The problem—if there is one—with very intelligent people is that it's only relative, and they often don't recognize it. The very most intelligent and knowledgeable person in the world a few thousand years ago could not hold a candle to your average 8-yr-old gamer, today. There have been millions of amazingly intelligent people throughout history that spurred on humanity. We know of less than 1% of them. We owe our survival to all of them but it's anyone's guess which were more valuable: the heralded 1%, or the never known and long forgotten 99%.
The virtue of knowledge acquisition way back when and then, was that it was wholly honest. Nobody financed it, nor did anyone have a personal financial stake in it to the extent they could expect to sell it by holding it back for themselves. To the contrary. Power structures like the ancient church at the time actively suppressed knowledge of nature, so as to keep people ignorant, to remain in control. This went on for a very long time.
Things haven't changed a whole lot principally. Only the actors, the subtlety. It went from church control to government control—a brief pause for an Enlightenment—back to various levels of control and then, the Industrial Revolution, to add a player. And it was the most important player because, it actually really created lots of values people voluntarily trade for, thus generating a lot of tradable value (money), and the church and state became whores explicitly. It's reached such a level of sophistication now, that whoring for tax dollars is a sub-contracting network, and everyone's hand is vying for the pot of gold. And given public unions and pension plans, a 30-year job with the state is a very low risk, high reward proposition that's going to break the financial back of the newest player, industry, eventually (indirectly) unless something gives first. Such is the work of the parasite.
The biggest scam in history is that the principal producers must be under the reins of the principal parasites.
One way to view history and modern geopolitics is as the means of keeping people as ignorant as possible. And it was marvelously effective, up to the age of the printing press, US Constitution (freedom of speech), newspapers, radio, TV, and now, the Internet, blogs, Facebook, Twitter—each, a step along the way, not only to the decentralization of knowledge and information, but most importantly, the absolutely unpredictable consequences. It has gotten to the point where even church and state kinda realize that to suppress it now–cat outta bag— would be worse for them than to face the inevitable consequences—which, in the most exuberant sense, would be for them to get their resumes out there, seeking honest work.
I'm not a hand wringer at all. In fact, if the real truth about everything we can have the truth for means that, oh shit, I'm a goner...then that's the way it is.
I'll take my chances. No guarantees. Everyone is on their own.
At the same time, there are and will remain for a long time, vestiges of authority. Handed down knowledge. You can't be trusted to have the raw, messy, incomplete data and decide for yourself for better or worse, risking harm or death if you should fall victim to exuberant stupidity.
Take, for example, this little post with a comment thread that nears 1,000 by this point. It was about a "crazy guy." He happens to be a practicing surgeon. In the run up to that, I spoke to several people, waxed & waned, initially brushing it off, then embracing the idea that the guy is nuts. Then, something about it was unsettling and I decided to do what I always do: blow it wide open with a blog post.
Well, I guess because we're really not beyond the idea of authority, yet. I got resistance on many fronts from respected authorities.
...My attitude about some authorities is pretty specific. They're essential for survival. It's a balance, push-pull, yin-yang sort of thing. When the shit hits the fan for you individually and you're in trama surgery, they'll save your life if it can be saved. Succumb to some weirdo disease? Likewise.
That's why I love them first, hate them only second.
And my hate is only idealistic. I'd love to not need them at all—equally idealistic. On a practical level, It's a bit sad that what happened in that comment thread, happened...pitting "us against them," as it were. From the outside looking in, to me, it reads like the authorities vs. the ignorant. The missing realization is that everyone is ignorant about something all the time and ignorance can be cured in a mater of seconds and it can be cured profoundly. Thing is, the cure for ignorance is not always to go with the authorities. In the case of that comment thread, it might be to take in far more information than available from the authorities represented, and synthesize it into a personal plan of action or retreat.
I trust people enormously. Saves me a lot of time and worry, and I think it's natural unless you have reason. Some think Jack Kruse is "dangerous," and because I can rally a lot of eyeballs on this blog, I somehow have some comic responsibility to protect straying eyeballs.
I'm a Darwinian. You're on your own and you read at your own risk.
It's not as though I—in any way—wish to set people up for a downfall, But I don't feel any particular duty to guard against that, either. I simply don't believe there is any danger to Jack Kruse's prescriptions that I can tell. I've done cold myself for years. And in the last 4 days I've spent two of them in 50 deg water for 25-30 minutes, and the last 2 days, swimming in an unheated pool at about 60 deg for over 30 minutes. Yes, Ray Cronise has some very conservative guidelines. That's cool. In my experience, I consider them hyper conservative. But it's cool.
I trust people enormously and I'm quite confident that anyone who wants to take matters into their own hands can skim that comment thread, make up their own mind, and be sensible about whatever they choose to do—and even that's a bit conceited. Most paleo people would have been OK embarking on such experimentation anyway. When I built up to 15 minutes in 40 deg water I had read nothing at all, ever. I just did it, over time. It was a natural adaptation.
Alright, so what about Melissa McEwen who figured in that comment thread? Here's the quote from her recent post.
But lately I've thought of sweat lodges because of the whole "cold adaptation" thing that's caught on a bit. Richard Nikoley posted a pro-Dr. Kruse anti-intellectual screed. The gist of it seemed to be: well, I benefited from cold water, so Dr. Kruse must be onto something and I like him anyway. Ok. Dr. Kurt Harris and Dr. Emily Deans tried to talk some sense into him. Thankfully Ray Cronise, who happens to be an expert on the subject, showed up and finally Nikoley listened to a voice of reason. If you are interested in doing some thermal hacking with cold, I strongly recommend that you follow Ray's sane science-based recommendations.
Yea, my grandmothers were always trying to "talk sense into me," too. What a condescending little bitch, eh? I would never, ever characterize her like that. Ever.
We had an exchange in comments under that post over several rounds. She eventually retired. She "resented" arguing with me because I haven't dug into the books on staph infection, which in my view is impertinent to the argument (I explain why in comments). As of this draft, they're all still there (no shouting either way). Oh, well. I'm not going to quote it here, but you can read for yourself in that thread what I think about the hand wringing, veiled authoritarianism and really, protectionism she seems to promote.
Subsequently, in an effort to constructively move to common ground, I posted a comment to her later post on food carts about my past experience in Thailand and their colorful, amazing food cart culture, by which you can tell time. It was summarily deleted soon after.
...But anyway, Melissa is a liar of convenience. Yep. It's all right here in my own comments, damn transparent and amazingly stupid. She had already posted to comments, Don Wiss showed up, and she posted as Anon to diss and insult him, but it was right after a comment she'd posted as herself. Don called her on it, and she flatly denied it. Don then asked me to look at the IP address, and since he'd been anonymously dissed, reasonable request. Yep, exact same IP. Melissa didn't even have the guts to own up. She just disappeared. So I guess we all ave our little issues with truth and reality, eh?
Yea, Melissa is whip smart—smarter than me I'm sure—and does really good blogs, is meticulous about science, and on and on. Everything Kurt Harris says about her is true.
And I fucking hate this. But, fuck me...and I'll fuck you if I can. And I didn't ask for a fight, goddammit. You insist that I condemn Kruse. I will not. You insist that I have celebrated Kruse. I have not. I raised the question. I blogged in an open way, let everyone have their say.
You fucking asked for it, Melissa.
So, how do you know what you think you know?
Update: Melissa and I are exchanging emails. I never materially edit a post. That said, here's the deal. Because it's my post and if you think I've done Melissa wrong, feel free to go after me in comments. On the other hand, please, enough said on the negative side here, don't pile on if you have an urge. Understand that I hate this. Hell, I've hugged Melissa and given her a ride in my car. I hate this. Let it rest. I said what I said, She said what she said.