Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The raggedy man must have ADD.

I think so. He is yawning. Is his life that tiring? He yawns loud and long.

I call him the raggedy man because he doesn't seem solid. He is never shaved, his hair is greasy and too long for the "style" he has it in, and his clothes are not coordinated. It's not that they are not good -- most people don't dress well, and I don't claim to myself -- it's that they are just wrong.

I suspect him of wearing polyester.

He is yawning loud and long, and it seems to me that it's a cry for attention. But everyone knows that if you ask a person like that why they're so tired, they will give you an angry look that you didn't really merit and your relationship will be soured.

This kind of prick thrives on sour relationships.

He has stopped yawning. Now he is drinking.

In case you weren't aware, I am English. Among the many things that means is that I was brought up with a particular set of table manners. I rarely talk with my mouth full, do not put my elbows on the table and hold my knife and fork correctly most of the time. I do not make a noise when I'm eating or drinking. How awful that would be!

This guy slurps. I cannot abide slurping. I am close to ready to break the conventions of the office and confront him.

But you can't do that.

Life is full of things you can't do. Mostly I don't mind it, because we're social animals and we need to get along.

But when he gets out his packet of crisps, I know I will want to murder him within minutes.

Chomp chomp, rattle pen on teeth, slurp water, sigh, yawn. All day long, I know he's there. I can't pretend he isn't unless I put on my iPod. But I have to resist that so that I don't feel coerced into behaviour I don't necessarily want to pursue. It's bad enough having to work.


I am the opposite of attention seeking. I prefer not to attract attention, unless it's from hot women. And not so hot ones, let's face it.


The height of this guy's bad behaviour is that he has had ten children.

I am mystified why. He doesn't seem to be religious, and usually you can tell when someone is. Why would you want to have that many children unless you wanted to be that guy?

And he is that guy.


So wtf. None of us is perfect, right? And who am I to judge? I realise that he probably doesn't even know that he's an annoying prick. I do know plenty of people who have no awareness that the issues in their lives derive from themselves, although I'm very aware that that's true of me.

The other day P, trying to piss me off rather than truthfully analyse me, suggested that women love me only until they get to know me. Which is not true at all. They generally love me until they find out I'm not what they imagined. Which is more a comment on their lack of imagination than on my lack of loveability, although I have no illusions about that. I got those kicked out of me a while ago. For nearly two years I've been aware constantly that I'm not worth knowing, let alone loving. I suppose I should be grateful that a few people remain who are willing, for reasons that aren't all that clear to me, to pretend that I am. I tend to feel they want something from me, and so long as I seem like I am going to provide it, I'm okay with them.

I did not want to become so cynical about people. I always believed in the good. Even when things were really bad with Mrs Zen, I kept thinking she would become human again one day, that she would wake up some morning and think, omg, I have done wrong and should put it right.


I miss my dreams of a walled garden so much. It is terrible to be so withered, so incomplete -- and beyond incomplete, to feel that you never can be completed. I miss hope.

I realise that when I judge the raggedy man, I am not judging the raggedy man. I am hoping that I am wrong that he is a mirror.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quick note about law

I was reading a post on RationalWiki about the Freeman on the land movement when I saw this:
Ultimately, the law derives its authority from the fact that the state has the means and the will to use force to impose it. You can argue that the authorities have no jurisdiction over you, and you can choose not to recognise their authority, but as long as the authorities have force to back up their rules they can enforce sanctions against you. Freemen would argue that this would be unlawful imprisonment - but at the end of the day you'd still be in jail.

and realised that it was true.

When I was watching the Tudors, it struck me that power was very personal and based on the ability to cause violence to quasi peers and direct inferiors using their peers if they do not do what you want. By quasi peers, I mean people who structurally are the same kind of person as you -- aristocrats in the case of the king -- but are not the same thing as you by convention. So the king is just a privileged lord, but is not just a lord, and a duke, say, is just a sort of baron, but is not a baron.

So the king would charge dukes to do this or that, and the dukes would charge their underlords, and the underlords would charge their men at arms and so on and so on, so that power percolated down through the levels, until what the king wanted ended in the serf having to provide service or whatever.

In this model, the government is clearly understood as by and for the king. It's tolerated by the elites because the king is a "convenor" of power and a distributor of largesse. His empowerment leads to the empowerment (and enrichment) of his quasi peers.

But power in the democracy is supposed to derive from the people. We are supposed to consent in being governed.

The rather snotty writer of RationalWiki doesn't seem to understand that he is not presenting a counterargument to the Freemen on the land. He is simply explaining why they cannot succeed. I think they mostly already know that. And we can certainly ask whether it's desirable that our laws should be based on the ability of the elites to use violence on us to force us to comply with what they want.

I think that some laws are essential for being able to live in cities. I don't believe any rational person could really dispute them because the downsides of allowing them to be optional are so clear. We are talking here about no parking statutes, for instance. If no parking is optional, some people will "free ride" and park. But those areas are no parking for a reason: usually to allow access. Denying the access the no parking allows may lead to congestion that will disbenefit many of us.

And of course, once some free ride, others will too, and a tragedy of the commons will ensue. Laws that prevent tragedies of the commons are clearly in all our interests, yet we need universal consent for them to work. So even if we allowed that we should consent to all laws that bind us, that would present a problem.

I'm not sure how one could formulate laws that we consent to. In principle, we have consented because we elect representatives who make the laws. But the representatives rarely have a mandate, and are clearly not people like us, and even less so, us. The influence of money and power leads them to make laws that we don't want (it's astonishing how often parliament passes laws that are grossly unpopular, and could never pass a plebiscite -- the "debate" that surrounds them doesn't extend much further than Parliament House, although there is "consultation").

And were we asked to consent to laws, there are surely too many for us to consider, and many are too technical? Well, the answer to the first is that we could surely live with a lot fewer laws, and the answer to the second is that perhaps we should have only those laws that can be described relatively simply, and we should consent to the "headline" gist of the law, while leaving the detail to those who care about it.

I agree not to kill anyone is easy enough. I agree to abide by contracts easy enough. The 100 pages about estoppel are mostly neither here nor there.

I think a good start would be to repeal laws that are impositions on the person, and could not ever be consented to by the person they are imposed on. There is no justification in a democracy for the illegalisation of drugs, for instance, or for seatbelt laws.

Note that I'm not suggesting that we have a referendum on which laws we should keep or rid ourselves of. I have a horror of the masses making law, because the masses are apt to be unjust.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Is it any point being sad about what is inevitable?

Is that the same question as asking, is it any point being sad about what is irrevocable?

So I look at my teeth but I'm led to think, yeah but you can get false teeth. And you can have a false life, just the same, but you ask yourself, when you have false teeth, don't you feel all the time, just a little bit, that those are not your teeth. What's more intimate than teeth?

And I look at my hair, and I'm led to think, yeah but when you dye it black it does not look like any colour hair could ever naturally be.

Is it any point being sad about living and dying?


If you accept that our universe is a 4D projection of a universe with many more dimensions, you might be tempted to ask what the "inside" universe really looks like.

But, maths aside, this is the only way it can look to us. I think so often of Wittgenstein's mesh: the picture we impose on the world to force it to make sense. Curious: we can write maths for six dimensions but we cannot visualise them.

But it nags at me that if you can represent those dimensions in maths, then you can "visualise" them, because what we are doing does not depend on which tool we use to do it with.


Are we doing the best we can? It doesn't seem like we can be, but if we are, we should be forgiven anything and everything.

I take it as axiomatic that you may not be hurt for your nature.

But I have been thinking a lot about how we forget that axioms are not based on principle, but are selected for diverse reasons, some of which we may not well understand.

Equity is axiomatic; and I choose it because it feels right to me that we should strive to be fair.

Love is axiomatic, I suppose. It is like worshipping a god to worship love. I suppose if I think about it, I can imagine that their god seems real to them in just the way love feels real to me.

I mean, you do understand that if you chose one axiom, you could as well choose another? I worry that I chose what would be comfortable, rather than choosing what was best.

Well, what does it matter? Whatever you choose, you are desined to die and be forgotten.