early twentieth century after WWI) restrictive and stupid?  All social rules are restrictive and stupid, and a good number of them are objectively counterproductive.

Except for where they give us a framework and a guide to life.  When we threw out all social rules, we also threw out ancient precepts and cautions, things like “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” and “deserving poor” and… and misery or happiness are in your hands, choose.

Instead we replaced them with a lot of nonsense “victim of society” and “no one is ever really guilty” and “Who are we to judge.”

This opening of our minds till our brain fell off left those people not fortunate enough to be raised by people of strong principles floating in a sea of tedium and lack of purpose.  Since the only firm principle they have is that there was never anyone as enlightened or perceptive as themselves, they can’t examine their own beliefs and actions for errors.  They also can’t find reality with two hands and a seeing eye dog, which is why they think reality changes with what you believe, and therefore think that your refusing to engage in their preferred speech, or saying things they don’t like is a literal aggression.  Because they believe words an stories can tear the world apart and put it together in another shape.

It’s not that they’re gods — though they might think they are — but that they’ve reverted to the mind of the primitive savage, unable to connect cause and effect outside themselves, and therefore living in a world they think thoughts or intentions can alter for good and ill: buffeted by the thoughts and intentions of others, looking in vain for the safe room that will allow them to remake the world anew with their thoughts.

That is what is behind their attacks on those who don’t think the same way they do.  That is what is behind their bizarre displays like trying to levitate the Denver Mint.  It is definitely what is behind their belief that if they erase history and remake it in their image, and install a regime that has brought death wherever it was tried, this time there will be utopia.

They’re savages, in a haunted world, blindly offering sacrifice to forces they can’t understand and trying to think the world in their image and semblance, then finding scape goats when it doesn’t work.  Which is always, because that’s not how this works.  That’s not how any of this works.

Reality is that which doesn’t go away when you stop thinking about it.  It has a power over you.  The actions and wishes of others, both the ones that live with you, and those who occupied this earth for millennia before you were born have an effect on you,  both good and ill.  They discovered things that worked, and things that didn’t.

The perfect communist state is not going to suddenly work, just because you want it to, real hard.

Things like getting up early, keeping healthy, finding an occupation you can work at without too much suffering, looking after yourself and those you are responsible for, keeping a decent and cleanly appearance and space, abstaining from (too many) mind altering substances (well, a glass of wine doesn’t alter my mind.  It does relax my mood.  But that’s me, with my genetics.  Your millage may vary.) work.  They’ve worked … well, since we have records or humans.

What should you pursue?  What will give meaning to your life?

I don’t know.  I’m not G-d.  I do know that for all of us there’s something that’s worth doing really hard.  Whether it’s keeping the most amazing garden ever, or writing books, or simply being the perfect secretary.

For many of us what gives meaning to life is not what feeds us (and for a long time writing was both of those things to me, but different types of writing) and that is pursued in the after-hours. Or what gives meaning to life is not your work, but that it enables you to feed your family, go out with your friends, and enjoy those.

I know someone whose higher purpose seems to be long hikes; I know someone whose higher purpose is to be the best administrative assistant ever (haven’t talked to her in years, but Portugal, you know?); and I know writers and artists and clothes designers, partly because, you know, I tend to associate with that type of thing.

As far as I can tell your higher purpose in life should be something that will live after you, to be satisfying.  That can be raising your family, yes, but it can be writing books, crocheting, making quilts, or even just living an exemplary life, which people, seeing, want to imitate.  You won’t see your influence, but it will live on after you and shape the future.  Even if all you do is rescue stray kittens.

And you need companions on your journey, people who will see and understand.

The early left had all this, as they were convinced that they were working towards paradise on Earth, and they were by and large happy individuals.  I think the current left knows their purpose is nihilism disguised as revolutionary fervor.

That doesn’t work, because you start hating yourself and everything around you.

Work for something you think will bring good.  Yes, some of us will be tragically wrong like those early communists (though remembering humans AREN’T infinitely perfectable would have corrected their error) but many won’t, and thus the future becomes better than the past.

But more importantly, you won’t be floating in a sea of lack of purpose and tedium.  You’ll get up to do something which is an ordered endeavor and furthers what you believe is good.  And you’ll have a band, going along with you, and supporting you on the way.  You’ll be a happy ape, whatever else you are.

I doubt anyone will read my work after I’m dead, but someone will have read it, and used his or her own gifts to create something I can only dream of.  Or someone who read it will have said something to someone else, who will go on to create something great.

And so we go, and so things get better. Not from above, by government fiat.  Not because some human who is “a sort of god” can think us all into paradise with his mind, but slowly, incrementally, with the present grounded on the past and the future extending into infinity with promise we can’t imagine.

Now forgive me, I must go, I have my own tree to climb.  Later today I hope to finally catch the short story I’ve been hunting.  And then there’s a novel on the horizon.  It might even turn out to be great.

It’s a worthy pursuit.



305 thoughts on “Meaning

  1. I liked learning, but remarkably little of it happened at school

    I found a great deal of learning occurred at my schools, but very little of it was part of the official curriculum.

    1. Friend of mine who was a logic professor used to hate being called a teacher. He’d say “that assumes there’s learning going on.”

          1. Alas, in several cases, yes. In my case, Hah! Just what I need – to go down to Austin and picket for more of the money the state refuses to allow to be used on private schools.

            The latest argument is that for the state to allow vouchers or tax-credits for parents who use private or charter schools, it will skim the cream students off public schools and lower their standardized test scores and make the public schools look bad. There’s a logic hole there large enough to sail the Nimitz through.

            1. So you want to handicap students so your numbers look prettier. Bleh.

              Still have a chunk protesting at capital here. Apparently one district is trying to do a “field trip” to capital. Once you start saying how funding must be done you move from contract to politics.

              1. So you want to handicap students so your numbers look prettier.
                Seems like that’s exactly what the Broward County schools did to Cruz…………..

              2. Funny, I just finished reading this editorial:

                Teachers union boss gets caught putting kids’ needs last
                Puerto Rico is still reeling from the twin blows of bankruptcy and Hurricane Maria’s devastation, but Randi Weingarten only wants to add to the pain: The American Federation of Teachers president just got caught trying to shut down the commonwealth’s schools.

                The Washington Free Beacon reports that the DC-based union chief was overheard ordering up a strike on a cellphone while in the first-class car of a New York-bound train. And while she denounced the eavesdropping, she didn’t deny her reported words.

                Such as saying Puerto Rico’s teachers should “call in for a personal day so they can’t open schools. Let them call in for a sick day.”

                And warning her listener to “be careful about the words we use” and “never use the word ‘strike’ ” and to work with “the lobbyists we have” on the plan.

                What’s her beef? Gov. Ricardo Rossello recently signed legislation to increase the number of charter schools and voucher programs. Those measures are anathema to the AFT — hence Weingarten’s call to war.

                Teachers in Oklahoma and West Virginia have employed walkouts to protest similar school reforms — and the union boss told her associate the teachers “should be cloaking this” in the actions in those states.

                Protect union members’ privileges at the kids’ expense, then lie about it. That’s standard AFT operating procedure; the only difference this time is that she got caught.

                1. My simple remark is that if the reason for all the issues is lack of classroom funding, that can easily be repaired. But the heart tugging comercials wouldn’t work as well if they were saying they wanted more money and wouldn’t compromise on that. As well as saying that the politicians needed to remove tax breaks they disliked.

            2. I’m definitely torn on the whole “letting them have any say at all in my kids’ education” thing, but dang it would be nice to be able to use, oh, a tenth of what we pay in school taxes to take the edge off of the out of house classes, like the Princess’ kung-fu. Heck, even if they limited it to those programs registered as education.

      1. Teacher is not the same thing as scholar which in turn is not the same thing as professor. A teacher has a talent for putting subject matter across to people who don’t necessarily see the point, NOW. Mr. King in the STALKY & CO. stories was a teacher. He was a sonofabitch, but Kipling admits that the man who served as the model for King taught him to hate Latin for years…and love it the rest of his life. A Professor is good at presenting subject matter in which he is an expert to people interested in learning it. He may well be lousy at ‘teaching’ the uninterested. A Scholar is someone who is good at pushing the boundaries of his subject; he may be absolutely awful at transmitting what he learns thereby to anyone but other scholars.

    2. I was one lucky sonofabitch in that my parents, after a long and jaundiced look at the local public high school, spent the money to send me to a private prep-school with a (for the times) fairly Conservative outlook. Most of the teachers were semi-mindless drones (as opposed to the Public school system, where ALL of them were totally mindless drones) but there were a handful who managed to crack my teenage-thick skull open with a crowbar and let some learning in. They could even deal with being argued with; one of the English teachers remarked that Science Fiction (of which I read an inordinate amount) was bunk. I asked him if he had ever read any. When he said “No.” I said “Then you aren’t really entitled to an opinion, are you?”

      And he AGREED with me.

      Other schools? Meh. HAVING an education is fun, but the starry eyed pedagogue who came up with the idea that “Learning should be fun” really needed to have his meds checked. Acquiring the basic building blocks on an education, which allow you to pursue the fun stuff later, is hard work AND tiresome. And every effort I have ever run into to get around that has appeared to seriously short-change the pupils.

      “Whole word” language instruction comes to mind.

      1. I had a number of good teachers, especially in HS, mostly STEM. One newer set of teachers that were brothers in middle school. Went out their way to make learning interesting & fun, couple of the few classes I didn’t read through class. Within 5 years they were beaten down. It was hard to see. I graduated ’74.

        My sister is a general science teacher in a middle school. She adores crafts of all types, is good at them, & teaching. She works her class stuff into the craft stuff. Her students don’t know how good they have it. Neither does her supervisor; able to keep mouth shut is NOT in my sister’s abilities.

        1. One newer set of teachers that were brothers in middle school.
          They weren’t brothers anymore, after middle school? 😉

      2. Making education “fun” is an important part of making people lifelong learner’s. The problem is that the ‘fun’ has to be at the ‘heres how we use it’ stage. If it’s fun in the actual learning aspect it’ll make people stop whenever there is difficulty. But make the fun the rewarding experience and people will go after it.

        1. Don’t remember the name of the class now (kid has been out of HS for 11 years now). But Willamette HS in Eugene has what is technically considered a trade class that can be taken Jr & Sr years. Any smart parent wanting the kid to go to college encourages it to get fit in. Not easy if the kid is to also take Chemistry, Physics, extra Math, etc.; kid had to opt out of study hall one term to get it all in, & they weren’t going to let him at first (come on not allow a student to opt out of Study Hall???? Plus Jr & Sr students couldn’t be on campus for study hall. WTH?).

          Prior to this class required science classes involve Kinetics: Mechanical, Solar, & Wind; Air Dynamic Flight, as well as other physical sciences. They get basic biology too, but the former they end up designing & implementing projects, with (part of) grading based on how-far or how long (time) your design goes/works. First year involves a lot of old CDs donated for the kinetics, paper for air dynamics, etc. They were always working on some type of project at the end.

          Trade class (not required) students have to learn welding, electrical, breaking, steering, design, & ???, end result they build battery based Electric Race cars/carts that they (must have drivers’ license) race (most # laps is X hours = winner). Last race of the season is at the Portland Race Speedway. Son’s second year their team’s car took 3rd in State for most won races regardless of driver, which surprised & pleased the team. They designed the car so ALL team members could drive it, which since one team member was a big kid, was not aerodynamic nor as light; built that school year.

          One of the few non club (might be the only one that is still a school class) oriented teams. The only one where at the start of the race season ALL student cars are brand new, those built by students. Cars built the prior season are disassembled & scrapped unless the vehicle is purchased; which, I think, makes their team 3rd place state win extra special (YMMV). School has exactly 2 vehicles that are not scrapped. Both are owned by teachers.

          From the time my son got his drivers license he drove in a race, whether it was his team’s car or not. Why? Because drivers must weigh in at 180#’s. Since kid only weighed 160#’s they had to add weights to bring him up to the 180 mark.

          Yes. This is considered (club or class teams) a lettering “sport” (surprised the heck out of us & the kid; he was just having fun learning & doing). They can letter by one of the 3 criteria: 1) coming in top 5 in X # of races driving a car; 2) top 5 in X # of race for their team car; 3) their team car is top 5 in state.

      3. ” …“Learning should be fun” really needed to have his meds checked…”

        Learning isn’t always, or even usually, in the classroom. I played football until I was 28 years old. I got better and better, because I was learning how to be better and better. It involved blood loss and a couple of broken bones, lots of abrasions and scabs, sweat, complete exhaustion, mud, and lots and lots of pain.

        I loved it.

        1. Of course. Same with most of my learning, which involved stealing my (10 year older brother’s physics books and doing the problems. Eventually I learned not to write the solution on the books. “I can’t do that problem, Prof. My little sister wrote on my book.” “Oh, for heaven’s sake man, surely you can see around the scribbles.” “Sure, that’s not the problem. Look.”) I also stole my older cousin’s biology books. I spent years reading in English with a dictionary at my side. Ditto French. I read everything that stood still long enough and it was fun. BUT dear Lord, that’s not the same as “having fun” while trying to learn the basics and therefore never learning them.

  2. I was just thinking of Higher Purpose: Slay Communists for the Dungeon Fantasy Role Playing Game (Powered by GURPS).

          1. It is inspired by the Higher Purpose: Slay Demons and Higher Purpose: Slay Undead that Holy Warriors can get. I think Clerics can buy those as a power up, but I’m not sure.

  3. On “they’ve reverted to the mind of the primitive savage”, I see this shown in many ways.

    IMO to the primitive mind, things “don’t just happen” but are caused by somebody/something else.

    The “Witch” of folklore was a being (sometimes not even human) that caused bad things to happen to others. The African “Witch Doctor” is/was a healer but since “illness” was seen as an attack by a witch, they also fought the witch on the sick person’s behalf.

    When one of the SJW scream that they don’t want “those people” around them, they are seeing “those people” as somebody/something that can cause harm to them just by being around. IE “Those people” are “Witches” (not not Wicca).

    Want to ban “Hate Speech”? Then IMO you are saying that if the “words” goes away, then the hate goes away.

    I suspect the SJWs are not consciously aware of that aspect of “Banning Hate Speech” but we already know that they don’t think. 😈

    1. They often live in a peccatogenic world, where sin of some kind (capitalism, fossil-fuels, the Patriarchy, Consumerism) has corrupted the world and is the cause of [unwanted evil here]. And if you do not go to confession – struggle sessions, diversity seminars – and do good deeds like protesting [insert cause here], you are going to make the evil thing worse.

      Not unlike the farmer I overheard 20 or so years ago bemoaning the recent wet weather that was interfering with planting. He attributed it to the Lutherans plowing on Sunday and so G-d was punishing everyone in the county for that crime.

      1. When I was growing up, there was (not serious) talk that cutting your grass on Sunday caused crabgrass. 😉

      2. Mt Pinatubo was caused by the Negritos getting cheap and sacrificing chickens instead of pigs. Or else, if you lived in the lowlands, it was because of something about not worshiping Mary the way you ought. OR it was caused by nuclear weapons on Clark AB.

        1. Heh, I remember that one about the Negritos, and the leftie-peacenik commie freaking out about the Clark Air Base.

          The one that people really worry about is Taal Volcano. People live right up to the crater of the outermost lake. But there’s also a sense of “if it blows, we’re all dead anyway, so we’ll carry on and not worry about it.”

          1. I’ve seen some pictures that look like Pinatubo has a pretty crater lake now.

            Not much chance I’ll ever go back to visit, though.

            1. There was an interview of an Aeta tribesman who was in a cave with his tribe/clan/extended family when Pinatubo blew. They were in that cave because it was sacred to them and they wanted to pray and attempt to appease the mountain. When the volcano started to erupt, a voice woke him and told him to get his family and go to the very back of the cave and bury themselves in the sand; there wasn’t enough time for anything else. He obeyed. He and his immediate family were the only ones to survive the gust of hot gases that killed the rest of the clan.

    2. I have really, really resisted concluding this about the left but the combination of the extreme “speech is violence”, the ruling that San Francisco’s gay marriages were invalid being claimed as “declaring our love isn’t real”, and more recently the pronoun and gender wars have me thinking they generally do live in a pre-scientific mindset and probably even a pre-classic mindset.

      I mean, look at the whole gender thing. Now, is gender expression, especially the social aspects, is variable and has a range. I suspect I know that better than a lot of the so called allies of trans people. Hell, I’d like “sissy” to move from a term of derision to the parallel to tomboy for kids and teens and for effeminate to be as acceptable as butch for adults.

      However, I don’t kid myself the XX vs XY doesn’t matter.

      There are people who deny it is a legitimate question for medical treatment. If pushed they say there should be a line of questioning “do you have a uterus, do you have testicles” which ignores the fact that even if those are removed the effects of the chromosome pairing is not null.

      That is the thinking of the primitive beyond anything I encountered in fiction or most of history. It makes people with money candles seem rational.

      And more and more this thinking is affecting people in charge or at the very least is validated by them.

      It will not end well.

      1. Hell, I’d like “sissy” to move from a term of derision to the parallel to tomboy for kids and teens and for effeminate to be as acceptable as butch for adults.

        Hm, that might point to a cultural issue there– in the uses I’m familiar with, “sissy” is the inverse of “bully,” has nothing to do with “tomboy.”
        It’s more common as a malignant form of femininity, just like bullying (as in running rough-shod, rather than the many malicious manipulations type) is more common as a malignant form of masculinity,
        Meanwhile “tomboy” is healthy masculine traits; little boys with healthy feminine traits are usually noted as “amazingly well behaved.” 😉
        For adults, the healthy traits tend to be enumerated– he’s nurturing, she’s so commanding, he’s a really good leader, she’s so focused, he can juggle a dozen things at once….

        1. Um, at our house, and as I generally hear it used, Sissy is the child-form of Sister, and Bubba is the child-form of Brother. “I sowwy, Bubba” “It’s okay, Sissy.” Tells you the speakers are childten and siblings.

          1. True, I didn’t include that use– I’ll even ask my kids where “sissy” is, but that is baby talk.

            They can handle the difference between two, to and two, they can handle sissy=> sister, sissy=> wimp.

        2. “Sissy” is mixed…it can be the “won’t fight” but it is also a girlie boy.

          And trust me, not all sissies are well behaved much less amazing well behaved.

          As for adults you are correct on the enumeration but there is a bit more generalizing of labels for women with more masculine traits. A handsome woman is sometimes a compliment but a pretty man (usually pretty boy) is not.

          I will agree it is cultural and it is one of the few things where feminists have a point and then forget they did. We value masculine traits in women more than the opposite. Feminists just complain about it then in their actions amp it up to 11 instead of working to make it more bi-directional. Yes, some want to make all little boys into girls, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking a more neutral response to the feminine side of the male curve as opposed to swapping the curves of the physical sexes.

          1. Yes, some want to make all little boys into girls, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking a more neutral response to the feminine side of the male curve as opposed to swapping the curves of the physical sexes.

            It seems to me like they want to turn little girls into bad boys and little boys into nasty girls.

            Mostly find it interesting because you’re the first non-histrionic sort I’ve seen that mentions “sissy” is still in use in the old-movies-or-TV cardboard way. I’ve seen it on TV, yeah, but the only folks I’ve seen observe it besides yourself are the sort that think hand gestures are violence.
            (Not the Sarah’s double-barrel type “hand gesture,” the “Hi, I’m Italian, you tie my arms and I can’t talk” type hand gestures.)

            Which makes me wonder if it’s a sub-culture thing, or along the lines of the “female ally” type whose first insult is either that I’m a whore or a lesbian.

            1. Well, in parts of the alternative sexual world (I need a better term…but BDSM world seems off) there is a community that embraces sissy with various degrees and types of expression. It is very much a feminine male thing, sometimes used as degrading/humiliation play thing but sometimes embraced as who that person is. If I had to describe the latter part I’d say imagine a crossdresser (which oddly is a male only term 99% of the time) who is en femme as much as possible but not transitioning. Some trans activists are trying very hard to fold in that sissy group and even the broader crossdressing community (while attacking drag queens, go figure) to increase their apparent numbers.

              1. crossdresser (which oddly is a male only term 99% of the time)

                Eh, makes sense to me; a woman is quite likely to drape her husband’s shirt around her as a quick cover, so there’s the associated hotness. A guy is much less likely to slip into her little black dress, from simple physics if nothing else!

                1. A woman wearing men’s clothing is not (generally) doing it to appear as a man.

                  While a man dressing in women’s wear is trying to pass as the other gender.

                  It depends upon the effect desired.

                  1. Alternate impression, in which Veronica Lake proves that boy’s clothing does not diguise her femininity.

                    From Sullivan’s Travels, with Joel McCrea.

          2. A handsome woman is sometimes a compliment but a pretty man (usually pretty boy) is not.

            It depends, and was not always so. I recently read Scott Eyman’s books on John Wayne and on the friendship of Henry Fonda & Jimmy Stewart and on several occasions he quotes a man declaring that (for example) “John Wayne was the most gorgeous human being I ever saw.”

            But that is particular to an industry and a time when things were different.

            The cultural objections to a “pretty” man typically center on the idea that he can’t be earning an honest living if he keeps himself that pretty and the related idea that a man who keeps himself looking so pretty is probably a gigolo.

            It seems to me that the English offer more nuanced terms for effeminate males, although I am not sufficiently conversant with their slang to distinguish between “nancy boy” “pansy” and others.

            1. I love that a gorgeous man was once a compliment men could naturally use on each other. I have heard women use it but not men.

              I find it interesting that post-60s liberation we seem to have a much narrower range for expression and expressing on anything but the most nasty, explicit material. It doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint.

              1. It doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint.


                and in insisting on the freedom to draw a giraffe with a short neck, they found themselves unable to draw a giraffe at all.

                1. Sometimes I wonder if killing relatively moderate ways to be gender presentation non-conforming has resulted in so many extreme gender non-conforming people. How many of the current trans 16-25 year olds would have been happy being just tail of the bell curve people? How much would their lives better than today and in the eeeeevil 1950s by a simple shift to making “sissy” the same as “tomboy” and similar changes as opposed to the outright destruction of gender expectations.

                  1. I’d look more at the big public to-do about being gay– if I was anything less than pig headed, I would’ve believed the folks who assured me I was a lesbian as a teen.

                    Frankly, just keeping sex-stuff out of the public eye would do a lot. Folks might get minor harassed, but only when it came up. (I saw grandmas rip more than one strip off folks for bringing up other folks’ private business. Imagine if that was the norm…..)

                    1. What, consider sex something to just do with your partner(s) behind closed doors instead of in the street where the horses and children can see it?

                      What kind of RepressedNaziFacistFrigidOtherInVogueInsult person are you?

      2. Love isn’t real? Is that the thing where, if the State doesn’t compel something it doesn’t exist?

        1. See here for some examples;

          “This is a painful and difficult day for the thousands of couples whose love, commitment and desire to protect their families was placed on hold,”

          Except for some legal issues around inheritance and children that could fall under protection I don’t see how the state’s approval or disapproval affects that. Even on some of those it was doable just not with the ease of the assumptions a marriage license brings.

          But including love and commitment as things put on hold and other parts of protection such as having a job and providing food, shelter, and comfort? Why do you need the state for that?

          1. So you can punish people who aren’t supportive enough, and I would suspect there are a number of pedophiles who figured out that if they forced an organization which considered their marriage illegitimate to adopt kids out to them, they’d have a much easier time screaming victim when/if the organization figured out they were abusing the kids.

            1. Of course you can punish people who aren’t supportive enough. I learned with what happened with Catholic Charities in MA after that state got gay marriage that gay marriage activism wasn’t about helping gay couples easily organize their lives via a basket of legal changes in one form but revenge against people gay activists felt didn’t like them.

              It is how I went from pro-gay marriage to anti-gay marriage. I saw who two men marrying harmed and it was older children, sibling groups, and special needs children in the adoption system. That was a harm I thought was too high a price to pay.

              Oh, and gay couples looking to adopt paid as well. If you drive the largest adoption agency in the state out of business and even if they didn’t handle gay couple much all their prior potential clients are now competing for slots with gay couples at agencies who did.

              For those wondering:

          2. “Except for some legal issues around inheritance and children that could fall under protection I don’t see how the state’s approval or disapproval affects that. Even on some of those it was doable just not with the ease of the assumptions a marriage license brings.”

            Marriage Certificate = about 2 inches of legal documents (or did in this instance). Had a co-worker who did exactly that. Significant other was a widow with kids, who upon remarriage lost benefits for herself & the kids; don’t know the specifics. So rather than marrying, they went to a lawyer & set up legally what marriage did, without the marriage.

            “But including love and commitment as things put on hold and other parts of protection such as having a job and providing food, shelter, and comfort? Why do you need the state for that?”

            You don’t.

            1. Indeed. I have often thought that the response to the gay marriage issue should not have been “How do we extend the State’s explicit controls on marriage to same-sex couples”? but “Why is the State so intricately involved in the affairs of couples in the first place?”

              I have an as-yet-very-incomplete exercise in my head where I would like to take all the legal consequences for marriage in my State, and the legal consequences for ending that marriage — both the stuff that’s codified into law, and the stuff that’s been hashed out in courts as common law — and put it all together in terms of a contract, which, by default, would include a pre-nuptial agreement. I can’t help but wonder how many people would find those conditions to be acceptable.

              What’s particularly weird is that, while I was married in Utah, my wife and I lived in New York for several years. Had we gotten divorced, our pre-nuptial “agreement” would have been different, had we gotten divorced in Utah…and had we moved to Maryland and gotten a divorce, our pre-nuptial “agreement” would have been different still. This is a funny way for a contract to work.

              While I have no idea whether a conniving spouse ever encouraged a move to a different State so that the terms of divorce would favor them, I have a cousin who married in Utah, lived in Alaska, and had her husband abandon her in one of the Carolinas…and it had interesting ramifications on the divorce proceedings as a result….

              Why should the State be involved in *any* of this, excepting making sure that the children and spouse are taken care of in the event of orphanhood or in divorce (that is, declare a contract or will invalid, because the terms were obviously unjustly harmful to the typical heirs — which, incidentally, is handled by modern contract and inheritance laws just fine — an obviously unbalanced contract or will can be successfully contested)?

              I would go so far as to say that, if people actually knew what they were signing up for, because they either wrote up their own agreements before marriage, or at least reviewed a broilerplate contract before the marriage, then we just might not have the unbalanced issues we currently have with divorce today! (That typically favor the mother over the father, although occasionally it happens the other way around….)

              1. . I have often thought that the response to the gay marriage issue should not have been “How do we extend the State’s explicit controls on marriage to same-sex couples”? but “Why is the State so intricately involved in the affairs of couples in the first place?”

                Because that doesn’t have an answer that lets one feel great– and recognizing it would require people recognize something they’d rather not.

                Because of the Christian idea that children are fully human, and that all humans have rights, whatever power is in charge of protecting the rights of those who cannot do it themselves has to be involved in those relations which create children.

                The least oppressive route for this is to offer a gov’t certification of the existing union known as marriage, with some few limits on what unions they will recognize which can produce offspring. (Both polygamy and incest, for examples of non-criminal unions that definitely happen– those football players with 8+ kids and an equal number of ‘baby mommas’?– but are not recognized due to obvious problems.)

                The thing that makes that really uncomfortable is no-fault divorce.
                Outside of the “religious nuts*,” the only activists against no-fault divorce are the ones who want to argue about salvage rights, not bail water.
                If recognized marriage is due to children rather than recognizing the emotions of adults, then making it relatively simple to unilaterally dissolve without serious reason is a rather bad thing. Even before you consider the utter mess that family courts are.

                Oddly enough, there’s at least one book about this coming out, can’t remember the title but the gal basically wrote it by asking the “children of divorce” some questions, and then printed the results; she was on Kresta in the Afternoon a day or two ago, if that sounds like something up one’s alley.

                * when you look at the details, it’s amazing how many of these “religious nuts” aren’t actually all that religious, they just won’t refuse to work with openly religious folks.

              2. “Why should the State be involved in *any* of this, excepting making sure that the children and spouse are taken care of in the event of orphanhood or in divorce (that is, declare a contract or will invalid, because the terms were obviously unjustly harmful to the typical heirs — which, incidentally, is handled by modern contract and inheritance laws just fine — an obviously unbalanced contract or will can be successfully contested)?”

                Like not being able to disinherit, or by-pass, adult children even with explanation. Have seen this play out in two cases.

                1) the parents in question are alive & well & conditions are slowly changing, so expect they have or will modify the conditions. Their original their children equally inherited the assets, with any grand & great kids, auto inheriting the child’s share if the kid predeceased the parents. Then came one child’s less than desirable significant other who (other than the child) could see was using the child (& resultant grandchild) as black mail. Said person eventually has disappeared from their lives (forever), but before that, the parents changed the will so that the portion for that child & grandchild was a tight trust. Not an insignificant amount of money involved, but potential in the future of a whole lot more.

                2) Similar situation, as above, but is now playing out in court. Parental concern was because child was sick, that parent would die before child, then child, so that child’s spouse (who had NEVER contributed one penny to his family’s welfare, long story), would then inherit the money, leave it to his extend family, leaving the grand-kids without anything. My (limited/gossip sourced) understanding is that a trust, for ALL children/grand & great grand kids, had been setup to prevent this. Which is now being contested in court by the non-controlling trust sibling participants (partially IMHO for cause, because the sibling that does have control, shouldn’t; s/b in a trust lawyer’s hands). A LOT of money involved.

      3. I saw an opinion from an expert in fetal development that actually explained the whole trans thing quite well. You see, embryonic development defaults to female (which is how you get several of the XY female conditions, particularly partial or complete androgen insensitivity conditions.) It’s switched to male through specific hormonal streams at various points in development—and the physical characteristics are set at a different time than the brain is. So if you have a stream of androgen hormones at one point in fetal development but not another, you can end up with a masculine brain and a feminine body or vice-versa.

        Of course, this means that male brains and female brains are completely different. Which only matters if you’re talking about gender conditions, not anything else. 🙄

                1. Explains evolution too. After all Software Engineers are never satisfied. There is always something that can be tweaked. Software is never finished it is always evolving to environment & needs, or it dies.

        1. But even it’s that’s true (what we don’t know about embryonic development could pretty much fill a book titled Embryonic Development) you wind up with a male brain in a female body, not a man who needs surgery.

          1. Depends on sequencing. If the hormone balance is right at brain development but not at the differentiation of the genital ridge you’d get what you describe, male brain/female body.

            However, if the reverse happens, no male hormone balance at brain development but male hormone balance at differentiation you’d get female brain/male body.

            Given the differentiation is a latter process I find it easier to believe you’re likely to be short early and fine late (ramp up issue of some kind) than the opposite which might explain ratios historically.

        2. Also if you have a male/female twin you can end up a little off kilter. I doesn’t matter (And the twin died) — I am who I am, not you know… a standard female.

            1. I’m not, but I was brain damaged from being extremely premature, born at home, no assistance. Actually my IQ type seems to be “handicapped visual thinker.”
              I’ve gotten markedly more visual through the years, as brain re-routed.

              1. You’re brain damaged? That explains a lot! /ducks-and-runs.

                On a more serious note, when I was in Elementary School, I was purposely sliding on ice when I slipped, fell, and hit the back of my head. I wasn’t unconscious, but I wonder if that set the stage for migraines later in life. Between that, and a couple of other head injuries I’m aware of, I have occasionally wondered how that has affected my thought processes.

                And considering that I have seen my own children fall more than a few times, I have wondered this:

                How much more intelligent would everyone be, if we never had anything that would hurt the brain — no falls, ever, no disease, nothing to jostle or bruise or affect the growth? Would we all be super-human geniuses? Or, in a bizarre twist of fate, where evolution provided not only proper defenses for all but the worst of injuries, but even hijacked these events to further brain development — thus leaving those of us who never suffered *any* sort of brain injury, to be dull, boring, blithering idiots?

                I believe there’s merit to the theory that schizophrenia was a contagious disease trapped into our DNA — and I wonder if, part of the reason it was trapped, if it enables a little bit more creativity when it’s partially expressed, as opposed to fully expressed — and if my sister’s full expression of schizophrenia is the price that evolution “demanded” to ensure that there’s creativity in my family….

                (And yes, while I am convinced I will not likely ever be fully schizophrenic myself, I have sometimes wondered if I nonetheless have a touch of schizophrenia….just enough to be, say, a mathematician, or a writer, for example…)

        3. Oh, I’m familiar with that argument. It is also used to explain why a lot of men transition late in life. The theory is the switch isn’t completed during fetal development but the XY during most of life pumps enough hormones in to make the created male pathways more active. However, there are still strong female pathways and as testosterone declines with age they get routed through more often.

          I’m not 100% buying it, mainly because I don’t know enough to judge if both sets can exist and be turned up and down by hormones. That said, it doesn’t sound like complete BS.

          1. I have seen a convincing argument that, even if the issue is 100% BS — psychological issues all in their head — why not go ahead with the surgery, if it fixes the problem?

            An example given: a woman with OCD had to go home multiple times every day to make sure the hair dryer wasn’t plugged in. Therapy and drugs didn’t fix the issue. One person suggested she put the hair dryer in her car every morning, so she could just check that it’s there, and that solution worked! But a lot of professionals didn’t like that solution.

            So, the reasoning goes, if surgery fixes the trans-gender problem, why not go with that?

            The only problem with this reasoning that I see, though, is that statistically, surgery doesn’t fix the problem for *large* percentages of people, and in particular, a *large* percentage of people regret the surgery afterward. Combine this with pressuring young people to go through hormone therapy and surgery (when a *large* percentage of young people will simply grow out of it), and it’s beginning to look like the “cure” is worse than the disease.

            1. Oh, and ironically enough — if you happen to be a person who *thinks* you’re trans-gender, and then you then change your mind (whether it’s pre-surgery or post) — there’s a *lot* of pressure for you to conform to the trans-gender lifestyle from the very people who are supposedly open-minded about the issue.

              They only seem to be open-minded to the extent that it furthers their socio-political goals….

              1. There is a lot of pressure to conform as soon as you think it. There is no “I’m sorting things out”. Like I said, talk to the more vocal ones and they’ll tell you a garden variety crossdresser is a transwoman who hasn’t accepted it. It isn’t at all possible it is just a guy who gets turned on by wearing women’s clothing…nope, no allowed.

            2. I know that failure to improve life outcomes is why Johns Hopkins got out of the business of doing surgery. I wonder if there have been studies on social transition only outcomes versus full surgery outcomes.

              1. Johns Hopkins might not be permitted to refuse such do operations.

                “Medical Ethics” boards are moving toward the position that refusing to perform politically correct procedures constitutes thought crime. Wesley J Smith has been pounding that drum for decades now, addressing euthanasia medically assisted suicide, futile care and gender assignment therapies. Arguably this began with denial of conscience clauses for abortion.

                1. As with food prep (cake bakers), do they *really* want to be cut open by people who strongly believe it’s wrong to do so?

      4. If pushed they say there should be a line of questioning “do you have a uterus, do you have testicles”

        The correct question is “prostate or cervix?”, to determine which cancer Eir at risk of. Zie can call Xyrselves anything Per likes, but if Fae was born XY, Ver first physical after reaching the age of 50 will include the Alien Abduction Special.

        And after looking those up, I want to start using gender pronoun sets based on Ham and Rye.


        1. Trying to read that hurt.

          Plus, what if bottom surgery has happened so those are removed? Sure that cancer risk is gone but things like bone and muscle density and structure were set at puberty and aren’t changing.

          1. things like bone and muscle density and structure were set at puberty and aren’t changing.

            This is an argument gaining increasing strength as we see more trans-gendered “boys” competing in “girls” athletics.

            1. For me that has been a series of “No s**t Sherlock” moments.

              I figure that is why Rhonda Roussy is doing WWE instead of MMA. This fight had to scare every female fighter:

              “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,”

          2. I have found no reference to cervix or prostate removal being done as part of these surgeries, so the cancer binary does not become a social construct.


  4. Eternity — the sequel!!

    “I think the current left knows their purpose is nihilism disguised as revolutionary fervor. That doesn’t work, because you start hating yourself and everything around you.”

    Which explains the typical leftist lachesism, manifested as a desire to be destroyed and replaced by something more vital.

    lachesism, n. the desire to be struck by disaster—to survive a plane crash, to lose everything in a fire, to plunge over a waterfall—which would put a kink in the smooth arc of your life, and forge it into something hardened and flexible and sharp, not just a stiff prefabricated beam that barely covers the gap between one end of your life and the other.

      1. I’ve never read any of those, and just the phrase makes me want to cringe. Because I can imagine people doing it…

        1. Yep, in that universe one of the ways to gain super-powers was to be in a life-threatening situation so idiots would put themselves in a life-threatening situation in hopes that they’d gain super-powers.

          Most of the time, they gained a “case of being dead”. 😦

          1. Problem being that as they did not expect to die, they didn’t get the powers, so they did die.

          2. One way to raise the IQ.

            Maybe we should insist this be made into a documentary style made for TV movie?

    1. This is something that I sometimes wonder if I need — a disaster to kick me in the butt, and get my life in gear. Of course, if I *really* think about it, I realize it would be *far* more sane to just learn to be a lot less sentimental, and learn to carve time out of my busy schedule to sort through the boxes of stuff we filled over the years, and mercilessly throw out the stuff that has meaning only to me (or find ways to transfer that meaning on to others….)

      That, and I realize that if an accident is severe enough, it will take all my energy just to get back where I was, during which time I could have been advancing myself and my family, however slowly….

      This relates strongly to the broken-window fallacy, when applied to entire countries. Particularly when applied to Japan and Europe, after having the snot bombed out of them. “Because they lost everything, they were able to rebuild and modernize everything!”

      Never mind all those lathes and mills destroyed, that could have been solved to small businesses trying to innovate new things. Never mind, too, that America in part became ossified, not because we own older equipment (which can be sold off to offset new equipment), but because Unions, ever-fearing the disappearance of jobs, stands in the way of obtaining new equipment, *even* when it’s affordable. And never mind that due to the Cold War, Japan and Europe received huge infusions of cash to help rebuild, so that they would be less likely to voluntarily join, or be invaded by, the Soviet Empire. And never mind, of course, all the innovation that *still* happens in America.

      1. Never mind, too, that America in part became ossified … because Unions, ever-fearing the disappearance of jobs, stands in the way of obtaining new equipment, *even* when it’s affordable.

        Japan overtook* us in large part for the reason you cite (remember the West Coast dock strike over the fear the stevedores would have to switch to tablets and scanners rather from pencils and clipboards?) but also because they adopted the Deming philosophy of continuous improvement. Not being invested in “we’ve done it this way since Time began” legacy systems they were willing and able to pursue productivity and quality growth far more aggressively.

        *Actually, they never did overtake us. It is just that their rate of productivity growth was faster than ours because they were catching up with us, the United States still bearing the burden of being at productivity’s cutting edge and having to test and refine improvements rather than simply let somebody else do that and then copy the successful methods.

  5. If you first deny the existence of higher meanings you often end up not liking Mondays.

    They can see no reasons
    ’cause there are no reasons
    What reason do you need

  6. All social rules are restrictive and stupid, and a good number of them are objectively counterproductive.

    It is most important to consider just what function each plant serves in the system before you start cutting down the hedgerows willy-nilly.

    From A Man for All Seasons

    Alice More: Arrest him!
    More: Why, what has he done?
    Margaret More : He’s bad!
    More : There is no law against that.
    Will Roper : There is! God’s law!
    More : Then God can arrest him.
    Alice : While you talk, he’s gone!
    More : And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
    Roper : So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
    More : Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper : I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More : Oh?  And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?  This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?  Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.

    1. When it come to ‘rules’, it’s our job to weed out the objectively counterproductive ones, and not just keep piling one crummy patch after another. The Founding Fathers did a fairly good job of countering the steamroller of government, at least for the first 100 years. The problem is, they didn’t put as equally effective a means of removing the government steam roller, which is why the past 100+ years have seen this mushroom cloud of government regulation heading for the stratosphere.

      1. Part of the problem (or not) in the first 150 years-ish, when those who felt “steam rolled” could remove themselves: Texas, West, Alaska, … before long the Moon, Mars, Space itself.

        Granted, my grandparents thought it would be my generation. At this point, it’ll be my grand or great-grand kids. Not as “easy” as taking a boat, or prairie schooner, because the next pioneer has to pack not only basics like food, etc., but their air too, & have a way to replenish/create/filter, fuel, food, water, & air, along the way.

        OTOH they have one advantage over the prior pioneers, they have a multitude of written research materials on different methods of possibilities from Historical Fiction; reality check: partly Dated Science Fiction, you know like 2000 Leagues Under the Sea. 🙂

      2. ” objectively counterproductive ” –hmm —

        In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

        This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
        ― G.K. Chesterton

        1. Chesterton was often right. However, I don’t seem much use for preserving a legal social institution outlawing the spitting on a sidewalk, regardless of how gross anyone else may find it. Or a law against a man and a woman holding hands in public. As for banning a cis-normal kiss, well, I aim to misbehave. Excuse me while I make an osculatory delivery to my significant other.

          1. ….why, exactly, is it OK to put a possible bio-hazard on public property where other people have to walk?

            Sure, it’s your sidewalk– but it’s also everybody elses’, and that’s not the purpose of a sidewalk. Use a garbage can.

          2. I don’t seem much use for preserving a legal social institution outlawing the spitting on a sidewalk,

            See? This is why you should have been sent to away to see the point in it, and not allowed back until you saw it was a law against a major health hazard.

            You can transmit tuberculosis that way. Including drug-resistant tuberculosis.

            1. “You can transmit tuberculosis that way. Including drug-resistant tuberculosis.”
              Or even typhoid, Mary!

          3. Go ahead and remove the law against spitting on the sidewalk; however, it would do all of us good for you to explain the reasoning behind the law first, so we could know what we are doing, before we remove the law. (My own suspicions: they were put in place when chewing tobacco was popular…)

          4. Oh, and I should add: go, and cis-normal kiss away. We fully understand the reasoning behind the law or tradition that bans such behavior, and it’s awful, so by golly, I won’t stand for it!

        2. This is something so important, I wish we would apply it to the codifying of our law: when we pass a new law or regulation, we should include the purpose of that law, and what we expect the law to accomplish — and if it becomes clear that the law doesn’t work as advertised, it should be abolished, or if it doesn’t apply to a particular individual, that person should pay no fine or other penalty.

          Beyond this, however, it’s also important to understand social constructs, so that they can be removed in a peaceful manner. Yes, women are oppressed in Middle Eastern countries. If we could, by royal decree, remove, say, the ability of men to divorce their wives by saying “I divorce you” three times, should we do it? I would propose that we shouldn’t, until we understand the ramifications that will happen once this little bit of oppression has been removed — because the ramifications can be just as horrible, if not more so, than the original structure, unless those side effects are accounted for.

          (Sometimes you have to remove a horrible institution, though, without understanding the ramifications — which is why it’s important to be prepared to fix unexpected ramifications as well.)

  7. Considering my kind’s “mythic ancestry” I would advise away from dealing much with gods and attempted godhood. Attend your temples, yes. Pray, sure. Attempt to summon? Insanely bad idea. Demons and gods differ in polarity, sure, but that’s mighty high ‘thaumic’ (for lack of better term) voltage either way. DO NOT TOUCH.

    Taking responsibility and realizing that the ship of you has the captain who is (and can only really be) you is another matter. Grab that one. The ‘voltage’ is safe, but the potential is high.

    1. As my husband says “If you’re invited to sup with the gods, tie a pole to your spoon.”

      Unpacked: you don’t dare tick them off by declining the invite, but stay as far away as you can, because even if they mean well, you’re more fragile than they are.

      1. After you tie a Pole to your spoon, you should Czech your wallet – those godlings have sticky fingers.

    2. One of my D&D characters wanted to be an atheist. He would’ve settled for agnostic. Given the world he lived in, he had to settle for trying to have nothing to do with them.

      Unfortunately, he was not given a choice. He was a PC.

      1. I think in a D&D world – or any Fantasy world where gods of various kinds exist – being an Atheist or Agnostic would be stupid.

        now, declining to believe that the gods are truthful, good, or beneficent? That’s just common sense. You might, however, end up ‘worshiping’ them in a manner they find pleasing in the hope that they leave you alone….

        1. Well, as Granny Weatherwax once put it “Of course the gods exist! That doesn’t mean you should go around believing in them!”

        2. Take Odin, for example (please). He’s so clearly up to no good and serially and compulsively untruthful he might easily be an Ivy League Sociology Professor.

              1. Of all his multitude of children, only two are from his wife Hera. 😉

                1. 1. This is reason #1 to oppose brother/sister marriage.

                  2. Considering Hera’s personality, is this really surprising? (Admittedly, the question contains a chicken/egg element.)

                  1. Well, you try “being eaten by your father”, “somehow surviving to adulthood inside your father’s belly”, “then your baby brother cause daddy to throw up”, “then you have to marry your baby brother”, and “then your baby brother screws everything in sight”.

                    What kind of person would you be???

                    1. I acknowledge there some to be some issues of heritable mental illness personality disorder in that family.

                      Yet another argument against brother/sister marriage.

          1. Odin is a ruthless, shifty and sometimes dishonorable god. But you have to remember that his entire life is preparing for and delaying a final battle he knows he’s doomed to lose, and where the very best he can hope for is some surviving grandchildren with enough scraps of the old universe to build a new one.

        3. Chuckle Chuckle

          I saw a review of Harry Turtledove’s “Between The Rivers” and the idiot reviewer talked about it being about the “conflict between reason and faith”.

          Of course, if he had actually read it, he’d know that the existence of gods in that book wasn’t a matter of faith.

          As in somebody could walk into the city’s temple and meet the god of the city.

          Better be polite of course, otherwise the god could/would do “bad things” to you. 👿

          About the “best” you could do in that world would be to say that they weren’t “beings worthy of worship” but even there you better be polite to the god of the city. 😈

        4. I think Conan had it about right with his attitude toward Crom. Anybody so weak as to call on a god for help not only didn’t deserve help, he deserved an extra serving of trouble.

        5. Depends on what you’re talking about. There’s a JSA character in the DC universe — an atheist who dismisses the gods as philosophically irrelevant. After all, they’re nothing Superman isn’t. The being he doesn’t believe in the existence of is the Supreme Being.

          1. In the DresdenVerse(tm) one of the Knights of the Cross claims to be an atheist. Or at least an agnostic. While carrying a Holy Sword containing a Nail frm the True Cross, entrusted to him by the Archangel Michael in person. He uses the same argument.

            Even Harry thinks he’s reaching.

              1. Ah, but Michael could be a space alien. Or a god (small g) who is nicer to humans than most. And his boss could be a really powerhul creature from the NeverNever–like Mab only more so. Or…

                As I said. Even Harry thinks he’s stretching it. But if God (big G) isn’t going to make a fuss (yet),…

        6. I was in a D&D game where we had a player who attempted to play a cleric as a huxter, televangelist type. We pointed out to him that that particular pose was sort of difficult to pull off in a world where the gods actually grant miracles to their faithful. It’s kinda like putting a giant rubber monster suit on Godzilla.

  8. Instapundit has link to interesting book review in The American Interest.
    Today we argue about whether addiction is a sin or a sickness, but when the term first entered our language it could name a virtue and an accomplishment: In the 16th century “addiction” covered many forms of “service, debt, and dedication,” including the pious Christian’s zeal to obey God’s every command. Rebecca Lemon’s new study, Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England, does not merely trace an etymological development ….

    Lemon begins in the 1530s, when “addiction” begins to appear in English to designate both distorted desire for wine or riches and properly exclusive, single-minded desire for Christ …

    1. I heard someone say somewhere that an addiction/obsession is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to function.

      My healthy obsessions certainly kept me going through some rough times.

      1. “I heard someone say somewhere that an addiction/obsession is fine …”

        Speaking also as someone who gets obsessed about certain things, I agree.

                1. Sorta by definition, yes. Two standard deviations, which by common rule of thumb means only about 4.55% of the population.

          1. One of the great things about being retired is that I can work on something that interests me until 0200 or 0300 in the morning. Because I don’t have to get up. And it is fascinating.

      2. Anyone else get obsessions that last for a while and then burn out? Then you get a new obsession as round and round it goes.

        1. Yes, I sometimes get that. What bugs me is that sometimes I want to get back into something that I found interesting, but have trouble finding interest in it again.

          In some cases, though, the obsession with something fizzles out on its own. I used to search for stories about SCO vs Linux users, for example, when an obscure tech company decided to sue a bunch of Linux users for copyright infringement after picking up the rights to Unix. It fizzled out around the time when SCO was forced to show their hand, and demonstrated that they really didn’t have a case.

  9. Not G_d but I’d contend there’s a divine spark within each of us that resonates and manifests creation, be it a new life, a book, portrait or whatever.

    Social conventions and traditions exist simply because they work. Hence they should be followed until or unless they are no longer effective and should not be abandoned without careful study of their purpose and structure.

  10. As I remember it “Thou art God” just meant that everyone was part of God.
    And as Part of God you were responsible for things.

    1. Somehow I don’t see God suffering from multiple personality disorder; which if we all were God, he’d most certainly have.

      The other thing that screams out in Stranger is the Martians are God too, Yet they will decide to destroy Earth and humans, but not before humans figure out how to be able to stop them. That sounds an awful lot like nihilism at the God level, which to quote a certain Sicilian, is “Inconceivable!”

      Yes, we all have a bit of the Divine spark within us, but it’s buried under about a hundred pounds of monkey meat.

      I do know that the current me isn’t fit to wield Godly Power. And I’ve decided that if I ever did come into that kind of power, the first thing I’d do is slap a bazillion restrictions on myself before using it for anything else. (Hate to go to bed, dream of the world blowing up, and then wake up to find myself floating in a new asteroid belt.) Way too many stories end badly for people given great power. Even heroes endure great tragedy connected with their power; and it is the rare individual who lives happily ever after.

      1. I suspect there’s a good reason for the theologies that hold humans are here to 1) make up for an earlier crime or 2) to learn how to handle greater responsibilities and do the best with what we are given. In both cases the result is that if you do well, you get a promotion that includes more duties and privileges. If you do badly, well, it depends on how badly.

        1. If you look long enough at Mormon theology, it becomes clear (to me, at least) that Mormons believe that (1) humans are part of a life cycle for heavenly beings, and (2) that mortality is a filter, and a rite of passage, to determine which people are responsible enough to handle Godly power. I have added a third likely conclusion that (3) having to experience complete powerlessness is probably *very* important to make sure all-powerful beings have a healthy dose of humility.

          Although I sometimes flirt with atheism, I don’t go full-in for several reasons: (1) it’s obvious that religion of all types are meant to fill some sort of hole in human consciousness, that seems to require that we appreciate a higher power of some sort, (2) it’s obvious that religion is a useful way to provide an external support structure for families and individuals, and (3) even if there isn’t a Supreme Being, I hope that the physical laws of the Universe allow us to become Supreme Beings — and if they *do* allow it, it merely becomes a question of “has this already happened?”.

          So while I sometimes stare at the stars at night and think “The Universe is so *vast*; how is it possible that there’s a Supreme Being out there (or even beyond there…after all, is the Universe *really* limited to a fixed number of dimensions?” I also can’t help but conclude that dismissing the entire notion of Supreme Beings as foolishness is it’s own kind of foolishness as well…

      2. [The Martians] will decide to destroy Earth and humans …</I?"

        Given the Martians have no conceptualization of "death" as a terminus of existence, their destruction of Earth and humans would have to be interpreted in a somewhat different light. Are they helping us on our way to the next plain of existence or what?

        1. [The Martians] will decide to destroy Earth and humans …

          Given the Martians have no conceptualization of “death” as a terminus of existence, their destruction of Earth and humans would have to be interpreted in a somewhat different light. Are they helping us on our way to the next plain of existence or what?

          That* is just annoying. Last time I buy used fingers over the internet.

          *HTML tag fail

            1. But not irrelevant for Martians, who are the more important actors here. It largely depends on how you define the current universe.

    2. As I recall Heinlein’s explanation (I believe in Expanded Universe) it was a reminder that you were totally responsible for yourself and your actions as well as anything that flowed from them. In other words, no excuses, no cop-outs.
      If I misremember, I am sure that one of the Heinlein fans here will correct me and I will welcome it.

  11. “That is what is behind their bizarre displays like trying to levitate the Denver Mint.”

    Okay, I think I missed something here. WTF?

        1. Try searching on “levitating Denver Mint”. Looks like it was from the fun folks (rolls eyes) at ReCreate68 during one of the DNC conventions.

          I have a vague memory of the usual suspects trying it with the Pentagon in the late ’60s. Timothy Leary and company.

            1. Some folks thought it was worlds of fun to goad the police into beating the crap out of some other protestors. (Larry Niven’s advice holds true: Never stand next to someone throwing shit at a policeman.)

              Fun fact: the Dan Walker (of the Walker Commission’s take “A police riot in Chicago in 1968”) rode his reputation to governor of Illinois, then riding the usual slope of Illinois governor to convicted felon.

              1. I was told a story that I have very carefully never checked, to the effect that Kesey and Company tried to get the Black Panthers to join in the fun in Chicago, and the Panthers (who were criminal thugs, but not terminally stupid) said something like;

                “Honkey, you are out of your goddamned mind. The Chicago Police have cops they keep in cages between riots, and they are going to f*cking crack your heads open. And WE are going to be highly visible in California while they do it, so that everybody knows we had nothing to do with it or you.”

                1. The story seems plausible, recalling events. There was an arrest/shooting of a Black Panther in a raid in Chicago around that time. Not clear if the guy was awake when he was shot; but that’s Chicago.

                  Money quote from Richard J. Daley: “The police aren’t here to create disorder, they are here to preserve disorder.” I got a traffic ticket in Chicago once. I was very polite.

                  FWIW, Kesey wasn’t one of the people tried for the convention festivities. Not sure if he was around or not.

            2. “This time we’ll get it right!”

              [Insert clip of Bullwinkle declaring, “This time for sure!”]

              1. A tiny handfull of good things came out of the ‘60’s (really about 1965-1972). The vast majority of art and thinkng from that era was drek, but the vast majority of art and thinking from ANY era is drek.

                I have a lot of fondness for The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, for example. But they mock the Left almost as much as the Right.

            3. Well, 2001 and Planet of the Apes came out of that year, so it wasn’t *all* bad.

              1. Rumor had it that Planet of the Apes won the Oscar for best makeup because the voters didn’t realize the hominids in 2001 were really actors in makeup.

      1. Hm. I must have missed that. Sort of surprised given that I was in the metro area and reasonably politically engaged at the time.

        Sometimes the stupid is so strong that I think my brain shuts down out of self-defense.

  12. started to be thrown out in the early twentieth century after WWI

    I’ve been reading a book of Chesterton essays. The first one I can say was a fight against what we see in the modern left, it is titled “On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of the Family”, was first published in 1905. Over a dozen are identifiable with the current culture war and date prior to WWI.

    If Chesterton was writing in defense of older mores as early as 1905 I would say it is reasonable to date the throwing out as preceding the war.

    I think the Great War striped so much moral authority from the old ways that it became much easier by 1917 or so.

    1. I agree. Looking at the history, I think the problems begin with Rousseau and his “Noble Savage” notion, which led to a romanticization of the lower class and their behaviors, and a rejection of middle-class morality. But things went nuts after about 1916…and the Great Hecatomb of the First World War. Ten million dead, mostly because the ruling classes could not figure out a way to get out of the trap without gnawing off a political leg.

      1. Paul Johnson’s THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN argues that a great deal of the idiocy we deal with today got its star in the period 1815-1830. Not sure I completely buy it, but it’s well argued and a good read too.

        1. There was certainly considerable craziness going on in the Napoleonic and post-Nappy eras. From reworking the calendar to the metric system, was any of it really necessary?

      2. I need to find where I read it but somewhere I read an article where the author argued Rousseau did that as a mere thought experiment and latter people ran with it as truth.

  13. “Instead we replaced them with a lot of nonsense “victim of society” and “no one is ever really guilty” and “Who are we to judge.””

    Today’s idiotic example:

    People raising hell because private property is private. They should all shut up and pray somebody doesn’t make a new law. Otherwise -all- restaurants and coffee joints will become take-out windows. They probably will anyway, due to minimum wage and robots, but they will for sure if you can’t kick people out for bad behavior.

    Seriously. Can’t kick loitering non-customers out? They keep using your bathroom and taking all the toilet paper? No problem! Don’t have a bathroom. Or chairs. Or an indoor space. Or a parking lot. Let the sons o’ bitches loiter on the sidewalk, that’s what they do in third world countries.

    Who are we to judge? We are the people who keep civilization from spinning off into barbarism, disease and death. That’s who we are.

    1. Many traditionally sit-down restaurants found dine-in sales declining and started (or started hyping) their takeout, but then found that they were losing money on the takeout. Why? Because their food was underpriced – and they didn’t notice until takeout took off that their margin actually came from alcohol sales to the dine-in customers. Alas, when they start increasing the takeout menu prices or tacking on a takeout fee, they start losing takeout customers. I hope a happy new medium can be found.

      1. I hope a happy new medium can be found.

        When you find a happy medium, strike him. He’s undoubtedly up to no good.

    2. I was mildly horrified when the news FINALLY got around to explaining what on earth the “racist berating” had consisted of.

      …they did leave out the asking to use the restroom part. The news spun it as they were asked to leave because they were sitting at a table, not ordering anything. (I figured leaching wifi.)

      So these guys weren’t even asked to buy something or move because they were wifi sucking, they threw a fit because they weren’t able to use the loo, too?

      Who raised these twits, rabid rodents?

      1. I’d assumed “waiting for a friend before ordering”. And something like that it’s really hard to tell and it’s REALLY easy to decide that, well, someone who doesn’t look like me would be allowed to wait for their friend much longer before being asked to go, or not asked to go at all. People have amazing misconceptions about what expectations white people have with clerks or police or anyone. But there again, if there was a difference in how long one could sit before being asked to leave, how would you figure that out?

        1. If it was a normal restaurant, sure, but– at Starbuck’s? They’re going to wait for the other guy to get there, without even grabbing a coffee? What, afraid they’ll have to order another FourBucks?

          That’s besides the rudeness in setting up a “business meeting” in a public place and expecting them to defer to you…..

      2. Apparently it’s White Privilege to know how to say “fine, I’ll take the cheapest thing on your menu.”

          1. And for the record, I never just buy the cheapest thing if I’m going into a place to use the restroom.

            1. It’s a pretty much “depends” thing for us. We’re usually having a Bathroom Emergency, and the order gets bigger the nice the folks are.

  14. All social rules are restrictive and stupid, and a good number of them are objectively counterproductive.

    It’s not much of a signal if you can’t tell it from what folks would usually do anyways.

    See also: fashion.

    1. Fashion is a competition among (generally) women to establish who are the style setters slash attention grabbers and thus alpha females. It requires stupendous displays of conspicuous consumption and sufficient “leisure” to engage in the exercise regimens, skin-conditioning and hair-and-makeup styling necessary to achieve such distinguished iconic status.

      And most men have no understanding how much work goes into this, which is why I declare it an intra-gender competition. The guys, as the saying goes, “have no idea how expensive it is to look this cheap.”

      1. Fashion for men consists primarily of appearing “cool” or “powerful”; or both if they can manage it. Donald Trump with his orange hair would never make the cool bucket, so he just had to settle for projecting powerfulness.

        1. One difference between Male Fashion and Female Fashion especially in Europe in earlier times is that while men wore “fancy garments” to show status (just as women did), men’s fancy garments almost never weakened their ability to fight or to take action.

          Both styles often required servants to put on or take off, but men could still fight duels.

        2. Not to mention for a week do a proper skin regimen meaning moisturize the whole body daily, ex-foliate at least once a week, preferably twice (once with a easier scrub like sugar and once with something stronger like salt, at least on the hands and feet), keep your body hair free (admittedly harder for most men than it is for women), and wash, tone, and moisturize your face twice daily (and use the right products, face stuff != body stuff) .

          Then learn to do a full face or at least foundation, lips, and eyes including liner and mascara.

          I’d say poise across the spectrum too but that takes a long time and certain things (such as leg crossing) requires extra skills for men.

          Projecting feminine is a lot more than long hair and a dress.

          1. “Then learn to do a full face or at least foundation, lips, and eyes including liner and mascara.”

            Yuck. Might as well apply ashes & dust on your face. Never could stand that stuff.

            Full disclosure. Worked on Forest Service crew that could get sent on small local fires (fire crews got sent on the big ones & off district). Which is why I equate foundation, etc., to ash & dust.

            1. My point was more a lot of people, mostly men, don’t appreciate how much work fashionable and very femme like that is.

              Feminism has encouraged women to at least try (fake?) doing some of the harder man expectations. Mostly women seem to not like it although some take to it. A lot are really exaggerated when they do it. I remember an article (which I can’t find quickly) about women in a strongman class being quite the opposite of the men with an exaggerated tough guy movie attitude and bragging about running the men out when the men decided not to put up with it.

              1. “My point was more a lot of people, mostly men, don’t appreciate how much work fashionable and very femme like that is.”

                True. Besides I’m lazy. Then too, long hair*. It takes me 1/2 hour to comb it out, longer if I’m going to do something with it; like dry it.

                *not quite elbow length.

                1. I truly miss that brief period when I could brush my hair on the small of my back.

                  Now I just have hair there (but not on my head).

      2. Every man should have to grow his hair out to shoulder length just to learn how much work it takes to keep it neat, clean, and orderly. They’d have a much greater appreciation for what you ladies with the long hair have to do; and a better understanding of why many women go for a shorter cut.

        1. I’ve found my hair is easier to manage when longer, probably because I can tie it back and get away with washing it twice a week instead of every day. It’s about elbow-length at this point, and I suspect that, were I to go for a pixie cut, it would simply puff outward in a disorderly mop, making me look like a female Einstein, if Einstein was a strawberry blonde.

            1. I’m to goddamned CHEAP to have my hair cut, which is why I’ve owned clippers most of my adult life, and took to shaving my pate a few years back.

              I NEVER understood the value in spending the price of a new book on a haircut.

              1. *laughs hysterically*

                Try it when it’s the price of a new computer game to get a basic 2′, even at the back. My mom use to do ours, but I am not asking dear husband to cut my hair, and he prefers it long– so now it’s long, stops just below my shoulders. I think ti’s a pain in the rump, but it is less expensive.

              2. The price of “a” new book? Try 8 to 10 new books (about every 3 months). But then I have long hair, that is white/gray/black/brown, & the 1st in the list started showing before I was 25. Middle two, about 5 years ago as I approached 60; darn genetics. OTOH, other family side goes bald or super thin in the women, I’ll take the early graying. Always swore I’d quit coloring it when hubby showed gray & save the money. Those puppy eyes. Only time he gets a say about MY hair.

            2. I asked my mom to lop around eight inches off mine (bringing it back to elbow/waist length) and now I’m waiting for the ends to grow back enough taper to stop popping out of my bun.

          1. It’s the middle lengths that are hard. My husband has a big old long curly pony tail. He doesn’t do a thing with it. My hair is much shorter and looks pretty bad if I don’t spend time trying to fluff it up.

          2. Lucky man. I grew mine out once–I was a docent at an antebellum plantation display and went for a Mark Twain vibe.

            Got it, too. And not a bit more. It stopped just above my shoulders and then filled out. I couldn’t even do a 1776 pigtail. Nice Mark Twain, though…

          3. Also, of course, all your styling decisions are easy. Tie it back or not. Everything else, you’re going to have the hair Mother Nature decides on.

        2. I timed it once. It takes three and a half minutes to go from sleep braid to braided bun for the day.

          I make up the time when I wash it.

      3. I agree on “fashion” as the method for all this (and how annoying it is). But if you put a woman who’s done all the “frosting,” as it were, next to a woman who hasn’t, all else being equal, I can guarantee where all the male eyes are going to go. 😉

        1. “Men are attracted to what they see while women are attracted to what they hear. That’s why women wear makeup and men lie.”

      4. They do, however, respond to fashion.

        Generally just can’t say what it is, though. If anything, they’ll say so and so is “hot,” while in a different outfit they are just “weird.”

        Geeks tend to have different tastes– part of why I know it’s not just a male/female thing.
        There do tend to be some timeless va-va-voom checkboxes that can overcome “weird” outfits, but the silent language of style in America is as complicated as the language!

        1. They do, however, respond to fashion.

          Quite so – and because it is operating on a subconscious level they can be more easily manipulated by it.

          1. *nod*

            Which is exactly how I was able to start seeing guys responding to something they “didn’t care about” as opposed to the guys who really didn’t see it. (Which required me to start “seeing” it, at least partly– heh, handing me a problem did more than years of heartache by folks trying to “teach” me fashion.)

          2. Oh, funky thing I noticed–a poorly hung bathroom mirror can make you look fatter.

            No, I’m not setting up a joke. Although the practically write themselves.

            The one in the down stair’s bathroom is flexed ever so slightly so it’s bowed out in the middle– the left and right edges are tightened down to within an inch of their lives, while the center supports are loose as can be. (So they won’t rip out of the wall. Side ones go through to framing.)

            Didn’t notice until Easter Morning when I walked through chasing the horde, and an elephant was in the mirror.
            Checked four other mirrors, several windows, etc– none are THAT huge. So then I started checking the mirror and figured out Mr. Screw-it-yourself had yet another jackup. (Prior owner if the house; he’s the kind of guy who poured his own back patio…and carefully smoothed it a quarter inch ABOVE the pipe connector for the faucet.)

            1. Oh, one of THOSE. My childhood home had one of those idiots—things like putting on an addition by literally incorporating a shed into the design, not building to code (seven-foot ceilings!), having a flat roof with zero pitch that took my parents 25 years to get watertight (through a form of latex roof, no less), and putting in grounded plugs without grounding the electrical system itself. There’s an exemption in the sales documents because my parents didn’t notice the sub-code things before buying the house, so presumably we don’t have to fix them when selling it. (May that be decades away.)

              1. Way bac toward the beginning of his blog The Adaptive Curmudgeon did a number of elegant rants on the problems associated with owning a homestead built by generations of inebriated chimps.

                He put it much better, btw.

                1. We, meaning other half & help, replaced & expanded the patio off of our split level. While doing so he dug out underneath to provide storage. He used reinforced concrete for the under porch storage walls. Fully to specs & then some, as he was taught. The problem was when pouring the concrete, the plywood wall partly bowed, they were able to stop pouring & reinforce before it gave. We always joked that the wall was pregnant. 🙂

            2. Oh, he owned your house too?
              In mine, the wiring was his pride and joy….. which is why I found out last week that there’s ONE GFI plug, in the hall bathroom, and when it’s tripped, it cuts off ALL power to the master bathroom…. while leaving the hall bathroom fully live.

              1. Not as impressive, but our living-room has two fans. Which he obviously reclaimed from somewhere, because they’re a decade older than the house. They were on those extension things so they hang low enough to be obnoxious to normal-tall people.

                The electrician who replaced them when they both died inside of six hours showed me the wire the guy had used… there were at least a dozen splices in the really bad one, in less than two feet.

              2. At least it’s in the bathroom. He put mine on the back porch and it’ll take out both bathrooms and small kitchen stuff.

              3. You guys are describing our last house. Over 13 years we corrected countless of these, but they kept cropping up when trying to do the simplest things.
                It wasn’t one guy, either. This house was 130 years old when we bought it. There had been dozens of those guys, including some stoned ones from the hippie commune that owned it in the early seventies. Yeah.

                1. Toastmaster’s speech. Not me. Someone else. They had bought an old homestead type home that had been added to physically, as well as retrofitted for electric & plumbing; with the intent to refurbish & bring up to code. Oregon “old”, not East Coast old. The speech basis: Humor. The bottom line, the process was such a horror, that in the end all they could do is laugh at the processes & setbacks. At the end of each section he’d pause and state “We did this deliberately. What were we thinking? Then …” It was an advanced speech, it went on for about 20 minutes. He was good. It was ROFLOL funny.

                  Funnier than the speech on how naugha’s lost their hides 🙂 (no not mine either).

    1. Yes. If you write fiction, the odds are good that someone, somewhere, at some time will draw desperately needed inspiration from your words.

  15. No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.
    (John Donne, Meditation 17 from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions)

  16. I wasn’t being God yesterday, but there were some serious prayers going upward. Part of the eye surgery involves a large gas bubble in the eye, with attendant warnings to be Really Careful when going above 2500 feet. (Medford is at 1300′, home is 4300′, and the pass is ‘5100.) The last round, involved a smaller bubble, and a few stops did the trick. Not this time.

    I stopped before the 10 mile grade and decompressed 15 minutes. Then I drove about 5 miles, maybe 1200 foor elevation gain. Took a break and noticed nothing in my right eye. As in, no vision. Yikes! Got some lightning bolt images where light should shine, and it slowly got better. About the time my hand looked vaguely hand shaped, I drove another couple of miles. Repeat, but it took longer, and the physical pain told me the bubble wasn’t equalizing.

    It broke down to drive a mile, wait for the worst effects to go away, pray a lot, read a bit (left eye works), rinse and repeat. I got to the peak with medium awful vision in the right eye, but it wasn’t getting worse. After the drop to lake level (4200′), it was better, but taking its time. I had an hour’s worth of drive home, and by the end, the vision was better, but not as good as when I started in the morning.

    My wife had picked up glaucoma drops for me, and I took one immediately. (The pharmacy in Medford didn’t have any and wasn’t going to have any until Monday.) A bit after the drop, and my vision was restored. Thank you, Lord! Driving on adrenaline isn’t my idea of fun.

    I have to go over the hill this Friday. The bubble will still be big, but I’ve called for an earlier appointment to give me time to do the 1 mile drive-and-rest routine and get home at a decent time. This time, I’ll take the glaucoma drop before returning.

    As best as I can tell, there’s no way to get home without going over 5000’ somewhere.

    1. I was wondering about the eye surgery, living east of the Cascades & having surgery in Medford. Have a (ex) co-worker that has had a multitude of eye surgeries. He was told under no circumstances to undertake ANY elevation change for a period of time. Surgeries started while he lived in Eugene. Now they live in Redmond; he found a new doctor to perform the surgeries in Bend.

      Off topic. But he & I both had the same basic reason to want to work at home (a developing dangerous situation with an individual). He moved his family to ensure that happened. I didn’t move but had another reason, even had talked to the boss about it for over a year. For a year boss was okay with my reasoning, but came down to “no, not happening”. So, fine. I retired (then boss was not happy with 2 months notice; granted 1/2 was accrued vacation time … FYI, not my problem).

      1. It’s a problem in Klamath county. We have good cataract people, but retina work seems to be concentrated west of the Cascades, I’ll talk it over with the surgeon on Friday’s followup, but I’m pretty sure I can take it slow enough to let the bubble stabilize. That first 5 mile stretch was the one that triggered the mess. Most of the climb is in the first 10 miles, so 5 was way too much. Probably do drive 1,mile, wait 5 minutes, then wait 15 at the 3 mile intervals. I’ll bring the Kindle.

        This morning’s vision is as good as yesterday, and the pressure/sinus headache disappeared with the ibuprofen/acetaminophen combination this morning.

      2. … FYI, not my problem.

        I log ago realized there are two basic types of problems in this world — my problems, other people’s problems — and happiness lies in being able to distinguish between the two.

        1. Yeah, and in my case, I dould do things to make it considerably worse, or I could call on God to give me a hand and wait for things to resolve. Not my first rodeo, but it’s still a challenge to realize it’s out of my hands.

  17. I needed this today. Thank you. I managed to turn a minor medical moment of interest into a three-hour borderline anxiety spell, in part by fretting about who would take over for me and do the additional Day Job work if I had to go have another EKG and ECG and why is my heart rate not slowing down and maybe something really is wrong and why am I breathing faster and…

    Yes. I know better. And I recognized it before it reached the point where concerned people were reaching for phones or tranquilizer darts.

  18. I just can’t get the whole Perception Equals Reality thing. I actually heard a post-modernist professor stating that, because our information about reality will always be imperfect, this somehow means that there is no reality at all. Which is like saying that, because the six blind men thought they had a rope or a snake or a tree, there was no elephant (who’s probably getting ticked off at these people grabbing his nose and tail). When your perceptions veer off too far from reality, reality is going to bite you, and it will win every time.

    I do get the power of words in our heads, though – how people can observe things directly, but will still go for the Narrative, or the cages we build in our brains. No one keeps anyone down, people keep themselves down.

    1. At the individual level perception is reality. What an individual can and is capable of perceiving is going to be limited by the capabilities of the individual.

      The failure seems to be that some humans seem to think that they have ‘perfect perception’ and thus anything that anyone else might perceive that is different is therefore false. (Whether due to stupidity, evil, or some combination of evil and stupid).

      1. Just because your (my) perception of Reality is necessarily subjective does not mean that objective reality does not exist, nor that we are not benefited by more closely conforming the former to the latter.

        I’m so old I remember when anybody proclaiming their subjective experience of reality was reality was deemed in need of psychological counselling. Now that can get you a tenured seat and appearances on talk shows.

        1. That’s why I stated at an individual level. Sorry I wasn’t more clear on that. I agree that there is an actual objective reality that exists whether or not people can perceive it or are willing to acknowledge it.

          It’s up to the individual to figure out where their perceptions of reality intersect with objective reality. That seems to be the point at which Progressives are having issues.

          *Just for clarity, I don’t think I’m the world’s greatest writer. I’ve also never written and probably will never write a novel.

          1. Ignore that last part with *.

            I was distracted by habanero salsa and forgot to delete it when I deleted another sentence.

    2. There’s a type of magical thinking classified as map-is-the-territory. Forex, make an image of some thing, harm the image, and suppose one has harmed the thing.

      Leftism is pretty much composed of the religions of socialism and communism. What kind of mystical rituals are practiced in these religions?

      Boiling down a lot of the rituals, you find words, ideas, and feelings are symbols manipulated in order to change reality. Assuming we are dealing with fewer converts, and more people raised in the faith, you would expect fewer herd immunity effects from the people raised to have deep convictions of objective reality.

      The muse of trolling is telling me that it would be funny for someone to pretend to be a conservative anthropologist, and write a series of articles detailing their study of the strange leftist culture.

    3. I just propose some experiments. Like, oh, having them perceive they can fly with the power of their thoughts alone and then having them step off of a tall building. Things like that.

      No takers.


      1. See, but that’s because they know they’d need to really believe and they know that they don’t. I have a foolproof technique to teach people how to defy gravity. First I have them close their eyes and think about soft landings while stepping off a 2″ block. They repeat the exercise until they feel the soft landing. Then I have them step off a 12″ block, still with their eyes closed, and tell them over and over again how slowly they fell. Once they believe it deep down in their bones we go to a tall building and they step off. I have yet to receive a complaint from a graduate of my school.

  19. I have to disagree with one thing “I doubt anyone will read my work after I’m dead,” I am sure people will as I read some of your works before I even knew you were alive and finding that out was a good day since it meant you would probably write more. It is always disappointing to find a good author then discover they have been dead for 30 years, that seems to make it difficult for them to publish more.

    1. LOL. Reminds me of when I came back from overseas looking for more Horseclans books, only to find out Mr. Adams had passed away. /sigh

        1. Heinlein. Doc Smith. James Schmitz. Patrick O’Brien.

          And damn it, we NEEDED Pournelle’s revision of “The Strategy of Technology.” I don’t think people realized that man was one of the two dozen people really responsible for the defeat of the Soviet Union.

          1. Oddly enough “The Strategy of Technology” is one of his works that I haven’t read; probably since most of his work I read to escape from my daily environment, while I was afraid that one would plant itself smack in the middle of the room. One more for the reading list. Whether I have enough background to make update suggestions remains to be seen.

          1. Oh, for Heaven’s sake, y’all. People have been writing novels for over two centuries; of course there are too many good ones dead. There are plenty of horrible ones dead, too. And a great many mediocre.

            There are still enough good ones still writing that one needn’t suffer too greatly.

            That said: H. Beam Piper, John D. MacDonald, Louis L’Amour, Lewis Carroll, Robert S. Parker, George MacDonald, Jack Chalker, Henry Kuttner, Poul Anderson, Jack Williamson, Fritz Lieber, Leigh Brackett, William Tenn, Cyril Kornbluth, John Scalzi* …

            And I will even note en passant the passing of such fine editors as John Campbell, Anthony Boucher and Jim Baen.

            *Well, he’s dead to me.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly. I think that Sarah’s works will be the kind of works thatmsurvive by word of mouth. Books that get passed down, like THE SPACE CHILD’S MOTHER GOOSE.

  20. Just as a general warning along these lines, one of my current wips has a formalized non-denominational Usaian “church” off on some distant colony worlds where Sarah’s blog postings serve as the readings. Of course there is a firing range at each church (indoor range at urban locations, both at rural ones). And a bar. And, of course, cookies.

    So fair notice: Be on your best behavior – sometimes they read some of the comments at the services.

    1. Since WP divorced this from JNorth’s comment: These lines being I doubt anyone will read my work after I’m dead

      1. I believe the flat-cat petting areas remain, as they were replaced the tribble-petting areas after the tribbles were found to be suffering from asterisk syndrome.

  21. “some of us will be tragically wrong like those early communists (though remembering humans are infinitely perfectable would have corrected their error)”

    Is there a missing word in here? I thought the problem with communism is that it requires perfection (or, more specifically, a perfect work ethic) from its adherents, and since people aren’t perfect, it’s doomed to failure.

    Or maybe I need more caffeine before I try to read/understand philosophical blog posts.

      1. Hmmmmm …. I took “infinitely perfectable” as meaning that no matter how much you try to perfect them there remains an infinite amount additionally required.

        Of course, if you use that definition of “perfect” which means “completed, concluded” then we might accurately assert that Communism has perfected more human beings than any philosophy or political system yet tried.

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