Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Someone was wondering about the 200+ things I know, and asking if there was any theme that permeates through all of them, or most of them. I would say if there is a core theme, it’s got to do with the way people tend to work. If they themselves operate according to what is widely accepted of them, and they see someone else “coloring outside the lines,” if you will — they’ll use up an excessive amount of energy reigning the maverick in. They’ll do this without any cost-benefit analysis of any kind. Without understanding the point of the rules they’re practically enforcing, or satisfying themselves that anybody else understands the point.
And if we can’t bring people into line with rules we don’t understand, we will ostracize those people.
There is a name for this. It is called TTWWADI.
In short, we are wired to live in villages. It is in our genetic programming. We’re pre-disposed to live in villages with rules we may or may not understand, and to banish people in those villages if they don’t conform to the rules we don’t understand. But what I’m calling out, goes a little bit further than simple TTWWADI; there are other tragic habits we have, too. When we meet strangers, we are programmed to reach a series of inferences that have to do with whether the strangers live in our tribe, or could be accepted into our tribe.
This is in conflict, generally, with what our parents taught us about strangers. Most of us were brought up by our parents to treat all strangers as — well, you know, strangers. You’re supposed to look at him as someone who could be a good guy, might be a bad guy, in all likelihood is okay, but don’t trust him too much. Most of us think we’re doing it the way Mom and Dad told us to. But very few of us do that, because the genetic programming is more powerful and effervescent than the environmental. That printed-circuit in our brains compels us to reach a snap-judgment about the stranger, one which our parents never told us to try to reach.
He’s on our side, or else he’s with those other guys.
What is really unfortunate about this, is this programming inclines us to re-define truth according to that tribal compatibility. We tend to presume someone is lying or is mistaken, if we’ve already concluded they’re incompatible with our tribe — even if the subject on which they’re speaking is well outside of our understanding. If we’ve already concluded they’re part of our tribe, or could be part of our tribe, they could wax eloquently about the most bloated nonsense for hours, and we’ll believe them without question.
When people behave this way, it logically follows that the first thing they attack is whatever might lift them — might have already lifted them — out of the existence of some stoop-shouldered grub-sucking savage. They tend to punish invention and creativity. That’s what is so dangerous about blind conformity — it disguises itself as a necessary agent of life, but really it attacks life. It’s a step down. And that is the core theme to all the things I know. It is not so much an epiphany, as it is a criticism. It is a criticism of civilization’s unfortunate tendency to tear itself apart, to deprive itself of all the things that made it possible in the first place. Of civilization’s intrinsic leanings toward a sort of patricide.
So if there is a “vanguard” Thing I Know, one item that represents most of the others but speaks more clearly than any of those, it would probably be Number 130.
Some of us refuse to act this way. When we’re told we’re “supposed to” do something, we want to know why. We don’t do this so we can be seen acting smarmy; we do this because it makes sense. When we buy things that require assembly, we (within reason) throw away the instructions as part of the first step. In short, we trust our ability to think rationally. To play chess with life…if you are hip with that metaphor. We figure that ability, and the using of it, are indispensable parts of our purpose on this planet.
If someone needs help, we help. If we need help, we analyze how it is we came to need the help, and resolve to do things differently next time. If someone helps us, we reward them, make ourselves more like them, and encourage others to be more like them. We are not parasites…
…we are men. We are REAL men.
We observe, we perceive, we conclude, we question. When one-two-three instructions are readily available and easily obtained, we insist on figuring things out for ourselves. Others point at us and laugh…but they are around to do the laughing, only because of us, or people like us, or someone who did things the way we do them. We know this. Those who point and laugh know this. Everybody knows this, we just don’t talk about it out loud: Following instructions, doing things for reasons you don’t internally comprehend but someone else somewhere might — has to do with getting yourself accepted into something…and nothing else. It has butkus to do with blazing any kind of trail. It has butkus to do with helping people, or building anything. It has butkus to do with finding something, and leaving it in better shape than the way you found it. To do any of those things, you’ve got to turn on your brain and think like a big boy.
I’d like to record two links about real men. No, they are not porn. They are long, windy epistles. They are both, insofar as I can gather, about men the way I have just defined men, above. Not nerds, not jocks. Not even male people, strictly speaking…I personally know of more than a few women who are “real men,” in the way they look at the world, and they are wonderful people — remarkably feminine when they want to be.
So you see, being a MAN is a state of mind. It is a way of living life. We owe everything — everything — to real men…and we’re engaged in a process of trying to get rid of them, a process nobody can logically explain.
The first essay is Is There Anything Good About Men?, by one Professor Roy F. Baumeister. We learn about it from blogger friend James at News Blog Central. And the other, which we find via our other blogger friend Misha at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, is The Pussification of the Western Male by one Kim du Toit.
My advice is to make time…read them…both. And when you’re done, take a long, hard look at the bandwagon-people, the folks with such strong opinions about how other people should do things, just because that’s the way things should be done. People who try to cudgel you into agreeing with them, not by arguing their positions logically, but by citing polls that say how lonely you will be otherwise. People who don’t know what it’s like to go against the crowd, have never known this, and don’t want anyone else to know what that’s like either.
And then look at the “fem-bigots,” the people who — whether they realize it or not — harbor some pissy, juvenile desire to get rid of all real men. People who insist on advancing safety at the expense of opportunity, and furthermore, insist that everyone everywhere do exactly that. People who are never fully satisfied in their mission to make everyone around them think this way…and look at the world this way. People who will push and push and push for this, until we’re all just plodding through life, solely for the purpose of hanging around a little while longer, and for no higher reason than just that. People with seemingly-infinite inventories of mens’ liabilities, and would respond only with paralysis and a sneer if asked what might be good about men. What Prof. Baumeister referred to as “gender warriors” when he wrote, “gender warriors please go home,” or half of his intended reference, anyway. The “man-bashers.”
You’ll see something interesting about these two groups of people: They’re the same people. Not always…but almost always. You’ve got to work at it for awhile before you find someone who qualifies for one of these descriptions, and not the other. Conclusion: Whether the authors of the essays realize it or not, and whether their man-bashing critics realize it or not — this is not about homo sapiens who have reached maturity and are equipped with penises and testicles. It is about persons, of both genders, who think independently. Real men, and women who think like real men. I expect things have always been this way and always will be this way. The non-real-man people — people who want to do all their thinking through the “tribal council” — will want everybody else to do their deep thinking through proxy as well, because that’s what they’re doing.
Real men, it turns out, are just as scary as they’ve been popularly believed to be. But it isn’t the muscular body of a real man that is scary, or his need for deoderant, or his hairy chest…it is his mind. People who don’t use their brains, are terrified of people who do.
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