The Natural Man


One of the things that would puzzle any time traveler about our time — arguably more than our gadgets, our extraordinary ease of life, or how discontented we are — is the word “natural” in everything, as an unalloyed good.

Well it might not have surprised certain dippy (though only proto-hippie) philosophers of the eighteenth century, but it would surprise anyone else with half a brain or the capacity to reason.

It should take even us by surprise, if we thought about it for two minutes, and weren’t simply translating the word as “good” in our back brains with no rational thought.

Of course “Natural” is the “improved” and “atomic” of our age.

One of the really fun things of living in a time capsule, with books, as I sometimes think I do, is to stumble on these keywords for the past, now and then and go “uh.”  And yeah, in the fifties atomic  was it, even when it made no sense whatsoever.  “The new, improved, atomic shoes.”  Yeah.

That “Natural” yogurt you just bought is no such thing. Which is a good thing, since natural yogurt is basically milk that has gone off, and no, it isn’t particularly good for you, and certainly doesn’t stay good on a shelf in “winter temperatures” for a couple of weeks.

Also natural man, in his natural environment grows to maybe 3 1/2 feet, is toothless by twenty and dead by thirty.

The idea we have that it would be best to be “natural” is all part of the romantic movement and its philosophers.

(BTW this has nothing to do with the natural rights in the Constitution. Or rather it does, but more on the basis that it prompted a lot of thinking back to that which exists without interference. Our natural rights are negative rights. The ones any human has if they’re not taken away.  The bizarre, novel and highly UNNATURAL idea in the Constitution is that government exists to secure these rights. As opposed to you know, to any type of government or leadership among humans being the first instrument of taking those rights away.)

The whole “Natural Man movement” of which Jean Jacques Rosseau (though not only him) was a prophet, was something different.  I don’t remember if it was Rosseau or another of the deranged people of the era who penned this DELUSIONAL thing where  “Natural man” basically lay under a tree and eat the fruit that fell from it, and copulated at will, etc. without care.  Until evil civilization.

I know that recently on twitter there was a twit expounding on how NATURALLY toddlers want to share everything they have. So communism is natural and greed/capitalism has to be learned.  This led to a bunch of parents asking her if she’d ever had a kid or, you know, seen one up close and personal, ever. Because like dogs and cats, kids will play with/eat something they don’t want just to keep a rival from having it. Grown people will share, at least with those they’re closely related to, because there seems to be an inherent sense of fairness in great apes, as well as a sense of “band or tribe.”  Beyond that, sharing or living in communitary societies is an act that it is profoundly unnatural and will only happen when some overriding imperative (often religious or doctrinary) pushes it.  And even then, it only works in relatively small groups.

Let’s face it, what the “natural” pushing movement of the eighteenth century was was a bunch of over-civilized twits, dissatisfied with their lives, trying to blame someone or something else — in this case all their ancestors, and the slow climb of civilization — for their troubles or their Weltschmerz.  Which is a highly civilized thing to do.

Unfortunately it hooked up with the idea of fallen humanity and the Judeo-Christian idea of paradise, only removing the supernatural element. Which means removing the one thing that might make it work. Because a state of Edenic happiness is highly unnatural to man, this ape who was born to survive and endure.

The problem is however not how ridiculous the whole idea is. It’s how far out on a limb (a natural limb, with a tiger creeping along from the other end, and a bear waiting below) humanity has gone on this “natural” thing without its making the slightest bit of sense.

The Freudian idea, for instance, that humans are born with all these impulses and needs which, if thwarted lead to neurosis and “repression” — at least the Freudian idea as interpreted by pop science. The man itself was more nuanced — has led us down a limb of “all of us should sleep with whomever we fancy all the time, to avoid being crazy.” and “If a responsibility makes me unhappy or thwarts my desires at the moment, it is bad and should be ditched.”

This is not just insanity, it’s complete insanity.  The only way complex society works is that we hold on to a highly artificial set of values.  For instance, we don’t kill infants for disturbing our sleep, no matter how much they do it, day after day and night after night for no other reason than that they prefer to be carried than lying in their bassinet like normal human spawn. (He’s twenty seven, so chill. I obviously didn’t kill him.) For instance, we get up in the morning, even though we don’t feel like it, to go and do work we don’t particularly feel like doing, because at the end of the month this gives us money to continue living (and maybe do a few things we want to do?)  For instance, we don’t eat whatever crosses our sight without regard for whether it’s a pet, belongs to someone else, or is unsanitary. Other things: we write angry songs/blogs/stories rather than bash a rival over the head. We wash regularly, even on days we don’t feel like getting out of bed, much less washing.  Etc.

The entire vast edifice of civilization is built in fact on humans repressing themselves, or sublimating their non-constructive impulses.

If you want to see people acting “naturally” with very few repressions or any act of will to prevent them doing whatever they wish, read some true crime books (I fell into a streak of some of those last week.) These are people who act on their “natural” desires in the middle of our highly unnatural society.  Only idiots or malicious ideologues would consider them examples of how one should live.

When a few years back I went on a streak of reading about the indo-Europeans, I came across several digs, in the steppes of Russia, where they would find a man living with several women (well, their skeletons) and if you analyze them, you find that the women are his daughters, and so are the babies they bore.  That too is natural.  When that lunatic in Germany kept his daughter in the basement and sired seven children on her? Perfectly natural. Go back far enough, and I suspect most — if not all — of us are descended from such unions.  It is only the voice of civilization, the understanding that to hold together above an animal level we must restrain such impulses that makes it unusual and repugnant.

In the same way Cain and Abel and Romulus and Remus are natural brothers. Trust me, raising two boys, I saw plenty of struggles for supremacy and dominance. I’m very grateful the boys are civilized and one of them didn’t bash the other’s skull in, so we skimmed through it with a few bruises and sulks, and now they’ve hit the portion where they’re becoming friends or at least buddies.

But there is in our society that impulse, the same that considers “natural” high praise to “return to nature” in the idea that in nature they will find all the dreams that civilization has denied them.

This doesn’t consist of studying real humans and seeing the immutable characteristics — like a tendency to band together and display. All part of being social apes — but an airy-fairy Rosseaunean dream, that goes something like “Society doesn’t share with me, or coddle me, and I have to work and I can’t sleep with my friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend, and I’m expected to look after my own kids, and–” and then imagining that because the desire exists — feelings are REAL! — for something different, it must mean that something is “natural.”

This is the force unmaking society and pulling it apart. Because when each individual — naturally — completely fails to repress him or herself, when there’s no sense of deferred gratification, no sense of “yeah, I want this, but I want this other thing more” there is no civilization and no future.

Without the ability to have our mind suppress natural impulses in the search for other, better desires and dreams, we’d all still be following mammoth herds and living in feast and famine.  And there would be about 2 million of us across the world.

Of course a lot of the “natural” pushing people of our time think that would be fine and dandy.  But they imagine that they somehow would hold on to jets and the benefits of civilization while the peasants starved to a “sustainable” level.

Never happen, of course. The Natural Humans would have them roasting on a spit in no time.  But never mind that.

I’m now going to take a very unnatural shower, and wear unnatural clothes and go about doing some unnatural work.

To keep civilization going, and spite the would be “natural” tyrants.

443 thoughts on “The Natural Man

  1. … it would surprise anyone else with half a brain or the capacity to reason.

    So, hardly anybody in our modern society and certainly fewer than ten percent of people graduating college in the last twenty-five years.

    Botulism, ergot, e. coli, certain snake and spider venoms — all these are natural, nicht wahr? Gangrene, crotch rot, and a host of sexually transmitted diseases and parasites (e.g., “crabs”) are also natural.

    OTOH, plenty of unnatural things — from silicon boobs to liposuction to a wide (and I d mean wide) array of what were once recognized as sexual kinks all seem to be accepted today as natural.

    1. I remember the part of the The Great Relearning where Wolfe talks about doctors treating hippies for conditions related to lack of sanitation wiped out earlier enough by it that they never got latin names and were just “the rot” or “the itch”.

      1. They got Latin names, and Greek names too. Wolfe just didn’t get the right old medical and veterinary books.

        Google Books, Gallica, and other digitized sources are great for learning all the disused Latin words for stuff.

        1. Yup, pretty sure the Greeks and the Romans had to deal with them, so they actually had Latin names back when Latin was still a living language.

    2. silicon boobs

      One of the few things where I’m a fan of natural, period.

      what were once recognized as sexual kinks all seem to be accepted today as natural

      One of the premises of Sexual Persona is S&M is the natural end state of sexual freedom, not in a feminist “all intercourse is rape” sense, but more that dominance, control, and roughness are basic mammalian mating rituals manifest that way and all the stuff people have been wondering “where did romance/tenderness/mutual pleasure/etc” go are products of civilization.

      Maybe that’s not the whole story, but I think Paglia is onto something.

  2. Grrr … I posted a comment WP. Is you gonna be “difficult” today? It is, I suppose, Word Press’s natural state.

  3. I can’t agree that the parental-incest thing is “natural”, and that it’s the rules of civilization that restrain it. I would think that the Westermarck effect would naturally tend to prevent thinking about close family sexually, perhaps with rare exceptions based on circumstances. (The story of Lot’s daughters in the Bible comes to mind, where they deliberately chose to get him drunk enough to overcome the effect, because they couldn’t find any other man to father the children they wanted to have). The fact that multiple digs found such things is some evidence against my position, but given that this was in the Russian steppes, I could easily believe in multiple families being isolated enough that they ended up in a Lot’s-daughters situation. (Or multiple men being twisted enough to keep their own daughters in sexual slavery, as with the German guy: it wasn’t necessarily a Lot’s daughters situation where the daughters were on board with the idea.)

      1. The S&M world exists as an outlet for twisted people to find willing victims/victimizers in a relatively safe context to work out such desires/needs.

        Don’t let anyone tell you different.

          1. YKINMKATO 🙂

            On a more serious note, while I think we’ve over normalized deviancy I don’t want to see the reaction destroy the communities of deviants of various kind (this includes some strict religious communities, btw) because I think they provide a vital ability to absorb pressures that arise.

            That is kind of Moynihan’s theory of defining deviancy down, but not exactly. I also think that paper made a vital and intentionally misrepresented point.

          2. That’s an admission you should hope never shows up in a court of law, should any of them ever show up with lawyers… 🙂

            1. Well, some authors’ characters are more likely to lure their “creator” into a dark alley rather than sue their “creator”. 😈

              1. When G.”Rape-Rape” Martin disappears, and shows up later as a thin red film on some nasty torture implements, wellllll… I think it will be clear what happened…

              1. You likely won’t live to see it, but if Courts can grant rights to chimps, rivers and ecosystems just how much of a leap would it be to allow lawyers acting on behalf of (f’rinstance) one Mycroft HOLMES to sue the estate of Robert Heinlein for murdering their client (perhaps anticipation of such risk is what moved RAH to resurrect Mike later on?)

                I am sure there are lawyers just waiting the precedent to bring suit against one Captain Ahab on behalf of Moby Dick for the crimes of stalking and attempted whalicide.

                1. *** whalicide *** Lawsuits

                  Isn’t that what Greenpeace, or whichever anti-whaling group, does now? Not that they are entirely successful against some industry whalers.

                2. Somewhat off-topic, but this however brings to mind Mark Twain’s bill of particulars against James Fenimore Cooper.

                  1. That’s not crimes against characters, that’s crimes against readers

                    Whole other ball of whacks…

    1. My point being that these twists and weird impulses are natural. Humans are broken. I don’t think we get nearly as many tragedies because it’s held in check by “thou shall not.”

      1. Okay, that I fully agree with. As the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

      2. Also remember “the strongest male around, best able to take care of me and my progeny” rule. Which explains a lot of the voluntary father-daughter incest, and/or thoughts of same in (some proportion of) daughters.

        Humans are thinkers on the short term – that is our “natural” outlook. Gets us into a lot of trouble sometimes. I’ve seen a couple of those same papers on early Indo-Europeans (hmm, spellcheck… what the heck are “Undo-Europeans” that you wanted to change to?), but not come across any that did a cross-check to see if any of the specific mitochondrial DNA survived to show up in modern populations.

      3. The word “natural” has many meanings. . . .

        I like C.S. Lewis’s Studies in Words for many reasons, but its chapter on “Nature” is particularly good.

    2. The story of Lot’s daughters in the Bible comes to mind, where they deliberately chose to get him drunk enough to overcome the effect, because they couldn’t find any other man to father the children they wanted to have.

      Please review the source material. IIRC, the intent of Lot’s daughters was to preserve their father’s line — i.e., extend the patrilineal heritage, a not unreasonable goal in a society which viewed women as chattel, little superior to cows or chickens.

      Of course, the possibility that they were so butt ugly the only way the could lay with a man is f he were drunk cannot be discarded out of hand. Oy, some of the Jewish Princesses I have known!

      As for the other aspect … I well recall a news story a few years back about a guy who sexually molested his infant daughter, expressing the opinioni that if her momma wasn’t supplying his needs …

      Such stories are, presumably, the exception rather than the rule, but they do occur, they do occur.

      1. It wasn’t to preserve their father’s line. It was to gain children who would care for them when they were old. 😉

        1. Looking at the text:
          32 Come, let us get our father drunk with wine, so that we can sleep with him and preserve his line.” 33 So that night they got their father drunk with wine, and the firstborn came and slept with her father; he was not aware when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Look, I slept with my father last night. Let us get him drunk with wine again tonight, so you can go sleep with him, and we can preserve our father’s line.”

          We can debate whether the daughters’ simple existence constituted preservation of his line, or whether they might have held intentions they opted not to name, dressing them up with polite fiction, but it seems a stretch to reach for “gain children who would care for them when they were old.

          Thus were born the Moabites and Ammonites, with results addresed later in the book.

          1. Harrumph. There should have been a /I between “our father’s line.” and We can debate.

            Actually, there should have been a /B, with the emphasized phrase being entirely in Bold, not italics, consistent with the first such emphasized phrase, but I’m having enough trouble wiith my typoing tday tht I don’t wanna go there.

            1. It was right after the destruction of the seven cities of the plain. They allegedly thought humanity had been destroyed, and that they were the only women alive, and their dad the only man.

              So yeah, the moral of the story is, “Don’t panic and do something you will regret.”

      2. Oh, on Lot’s daughters let’s not forget however righteous their dad, they were raised in Gomorrah. Perhaps attended some kind of public education, surely conversed with same-age mates, etc.
        And there it was apparently an everyday thing.

        1. The evidence of their activity had to become visible in time. I can imagine the thought process in Lot’s mind, “Hey, they both look a lot like their mom did at six months, but its just been the three of us out here for the last eight months … I don’t think I want to know!”

      3. Of course, the possibility that they were so butt ugly the only way the could lay with a man is f he were drunk cannot be discarded out of hand

        My question has always been how much wine did they have to give their father on the second night? I mean, I’ll buy that the first time he didn’t see the date rape coming — all alone in the desert a widower has needs. But seriously, the second night? How much alcohol does it take to agree to impregnate your daughter after one has already seduced you?

          1. Perhaps the events preceding the Sodomization of Gomorrah might lend a bit of perspective: Hmm, don’t have a handy text in the computer, so it’s going to be typoed out…

            Gen 19 (New Living Translation)
            5) …”Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”
            6) …(Lot steps outside)
            7) “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing.
            8) Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wich. But please, leave these men along, for they are my guest and are under my protection.”

            If the daughters figured they were available as sex toys for the Gomorrah Rape Rape Mob, maybe they figured that Dad wasn’t in a position to take the high moral ground.

            With respect to butt-ugly, remember Frank Zappa’s “What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?”
            Spoiler: your mind.

        1. The text says that they got him so drunk that, both times, “He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.” So he probably didn’t remember it the next morning, either time.

          1. For a guy his age to be able to “perform” while that drunk is pretty impressive.

          2. Given that his wife had just been turned into a rock salt formation, and that he was need the impression that most of humanity has been destroyed, it is not surprising that the man would be hitting the palm wine or the fermented barley soup pretty hard. And that stuff causes massive hangovers.

    3. Sorry Robin, but between my abnormal psych courses and talking with way too many social services people, my observations are that parental incest IS the natural state of affairs, especially in rural and isolated communities and families; when culture doesn’t frown on it or provide means to stop it. And you’d probably be aghast to know what went on in my wife’s family tree about 8 to 10 generations ago in Nova Scotia, and that’s what was officially recorded. I suspect similar happenings on my mother’s side of the family, being a bunch of rural farmer types, since the early 1600s

    4. Judging from the popularity of incest porn with the ladies, I think that this is probably a bit more of a two-way street than we would like to think.

      I’ve never met males in a sexual situation, so I can’t speak for that aspect of it, but there are bunch of women out there that I’ve met who are rather aroused by at least the skin or the skeleton of the idea, wanting to call their partners “Daddy”.

      That alone is disturbing as hell, but the prevalence of it does tend to argue that there may be a bit more going on in regard to this than “man bad”.

      We also don’t know the full situation of what was going on with those archaeological sites, either–It may be that those little bands of father-daughter incestuous love got killed off by their neighbors, in disgust, or that there simply were no other men around. I’d think that the weird thing to explain would be how it was that presumably mostly nomadic hunter-gatherer types wound up buried close enough together in both space and time to show this–If they were wiped out, who did the burials? The other explanation might be that someone screwed up on their lab work, which isn’t unknown in police forensics, either.

      I think that the root of all of this is that we really don’t know what we don’t know–Judging from the evidence, I think that the incest taboo is mostly a semi-instinctual learned behavior, but there’s really not a hell of a lot of evidence one way or another. The people discussing “Genetic Sexual Attraction” may be on to something, or they may not. I’ve seen that happen in real time, in real life–Friend of a friend gave up her son for adoption as a very young teen, and when he came back into her life at around age 35, weeellll… Yeah, it got weird. I would love to know what the inner details of what that whole death-spiral of a relationship consisted of, but from where I was sitting, it was strange and disturbing–And, I couldn’t quite make out if it was the result of her seeing her old lover in her son, him looking for love, her looking for love, or what.

      Then, you’ve got the popularity of incest porn, with both sexes. Some of which is apparently unconscious, because there are a lot of women who like the “Daddy” thing, and don’t understand why it might disturb their partner, even after it’s carefully explained, with charts. The vice of that versa, I don’t know about, personally, but I bet it would be equally strange to have someone request you play their little girl in a sexual role.

      From the standpoint of who is at fault, between the sexes? I’d say it’s probably about even. You don’t get real-life Craster situations too often, because the odds of the daughters ganging up on the one male are too strong–Unless they’re into it, to one degree or another. Even if it’s a thing where the older daughters are enforcing it, you would really be chancing life as a lone male trying to keep that lot fed, and survive the whole experience with your mind and body intact. Having been around unrestrained young women in pack-like conditions, I shudder to think what it might be like trying to maintain dominance and some kind of centered sanity. It’s one thing to keep one unwilling daughter captive in a dungeon, but a pack of them in open Paleolithic conditions…? No, I’m gonna vote that it was likely at least somewhat consensual and two-sided. For whatever reason–I’m not saying it wasn’t codependence and/or brainwashing, either–Just that there had to be a degree of “Yeah, OK, we’ll do this…”.

      The whole thing comes to a stop, though, when you try to project reason onto situations you really know nothing about. Yeah, it looks nuts to us, from the now, but who knows what the actual situation was, or why they did what we think they did from the evidence that we’ve analyzed, perhaps inaccurately? It’s like those little Venus dolls: Objects of worship, talismans for something like safe pregnancies or fertility? Who knows what they really were? All we know is that they were apparently made and venerated for some damn reason, and like Stonehenge, we can only speculate on the “Why…?” at this remove.

      Hell, go back and try to explain the Victorian penchant for picture-portraits of their dead, posed with living family members. To us, that’s obscenely macabre, but to them, it was a loving keepsake of lost family members.

      1. I’ve never met males in a sexual situation, so I can’t speak for that aspect of it, but there are bunch of women out there that I’ve met who are rather aroused by at least the skin or the skeleton of the idea, wanting to call their partners “Daddy”.

        Daddy/girl is a common enough relationship in the kink world to be standard tee shirts carried by vendors at cons. Mommy/girl shows up now and then, but Mommy/boy is rare and seems to be mostly lesbian relationships (don’t ask me, I don’t know).

        But, yeah, Daddy/girl is common enough to be its own sub-community.

        That enough people are that open about it and want to do it as more than just bedroom fantasy but organize the relationship that way tells me it is probably pretty common in the general population.

        1. I have a suspicion that something common enough to warrant a T-shirt is probably fairly well based in something that’s either prevalent in the biology or the society… What that might be, I have no idea, and would not speculate on the causation thereof. You can only observe, and make some suppositions.

          Doubt the prevalence of it all? Do a search on your search engine of choice, with whatever terms you prefer not to think about. If it’s prevalent enough to have a lot of kink pron show up, well… Yeah.

          That “Genetic Attraction” theory is something I’ve heard about more than once. There was the one incident I mention above, and then there was another one where an acquaintance was stalked by his daughter that he’d unknowingly sired with another stalker-ish female acquaintance from his teen-age years, a girl he’d had a “one-and-done” with due to her clinginess and increasingly bizarre behavior, for which she’d been hauled off to a mental health care facility by her parents. He claimed he’d come incredibly close to actually sleeping with the girl, before he figured out who she was to him. Apparently, part of the reason the girl from his teenage years was “taken away” was that she’d gotten pregnant, the parents put the baby up for adoption, and then the resultant daughter found her and got his name from her mom at some point. When he related the whole thing to me, I was like, “Yeah, sure… Sounds like a plot from some badly-written soap opera…”. Then, I had to cover for him on a duty he’d pulled when he had to go do a deposition that was related to the whole thing–The unrequited daughter sued him for parental neglect and alienation of affection, or some such BS. Like mother, like daughter–Stalkerish nut cases.

          I think the whole thing might be hardwired into the behavioral genetics, but it could also be cultural. Very few of the creche-raised kibbutzniks ever wanted anything at all to do with each other, romantically. But, I’ve heard stories of kids who were raised apart, one in the creche, and one outside it, due to family separations, who found each other in later life and were romantically attracted until informed of the realities. That’s just one case, and who knows if it means anything against the vast numbers of the rest of us.

          1. If I remember most of the attraction studies right, humans tend to want someone who is the same but different– that is, we crave exotic, but if you really want to get folks hooked, you do exotic on familiar.

            And scent is important enough that someone who is too similar will smell worse than someone who is very different. (Thus, my husband’s shirts don’t smell nearly as bad as my sons’ will.)

            1. I wonder how much effect the proximity thing has on that? If you hadn’t raised him, and the child came from, say, a donated egg or embryo, what would that first olfactory encounter tell you?

              I think there’s a lot more to the whole pheremone thing than we realize–All the guys I knew in the service who were absent for the majority of their partner’s pregnancies and the early childhood period for their kids were all very different fathers from the ones who were. Observationally, that’s been consistent enough for me to theorize that there are “dad” signals that go on between partners and the resultant infants that are critical to parental bonding.

              Anecdotally, the two idiots I know from my Army years who were convicted pedos and involved with incestuous relationships with their daughters? Both of them weren’t around for their wives pregnancies, and were not around for the early years of their kid’s lives, either.

              You can observe the effect on guys who are around for the pregnancies, too–It’s like they pick up some sort of effect from it, and they morph from a guy who goes “Ooooh, ick, kids…”, and who actively frightens small children, into the paternal proud papa who strange kids instinctively turn to in crisis. I swear I’ve seen it happen multiple times, and I’ll be damned if I could prove it, but…

              1. The “dad gained ten pounds because mom is pregnant” effect is REAL, I tell you. Elf wasn’t there for the birth of either boy, and has had a few deployments, but even then we made sure to have video chat and I kept a couple of his under shirts to use as baby crib sheets, and didn’t wash his pillow.
                Which sounds silly, until you realize that 90% of the time the kids ended up snuggling daddy’s pillow, while if he’s home they snuggle mommy.

                I would guess there are at least three variables involved:
                Genetic similarity.
                Did they have a daddy.

              2. One of the things that’s interesting is that too different is a problem. For instance, they now think that pre-eclampsia is the result of an allergy to your husband’s proteins.
                Which is bizarre because just by “location” Dan and I have more than a trivial chance of sharing ancestry and I had near-fatal pre-eclampsia with #1 son.
                It’s also why it ALMOST never happens with second or further sons.

                1. … pre-eclampsia is the result of an allergy to your husband’s proteins.

                  Some of the recent things learnt about female reaction to ingested semen and seminal fluid has been fascinating. I shan’t attempt to repeat any as it has been sufficiently long since I read it (even beyond last week!) that I would likely garble some facts. But one of the effects, I vaguely recall, is to key the woman’s system to “reject” other men’s sperm — which seems like it would entail identifying his semen’s protein coating.
                  Here’s is some more authoritative data:

                  Researchers Discover The Powerful Physiological Effects Of Semen On Women’s Bodies, Brains & DNA
                  In scientific terms, semen is what’s known as a “master regulator”. Scientists have discovered how seminal fluid (which makes up approx. 70% of semen’s composition) has enormous physiological impacts on the female body and brain, including, among other things: the ability to activate genes, trigger changes in the uterus, reduce levels of depression in women, make women sleepy after sex, strengthen the emotional bond with their partner, and more.

                  The wide-ranging influence of semen on female physiology is “all about maximising the chances of the male reproducing,” says Sarah Robertson of the University of Adelaide in Australia. Further research conducted by a team led by Tracey Chapman of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, has also found that males produce more seminal proteins when in the presence of rivals.

                  The discoveries were presented at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference in Vienna last week. The component of the research which found that semen significantly reduces levels of depression in women gained much attention at the conference. “If that effect is real, depression in some people might be treatable with artificial-semen suppositories,” writes Michael Le Page of New Scientist. “Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York at Albany, who carried out the study, says a PhD student of his has replicated the finding in a survey of 1000 women, but the results were never published.”

                  The proteins of seminal fluid can quickly enter the blood stream and reach the brain, having an almost instantaneous effect on hormone regulation, mood, gene activation, immune system regulation, ovulation, uterus receptivity to sperm and embryo, and even the activity and growth within the embryo itself. The take home message clearly being that semen’s effect on female physiology goes far beyond reproduction alone. …

                  1. That almost sounds like that joke that was circulating a few years ago, describing the health benefits of semen…

                    I know it’s out there, too, but this seems like it came from legit research, this time. I’m really starting to suspect that the universe is run by the writers for The Onion and/or the Babylon Bee…

                  2. That’s rather interesting, given the number of tribal initiation ceremonies in various cultures that involve male ingestion of semen. Frequently right from the source.

          2. When I was in my 20’s I thought Mel Gibson was about the most handsome man ever. A few decades later, as he got older, I finally realized that except for the nose he actually had a pretty strong facial resemblance to my father (father’s nose was rather wide and rounded, something I inherited, damn it, mom’s was rather more elegant looking).

            That felt a bit creepy. But isn’t the general idea that most people tend to end up with a mate who does resemble their opposite sex parent – men go for girls who are kind of like their mothers, women for men who are kind of like their fathers…

            1. Yes! So this … I think because your parent of the opposite sex models what you take as an example of what you are inclined to be comfortable with in a mate.
              I noticed early on that all my girl cousins went for guys who looked rather like the males of the clan. I did the same – my serious significant other looked so much like the males of my family that my friends in the barracks who saw his picture initially assumed that he was my brother…
              I used this in one of my books for a romance: to the hero, the heroine reminded him of his mother, who had died when he was a mere kidlet. The heroine’s father had died in the CW before she was born, so she was unconsciously looking for a protective, authoritative father-figure … and he was it. In spite of being about twice her age, and neither being rich or handsome…

              1. It may also be a matter of being better at reading such faces. Because you learned your parent’s expressions you are able to recognize them on similarly structured pans.

                This might also account for the “It seemed like we’d known each other forever!” or “It was like [Personal Pronoun] could read my mind!” experiences

            2. It takes a certain amount of aging — and of observing aging in others — to appreciate the effects of that process in people’s faces. Youngsters do not look at old (or even middle-aged) folk and understand that once they were young and gorgeous.

              Take a look with your preferred search engine and compare faces of actors young and old, comparing early 30’s Gary Cooper against the late 50’s version, or the John Wayne of Stagecoach against the his Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. Or try the 20’s Myrna Loy against Cheaper By the Dozen‘s 1950 version.

            3. The children of interracial marriages tend to prefer the race of the opposite sex parent.

              It does seem to be upbringing that does it. Adoptive children prefer people like the opposite sex adoptive parent. Which even makes adoption a genetic advantage: you are increasing the pool of mates for your near relatives.

          3. Taboos are unnatural. They arise in response to natural human … mishaps.

            Some are very old and wide-spread and speak to general human failings, while others are local and arise from a specific cultural artefact. See also USAians and racism.

      2. It used to be common for older married people in some ethnic groups to have the title of address of Mother Surname and Father Surname, and for them to call each other by the petnames of Mother and Father. Usually kids in such families had nicknames like Brother or Sis. When you got older, you had husbands and wives calling each other Grandma and Grandpa, while their married kids took on a Mother or Father name.

        Older Superman comics had Ma and Pa Kent calling each other Pa and Ma.

        In other ethnic groups, you got married people affectionately calling each other Mr. Surname and Mrs. Surname.

        So let’s not assume it is all about the incest, when it is probably all about the fantasizing about being married and heading up the joint household, in some cases.

        1. Context I’ve run into that…? Uhmmmm… No. That wasn’t what they were thinking of. Not. At. All.

          I acknowledge that what you’re saying is accurate and true, just that it’s entirely irrelevant to the encounters where I’ve run into that “Slap my ass, and let me call you Daddy” thing.

          And, initially, it’s not something you really think of, “in the moment”, but as refrigerator logic…? Yeah; disturbing implications, leading to questions, leading to admissions, leading to loss of interest in pursuit of any further such encounters.

          I suppose I’m guilty of over-thinking things, but as I told the lady who wanted to roleplay rape, what the hell do you do if you develop a taste for such things…? Where does that end?

      3. ….I am disturbed enough to point out that I do refer to Elf as ‘daddy,’ but only when I’m talking to our kids. I’d be more likely to refer to him by a gamer tag than as ‘daddy’.
        (Everybody gets a second name– the name of their relationship to the person I’m talking to. Example, there is both “brother John” and “cousin John,” and I think I’ve told the story about “sweet cousin Mary” a few times. If not, there are so many Marys in dad’s family that the only thing left for the Samoan cousin-in-law that wouldn’t give my dear grandma a heart attack was “sweet.” Big and similar were out for obvious reasons. Yes, I adored the Wee Free Men for obvious reasons.)

        1. Yep. Same here. When talking to the kids it’s “Dad” and when talking to the cats it’s “daddy.” (Shut up. We don’t consider ourselves “pet parents” but you know…)
          When talking to Dan it’s usually “love” or “Sweetie.”

        2. I think that’s normal. After all, to young kids, “Daddy” and “Mommy” are names. To our son, my name isn’t “Robin”, it’s “Daddy”. So when I get home from work, my wife tells him, “Daddy’s home!” Then she greets me with “Welcome home, honey” or “Welcome home, Robin”. My parents did something similar: while my sister and I were young, they would refer to each other as “Mommy” or “Daddy” when talking to us, but not when talking to each other.

      4. Further down this page, you talked about how people want trust in their relationships.

        Want to bet that most of the women who are into that sort of thing had either terrible or nonexistent relationships with their fathers?

        1. Absolutely. Thus, the term “Daddy issues”, when talking about a specific sort of dysfunctional young lady…

    5. The norm in animals is for the old bull to drive away the young bulls, then proceed to screw his daughters. (And if one of the young bulls instead drives off the old bull, he then proceeds to screw his half-sisters.) Contrary to popular myth there is no natural mechanism to “prevent inbreeding”. Per DNA analysis of a couple dozen major mammals, the coefficient of inbreeding averaged around .25, which is 4 to 10 times higher than the average among domesticated species. In short, inbreeding is the norm, not the exception.

      And my observation as a longtime (almost 5 decades) breeder is that dogs firmly believe “incest is best” — give ’em the choice and it’d be all father-daughter matings, all the time. (Cats are much the same.)

      From a selection standpoint this isn’t necessarily bad; max fertility (which tends to reflect optimal health) in humans comes with matings of 2nd or 3rd cousins. A large breeding experiment (15,000 individual dogs) found that once you did away with the exposed defectives, inbred colonies (closed gene pool, not necessarily immediate-relation matings) had better health and longevity than outcrossed colonies. (Which has been precisely my observation across 15 generations of my own line.)

      Anyway, this is why I don’t find it at all startling that neolithic families were commonly one male and however many females he could collect, including his own daughters. Given that, what remains of polygamy is probably a relict trait that started getting selected away from once population pressure (too many frustrated young men roaming the landscape, too smart to be easily scared off) made it a lot harder for one man to hoard all the handy women. Plus when you need a bison or mammoth to feed ’em all, those extra young men are handy to have around… bribe ’em with their own mate… eventually through social and selection processes, single mates becomes the norm, and here we humans are today, having mostly bred out the wild-animal tendency to prefer incest (and polygamy).

      But as we all know, occasionally the relict traits resurface, and then we throw ’em in prison and effectively kick ’em out of the gene pool. Natural selection at work, even if we do it via the courts rather than by tooth and claw.

      1. There’s somewhere in my memory a quote from someone to the effect that the foundation of civilization was the successful resistance to atavistic drives…

        With the corollary that the downfall was giving in to them.

        Look around you: Where is the left taking us…?

        1. They’re pointing and exclaiming, “Oh, look! A squirrel!”

          …and some people are just looking at their finger…

      2. I’m sitting here giggling. My dad has decided younger son MUST meet second cousin. We were all going “uh… well, according to 23 and me shared genes should be minimal, but why on Earth.”
        Now I know why. Dad grew up on a farm. So, besides fact he likes girl and thinks they’d get along, he’s thinking Great Grand kids. Sneaky. (Whether they’ll even ever meet is something else, but I’m amused.)

  4. in the fifties atomic was it, even when it made no sense whatsoever.

    In the Fifties atomics provided a useful excuse for everything from awakening Gojira to making humans shrink into infinitesimality to ants becoming the size of houses — physics and biology be damned.

    Of course, the real Fifties “it” word was “Hi-Fi” — as memorialized in a variety of Peanuts cartoons displaying Charlie Brown’s puzzlement as Violet skipped by proudly announcing her ownership of her “new HiFi jump-rope.” Regrettably, searching for an example of any Peanuts strip from that era is tedious, so no example do I offer.

    1. “Buck” Rogers slept until the 25th century because he was trapped in a cave filled with “radium”.

      Oh, there was a book retelling his story where it was “alien technology” that kept him in deep sleep.

      1. I gather radium, in the decades immediately subsequent to Mme Curie’s revelation, was a popular breakfast cereal additive, promising “added energy!”

        The mind boggles that our modern tort law doctrines for product liability were so long in developing.

        1. A modern equivalent to casual radium use might be seen with regard to all the phtalates and estrogen-analogs we’re pumping into the environment.

          If I had to guess what the equivalent was, in our current attempt at civilization, for the Roman casual use of lead in everything, well… That’d be it. If we have any descendants, they’re gonna think we were idiots of the highest order for that…

      2. Several of the Oz books have radium used in ways that are highly disturbing to the modern reader. One group of subterranean residents have houses of a shiny metal that glows (and gives them good health, etc.), and it’s revealed to be radium. Ozma has a crown made of radium. I’m sure there are a few other examples, but those are the ones that stick in my head, especially after reading Radium Girls.

        1. In one of Marion Harmon’s “Wearing The Cape” stories, Brian & Ozma secretly visit Oz and she informs him that the radium of Oz isn’t the radium of Earth. 😉

        2. ERB used the word radium in his Barsoom stories, radium rifles or ammunition, but I think the idea was that it was something described by John Carter which the fictional version of ERB who knew the Warlord as “uncle” thought kind of sounded like radium but possibly wasn’t, but he used the word because he thought radium was at least somewhat similar. Nice way to avoid sounding like somebody who didn’t know what he was talking about – “I’m just trying to describe something I don’t really understand because alien technology”.

      3. The warriors of Barsoom used rifles which shot radioactive explosive bullets. When they bothered to use their super-accurate, long-range weapons at all. Usually they just stabbed each other with swords.

        1. Of course the didn’t use super-accurate long-range weapons. That is dishonorable.

          If someone ever opens a portal to Barsoom it is going to be hard to say ‘no’.

          1. S. M. Stirling’s Martians (in “In The Courts of the Crimson Kings”) use both “guns” and swords but not for “reasons of honor”.

            Basically, the “guns” take time to “recharge” so swords are necessary until the “guns” recharge.

            1. I was very disappointed we only got two books in that series. I enjoyed “The Sky People” more than “In The Courts of the Crimson Kings”, but I enjoyed most more than 90% of what has been published by trad houses this decade. The only series abandoned just as it got interesting that I want another book more is the Jak Jinnaka series.

              The prologues to both books were worth the price of admission.

              1. I liked Crimson Kings much better, but I also wished for a third book. After 11 years, I guess there won’t be…

                Reading the reviews was hysterical. So many people wittering about Burroughs and Kline, and utterly missing the whole point…

                1. Enjoyed both of those. Could not stand the Dies the Fire stuff and wondered how it kept going instead of . Similarly I’ve always wanted more in the Peshwar Lancers universe.

              1. Reloading a muzzleloading anything isn’t terribly fast. I’ve read enough to get the idea that an efficient/effective system was to have a shooter and a loader and two or more firearms.

                If I ever timed a muzzleloading reload, the number is lost in memory, but 1-2 minutes for *non-emergency* loads sounds right. If it’s dire, you could cycle a few rounds in 45 seconds each. Risky, if there’s something still glowing in the chamber…

                1. Back when the musket was the preferred weapon for massed volley fire, I gather that the British standard for troops was three rounds a minute.

                  As someone said, the definition of a good soldier is the ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather.

                  1. I stand (well, sit) corrected.

                    I believe a musket would be faster than a rifled firearm. I was using a patched ball. The lube was partly water based, so a quick swap would make it safer for a fast reload, but it ain’t quick. There are measures you can take (premeasured powder, greased round) to make it faster.

                    The 20 seconds/round would be impressive in a flintlock. I’d have needed a lot more practice than I had. Mine is/are percussion, but they haven’t been fired in over 25 years.

                    1. As I understand it, muskets were indeed faster as well as less prone to fouling, compared to rifles. While shorter ranged (and even at their shorter range, less accurate) volley fire still made it possible to create an effective killing field in spite of a lack of accuracy.

                      Three ranks, firing in turn, at three rounds a minute per rank, were the basis of the British Army’s “thin blue line” that stopped Bonaparte’s columns.

                    2. BTW – Sharpe’s men were supposed to AIM because they could shoot straight, they were picked men. The normal troops didn’t bother to aim, they just pointed.

                    3. The Baker rifle (which Sharpe & his men used) was slower in use than the muskets used thus weren’t considered useful in the “line of battle”.

                      The muskets could be reloaded in roughly twice the time than the Baker rifle.


      4. The Armageddon 2419 series Jim Baen published based on “The Original Buck Rogers Story” to cash in on the series without, you know, cashing in on the series.

  5. Trying this a second time — hopefully it will appear before Thursday.

    … it would surprise anyone else with half a brain or the capacity to reason.

    So, hardly anybody in our modern society and certainly fewer than ten percent of people graduating college in the last twenty-five years.

    Botulism, ergot, e. coli, certain snake and spider venoms — all these are natural, nicht wahr? Gangrene, crotch rot, and a host of sexually transmitted diseases and parasites (e.g., “crabs”) are also natural.

    OTOH, plenty of unnatural things — from silicon boobs to liposuction to a wide (and I d mean wide) array of what were once recognized as sexual kinks all seem to be accepted today as natural.

    1. Shudders to think of what would happen if the silicon crystals broke.

      Be nice to the WordPress hamsters.

  6. The “Fun” part of linking “Natural Man” and “fallen humanity” is that Humans have to fight against our fallen nature to be truly Good People.

    Nobody here would like me if I didn’t struggle against my “natural/fallen nature”. 😈

    Going along with the “Natural Man” nonsense, I remember the hippy nonsense of “let it all hang out”. It assumed that “what was inside” was always good. 😈 😈 😈 😈

    1. I rather think we are well off eschewing an extended discourse on what would be the “natural” dragon.

      The natural wallaby, OTOH, is a source of amusement and delight and a topic deserving its own week of blog posts.

  7. Our natural rights are negative rights. The ones any human has if they’re not taken away.

    I find it useful to think of these rights as “innate” or “inherent” because they are not granted, they can only be infringed.

    1. “they’re not taken away”
      They cannot be taken away they can only be infringed.
      I know a small point but an important one.

      1. Thank-you both for bringing this up before I could.
        By the way, a human that has surrendered those rights is called a slave.

    1. My favorite is “organic.” I always eat only organic food, although I will sometimes season it with a sprinkle of crystalline sodium-chloride.

      I ain’t no chicken to ingest gravel as part of my diet. And, judging by this headline, most others share my disinclination:

      Breakfast wraps recalled after customers find ‘small rocks’ inside

      More than 246,000 pounds of frozen breakfast wraps were recently recalled after customers complained of finding “small rocks” in the food, federal inspectors announced.

      Ruiz Food Products, the manufacturer of El Monterey Egg, Potato, Bacon & Cheese Sauce Breakfast Wraps, received a report of one injury possibly associated with consuming the product, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement Friday.

      In total, the company has received three customer complaints, the USDA said.


      “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them,” the USDA said. “These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

      Ruiz Foods is based in Denison, Texas, and is known for its production of frozen Mexican food.

      1. As I occasionally remind my wife, to a chemist it’s all organic — except the salt. And “don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce” is not a useful guideline for anyone who has taken organic chemistry.

        Also remember that Socrates died from drinking all-natural, organically grown hemlock. So much for magic labels.

        1. My inner chemist thinks it’s eternally funny to remind ’em that coal and petroleum are “organic” not to mention “all natural”.

          1. I knew a woman who hated to drink coffee and tea because of the “evil” caffeine.

            I guess she didn’t know that caffeine is a natural part of coffee and tea. 😈

        2. Reminds me of the quote: “There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters. There are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

          Amanita phalloides known as the “Death Cap” is 100% natural. 100% Fatal.

    2. The people I know who are actually gluten-free (celiac or intestinal issues) are very annoyed at the trendy types, since it makes people conflate their actual health needs with dietary fads.

      1. On the other hand, it’s made gluten-free foods more available.

        Although, a friend who really has Celiac disease tells me she still has to be careful and read the label because some foods advertised as “gluten-free” aren’t as gluten-free as they should be.

        1. Yeah, it is a mixed bag. I loathe coming across as a hippie, so I don’t talk about restrictions that are a big fad. Plus, I haven’t conclusively proven that the evidence isn’t psychosomatic. On the other hand, the natural rate of intolerance most likely isn’t enough to support much variety of alternatives at low cost.

          1. $SPOUSE (who is mostly “pure” British, barring the fact that she can wear the Campbell tartan) tells me that celiac disease is known as the “English Disease”. I’m about 3/4 Brit, and the only known gluten-intolerant one in the family. $SPOUSE’s family, you have to search hard to find one who isn’t horribly effected.

            (In my case, I ate far too much high gluten content foods when I was exercising enough to get away with mass quantities of calories. More of an intolerance for me, though with allergic symptoms for fun. $SPOUSE has the allergic reactions first, then the rest of the stuff later.)

            And no, we don’t eat at MacDonalds.

          2. You should try having a truly bizarre allergy. My mother is allergic to Garlic. Almost half of all restaurants are completely out of the question because they put garlic in EVERYTHING (We’ve even come across a dessert that had garlic). And since it isn’t a standard allergen, quite often restaurants can’t tell you if it’s in there or not. That has lead to the discovery that a few restaurants that bill themselves as full-kitchen, real-food, restaurants are really just heating up pre-packaged food manufactured in a factory somewhere, and aren’t actually cooking anything from scratch. Not even the “home made” stuff.

            I have issue with Pork. I get stomach cramps. Strangely, as long as I generally stay away from it, if I occasionally get a little bit it doesn’t hit me so bad. Just after 9/11, when there was a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment going about, I got asked more than once (rather harshly) if I was a Muslim because of asking if there was pork in something. I think being large, and so pale I practically glow kept a lot of that to a minimum though.

            Foxifer, I’m not sure saying you’re on a fad diet is such a good idea. I have one friend who really has a gluten allergy (celiac), and she has to be REALLY specific about gluten, because even a little tiny bit causes her some pretty bad problems, so even a little cross-contamination in the kitchen is a problem. She’s found out the hard way to make sure the kitchen knows she has a real problem rather than just being on a fad diet, because people in kitchens aren’t anywhere near as careful about cross-contamination when it’s just a fad diet thing. Even something like, “Oops, a little flower fell in… oh well, can’t see it, they’ll never know” would cause my friend serious discomfort in the very least. (Even frying potatoes in the same fryer as wheat based foods has caused her problems).

            1. I wouldn’t use ti for something that’s a major allergy, but it works for something where being worried someone will think you’re a hippy is a deterrent.

            2. I know someone who is allergic to shell fish. Was at a luncheon with her when waiter went over “soups available today.” Including Soup of the Day, which was beef galosh (sp?), but they also had clam chowder. She asked twice, letting the waiter know she was allergic to shell fish, ordered the daily special by the Beef name. Guess what they (not original waiter) brought out? Yes, the shell fish. Yes. A huge deal was made about it. Luncheon’s since, the waiter ALWAYS double checks her order. Kitchen is under strict orders to be sure her order come out separate from others (given a lot of us are fond of the crab melt …)

              She takes an anti-histamine as a precaution against accidental contamination. But it is not a guarantee there will be no reaction. She also caries an Epi pen.

              One of the (newerish) SD trained tasks is to check against allergens. Including, peanuts, shell fish, and gluten. Which based on testimonials, has people questioning a dog in restaurants as legit because the dog to task has to be positioned to be able to smell the food as it is presented, normally a no no. Bet, the “little bit of flour spilled” would be detected.

            3. My sister is allergic to soy and HATES to see “Improved!” on any food product she buys.

            4. ” Just after 9/11, when there was a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment going about, I got asked more than once (rather harshly) if I was a Muslim because of asking if there was pork in something. ”

              Tell them you’re Jewish.

              1. LOL!! When I was in the Marines, all fit with muscles on my muscles, blonde hair, and a high-and-tight haircut, I pretty much LOOKED like the Arian race poster child. Pretty sure nearly anyone would call me on it if I claimed to be Jewish.

                Although, I did once claim to be Canadian when a drunk redneck who was obviously spoiling for a fight, angerly accused me of not standing for the national anthem (note, The song was actually Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American”, not the Nat. Anthem, but a-hole was too drunk to notice. I was also sick at the time and in ZERO condition to fight anyone.)

                1. Yar, it ha’ bin a while since we visited the Kinkster …

                  Well, a redneck nerd in a bowling shirt was a-guzzlin’ Lone Star beer Talking religion and-uh politics for all the world to hear. “They oughta send you back to Russia, boy, or New York City one You just want to doodle a Christian girl and you killed God’s only son.”

                2. One common practice in Nazi Germany was to claim that you, or your parent, was a bastard, and so you were really a Mischling or a German. . . .

                  One man whose mother was claiming that his father was really a Bavarian peddler and not her Jewish husband went to his hearing with his uncle. The officials came out and addressed the uncle — the short dark uncle — who laughed and told them that he was his Aryan uncle; the man applying for reclassification was the tall blond man with him. They approved it.

        2. Yes, keep the trendy bits! It means I stand a chance of finding something to eat away from home.

          The downside to trendy is when it becomes passe, and the good stuff ain’t available, or goes back to hard to find and expen$ive.

        3. It’s probably just me – but I notice every blasted thing that has the “gluten free” label slapped on it – when the product never had a smidgen of gluten in it in the first place. (Or even processable with the same machines that do handle gluten products.)

            1. I once passed a stand of honey that proudly proclaimed “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”.

              1. In fairness to the bees, that may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek. In Real-Life distinguishing between satire and stupidity can be as challenging as on the internet.

              2. Considering the rate of contamination found in Chinese-sourced honey, which is sometimes used to cut American-sourced…? That’s not a terribly foolish assertion to make about one’s products.

                As with olive oil, y’all really do not want to know where your honey might have come from, or contain, so long as you are buying the cheap commodity crap of uncertain provenance.

            1. I vividly recall seeing a bag of candy corn declaring itself “fat free” on its label.

              1. “Fat free Candy Corn”

                Not inaccurate …

                One of the reasons I read labels closely. Turns out artificial sugar is as bad or worse that actual sugar for triggering my blood sugar issues. Artificial sugar is it triggers the insulin, beyond what the other ingredients raise in BS indicates, but doesn’t give the insulin something to act on … which causes FASTER crashes and lower lows. Not. Good.

              2. Sugar is not Fat. There are a LOT of things that are technically “Fat Free”.

                I think people are surprised by things that are “fat free” because they equate eating things like candy etc. with getting fat… so if it’ll make you fat, how is it “fat free”?

                If the world worked like that, eating water taffy would keep you hydrated.

          1. I’ve started seeing “Naturally Gluten Free” on things like whole milk. Which does make some sense as a way to communicate to the nutritionally ignorant that “Hey, this food never had gluten in the first place”, because some people who have bought into the fad* are really, really ignorant about what gluten even is, and so putting that label on your product will make you sales to people who otherwise would have avoided it out of sheer ignorance.

            * Those with a genuine need to avoid gluten (celiac, etc.) tend to be much better informed than those who are following the fad.

            1. Those companies are also probably inundated with (ignorant) calls asking about the gluten content in their products. Putting that on the packaging might be simply to stop the madness.

      2. I’m not sure how you tell the difference. I’m not celiac, but I’ve noticed I’m less…musical…if I cut gluten out.

      3. Back when Elf was doing duty weekends, I’d send in cookies.

        Usually they had signs like “Ingredients are X, Y and Z, but there might be peanuts, walnuts, A, B and C because my kids live on peanutbutter sandwiches and we’ve cooked this other stuff in the last month.”

  8. NATURALLY toddlers want to share everything they have.

    This applies to communicable diseases, such as flu, measles, chicken pox and a wide variety of upper respiratory infections. It does not generally describe their attitude toward toys nor sweets … although any care giver is all too likely to find toddler has “shared” their lollipop with your hair or their sweet potato mush with your clean blouse.

    1. When Junior Dog is getting (too much) attention from $SPOUSE, Senior Dog will bring a chewy toy and drop it. Junior goes off to chew the toy, and Senior gets Momma time. Not exactly sharing; Senior Dog has a fair amount of the Evil Genius genes.

    2. I am known to regularly lament that the only thing my children willingly share are colds.

  9. I think a lot of the confusion comes from people who only experience what they think of as the Natural World on vacation. Yes, it can be great to sleep under the stars and wake up to cook fish right out of the stream for breakfast…

    IF you have a manufactured sleeping bag and tent, and a machine to make fire for you, and manufactured fishing gear and warm clothing that you bought from someone else and a Ranger station within a short hike in case you get hurt and a nice warm bed waiting for when you get tired of roughing it.

    Most people who talk about “saving the environment” have never actually experienced the environment, face to face, without the backing of an industrialized civilization. If you actually have to get all of your food and clothing and shelter and tools from the natural world, you quickly realize that civilization is not an option–you either have it, or you die.

    1. Exactly. I spent the weekend at a wedding up near Rocky Mountain National Park. We enjoyed the fresh mountain air, the sight of tall, granite cliffs, and the fun of wild turkeys and chipmunks running around on the ground…and then we all went to the lodge with it’s comfortable fires, warm food, flush toilets, and full bar for the reception. If we’d been trying to catch and eat those chipmunks and turkeys for our dinner, and washing them down with whatever rainwater we could collect, I don’t think it would be nearly so charming.

      Nature is a lovely place to visit, but I really don’t want to live there.

      1. Even if you think believe the “natural life” includes open air privies you should appreciate the advantages of a well-made entrenching tool … and the advantages of Charmin over randomly grabbed leaves.

          1. At least as a child, I evidently was blessed with a lack of reaction to poison ivy. But hoo boy, that is not a place I’d like to use to find out I’d become sensitized…

            1. I am very sensitive to Poison Oak. When I was in it all the time, when I was working for USFS in Southern Oregon (trust me Douglas County has a LOT of poison oak) it was less bad; used to get it bad about every 3 years. At this point it has been over 40 years since I’ve gotten into it. No. Just No. Not willing to risk testing that sensitivity. I’ve had blisters the size of dimes up/down both arms, and up my neck. Was lucky to not scar. I’ve seen worse on others.

        1. Speaking of Charmin, I’ve decided I no longer want to buy that brand. Last week while grocery shopping, the store audio was playing a Charmin ad whose jingle (sung by a female vocalist) was, “My hiney’s so Charmin shiny.” I kid you not. (And yes, I know what word I could have used instead of “kid” in that sentence; I decided against it.) My immediate reaction was extremely negative. If your ads are contributing to the general increase in crassness of society, I’m not going to reward that behavior with my money.

          1. Charmin came to my mind not because it is my preferred brand (a matter which is a closely held secret) but because of a recently read article noting … well, I will let the columnist explain:

            The true meaning behind Charmin toilet paper commercials
            By John Crudele
            There’s a Charmin toilet paper commercial that I hear constantly on the music app Pandora.

            It says that people are told they “shouldn’t talk about going to the bathroom in public.” OK, cute! No? But what I really think the company means is that you “shouldn’t talk in public about going to the bathroom.”

            Some others on the internet have picked up on this but they don’t have a column to put it in. So let me take care of this once and for all.

            It’s OK with me if people talk in public about going to the bathroom. But it’s not all right if they go to the bathroom in public and talk about it — unless, of course, they are on the golf course and their shot happens to land behind a tree.

          2. My kids look at me funny when I slam the radio off in the car the second I hear that commercial.

            Although, sigh… I still buy it. It’s the cheapest brand (bought in the big pack of the “Basic” variety) that doesn’t do nasty things to the family’s heinies. (Argh – it wanted to make that “Heinlein”! May Bog forgive me…)

            BTW, they’re the same people that make Bounty brand products and several others. Oh, frack – Proctor and Gamble, who else. Boycotting is just about useless with them.

        2. No no no. Not leaves. Sticks, or long grass, scraped sideways. Works way better. Trust me on this. [25 years of bear-in-the-woods…]

    2. IF you have a manufactured

      In Expanded Universe Heinlein comments on how few “back to nature” types comprehend that the shovel they use in getting back to nature implies a steel mill and all the supporting industries.

      Having watched what hundreds of hours provides if you are getting iron by the oldest known smelting method (even when using modern tools such as hydraulic hammers after pulling it out), you do not want to be making your own iron for survival reasons (although I’ll admit it looked fun to try as a hobby):

      1. Hmmm. Time to gather bog iron. Time to make enough charcoal for a a bloomery run, time to actually do the run, time to hammer out the impurities and produce a shovel-sized and shaped blade (using a rock for a hammer of course), and time to make a handle for the shovel blade. Yeah, I come up with 100 to 200 hours of labor for that, especially if you have to do it ALL by yourself.

        1. I’m moving in with you at the end times, then. I calculated for me about 10x what you got.

          Then again, I have none of the necessary skills except maybe making the the wooden handle.

          1. My personal favorite is this source of mystery for future archeologists:

            He also smelted iron from bacteria. Doable, but not very efficient.

        2. I could see an immortal race, such as elves, occasionally doing a project “from scratch” meaning they start out by making the tools to make the tools to make the tools to make their final product. (And maybe several other iterations of “to make the tools” in there). For no other reason than as bragging rights. The only external thing involved in their project would be the food they eat while working on it: having to grow all their food supply at the same time would quickly move this kind of thing from “fun challenge” to “wait, why am I simulating being one of those primitive humans? This isn’t fun any more.”

          1. Depends on how many bragging rights you have and whether you have anything better to do.

            1. When you live for +10,000 years, you can find plenty of moments to indulge in anachronisms, primitiveness, and just plain “roughing it.”

        3. “First find your bog.”

          I’ve never seen one that I know of. A quick web search indicates they’re mostly in Yankeeland and Canada. So, several hundred miles to the closest one…

          Fortunately there’d be plenty of scrap metal after the Big One. What else are you going to do with pickup trucks and Teslas after the infrastructure goes kaput?

          1. I’ve got one down behind the house. Plenty of good iron slick. I’ve picked out pea-sized nodules just dorking around and not seriously trying. Considering the bogs here haven’t been harvested since around 1700 there’s probably a good crop in there. However, the EPA would go ballistic if anyone started serious mining of them in what is a wetland. I can keep it under their radar if I just do the harvesting with muscle powered tools.

          2. If you’ve got red clay, you could probably figure something out. One of our major brick manufacturers in Okie land gets nodules from their clay pit, the clay is so iron rich out here.

          3. “What else are you going to do with pickup trucks and Teslas after the infrastructure goes kaput?”

            Realize what percentage of your modern car is useless plastic, and aluminum which requires more heat to re-melt than you’ll ever be able to generate sans electrical grid?

            1. You can burn plastic. Yeah, it makes toxic fumes, but with good ventilation it beats freezing. You can heat and remold mold some plastics too. Aluminum isn’t that hard to remelt and cast. Europeans did it with aluminum scrap during WWII Nazi occupations; which in a way was the same thing as an infrastructure collapse.

            2. Funny, I have no trouble re-melting aluminum with charcoal…

              Making aluminum in the first place, you’re out of luck for useable quantities unless you have electricity. But it only takes 1200F to make a nice pour after that.

      2. H.G. Wells got there first. In his late Joan and Peter (largely about education), he has the parents of a boy born in the 1890s talking with their friends about raising him “naturally.” The mother’s cousin Oswald (the real hero of the novel) starts pointing out how much harm “nature” does and how many of the things they define as “natural” are the product of industry and technology, from the farmer’s plow to the calendar he plants by. They decide that he’s just trying to yank their chains—not that Wells uses that phrase, but the reaction he describes is pretty clear.

        1. Thoreau, Pretentious Mooch and serious Momma’s Boy (walked to Concord to Mommies house nearly every Sunday for dinner…). Pond is (well was) nice to swim in in the summer when I lived just down the road in Waltham Ma. Replica cabin is not worth the time…

          1. Thoreau was only a pretentious mooch and Mama’s boy by the standard of his times. Transpose him to the “now”, and he’d be a startlingly self-sufficient and competent individual…

            Seriously, how many modern “soy-boy” types could have survived what he did? Without losing their sh*t?

    3. I suspect most of them have never been overnight in nature, not even in an RV, let alone a tent. I remember a class trip to Yosemite where we saw lots of school groups, and some of those kids had things like hair dryers, would take long showers in the morning, and if this had been more recent, you can bet they’d have their phones along.

      I have speculated on “losing” the chargers for some people I would take in the wilderness.

      1. my idea of camping out is to go to another town, and get a motel room. Rough it is when I run out of books to read.

        1. Geological mapping in the field, in Finnish Lapland. Tents, Trangia for cooking food and plenty of supplies from grocery store in cans and such, and nice sleeping bags and all, but the toilet was a hole in the ground and the only place to wash half of the time was the nearest small lake, and the water freezing most of the time. Plus mosquitoes and other blood suckers, plenty of them, hiking for up to something like 20 kilometers, sometimes even more, per day in places where the only paths were ones made by reindeer, and the ground is often either swamp or covered by bushes (I HATE arctic birch, btw), being wet half of the time because it rained and not being able to dry your clothes or anything properly when it rained for days… Oh yes, I have lived kind of half naturally, or maybe one quarter (one eight?) naturally, and motel/hotel rooms are MUCH nicer.

          Okay, camping can be nice. When you do it for a few days or maybe a week or two. After that it starts to get less nice fast. Maybe if you had a big safari group with hired servants carrying all your stuff and making the camp and food and so on it could stay nice for longer.

          1. Yes. We’ve backpacked. We’ve car camped with a tent. We’ve car camped with the kitchen sink (RV). Hubby swears it is easier to pack for car tent camping (uh, no, it isn’t) over the RV. I much prefer the RV unless it can’t go to the destination. Problem with RV is sharing driving duties getting there … I don’t, so hubby has to do all the driving, which increases the time getting there, any distance away. We’re going to see how the Hotel thingy goes this summer. With camp sites limited, costs on there are going up. We’ve figured it is within $100 for RV costs VS hotel costs (RV is paid for.)

      2. My parents’ idea of a good time was “camping.” That involved sitting in the woods somewhere watching weeds grow, squatting in the woods, and having things with chitinous carapaces try to share your sleeping bag.

        No. Nonononoooo….

        1. In my parents’ case, they made sure that there would be trails to hike and/or lakes to swim in, the latter of which was admittedly fun in the heat of summer.


        2. My parents, OTOH thought nature was where you took walks. And even then mom was against. Dad and I had wonderful walks, though. Sleeping happened at home.

        3. My folks used to share that hobby, until a black bear in the Smokey Mountains decided that the cooler they hung up “out of his reach” made a dandy substitute for a tire swing. Until the limb broke, anyway.

          1. Grew up camping. Every weekend, unless snowed out, or not Fishing or Hunting season. Every Friday we’d be packed to go as soon as dad got home. Tent camping until I was 12 or 13, then folks got a camper; this is before they were self contained, or power. Did have gas stove. Sink didn’t have water, and drained into a bucket outside the camper.

            In fact. When kid was in scouts, used to listen to other scouters (mostly male leaders) whose wife’s refused to go camping, or as the joke went their idea of “roughing it” was the Hilton (there were other couples where it was reversed, but lets be honest mostly it was wives refusing to camp.) I repeated that to dad and mom adding “this means I don’t have to go camping!” The traitors about died laughing. (Well they were right … but, still.)

            1. One of my husband’s few flaws is that if I am going on a trip with him, his brain shuts off in regards to supplies.

              I actually have to do the packing for him. One time, he didn’t bring underwear…..

              I don’t even want to imagine what camping would be like!

              1. One time I went on a vacation without underwear because I was packing for EVERYONE ELSE. Fortunately we were at Embassy Suites and there was a WALMART across the street and a pack of five was on sale for $3

    4. I dream about dropping those “natural” people on Canadian tundra, naked, in early summer, several hundred miles from civilization; just to see how long it takes them to start crying for our “artificial world”.

      1. No need to go that far north, just drop them on the Shield. Both much more opportunity to hunt and gather as well as more things hunting you (black flies, mosquitoes …).

        1. Being a quasi-survivalist, former Boy Scout, and general Euell GIbbons fan; one of the funniest scenes I can think of would be one of those “natural” types moaning about being so hungry, while surrounded by enough food to feed a dozen people for a week (and I’m not even talking about the grubs under the rocks.)

          1. Nobody is a former Boy Scout. There are active and inactive scouts, who may or may not have earned Eagle, but never a former one.

            1. I beg to differ. I’m no longer a boy (save in my own mind.) Fatherhood and adult responsibilities render that condition as “former”.

              More’s the pity. 😦

              1. I stand corrected. No one is a former Scout. You are either active or inactive.

                I am an inactive Scout. Given I was never a boy. But I was an active girl Scout, and active as a Scout leader. (That recent change the BSA did was at least 56 years late!!!!)

      2. Odd, I suddenly feel inclined to re-read L’Amour’s Last of the Breed. Maybe the audiobook …

      3. There is no place on Earth hot enough to kill an unprotected human. But more than half of the land area will get cold enough to kill you.

        1. There are large areas of the earth where an unprotected human will suffer fatal burns over the entire body. Some means of providing protective shade is an absolute necessity in open country.

        2. Most of the hot springs in Yellowstone will kill you right quick, if not instantly. The lava lake in Hawaii the same. Heck, any old forest fire is likely to be hot enough to kill an unprotected human easily.

        3. Umm??? Depends on how long he is unprotected and whether there is water available. In the Southwestern desert with summertime temperatures routinely at 105 and up, a combination of sunburn and dehydration can become fatal in very short order.

        4. I think it more correct to say that weather-driven air temperature on Earth does not rise to a level warm enough to kill an unprotected human. However, there are warm places where with lack of protection, other factors than temperature (sun, aridity, etc.) can kill an unprotected human.

        5. The heat in any desert may not be enough to kill you directly, but it sure as hell will make you sweat enough that you’ll die from dehydration quick enough.

          1. It is NOT the HEAT that kills you it is the LACK of WATER.
            Enough water and covering and you can live in the heat.

  10. There was a blurb for a Kindle book that basically said “civilization has ended and everything is great”. 😡

      1. I have known one of those, but he had plenty of redundant power generation setups (solar, wind, waterwheel etc.) that he probably would be able to easily keep a kindle charged up. But then again, you know those post-apocalypse movies, where the main characters come across that one guy who was so well prepared that he’s doing great in spite of all the suffering around him? Yea… that guy would be one of those.

          1. Just wait until you find yourself in the privy late one winter night with just your Kindle and an empty cardboard tube. You’ll miss Sears & Roebuck’s dead tree catalog then, by golly!

            1. Oh man, if/when I hang out with that guy again (we never hang out because we have so little in common), if the subject of his kindles come up (he has multiple… Two is one, one is none and all that), I’m totally gonna say “Harrumph… Kindle? You can’t wipe your a$$ with THAT!” and see if he loses it (dude is wound pretty tight). LOL!

        1. I’m remembering a Twilight Zone episode where the protagonist just wants to read. Civilization ends, and he can do all the reading he wants.

          Then he breaks his glasses.

      2. Which is why I am making sure that important useful books are in dead tree editions…. (Bowyers Bible, curing meats, edible plants….)

      3. I’ve trolled some of those on forums. They’re usually the same people who lecture about how only gold is real money, and they’ve put substantial parts of their assets into gold.

        “What kind of gold? Krugerrands? Jewelry? Gold wire?”

        “No, it’s bullion in a vault.”

        “Where’s the vault? Did you put it there?”

        “No, it’s in Uzbekistan. I bought it over the internet with Bitcoins!”

        I’m out of practice; further trollery and they get angry and refuse to play any more.

        Yeah, their idea of social apocalypse seems to be slower internet and heading for “the mountains” with all the other people who didn’t take into account the mountains are owned by other people, who likely have plans to deal with armed invaders…

        1. In the event of the Apocalypse it is likely that gold coins will be extremely valuable … as slung shot. Whether by sling or by spring, a heavy, balanced disk should prove highly useful. Even just as a thrown weapon t could easily bring down small game, and a shiny finish should make recovering the slugs much easier.

        2. Yeah, I’d like the popcorn concession when the post-apocalyptic ‘visitors’ come and try to squat on Moose Mountain.

        3. If you are bartering how is anyone going to make change for a Krugerrand??? and silver is not much better, neither have real value under survival conditions. Now ammo, TP, Coffee, Tea, etc., now those are TRADE goods!

          1. There’s a guy in… Argentina maybe? who, in discussing how to survive the kind of breakdown they had, did recommend precious metals… in the form of jewelry, whether chains you can pry off a few links from or rings you can argue were of sentimental value.

            1. Jewelry — bracelets, rings, necklaces and the like — was a common method of carrying wealth about back before ATMs and credit cards made for easy cash availability.

              If you reference the Sharpe’s discussion elsewhere this page, consider that the many silver buttons adorning his uniform could be easily removed for ready cash.

          2. There was a Roman emperor who produced an economic boom by making a bunch of small coins with a brag about his victory. It was so much easier making change.

          3. Quality tools also make a great barter item, possibly decent tool steel stock as well.

  11. I’ve read that in hunter-gatherer societies, men who kill a large animal will share it with the rest of the band. This actually makes sense economically, because if they kept it all for themselves, it would rot before thay ate most of it, so giving part away has a low marginal cost, and gets them the benefit of being able to ask for a cut of the other guy’s kill when you come back empty-handed; in effect, it’s a form of insurance. But there are also often elaborate rules about how you have to share. And the man who won’t share is usually driven out of the band to struggle for survival alone in the wilderness. So it’s not left up to spontaneous good will; people monitor each other’s behavior as closely as Chinese social media enrollees.

    And on the other hand, the hunters usually eat the best (high-fat) bits at the site of the kill, and bring back the leaner, less desirable cuts to share. There’s no system that can’t be gamed.

    1. Yep. Primitive societies are often not very natural at all. They are usually more structured than ours, because they have to be. They live close to the bone.

    2. I’ve read that in hunter-gatherer societies, men who kill a large animal will share it with the rest of the band.

      In addition to the “it will rot before they can eat it all” aspect, there’s also the idea that next time it might be someone else making the kill and if they share this one then that other person will share that one. Can work in a small group where everyone knows everyone else and knows who doesn’t share.

      OTOH, in a video shown in Cultural Anthropology class back in the day, everyone commented on the “fairness” of the hunters sharing the giraffe carcass they brought back. What no one seemed to note, but was right there in the video, was that the hunters had gorged themselves to repletion on giraffe meat before bringing the rest back to the group.

      1. Yes, that’s what I had in mind when I wrote “and gets them the benefit of being able to ask for a cut of the other guy’s kill when you come back empty-handed; in effect, it’s a form of insurance”. You and I seem to have encountered the same reported facts.

      2. Yeah, the gatherers back home didn’t eat the best-looking fruit and vegetables before bringing the rest back to camp, either…

        The hunters not only worked for their kill, even a modest injury was a risk of death by septicemia. Getting their cut first seems fair enough to me.

        “You want the best parts? Go kill your own giraffe!”

        1. It may have lowered fertility. The “best parts” tended to be those with high fat content, and low body fat hinders ovulation.

    1. Some of the first words our twins learned was “Him dood it.” They had a convenient person to blame for anything they did wrong.

    2. Had a friend that I lost to meth. That ended up being her definition of “share” before the train declined to stop for her.

    3. Some PBS show– Daniel Tiger?– did an episode on sharing.

      For a SOLID MONTH it was a constant “Mom! I told Princess to share, and she didn’t give it to me!

      Did eventually get it across that asking for someone to share still gave them an option of saying no.

  12. Right up there beside the Natural Man is the Noble Savage. When I was growing up, in the middle of the last century many, with wide eyes, would note that the Eskimos have 27 different words for snow but no word, not one, for war.

    OK, since then, having moved from Florida to Alaska, and hence knowing many many Eskimos and having many Eskimo friends I found first hand that yes that is quite correct, they have no word for war in Yupik or Inuit.

    On the other hand, however, they had many words for killing Athabaskan Indians.

    1. I seem to recall that the word eskimo is actually an Athabaskan word for eaters of raw flesh. And in fact raw meat is a staple of the native Inuit diet.

  13. simply translating the word as “good” in our back brains with no rational thought.

    I will contend I do no such thing. I tend to translate it as “overpriced”.

    where “Natural man” basically lay under a tree and eat the fruit that fell from it, and copulated at will, etc. without care.

    Well, “natural man” sounds better than “trustafarian” or “upper middle class college kid”.

    The man itself was more nuanced

    I have not read him, but the basic idea: civilization requires humans to supress natural tendencies and this can manifest in other areas, seems relatively unremarkable. It is the details that are interesting.

    What no one seems to ask is:

    1. Why does civiliation require these natural tendencies to be supressed.
    2. Does what is gained make the supression worth while.

    I think the same people who assume “supressing natural urges is bad, period” are the same people who think the free exchange of something at a price they wouldn’t pay is inherently exploitive. They cannot comprehend the idea that things might be worth a cost.

    when there’s no sense of deferred gratification, no sense of “yeah, I want this, but I want this other thing more” there is no civilization and no future.

    That, to my mind, is the huge failing of my generation and later. I suck at it and I look around and realize I’m still probably above the median for the ability (and maybe the average…I think between the lack of ability to be below zero in it and some very, very high values in a handful of people, the median is below the average).

    Now, having said that I will admit to having something that could be read as a bad to nature temptation: an off grid cabin in the woods where it snows.

    However, I’m well aware this requires money to make modern conveniences available off grid (solar and wind and batteries and a gas generator for when the batteries are down and still less electric things and batteries need replaced) or a lot of work (splitting wood for heat, for example). That’s why I don’t run off and do it like a fool.

    But the appeal has nothing to do with “back to nature” and everything to do with “away from people”. Off grid isn’t about natural, but “far enough off the beaten path to avoid people”. It is about making the degree of interaction much more under my control.

    And I am well aware that being a hermit is very unnatural for an ape.

    1. I will contend I do no such thing. I tend to translate [natural] as “overpriced”

      That’s not a bad translation, but you might also consider “completely ineffective.” (“I’m using a natural insect repellent this evening,” she said, as she swatted at yet another swarm of mosquitoes.)

      1. Yeah, if they emphasize the “natural” it probably sucks.

        The stuff my kids use is herbal– because it costs less to mix my own, it’s more effective, and dang it smells nice. ^.^

        I basically combined the flea, tick, spider and mosquito herbal repelants into one spray and added some stuff I like .

        Peppermint, clove oil, tea tree oil, citronella then lemon grass and a bit of lavender, with a Walmart jug of 98% rubbing alcohol. Spray it on the kids’ ankle level and their backs, works fairly well.

        1. Just keep it off of jeans. Rubbing alcohol will destroy jeans the next time they are washed.

          1. Hm; we haven’t had that problem, maybe it’s the dose? (Difference between perfume and “dang it, I spilled the bowl I was using to clean my computer guts!)

    2. Thing is, ol’ Freud A. belonged on his own couch; B. also distinguished between repression and suppression. IIRC, the man himself contended that the problem wasn’t that people weren’t engaging in their paraphilias, but that they were refusing to acknowledge that they existed to the point where they manifesting in subconscious ways.

    3. I like the idea of living off grid, but for the back to nature reason. In Idaho and now on Germany, I use wood for heat. But it was better in Idaho where you could pay $25 for four cords of wood to go cut yourself. Here, you pay out the wazoo to cut wood. Still, it does the job, and although I’m not the one cutting the wood, the men folk I know who do never complain, but seem to enjoy the task. I admit, I’m a bit jealous. I’d like to give it a try, but I’m a little doubtful, as I’m prone to injuring myself! Haha!

      1. “Accident prone” + “sharp (worse: dull) axe” = “maiming”

        Maimed means no more living off grid comfortably.

        1. Hence the reason I don’t do chores I’m not capable of doing. Baby steps. Anyway, I do most of the cooking, cleaning, and gardening, on top of looking after the children. So, it’s not like I’ve got a lot of time for experimenting with axes. Haha!

  14. While I generally enjoyed the new Good Omens series, I was disappointed they cut the line about Pepper’s mother learning why the history of human civilization consists of getting as far away from nature as possible.

  15. “I’m now going to take a very unnatural shower, and wear unnatural clothes and go about doing some unnatural work.”

    Are you saying that you will be engaging in unnatural acts?

    1. The Provo Utah Life Flight folks use one full of batteries for a ground power cart.

  16. The Freudian idea, for instance, that humans are born with all these impulses and needs which, if thwarted lead to neurosis and “repression” — at least the Freudian idea as interpreted by pop science.

    Springboarding here more than a direct response.

    This got me to thinking about what people say about sex and such. And, yeah, that “sex drive” is pretty strong. However, the more I think about it, the more I think that an even stronger drive is family. Milton Friedman once (well, probably more than once, but once that I noted) said that the smallest economic unit is not the individual, but the family. People will scrimp, save, and deprive themselves to no end for the sake of family. Oh, sure, it’s not universal nobody can look around and think it is. But it’s common enough, and strong enough, that even when folk deliberately try to stamp it out, it keeps coming back.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop people from continuing to try to stamp it out–as I saw just today on the book of faces, where someone was saying to dismantle capitalism first abolish the family. Oh, those aren’t fighting words. Those are “option zero”, “end their line”, root and branch annihilation words.

    1. Throughout history, the greatest defeat you could hand an enemy was to render their family line extinct. Castrate, kill, torture a man to death, and if his family still lived on he could endure it. But kill off a man’s family and render him unable to have any more, and what has he got left to live for? God, that sounds so much like Larry Nivens Pak protectors.

      1. Some days I wonder if Larry knows more than he lets on. Pak does seem like what man in his natural state should be like a lot more than what we have now.

    2. A newborn baby is pure selfishness. It wants what it wants,NOW. It has no concern for anyone else, and it will scream until it gets what it wants.

      Yet, the parents of this noisy, smelly, selfish creature will die to protect it, on the chance that after 70 years it will take care of them. You plant an olive tree so your grandson can enjoy its fruit. So family and tribe are at the heart of who we are, and why we are a success.

      1. This! You are exactly right! Well, maybe not all parents think about having kids so they can take care of them later, but it’s definitely an added bonus if all plays out that way. Mostly, I just thought I want purpose, and to raise kids who will grow up to be decent human beings and maybe not be among the last of my family as the youngest of us grow old and die. So far, out of my four siblings, I’m the only one with kids. But maybe there’s still hope for at least one of my brothers. They are 7 and 8 years younger and both married.

    3. Having had sex fewer years than years I’ve had it (and this only counts after losing my virginity) and having no children I can tell you which makes me feel like a failure as human being.

      It ain’t the hookups.

      And if you interview poor, young women who despite all that bring a child into the world, their descriptions say a lot more about the idea of needing family than poor choices while pursuing sex.

      1. A thing I’ve noticed over and over– a lot of the gals I’ve talked to are just so freaking lonely. Not, “gosh, I’d like to chat with someone” lonely, but “I am cold, and lost, and it’s raining and I have no fire, and I am alone” lonely.

        From talking to folks online, seems like that happens with guys, too, in non-negligible numbers.

        Apply that knowledge to how each sex tends to respond to being scared, and a lot of the sexual psycho stuff makes a bit more sense.

        1. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” is probably the biggest lie in pop music.

          1. My mom’s warning when I joined the Navy was that I had to be careful, because some people need people to show that they don’t need people.

            …. AKA, you need to see other humans SOMETIMES, and get SOME interaction, but you don’t need to be Suzy Social Bee.

            1. Raises hand. My social needs can be met by walking in the park with my husband and SEEING strangers. I don’t need to talk to strangers. Just see them.

              1. I usually need to speak to another human once a day.

                “Hi” as a neighbor walks by, or listening to the cashier say, “That will be 20.35” suffices.

                1. You ladies TELLING me this actually helped a lot for home psychology management.

                  Beats “I am going insane, gonna go shopping, bye.”

                2. We finally got neighbors who are decent. Occasional conversations are fun, so long as it’s occasional. I’m now slightly more outgoing than $SPOUSE, though we’re talking a really low bar.

                  We do have favorite cashiers at the food stores.

                  1. “favorite cashiers”

                    Yes. There are some stores I visit occasionally just because a certain person works there. I see them, say hi, and that’s my social interaction quota for the month filled.

                    One reading that I see that it might seem sad to people who like to interact with others a lot. I’m pretty happy about it. I know where to go to get my ears scratched like a good dog, and that’s all I need. Anything over-quota is painful, like too much sugar in your coffee.

                    1. I’d like to thank you, and our hostess, and others commenters here for making me feel better about my occasional desire not to interact with people for a few days.

                    2. The writer Uncle River has found that he gets a bit squirrely if he doesn’t talk to a human being about once a month. (He generally aims for once a week, just to be safe.)

                    3. If I find myself talking to the cows next door, it’s time for some human interaction. 🙂

                    4. “…making me feel better about my occasional desire not to interact with people for a few days.”

                      Its perfectly normal. I have a cousin who’s got some meeting or function every other night of the week, I think she’s cracked.

        2. Not, “gosh, I’d like to chat with someone” lonely, but “I am cold, and lost, and it’s raining and I have no fire, and I am alone” lonely.

          You gave me chills there, partly just… conceptually, and partly because I know at least one person I suspect that applies to, and… I want better for her, but I don’t know that there’s much I can do from here.

              1. Me, too.

                Point being, don’t go the “if I had just…” route.

                We were close. At some times she called me for a late-night “come pick me up” thing when I was hours away, and I did it. Without begrudging. There was a need, I filled it, it didn’t cost me much more than gas.

                But I couldn’t fix everything.

                You do your best, but we can’t fix everything.

        3. Golly, if only humanity had developed social institutions that specialized in teaching individuals how to interact socially. We could call them churches, or schools or even etiquette courses. It’s almost as if somebody has deliberately set about preventing those institutions from fulfilling that useful social function.

          From R. F. Delderfield’s novel, To Serve Them All My Days, an excellent entry in the “Mr. Chips” genre, about a boys’ school called Bamfylde, whose headmaster, Algy Herries, says such things as:

          “Education, in the generally accepted sense of the word, has never rated very high on my list of priorities. All that the best of us can do is to teach boys how to educate themselves between their time of leaving here and their time of crossing that Rubicon that comes for all of us at about twenty-five when the memory sponge is getting soggy and we tend to read and forget.

          “I’ve had plenty of first-class scholars through my hands since 1904, but I can’t claim much credit for their academic successes. They would have been achieved at any school, given the same material. But helping to equip two generations of predatory males with the qualities of patience, tolerance, good fellowship and the ability to see someone else’s point of view—qualities I see as the keystones of democracy—that’s something else.”


          “… illustrates his idea of the ideal Bamfylde student with a story about a time when two of the boys found themselves on a train seated in a compartment with a mother nursing a baby. The baby was dramatically sick and one of the boys, the star pupil who later went on to become president of a famous insurance company, hid behind an upside down newspaper. The other boy, seated next to the mother, ‘was on the receiving end of the business’ but was completely nonplussed. He whipped out a clean handkerchief, ‘the only clean handkerchief I’d ever seen him sport,’ and thoroughly cleaned up both baby and mother. This second boy, we are told, ‘never won a prize or a race. Neither did he find time to do the only thing he was equipped to do—raise a family. He was killed at First Ypres, but I still remember him. Rather better than I remember Petherick [the first boy]. As a matter of fact… I thought of him as one of our outstanding successes.’ Algy Herries explains in his farewell speech.”

          and finally:

          [About a new headmaster] “Do you know what he’s done now? He’s started a sort of purge on friendships. He can’t see two boys walking around the school without thinking they’re, well, perverted. He’s got a mind like a sewer.”

          Oh heck, one more, unrelated t education and from a whlly different charachter:

          “Politics is full of people who can’t cope with their own lives. I worry about that a lot.”

          1. Courtesy of the BBC and YouTube:

            Watch two and a half minutes, approximately, and you’ll find it worthwhile.

        4. “I am cold, and lost, and it’s raining and I have no fire, and I am alone”

          Sounds like half of Japan. 30% of kids are getting married.

        5. “I’m warm, have a toasty fire going, know exactly where I am (I’m right here), have a tasty bird or animal roasting on the fire, and am alone.” said the grizzled old man. “So what are you offering?”

    4. to dismantle capitalism first abolish the family.

      They ain’t wrong.

      If you can destroy people thoroughly enough, capitalism will end.

      Won’t make for theoretical communism or socialism, though, it’ll make for freaking animals. And the kind that make wolves tearing one f their own apart look admirable, because they HAVE their own.

    5. I think the stronger drive is one for “trust”. Blood is one thing, family betrayal another, but friendship and trust beat mere kinship by miles.

      Well, at least in some families. The drive for trust will kill a loving blood relationship deader than a doornail, with enough betrayals of that trust.

      What most of us are really looking for is someone who will have our backs, and who we’d willingly die for. That’s sometimes family; sometimes not.

      And, it’s an interesting phenomenon, to observe: Wives stay with abusive husbands a lot of the time, not because they love them, but because they trust the relationship, abusive as it is. It’s a mis-wiring of “You and me, against the world…”, but when you’re unsure of finding someone who will have your back against outside significant threats, then you’ll put up with a little emotional and physical abuse. Same with men; ask them why they stay with the abusive harpy, and they’ll tell you things that indicate that while they know they’re being abused like a whipped dog, they’re sticking with her because she’s got their back against any outsider.

      Or, at least, that’s what I’ve seen in all too many cases. It’s also at the root of a lot of the couples where one partner is a solid 9 or 10 on the desirability scale, and the other is maybe a 3 on a good day…

      1. One reason for the Incest taboo is that it protects trust between parent and child. If the mother is concerned that a daughter may be challenging her place in Daddy’s bed, or a son challenging for access to Mommy the entire family dynamic is thrown off. By eliminating parental “interest” in sex with the kids an entire layer of trust is maintained. Not simply avoiding Electra and Oedipus complications, but ensuring that parents’ nurturing of the developing child is not tainted by selfish desires (at least, not tainted more than is unavoidable.)

        1. I think its on an entirely different azimuth than sex, to be honest. Yeah, intimacy can include sex, like between husband and wife, but the comfortable trust and confidence that should be there between non-sexually involved family members is equally important. You can deal with a wife that you feel you can’t trust, so long as there is someone else there who you feel has your back. The sex is along an entirely separate axis, and I think, not really an important one in some regards. You can survive without intimacy, or physical love, but the need for a safe harbor, someone who you can confide in, trust secrets to, and who you can give your faith to? That’s an absence that can kill.

          I’ve never really been able to understand people who are seemingly motivated purely by sex. I watch them all the time, and it’s a subject of incredulity to me that they’d betray a relationship they were in, where their partner loved and trusted them, for some fleeting physical pleasure. How the hell do you do that, and not suck-start a shotgun the next day?

          I sometimes have to wonder if I’m wired the same way other people are, because I simply can’t quite comprehend how on earth you could achieve that sort of relationship, to where you were intimate and open about your inmost self, and then betray it, without then spiraling into self-destruction. But, you see it all the damn time, and I’m always incredulous to observe it. How the hell do people do that? You give your word, you open up to someone, they reciprocate, and you throw that all away for a few moments of questionable pleasure…? Seriously, WTF?

    6. Ugh, this is reminding me of a book I ran across espousing specifically that. Without specific, genetic kinship between parents and children–without the idea that children belong to specific adults, even–a more considered, global kinship will ensue.

      I spent half the afternoon trying to figure out if there are a lot of people who believe this crap, if there’s actually going to be a movement to strip my children from me and give them to the community. I don’t think so–almost no one’s read it, and even the favorable reviews of the book regard it as a pipe dream, even if they don’t use those words. (Though the fact of the positive reviews is disturbing enough.)

      But worst yet–my searching made Amazon think I’m actually interested, and it’s showing up at the top of all my rec lists. UGH.

      1. Kinship ties mean different things to different people… You grow up in an abusive household, family bonds are easily cut. You grow up in a loving, nurturing one, and they’re hard to break, no matter what happens.

        Your mileage may vary, and your experiences will form your opinions, but the common thread through it all is “trust”. If you don’t get that from family, they’re eventually going to kill whatever love is based on that relationship. It won’t happen overnight, and it will be dependent upon how tight the abused one sees the bond, but it will eventually fray and break, to the point where that family member could be laying at your feet, bleeding out, and you’d go “Meh. I need to move, before I get blood on my shoes…”, and that’s the only thing you’d feel.

        Grow up in a loving, supportive family, and you’ll never understand that, so if you don’t? Count your blessings.

      2. I spent half the afternoon trying to figure out if there are a lot of people who believe this crap, if there’s actually going to be a movement to strip my children from me and give them to the community.

        We’re probably safe, because raising kids is too expensive.

        Not just money, or even mostly money– but time and wear’n’tear.

        They won’t give a **** about you unless you care about them, and for much longer.

      3. “If everybody is your parent, then nobody is your parent”.

        One Pournelle, Niven & Barnes novel contained the above line.

        The children of an Earth colony had been raised in common and it hadn’t worked out that well for the above reason.

        Oh, I found the book and its title is Beowulf’s Children.

        1. And given how the grand results are not shouted from the rooftops by the pro-communitarian types, with all the usual success rate* of of “improved social order” by communist dictatorships.

          * None at all. On a good day. And with those, days are invariably bad, yes?

          1. The Romanians did well enough. Hansel and Gretal from Black Lagoon are a plausible positive result.

            (Black Lagoon can be a wee bit nihilistic. Hansel and Gretal are perhaps the negative peak of the series.)

      4. “…if there’s actually going to be a movement to strip my children from me and give them to the community.”

        Yes there is one, and they are systematically nibbling away at the right of parents to decide what’s best for their kids.

        Its called the Educational Community, and it is operating very openly in your school. Example, children in a lot of districts in the USA and Canada have access to abortion, birth control and transgender medications/services IN SECRET without parental consent. Also drug treatment and a bunch of other health-related stuff. (But not dentistry, which I’ve always found hilarious.)

        In fairness to school administrators, they do see the worst in parenting. In fairness to parents, it is beyond stupid to make general policy based on the worst cases.

        1. Yeah… this here is a non-trivial part of why public schooling was never in the cards, and I’m pretty frickin’ jaundiced toward private or charter either.

          (Though honestly the whole thing wraps up pretty neatly as “frickin’ Commies” and “if I don’t actually trust you as an authority in my stead, and am not prepared to back up your decisions with my own authority… what am I even doing here?” With, I suppose, a side order of “Do we really want to run the ‘What happens when two people whom everyone was convinced were going to blow up the school have babies and send THEM to school’ experiment?”)

          On the bright side, with the sheer absolute nutbaggery New York is passing (look up the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Apparently being in Reddest Upstate just won’t protect me anymore), it looks like we’ll be moving. Preferably *before* they insist we upgrade all our properties at a cost of multiple times their actual value. Kansas seems to be somewhat less restrictive with homeschools–sorry, “unaccredited private schools.” So we’ll see.)

          1. You live in upstate? My condolences. I used to live in Putnam and commute to White Plains for school, I feeeeel your pain.

            Having seen what passes for “higher” education in NY, I shudder to think what the public schools are like. They probably have all kinds of regulations against homeschooling too.

            I suggest Arizona. Try to get down there before the Californians fuck it up. Its hot, but there’s air conditioning.

            1. I think we’re looking at Kansas, and trying to have wrapped it all up in a year. Bill says there’ll be some maintaining two locations as we work through closing up our local interests.
              I’m kind of frightened. There’s a lot of stuff I was banking on being able to use as the kids grew up-connections to local businesses I was hoping to parsley into, say, hands-on education for how to fix a septic system or whatnot.
              But coulda shoulda woulda can’t be an excuse to let them take everything out from under me.

              As I look into it, a lot of folk are convinced this is a pretty-words-no-action motion, and I guess I gotta say I hope so. But there’s an awful lot of damage they can do in pursuit of looking good, and I don’t wanna be around for it.

              1. “As I look into it, a lot of folk are convinced this is a pretty-words-no-action motion, and I guess I gotta say I hope so.”

                Just look north at Canada, and you’ll see where they’re going. We’re already there these last 20 years.

                Kansas. Its really -flat-. I drove across it once, that was my take on the whole state.

                1. Flat, barren-looking, and windy as hell! I’ve driven through a couple times too. I definitely wouldn’t want to live there. Now, Kentucky, Northern Alabama, or Tennessee— sure! Those states are beautiful, and I only got a peek driving through! Well, I did get to stay a week in Nashville once. Was a nice trip.

        2. In Germany, where I live, a parent is financially responsible for their kid until the child is 18, but the government says children as of 16 years of age have the legal right to stay out to a certain time (forget what the curfew time is) and parents are not allowed to set an earlier curfew or keep their child home if they don’t want the kid going out. So, you may not like your kid going to some party with a bad crowd, but you are legally not allowed to stop them. You may not know where your kid is going or who they’ll be with and what they’ll be doing, but if you try to stop them and your kid reports you, guess who gets in trouble? Plus, they start sex education around age 9. My boyfriend’s daughter will be 9 next month, and when she moves up to the next grade after summer break, she’ll begin sex ed. I think it’s very inappropriate for the schools to be teaching this subject so early to children. Save reproduction and all that for biology when they are old enough to understand that level of science, and leave the lessons of ethics, morals and values to the parents. Public education has no business meddling in such things.

      5. But that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton meant by “It takes a community” to raise a child. Like all good totalitarian socialists, she wants to remove (other people’s) children from family influence and raise them to be good, obedient drones.

        1. Families teach children all kinds of terrible things, such as sexism, racism and distrust of the benevolence of the State. It is only through professional educators that we can be confident children will be properly taught.

          1. Whaa? You mean I’m not supposed to teach my daughters to be women, my boys to be men, that all people should be treated equally (until proven otherwise), and that government is a barely necessary evil that should only be consumed in minute doses like any other poison?

        2. The Puritans started it in this country, and their descendants continue the project.

          Would that the vile bastards had all starved to death from their communism experiment and spared the world a heap of trouble.

    7. Anyone who wants to end my family needs to look forward to Old Testament levels of wrath.

    1. I almost hurt myself giggling one time when I actually saw a packaging claiming the item it contained was made of 100% Natural Plastic. I wish I remembered what the product was.

        1. It might seem silly, but that advertising indicates to me that the company is saying the water was bottled in a location where there was no possibility of gluten cross-contamination. If you or someone you know is dealing with celiac disease, this sort of thing can be vital information. It’s also why there are non-food items advertised as gluten free; touch sensitivity to gluten is a potential issue.

          While I have no issues with gluten myself, I know and interact with several people who do have celiac disease. It has been an education.

          1. My mom found this out when asking about “gluten free ground beef.”

            Among other products.

            Basically, flour is a very popular thickening/anti-clogging agent. So it is in a lot of places.

            1. It’s hard to find any kind of canned soup, stew, or sauce that doesn’t have flour added as a thickener. Same for many other canned goods.

            2. $SPOUSE has to eat gluten free oats. Not sure where they’re grown, but it makes a difference to her.

              I had to stop using the taqueria’s homemade sauces. Some of the cooks used flour, others cornstarch. Russian roulette at the lunch counter ain’t fun.

              TRX: See Progresso soups. Watch the labels like a hawk, but they have gluten free soups. Caution is needed; you can find gluten containing soups that look identical. I’ve had luck with the lentil, hearty tomato, clam chowder, and the chicken and rice. Don’t care for beef & vegetable, but it’s gluten free.

              1. A bit more on the Progresso soups. Gluten-free and gluten-containing soups seem to show up together. At the small club store we use (Bi-Mart in the Pac NW), I’ve seen them together on the shelf. The good news is that Progresso puts the “gluten free” note on the same place on every type.

                FWIW, ordinary tomato soup has gluten, but the Hearty Tomato seems to be a GF variety. Caveat Emptor.

                Yes, we check Every. Damned. Can.

      1. I know that stuff! I actually rather like it, plant-based plastics that break down.

        I usually see it in flower pots, though, which is a hard no to me.

      2. That would be amusing. There is, however, a logical explanation for “virgin nylon” – it’s the stuff that has NOT (yet) been recycled. And yes, there are sensible reasons to specify virgin nylon for manufacture.

        1. In the ’70s (perhaps part of the oil embargo fallout), recycled vinyl was getting used for LP records. It didn’t completely ruin the recording, but it better not be one you really wanted to enjoy the quiet passages.

          My copy of Tubular Bells had this. Ugh.

    2. One of my peeves is people who say that they never touch “chemicals”. I am always tempted to say “So you live in a hard vacuum then?”. A slightly milder form is the person that says they never use “chemicals” on their garden.

      1. My late Father’s pet peeve was ‘organic’. As a Historian of Science his definition of ‘organic’ was pretty much anything containing carbon…so his reaction to ‘organic’ produce was pretty much “If you want to impress me, show me an INORGANIC banana.”

        1. I’ve said much the same thing for years. What do we eat that ISN’T organic? Well, there is salt, but what else?

          (knowing this crowd, Someone is bound to come up with something LOL!)

          1. I suspect half of your vitamin pills, and all of your mineral pills are non-organic.
            Question is, are petroleum-based products organic or not? After all, the theory is that they’re plants, animals, microscopic organisms buried and subjected to heat and pressure. How is that different than my New England Boiled Dinner in a pressure cooker?

            1. Vitamins are organic. Minerals as such are not, unless you take, say, iodine, which will be kelp extract.

          1. Nah. I mean the tablecloth is organic and the table is likely to be, but the dishes and silverware often are not.

      2. Hey, I didn’t choose the words! That doesn’t mean it’s a bad system. My dad gave me shit about growing an organic garden. Turns out he thought I just threw some seeds in the yard and left it all to fend for itself. Then he came out to visit me in Idaho and saw my garden in full swing! Big, fat zucchinis ready to be picked, plants heavy with ripe tomatoes, tomatillos, etc, etc! Well, he stopped criticizing then! 😄

    1. Then again, the lone wolf is doomed. Humans are either pack or herd animals. We are not like the solitary tiger. We need our pack. That is our nature.

  17. I think a lot of us day-dream about being Tarzan. But Tarzan’s life was precarious until he found his father’s hunting knife. It did not take him long to acquire other accouterments of civilization, rope, spear, bow and arrows. Even the Lord of the Jungle was a bit ‘civilized’.

    1. For that matter, Tarzan would have died as a baby except for being adopted by a strangely intelligent ape.

      Oh, Phillip Jose Farmer’s bio of Lord Graystone has the “apes” being an unknown species closely related to humans.

      Also, Farmer’s “Lord Tyger” has a madman attempting to “recreate” Tarzan. One of his attempts died as a baby. Another attempt grew up but never learned to speak. The last attempt was helped to learn things by the “fake apes” (actually disguised humans) who raise him.

      1. Actually, I first wrote ‘unnatural’ instead of ‘civilized’, but decided not to open the Farmer can of worms references too far. Lord Tyger and Tarzan Alive are much tamer than some of his other riffs on the Lord of the Jungle.

        1. I’m aware of one nasty Farmer riff on the “Lord Of The Jungle”.

      2. The “Anthropoid apes” of the Tarzan series were explicitly different from Gorillas–it was very clear that when Tarzan fought a gorilla it was not one of the “Anthropoid apes”. They might, I suppose have been chimps or bonobos but “a previously unknown branch of the hominid family tree” fits too.

        1. Yes. Mangani were Tarzan’s adopted people. Bolgani was a gorilla. Africa of the 1800s was unexplored and vast enough to have niches easily harboring a species of humanoid between bonobos, chimps, gorillas and full humans. Alas, the population explosion of the 1900s probably extinguished any such species if they ever existed.

      3. One of the very strong themes in Robinson Crusoe which has somehow dropped out of the modern cultural retellings of the story is the very strong extent to which the title character is clearly aware that if not for the timely salvage of supplies from the shipwreck, he’d never have been able to survive. There’s no sense in the book that he’s “better off” in a state of nature (save for the self-improvement of learning to be responsible through having to fend for himself)

      4. The original Tarzan didn’t speak at first (not counting ape grunt). But, interestingly, he could READ because of the books left behind – in French and English, no less.

        1. Yes. Tarzan learned to read because of the series of primer’s, from beginning to advanced, brought because Lord & Lady Graystone figured where they were headed, they’d have children while there.

          Feasible for a child to learn to read with adult help? Who knows. Feasible for someone to read a language without being able to correctly speak it? Happens all the time in archaeology.

          1. It would seem that Tarzan’s ‘superpower’ was language. He taught himself to read English, a foreign language, without having been previous exposed to the concept of written language.
            He then learned spoken French and soon followed it with all the major languages of Europe, including Latin. He learns a number of real and imagined African languages. I cannot recall if he learned any Eastern languages during the Pacific War or not; one would think he might well have.
            I would bet that he spoke English with an American accent when at home with his American wife and with a proper, British accent when in London.

            1. He taught himself to read English, a foreign language, without having been previous exposed to the concept of written language.

              While still awesome, the fridge logic of having heard it in his mother’s womb is not negligible.

              1. “While still awesome, the fridge logic of having heard it in his mother’s womb is not negligible.”

                And had heard it spoken as an infant, young toddler. Tarzan wasn’t a newborn when orphaned, and adopted by his ape mother. Technically the ape language was his second language, even if he wasn’t proficient speaking his primary one. Also, he learned to mimic other animals accurately. Without checking the book, Tarzan was older than a year old, if not close to two, but less than 3, when he is orphaned.

    2. Tarzan could at least play at being civilized when he had to. He sometimes starts out a novel as a fully-clothed English lord but by the end he’d always be running around the jungle in his loincloth, stabbing lions and wrestling apes.

    3. You left out one of Tarzan’s most important “accouterments of civilization” — his loincloth. While he seemed to get along without one for most of his youth there is little reason to doubt he found it advantageous while swinging through the jungle rain forest.

    4. Sometime in the 1980’s or perhaps 1990’s someone wrote in to Sky & Telescope or perhaps Astronomy magazine (I had subscriptions to both for a while) bemoaning how modern equipment was so much plastic and fiberglass and lacked the grand look of the brass instruments of yore. The editor(s) replied that the wood and brass look was only because that’s all that was available that worked well for job at the time. The manufacturers of the day would have adopted synthetics with great speed… and eventually did just that.

      I recall grandpa and those of his generation, more or less, complaining about “cheap plastic” in the 1970’s… but also using monofilament fishing line. And Jame Burke in Connections pointed out the cassette tape, a marvel of the time, really, couldn’t really be made without plastics. Sure, you could have an aluminum case and a steel ribbon… but would you want to? (and ponder what it takes to get aluminum – it’s a mighty power-hungry process, and aluminum is inexpensive anyway. Miracle of Industry!)

      1. I doubt it would have been very challenging to find a local machinist shop to make a metal tube — brass, aluminum, platinum, whatever — withing which to mount the scope, with wood trim however the user wished. Probably not all that expensive back then, as I recall that so much manufacturing was heading overseas in those decades that good machinists were hungry for work.

        Of course, if your primary interest in a telescope is to look through rather than at it, it probably would have made more sense to spend the extra money on a bigger scope or superior camera for making star plates. That is one of the wonderful things about free markets: you get too spend your money on what is important t you, not some far-away soi-disant expert decreeing what must be done.

        1. Perhaps the free market should be referred to as the natural market, in keeping with the topic of the post. 😉

        2. And that’s exactly what happened. Sonotube, etc. – mass-produced, and big for the desired “light buckets” ever greater aperture.

  18. For social apes, ‘natural’ means crouching in the trees, picking parasites off of one’s relatives, while plotting to murder the Alpha male and rape his females.

    Any so-called ‘feminist’ who believes in ‘natural’ should be checked for brainwaves.

  19. I was in charge of the nursery aged children at church (18 months to 3 years old) for a while. Sure, sometimes they’d all be sitting there building with blocks and co-playing. But then it would descend into chaos once one of the kids just HAD to have the blue block with 3 bumps that another kid had. Or when the big kid who is only 2 and look 5 decides he’s got to head to the other side of the room and just plows over everybody in his way because, hey, he’s got a goal. Most of the time, it was one kid playing with the kitchen stuff, one kid playing with a doll, one kid playing with the board books, one kid playing with the puzzles, etc. If we weren’t hovering over them all the time, there would have been more instances of books to the head, play-do in the hair, kicking, scratching, shoving, stealing (especially snack time), and crying. It only looks like sharing and playing together when one kid sees what another kid is doing and thinks,”that looks like fun, I’ll do it too” and runs around screaming or plays with dolls next to the other one or starts playing kitchen near another kid doing the same thing.

    1. Quite right! I grew up with 3 much younger siblings, worked on and off in childcare, and now have two children of my own, plus live with my boyfriend’s 2 children more than half the time. And sorry, no, kids are not such generous, little angels! Sharing, being considerate and helpful have to be taught. Methods for teaching these values vary, but they definitely have to be taught. I have heard it said that children are naturally selfish because it is a survival instinct. As they grow, they can change and adapt, but as babies and small children, it is basically a good thing. Though, such instincts make more sense to me if we were still tribal and nomadic and living under harsher circumstances where chances of survival are much lower. Still, instincts take generations to phase out, so necessary or not, some traits will be with us a while, or forever.

    1. Though some miracles take one helluvalotta work to work. And some get misinterpreted. “Y2K was a big nothing. And all that wasted effort for it!” Noi, that effort was what made it a “nothing.” Much like many fail to understand that the “peace dividend” wasn’t riches released after the Cold War. It was surviving by keeping the Cold War cold. Peace dividend? Peace.

      1. “Y2K was a big nothing. And all that wasted effort for it!”

        Like with my ex. Trying (repeatedly) to explain to her that when my doctor said my blood sugar and A1C were excellent, that didn’t mean that all the low-carb diet and medication was unnecessary. It meant they were working.

      2. My aunt made VERY good money at a bank because she spoke Cobol… and they needed to update for Y2K. (They modernized the whole system in one swell foop since they had to do most of it anyway). They actually left one of the old computers up, unconnected to anything, just to see what would happen, and it malfunctioned as predicted. Meanwhile the updated ones chugged along unaware of all the fuss and bother.

        1. Yes. In late 90’s there were a LOT of older retired programmers who wrote their entire careers in COBOL enticed back to work to fix the Y2K problem, and/or diagram/translate existing COBOL (& RPG) systems and data structures for the new programmers working on replacement options.

          You’d think all the problems triggered by Y2K issues, among them no one who currently could maintain or understand critical legacy systems, would incentivize organizations and software providers to insure that code is being reproduced in “more” modern software, or at least kept up to current releases. Yes. I am well aware of the expense of both approaches. I am also aware of the results and cost of not doing so … and the cliff that avoidance is. Yes. I do know of more than a few software provider’s and organizations who have decided “hole, sand, head, bury.” They are driving themselves and the companies over the cliff. They won’t see the fallout, but most their employees, who see the cliff coming, will.

        2. Oh cool! I always wondered if it was a lotta fuss about nothing or if computers really could have malfunctioned. Thanks for sharing!

  20. “The Freudian idea, for instance, that humans are born with all these impulses and needs which, if thwarted lead to neurosis and “repression” — at least the Freudian idea as interpreted by pop science.”

    Sorry, I was “reading until offended” and the name Freud came up and offended me.

    Most people don’t know, because the Psychological Community doesn’t like to mention it, that Sigmund Freud’s model of the mind was a STEAM ENGINE. Yes, those “pressures” were meant to be actual pressure of some actual stuff that would build up unless it was “released.”

    Superseded by the “new and improved” model that considers the human mind to be a digital computer. Those guys are hilarious, the pretzel shapes they assume to justify their view of humans as meat-robots break new ground in topology.

    When you start looking at Rousseau and the Romantics (these days they’d be a boy-band), the Stupid becomes almost unbearable. I was frequently heard to mutter “Are you fucking kidding me?!” while reading their “philosophy” of wishful thinking and special pleading.

  21. Oh..Kay… I think we have some very different ideas about what is considered natural. Well, you made a good point about it being unnatural for humans to live together in large numbers. Unnatural and unhealthy in some ways. We are truly pack animals, and as t whole, we function better when we feel these bonds with our communities; something that is lacking in, say, a big city. So then we try to form interest based communities, which maybe isn’t so great, because then people end up inside an echo chamber.
    As for natural foods, growing crops with natural methods, and acclimating ourselves with nature has many health benefits, and would minimise the diseases plaguing society. Note: I did not say cure all and prevent all. We would just be generally healthier than we presently are. And feel happier.
    Next, not all animals just play all day. Instead, they are on natural rhythms that mean they wake up when the sun comes up and sleep when it set (unless they are nocturnal). They make shelters, birds build nests in preparation for the young they don’t yet have, even before there is a fertilizer egg. Some male birds even build multiple nests before finding a mate, so he can let his potential future mate choose which home she likes best. There are many animals who wash and are much cleaner than we arrogant humans give them credit for. Some even wash their food before eating it. Lots of animals work hard to gather and store food when food is abundant, rather than lie around eating whatever falls at their feet. All that is natural, so actually, it is unnatural for humans to be lazy and filthy and degenerate. Such things are conditional behaviours, stemming from multiple sources. It could be ideological, such as the gippy philosophy that views bathing as somehow weird, or laziness stemming from a life of luxury in which a person never had to do anything for themselves, like work to pay for food and shelter, or grow their own food and build their own shelter. Our innate survival instinct will ensure that we get up off our lazy asses and find food and shelter when necessary, provided we weren’t unnaturally spoiled since infancy. I just had a discussion with my boyfriend about raising the kids, in which he insisted that we can’t avoid giving our kids things that we deem unhealthy, like junk food, or useless material crap just because all the other kids are doing it. He insisted that’s how our society is and we can’t do anything about it. My response was it is only like that if you decide to pay for them to have all these choices. Like what to eat for dinner. In the old days, we are what Mama cooked and said thank you, even if we didn’t like it. But we sure liked having our bellies full, eh? These days it’s “I don’t like broccoli.” Ok, what would you like instead? “Candy!” Or just potatoes, or just bread with jelly. And the parents say sure! These are unnatural choices that derive from an unnatural way of living in large herds where all our “food” is made in some factory somewhere and we just hop in our unnatural cars and head over to the nearest grocery store where we load up our carts with everything we see, most of which is highly unnatural, then go home and gorge, and wonder why our kids have diabetes and why there is an epidemic of obesity. In fact, if one studies non-civilized humans living in remote parts of the world, it is not true that they will all be only 3 feet tall, toothless and dead at 30. What is true is they won’t be plagued by the slew of diseases we have in the west, they will be less lazy, often working more, be more productive and have skills we civilized apes can only dream of, and still be happier!
    Where there might be problems, is in the lack of scientific knowledge and such that would help them prevent communicable diseases or treat certain illnesses that cannot be cured with herbal medicine. So, I’d say, let’s opt for the best of both worlds. Let’s choose balance.

    1. “As for natural foods, growing crops with natural methods, and acclimating ourselves with nature has many health benefits, and would minimise the diseases plaguing society. Note: I did not say cure all and prevent all. We would just be generally healthier than we presently are. And feel happier.”

      Those of us who were still alive, anyway, once the food wars were over.

      1. That shows how little you know about agriculture. I grew up in farming and live and work in an organic farming community. They put out plenty. I’ve also been growing a good portion of my own food now for the last several years. Look into organic farming methods, companion planting, permaculture, etc. There are various methods that don’t poison the soil and ground water, nor use harmful pesticides and herbicides, and some of those methods actually improve soil quality.

        1. I’m also from an ag background, and furthermore live in an ag-heavy community right now.

          I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Organic isn’t able to get even the same quality and quantity of produce with the same resources– that’s part of why it costs more.

          If it worked at least as well, people would be doing that instead of wasting time, effort and money on something that doesn’t give a return.

          1. I don’t know how you figure organic farming can’t manage to do more than feed their community and a little extra. I work the fields for the biggest organic farm in my community here in Germany, and I help sort and wash the crops when they come in with the harvests. Trust me, it’s a lot! The farm I work for has their staple crops available all year and never run out, despite the high demand. All the organic farmers here sell to supermarkets and the big commercial markets. They all also sell locally to the community, but that is only a very small part of their sales. Very small. So, I’m sorry, you are wrong. It’s completely the other way around. Also, these farmers don’t use pesticides or herbicides. They fertilize only with compost and manure. Yes, there are some pests, but not enough to hinder production too heavily nor cut into too much of the profits. In fact, even after donating surplus crops to charity, community functions, preschools and schools, there is still a lot that gets thrown away. At least these farmers use the surplus crops for animal food or compost. My landlord runs commercial greenhouses for organic crops. I use a section in one of his greenhouses for some of my own vegetables. He also has so much yield that he has to give a lot of it away. And since my house is on the same property, I see what goes on in there, how he deals with pests and all that. A lot of plants, commonly viewed as weeds, are actually quite useful in either deterring pests or attracting pollinators and useful insects.
            Also, do you know that both conventional and organic farmers throw away (or find alternative uses) crops because of the US government subsidies to keep prices within a certain range by manipulating supply? If we can afford to throw away tons of food in the US alone, there is not a food shortage. If consumers can afford to heap their plates fulls and eat only a small portion and throw away the rest, we don’t have a food shortage, which means we can afford more organic farming and less conventional farming. Maybe we need a balance of both, but we can definitely afford to shift towards more natural methods. What we westerners have is an issue with waste. Our society is decadent and wasteful. As my stepmother always said, there are starving children in the world, so don’t take more than you need and don’t throw away food. And she’s not wrong. Moreover, shop locally as much as possible, so you don’t need as much from far off places, which require additional resources to transport. That would leave more food to the communities in other countries where so much of the food we buy is grown. It doesn’t mean never buy avocados, because they don’t come from your region, etc. It just means make more conscious decisions. Use what you can locally. Grow some of your own food. If all communities had sufficient organic agriculture, they would be able to feed their own communities, plus “a little extra”, minimum, as you yourself stated. We don’t need factory farms to feed the people. When I lived in the Salmon River Valley in Idaho, I also saw how the local community provided for most of their own fresh produce needs during the growing season, and most of this came from small gardens using organic methods or close enough. Maybe a third of the people in the community gardened, and people couldn’t give away enough of their surplus! In downtown Orlando, I was involved in the urban farming movement, mostly just observing and supporting, as I was then only just embarking on my own gardening efforts. You’d be amazed how much food can be produced on small patches of land in a big city! Also, look up KNF. Korean natural farming. They are revolutionising the way “organic” and sustainable farming is done, and from what I’m hearing, most of Korean ag has transitioned over to this method. It basically takes permaculture to the next level. Sure, there may be more work involved in growing sustainably, depending on the methods employed, but at least the soil isn’t stripped of all essential nutrients, ground water isn’t contaminated to the extent it is in conventional farming, consumers aren’t exposed to nearly as much toxic chemicals, etc. I don’t know what the big organic farms get away with using in the States, but no farmer who is sincere about growing cleaner food and minimizing the harm done to the land would knowingly use harmful substances on their crops, whether approved or not.
            We are all sold a lie when we are told that the only way we can produce enough food is to use toxic pesticides and GMOs. Those things just allow companies to turn a bigger profit by producing more door with less effort. Like the dairy industry here. Just 20 years ago, some of the dairy farms still let their cattle out on the pasture and the farmer’s would go out and milk the cows twice a day. Now the cows are keep in big barns with little to no access to the pastures and cows go to the automatic milking machines all on their own. I watched how it’s done and saw the cows go in when their udders got full! And why? So farmers done have to bring in the cows in the evenings and don’t have to take the time to bring them in for milking. But even if they wanted to use the technology, they could still let the cows put to pasture if they made access to the machines possible. But this is what I mean about society being decadent. We have become fat and lazy and too stupid to see the forest through the trees.

            1. And my apologies for the typos. I typed my comment from my phone while taking care of my baby. Autoincorrect and multitasking don’t make for very legible writing!

                1. I am not confident that solves the problem for large scale agriculture.

                  The issue is not simply yield per acre but also yield per labor-hour — if organic farms are more labor intensive any increase in the number of acres under production requires a corresponding increase in the hours required to get that yield. Economies of scale do not always apply when the effect is to increase demand for a scarce resource.

                  Last I knew there is not a large untapped pool of people champing at the bit to go into farming. Increasing that pool is going to mean paying more, decreasing the yield per dollar invested — making the food more expensive.

                  There is also the possibility that acreage not employed in organic farming may well be less suited for employing such methods, requiring (at least) significant investment in soil improvement (what is the statutory minimum number of years required to certify soil “organic” for food production purposes?

                  But other than those (and possibly a few more similarly minor objections) I see no problems with your solution. Quality soil is a long-term development worth pursuing. Here in the US it would be helped if people stopped putting buildings atop the arable land but I’ve observed little inclination for that. Mostly I have seen development stretch out into the countryside and the new residents prone to vast impatience with the inconveniences of having to wait while farm machinery traverses the roads that were once theirs.

                  1. Those are sound points to consider. Not sure how different yield Vs labour is, but would be worth finding out. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot more labour going into the organic farms here compared to the conventional. Modern technology and machines manage a lot of the labour no one wants to do. I totally know what you mean about development taking over the countryside. We need that land, for all farming, as well as for wildlife. Every time I go back to my hometown I’m appalled by how much good land has been converted to cheap housing developments and shopping centers.

                    1. Thomas Sowell discusses the difference between farming in Europe and in the US in his book Basic Economics (highly recommended: ). Farms in Europe generally got a higher yield per acre while American farms got vastly higher yields per man-hour of labor. A large part of this was the relative scarcity of labor and land between the two. America had more arable land (and, indeed, has more land area than all of Europe). The US has, for instance, 1.89 million square kilometers of cultivated land. Russia is next with 1.27 million. The next European country is France with .23 million, Spain with .17 million, and Germany with .12 million. To contrast, 1.42% of the US population (4.16 million people) is employed in agriculture. 2.6% of the French workforce (1.74 million people). 4.31% of the Spanish population (2.01 million people) . and 1.27% of the German (1.02 million people).

                      Crank through the numbers and you see that in the US we have one agricultural worker per .45 square kilometers. In France, one agriculture per .13 square kilometers. In Spain, one per .08 square kilometers. And in Germany, one per .12 square kilometers.

                      The best of those uses three and a half times as much labor to keep a given amount of land in cultivation.

                    2. VERY VERY VERY different. If we had an organic requirement, we’d have to reduce population by 9/10ths.
                      No. Also no.
                      I also vote with my money. It says organic, I don’t buy it. I don’t encourage genocidal fantasies of our elites.

                    3. “I also vote with my money. It says organic, I don’t buy it. I don’t encourage genocidal fantasies of our elites.”

                      Yes. ^^This^^

                    4. Wow, people here have very narrow world views, don’t they? Do you know there is a lake in my hometown, called lake apopka. Back in the day, ag was very heavy in the area, and the run off from the farms literally polluted this lake so bad that everyone knew it was a cesspool. Really bad stuff when we humans take our environment for granted and act irresponsibly.

                    5. Wow, people here have very narrow world views, don’t they?

                      You know, people can come to different conclusions than you do without “having a very narrow world view.” Indeed, recognizing that reasonable people can differ is actually a sign of a more expansive world view than the opposite.

                      Consider, for instance, the pesticides that are allowed in “organic” farming. (Here’s a list of major substances: )Many of them are a lot more persistent in the environment (i.e. last a lot longer without breaking down) than modern chemical pesticides and quite a bit more damaging and they’re certainly more damaging than crops that are bred or engineered to be self-resistant to pests.

                      As I demonstrated in an earlier comment European farms are dramatically more labor intensive than US farms. When you recognize that labor, like any other resource, is subject to economic scarcity the opportunity cost of European farming methods (whether “organic” or otherwise) is significant in and of itself. And even with our much smaller percentage of our population being involved in agriculture we’re still the world’s largest food exporter.

                      Yes, Europe gets higher yields per acre than the US, but it’s not because of “organic farming.” It’s because they use much more labor intensive farming than the US, basically spending more time tending each acre of land than does American agriculture. But there is a cost to that. The lesser availability of farmland in Europe compared to the US makes it worthwhile for them to pay that cost. But that doesn’t make it “superior” in any kind of categorical sense.

                    6. Denouncing opposing views as narrow is intellectually dishonest, a form of ad hominem argument which fails to demonstrate its primary claim: that the opposing views are, in fact, narrow. It is not a style of debate likely to persuade* the people here.

                      Nor is it necessarily the case that disagreeing with the broad implementation of organic agriculture constitutes opposition to organic ag rather than an honest recognition of its limitations. Many here disdain buying organic produce largely because the Organic Community has cultivated many of the worst attitudes of CrossFit enthusiasts, Fundamentalist Evangelists, and/or Vegans. Myself, I buy organic when I can distinguish a difference; thus I will buy organic garlic but not organic carrots.

                      Further, it is intellectually problematic to extrapolate from disagreement over the large scale viability of organic farming to supporting run-off of misapplied chemical techniques. One can support good practices without being organic; setting up such a motte & bailey argument is another sign of sloppy thought.

                      If you can support organic farming you really ought be able to do so with well-reasoned, evidence-based argument. Failure to do so does not equate with discrediting organic crops … but it will, sadly, incline people to the conclusion that there are no valid reasons to be brought forth.

                      *Well, it will persuade us, but not in any way you should desire.

                    7. It has two problems: it does not demonstrate that the views are narrow, and worse, it doesn’t matter whether the views are narrow as long as they are correct.

                    8. <blinks.
                      How we treat the environment and "organic" are not the same thing.
                      No, I do not in fact have narrow old world views. You're describing nineteenth century agriculture, and you TRULY think that's how modern REGULATED out the wazoo factory farms work? Please. That's arrant nonsense.
                      Please go research,and I mean outside the airy fairy pushing of "organic" anything. Go read newsletters by farmers for farmers, for instance.
                      These are not polluters. They're people who make use of the tools available to produce the most from the least land with the least labor.Which is why the rest of us can have lives free of back breaking agricultural labor. And we can — and do — feed the world.
                      You're being sold a bill of goods if you think that modern factory farms are bad for the environment. You remind me of a Swedish friend who told me that while their hyper-regulated and socialistic state was bad "In my grandfather's day there was cannibalism, people were so hungry."
                      First, I posit in his grandfather's day there was something else going on. BUT more importantly he was comparing welfare state to MONARCHY not free market.
                      In the same way you're comparing organic to 19th century agriculture, not modern farms.
                      This is not an enlightened worldview. It's an indoctrinated one. And yes, incredibly narrow. Go research.

                    9. A good first stop would be the Capital Press:


                      It’s the north-west USA ag newspaper; limited stories, so please be choosy on what you click. (or subscribe!)

                      Can also check out Range Magazine, should be easily found by just searching for the name, they’re just awesome.

                      I can send pictures of the areas around me– part of why soybeans have taken off so well is that they are relatively easy to plant, they aren’t as much of a pain to replace as alfalfa, and they introduce nitrogen into the soil even if you DON’T plow them back under.

                      So the corn guys rotate the crops, which helps keep the pests from being established, and that is part of why they are Century Farms.

                      Er, if I forgot to define the term– a Century Farm has been in the same family for a (you guessed it!) century. Usually parent-child, but sometimes parent-grandchild or adult-niece/nephew. Our neighbor’s lady-friend is probably going to go from her to a grand-nephew-by-marriage, while our neighbor is passing it to his grandson.

                    10. Oldest home in Oregon that has been continuously in the original family from homestead to current. Currently it is owned by Shannon Applegate, and will pass to her daughter, eventually. Thought Shannon still owned the Charles Applegate Cemetery, in Yoncolla proper, but that has been turned over to City of Yoncolla. Not sure how much of the farm is left for the house, but there is still a huge chunk of property associated with it. Home build 1852(ish). Homesteaded since the mid-1840’s.

                    11. Wow, people here have very narrow world views, don’t they?

                      Kindly remove the beam from your own eye before commenting on the habits of others, if you please.

                      You have a conclusion, and thus far it has proven impervious to evidence, logic, or even basic back and forth sort of reasoning where you actually make some sort of a evidence supported argument for your conclusion.

                      In this group I am one of the less well informed Ag people, and I am a fourth-generation/third generation “you raise stuff to live” daughter of a guy who has managed beef farms for almost 50 years, now, some of that certified natural, and a lady who when they didn’t get enough from their home farm grew up eating chicken’s feet then went and got a BS in Animal Husbandry, and THEN went on to be dad’s assistant for 40 years.

                      I’ve lived and been (usually unpaid, yay ranch kids) active as a worker and observer in ag in a half-dozen states where the best grouping is “west of the Mississippi,” ranging from sea level or below to literally a mile high.


                      To use a terrible phrase from my childhood, check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.

                      Less in the vernacular, you may wish to reconsider your bulverism.

                    12. I was referring to the remark about “if it says organic I don’t buy it” and more specifically the thing about “genocidal elites”. I’m not referring to the general discussion about pros and cons.
                      Refusing to buy something because it was grown without the use of harmful substances and with better care of the land is rather illogical, imo. I can understand someone not wanting to buy something if the price is substantially higher, or the quality is poor, you know, or proven to actually be more harmful than conventional. On the other hand, I’m firmly convinced organic, or more specifically, permaculture is the way to go, so I prefer not to buy conventional. Doesn’t mean I never do. A lot of small town grocery stores don’t carry much organic, although that is slowly changing, and the markets and farm stores aren’t always an option, so I buy what is available.
                      Oh, and for the record, my father is also a cattle farmer, and that’s just his side gig. He owns a nursery, so I grew up working on the farm. We raised pigs and chickens for a long time too. All our animals lived the good life, out on the pastures. The pigs had large outdoor paddocks as well as the stalls. That, combined with hunting, we were never short on meat. My grandfather was also the type to grow his own, so there was net a shortage of fresh veggies when he was alive, and he taught me a thing or two. Unfortunately, I was 11 when he died, so he didn’t get to teach me everything he knew, and I’ve had to learn by trial and error over the years.
                      If you really want to be logical, you could all easily do your own fact finding about pros and cons of organic Vs conventional. That of course means weeding out the disinformation that is pumped out by those with vested interests in, say pesticide sales, etc. Do you know what the percentage of women whose breast milk turned out to have glyphosphate in it are? Look it up. All that nonsense about those chemicals breaking down too fast to end up accumulating in our bodies and ground water are blatant lies. Even my dad, who is as conservative as it gets and has no interest or knowledge about organic, always told us not to drink the well water on the farm, because the run off from the greenhouses made the water unhealthy to drink. You don’t have that problem where organic methods are employed, except where they are still practicing monoculture and use excessive amounts of animal manure to fertilize the fields. Crop rotation and planting of crops that help restore the soil quality minimises the need for too much manure or other fertilizers.
                      Also, I’m not such a fan of the whole certification thing, mainly because it is too expensive, meaning small scale organic farmers can’t afford the label, therefore can’t inform the public that their food is organically grown. Plus, there is always going to be corruption and bribes that allow some to wriggle around the rules. I have friends here in Germany who want to convert their cattle farm to organic, but it takes about 3 years to do so and too much red tape. But the meat they sell is top quality already, with or without the label. So a label in and of itself doesn’t mean much to me. Transparency is what counts most.

                    13. Refusing to buy something because it was grown without the use of harmful substances and with better care of the land is rather illogical,

                      As has been noted, many pesticides used for organic production of food can be harmful.

                      That of course means weeding out the disinformation that is pumped out by those with vested interests in, say pesticide sales, etc.

                      Are there no entities with vested interests in products employed by organic growers, such as organic pesticides? Does having a vested interest in a product invariably mean their information must be discounted?

                      As we’re pushing the right-hand wall here I suggest the discussion be ended; we’re in danger of generating heat without providing light on the matter and, i hope, nobody’s ego requires anybody else here agree with their arguments.

                    14. Not necessarily discounted, but verified by those with no vested interests. Like the whole idea behind peer review is to prevent monetary interests from allowing flawed studies to be used as evidence to support this or that. Anyway, I never use pesticides of any kind, so can’t say much about that. My boss and landlord also don’t use pesticides on any of their crops and fields, except for the fruit trees when it gets bad with pests.

                    15. Then how do you suggest scientific research be cross analysed to prevent fraudulent results?

                    16. In the long run it is probably not possible. Humans are involved, afterall.

                      Those that send things for peer review can always ensure that the reviewers hold the ‘proper’ views. Too often the results are not verifiable.

                      Good research is when a researcher has a favorite hypothesis yet follows the data (and looks for such data) that invalidates his hypothesis. It seems that too often the hypothesis drives the data these days, rather than the other way around.

                    17. 90% of current “research” is irreproducible. And not just in the soft sciences.
                      This is not just “it’s humans” it’s “the institutions have been corrupted and destroyed. It will reset, but till then, go to primary sources. Look at the internals of research, and never tire of it.

                    18. I get that. Makes it difficult to know what to believe, and one can’t even trust the main sources for scientific research. Especially these days, with a political agenda being pushed at every opportunity.

                    19. Replication studies. The current “peer review” system is thoroughly corrupted, in too many ways to spend pixels on here.

                    20. Peer review has its value but it’s also highly susceptible to groupthink. This is particularly true when the peers weigh in not just on whether proper procedure was followed but on whether the results fit expectations.

                      The latter is happening entirely too much of late.

                    21. Gotcha. I’d also heard about the corruption. Wasn’t sure how deep it went, though.

                    22. You do realize that, by your own definition of the term, you have a vested interest in promoting organically grown food?

                    23. How so? I’m not selling anything. I don’t stand to profit financially by advocating for what I believe has benefits for people and the land. Since I sincerely want to have good health and reduce pollution, if I would be a scientist, I would want to know the truth and find real solutions, not promote flawed studies just to be able to say organic is best. If the results would disprove my preconceived beliefs, I would shift my perspective. But someone who is motivated by profits would be inclined to lie about results in order to promote their product, especially when a lot of money is being invested into the development of that product.

                    24. Your livelihood depends upon people accepting your premises about organic food being better.

                      That you are blind to that suggests the narrow views here just might be yours.

                    25. Nah, I wouldn’t go so far as to say my livelihood depends upon it. If organic isn’t available, then obviously, I’ll settle for something else, or try to grow it myself. And I still wouldn’t rank that in with researchers who are being paid to produce the results desired by their bosses. As a consumer, I want to know what are the best ways of farming regarding human, animal, and environmental health so that I can purchase the food that was grown and produced in the most sustainable way. Skewed studies don’t help me with that choice.

                    26. I don’t buy things advertised as ORGANIC. It doesn’t mean I don’t buy things grown without “harmful pesticides.” Look, the way we vet things here, in the USA of A, you stand a better chance of getting something harmful by growing it YOURSELF.
                      PFUI. Why are we arguing religion? “Organic” is religion. It’s “I can put this label and feel good about it and the feck with people who would starve if this were enforced.”

                    27. Refusing to buy something because it was grown without the use of harmful substances and with better care of the land is rather illogical, imo.

                      Assuming your conclusion.

                      For starters, natural fertilizers aren’t harmless to humans. They’re just less demonized than synthetic ones. The assertion that it’s better care for the land is demonstrable low quality natural fertilizer that is an irrational attempt to demonize the people who are feeding the world with an objectively false claim that can be instantly disproven with even basic consideration of ‘where did this farm land come from in the first place’.

                      From the other direction, you are still ignoring the stated motivation of “this method is inefficient and beloved by those who think there is way too many of thee, though just enough of me.”

                    28. The claims you are making about organic being just as harmful and so inefficient don’t match up with everything I’ve seen and read, so it’s my understanding against yours and we’ll get nowhere like this. Sorry, but I don’t have the time or energy right now to dig around for scientific research to disprove your claims.
                      As for the thing about genocidal elites, sure they approve organic for themselves, but they sure as hell don’t promote it for the rest of us, so, I rather doubt they intend to use fresh produce to kill us all. They have plenty better ways of doing that already. Basically, look at what they use for themselves regarding food and healthcare ( not the stuff they pretend to use, but the stuff they don’t admit forthright to, and you’ll know what is not being used to think the herd. And I do think there are too many humans in the world, but I don’t believe our numbers alone are the real problem. That’s just a cheap excuse for the powers that be to use to justify culling the population so they can go on living a life of decadence.

                    29. Oh, Jesus Christ. Check your premises. When you say things like “Decadence” it betrays what you’ve been reading is ideological.
                      Define decadence. In historical terms we’re all rich beyond the dreams of KINGS. All of us, including homeless sleeping on a corner in NYC.
                      Try reading stuff meant for the other side, not as ideology but as “how to make the most of the land you have.”
                      Or don’t. If you love your bill of goods, you can have your bill of goods.
                      I’m not letting you starve 2/3 of humanity to feel good, though.

                    30. Wtf are you talking about? I was referring to the Uber rich who happen to be those lunatics that want to decrease the population as being decadent. I do know what decadence means, and unlike how it is generally used, it is actually not such a nice thing.
                      You do have one thing right. We are all rich compared to past generations (though I wouldn’t say the homeless are) and we are way better off than a lot of people in the world. But ask yourself this: at what cost? How many people who grow your food and produce the products you buy are not even paid a living wage for their labour and are forced to live in extreme poverty so you can have all the luxuries people a hundred years ago couldn’t even dream of? How many people are exploited so you can have your Walmart prices? If the scales would be balanced and people would be compensated fairly, we’d all be a lot poorer.

                    31. You talked about refusing the whole “organic crazy” as encouraging decadence.
                      Look, the uber rich arent’ even decadent. They’re indoctrinated instead of educated and made to hate themselves and feel guilty. I’d much rather they were having orgies and taking drugs (more. Most of them do at least some.)

                    1. *nod*

                      Moving to Iowa was an education– I twitched (a lot) at some of the places being turned into developments, especially when I saw them scraping up a good ten feet of well developed earth.

                      I’ve seen a lot of farms get bought and turned into useless playgrounds.

                      But I kept watching…and noticed they were packing it up, and that some of the places with big “topsoil wanted” had their signs go away. Those are farms. Usually Century Farms, which is common in our area.

                      And I noticed they are all in places similar to the fields that STILL have small ponds in bad places, and that these developments all have freakin’ lakes in the middle where they dug two or three stories down, to put in drainage, and they’ve packed in rocks to replace the topsoil that was taken away.

                      It is totally normal to have corn fields running through the middle of what I might call ‘suburbs’ anywhere else, with the houses on what would be obnoxious to farm but is handle-able for houses in the 500 year flood conditions we had this year.

                      Like I said, because of the higher ROI, the figuring is actually biased FOR organic– if you’ve got land that is good enough it doesn’t need a lot of work (say, a corn field that produces handsomely with the fertilization of running cows into it in the winter then breaking up the turds come spring, then you get it certified as organic exactly because it takes a below average amount of work for upkeep and produces very well.


                      This is a variation on the “if we turned all the land used to feed animals into feeding people, we could feed more people” problem.
                      People don’t grow well on corn stalks, scrub-grass or fox tails.

                    2. The other caveat is “it’s different in Europe.” Europe’s land has been cultivated a long time. This is good and bad, but on the good side, I joke with the kids that the soil in Portugal is made of dead people. Not just dead people, of course, but dead animals, dead everything.
                      You know the scene in Good Omens where Newt realizes you can’t feed a family from an acre?
                      Depending on what you’re planting (potato for choice) you CAN in Portugal. There’s a plot behind my parents’ house with five fruit trees, a vineyard, two olive trees, a year’s worth of potatoes, and “novelties” (meaning peas, beans, peppers, onions, garlic, etc.)
                      And it’s all thriving. And (absent carb issues) not only could I feed my family from that for a year, I wouldn’t go even vaguely hungry.) They also keep two hen houses in that space.
                      The space? Probably about as much as my not overly large suburban backyard.
                      My new DIL, who has a degree in agriculture, kept looking at things in Portugal and reminding me these were not normal. I grew up with them, so things like abundant flowers growing on a vertical cliff face are “just normal, I guess.”
                      So, it’s possible that in Europe the yields are different. The problem in Europe though is the number of people needed to get anything from the soil by “organic” techniques.

                    3. Mom got us this:

                      It’s a really nice book, but it outlines exactly how HARD it is to get “all the food you need” on a footprint– and it’s written, realistically, for a young couple.

                      Not a family of eight where mom is tired and dad works 10 hours elsewhere.

                      If we had to, yeah, we COULD…but I’d rather have a fun-garden (peas, tomatoes, zucchini (yellow and green!), squash, stuff you pick and have really quick) and buy the food for far less than the time invested.

                      Your stories are an awesome example of how we’re not raping the land, though; it’s still fruitful.

                    4. And the problem of labor means that the food would be more expensive. Also, to believe John Ringo in Last Centurion (and I do, because the man researches!) production in Amish land by EXPERT organic farmers is something like 1/3 per acre of commercial farms. Which again, both of those, means people would die in droves. Doesn’t mean I don’t buy at farmers’ markets in season (I do. I grew up in farm country. Food tastes better) but I DO NOT buy things labeled “organic” in grocery stores, because that’s encouraging people who are crazy and want to dictate that 2/3 of us must die in a famine. No.

                    5. Well, as I understand Amish restrictions they are a better stand-in for collapse of civilization than merely certified organic– “organic” allows a lot more, and of course there’s the machine advantage– but it is eye-opening, isn’t it?


                      For what it is worth, most farmer’s market stuff isn’t organic. It’s not even certified natural*, it’s more like “minimally invasive modern agriculture.” You use the tools on hand, with the time you have, and your big advantage is that the stuff is picked 1) because it’s good enough, 2) hours instead of days (or months) before the customer is buying it, 3) is stored at room temp to a bit cooler so you can SMELL it.

                      Organic just means they jumped through hoops to get a special sticker, and frankly the organic standards scary me silly. Not as bad as the “nature is awesome” folks who sometimes show up at the bottom of a “help help i’m being repressed” story at Reason, but scary. (One that comes to mind, this guy claimed his bees had been destroyed because the USDA hates organic or something. The long story is that he treated the bees like houseplants, they had freaking mite infestations and caused several of his neighbors to lose multiple hives because he was so filthy, the USDA tried to work with him, and he blew them off. So they had to come in, after months of trying to do it politely, and destroyed all the infested hives. Didn’t do much to help the neighbors who LOST THEIR HIVES to the f*in idiot, but stopped the damage.)

                      *each independent group has different standards, my folks use to sell certified natural beef– their group, it meant baby vaccinations, treatment if they got sick, one or two diseases would remove them from being able to be sold, and they can use hormones for breeding synchronization but not on the cows actually being sold.

                2. That’s a horrible idea, organic takes more inputs: land, water, pesticides, fertilizer, labor, etc. to produce the same yields as conventional farming. Pushing for more organic farming mean pushing for more deforestation, and worse algal blooms.

                  All for feeding fewer people.

                  1. That’s nonsense. All organic is not the same. All that means anyway is basically fewer or no toxic chemicals used and no GMOs. Monoculture is actually what does more harm as it strips the soil of nutrients, requiring more land, water, pesticides, and fertilizers. Sustainable farming methods utilize crop rotation, companion planting of plants like nitrogen fixers, plants that deter pests or attract pest predators and pollinators, methods to prevent soil erosion and ground cover crops where possible to retain water. These are often methods that have been in use long before.anyone dreamed up a name for it. You all know the stories of how the native Americans grew their crops, right? Like the 3 sisters? That’s just one tiny example, but it works. A little example of how much difference ground cover crops help retain water and nutrients: just the other week I weeded out all the clover that was growing under and around my summer squash because I was worried it might be overcrowding the squash. Well, guess what happened? I noticed my squash almost immediately distressed after clearing away the clover, and I had to water more than usual until the clover grew back in. I leave it now, only thinning a little from time to time, and I don’t have to water much, even though we have roasting temperatures. I’m still getting away with watering 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 days. I mulch with old straw to prevent water from evaporating too quickly, also. My landlord plants fertilizer crops over the winter months to improve soil quality, the we fertilize once with manure and compost before the first spring crops gets planted. If planting a second crop after the spring crops are done, maybe fertilize again with compost and manure. I usually don’t, because I follow with a crop that uses different nutrients. Hence, the same small amount of land can be used year after year and still provide plenty of food. And it isn’t really more work than conventional. Mulching and ground cover plants help keep weeds down, herbs help with pest control, companion planting improves soil quality while also getting more yield for the amount of land, as opposed to having separate sections for each crop. Peas and beans can occupy the same space as squash and corn, for example. Tomatoes, carrots and coriander are another example. The same can be done with fruit and nut trees. That’s my next step, which I plan on implementing by next spring. We have a walnut tree and fruit trees, plus currents in our yard. There is so much potential, once you learn how. I’m also planning on beginning to attend permaculture workshops this summer. The first one is for permaculture in the city. (I’m in a rural farming community, but the methods still apply.) I witnessed people doing amazing things with organic farming in the city in Orlando and also in Missoula. So, think what you want, but I’ve seen really good things happening in the organic and sustainability movement. We’re not the ones advocating deforestation for profit and polluting the land.

              1. Also, there’s likely a lot flying under the radar. Thing is, organic certification is a costly endeavour. A lot of small scale farmers and gardeners are grow organic, often at the highest standard, but aren’t certified, and therefore not counted. People have the opportunity to get to know their farmers by shopping at the farmer’s markets or talking to the farmers in their communities, if they’re interested in buying local and knowing how their food is grown. Still, sometimes I buy conventional too, when what I want or need isn’t available in organic, but I do my best to shop local and organic as much as possible.

                1. People have the opportunity to get to know their farmers by shopping at the farmer’s markets or talking to the farmers in their communities

                  Some reasonably view this as an expense rather than a benefit. Such things require more time and more effort to shop at hours not necessarily convenient — having worked third shift over a number of years I assure you that one often does not wish to spend one’s “evenings” engaging in other people’s morning activities, and anything done in the afternoon is a royal pain in the patootie.*

                  As one who finds all face-to-face human interaction an exhausting drudgery I very much prefer to not make my grocery shopping any more of a chore than it already is.

                  *WP, I understand your not having this word in your data base, but I do NOT consider a reasonable alternative to be “patriotic.”

                  1. Haha! Well, to each his own. I have a hard time making myself get out and socialize, and being a stay at home mom for the time being, a little social interaction with folk in my village or local farmers market isn’t such a bad thing. But if one was so inclined as to want to know their farmers, they could hit up markets on weekends or days off if it isn’t too tiresome. 😉

                    1. Went to one of the “U-pick” farms here a while back. Strawberries. The per-pound price on those strawberries was pretty good except…

                      You see, I had to drive out to the farm, spend the time actually doing the picking, then drive back. All told, I spent about four hours to pick about ten pounds of strawberries (and, frankly, that was too much since they ended up going bad before we could eat all of them). Now that that time for every single item in my weekly shopping cart. And even eliminating the picking time, I’d spend nothing but going from farm to farm picking up the various things I’d need for my family to eat in the coming week. The cost of gas alone would eliminate any “savings” over the local supermarket. But there’s also the value of my time. I’m sure there are some people who have nothing they value more highly than running from farm to farm to fill a week’s grocery list. I am not one of them. Then there’s the fact that I would be limited to what grows in this clime (hardiness zone 5b) and happens to be in season at the moment.

                    2. Oh, yeah, and I ate local when I was growing up. No other choice at all.
                      Ask me why I hate apples. It’s all the fruit we had in winter, and it was shriveled and “floury.” Also vegetables in winter were cauliflower and cabbage. That’s it. AND that’s in Portugal, which is low altitude and so fertile you spit and a crop of wheat comes up.
                      Yeah, no.

                2. I do my best to shop local and organic as much as possible.

                  I understand there is no accounting for individual kinks, but please limit your pushing of your perversions on the rest of us. 😉

                3. Which is why the sample of commercial grow is the most favorable to organic; it includes only those making enough to be certified, and any fraud would go for higher organic yields. This can be observed with certified organic dryland hay– where the best producing fields already use no treatments, so are easy to certify and actually manage a decent per-acre yield.

                  Which is why it shows that no, organic does not produce anything like conventional.

              2. And let’s not forget: you vote with your money. Simple supply and demand.

                1. That is utterly irrelevant to the original claim that organic was as good or better in its ability to produce food.

        2. And by “put out plenty” you mean “manage to grow enough to feed themselves and a little extra.”
          Lady, 4% of the farms in the US produce 2/3 of the country’s agricultural output. Do you really think they’re using organic methods? No. No they are not. Organic small-scale farming did not become a niche profession because of pesticide companies.

          1. I know that when one of the big organic guys moved into my home valley, the local sprayers were dancing with joy– they can’t use as many sprays, but they have to do it much more often, which is good money.

  22. OK, ever since I have first passed the title of this blog a song has been worming in my mind. 

    Tom Paxton should be ashamed of himself for writing such a lookist number.

    The Natural Girl for Me, by Tom Paxton

    All over this great big city
    Can’t find a woman who’s nice and pretty
    They all look like a page in a magazine
    Legs are long and they eat like a sparrow
    Figures stick to the straight and narrow
    Top and bottom are the same as in between

    Show me a pretty little number
    When she walks, she rolls like thunder
    Eyes as deep and dark as the deep blue sea
    Round right here and round right there
    Pretty red lips and her very own hair
    Wrap her up, she’s the natural girl for me

    Went down to a coffeehouse palace
    Met a little lady and her name was Alice
    She had friends and her friends had her it seems
    Face was dirty and her sweater was baggy
    Pants were tight and her hair was shaggy
    I’ve seen her kind on college football teams

    Show me a pretty little number
    When she walks, she rolls like thunder
    Eyes as deep and dark as the deep blue sea
    Round right here and round right there
    Pretty red lips and her very own hair
    Wrap her up, she’s the natural girl for me

    Way up in a penthouse pretty
    Thirteen miles up above the city
    I met a lady from a wealthy family
    She could cuss like a real longshoreman
    She was makin’ eyes at the doorman
    She made a most unusual offer to me

    Show me a pretty little number
    When she walks, she rolls like thunder
    Eyes as deep and dark as the deep blue sea
    Round right here and round right there
    Pretty red lips and her very own hair
    Wrap her up, she’s the natural girl for me

    Way up at a Broadway party
    I met a little lady who was very arty
    She took me home to see her studio
    She took out her paints and she whispered to me
    She said that she wanted to do me
    And some of that paint will never come off, I know

    Show me a pretty little number
    When she walks, she rolls like thunder
    Eyes as deep and dark as the deep blue sea
    Round right here and round right there
    Pretty red lips and her very own hair
    Wrap her up, she’s the natural girl for me
    Wrap her up, she’s the natural girl for me

  23. >> “(He’s twenty seven, so chill. I obviously didn’t kill him.)”

    Hey, according to some on the left it’s *never* too late for an abortion.

  24. Speaking of “natural” …

    “No one thinks it’s fair, but everyone is scared about retaliation from the media, from kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, school administrators. They don’t want to attract attention to themselves and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”

    HT: NRO Corner blogger Madeleine Kearns
    nationalreview [DOT] com/corner/transgender-sports-policy-is-in-violation-of-civil-rights-teen-girls-say/

  25. FYI, you’re wrong on yogurt. I do fermenting, and it does work.
    I haven’t done any yogurt, myself, yet. But I do sauerkraut and a couple of other things, and they keep a LOOOOONG time after fermentation, compared to before.

    And, yes, it’s a pretty natural process. You’re using the (basically good) naturally present critters to kill the other (potentially bad) naturally present critters by adjusting their environment a little and letting nature take its course. (Also, fermentation doesn’t work if you pasteurize stuff. Unless you then add back in the bacteria you need. Unnaturally.)

    1. I love yogurt. Take it from someone who grew up without refrigeration.
      No, they don’t keep that long. Maybe a day and you’re pushing it in summer.

  26. And, reading the comments….
    A post on “naturalness” has a chunk of 56 comments of 360+ spending ~5,200 words on incest. Dayum.
    (And, very few actually pure snark, and none that were nausea-inducing.)

    I hope the comments get included in that book Sarah is contemplating.

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