Friday, May 12, 2023


I am reluctant to say much more about Anne at the moment, because, to most people, that would be boring and self-indulgent. Furthermore, without actually knowing me or Anne personally, a reader might be at a loss in determining whether or not my assessment is at all accurate. On a personal level, I feel as if I am living through the last days of an unpleasant relationship with a mentally ill woman, and this doesn't make for good reading and isn't quite politically correct. Of course, a fictionalized version could be made more appealing to a reader, but, because I value reason and science – and honesty – I have no desire to glamorize myself or Anne. Whatever anyone may think about me, I am firmly of the opinion that mentally ill people are generally an uninteresting topic, except as clinical subjects, because you can never escape the fact that some important dysfunction is guiding their behavior. In the case of these people, there is typically some sort of cognitive malfunction that interferes with their behavior and may be indicative of an inability to understand themselves, other people or the world in general. Take it from me: mentally ill people can be quite disturbing, and writers shouldn't distort facts to make them seem more appealing than they actually are. Generally, they are a burden on others, though, in some cases, they may possess special talents that can be considered useful. In the evolutionary process, some otherwise negative attributes may provide significant survival benefits.

On a more positive note, my house purchase is moving along smoothly. I have met the seller and like her. The closing date is currently May 31, but for technical reasons she won't move out until June 1. The property is so private that you could walk around naked in the large yard and no one would see you. I have just about finished packing and don't anticipate any moving issues. I should be all moved in by June 12 at the latest.

Because of my current circumstances, I have been more jittery than usual and have been having an even harder time coming up with new reading material. I've given up on two books and have ordered a two-volume anthology of American poetry which may provide some unfamiliar poems that I will like: we'll see. I have to say that, when I find a poem that I like, it can be deeply satisfying in a way that other written forms are usually not. A good scientific book is upcoming: Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will, by Robert Sapolsky. This will be published in October. As a supporter of determinism, I think that Sapolsky has the best research credentials to argue against free will, and this could be one of the best books on the subject ever written. I increasingly find many arguments for free will, particularly those put forward by philosophers, completely unsatisfactory. Though Sapolsky's last book, Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst, wasn't entirely satisfying to me, I think that Sapolsky is in a position to debunk many of the myths still circulating about human nature. This kind of research, along with developments in AI, could rapidly change the way we see ourselves – though there is still a lot of uncertainty about the broad outcome.

In the general news, I continue to be astounded that Donald Trump is still popular in the Republican Party. I don't think that he is likely to win the 2024 presidential election – he may even be a convicted felon by then – but this shows the extent of poor thinking by the public and how dangerous the political process has become in the U.S. Unfortunately, there aren't many good Democratic candidates in the political pipeline who are ready to take on Trump. He is popular because of his cult status rather than reason. Ultimately, his popularity is the result of the profitability that he has provided for the news media. While much of the blame goes to media such as Fox News, it is apparent that even more balanced media such as ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS have been remiss in exercising their journalistic responsibilities. They have all participated in the normalization of unacceptable behavior in politics.

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