Monday, 24 January 2022

And, sometimes, they break down weeping and lament that their entire life is a lie…


[A question from H., a member of the audience:]

I understand that sentiment but lets say it was a school project and you had to work in a group, save the fact that you would carry the majority of the weight, who in the YouTube Vegan community would best benefit from working with you?...(I promise this is the last question)

——————————


It's a stupid question.


——————————


[H. replies:]

How so? You spent 5 years with these people and none not nada have developed enough, via your "conflict model" of tutolage, enough to actually do serious work with the Vegan movement?

Is being humiliated a prerequiste to enacting meaningful change?


——————————


It is a stupid question, because you ask "…who in the YouTube Vegan community would best benefit from working with you?"

If you are asking about THEM (not me, [and not the audience, not about the future of the movement or broader political goals] but [just] the other person)…

Yes, of course I think Nina and Randa would benefit from working with me, and I said so in the video.  My implicit point here being that even the least intellectually inclined of other youtubers would benefit.  People who are MORE intellectually inclined (like ODS) benefit more, people who are more interested in politics benefit more, of course —but, as I said in the video, Richard would be better off today if he'd followed my advice five years ago, Henya, Erin Janus, etc., would all be better off if they'd followed my advice (if they'd worked with me in any way).  I think it's demonstrable that all the people who did work with me benefitted from it, too (ModVegan, etc., and, yes, obviously, people who work with me now like ODS).


Re: "Is being humiliated a prerequiste to enacting meaningful change?"

For a lot of people, it is.

Not for everyone.

Plenty of people supported the "Socmas" idea.  There were atheist youtubers who opposed it.  Did I humiliate my opponents in criticizing them, and stating my case so powerfully?  (This example has spanned at least three years.)  Quite possibly some of them did feel humiliated.  Some were too stupid to feel humiliated.  (I spoke to one, in a livestream, and I remember he did seem humiliated: he'd never retracted his video denouncing me, but I think he was aware, on some level, that he'd adopted a stupid and needlessly hostile position against me.)  So, yes, SOME PEOPLE had to be humiliated even in advancing an idea that wholesome and helpful (and, frankly, "non-dangerous").

Well, we deal with a lot of dangerous ideas on this channel.  And a lot of people are going to be shocked and humiliated to have their own ignorance, mendacity and malice pointed out to them in the ensuing discussion.

Do you think people feel happy when I point out to them that they don't know what they're talking about re: the politics of Thailand or Xinjiang?

But if you ask me --with any of these examples-- "Would these other youtubers benefit from working with you?", the answer is yes.  Yes, they'd benefit from listening to me, they'd benefit from learning from me --and they'd even benefit if they just made the effort to disagree with me on a more sophisticated level.

The question is, simply, who has the strength of character (or seriousness of intent) to respond to that kind of critique positively.

Why wouldn't Mic the Vegan respond —with serious interest— to my pointing out that one of his scientific videos is factually wrong (in one case about marijuana, in another case it was about a dietary study that —in fact— had nothing to do with veganism, and he'd misrepresented his sources, as I recall)?  Why wouldn't Vegan Gains respond —with serious interest— when it is pointed out to him that he's been publicly endorsing and supporting a white supremacist who wants to exile all blacks from the U.S. and Canada (i.e., Cory McCarthy)?  Why wouldn't Nina and Randa want to have a serious discussion abut the future of the vegan movement?

Dude, there is NO TALENT there.

Talent is SCARCE.

I'm not missing out on anything by NOT helping those people, and they're not missing out on anything by refusing to be helped by me, because they're (1) stupid and (2) malign.  They don't have the intellectual, ethical or emotional character to accomplish ANYTHING positive (Richard is a great example of that).  People PRESUME good intentions, as if they're the most common thing, but good intentions (EVEN WITHIN VEGAN ACTIVISM) are really scarce!

Money, fame, power, respect, sex.  Not necessarily in that order.

If Mic the Vegan were motivated by ANYTHING ELSE, why wouldn't he care about the scientific facts I'd pointed out to him?  Why wouldn't he be fascinated, frankly?  Jaclyn Glenn, same question?  Unnatural Vegan, same question?

They're not even interested in scientific truth, vs. scientific falsehood —let alone the more dangerous and flexible kind of truth that politics involves.  They're not interested in the difference between true and false, even when we're talking about the heavy cutlass that differentiates brain damage from a medical benefit —rather than the slim, flexible rapier that differentiates a useful economic theory (or an accurate interpretation of history) from dishonest political propaganda. 

—————

[A follow-up question from JRM:]

Eisel, what do you think the solution is to someone who may have bad, evil or wrong intentions, but isn't aware of it themselves?

—————

[And I reply:]

Although NOT ALL EXAMPLES are equally positive, you get to see MANY, MANY examples of the type of "positive intervention" I've attempted myself on my youtube channel: even the most recent video about Brian Turner's stock market investment advice really is an example of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFGOYGIXZvo

I think Brian is a great example [of someone] who is unaware of the harm he's doing, and who is unaware of his own motivations in doing that harm.  And in that brief video, I am directly attempting to get him to reconsider what his own motivations are —in even plainer English, to reconsider what he's doing and why.

The videos about (i.e., AGAINST) ayahuasca are also excellent examples: I know the people promoting this stuff (and in one case, it was a PAID PROMOTION on a vegan youtube channel) are really unaware of the significance of what they're doing and why…

https://www.youtube.com/c/A-bas-le-cielBlogspot/search?query=ayahuasca

These are attempts —some more effective than others— to make people aware of the evil that they do —and it is, admittedly, a type of evil they cannot perceive themselves.

A lot of the material on Buddhism (debunking meditation courses, etc.) and a lot of the material on Communism (debunking false economic claims made about MMT, etc.) has the same sort of quality: yes, you're dealing, in part, with "dry facts" —but you're also dealing with human motivations, dripping wet.  And you can tell me, on a case by case basis, how successful I've been in challenging people to re-evaluate their motivations.

I certainly do know of examples of people who wrote in, letting me know that they broke down weeping, were shaken to their core, and suddenly felt that their whole life was a lie, etc. —and you can tell me if that's better or worse than someone having a detached, intellectual reaction, and thinking, "maybe this guy has a point".

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Talking to stupid people: the philosophy, politics and pragmatic challenges of.

Your personal trainer at the gym is never going to be this honest with you.  Your professors and teachers are never going to be this honest with you.  Your priest, pastor or Buddhist councillor is never going to be this honest with you.  Your therapist?  No chance.  But I will.

Here's a reply I sent to someone who's in the 90% of people who are some combination of stupid and malign.

——————————

(1) Nobody is reading these emails.

(2) I have zero intellectual respect for you.

(3) I think you're a coward.

(4) I think you're immoral.

(5) I think you're an idiot.

(6) There are many ways to set up an email account: with my setup, it is quite easy to receive emails without reading them, and without seeing their content (in any way) before deleting them.  If you keep sending email to this account, you should know: nobody is reading it.  Nobody is even seeing it before it goes into the garbage.

(7) You want my respect?  Earn it.

You want my patience, you want my interest?  Earn it.

(8) Think about the next five years: think about the work you'd have to do —in the next five years— to be an intellectual on my level.  Think about the quality of writing you'd need (and the depth of research and understanding your writing would have to reflect) for me to be excited to receive a message from you, and then interested in speaking to you via Skype (etc.), or just engaging in further correspondence with you.

Realize this: I despise you for all the right reasons.  It really doesn't matter if you despise yourself or not: you can have as much or as little self-esteem as you like —because it's something you apportion to yourself.  The question is, simply, are you going to do the intellectual work or not.

You never have.  You never will.

Or maybe I'm wrong.  Go ahead.  Prove me wrong.

You've got five years.  Maybe.

E.M.

Monday, 10 January 2022

What I said to Harley ("Durianrider") directly (since the trial resumed, in these last few days).

Harley,

It ain't over.  Yet.

The Future of Veganism: A FUNDRAISER.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZDSu-nJy2A

And… although I don't expect you to donate to fundraiser… you might be interested in reading the discussion of the issue (and "the point" of going back to Chiang Mai at all) that I've posted there:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-future-of-veganism-is-on-trial

E.M.


———[Without any reply, I sent the following email roughly a day later]———


Harley,

Thousands and thousands of people believed the lies you made up about me.

And they've kept those lies alive, even after you've (privately) admitted that you were in the wrong.

You never did make any effort --publicly-- to set things right or make amends (not even on the scale of my efforts in debunking Norvegan --something I had no moral obligation to get involved in, as I'd done nothing wrong, and I had nothing to make amends for --I just knew Norvegan was lying, and did something about it, because it was the right thing to do).

Remember "Fruit Angel"?

https://youtu.be/WVGg43X4PdE

She's a great example: she believed the whole phony narrative you made up.  I assume it would be painful for you to listen to that video of hers now, but you're listening to your own lies told back to you.

And for the record, remember: your initial lie was that I was having sex with Lauren in Scotland (the anorexic known as "The Vegan Lass"), and then people mysteriously forgot that, as you started to claim that I'd had some kind of connection to Julia Boer.

Everything you said about me was a lie --and you knew it at the time --and you know it now --and you never tried to set things right (not even when Freelee and Richard twisted your arm to do so, etc. etc.).

And, in the years since, you still haven't tried.

See you in court.

E.M.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

The most flattering email (from a publisher) I'm ever going to get.

Hi Eisel,

Many thanks for approaching ______ Press with your [manuscript]. Our team has looked at your submission and unanimously agree that it is extremely well-written and will appeal to many. However, it is not a good fit for ______ Press and we cannot offer you a contract. [Our books] tend to be more "cozy" and cover subjects such as __________.


Forgive me, but with your background, I'm astonished that you are even seeking a publisher. It seems you have an impressive following already plus the knowledge and ability to forge your own way. When I wrote my first book eleven years ago, like you, I knocked on publishers' and agents’ doors and most didn’t even respond, and those that did weren’t interested. My book had won a professional (glowing) critique from [a mainstream publishing corporation] but even they weren’t interested. So I decided to self-publish and it turned out to be the best thing I ever did. Not only did my books hit the New York Times bestseller list several times […] but I also pocketed all the royalties instead of sharing it with agents and publishers, and continue to do so.


In those days, the competition was less fierce, maybe. However, self-published books were never even considered by most bookstores, whereas now our books can appear on all the big catalogues, whether self-published or not. And although thousands of new titles appear on Amazon every week, there is no reason why a good book can’t be discovered and perform well.

I highly recommend that you self-publish, […]

Good luck with whichever route you decide to take,

__________

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Q&A: What About Pornography? (Will There Be "Quit Porn" Videos on ABLC?)

Hey Eisel,

Thanks for your awesome videos on video games. I was considering buying a Nintendo Switch but will now never buy one after your many videos on video games and Nintendo products. Can you make similar related videos on people having ruining their lives with porn and such? I think that's the last hurdle I have for sobriety really, I don't drink, don't smoke, no video games, no meat or animal products, but there is still porn that is prevalent in my life.

Your videos that show people who really effed themselves by falling into their addictions and then your commentary on those, really drives home the message for these other things.

Also I did want fame and wealth too, but that's not the end goal anymore. You're right that I should make the effort in trying out things just for the sake of doing them, even if I end up as a failure in them and nothing comes about it, the fact that I tried is meaningful enough, more meaningful than the success ever would be. I don't want to end up like those "successful" people who do nothing but waste their lives all day.

Thanks


———[My reply ensues.]———


Hi _________,


I'm really "a moderate" on both of these issues, but I'm perceived as an extremist, because we live in such an immoderate culture.

From my biased perspective, is it possible to play SOME video games?  My honest belief (applied to myself and my daughter) is, "yes", but I keep having encounters with particular examples of people who are so susceptible to addictive behavior that it seems the answer may be "no" --i.e., I may be rather too moderate (although I'm perceived as extreme in my critique of video games).

To give an example, I often point to "Pacman C.E." as a positive example of a game that can be played for a maximum of five minutes (this exists as an 8-bit Famicom cartridge, but is primarily played on emulators).

However, I've received emails from people who were SERIOUSLY ADDICTED to games that were even more simplistic than that --games that lasted two or three minutes that they would play, repetitiously, for many hours.

Now, as you know, I'm living in a country and culture where the vast majority of people think it's totally acceptable for adult men to spend 20 hours per week playing video games --so I'm perceived as an extremist in any case.

So, by the same token, at what point is pornography a problem for people?

If we're talking about 5 minutes here and there (say, 35 minutes per week, even if not distributed evenly as 5 minutes per day), then I really don't see the problem.

And it's very difficult for me to imagine anyone being stupid enough to spend hours watching porn (it's just fundamentally boring, IMHO).  It's very difficult for me to imagine porn as an addictive behavior.

Human sexuality is innate, curiosity is innate, and being curious about what other people look like naked (etc.) seems to me anodyne enough --so I do not put pornography in the same category as video games (nor in the same category as gambling).

Do people ruin their lives watching pornography?

Do people fail courses in university because they're spending too much time watching pornography?

The equivalent, for video games, is at epidemic levels: a large percentage of high school and university students are either failing in school, or learning nothing in school while passing, precisely because of video games.  However, is there a significant percentage of people ruining their lives (in this same way) by spending a similar number of hours watching pornography?

How many people per year get fired from their jobs because they stayed awake all night watching pornography?  (The equivalent does indeed happen with video games, stereotypically with MMORPGS.)

So, in short, I'm skeptical that pornography really presents the same kind of cultural problem (as video game playing).

The counter-examples I have seen are either (1) people who were addicted to drugs (e.g., a meth addict who would watch pornography for many hours, but it was clearly meth --not porn-- that was the fundamental problem), and (2) people who were seriously mentally disabled (and/or insane) who would have had many of the same problems without pornography in their lives.

So, honestly, my perception is that the inclusion of pornography in the same category as video games may be "a false equivalency".

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Stupidity is Real. No, REALLY…

["Fan mail" from J.P. ensues:]

Re: veganism and your disgusting rant about Matt Dillahunty's point of view.

Your pathetic and intentionally ignorant word-salad effort to explain the typically myopic vegan tribe position on the empty assertion of moral superiority is moronically deficient in the simplest of evidence.

There is but one incontrovertable [sic] fact that overrules everything you've said about veganism -- from the top of the food-chain down, everything that lives on the face of this planet kills and eats as many other living things as possible to survive another day, or, alternatively, is killed and eaten, if not by predators then by parasites and microbes that are even deadlier. Ultimately, nothing escapes the cycle, including humans.

To pretend there is a significant difference between animal and vegetable foodstuffs is sleezier obfuscation than anything you have accused Matt  of because you cannot describe with specificity what you throw around as 'sentient' -- you cannot know whether and to what degree vegetable specimens may or may not be sentient. You don't even know how to know. Vegans kill and consume millions of tons of vegetable matter while totally oblivious of, or hypocritically ignoring, the fact.

I would be greatly pleased if you and all your pittiful [sic] accolytes [sic] would be true to your vegan dogma and eat nothing but rocks and sand, er...for at least the next few days -- Bon appetite!

In short, it was a complete waste of time and audio bandwidth listening to your ridiculous babbling which was really as logical and reasonable as a putrid stream of wet farts.  

(don't bother to respond-- I will never visit this site again!)

——————————

Hi J.P.,

Over the last 8 years, à-bas-le-ciel has become famous (and notorious) within veganism / amongst vegans, precisely because of my willingness to criticize (and really condemn) my fellow vegans.

Two quick examples, to give you a sense of how "atypical" this youtube channel is (and the harshness of the criticism I trade in).

          Title: "Vegan Activism is a Scam: Millions of Dollars Wasted."

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSRRDtRgqJQ

          Title: "Dogs and Cats: Veganism's Little White Lie, Huge Hypocrisy."

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgmHgAQxQns

In your one, long comment, you've attributed many arguments to me that I have never presented on my channel (and this is a channel with THOUSANDS of videos)… indicating that you're unaware of what my arguments for veganism are… and, more broadly, that you're unaware of the position of this channel (a-bas-le-ciel) within the vegan movement.

Your comment doesn't indicate any familiarity with vegan politics generally, but you are, nevertheless, attributing a "made up" set of fallacies to me, that my own arguments neither espouse nor presuppose.

You can check out any of the videos on the playlist called "the short list", here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZEkgohG7k7rStbYGdBRzEgyPVm3RHqMT

For example, notably: "The Product of Your Ethical Decisions is YOU." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBGgVRWbN9Q&list=PLZEkgohG7k7rStbYGdBRzEgyPVm3RHqMT&index=6

For a directly autobiographical answer to the question of why I became vegan, cf.,

          "Who I really am; why I became vegan." 

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCK5fXUaRj0

E.M.



Monday, 13 December 2021

Gormless Conformists and the Reform of Education.

[This is an email sent to a retired university professor who is --in his way-- involved in the reform of education, or at least in the critique of education that could lead up to some kind of reform.]

When I was at Cambridge (England) my wife and I were laughing all the time about the fact that the British had devised a system of education that COULD ONLY WORK for people like me --and yet, at the same time, it completely excluded people like me.

Most departments at Cambridge are "self directed learning" to a fault: NOBODY teaches you ANYTHING.

My wife's PhD supervisor* DID NOT READ her PhD thesis (he didn't even look at it!) and he certainly didn't provide any supervision or advice.

* [Footnote: after several years of this, at the very end of the process, she was reassigned to a different supervisor, who did read her work.]

I was not there as a student, you will have surmised: I was there as the husband of a student (and that was my first wife, we're now divorced, and I'm instead marrying someone who has read Thucydides).

It is possible that chemistry and physics do not operate this way, but many departments at Cambridge and Oxford really are "self-directed learning".

Guess what the result is?

Religious maniacs arrive, they gain a PhD, and they leave without anyone challenging their religious mania.

True-believing Communists arrive, they gain a PhD, and they leave without anyone challenging their Communist mania.

This is true throughout myriad ideologies.

When you get into factual material, the reality is even more bleak: people write M.A. theses and PhD theses about Cambodia… and they LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT SIDE THE AMERICANS WERE FIGHTING ON.  They are writing the history as if the Americans were on the opposite side.

Not just in Buddhism, but in politics and history, I was routinely seeing "Santa Claus errors" --an idiom I made up to describe errors at the level of thinking Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are one and the same person.

Nobody corrects them.  Nobody feels that they're paid to criticize or cross-examine these students.  In a very real sense, nobody educates them.

All they get is a library card and a deadline.

"Self directed learning".

The United States lately had a remarkable challenge in improving the level of education in Afghanistan, hm?  And in eradicating the Taliban THROUGH education, if we're being perfectly honest.  This couldn't possibly be accomplished through self-directed learning.

Self-directed learning increases inequality.  People like myself can thrive on it: highly independent, highly motivated, self-critical, defiant, frankly brilliant people --BUT IRONICALLY, the only people who could "get ahead" at Cambridge were gormless conformists.  The professors wouldn't work with anyone who challenged their ego in any way: they wanted supplicants, not applicants --and that's exactly what they got.

Do you already know the book, "Academically Adrift"?  (It's quite likely I've mentioned it to you before, perhaps years ago now.)

https://www.amazon.com/Academically-Adrift-Limited-Learning-Campuses/dp/0226028569/

Look, at age 43, I am genuinely at the point of saying, "Carthago est Delenda".

At this point, our educational institutions could be improved by being burnt down.