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May 2022

Reasons for Poverty - The Chicken or the Egg

Excellent article from a few years ago, about what causes poverty, addiction, poor education. It's probably not what you think.

Pull quote:

It was in the prison that I first realized I should listen carefully, not only to what people said, but to the way that they said it. I noticed, for example, that murderers who had stabbed someone always said of the fatal moment that “the knife went in.” This was an interesting locution, because it implied that it was the knife that guided the hand rather than the hand that guided the knife. It is clear that this locution serves to absolve the culprit, at least in his own mind, from his responsibility for his act. It also seeks to persuade the listener that the culprit is not really guilty, that something other than his decisions led to the death of the victim. This was so even if the victim was a man against whom the perpetrator was known to have a serious grudge, and whom he sought out at the other side of the city having carried a knife with him.

The human mind is a subtle instrument, and something more than straightforward lying was going on here. The culprit both believed what he was saying and knew perfectly well at the same time that it was nonsense. No doubt this kind of bad faith is not unique to the type of people I encountered in the hospital and the prison.

Anthony Daniels, who also published under the name Theodore Dalrymple, worked as a doctor for many years in very poor regions of Africa, then in poor regions in England. He analyzes what he saw, what people declared was the reason for their condition. 

This was so good, I looked up Dr. Daniels and bought one of his books. 

You may also find his website, The Skeptical Doctor, interesting. 


Jokes I Stole, I Don't Remember From Where

The receptionist tells the psychiatrist that there's a man in the waiting room who claims to be invisible.
The psychiatrist says, "Tell him I can't see him right now."

Wait, did I already do my déjà vu joke?

My wife and I decide we don’t want children. If anybody does, we can drop them off tomorrow.

I like what mechanics wear… overall.

People call me a hypochondriac. That really hurts.

I want to write a mystery novel. Or do I?

I just saw two people weaving down the road. I said, “Get a loom!”

I love to go to book stores and tell them I’m looking for a book called, “How to deal with rejection without killing.”   (long pause) “Do you have it?”

My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

My friend asked me if you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be. I said cold war Russia.

I lost my job as a zookeeper, which I didn’t think was fair. There were signs everywhere that said, Do not feed the animals. So I didn’t.

Last year I bought my wife an artificial leg for Christmas as a stocking filler.

I drove by a McDonalds and a sign said, All Day Breakfast, and I said, oh, I don’t have time for that.