Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

How Puritan Are You?

Very -- sinner!   0 votes - 0 %
Quite a bit -- stop doing that!   0 votes - 0 %
Reasonably -- I wish you wouldn't, not while I'm here at any rate   2 votes - 20 %
Not much -- but I might occasionally suggest you moderate your intake, my dear!   5 votes - 50 %
Not at all -- burn it, eat it, chew it, use it, fuggedaboutit!   3 votes - 30 %
 
10 Total Votes
Display:

Repent, sinner.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:26:57 AM EST
I suppose a diary about masturbation would be inappropriate ? ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:00:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Awareness of the Consequences

OMFG, you avoided the "M" word! Very clever.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:32:12 AM EST
Welcome back to the URW rg!

Of course, Puritan hats and shoes with shiny buckles should not be thrown out with the ideological bath water. They're quite cool. What is not cool is, as you point out with a large cudgel, interference in what adults can think and do in the comfort of their own homes.

Re Opium. I recommend that it is used only and repeatedly in extremely strict and repeatable environments that have no connection with normal everyday life. The reason being that certain molecules that will be taken in have the unfortunate result of hardwiring behaviour. Daily use for a month is enough to make quite a few neural connections and the beginning of a Learned Behaviour Disorder.

So if, for instance, you only ever take opium at 6 pm wearing blue clothes and sitting in green room with a pig, a Diamond Head lei round your neck and Nepal Flowers joss sticks on the go - then it is likely that the Learned Behaviour Disorder can be corrected simply by making any of the above elements unavailable.

It's been many years since I had opium, in Iran, which in itself was a unique enough environment to preclude any behaviour establishment, as I was only there for a couple of weeks. But the feeling was very relaxing and peaceful - and continued for several days, or so it felt.

One of the most important aspects of mind expansion is the acceptance of altered states. To become familiar with the edge, is to know your limits. Everyday W*stern life without mind expansion brings many people to edges that make them feel insane. It is good to know that it is not insanity. It makes the acceptance of indignity more bearable.

As you know I don't make much of a distinction between external and internal mind expansion. The ghost in the machine can be conversed with in many ways.

And that green tea looks delicious ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:41:09 AM EST
Sven Triloqvist:
What is not cool is, as you point out with a large cudgel, interference in what adults can think and do in the comfort of their own homes.

So - how are Jerome's neighbours?

Aside from burning houses down, smoking and alcohol abuse are staggeringly expensive, and they divert health care funds that could be used to keep people alive who are just plain unlucky rather than addicted.

Most domestic violence happens because either or both people are drunk or high. A&E on a Saturday night won't have a lot of sober people visiting.

The financial industry, in all of its addictive insanity, couldn't exist without its coke habits. Nor could advertising.

There's a lot more evidence of mind contraction through substance abuse than mind expansion.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they divert health care funds that could be used to keep people alive who are just plain unlucky rather than addicted.

That remains to be shown. Smokers and drinkers die young, and old age remains the most expensive disease to treat...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And where exactly do chocolate, masturbation, going to the movies and reading books fit into this nice little dystopian universe? ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:18:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I see - you want all the qualifications to that sweeping statement? Scuzi.

K. Consenting adults PROVIDING they do not expose non-consensuals to risk.

Of course, just being normal has its own risks - like irrelevance.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So which of alcohol, tobacco, cars and meat don't expose non-consensuals to risk?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few things about health costs of addictions:

  1. In particular for smoking my guess is that smokers are actually cheaper for society. We all die, and old people are expensive in treatment during the last bit of their lives, no matter what they die from. But smoking-related diseases often kill people in their sixties, just when they were supposed to enjoy their pensions. A really bad addiction is motorcycles, killing ungrateful young men just when they've been fed and educated for 20 years and before they start working.

  2. I think the argument about cost to society is unfair when you have universal health care paid by taxes. I'm very much in favour of universal health care and don't mind at all paying the necessary taxes. But you can't first force people to pay for something and then use that as an argument to restrict their freedom to do something that only hurts themselves.  


Real capricorns don't believe in astrology.
by tomhuld (thomas punkt huld at jrc punkt it) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically the UK Treasury makes around £6bn a year in a tobacco taxes, even allowing for the cost of healthcare. So - technically - yes it's a nice little earner for the Treasury.

It's also a tax which falls disproportionately on poor people, who are more likely to spend more of their income on booze and fags.

It's clever that the tobacco and alcohol companies have framed this as a libertarian personal freedom issue.

But it's an odd kind of freedom which is quite so expensive and quite so compulsive.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My opium fantasy is that a law is passed allowing undertakers to open opium dens up front, all nice, plants, comfortable, beds, the whole thing, out up to the street....over 60's only, maybe, but with a dispensation for other family members or those with medical conditions....a puff maybe and a lie down, ease out the strain as the body ages...and maybe then a person might find the pain strong and maybe they don't have a supportive family, but they could ease into that opium den, head towards the back where it's dark and calm and kind and...of course...at the very back...the undertakers.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, a sort of hospice, but a lot funkier!

i don't think it's the tobacco burning around yer nose, that's the problem, so much as the additives...

i can't stand to be in the same room, or downwind of malboro men or women.

camels, ever so slightly less toxic.

cheap 'nazionale' cigs - the kind like 'alfa' and 'sax' which empty out if you hold them vertically for a second smell ok.

taste like shit though!

rollup baccy like golden virginia, samson, drum etc (not bugle or bull durham!) are ok for me to be around, but normal ciggies are utterly, insidiously, creepily horrible, a socially accepted Zyklon-b...

as are car fumes.

our blitheness about accepting one but not another, is firstly an unawareness of externalities, quite epidemic right now, just another flava of cog-diss our pathological society has crafted for the sake of its fear of evolving too fast.

and secondly, and this is more subtle, smoking is popular because it harks back to preindustrial times, a collective memory of times when the air was cleaner of heavy metals, benzene fumes etc, (though walking through a town, where ordure was tipped from windows into the streets below, had to be quite the olfactory experience...lol)

i ponder this every time i walk through a tweed up umbrian hill town, like assisi, fr'example...how it must have been in its halcyon heyday...

or having the pigsty next to the bathroomless cottage, and the sheep down on the ground floor...

stepping out into that mess every morning for the first pee of the day, must have been quite a bouquet of preindustrial heaven!

i imagine that winter's slowing down of bacterial process must have been a compensatory blessing for having your tits freeze, even as you piled in fully dressed into the family bed full of 5 aromatic nearest and dearest.

people who aren't addicted to anything will never understand those who are, just as a two legged man will never understand what a one-legged man goes through to walk...

i agree with sven about how substances become wedded to scenarios, and how our search for novelty makes us want to push the perceptual envelope.

tobacco, like alcohol, was used in shamanistic ritual prehistorically, though its effect on the nervous system is quite complex, the smell has a fascination that is very, very ancient, like when you drive by a leaf pile burning and actually open the car window to enjoy the gorgeous perfume it adds to the breeze...

burning tobacco was the micro version of that, and i remember a similar pleasure when my granpa lit his pipe back in the 50's, before they, (tobacco companies) had the science to really fuck with the herb.

so i fully sympathise with dodo and jerome in their rage at the selfishness of people who are slaves to the advertising, have been bernays-ed, (the tv show 'madmen' does a great job of portraying the actual process of this), and the toxic cloud of their ignorance claims a disproportionate amount of space and conditions it very negatively, as second hand smoke studies have clearly shown.

as indeed do the collective decisions of oil companies and auto giants who have been squelching cleaner solutions since the beginning of the last century, the trams and windmills era, when everyone knew that windpower worked!

to live with the conditioning of only the poisons that please one's own aesthetic might be the ultimate definition of sovereignty.

with the important discoveries we are making in neurochemistry, i suspect we will find ways to conquer cog-diss in the search for Unity of Mind, a rare condition where ducks are in a row, and the horses in harness are not trying to go in different directions.

because cog-diss is the reason people are so internally upset, the old millennial certainties lie in shards around our feet, and as yet very, very few have perceived the next steps towards empathic education of the young, a problem i consider far more noxiously endemic even than air or water pollution...

brave diary, rg. it's fascinating how this subject always stirs up some good discussion, hoary as it is.

each cigarette burns through 35 mg of vitamin c...

just breathing in bankok is the equivalent of smoking a pack a day...

all points taken?

ps. i have a sneaking suspicion most smokers are secretly glad of the government regs against public smoking, as they don't have to deal with will power till they get back into a free-smoke zone, (as opposed to a smoke-free one), lol.

the more social pain we can remove, the less people will be careening around damaging themselves and others through self-immolation of any kind. my own anecdotal research has shown me that the people who don't have addictions had a childhood that encouraged a solid sense of self in the first place, a great gift, which has the power to immunise against the blandishments of the advertising sindustry, and the cretinously banal, sinisterly straight-out-of-orwell, drearily mass-produced pleasures of the pignorant masses.

got a light?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 11:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I get to wear that hat for this, but it wouldn't protest if alcohol, meat, cars and money would get the pictures you posted... nor if cell phones would get pictures from the civil war in Congo...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:22:12 PM EST
I'd vote for pictures of slaughtered baby gorillas.
by Nomad on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:45:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... likely to have far more impact than slaughtered Congolese, and neither are likely to have any substantial impact.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mobile Phones

Every time you make or receive a phone call, before you can connect with the other person you are played a five minute message telling you how many congolese and how many baby gorillas have been slaughtered in the past month, how many refugees there are, how many workers have died, been injured, how much jungle has been chopped down etc...etc...all due to the extraction of the rare metals in your phone.  The message would also tell you where the metals in your phone came from--even the specific mine, maybe with a list of terrible stats associated.  Then a picture of a congolese would appear on the screen, then a baby gorilla....then a picture of a congolese, then a gorilla, a congolese, for maybe three minutes, a different gorilla, a different congolese each time...maybe have a congolese talking about life at the mines while the pictures appear...and then, when that's all done, you're free to have an enjoyable talk....

Dedicated puritan, no half measures.  You need to make a person feel sick every time he or she even LOOKS at a mobile phone.


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely there are some good brain-cancer photos we can dig up for this?  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:06:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other day, our lowest boss told us about plans to (yet again) move our offices. Describing the pluses and minuses of the proposed new place, with a long face, he (the chain smoker) turned to his roommate (a pack a day smoker), saying: "and the worst: smoking only downstairs outside the entrance!", then turned to me, "but [DoDo] will be happy!"

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:27:39 PM EST
but [DoDo] will be happy!"

Charitable, no? And pious somehow, given literal, if contradictory, tenets of Christian doctrine. The golden rule is: Do unto others as they would do unto you. As is agape, though "love" is not a well-defined affect or reliable factor of obtaining one's true desire.

Microeconomists at the University of Chicago have applied themselves to describing agape by compiling survey evidence anyway. I read this piece published by the National Opinion Research Center (2006). The hypothesis is a little creepy, considering the research bears no relation to subject matter in biology or notorious B.I.G. self-interest of economic actors: "Altruism and Empathy in America: Trends and Correlates" (2006). Then again the paper may not be the product of a Serious Person, rather the culmination some divinity student's 15-year-old dissertation.

Throughout the arts and sciences from philosophy to seuroscience altruistic behaviors and values have been widely studied. Just within the social sciences there have been very diverse research traditions within economics, psychology, political science, sociology, and related disciplines (Batson, 1991; Batson, 1998; Eisenberg, 1986; Kangas, 1997; Penner, 1995; Piliavin and Charng, 1990; Rose-Acerman, 1996; Sawyer, 1966; Staub, et al., 1984; Underwood, 2002; Wispe, 1978; Wrightsman, 1974). One of the main limitations of social-science research on altruism is that most research has been based on very restricted, small, non-representative, convenience samples, mostly of undergraduate students. 1 While work with student, convenience samples can be ver useful, especially when experimental designs are utilized, they suffer from serious, external-validity problems and do not tell social scientists and others about the extent of behaviors and values in society-at-large. To expand knowledge aout the level, nature, and associates of empathy and altruism in American society, measures of these constructs were placed on a national, full probability sample of adult Americans.

Four aspects of altruism were examined: altruistic love, altruistic values, altruistic behaviors, and empathy. Altruism is thought of as dealing with both values/preferences [cf. Consumer Preference theories] and behaviors "motivated mainly out of a consideration for another's needs rather than one's own" (Piliavin and Charng, 1990; p. 30) and that altruism "provides benefits to its recipients but also provides no benefits to the actors and even incurs some costs" (Howard and Piliavin, 2000, p. 114). Empathy was examined in addition to the direct altruism measures because as Batson (1998, p. 300) has noted, "the most frequently proposed source of altruistic motivation has been an other-oriented emotional response congruent with the perceived welfare of another person -- today usually called empathy. [emphasis added]

"Usually called," yes, with the same sensitivy to diction as is used with the words "productivity," "spirituality," "gender," or "epithet" which is to mean, commonly, a "slur," or more precisely a stereotypical insult. Some social scientists are so shrewd!

The principal hypotheses examined are that empathy and altruism will be greater among:

  1. those who are socially and civicly engaged.
  2. those who see interpersonal, social obligations between people.
  3. the religious rather than the non-religious and that among the religious empathy and altruism will rise with level of involvement. ...

Four items measure interpersonal, altruistic love or agape (Appendix A: 2). Agape is one of six types of love measured by the Love Attitudes Scale (Butler et al., 1995; Davies, 2001; Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986, 1987, 1991; Montgomery and Sorell, 1997, 1997; Murthy, Rotzien, and Vacha-Haase, 1996; Sorokin, 1960; Taraban and Hendrick, 1995; Yancey and Eastman, 1995). Based on analysis of past studies (Butler et al., 1995; Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986; Montgomery and Sorell; Yancey and Eastman, 1995) and a GSS pretest, four of seven original items were selected. As Table 3 shows, altruistic love is widely endorse. 90% agree that they would suffer theselves rather than let their loved one suffer, 81% agree that they usually put their loved one's wishes above their own, 79% agree they would "endure all things for the sake of the one I love," and 72% agree that they cannot be happy unless the place their loved one's happiness first.  The agape scale runs from 4 for someone who strongly disagreed with each statement (the lowest on altruistic love) to 20 for someone who strongly agreed with each (the highest on altruistic love). The mean for the total population is 16.6 and the sample size is 1316 (having been asked only in 2004)/ The inter-item correlations average .52 and Chronback's reliability coeficient is .81. [emphasis added]

According to this study, the likelihood that smoker loves you is significant. Conversely, that smoker probably does not love anyone else upon whose happiness his own does not depend.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 02:30:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
offices.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Tue Nov 25th, 2008 at 08:04:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mother in-law and brother in-law both died of cancer a few years ago within several months of each other.  Brother died of throat cancer at 54. He smoked heavily and was known to say "give me another cancer stick I have to die of something." Suffering the way he did, I'm not sure he was happy with his decisions.  Mother had skin cancer (cause of death) and emphysema.  She never smoked a day in her life, but her spouse, a medical doctor, smoked heavily for years until he realized the "error" of his ways.

I suffer from coronary artery disease, mostly genetic in origin, but likely aided by lifestyle decisions.  Despite knowing that both my father and brother had this disease that ultimately resulted in multiple surgical procedures, I continued my poor lifestyle choices until confronted with the inevitable.

Now, I'm not my idea of a puritan but I do believe one should make decisions that effect their lives and those of others with care and consideration.  Not a matter of morality (to me), just prudence.


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 02:51:23 PM EST
I've never understood cigarettes. I kind of understand that it's hard to stop because you're addicted. But you don't really get anything from the things in terms of pleasure, now do you?

At least a joint gets you high and a cigar can taste nice...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The boss I mentioned once tried to kick the habit, he said (then) that he was fed up with it. Sadly his idea of kicking the habit was to believe some charlatan who advertised instant de-addiction with the help of "bioresonance".

At the next difficult situation when all his instruments were breaking down, he started it again.

Now he is worse than before, he is a literal chain-smoker. He can't go to the toilet without it, igores smoking/non-smoking zones totally, that is unless I am in his presence to complain loudly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

that is unless I am in his presence to complain loudly.

Why do you complain??   Just leave him alone.

by Jagger on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 08:29:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh!? Is this a snark, or are you this inconsiderate?...

For one, I can't 'leave him alone' -- he's my boss, I work under him, you know... Second, his smoke won't leave me alone, when he puffs full all the jointly used rooms where he would not be allowed to, unlike in his own room -- in particular the toilet, which has poor ventillation, and the alley, from where in seeps into every room (including mine) across non-airtight doors.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 02:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It´s too bad the addiction goes so deep and he doesn´t make an effort, but do you realize that complaining is a reminder/trigger that makes him want to smoke even more?  It just reinforces the guilt of the behavior and gives a bad feeling that ´calls´ for a nicotine fix.

Depending on how you relate to him, maybe you can give him positive ideas to not light up, like what makes you glad that you don´t smoke.  Those ideas should come from him, but if you are stuck with an addict, don´t remind him how bad he really is because it won´t work.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 at 06:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
bingo!

he's getting the attention he craves, and is asking for by exhaling in your presence...

appeals to better nature work better than banging the guilt drum... neither is guaranteed to gave an effect, as smoking, like any other autolesionismo, is more symptom than disease.

the disease is a black hole where love belongs.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 at 07:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some smokers, like my father, his brother, and my father-in-law, have been able to just quit once and forever when they decided it was time.  I have known others though that just can't seem to quit even when they desperately wanted to. One lady could quit when she was pregnant but started back each time after the  delivery.  I tried, unsuccessfully, several times to help her quit, but she could never make it for more than a few days.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DrMarketTrustee died 7 Nov 2008. He is my best friend. I love him better than I love myself. I don't enjoy being a "survivor." Who does? There were moments these past weeks when I envied him.

Barely a day went by that he did not remind me, somehow, CHF would kill him. At the same age as his father almost to the day. He was uncanny or incommensurate, Catholic or Jewish, that way. I mean in his attitude toward living as he willed rather than as others would will him. I wanted him to fight death with every centilla of his being. More important, I wanted him to enjoy it. I wanted to know that every day, every hour, every minute.

Silly.

rg's essay reminds me how many and how few pleasures society --infinite other--  permits a body. Dressing continence in reasons. So many reasons minced and served from cradle to grave to induce perversity from jouissance in just one other ...

This made me laugh a little.

Law does not ignore the bed. Take, for example, the fine common law on which the practice of concubinage, which means to sleep together, is based. What I am going to do is begin with what remains veiled in law, namely, what we do in that bed -- squeeze each other tight (s'étreindre).. I begin with the limit, a limit with which one must indeed begin if one is to be serious, in other words, to establish the series of that which approaches it.

A word here to shed light on the relationship between law (droit) and jouissance. 'Usufruct' --that's a legal notion, isn't it?-- brings together in one word what I already mentioned in my seminar on ethics, namely, the difference between utility (l'utile) and jouissance. What purpose does utility serve? That has never been well defined owing to the prodigious respect speaking beings have, due to language, for means. 'Usufruct' means that you can enjoy (jouir de) your means, but must not waste them. When you have the usufruct of an inheritance, you can enjoy the inheritance (en jouir as long as you don't use up too much of it. That is clearly the essence of law -- to divide up, distribute, or reattribute everything that counts as jouissance.

What is jouissance? Here it amounts to no more than a negative instance (instance). Jouissance is what serves no purpose (ne sert à rien).



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 06:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is immensely sad. But real. Laugh on, because the paradoxical nature of this life may just BE the point.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 07:02:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no words, Market Trustee, and your strength is beyond what I can imagine.  )-:

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 at 07:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would want you to know zen as I practice. An imperfect attitude in and toward being. I know that I do not know, in the full meaning, either my strength or weakness. That is a force called will, an innate resistance or momentum which compels me to act as if with certainty about every thing, to belabor my self in due course (Mitsein, eh?) of the world here, present, and flowing events, which carries me from one moment to the next.

In other words, you kind words, I do what I can, and we will see, until I cannot.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 3rd, 2008 at 11:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear you and still wish you good people to lean on!!! for the long term.  Thinking of you.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Wed Dec 3rd, 2008 at 01:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MarketTrustee,

Belated condolences.  My mother lost my father when he was 45, she was 35 and I was 12.  She was racked with grief for almost a year.  It is such a rare thing to find someone with whom you can have the kind of relationship you had.  You seem to be doing well.  Best wishes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 08:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3 notes, one obvious the others not so much:

  1. When you smoke near others you are causing harm. Smoking is not only and individual issue.

  2. In countries where there is free health care, your unhealthy options have costs to others. A simple solution would be to include a tax on all problematic items. I see many advantages on this:
    a. extra sources for funding health
    b. you still have total freedom, but there is some pressure: a good balance between the 2 extremes.
    c. some highly caloric/low quality food is cheaper than good quality food. Taxing the first to, say, fund the second would be a away to equalize prices and remove the competitive advantage (price) that low quality food has (especially for low income individuals).

3. We still have lots of radical puritanism going around and nobody seems to notice: Think about being (not) able to go around naked in public spaces. People seem to spend to much time defending liberties of things that actually have a few problems and very little expanding the scope of liberties that have no cost (or very little). We still live in societies which see the human body as disgusting, and nobody seems to think that that is an important problem.

by t-------------- on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:21:00 PM EST
The basis of all addiction is disengagement. We couldn't have our current economic system if it wasn't systematically disengaged, so it's not a surprise that it runs on addictions, and runs addictions.

Saying that this is puritanical is actually an off-the-shelf right-wing talking point. Supposedly it's the opposite of 'personal freedom' - but as with all right wing talking points, that really just means the freedom to have your fix without having to consider other people, except on the days when you remember they're there.

'Growth addiction' is much, much more dangerous than chemical addiction, and a much bigger issue that hardly ever gets talked about in the mainstream.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A fun thesis, but entirely ignorant of what addiction is.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many addicts like their engagement with reality just the way it is and aren't trying to change it?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:48:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"engagement with reality" is a seriously fragile foundation to be resting an argument upon - I think.  

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:55:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a seriously fragile foundation to be resting an argument upon

Speaking of reality or any one's awareness (and "engagement") with it: Arendt described "reality" best, I think, simply by acknowledging in her works the mechanical (or perceptual) limitation of verification, essential to trust (equilibrium).

I cannot know what I cannot see. (tautology)

I cannot see what I do not know.

I cannot know what is not here.

Reality --events both worldy and mental-- is ahistorical and atemporal. One cannot be everywhere at once in order to verify what is true, what is false. The true fact one cannot verify everywhere at once does not preclude reality. It merely necessitates entrusting another. That is to assign verification of a person, process, or thing
by one's self to one or more agents (person, process, or thing).

All rationality --justified true belief-- depends on this "fragile" foundation of verification in order to explain itself to one's self.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 03:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. It just means being aware of predictable consequences.

Addicts and libertarians alike either don't believe in consequences, don't want to believe in consequences, or believe that consequences don't apply to them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 04:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, as my guru says: 'Life is a Learned Behaviour Disorder'.

To the extent that we are all behavioural 'addicts', yes, being behavioral means that you don't like change.

And all of us tend to the behavioural. It's what the conscious mind really likes - logical predictability. But that is an imposition upon reality. Perfectly valid, of course, but a limit on the capacity of the mind to feedback on itself. Another word from my guru (who is, of course, me)  - If you can't laugh, you can't live'.

Thus Surrealism...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 05:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, some find a cobbled equilibrium in self medicating that seems better than the alternatives, but probably everyone has a secret -or not- desire to be strong enough to resist temptations, especially those so unpopular!

some people are just plain comfortable in their misery.

fear of change, and masochism have their roles in this mix.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 3rd, 2008 at 03:58:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saying that this is puritanical

Could you clarify what 'this' is?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy: We couldn't have our current economic system if it wasn't systematically disengaged ...

what do you mean by this?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 06:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean systematically disengaged from physical consequences. You can keep using oil, fishing, chopping down rainforests, and using raw materials without recycling, because - well, you just can.

Mercifully that's started to change over the last year or so. But not all that long ago there were diaries all about economists making ridiculous statements about how markets would always provide, because that's what markets do.

And there are still those on the right who see any suggestion that they consider consequences at all as a personal insult.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 04:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US alcohol consumption has long been celebrated in paid, feel-good lifestyle adverts.  To that recently has been added all sorts of adverts for prescription drugs from ED drugs to dry eye drugs.  Both types of ads are important to cultivating and maintaining product sales.  Tobacco ads have been significantly curtailed but still exist in some forms.  To me the prescription drug ads are at least as pernicious as the alcohol and tobacco ads as they are a significant part of the means whereby Pharma extract money from the population, a large part of it funded out of Medicare.

I would suggest a tax on all such advertisements and disallowing them as business expenses.  It should be at least a tax of 100% of the cost of creating and running the ad, but some multiple if required so as to generate sufficient revenue to cover the cost of the consequences of the use of the product.  These are probably the greatest for alcohol, as lives are lost and/or mangled as a routine, collateral consequence of excessive use of alcohol.  Another benefit is that it might help sober up Joe Sixpack.  Unanesthesized, he or some of his cohort might find more to contemplate and correct and less to celebrate about their condition.  

Perhaps this is farfetched, but it is a dream of mine, and it is certainly more benign than raising revenue by legalizing lotteries and gambling.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 05:45:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oho - you just disturbed a nest of bees ;-) Run for your life!

Our whole W*estern society is devoted, in one form or another, to the alteration of the mind by the narrowness of behaviour caused by the intake or provocation of biochemicals. There is only one way, in the long run, to counteract becoming predictable, and that is to consistently seek the unpredictable - even, paradoxically, biochemically.

It is very hard to run any society as a leader, without using or misusing some of this biochemical know-how. Joe Five-Brains might be a better icon of the future than Joe Six-Pack.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 05:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No! No!  I have no desire to suppress the sale of alcohol or other intoxicants, quite the contrary.  I would like to see the war on drugs called off for the very bad idea that it is, to see cannabis, in all its forms legalized and to see other psycho-active drugs made available under appropriate, (to me,) circumstances.  I only make the modest proposal that each drug should pay its way in terms of its negative effects on others.  That would likely make cannabis cheaper than beer, with correspondingly beneficial effects on Tom Two Toke.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 08:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps this is farfetched

Temperance campaigns are certainly odd expressions of normative expectations (not continent behavior), and resulting legislation by state in the US exercises doctrinal legal realism (don't stop reading at wiki) to the limit of public safety.

Personal point of reference: Some twenty-years ago a few of my clients were a number of beer, distillery, or wine importers. Advertising media was statutorily limited to print and event (promo) media. I've been out of the loop for ten years or so (I am not in the life and not regular teevee audience). Have you notice as have I over the last five years or so increasing frequency of broadcast commercials (00:30) of beer, spirits, and liqueurs, sanctioned by a "mice type" disclaimer to "drink responsibly"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 03:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Firstly, I must say I enjoyed your recent diary on computational simulation, given my own aesthetic and practical foundations of reasoning and despite my own limited, technical knowledge of computer programming to model complex physical laws ("truths").

Now, given your skepticism expresse therein, I must wonder why you accept the assumption ("costs") as if politically expediency and tyranny alone justified an expression of "costs" whose terms are either unknown or values indeterminant.

In countries where there is free health care, your unhealthy options have costs to others.

May we agree?: Cost is a financial metric, expenditure of currency; "Externality," or "spillover," is an economic metric, immeasurable, or not measured, consumption in financial terms, of a person, process, or thing ("asset") that contributes to money velocity (expenditures or profit (loss)). According to this ideology ("schema") being is simply put, that is foregoing various tenets of religous dogma, a social and societal asset. Being is a fundamental constituent of "society" and term in mathematical expressions of society (hohoho.pdf), a so-called national economy.

The "cost" of maintaining ("maintenance," a legal term therefore prosecutable fiduciary duty) one life of a "person" (human or tax entity) presupposes (1) life --not DEATH-- is an asset; (2) involuntary and voluntary applied mechanical processes and things that "capitalize" rents on life and death; (3) a person's desire to be.

Some persons do not desire to be. Some claim to renounce that desire, arguing before some tribunal --a "panel"-- either their fear of death or love of venality but never their pleasure ("addiction"). So society institutionalizes means to conserve and to exploit (dispense "incentives" to live, which is to train the living who "benefit" rather than the "dead man walking" who do not benefit) in dogmatic (financial or ecclesiastic) terms of being.

More bizarre, intellectually speaking, institutional agents in the US promote "full employment" among the living (another financial metric) as if BIRTH/DEATH rates of the LABOR FORCE --had no ratioinale or mathematical dependecy to obtaining real purchase power. Here no one imputes labor market conditions to profit sharing ("productivity").

Think about these ideological assumptions relate to voters' preferences in leadership.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 01:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a pity you return, RG, with this variation on cig companies' propaganda. Most smokers would like to give it up, but it's a powerful drug, as the cig. companies know and they try to get people hooked when young, when most people start, and before they make a more mature, considered choice. Which rational pêrson would choose to start - a powerful addiction which will cost you a lot of money and probably give you an early, painful death - see Gringo's comment.

By the way - this trades on a stereotype of Puritans - no really, they weren't just the anti-pleasure brigade, as a new drama series about to start on CH 4 will show:


"... On the eve of a new drama about Cromwell and the English Revolution, its writer Peter Flannery tells Lucy Powell we've got the Roundheads all wrong
...
Burgeoning female sexuality underscores every episode of The Devil's Whore, exploding perhaps the most tenacious puritanical myth. "They were very far from prudish," Flannery says. "The Puritans write about the female orgasm all over the place. They believed that sex was meant to be enjoyed, and they believed the female orgasm aided pregnancy. They were all in favour."

Radicalism

Though they did eventually execute King Charles I, the Roundheads did not set out to abolish the monarchy, but to devolve more power to Parliament. "The Puritans paved the way for all the revolutions that followed," says Flannery. "The French, the American, the Russian - they're all the same ideas.
...

"But I've no idea why we're not more proud of these men. They raised a legacy of ideas that we're still battling out today: representation; distribution of wealth; equality. One of the key stories of The Devil's Whore is that, before he was assassinated, Thomas Rainsborough was on his way to organising a coup within Cromwell's army. Had he succeeded, the Levellers would have become the de-facto government and we'd have had a kind of early Soviet system." The Levellers, before they were a folk-rock band, were a group of militant proto-socialists intent on "levelling the land" of class and moneyed inequality.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/what-did-you-puritans-ever-do-for-us-oli ver-1017503.html



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 05:57:13 PM EST
Indeed, was it not Puritan General Condom who inadvertently bequeathed his name to the lambs-gut prophylactic that saved some of his pillaging inferiors from the ravages of syphilis?

We are all 'addicts', Ted, because we are behavioural. And behaviour is something learned by biochemical reinforcement.

To be hooked on marriage is a powerful addiction that will cost you a lot of money and maybe even give you a painful early death. At least it seems that way when you have teenage offspring ;-)

I have never met any person who was not hooked on something. It is not always obvious what they are hooked on, but their ony alternative is death.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 06:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We are all 'addicts', Ted, because we are behavioural. And behaviour is something learned by biochemical reinforcement."

This is a bit like saying we're all religious dogmatists because we all have beliefs.

It's a good idea not always to try to connect everything with everything else and conclude that it's all ONE - some distinctions are important.  This is not about a little recreational fun being suppressed by some "puritans" it's about ruthless capitalist companies killing for profit:

    "The tobacco industry is the greatest killing organization in the world. The harm done by all the armies in the world combined, will not begin to equal the damage inflicted upon the human race by the combined activity of the cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors of tobacco." Dr. Jesse M. Gehman, Smoke Over America (East Aurora, N.Y: The Roycrofters, 1943), p 216.

"For decades tobacco companies have killed more Americans than all the armies, terrorists, and criminals combined." Ronald H. Numbers, Hilldale Prof. of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin, cited at frontispiece, The Cigarette Century, by Prof. Allan M. Brand (New York: Perseus Books, 2007).

   ...
    Smokers are killed, prematurely killed, dying commonly years before nonsmokers. Male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life. Female smokers lose 14.5 years of life. NVSR 49, No. 3, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (6-26-2001).

    "Tobacco companies used to deny that cigarettes killed people. Now [in 2001] they brag about it," says Ellen Goodman, 31 ASH Smkg & Hlth Rev (#4) p 4 (July-August 2001).

    Showing "unsurpassed arrogance and immorality," says Albert R. Hunt, in "Going into the Tank for Tobacco," Wall Street Journal, p A15 (2 Aug 2001), pushers at Philip Morris premeditated and said, "Cigarettes kill people, and, if they're dead, the government doesn't have to spend money on health care, housing and pensions." "Premeditation" means "thought of beforehand for any length of time, however short." See Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed (1990), p 1180. Case law establishes that a timeframe as short as several seconds establishes premeditation. See, e.g., People v Wells, 10 Cal.2d 610, 625; 76 P.2d 493; 1938 Cal. LEXIS 239 (1938).

    The view is that smokers' being killed, "saves us [the U.S.] substantial sums in care and support for the elderly and retired population," says William Kloepfer (Senior Vice President of the Tobacco Institute) in a 31 Oct 1978 Letter (and see full text).

http://medicolegal.tripod.com/tobaccomurder.htm#1




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 07:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are all 'addicts', Ted, because we are behavioural. And behaviour is something learned by biochemical reinforcement.

Why oh why do so many addicts need to cling to such excuses?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 03:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always think of car driving as the basic addiction model.  Whoever drives a car knows both that they are smogging up the environment (and worse) AND that their individual journey is necessary and somehow doesn't contribute in some way....

I would recommend an individual to examine which behaviours he or she CAN'T change (or find it hard to change and then there's the constant risk of slipping back), whether it's diet, job, vices of various kinds, maybe types of relationships they get into or can't get out of, even sleep patterns, exercise.  Find what it is, call the this relationship "addiction" and ponder why addicts do as they do.  Sven's point (as I understand it) is that the 'addiction' part is the hardwiring (or semi-permanent maybe) by chemicals in our brain of almost pavlovian responses.  

As I understand the buddhist tradition, it is breaking free from fixed mindsets that represents enlightenment.  They say it is breaking free from attachments (the chemical brain fix?) and desire (the conscious association?); but it seems that humans have this hard wiring habit in the brain, so whatever gets programmed at key moments is hard to shift (hence the difficulty in changing behaviours--they have world views attached.

In the case of your manager, really the issue is that he smokes where you are and you are sensitive to cigarette smoke.  The solution would be that he go outside to smoke (not near windows!), or into a designated smoking area.  The problem is (as I understand from what you have written) that he associates all work related tasks with smoking--so not to smoke is a form of tension and stress.

My recommendation in that case would be to encourage him to leave the office and go for a smoke once an hour, say, but allow him ten even fifteen minutes (he'll be back when the fags finished would be my guess)...encourage him, "Go on, go!  Enjoy it!  Take a walk!  Don't come back until you've finished!"--and in doing so you recalibrate his brain...

I think if a puritan like your goodself substitutes a personal vice for "smoking" you'll understand better.  And if you have no vices (no driving, no meat, no sport fervour--heh!  I don't know what your vices are!)--then compassion for those who do have vices includes understanding and seeking the most productive way of ameliorating the system.

and...of course, it is not a single journey in a car that is a killer, nor is it a single cigarette or a single chip--

It is the OVER use, the OVER indulgence...

...and some people will over indulge--so...

Ya know, positive feedback rather than negative.  Life is good but it could be better, rather than "You delude yourself and it's only getting worse"

Glass half full glass half empty, maybe, but I think people respond to positive opportunities, smiles, and people taking care of them rather than....ya know...

Heh, did I answer your question?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 08:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of your manager, really the issue is that he smokes where you are and you are sensitive to cigarette smoke.  The solution would be that he go outside to smoke

Nope. It would be enough if he'd keep it to his own spacious room, which is a designated smoking area (like that roommate of his I mentioned does). He could smoke 55 minutes of every hour if he kept to it -- a much lesser limitation than in your proposal. But keeping to rules, any rules, including the rule of decency to ask first, infringes on many a tobacco addict's sense of 'freedom'.

I don't know what your vices are!

But you do: trains :-)

compassion for those who do have vices

Compassion has nothing to do with it. For people like my boss, the issue is their inconsideration (alibi consideration) for other people. For Sven's argumentation, which is a quite separate issue (I don't know if Sven's smoking behaviour in the presence of strangers in any way resembles that of my boss), the question is what psychological need is satisfied with such projection. A similar issue is why almost every smoker I know well felt the need to recount some anecdote of a smoker who lived fine into old age without getting lung cancer or any other tobacco-related diseases.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 09:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmmm.  Ah, yes!  I see.  I can only wish you better conditions after the move!

As for train addicts....don't get me started!


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 10:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is the OVER use, the OVER indulgence...

Not quite. For some things, damage caused is simply a linear function of quantity. For other tings, it's the probability of damage that is such a function. Just in your example, a single journey in a car can kill you, but it's less likely than being killed when you srt out to make a thousand successive journeys.

As for adddiction, that's not about over-indulgence but compulsive indulgence. As for smoking, the issue isn't necessarily death -- say your clothes stinking and your tongue desensitized to tastes for two hours after a five-minute exposure to some smoke-filled room is bad enough.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 09:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking about the car's effects on other people--breathing the fumes of passing cars being like passive smoking.  I just cycled fifteen miles down roads with cars zooming and lorries roaring; one car or one lorry would have been a small dose compared to my time in the fresh air;  the thousand or so were a much higher dose, but it's true I also ran a risk of being hit--

You know, I am genuinely intrigued by your sensitivity to smoke but not car emissions.  I can stand outside a pub, the cars just keep coming and coming and it's like a blanket in my nose--a smog blanket shoved up there, I think it's a bogie reaction--incoming smog, create bogies!  As it is constant in the centre of a town, there's always a car coming or going, I think of it as just a constant smog layer in the air.  Whereas I think of tobacco smoke as there and then gone, it hits you or it doesn't.  But I'm thinking about smoke outside or in ventilated rooms, not closed rooms.

Sensitivity--another poster here wrote that she was allergic to cigarette smoke.  In cases of extreme sensitivity I think there is always an extra element which is the lack of this sensitivity in others...reminds me of In Wales's discussions about being deaf.  Those who aren't don't see the problems of those who are...

Generally, sensitivity is not prized in society, but also sensitivity can mean lack of resistance--those with thick heads don't break them when they fall out of trees.  Those with thick skins don't feel the stings of the wasps...

yack yack!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 11:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've missed your voice around here.
by Nomad on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 03:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh!  I'm hoping to continue the second volume of music diaries in the new year, with a solstice special beforehand so I'll be around a bit more soon.

(They say snow is coming this weekend.  That must be why I suddenly got the urge to write this diary.  A prequel!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 07:24:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cars are certainly obnoxious, but no one who goes out for the night comes home stinking of diesel fumes in the way they would have before smoking was banned in pubs and clubs.

The damage done by cars is different and more subtle.

It's probably greater in the longer term - but I don't think anyone on ET is a fan of Jeremy Clarkson and SUVs.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 04:47:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My question is: are they drivers?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 07:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some are, some aren't.

Some of those are aren't necessarily drivers through choice.

I avoided having a car for fifteen years until it became an unavoidable necessity. If it stops being an unavoidable necessity I won't think twice about getting rid of it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 07:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think - and not just the smoke: the noise is just as invasive, if not more.

But two wrongs do not make a right.

And you point to the main thing that's wrong with smoking: smoking stinks - I personally don't worry about cancer (neither for me: the imapct of occasional second hand smoking is as remote as can be, nor for the smokers: they all know it's dangerous; not for the "economy": overall, smokers die around the time they'd go on pensions, so their early deaths are a loss to family, friends  and society, but not an economic one) but smoking is just filthy.

And the thing that annoys me the most is the absolute intolerance of (the majority of) smokers to even punctual requests to not smoke, and their total lack of consideration for everybody else: smoking is just something that they should be able to do when they want and where they want. It's profoundly obnoxious.

Not smoking for 10 minutes or an hour does not turn you into a non-smoker; being with smokers more than a few seconds makes one filthy and stinky and digusted. Smokers do not seem to get that assymetry, and the rape of our well-being they conduct.

Smoking stinks.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 05:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But two wrongs do not make a right.

They certainly don't, but as I stand outside to smoke so as not to create bad smells for those inside such as your goodself, I watch the cars whizzing past and I think...hmmm...globally....the cars are the bigger wrong here.  And hey!  I'm outside!  I've done my bit for social harmony today.  Jerome is inside enjoying the smoke free air, but those cars....good job he came on his bicycle!

I'd like to see the venom against smokers pushed onto the more noble target, save the smokers for after we've dealt with the important structural issues, though yes they go together, the public and the individual--but maybe a person could say, "Yeah, those smokers are stinky and selfish, but those car drivers!  Wow!  They'll fuck up the whole planet to get from A to B!"--now that is a higher order of selfish!

Or maybe it isn't?  It's where the puritan aims his or her focus--and where he or she doesn't--that concerns me.

(I also agree about the noise!)

----------------------

On a personal level, the thing about stink is, it's...personal.  I have a friend who loves the smell of petrol.  Another who loves the smell of those things they put in urinals.  I know people who can't bear the smell of the countryside when manuring is in progress.  Me, I don't mind any of them, but I prefer certain particular smells, one of which was the smell of a smoky boozy pub.  A non-smoker friend of mine said that was what he'd miss when the ban came into effect.  I did read that there was a bar that pumped in the fake smell of smoke because the customers preferred it to the smell of toilets and sweat that wafted around in the absence of the stinky smoke.

But yeah, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander as you say.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 07:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to my arguments about the smokers' sense of entitlement, their lack of courtesy towards non-smokers, and their overuse of the argument of "intolerance" of the non-smokers?

Again, not smoking for an hour does not make you a non-smoker. Being in the presence of a smoker for just a short bit makes you an unwilling smoker. On one side, you have a temporary inconvenience, on the other, an irrevsersible alienation.

And bringing in cars here just does not respond to that. Cigarette smoke is by many orders of magnitude more invasive and intrusive than car fumes.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 12:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, my answer is that your issues are not with smoking per se but only how it affects YOU (or other non smokers, but really I think it's about how it affects YOU.)  That is fair enough but irrelevant to the point of the diary, which is about how smoking affects smokers and what some people want to do about that.  Although maybe not.

My sense of most puritans is that, if you scratch 'em you get a lot of discontent about how the outside world is disturbing them...without the concommitant sense of how their behaviours [my example is car driving] affect others.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 02:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and I agree with you on that point: I don't really care what smokers do to themselves, and I think there is weak societal argument to prevent them from smoking as long as non-smokers are reasonably protected.

There is a stronger argument to protect young people from starting up smoking, though, as the consequences to them of a decision which, at that point, can be uninformed, are rather large and worth preventing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 02:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you were to write a list of what young people should be protected from, how high up the list would smoking come?  I'm thinking (and I'm thinking globally):

Random violence
Poverty
Slavery
Dispossession (maybe I'd put this at the top when thinking globally)
etc...

My simple point is that a youngster who smokes but doesn't beat up on, say, women, is to my mind a more noble human being than a non-smoking woman beater.  Smoking to excess (or at all, if you like) will shorten your life.  Okay.  There are a lot more important things for the global human community to worry about than whether we all reach 97.

In fact, the world might be a happier place if we all pegged it at seventy, but spent our seventy years enjoying ourselves and working for the social good rather than to gain a second over the next person.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 06:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an interesting list and it touches on an angle that struck me when I was working in one of the poorer townships.

South Africa has banned smoking in most public places - this officially includes bars (I think), but you would be hard pressed to find a bar without smokers. I do mind, but then we come back to the list. Making enforcement of the smoking ban in South Africa a priority would be foolery - there are too many bigger fish to fry here: education, housing, employment, crime reduction, public safety, roads, public transport, etc.

The (wealthier) nations of Europe have already ticked off most of these and it has become a matter of upholding or improving the system that's in place - so the priorities shift to "lesser" but therefore no less real public concerns. Probably also a reason why the debate on this is more ferocious in Europe - we can bitch all we want about the lack of service in, say, hospitals, but at least there are hospitals with well-educated specialists and top-notch equipment.

Probably a reason why I was/am so frustrated with the political discourse in the Netherlands; for the most part it's so... trivial.

by Nomad on Mon Nov 24th, 2008 at 04:54:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why oh why do so many addicts need to cling to such excuses?

For the same reasons of scope that so many "reformers" need to cling to such morality: the body is the limit of society. If a group cannot control (determine) socially acceptable minimum (law), just one body becomes the target or symbol of the group's inchoate ideological frustrations to be picked (on).

You will note, I hope, the conscpicous absence of opposition, organized by fruits such as drunks, pot heads, promiscuous, unmarried, trans, (oops)LB, urban and rural poor, etc etc, to arguments presented by the most shrill defenders of public safety and moral rectitude.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 04:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent juxtapositions, rg!  I´d add the addiction to talking and lecturing without content, to speaking louder than anyone, to personal detachment and to latest-gadget possession.  Somehow the puritaners and moralers set themselves at the opposite extreme to avoid seeing the beam in their eye.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 at 07:41:47 PM EST
it is perfecty possible to smoke without disturbing non-smokers. Why do you need to hate the non-smokers?

Why, seriously?

Just to give you an exemple: my wife smokes. She always does it in circumstances where it either won't bother me (she goes to the window, or joins our neighbor on his balcony) or where I won't complain (if we're at a terrace of a café - when I sit there I know people will smoke and thus I won't complain).

What you don't seem to understand is that what non-smokers (well, me at least) object to is smokers smoking where it is forbidden, or where it is needlessly invasive of others, careless or just rude.

Smokers are rude people, too often. If you complain that today's restrictions are too much, all I can say is: you got it coming by not making an effort when you could.

Who is lecturing who in this thread?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 12:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Display:

Occasional Series