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Has a C. S. Lewis quote for that.

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Has a C. S. Lewis quote for that.

0 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 October 25 19:25:25 UTC


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User ID: 1739

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I'm sure FlyingLionWithABook can pull up the full quote,

Speak of the devil, and he shall (eventually) appear!

People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on "being in love" for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change—not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there.

Does this mean it would be better not to learn to fly and not to live in the beautiful place? By no means. In both cases, if you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction. The man who has learned to fly and becomes a good pilot will suddenly discover music; the man who has settled down to live in the beauty spot will discover gardening.

This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow —and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life.

It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.

I have also lived an entirely straightlaced life. I had the opportunity to take a mild psychedelic in a safe environment and took advantage of it: ketamine. People say ketamine is non-addictive (like all psychedelics I guess) and I have to agree. It was a good experience, and I'm glad I did it, but I don't exactly have an urge to go out and have that experience again. It was what it was.

I don't really have any advice other than "I, a straightlaced square, took a not-too-strong-but-strong-enough does of ketamine in a safe environment, had an experience I consider valuable, and didn't come out of it a loon." I'm pretty much the same person I was. I don't know if that's reassuring, or means that there wasn't any point to it.

Must have been. Googling around about it now all I get are the same articles I've seen about him ever since his rise to fame: "Is Dr. Peterson a Christian?" "Has Jordan Peterson Converted?" And, true to Betteridge's Law of Headlines, the answer is always "I don't know" and "no" respectively.

Definitely circles. As a lifelong Christian I have met exactly one person who called themselves a Christian but didn't believe in the resurrection, and I've met a lot of Christians. Even that guy changed his mind about it and is now an Anglican priest (I'm pretty sure he changed his mind, but being an Anglican priest doesn't exactly prove anything in that regard).

Has Dr. Peterson officially converted?

The difference between DeSantis and Gavin Newsom is that DeSantis has shown himself to be competent at governing. Things have been going pretty great for Florida in material terms during his tenure, while California is more of a basket case than ever (that 2021-2022 Florida was the fastest growing state in the union for the first time since the 50s, while California lost population over the last two years says a lot).

On the other hand, being a competent governor doesn't mean that you can run a competent presidential campaign. We'll see what happens when the primaries start, but as a DeSantis supporter I've got a bad feeling about his chances.

I had a lot of fun with Cultist Simulator. The main thing I liked was how failed runs would continue into a narrative, which made the learning curve become thematic instead of frustrating. My first character find an eldritch book, tries to study it, goes mad (going mad being my first failure state). My second character works at the madhouse and learns some eldritch secrets from my first character, becomes a painter with a cult following (ha), a then goes mad. My third character, a layabout son of a gentryman, learns about the painter from his dying father who was a big fan of his paintings. He investigates and discovers the eldritch book and by this point I had learned enough to prevent him from going mad. He gathered a real cult, stole some artifacts, summoned monsters to attempt to kill plucky detectives, escaped conviction in the courts, and managed to transform himself into an immortal being of twisted flesh. Great success!

The game clearly expects you to fail a few times before you get your feet under you, and that really works. Delving into the secrets that men were not meant to know should be dangerous, with a high casualty rate.

I'll have to check out BOH. Thanks for the recommendation.

The legitimacy is legitimately valuable! Even if the election was stolen from you, you gracefully accept defeat unless you have the receipts.

If the meek demanded a blank cheque, then they're no longer meek and no longer qualify to inherit the earth. Problem solved!

The only thing that could make the current race entertaining is if Biden or Trump randomly drop dead,

Man, at this point I'm hoping Trump will randomly drop dead.

Well hoping is a strong word. I don't wish anyone dead, I don't think Trump deserves to be dead, I would be horrified and outraged if somebody killed him. It's just that I'm a Republican and I want to win. Trump seems to me to be just about the only Republican running who could possibly lose to Biden. A huge chunk of the country hates the man, and while he has a passionate fanbase a significant section of Republicans are tired of the Donald. I've never voted for a Democrat in my life and I'm not sure I'll vote for Trump if he ends up the nominee (not that I'd vote for Biden, I'd just throw it away on a protest vote for DeSantis or leave it blank). I voted for Trump in 2020 but all the talk of the election being stolen without the goods to back it up has soured me significantly. I want Republicans to win, but you don't rock the boat of democratic legitimacy like that. You could break America that way. I think a lot of Republicans feel the same way.

The way things are going Trump is probably going to be the nominee. And if he is then I think he's more likely to lose than not. The only way I can think of that would change the outcome is if Trump keeled over. It doesn't seem likely though: he may be old, but he's certainly spry. According to the SSA Actuarial Tables a man Trump's age only has a 4.9152% chance of dying in the next twelve months anyway.

I actually can believe the "record number of applicants" excuse. When I applied for a passport back in 2019 it was easy to schedule an appointment for the application at our city's post office. In 2022 and earlier this year I tried applying for another passport and there were no appointment spots available at all: they were all fully booked for as far out as they allowed you to book them. I had to search through post offices in neighboring towns before I found one available within a week, and that was in a town 40 minutes away.

The speed at which passports are being processed shouldn't necessarily have any impact on the amount of appointments available. It's possible that the post offices in my area reduced the number of available appointment slots, but it didn't seem like they did. Maybe it's as simple as there being a regular number of passports that Americans apply for each year and COVID made people skip a year or two and we're still sorting out the pent up demand?

Haribo Tangfastics

Man, Haribo: those apple rings were my forbidden fruit as a lad, in that my folks wouldn't buy them for me every time I saw them.

I pulled the two pounds thing out of thin air, but I remember looking it up at some point and finding that there was some kind of limit to the amount of fat you can gain in a day. That limit may very well be how much you can stomach. There might also be a bottleneck in the number of calories the gut can absorb at once. On the other hand, I don't think excess blood sugars ever get peed out, so presumably if you had more sugars than the body could convert to glycogen and fat in a day then you might have hyperglycemia? Which is not good for the body. On the other hand, you never hear about non-diabetics eating themselves into dangerous levels of hyperglycemia, so there's got to be some mechanism that prevents that.

Realistically though I think you have the right of it: even if you tried its extremely difficult to eat an extra 7,000 calories in a day.

The pumpkins are good, but my absolute favorite is Reese's easter bunnies. I don't know what it is, but they are fantastic. I also like the Reese's nutcrackers and "holiday lights" that come out around Christmas time, they have a good chocolate to peanut butter ratio.

I mean, no school would be completely outcome blind because the whole point of having a school of legal interpretation is to determine what kind of outcome is correct. But I think I know what you are intending to ask with this question, and the answer would be textualism. Possibly originalism.

Textualism says to interpret the law based on the exact words of the law and nothing else. That includes utilitarian concerns about outcomes. If the way the law is written results in a "bad" outcome, then change the law.

Originalism is similar to textualism, but bases it on the text of the law as it was intended at the time the law was passed. This can lead to outcomes that go against the literal words of the law if the outcome would be an outcome that the lawmakers very likely did not intend, or specifically intended the opposite.

Like most people I had desires and aspirations as a child that I no longer have as an adult. I no longer care to eat hard candies or chew bubblegum, I prefer a prime rib steak to a pop tart, and I have no plans to be the first astronaut on Mars. With maturity comes the inevitable putting away of childish things.

Recently, however, I discovered there was one ridiculous, childish desire that deep down I still very much want.

I love Reese's peanut butter cups. When I was 8 or so I imagined that when I was an adult and had money I would buy so many peanut butter cups that you could fill bathtub with them, and eat them all. When I was 11 or so I realized that would be impractical, and imagined instead sitting in an airchair with boxes of Reese's cups stacked high enough to reach them without bending down, and eating as many as physically possible.

Friends, this dream still appeals to me greatly. I didn't realize how appealing it still was until last Christmas, when (after a several months of strict dieting) I allowed myself to cut loose for the holiday. My wife always buys me Reese's to put in my stocking each year, and this year had a big bag of Reese's minis. I ate the entire bag, 1,300 calories worth, within an hour.

And all I could think was that I wanted more.

I'm not planning on making my childhood dream a reality: but this knowledge weighs heavy on me. Each time I'm at Costco I find myself calculating the price of 5 or six cases of cups. Someday, perhaps all too soon, my willpower may fail me.

Which, honestly, wouldn't be so bad. I'd probably get sick, throw up, and if I'm lucky my brain will associate Reese's with nausea and I won't have to worry about this ever again. Worst case scenario, I think the maximum amount of weight you can gain in a day is fixed, (maybe two pounds?) so at least the damage would be limited.

All this preamble to say: do you have any childish dreams that deep down (or maybe not so deep) you'd still like to make a reality?

If it's normal homeostasis, it means matching your appetite to your activity.

I can understand controlling what you eat, but how does one control appetite? It seems that taking medications like this is a real way to match appetite to activity, so I'm not sure what the objection is.

Exercise doesn't seem to reduce weight by much, though of course it will make you healthier overall.


I've been a believing Christian all my life, but it was only in the last year that I realized I loved God. It just came out one day while I was praying, "I love you God" and I was stunned that it was actually true. I had faith all my life that God loved me, but I didn't love Him. I just respected Him, and feared Him, and wanted to please Him. Not at all the same things. So your Wesley quote resonated with me greatly.

My favorite sci-fi explanation for UFOs is that they're not aliens, they're time travelers from the far future. I don't think it's realistic, but it's fun to think about and avoid the whole "travelled millions of miles to get here and then just abduct some randos and mess with some cows" problem.

That reminds me of the book The End of the Spear, which is in large part about the conversion of the Waodoni indians in South America to Christianity. Prior to conversion they were infamous killers: nobody entered their territory because it was well known they would probably kill you. They famously killed the missionaries who came to convert them. What's interesting is that after the missionaries were killed, their wives continued the mission. As women they were not seen as a threat and were not killed, and they managed to fairly rapidly convert the entire tribe.

Here's an excerpt from the book's introduction. Steve Saint, son of the slain missionary Nate Saint, is recounting how he and members of the Waodoni took a group of students from the University of Washington on a trip into Waodani territory. After several days travel the students are resting at a Waodani village, among some of the Waodani people when one student asks where the famously violent tribe that killed the missionaries in 50s was. When told that the Waodani were that tribe the student was incredulous:

It was apparent she wasn’t going to accept my word for it, so I suggested she ask the Waodani themselves. “Just ask any of the adult Waodani here were their fathers are,” I suggested. I told her how to say “Bito maempo ayamonoi?” which means, “Your father--Where is he being?” She seemed to wonder what this had to do with her question, but she picked out one of the Waodani men who was enjoying our English gibberish and asked him. He answered simply “Doobae.” I explained to her that the word means “Already.” His father was already dead. I added “Did he get sick and die, or did he die old?”

The warrior snorted at my ridiculous question and clarified with dramatic gestures that his father had been killed with spears.

“Did he just say what I think he said?” the girl asked. “Was his father speared to death? Who would do such a terrible thing?” I informed her that the only people I knew of in Ecuador who had speared anyone in the twentieth century were Waodani…

One of the other students picked a Waodani woman and asked her the same question. Same answer. After one more try with similar results, two girls in the group asked me to ask Mincaye’s wife, Ompodae, the question. From the whispering I overheard, I gathered that they were sure someone as loving and sweet as Ompodae couldn’t have been traumatized by something as horrible as the vicious murder of her father. But Ompodae answered, “My father, my two brothers”--She counted them on her fingers--”my mother, and my baby sister…” There seemed to be more but she stopped there. “All of them were speared to death and hacked with machetes!” Then she pointed at the oldest warrior in camp, who was quietly sharing a stump with one of the male visitors. “Furious and hating us, Dabo killed us all.”...

My feisty tribal grandmother knew what the question was, so she decided to give an answer. She told how her family had been ambushed by another clan of Waodani. When the spearing was over, only she and another girl...were left alive in their clearing. When she finished her narrative, which I hardly needed to interpret because her pantomime was as clear to the students as her words were to me, she pointed to one of the warriors I was sitting with and stated matter-of-factly, “He killed my family and made me his wife!”

One of the girls in the group stammered, “How could she possibly live with the man who had killed her whole family?” I explained that the other girl who was kidnapped with Dawa was overheard complaining about her family being speared. One of the raiders ran a spear through her, and they left her on the trail to die an agonizing death alone, with no one to even bury her body. I explained, “It wasn’t like Dawa had much of a choice.”

Their society was pretty dang violent, but they took to Christianity in a big way. They were eager for it: a way of life where you weren't constantly in fear of getting killed. The anthropologist James Boster wrote a paper about how Christianity served as a way for the Waodoni to escape the perpetual cycle of revenge killing their society had gotten locked into.

I've written a few short stories and I used to have a blog, but over the last few years the only writing I do is commenting like this. I have some hope of doing some more substantial writing when my kids are older, but I don't plan on writing professionally.

If you're not a Breather, then you'll just need to treat it like a job. As far as jobs go, writing isn't that bad! Beats digging ditches or working retail. You'll just need to go in with that expectation and use some discipline.

In my experience (reading guides to writing by successful authors, or listening to interviews on the subject) there are two types of professional writer out there: those who hate writing, and those for whom writing is as easy as breathing.

The first type (the Haters) are people like Freddie DeBoer, Larry Correia, or Roald Dahl. They are more likely to look at writing as a job like any other: it's hard, and it takes commitment and work and discipline if you're going to have any chance of being successful. Dahl would write about how writing was exhausting:

The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.

I am in this camp myself: writing is hard to do. I'd rather be doing other things. When it comes time to write, (proper writing, not shooting off a comment on The Motte) I find just about anything else more attractive, like doing the dishes or weeding or finally cleaning out those gutters. For these writers the difficulty of writing is something that must be overcome.

Then there is the second camp (the Breathers) who have no idea why the first type are writers to begin with. This camp includes C. S. Lewis, Andrew Klavan, Scott Alexander, and Isaac Asimov. These are the type of people who, when asked how a young writer can start writing, would reply in either frustration or confusion that if they're not writing already then they're not really writers. Writers write, it's what they do, and it's easy. They couldn't not write if they wanted to. Lewis would hardly ever edit his books, getting them just the way he liked them on the first try. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers on earth, writing over 500 books and scads of short stories, essays, articles, etc. As for Scott:

On the other hand, I know people who want to get good at writing, and make a mighty resolution to write two hundred words a day every day, and then after the first week they find it’s too annoying and give up. These people think I’m amazing, and why shouldn’t they? I’ve written a few hundred to a few thousand words pretty much every day for the past ten years.

But as I’ve said before, this has taken exactly zero willpower. It’s more that I can’t stop even if I want to. Part of that is probably that when I write, I feel really good about having expressed exactly what it was I meant to say. Lots of people read it, they comment, they praise me, I feel good, I’m encouraged to keep writing, and it’s exactly the same virtuous cycle as my brother got from his piano practice.

That's just how it is. I would say the Haters become professional writers because they have ideas they want to share and stories they want to tell and writing, while difficult, is the best way they can express those things. The Breathers become writers because that's just what they are. If they weren't publishing books, they'd be one of those guys who constantly edits Wikipedia.

Thank you for introducing me to Lord of the Maps: those maps are exactly what I needed in my life.

I concur. I used to go there regularly, but I dropped off some time after 2016 because it went from somewhat left to extremely left. That's also when Leah Libresco stopped writing for them.