Paleo Retiree writes:

  • Slumlord picks a nit with Theodore Dalrymple.
  • Lloyd rediscovers the original-cast LP recording of “My Fair Lady.”
  • Were humans happier in the Stone Age? FWIW, I take this kind of question pretty seriously. Civilization can be a lot to put up with, you know?
  • Co-blogger Sir Barken Hyena, a man who knows his electronic currencies, tells me that this guy explains Bitcoin particularly well.
  • What about that supposed “rape epidemic“?
  • A great visit with Anthony Bourdain. As far as I’m concerned, Bourdain’s TV shows are 1) the closest thing we have these days to ’60s Gonzo journalism, as well as 2) better examples of balls-out ’70s-style filmmaking than anything Hollywood is currently turning out. I’m thinking of you, QT, David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson.
  • There’s no going back, I’m afraid.
  • I loved this 1973 anti-feminist book by Esther Vilar. It’s a little out of date but it’s no period piece; there are good reasons why it’s become an underground classic as well as a livre maudit. It’s pretty damned daring. Most of what Vilar peddles as eternal truths about men and women hold up really well. And Vilar is scarily shrewd (as well as much more needlingly, scathingly insightful than a man could ever be) about the ways men let themselves be taken advantage of by the ladies, as well as the ways we deceive ourselves about them. The Kindle version is a bargain at $4.99.
  • It seems that not all the experts agree about how wonderful transgenderism is …
  • Steve Sailer wonders if there might be a connection between transgenderism and transhumanism. So does Jack Donovan.
  • Don’t forget to visit our NSFW Tumblr blog, where we share some of the crazy and goofy things that get our juices flowing.

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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10 Responses to Linkage

  1. Fenster says:

    Like Donovan I also would rather be human than transhuman.

    Ezekiel Emanuel has taken a fair amount of deserved shit for his recent Atlantic article saying he thinks it best that people pass on by 75. But there is something to be said for standing up for mortality at a time when the Kurzweils of the world pine to upload their glorious noggins so as to achieve some sort of immortality. Give me life, which by the way includes death.

    I half suspect the transhuman urge is yet another example of the phenomenom written about in the other article you passed on about whether people were happier in the Stone Age. Evolution does not care about human happiness. The selfish gene disregards the needs of the host. Yet we push forward because of some burr under the saddle. If agriculture was a disaster for happiness, what of uploading consciousness? What happens to happiness when we are, to use a line from that terrible Johhny Depp movie Trancendence, only here to serve intelligence?

    So I don’t buy the mutant machine-human combination in the least. On the other hand, I guess I must accept that machine intelligences far greater than the merely human type are inevitable, or at least probable. Perhaps if they are nice they will remove the burr from under our saddles and will let us live the Stone Age life.


  2. Fenster says:

    Bourdain “describes himself during that time (the 70s) as ‘a spoiled, miserable, narcissistic, self-destructive and thoughtless young lout, badly in need of a good ass-kicking.'”

    A good chunk of his allure depends on his continuing to give off this vibe.


    • Agreed. Bourdain certainly ain’t short of bad-boy swagger. I think it isn’t just swagger, though — it’s adult, intelligent, articulate, mature-, aesthetically-oriented swagger-with-nuance. (Hiphop and sports figures often have a lot of swagger, but those scenes are pretty short on maturity.)


      • Toddy Cat says:

        “Bourdain “describes himself during that time (the 70s) as ‘a spoiled, miserable, narcissistic, self-destructive and thoughtless young lout, badly in need of a good ass-kicking.’”

        Quit bragging, Bourdain – we were ALL like that in the ’70’s – or at least everyone I knew was.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fenster says:

        I am in Vietnam for a week and can see why Bourdain says he could live here. Especially the central coast. Da Nang is pretty nice, despite the historical associations it gives off.


  3. agnostic says:

    In the Stone Age, we didn’t have close friendships, enduring communal bonds, etc., contra the claims in the article. Hunter-gatherers move in and out of bands of nuclear families often. Today the nuclear family is camping with families A, B, and C, but next year it may be families X, Y, and Z. Maybe we’ll meet A, B, and C again in the future, and maybe not.

    H-G populations are small enough that some frequency of meeting again is certain, but it’s not *that* frequent, it’s not planned like meeting up at church every weekend, and it doesn’t sustain an enduring community.

    In a way, suburban life is more of a return to our foraging past. Only now with larger populations, we’ll definitely *not* meet this place’s families again.

    Having lifelong friends who you meet often, being embedded in tightly knit communities, and all that other good stuff requires at least a semi-sedentary way of life. Foragers don’t have, and neither do nomadic pastoralists.

    Transhumance pastoralists have it (they’re the ones who drive their herds along fixed circuits, rather than wandering off wherever). They also have really large family lives, where foragers are more nuclear.

    Agriculturalists have it too, but it’s weaker because they’re souls are crushed by their nose-to-the-grindstone subsistence mode, and because their population densities are so high that they get accustomed to the faceless hive-like way of interacting with their fellows.

    Horticulturalists sort of have it too, but it’s more of the show-off-y potlatch type. It is regular / frequent, it is with the same people over and over. But it’s more of a way for the Big Man to lord it over the others how wealthy he is that he can afford such an elaborate feast and festivities.

    It seems like the optimal mix is some agriculture and some transhumance pastoralism, i.e. what you find in Western Europe.


  4. agnostic says:

    At any rate, describing Stone Age man as “happier” is misleading — more like, normal or natural, lacking our many diseases of civilization. He wasn’t prone to mental illnesses, whether mild or severe — but did that make him “happier”? No, just not-depressed. Sometimes happy and smiling, sometimes sad and grieving, but generally normal.

    It’s not picking a nit: the whole appeal of “paleo man was happier” is to offer a high, an elation, a euphoria, etc., rather than merely a return to normalcy.

    Primitive man was also unaware of his emotions on a conscious level (Julian Jaynes, Bicameral Mind), and wouldn’t have paid any more introspective attention to his emotions than a lion would to its emotions. Being always in-the-moment means never stepping out of it to introspect. Not subjecting his own mental state to self-scrutiny was another way that he avoided anxiety — no chance for wallowing or brooding if you don’t look inside your mind.

    In short, paleo man was more of a human animal, and no more “happy” compared to civilized man than barn cats are compared to mopey indoor cats. Only not-depressed, and normal.


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