November 16, 2010


ME + me: The human (all too human) tragi-comedy


   "La meilleure Philosophie, rélativement au monde, est d'allier, à son régard, le sarcasme de gaité avec l'indulgence du mépris."

    "L'honnête homme, détrompé des toutes les illusions, est l'homme par excellence."
   -- Chamfort

I continue being not well, and otherwise also as before, so I cannot do much. This is also why there were no Nederlogs the last two days, combined with the sort of distaste Chamfort saw and formulated so well.

Since this is a really fundamental problem, that is at the bottom of almost all human problems, and since I have run into it many times, and described it quite a few times too, here is a review composed from two pieces I published before.

The first part is a repeat of June 23, and consists of links to some of the few persons in the modern Western world who can tell the truth about it and the men and women that keep and make it as it is: ordinary men; the second is a repeat + extension of part of December 31, 2007; and at the end there is a brief reflection of today.

1. The tragi-comical human fundamental problem
Society and the good, the bad and the stupid

1. The tragi-comical human fundamental problem

After the good news about XMRV just related, I am still not well at all and also still sad, but here are a number of links I found the last 24 hours that collectively, when seen and thought about by intelligent people, should explain, directly or by implication, about The tragi-comical human fundamental problem that may be expressed in terms of a flawed species of rationalizing ideological apes, mostly fit for lifes in hordes with moral codes for hordes, that even so is capable producing individuals like Aristotle, Archimedes, Lucretius, Ockham, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Newton, Euler, Boole, Peirce and many more philosophers, scientists and artists, though proportionally a very small part, and is capable of producing both the ancient Greek civilizatiom and the Renaissance, and centuries of religious wars, political dictatorships, and horrors like slavery, concentration-camps, and bureaucratized genocide and mass-murder.

With my personal background, history, experiences and intellectual interests, this problem has concerned me much, as is witnessed by e.g.

and incidentally also witnessed, in Dutch that I should translate, by my father

Now what I will give links to is mostly comedy - texts by the American comedian George Carlin, spoken by him, but before doing that I need to given some further background, to make the things this comedian will speak about a little clearer...

... at which point we have almost arrived at the Carlinesque joy and fun, but for which yet a little bit more evidence is needed to appreciate its true value, intent and sense with more in the PS, in case you might think what follows is a teeny weeny bit unfair, perhaps, although taken from real life, with real voters and real contemporaries to be thoroughly proud of:

Of course, all of the above is forbidden on Phoenix Rising, because it is not properly respectful of such human beings as moderate and administrate it - but that is by the way, and anyway treated e.g. here in its full human glory and with all due respect

Now I hand you over to George Carlin - who, to quote Wikipedia to which the last is a link, minus most of the links in the text, since you can find them yourself by way of the last link:

George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.

Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.


Carlin's material falls under one of three self-described categories: "the little world" (observational humor), "the big world" (social commentary), and the peculiarities of the English language (euphemisms, doublespeak, business jargon), all sharing the overall theme of (in his words) "humanity's bullshit," which might include murder, genocide, war, rape, corruption, religion and other aspects of human civilization. He was known for mixing observational humour with larger social commentary. His delivery frequently treated these subjects in a misanthropic and nihilistic fashion ..


Language was a frequent focus of Carlin's work. Euphemisms that in his view seek to distort and lie and the use of language he felt was pompous, presumptuous, or silly were often the target of Carlin's routines. When asked on Inside the Actors Studio what turned him on, he responded, "Reading about language." When asked what made him most proud about his career, he said the number of his books that have been sold, close to a million copies.


Carlin openly communicated in his shows and in his interviews that his purpose for existence was entertainment, that he was "here for the show." He professed a hearty schadenfreude in watching the rich spectrum of humanity slowly self-destruct, in his estimation, of its own design, saying, "When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front-row seat."

So not just anyone, although I'd never heard of him, except as referred to by Bill Maher, and didn't know anything of or by him.

Here is some George Carlin for your delectation - and if you don't like him or can't follow him (while believing yourself to speak English), it is because your mind is too tiny or your character to stuffed, cramped, phony and hypocritical.

The start is the sort of routine that inspired the above American legislation

This is a man with respect for real truth and genuine morality, as you may have seen. Now for the more ordinary respectful people and most others:

This is - y'all understand, folks - not because they are bad, although being human they very well may be, but because they are ... stoopid, indeed.

To turn to political questions: 

The corporate rich, in case you missed it - and I do not need to agree to all Carlin says to understand he was a truly bright and brave man.

So, next question: What does this lead to, in usual practice:  

Is it exaggerated? Not much, and to name just one relevant fact from 2000 years ago: The Romans worked at most 200 days in a year, and feasted the rest of the time. Yes, they owned the then known world for the most parts - but so do or did the United States, where most people have to work all day long just to pay the bills and keep the children in kindergarten.

Next question: What does this lead to, on a personal level:  

I feel just the same; haven't voted since I didn't have to vote anymore, in 1971; and have been met many times with the same arguments as Carlin, notably, in the University of Amsterdam, by a present professor of psychology there, time and time again

"YOU have NO RIGHT to speak about politics if you don't vote"

You see: If among Romans be a Roman, if among idiots be an idiot, if among cannibals be a cannibal, and if you protest be happy if you are not lynched by yahoos and other equivalents of Dutchmen - and I really should quote the link the last thoroughly educational piece starts with, than should enlighten one fully on Dutch morality and Dutch politics since more than four decades:

Dutch Norms And Values As Taught The Last Four Decades:

   "There are no good men. There are no bad men. 
is my colleague.
    Please don't shoot the piano player.

-- Dutch Troopleader Lt.-col. Karremans
    to general Mladic in front of Srebrenica
    Result: Many thousands cruelly murdered
    - who Karremans was sent to protect

THAT was the direct result of 40 years of leveling, relativism, postmodernism and cultivation of the Norms And Values of the majority of the stupid and uneducated, with votes, convictions, biases and prejudices, generally without foundation or sense, but therefore the more fanatically held, especially if it provides a moral sounding excuse to persecute anyone not One of Us.

Here is a summary of Carlinesque wit and opinions, as put together by a fan - and yes: It is philosophy, namely what I called Practically Philosophy, already more than twenty years ago

There is more George Carlin on Youtube, and maybe some of my readers may now be a little more receptive of pieces of mine like these

If in doubt about my morality or my methods of cognition, please consult

and don't forget that

it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence


It is always right to try to think rationally and try to act reasonably.  

The last includes the right on self-defense, satire, sarcasm and lampooning of idiocies, idiots and in particular cheaters, liars, hypocrites and political, religious and pseudo-scientific impostures.

Speaking of which...

I have of late - but wherefore I know not - lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises: and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontery; the most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither (..) (*)

For those who can't get enough of it, or who believe what was linked above is unfair to Americans, or indeed not properly appreciative of the intellectual gifts of the vast majority of non-Americans:

Be proud that you are a member of the human race, especially if American, British, German or indeed Dutch, for 'the meek shall inherit the earth', or what's left of it, after the consequences of the above sketched problems and facts have played out over this century.

And see also my

with links to Bill Maher, another comedian, and one inspired by George Carlin, including such educative bits as YouTube - Bill Maher - Be More Cynical Part 1.

2. Society and the good, the bad and the stupid

By way of introduction, here is a statistical distribution that explains many things and kinds of things in some principle, mathematically speaking:


The chart shows the standard normal curve that describes the distribution of intelligence (and many other properties men may have, to some degree or extent) in large unsorted groups of humans. The picture is taken from Standard score in Wikipedia.

It should be noted that as I use terms - having lived 60 years, being a psychologist, and being highly gifted - intelligence starts somewhere beyond the +1σ mark and real intelligence beyond the +3σ mark.

Note please, this is no one's personal fault or indeed personal merit either: People are born stupid, or not, just as they are born male or female, and capable of growing tall, or not, and had no choice in any of it, including their own existence. Merit or lack thereof comes from what you do with what you have.

Also, for those who wish to hold that what follows is mistaken about morals:

I am at least as realistic and far less vindictive and intolerant than the saints of the Christian Churches, and have lived threescore years. Besides, there is an excuse: Most ordinary people simply cannot afford to be morally good in a human social world where lying, dishonesty and manipulative advertisement, political or religious talk, or bureacratic or media PC-talk, is the common norm, and where very few have been properly educated. Most ordinary people have to play social roles in which they have to lie and deceive for a living: It is required of them to be entitled to "a fair wage" - and besides, they have been told, and generally believe, that what they do is in fact good and fair, e.g. because it is according to Free Market Principles, that are Good For All, or any other form of politically correct cant. Besides, most men are conformists in most things, and take pride in that, and have been told and believe that the morally good = to be as is the norm in the group they are a member of. And see Groupthinking for how this works, in outline.

One way of understanding society - any human society anywhere, of sufficient size, say 10 or a 100 or more not specially selected persons - is that the good : the bad : the stupid = 1 : 9 : 90. Alternatively expressed but to the same effect: the intelligent : unintelligent = 1 : 9 and the unegoistic : egoistic = 1 : 9, and intelligence and egoism are probabilistically independent.

Putting it all in a table with percentages (while remembering that intelligence and moral courage are probably for the largest part determined by innate factors):

intelligent good 1
intelligent not good 9
not intelligent good 9
not intelligent not good 81
all   100

Next, all members of society have a public and a private face and role, and the public face consists mostly of deception.

The public character people assume is usually

1. composed of lies that are derived from what they think is supposed to be desirable behaviour of members of their society
2.  it is a role played by an actor for the rewards one's society provides for playing this role or for the punishments one's society provides for not playing the role and
3.  it consists of deception even if one's deceptions happen to be the true: one knows one is playing a role.

Seen in the light of these important points - the distributions of intelligence and egoism and the fact that all social acting consists of role-playing in which deception is the norm - it is not so strange nearly all social and political analyses are false, phoney and illusory, and also part of role-playing and delusion or deception.

And - it seems - (3) is important: Those who make a career are those who are known to be liars by those who already have made a career. Somebody who is honest won't get far in any society or group, even if - very privately - many will agree he is honest and truthful.

The best expositions I know about the problems I am treating here in a simplistic and generalizing manner are:

  • A. Anti-totalitarian texts:
    Talmon: "The rise of totalitarian democracy";
    Orwell: "Animal Farm", "1984" and "Collected Essays and Letters";
    Revèl: "The totalitarian temptation".
  • B. Texts on socialism:
    Conquest: "The Great Terror";
    Hayek: "Road to serfdom";
    Zinoviev: "Yawning Heights".

And this is what the above enables the ruling classes in both socialism and capitalism - see Carlin's

to get away with, while the managerial salaries again are bonused into the tens or hundreds of millions yearly:

"Orwell marked this passage in a copy he gave to Geoffrey Gorer, telling him that it was the key passage" en dat "all the pigs were in agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon:" 

'Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain-workers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.'
     (Bernard Crick "George Orwell - A Life" p. 490)

So much for some that I wrote before on the subject, with some extensions and improved links.

World history would have been completely different if the average IQ had been 50 points higher (where is the God of the cognitively challenged if He could have put this right from the start? See also George Carlin - Religion is bullshit) - and the problems around ME would either not have existed at all or would have been rapidly and rationally resolved.

Alas... so meanwhile, and since 25 centuries, for the most part, at most places, a few clever bastards have been leading the majority into evil by abusing their lack of intelligence and education - and that's why

"History is little else but the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind"

Because the masses can be taken in with almost any bullshit, any cant, any flattering lies and wishful thinking, and are proud to help perpetuate and implement it.

Ah well... "Against stupidity even the Gods battle in vain." (Schiller)

P.S. Yes, it is a melancholic subject (the fate of mankind is in the hands of and made by the masses of the stupid and ignorant, manipulated by the clever, dishonest, egoistic and greedy - and yes, the only good solution I know, but will not live to see is in my

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz

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