The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hogwash, ESR

Posted on | January 20, 2018 | 1 Comment

by Smitty

Eric S. Raymond’s feedback on the Aziz Ansari comedy of manners-in-the-buff has one of my favorite hobby horses requiring a ride. ESR is far smarter than I, and an avowed libertarian. Hence my amusement at this:

“Grace” behaved as she did because she doesn’t have a realistic option to hold out for romance before sex; women who do that put themselves at high risk of not getting second dates, there are too many others willing to play by the new rules. So she has to do sex instead and hope lightning strikes.

Questions for ESR and “the world” in general:

  • Does “Grace” have free will, or is it the case that “she doesn’t have a realistic option”?
  • Is the individual the unit of analysis, or is Grace just a component of “women who do that”, who war endlessly with “too many others”?
  • What does “do sex instead and hope lightning strikes” even mean beyond the scope of a certain hormonal instant?

Let me offer an explanatory model. Think of people in three dimensions: body, mind, and soul. Nobody argues against the body, few against the mind, and only fools against the soul. These are orthogonal, and in tension. The discussion at hand is body verses mind.

“Grace” let the body drive. Pure materialism. Maybe she wanted the release of the moment, and maybe she hoped to leverage that moment in a “lightning strike” to form a relationship with Ansari. The body always lives in the moment. Quite often, if not usually, to its detriment.

The mind (for the mature) tends to have a longer planning horizon than the body. Mature people can recognize the temptations of the body, but live past the moment and gauge whether it makes sense to get naked with someone you’ve just met. Or, figuring that most people are roughly the trash one knows oneself to be at heart, maybe one holds back.

The soul, if one subscribes to the notion, grasps that there is this Destiny thing in play. If the body and mind are subordinated to the soul, then concerns about “[people] who do that” are just the body using fear to trick the mind into rationalize giving the body free reign.

Be liberated from that fear of “[people] who do that”; from the lusts of the body; from the “Sorry (Not) Ansari” cycle of flesh devouring flesh. People who play that game are the ones writing open letters, kicking up social controversies, gripped by fear of being buried alive in a box, seeing therapists, and dying in opioid epidemics.

Which gets us back to my amusement with the intellectual libertarian set. If we’re free, why make collectivist arguments like

The old ways had features we now find ugly and unacceptable, but maybe that was the best adaptation they could manage to a hard problem! It is unlikely we can go back…”How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm”, and all that. But what do we do to go forward?

There is no “hard problem” to manage in any collective way. There are only individuals working out their respective Destinies.

Aside for Ansari: be a man, and quit treating your manhood like the joystick of some video game. The boyish act of indulging in bimbos prepared for acts of hooverism at first blush is Russian roulette: you’ll end up with something incurable. Never go Full Charlie Sheen.

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