Saturday, 23 January 2021


The long term impacts of merchandizing. The t-shirts spun off by my youtube channel have an intellectual life of their own. 哈哈哈😄

Monday, 18 January 2021

On having political expertise: a polite reply to a puzzled viewer.

Thanks for taking the time to write in, _______.

HMU any time.

We live in a world where _some_ people have recognized expertise in diet ("dietetics" or "nutrition") and _some_ people have recognized expertise in architecture…

…my situation is that I'm the one person (hopefully not the only one?) who really does have expertise in politics within vegan youtube --and sometimes, frankly, it seems like I'm the only person with this kind of expertise in all of youtube, period.

If you were writing to me about architecture, I'd encourage you to reflect that PERHAPS you don't understand these things (technical issues within architecture) because you hadn't devoted your life (or any particular chunk of time) to gaining that kind of expertise.

As a culture, we need to recognize that there is such a thing as real expertise in politics. I've got it. You could have it, too --but it would entail a sacrifice of several years of hard work (just like gaining expertise in architecture).

And even then, not everyone has what it takes to be a great architect --nor even a good architect. 😄

Sunday, 3 January 2021

"We live our lives in the sunlight of assumptions about the future…" (Coronavirus Diaries)

One year ago (today) I was bedridden ill with Coronavirus. "We live our lives in the sunlight of assumptions about the future --even if dim-- and in the shadow of assumptions about the past that have proven false." (The assumption that I had already recovered from this cold (Coronavirus) stated at the top of the page also proved to be false: from this point, it got worse before it got better.).

Saturday, 2 January 2021

On the cultivation of (dubious) moral characteristics through video games.

A discussion (naturally much longer than the exceprts you see here) on the extremely limited educational value of video games --and on the "virtues" we might be cultivating by playing them. This transpired in my youtube channel's Discord forum (a link to join that forum is in the decsription for new videos uploaded to the channel).

A searchable index of my youtube videos (most of them, at least!)

Special thanks to Araia, who did all the hard work of creating the HTML code. This is a list of most of the videos (not all!) on à-bas-le-ciel (which is not my only youtube channel!). If you can't find what you're looking for by searching around here, you can join the discord (discussion forum) and ask (quite likely other viewers will know what you're looking for).

Link 1, a complete listing for (all of) the videos on à-bas-le-ciel:

Link 2, playlists:

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Is my channel "sexist"? A final reply to Fandar, and other faux feminists.

[I bothered to type out this reply because, frankly, I can imagine re-using it in future: it was Soycrates, not Fandar, who invented this line-of-attack against me, even before I had a youtube channel.  It was fallacious then, and it is still fallacious now.  But yes, I can imagine that I'll copy-and-paste this reply in future, if/when I receive a similar complaint.]

You are a very dishonest person, and a very vindictive person.

I know that you are unaware of the extent to which you're lying.  Perhaps this is an aspect of your mental disability / learning disability.  Perhaps not.

I am never going to reply to you again, but please just recognize how dishonest your statements are here.

Re: "It's so interesting how you can make videos about other YouTubers(especially young female youtubers)…"

There are two parts to this statement.

The first is not true, it has never been true, and you've never attempted to prove it (and you have never been willing to consider counter-arguments or counter-evidence, even when these have been presented to you, repeatedly).

To start with a palpable example: did you ever contrast my criticism of Unnatural Vegan to my criticism of Gary Yourofsky?  Did you compare my criticism of U.V. to my criticism of Vegan Gains?

Why do you think I criticized Unnatural Vegan?  You speak about this as if the criticism is BECAUSE OF her gender (or her appearance).  This is extremely stupid and dishonest of you: it would be equally stupid and dishonest to claim that I criticize Vegan Gains because he is (ethnically) black.  That just makes no sense.

Even within veganism, I have criticized men and women for the same things, and in the same ways: this is explicitly discussed AGAIN AND AGAIN on my channel.  Vegan Gains doing porn (on Onlyfans) is discussed in exactly the same terms as the examples of women doing porn on onlyfans, and the feminist / gender-asymmetrical elements are explicitly discussed in these videos.

The reality is that you (sincerely or insincerely) regard me as "obsessed" with criticizing attractive females because THOSE ARE THE ONLY VIDEOS YOU CHOOSE TO WATCH ON MY CHANNEL.

You don't watch videos that are criticizing men (innumerable!) nor videos that are criticizing elderly people, etc.

Did you watch any of my videos criticizing Bernie Sanders?

If you did watch those videos, would you assume I'm criticizing him because he's Jewish, or because the specific issues involved are substantive?  Did I criticize Vegan Gains because he was black?  No.

Did I criticize Unnatural Vegan because she's a woman?  No: I criticized her because I disagree with her about taking anti-depressants during pregnancy --and about a list of other significant issues (that are worth discussing as such).

The same is true about my criticism of all of these other people -- Yourofsky, Sanders, etc. etc.

There is no gender bias in these videos, and, on the contrary, many (MANY!) of these same videos discuss the unfairness of gender bias, and the extent to which women are unfairly judged for the same things men do, etc. etc. -- but you can't actually hear the thesis of any of the videos.

Many, many times I have explained to you in email the thesis of one of these videos that you're offended by: in our discussions, it is clear that the only thing you know is that you're offended.  You respond to isolated words in the videos, but you don't understand the thesis.

I do not think you are cynically pretending to misunderstand my videos: I think this is an aspect of your mental disability that you need to take seriously yourself.

Maybe if you took hand-written notes, or if you drew flow-charts of the arguments, you'd be able to understand what 99.9% of the viewers can understand without any assistance.

Many of my viewers are European: English is their second language, but they understand me much better than you do.

Recently, I have many many videos angrily criticizing and denouncing "Cosmic Skeptic" (some of these are really quite harsh and insulting toward the guy).  Do you genuinely believe that I'm "nicer" toward men than I am toward women?  Do you believe my criticism of "Cosmic Skeptic" would be different if he were "a young woman", instead of "a young man"?  There is absolutely no basis for the claim.  My channel has a huge quantity of evidence showing that I criticize men and women in the same way --and, also, I have lectures explicitly explaining that this is my method (and explaining why I think it's really important for other people to do so: explaining AT LENGTH that I think we should, each of us, make a philosophical commitment to offering women the same criticism as men, really treating them as equals, etc.).

There is absolutely no basis for saying, e.g., that I was more cruel to Unnatural Vegan than I was to Ted Carr or Gary Yourofsky or Vegan Gains (some of my criticisms of Richard are EXTREMELY harsh and vitriolic!); but even if there is some specific example of a woman I had criticized especially harshly (relative to Ted Carr, etc.) the reason for that harshness would be clear within the video: it would be BECAUSE OF the particular topic being dealt with.

The example of women taking anti-depressants during pregnancy is a good example.  It should be very obvious why I care about this issue so passionately.

With other examples, the reason for my being passionate/vitriolic may not be obvious to you, but, again, you have a serious mental disability: most of the audience knows why I'm angry, and what I'm angry about, when I display this kind of "theatricality" in my videos.

Indeed, I even do show this kind of theatricality toward Bernie Sanders (reproaching him for his attachment to the word "Sociallist", with satirical effect) --although I obviously do not hate Bernie Sanders.

I do not "especially" criticize young, attractive women: YOU choose to IGNORE all of the videos I've made criticizing men, or criticizing people of various ages.  YOU are obsessed with young, attractive women, and you DISREGARD the enormous corpus of videos I've made criticizing people of any age, of any gender, etc.

This is really a case in which you need to reflect on how your own obsessive tendencies have shaped your perception of the world and others.

I have taken the time to explain your misperceptions repeatedly (because I pity you!) but you never can come to a conclusion: you never can find fault with yourself.

There is a second aspect of your claim here, that we should pause to address:

Re: "It's so interesting how you can make videos about other YouTubers(especially young female youtubers)…"

There is a difference between making a youtube video that offers substantive criticism (as I have done in disagreeing with Unnatural Vegan, etc. etc.) and what YOU have done in harassing me, threatening me, defaming me, etc.

You stated publicly (in comments posted on my social media) that nobody should hire me for a job because (you allege) I have been abusive toward my ex-wife and girlfriend: are you really incapable of perceiving the difference between what you have done, and the type of critique I've offered in my youtube videos?

Are you really incapable of seeing the difference between your repeated attempts to insult and denounce me on Instagram, within my Patreon, and in hundreds of emails sent to me privately, and the critique I offered of Unnatural Vegan's use of anti-depressants during pregnancy?

Can you fail to see the difference in the motives, in the methods, and in the outcomes?

If I did to Unnatural Vegan what you have done to me, would you perceive it as morally good, or morally bad?

If I made exactly the same comments about Unnatural Vegan (on her Instagram, on her social media, etc.) alleging that she's guilty of a crime and that nobody should hire her, etc., would you perceive that as "a good thing" that I had done, or "a bad thing"?  If I sent Unnatural Vegan hundreds of emails, insulting and harassing her, from dozens of different accounts, after she asked me to stop (as you have done to me) would you regard that as a good thing or a bad thing?

Recognize your own vindictive nature: recognize that you are the one at fault here, apologize, and stop.

Never write to me again.


Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Contending with the culture around you: Q&A.

(Note: his opening question quotes (or paraphrases) the video I'd uploaded on the same day.)

QUESTION: @a-bas-le-ciel (Youtube name) re: "I know how you feel, not because I know you, but because I know an universal principle that I'm claiming to be true" Would you say Nihilism is completely irreconcilable with the concept of universality in this sense? Is there some sort of constant tension, between the meaning YOU bring forward in your life, and the meaning that everyone else brings? I suppose the difference would be that you're in a constant state of self-evaluation; even though you hold certain meanings, and would think other people would be in the "right" to adopt them (to paint the world YOU want to paint), you would consider a better alternative if it was brought up to you, (which I suppose you would ultimately evaluate with your subjective standards...).


@aqueronte Re: "Would you say Nihilism is completely irreconcilable with the concept of universality in this sense?" 

What you're saying here is correct within limits, and incorrect outside of them: There are valid "universals", but they're things so uncontroversial, so banal, so meaningless, that they don't occur to you in the context of this conversation. Anthropologists compare various cultures to challenge or establish whether or not certain associations with the darkness of night are "universal" or not; is it really universal to consider a sunny day more cheerful than a moon-lit night? (etc.) Assigning certain "moral" values to sunshine may be "universal" in this sense --but it is utterly uncontroversial. Any issue worth contesting will be untouched by valid universal statements.

@aqueronte Re: "Is there some sort of constant tension, between the meaning YOU bring forward in your life, and the meaning that everyone else brings?" 

The only word I'd object to is "constant". Although I despise the fact that Canada is built on genocide, it would be maudlin for me to say that it is a CONSTANT tension for me, living here (it would be better described as an intermittent or occasional source of tension). Likewise, France is much too Catholic for me, but I can't say the tension is CONSTANT, etc. And, with either of these two examples (hardly an exhaustive list!) I could escape the particular sort of tension --temporarily-- by relocating to Japan (a country that neither has the history of genocide nor Catholicism). However, of course, there will be some other tension of precisely the kind you're indicating: I will have to contend with the culture around me --but not constantly.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Dealing with fans: people will impose on your time if you let them.

Elias: I still am curious to hear what your interpretation of the LSD study was.

[My reply:] (1) I hear that people in hell want ice water. (2) When I was the one asking for help, were you one of the few who even tried?

Elias: I was genuinely just interested in discussion of this topic. But...

[My reply:] My motto = active research & informed opinion. Why would I be interested in discussing it with you?

Elias: I think that your last two comments have been rather discourteous, frankly. As I said, I was merely interested to hear your reasoning on the subject. I think this easily could have been a friendly exchange instead, and I regret it could not have gone as such.

[My final, long reply ensues.]

I understand your position, but I'm asking you to understand mine: what kind of person do you think I'd be willing to make time to discuss Buddhism with? A certain kind of person, who demonstrates a certain kind of sophistication, correct?

I get 70,000 views per month, minimum: not all of those people want to talk to me (and, BTW, they may be 30,000 people, watching more than two videos each, etc.)…

…but there are plenty of people who do want to talk to me.

There are plenty of people who PRESUME that I want to take the time to find peer-reviewed articles FOR THEIR INTEREST, FOR THEIR CONVENIENCE…

Whereas they wouldn't presume to impose on a university professor's time to this extent (not even if they're paying $5000 to take the course, etc. …i.e., the professor probably should take the time to answer questions from students, and fish around to contrast scientific articles in this way).

Friday, 23 October 2020

On Pleasure, Enjoyment & Happiness.

Torn from the pages of my discord server, in the midst of a long discussion (between many parties) about quitting video games & the meaning of a more meaningful life.

(Yes, you'll have to click on the image to make it legible.)