Comments: The Rich: Should We Kill and Eat Them?

bless you for that bolivia clip.

Posted by otto at September 21, 2010 10:38 AM

Sometimes, when the poor mass at the gates, later they follow through and actually break in and kill the rich, or at least take their stuff. In general I would not call the elite stupid. Avaricious and morally insular, yes, but not stupid. After all, things have gone all their way for thirty years in most of the world.

Posted by Cloud at September 21, 2010 10:40 AM

Bad people and bad systems are the result of the real problem: human nature. We'll never leave it behind.

Posted by F.H. at September 21, 2010 11:09 AM


Actually things have gone their way for many centuries. However, I think things would be much much worse if not for their stupidity.

Posted by Ironbutterfly at September 21, 2010 11:09 AM

the ouroboros conundrum: the dragon has to eat its tail or die.

Posted by hapa at September 21, 2010 11:18 AM

Or - a bad species.

Posted by Jack Crow at September 21, 2010 11:21 AM

Stein looks like he'd be easy to catch, too.

Posted by darrelplant at September 21, 2010 11:28 AM

I'm trying to figure out just how much to support this Jon. What's your standard for rich? If I don't qualify I'm more likely to selfishly support this and get out the BBQ sauce and spices and kick start the Weber.

Posted by Richard S at September 21, 2010 12:14 PM

Jonathan missed the point, I think.

The problem isn't that eating the rich (the individuals) is bad or the existence of the system.

The point is to create a systematic program of eating the rich.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 21, 2010 12:14 PM

Peasant, can't live with them, can't live without them. And they are revolting.

Posted by pablo moreño at September 21, 2010 12:24 PM

The System is bad only because industrial society fundamentally depends on inequality to thrive. The best I think the world as it can hope for would be initiatives like the GI Bill for example, and how it created the single largest middle class in history: its thinking was built on the basic knowledge that society reaches it fullest potential when everyone is given the ability to thrive in the presence of a government that referees but does not control. It was a piece of legislation that still thrived on the perpetuation of inequality, but had part of its aim the lessening of it.

Posted by En Ming Hee at September 21, 2010 12:26 PM

Sorry, I'd correct my above statement by restating that "all human settlement since settled agriculture" fundamentally depends on inequality to thrive.

Posted by En Ming Hee at September 21, 2010 12:28 PM

Heh. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a Brazilian guy I know, visiting from Brasilia, and I asked him if things are getting better with Lula being the president. The Brazilian guy replied, and I quote: "Eh, after a while they are all the same."

Posted by abb1 at September 21, 2010 12:49 PM

What F.H. and Crow said.

Posted by liberal at September 21, 2010 12:56 PM

It is the time honored tradition of class warfare. It begs the question, why eat something I detest to begin with?

I don't particularly like spiders or snakes so I don't make a habit of eating them.

I am consoled by one inescapable truth. Kimo. He who dies with the most toys- still dies.

Posted by Frankenstein Government at September 21, 2010 01:20 PM

This leads me to believe the problem isn't one of bad individuals, but bad systems—and that these bad systems, since they're almost universal in human history, grow out of some aspect of human nature. Hence, eating the people at the top won't change much for very long. We'll just have to eat a new crop a few years later.

I say this is pretty correct except for the part about human nature since that can be and is many things...

obviously we want to foster institutions and relationships based on mutual aid, cooperation, solidarity and so forth and not ones based on greed, self interest etc...If people are rewarded to be greedy,self interested and cut throat, then we should not be surprised when they act this way...and the more one acts this way the more they will be rewarded and rise to the top...

I personally cant see anyway around this until the economy is democratically controlled and not under private control which, again, as I have said over and over, cant see happening short of a revolution.-Tony

Posted by tony at September 21, 2010 01:23 PM

What No One of Consequence said, plus of course the sustainability issue.

You throw a few sticks of dynamite in the lake you can catch pretty much all the fish that are in there all at once. The reason people don't (generally) do that is that then there are no fish left to catch next week. The whole ecosystem is destabilized and has to recover. It's like eating your seed corn.

Yet this is exactly how rich people are harvested, to this very day, all over the world. It's a terrible waste. Obviously the real problem is shortsighted husbandry by poor people...

Posted by radish at September 21, 2010 01:35 PM


How does this theory apply where there are no greed fostering institutions to teach people to hurt and exploit each other?



Posted by Jack Crow at September 21, 2010 01:50 PM

Hi Jack

Not sure i understand your question...

We dont want people to be greedy and self interested, or be able to benefit from being such so we create an economy and institutions based on mutual aid, solidarity, human need and not profit etc...That's not saying people wont be those things but we wont reward or foster those attributes which the current system does.

Not sure this answers your question, but not sure I understand it.tony

Posted by tony at September 21, 2010 03:19 PM

I think that Stutts has been expanding lately.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at September 21, 2010 03:26 PM

BBQ-CHENEY, on a stick. By the stick or buy the pound, a toy surprise in EVERY bite!!!

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 21, 2010 04:14 PM

I'm hungry...

Posted by BuelahMan at September 21, 2010 05:24 PM

I once knew some old gringo petroleros in South America, tough as nails, who had come up working in oil camps and hated leftists because the leftists tried to nationalize their companies and sometimes kidnapped and killed them and their friends. The leftists definitely did do that, and that offended my naive Midwestern sense of civility and good behavior, probably even more than it would have had I not fallen under the spell of a very beautiful girl who happened to be the daughter of el jefe.

So this clip seems like old times to me, oh so long ago, back when my life was full of the hope and promises of youth.

Later I drove around briefly in a bullet-proof Mercedez while people stared at me through the windows; perhaps they were thinking that I looked delicious, but I don't think so; they looked to me like they felt like prey. Which makes sense considering the number of Uzis around.

Later I met a woman who rang a silver bell whenever she wanted a servant to bring her something. This did not make me like her.

Then a wealthy woman who was later very glad to be rid of me indignantly told me a sad story making the rounds in her social circle about a poor small businessman with a milk truck who had been bankrupted by some hoodlums who stole all his milk and gave it away to the poor; later I read in an Amnesty report that the hoodlums were teenagers and were all shot in the back of the head by the military. I still think of these two versions of events, though only one lingers in my mind.

Then I went to a private dinner with two ambassadors and el jefe at the home of an industrialist of considerable wealth who was dismissive of the country's President and thought him the sort of populist fool who didn't realize that he had neither the right nor the power to demand that people be given work. Oh how the four men laughed at the President in their tuxes over cigars!

And I went dove hunting with some DEA agents who had been special forces and looked like they had enjoyed it quite a lot. Just so you know, doves are hard to shoot; I was no danger to them. Oddly, Bruce and Wayne were the names of those two DEA agents, one bigger than the other, and I have to wonder if they were putting me on with those names, but I saw no winking. Mostly those guys just seemed to want to kill.

Later still I read in an Amnesty report that the unnamed oil company had requested and assisted with counter-terrorist operations in a remote region where its operations were being disrupted too often. That was back when narco-terrorists were a big deal, before the Islamofascists became all the rage. Of course, counter-terrorist operations is a euphemism for killing peasants, the response to Mao's dictums that the peasants are the sea the revolutionary fish swim in. This report troubled me at first, then made me angry, but of course I don't mean to suggest that's what went wrong for me in those parts. The real problem that set in was immaturity and unpreparedness, not high principles, even if high principles would be more flattering.

The thing is, I know for a fact that the indignant wealthy woman was capable of kindness and empathy and real generosity and charity toward the poor, especially prostitutes, and the petroleros had some good qualities despite their intolerable episodic outbursts of murderous fascist behavior, and the beautiful girl was more than a spoiled princess (though she was that too). And I wouldn't even be surprised if the milk man had been unjustly bankrupted, or if some of the murdered insurrectionary teenagers really were hoodlums. And no matter how much I dislike someone, no one deserves to have a silver bell shoved up her ass until it pops out of her mouth, as I sometimes imagine happened.

So do the rich deserve to be eaten? Beats me. In the words of Clint Eastwood to Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, "deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

Posted by N E at September 21, 2010 07:25 PM

Upthread, someone mentioned greed.

The problem isn’t greed. It would be good if it were.

It’s pride.

Greed tells us to acquire. Pride says we are above. Then pride says we need not acknowledge pride. It is the only vice that is its thesis and antithesis.

Civilization requires people to believe that other people are people. Pride tells an entire class of people that everyone else is Not People. That puts them against all of civilization. There is a society, certainly, that results, but it is not civilized.

If Earth is an island, our aristocracy have systematically murdered us and begun burning all crops on this little splotch of land. When the aristocracy shrugs and suggest cannibalism to survive, who are we to argue?

And -- by the way -- any outcome other than the annihilation of our aristocracy for the sake of everyone else would be immoral. Pulling our world out of its sorry economic, environmental, and social state is an effort without like in our species’ history. Someone has to foot the bill. Only a jackass would say it should be the victims. Set yourself against civilization, and you make your own destruction a moral imperitive.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 21, 2010 08:00 PM

. . . "for the sake of everyone else"--how tidy.
Never actually true, but nice tidy rhetoric anyway.

"Set yourself against civilization,and you make your own destruction a moral imperative." Hmmm. Teddy Roosevelt? Henry Cabot Lodge? Adolf Hitler? Yoko Ono?

Posted by N E at September 21, 2010 08:44 PM

Jon, that's the right solution, but the wrong problem.

Sure, it's tempting to eat just the very richest (repeatedly, perhaps creating a threat and eventual cultural taboo against richness, or simply ridding the populace of those bahstids). But eating the rich, even on an ongoing basis won't do the trick unless we set the definition of rich very low.

Human overpopulation is the problem. So let's eat most of the human population.

No matter who is stupid or what human nature may be (or who is in charge, for that matter), it's impossible not to get into serious trouble with this many people in existence. Planning and predicting the effects even of "good" policies will always backfire when there are so many people involved, communicating rapidly and unpredictably across the globe.

Think of the unintended consequences of all sorts of "excellent ideas"...from rural electrification (Woody Guthrie's dams!) to the green revolution to "freedom". There is no right answer when there are so many people. This population is simply unsustainable.

So...Eat the rich.

Posted by Joel P at September 21, 2010 11:00 PM

You're forgetting the problem of global overpopulation! If the poor eat the rich every few years, then a small dent is made in that problem.

Posted by Ben Schwab at September 21, 2010 11:03 PM
Never actually true, but nice tidy rhetoric anyway.

It only always true or never true; to have a third party involved is a logical impossibility. You are arguing that sometimes three halves make a whole.

"Set yourself against civilization,and you make your own destruction a moral imperative." Hmmm. Teddy Roosevelt? Henry Cabot Lodge? Adolf Hitler? Yoko Ono?


Posted by No One of Consequence at September 21, 2010 11:14 PM

This post brought a smile to my face. Unfortunately, it also made me waste a lot of time today delving into the on-line chain of Todd "Vanilla Decadence" Henderson's positional-goods treadmill-defense hysteria and the ensuing smack-down (De Long was particularly good). I like to keep a blog log of capitalist class warfare, but I've only grazed the glazed surface of the well-marbled Mr. Ben Stein...

Then, over the insistent growls of my stomach, I read NE's prose-poem responses. I don't agree with your facile, sentimental conclusions, NE, but in terms of writing, you could be the Eduardo Galeano of North American liberals.

Tony, I think I recognize a full-fledged sociological imagination when I read one. Hasta la victoria, mi compadre.

Posted by Iuncta Iuvant at September 22, 2010 12:15 AM

Iuncta--A facile, sentimental, liberal Eduardo Galeano. I'm flattered by the reference to Galeano. If I ever write anything as good as the opening to Open Veins of Latin America, I'll die proud. But facile? I wish I could pull that off better. I'm unbearably un-facile.

I like Tony's sociological imagination too, and I agree with his thoughts above. Human nature is more malleable than we think, which lefties lic Vico and Marx long said and which neurologists can now confirm, because the brain is massively plastic, for good and bad. We have created some massive institutions that shape and control us, and shaping and controlling them isn't so easy for us now, but if we can do it and get back some control over our society (which our ancestors made) human nature could become quite different from what it is now.

The long and short of it is we and especially our descendants can be much better than we are now, if different, superior influences are brought to bear. Democracy, equality, fraternity--the old trinity needs to have sovereignty over us.

Posted by N E at September 22, 2010 01:04 AM


Your comment above is reminiscent of Bernays' panegyric for ideological herding in "Propaganda".
"Superior Influences" should guide the people into adopting certain ideals and actions for the greater good. Unfortunately the ideal triumphs of these efforts are often littered with messy details. Bernays' efforts for United Fruit Company in Guatemala were great for his clients but terrible for the people who wanted higher wages and a democracy. The false equivalence between exploiters and the exploited you explicitly and ardently narrate is disingenuous. But, alas, the ideals and idylls are always shattered by messy details. Enough to break the most ardent heart! The proselytizers never have "to bear" the messiness of these "idylls". They are too busy humbling themselves before what exalts them. Quixotic errantry for the exploiters pays very well.

Iuncta Iuvant

Thanks for representing Galeano.

I too scent the North American Liberal's discontent with the "poor and ignorant little brown people" in N E's Tartuffean sentimentalia. Table talk with the Elite gilds the lily of his despair. It apes humility so earnestly it begs to be exalted. I am sure the Princess misses his dulcet palabras.

Are they burning Bibles in Tehran yet?

Posted by Alcibiades Slim at September 22, 2010 04:50 AM

The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution

In remarks which have provoked an erudite (if overly caustic) critique, N E asserted:

Human nature is more malleable than we think, which lefties like Vico and Marx long said and which neurologists can now confirm, because the brain is massively plastic, for good and bad. We have created some massive institutions that shape and control us, and shaping and controlling them isn't so easy for us now, but if we can do it and get back some control over our society (which our ancestors made) human nature could become quite different from what it is now. The long and short of it is we and especially our descendants can be much better than we are now, if different, superior influences are brought to bear.

I agree and disagree.

Agree: With regard to the evidence for neuroplasticity, I'd like to recommend the book The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge.

Disagree: N E: We have created some massive institutions that shape and control us. As his faithful companion Tonto said to the Lone Ranger, "What you mean we, white man?" It seems that the first we in the sentence refers to the MICFiC, and the second we to "we, the sheeple."

I also want to argue with the phrasing of if different, superior influences are brought to bear. It's not that I don't agree that ideals of freedom, equality, and brotherhood are superior influences - rather, I don't like the use of the passive voice here. Intentional action is important. While it is easy to use external inputs to destructively degrade brain function, improving it probably requires action initiated by the organism itself (as expressed in the Harvard Law of Behavior, legendarily developed in the operant conditioning laboratories of B. F. Skinner: "Under carefully controlled experimental conditions, the animal does what it damn well pleases.")

As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, we all have divine and demonic tendencies - whether born as a peasant or princess. Speaking of Indian wisdom, here's some:

The Two Wolves

A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth. This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.”

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The Cherokee elder replied, “The one you feed.”

P.D. Ouspensky wrote in The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution:

Our fundamental idea shall be that man as we know him is not a completed being; that nature develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, either to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development. Evolution of man in this case will mean the development of certain inner qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and cannot develop by themselves.

Experience and observation show that this development is possible only in certain definite conditions, with efforts of a certain kind on the part of man himself, and with sufficient help from those who began similar work before and have already attained a certain degree of development, or at least a certain knowledge of methods. We must start with the idea that without efforts evolution is impossible; without help, it is also impossible.

After this we must understand that in the way of development, man must become a different being, and we must learn and understand in what sense and in which direction man must become a different being; that is, what a different being means.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 22, 2010 09:18 AM

Why cant them stupid foreiners speak English so i doesnt' have to read?

Posted by Real American at September 22, 2010 09:50 AM

Dang mistah charley ph.d, you are a smart fella! I have no time to tackle that now. But how did I go in one thread from being compared to Galeano to being given demerits for passive voice? Praise sure is fleeting hereabouts.

Alcibiades Slim, I didn't mean to suggest equivalence, false or not, and if people thing that the presence of human qualities in everyone makes moral judgments impossible, that wasn't and isn't my own conclusion. That really would be facile, so maybe that's how that little prose poem read, but it wasn't my intended meaning. I basically meant the quote to Eastwood's character to signify that these things really can't and shouldn't be about what people morally deserve, tempting as that is, because there is good in the worst of people and bad in the best, so that approach leads into a fog, or at least it did for me. What I needed was a beacon in that fog.

Posted by N E at September 22, 2010 10:31 AM

I could clean my house up but it would just get dirty again. So why bother? What I need is a systemic solution!

Posted by DavidByron at September 22, 2010 11:48 AM

Sorry, Schwartz, but you are wrong. We should Kill The Rich.

Posted by history is a weapon at September 22, 2010 02:23 PM

Eating the rich might have been safe back in 1789, although even back then they were high in fat and cholesterol, so moderation was key. However, they've made good use of the following 2 centuries to strategically place toxins in the environment using facilities they own, such as power plants and factories. These toxins tend to bio-accumulate as you go higher in the food chain. Rich people tend to eat a lot of tuna (sushi), swordfish, and other rare species that have already accumulated a lot of these toxins. As apex predators, rich people therefore have such high concentrations of mercury in their meat that it should be treated as toxic waste. Not to mention lead, botox, etc. It would be much safer (if less satisfying) to just take their money and redistribute it.

Posted by JMC at September 22, 2010 02:33 PM


I appreciated your response. You were far more indulgent towards my vitriol than it merited.

Here's some more with the Caustic "turned down from 7 to 2"--->

Not to be facile, but I do believe your "beacon" is facility. The Law of Least Action paves a royal road for inequality and exploitation. The post festum sighs over fallen human nature and the inability to escape human interests obscures the one sided injustice of exploitation. Translating(in the extra-lingual sense) it all into a dioramic overview of relations with various individuals from "both sides" is a sloppy psychologist romaunt stressing the human qualities of each side. Again, this is narrative equivalence. Nobody contests exploiters aren't human beings. I am sure they love their families, etc.. The very existence of the elite and their riches is inhumanely enforced daily through the exploitation of millions. The Silver Bell is an accidental quality of this divide and should be expected, not hated. Perhaps you disliked the Silver Bell lady because it was more "facile" to despise the unpleasant theatre you witnessed rather than the underlying reality the Silver Bell represents. Your qualms seem to bleed aesthetic distaste into ethical posturing. You found the kidnapping of scabs distasteful too. The Silver Bell offended your taste. The token Charity given to paupers warmed your heart. Sadly these are all endemic qualities of inequality and exploitation. But, as an Aesthete, you facilely damn one and praise the other.

I commend your ability to write agreeable prose. Admittedly the tone of my earlier post was caustic. You, being a facile gentleman of the world, were far too congenial to protest. The only defense I can offer is Osip, my indolent footman, failed to answer the Bell in a timely fashion. I required assistance changing into my nightclothes.

Krishna's the dancer on the riverbank. The girls abandoned their abashedness and emerged from the tall grass to join him. Arjuna was not so sure of step. The curse of the danseuse!

Posted by Alcibiades Slim at September 22, 2010 08:38 PM

Mistah charley ph.d

Tonto helped create our institutions too. (Read 1491). Maybe his contribution was the better part of them, but he still helped create them. Seriously, by "we" I mean humanity rather than God or History or The Nation and such. \Almost everybody used to believe human institutions were created and ordained by God, not created by us, and there are plenty of people who still favor that view, especially among the powerful. If you're rich and/or powerful, it's nice to think that was God's idea. That's all I meant by we. The enlightenment thought from Vico onward (maybe he had precursors, I'm faking being an expert) was grounded on the notion that men make history. That was a radical notion, and I think still would be if anyone could find the neural pathways that lead to caring.

As to the passive voice, sometimes I'm lazy or typing too fast. By superior influences I was just thinking that our brains will lead us to be better than we presently are when the forces acting upon our brains on a daily basis are better than those forces, largely corporate media, presently acting upon them. I say that because I think the soul and the mind reside in the brain, at least in this physical world, which is the only one I'm in right now, so there's no gibberish escape from this problem. The laws of science are sovereign in the here and now, including over our thoughts. Meaning if we keep building electronic prisons for ourselves, we will keep inhabiting them. And here I sit typing at my keyboard. . .

Alciabaldes Slim

I need to read more about Krishna!

Posted by N E at September 23, 2010 12:41 AM

N E wrote

As to the passive voice, sometimes I'm lazy or typing too fast. By superior influences I was just thinking that our brains will lead us to be better than we presently are when the forces acting upon our brains on a daily basis are better than those forces, largely corporate media, presently acting upon them.

The point I intended to make was not so much about the structure of your sentences, but about what causes structural changes in our brains. Metaphorically speaking, you bulk up your brain muscles by exercising them. So it's not just what forces act ON your brain, but the forces that act IN your brain - will and attention, in other words, which require mental effort to deploy. You mention the physical world and the laws of science. Rock is eroded and shaped by wind and water and heat and cold and gravity - see

However, brain networks not only respond to forces impinging on them, but produce and channel their own forces, and so are to some extent self-shaping as their responses and choices interact with their environment - including sensory input from the outside world, somatic feedback, AND the actions of other networks in the brain. This is why I quoted the Harvard Law of Behavior, and the Cherokee image of the "inner fight between two wolves", as well as Ouspensky's more discursive passage, above.

With regard to how things will be better in the future - to some extent one has control, even now, over how much one exposes oneself to corporate media. My grandfather, fifty years ago, had a mute switch on the tv (connected by a physical wire running under the living room rug to the set) and turned off the sound on all the commercials. Using vacuum tube technology, he had a way to partially frustrate the MICFiC's mind control goals. In addition to adjusting the sound, and the channel, one can also turn OFF the tv completely. I even know people who don't HAVE tv's even though they could afford them. Then, of course, the newspapers, magazines, books, radio shows, websites and blurgs one consumes - or doesn't - provide a wide buffet of possible brain food (metaphorically speaking). See also the passage in italics in my first comment on the September 11 posting here at ATR, quoting Will Hutton's summary of Maurice Nicoll, ending with actions that can take place now.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 23, 2010 11:10 AM

mistah charley ph.d.

Interesting. We're just thinking past each other. I have had on my mind the content of Nicolas Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. I recommend it highly. The subject focuses on how technological changes give rise to neurological changes in homo sapiens; it doesn't explore free will and philosophy so much.

Your points are well taken, but choices only exert themselves through external actors. Which is to say, if you don't sit around clicking on the internet all day, that is a choice, and it does affect your neural pathways, and therefore indirectly the depth, clarity, and maybe even creativity of your thought. But those results are the direct result of the external influences on the brain and only the indirect results of the choice. But you're right, the process of concentration on text, apparently a decoding challenge of some sophistication, does indeed exercise the brain, and I guess that sort of thing does make the brain self-shaping, via intermediate physical processes.

But I think my brain is self-switching itself off now.

Posted by N E at September 23, 2010 03:38 PM

I often wonder about how the shifting magnetic fields from this equipment affects the magnetic fields associated with OUR brain's thinking electronic activity.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 23, 2010 04:15 PM

Mike Meyer

Beats me, I haven't read anything on that, but per Carr's book, different types of activities activate different parts of the brain, and the ones that get the excercise develop while the others get fat and lazy. And some nice things come from the parts of the brain that get their exercise from deep concentration decoding text. So just as literacy changed the actual content of human thought, so too does post-literacy.

Now maybe all the magnetic crap does too, but even without that a big change has been underway for a while now. Not necessarily all bad, but still frought with loss.

Posted by N E at September 23, 2010 05:31 PM

At one time I was using an O-scope in an unlit room. I had the probes hooked to each hand and was measureing the resistance across them. A colleague walked in and turned on the fluorescent lights and my measurements went off the scale. I had to go up several scales to get back to a readable scale.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 23, 2010 08:15 PM

At one time I was using an O-scope in an unlit room. I had the probes hooked to each hand and was measureing the resistance across them. A colleague walked in and turned on the fluorescent lights and my measurements went off the scale. I had to go up several scales to get back to a readable scale.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 23, 2010 08:15 PM

At one time I was using an O-scope in an unlit room. I had the probes hooked to each hand and was measureing the resistance across them. A colleague walked in and turned on the fluorescent lights and my measurements went off the scale. I had to go up several scales to get back to a readable scale.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 23, 2010 08:15 PM

Mike, when you say "I was using an O-scope in an unlit room" are you talking in code about an embarrassing incident from your teen years?

Posted by awesome guy at September 23, 2010 08:41 PM

I ate a rich guy once. Didn't care for it...too salty.

We need to devise and system where the rich eat each other so they'll stop eating us.

Posted by Paul Avery at September 24, 2010 02:00 AM


Dont' miss this DeGraw piece. It will convince the finicky eaters.

Posted by 99 at September 24, 2010 05:06 AM

I agree, N E, our thoughts seem to be parallel, rather than intersecting, right now. The point I want to get across to you, seemingly without much success, appears in the contrast of the titles of the book you're currently reading and the one I recommend supra.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains - our brains are being acted upon

The Brain That Changes Itself - the brain is acting

As the Firesign Theatre said, back in the last millennium, "This is the future - you got to live it, or live with it."

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 24, 2010 09:04 AM

As the Firesign Theatre said, back in the last millennium, "This is the future - you got to live it, or live with it."

Or, the third option, and one we all must take, sooner or later - "Get out of the way."

An aphorism of Gurdjieff: "One of the strongest motives for the wish to work on yourself is the realization that you may die at any moment—only you must first realize this."

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 24, 2010 09:13 AM

Sorry mistah charley, i just have too much going on right now too think deeply, which is coincidentally one of the byproducts of our present multitasking world that hinders (per nicholas carr) the development of the deep thinking parts of our brain we could use to act, with our brains, to fix some of this mess. So I just can't quite follow you right now as well as I'd like. No offense intended.

By the way, is Obama still President? I can't even tell if he's still really there. Have they made a Stepford President movie yet?

Posted by N E at September 24, 2010 04:21 PM

To understand why the ruling class behave this way read Rob Altemeyer's work called the Authoritarians.

This is a fascinating account of the analysis and results of a game he devised for small teams to represent a country or region. The teams choose leaders and negotiate deals for their people. It's a sort of offline version of Microsoft's Age of Empires where 100 years is played out in less than a day. The experiment, carried out hundreds of times in US universities and colleges pitches two distinct types of group against each other; Right Wing Authoritarians (think politicians, leaders, businessmen, petty tyrants) and Liberals (everyone else). With few exceptions, RWAs always end up completely destroying the world. In many cases, the game was stopped early to advise RWAs their course of action would lead to global destruction, and given the chance to restart the game. Guess what? Yep, they destroyed the world again. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Leon Benjamin at September 24, 2010 05:55 PM

Communists: should they all be shot?

Really, you might want to think twice about starting games like that.

Posted by John Sabotta at September 25, 2010 01:37 AM

nuked. should they all be nuked.

Posted by hapa at September 25, 2010 07:18 PM

STAY SHARP - What to do to maximize brain function as you age

USA Weekend recently published an article by Jean Carper, the author of 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. Some pointers:

Have coffee.


Google. Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA's Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it.

Grow new brain cells. Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it's believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.

Drink apple juice.

Protect your head. Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don't take risks.


Take vitamin D.

Fill your brain. It's called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences — education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities — makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer's pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

Avoid infection.

What to Drink for Good Memory

Tops: Juice. A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer's odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective: blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.

Tea: Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer's Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.

Caffeine beverages. Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer's, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer's researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.

Red wine: If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It's high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer's.

Two to avoid: Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer's. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.

5 Ways to Save Your Kids from Alzheimer's Now

Alzheimer's isn't just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child's brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer's many decades later.

Prevent head blows: Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer's years later.

Encourage language skills.

Insist your child go to college.

Provide stimulation: Keep your child's brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences.

Spare the junk food: Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer's.

Condensed from

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 26, 2010 08:13 AM

why the ruling class behave this way - the views of Tom White

In April 2004, when it was clear that the presidential election would be between two alumni of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale (Bush and Kerry), Tom White wrote, in part:

The Code of the Bones: The Ethos of the Hasnamuss

Here it is in several nutshells.

1. Personal ambition is ever the lodestar, giving direction and inspiration.
2. Money is everything (in ex-Christendom) because money is power to realize ambition (in ex-Christendom).
3. Words mean nothing except what you want them to mean.
4. Consistency and integrity in morality and concern for justice are for the boobs.
5. Crying religion is useful for bamboozling same.
6. War is glorious, especially if someone else does the dying.

I suppose there are many more elements in the Bones Code, but they would, I think, all follow from the six I have isolated.

At this point I need to reach out a little and drag in some perhaps unfamiliar names and terms. I beg your indulgence.

A nation can afford to have a mad Ludwig (King of Bavaria) in charge only in relatively calm times, when the most that can go wrong is that a lot of energy gets used up building fanciful castles that later, when the madness passes, turn into tourist attractions.

But when you get what G.I. Gurdjieff called a "Hasnamuss" sitting on the top of the heap, and the times are of themselves dreadful, then it’s head for the hills, the dam is busted. A Hasnamuss, in Gurdjieff’s teaching, is the fourth of four categories of man he discerned, and the most disreputable. The four are: good-householder, tramp, lunatic, and Hasnamuss (made up of two words of Turkish). These are technical terms in the Gurdjieffian canon that take a little explaining, but except for Hasnamuss they are not terribly far off the ordinary meanings we all know. (One may think, however, of a tramp or lunatic as someone who might very well have a stout bank account and sharp clothes – it’s more a matter of mind, morals, and behavior.)

A Hasnamuss, as Gurdjieff’s disciple Ouspensky explained, is someone who was formerly both "a tramp and a lunatic at the same time." He arrives finally at a condition where ". . . he never hesitates to sacrifice people or to create an enormous amount of suffering, just for his own personal ambitions."

For the rest of the article, including footnotes, see

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at September 26, 2010 08:38 AM

As a tramp and a lunatic, I feel well qualified and READY to seize the reins of the great ship and sail her down the road to peace and prosperity.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 26, 2010 12:13 PM

Sail on, sail on, Mike Meyer!

Posted by Aunt Deb at September 28, 2010 02:50 PM