The idiocy of adding chemicals to nicotine products


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2The sheer scale of grotesque materials added to nicotine products like cigarettes and and vaping is astonishing. It’s even more astonishing when you realize these things add nothing at all to the product. It’s also absurd, and dangerous. Chemicals include arsenic, lead, and a particularly nasty, and useless, compound called Butadiene.

Why are these things tolerated in any product containing nicotine? In any other class of product, they’d be considered absurd – and illegal.

To explain:

  • The active ingredient in tobacco and vaping is nicotine.
  • The tobacco plant produces the nicotine.
  • Tobacco plants can be cured with sugar and water, and processed without the need for any other materials.
  • Other materials are in effect totally unnecessary added costs.
Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Fear of creativity is the sure sign that you should be a publisher. Read this, and you’ll never need homicidal maniacs again.

The theory of adding chemicals to nicotine has never had a leg to stand on. The original theory/excuse for additives, adding petroleum compounds to make smokes burn better, doesn’t stack up at all.

Tobacco has been a global commodity for hundreds of years. At no time in the history of tobacco did anyone feel the need to add a vast library of chemicals to the raw product, until the 20th century.

In fairness – All consumer commodities, like illegal drugs, are usually cut or diluted with something. There are very few pure products around unless you eat them straight out of the ground.

The up to 4000 chemicals found in cigarettes are a lesson in total incompetence. The 4000 chemicals link contains some useful information from the Quit side. (With one caveat – Carbon monoxide is produced by burning anything containing carbon including wood, paper and just about any type of food; it’s a primary oxide created by burning. Plant tissues contain carbon, hence the presence of carbon monoxide in tobacco.)

Wanderlaugh, Paul Wallis books, Amazon

My books are set in the England of the immortals, not some dreary little off license. Wonder why? No.

The point here is that NONE of those chemicals need to be there. NONE of these chemicals are in the raw product, or shouldn’t be, notably pesticides, which should be eliminated at the curing stage or by better agricultural practices, like hydroponics.

Why the hell would cyanide be a requirement? Naphthalene is used in moth balls. What’s it doing in cigarettes? Do tobacco companies have some raging need to add costs to their own production? Or is it just plain sloppy manufacturing?

Call me cynical, but I’d say that given that the original plant shouldn’t contain anything BUT plant materials, the smoking gun, excuse the pun, is squarely in the hands of the manufacturing process.

Vaping, nicotine and risks

Vaping is a game-changer. You can use pure nicotine, with no additives at all, in a safe solution like say peanut oil or something 100% harmless. This is no-brainer chemistry. It’s also no-brainer business, reducing costs and risks.

A vaping company called Discount Vapers.com makes a point about the risks and safety of vaping, at its own expense. This company even goes to the extent of questioning silica in vaping wicks, a valid point.

The big argument about vaping worldwide currently based on the issue of “not knowing” what’s in vaping fluids. It’s a stupid situation; there should be no doubt at all what’s in ANY consumer product at all, nor whether it’s safe. An epidemiological no-brainer, in fact.

It’s a pity that the pro and anti lobbies have been so maniacally effective in obscuring real research. Research designed to produce a pro or anti finding is highly suspect, and certainly no help to the credibility of the pro and anti arguments.

Nicotine delivery, explained

This is the case with all drugs: A delivery system should be measured, straightforward, and there should be minimal risks of contamination. Nicotine is a fast acting drug, analogous to vitamin B3, aka oxidized nicotinic acid, according to my Penguin Dictionary of Chemistry.

Hence the addictive properties of tobacco. You simply can’t get addicted to anything unless there’s a body chemistry analogue. Morphine, for example, is a close analogue to endorphins, etc. That’s why any addictive drug which also acts as a carrier  for hanger-on unnecessary chemicals needs to be closely quality controlled.

The contaminated products also deliver any old thing in those 4000 sloppily manufactured chemicals, fast. It’s hardly surprising that toxicity is so high.

Therefore – It is nothing less than chronically, certifiably, insane for tobacco products NOT to have all contaminants excluded. Smokers won’t mind if their smokes or vapes aren’t full of garbage. There’s no sales resistance to a better product, after all.

(Before non-smokers get too smug – Those same 4000 chemicals are also at saturation levels in the highly polluted air. You’re smoking the equivalent of a few packs a day yourselves just by breathing. Your car puts out a fair percentile whack of the same chemicals, every X miles or so, by the kilogram, not the micrograms in cigarettes. Thanks to our irresponsible, anti-everything governments and their slack, lazy enforcement of pollution laws, you’re all now global heavy passive smokers.)

A suggestion or two about nicotine

Nicotine is historically used to relieve stress. It was actually prescribed by doctors in the mid-20th century to reduce stress. In a stress-addled world, it has a role, provided it’s safe to use. A deficiency of B3, in fact, is a medical condition called pellagra, and the symptoms of pellagra include delusions and death. So a fast delivery system for a close B3 relative might not be all bad, particularly if you don’t like delusions and death as part of your life’s itinerary.

Another issue – B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, and B3 levels are negatively affected by, believe it or not, sugar. Given the sheer toxicity of high fructose syrups, super-sugars in water-based products, (for which there are no dietary precedents in human history), maybe a B3 analogue isn’t such a bad idea, if fructose reduces B3 levels? Don’t worry, epidemiologists, I’ll charge you for this information later.

The suggestions:

  1. Decontaminate all nicotine products to reduce obvious risks.
  2. Stop being coy about why nicotine is addictive.
  3. Don’t ignore the de-stressing capabilities of nicotine; it may just be a way of doing something about this hideously stressed-out world of ours. As a medication, it may be very valuable, and more importantly, very effective, for chronic stress.
  4. Just make it compulsory for any nicotine product to be ONLY nicotine, with no additives at all.

I’ve now been saying this for 20 years, so it’s probably due to become a public issue sometime. Moralize all you want, but chemistry is chemistry, business is business, and health is health. Just get all three right, and there should be no problems.

 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

3D Flooring – Living spaces beyond minimalist dullness at last?


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2I loathe minimalism. I draw the line at being expected to worship laminates.  3D flooring may be the answer to the minimalist design desert.

I’m as fond of “spaces” as anyone, in fact. I love them, but there is definitely a point at which turning interior design in to “how to create a bland, meaningless hole” is unacceptable. Minimalism has had 20 years of fawning acceptance, and it’s time to go.

Nor would giving minimalism the boot do much damage to good designers. The only ones at risk would be the true crap artists. There are bacteria with more design credentials than that, and these sheep definitely won’t be missed. It might actually be more humane to put them down. How bad can it be if your claim to design talent is a bit of utterly ignorable white surface? Death or release into real design could only help these poor bastards.

3D flooring basics

3D flooring, picture of bed above blue sky and clouds

Source: Beddinginn.com

Flooring of pinkish scarlet flowes in bathroom

Source: Heaven 3D Interior

Beach shallows image 3D flooring

Source: Design Swan

Living room setting with water flooring and coastal motif wall showing small islands on the horizon.

Source: Imperial Interiors

Bedroom with large Earth surrounded by stars, with sun breaking over the eastern horizon and moon on the other side.

Source: aliexpress.com Custom Star Earth design

The idea of 3D flooring is so basically good in so many ways. The floor is the largest contiguous area in any architectural space. It’s a great way of adding color and motifs.

3D floors are basically polymers, epoxy resin, tough as nails, and easy to clean. You could put these things over practically any surface. Obviously, there’s no guarantee against scuffing, but most damage would be pretty minor.

 

This is the natural development of split levels – split dimensions and perspectives. If these early designs are just that, imagine the possibilities, like Gothic themes, H.P. Lovecraft… favorite movies, meditation rooms….anything, really. Talk about a merchandising dream, but there are huge artistic possibilities here.

3D walls are also arriving, if less dramatically. Thank god for high definition and good vectoring, is all I need to say. You could outdo the Baroque period, with a bit of thought, and if you’re bloody-minded enough, add real Baroque stuff to totally confuse everyone, including yourself.

Every living space IS different. Making that space nice and liveable, however, is very much a matter of individual preferences. Some of the 3D ideas are quite elegant, and if they owe a bit to 1940s-50s modern abstracts, (the pre-pop art stuff) that’s a good pedigree for any design.

One thing I notice about 3D is that you don’t take long to say Yes or No. The visual impact is such that you either love it or want to go around it.

I honestly don’t think this is a fad. I think it’s the beginning of a new, more visually intensive, but in many ways more advanced living aesthetic.

Humans always try to create good life spaces for themselves. Pity they don’t pay more attention to the hideous life spaces they often create for others, but when it’s your home, it’s personal. The level of care about design goes up enormously.

You often, in fact monotonously, hear about “conversation pieces” in design. These floors could be called “consciousness starters”. People naturally adjust to new environments. It may well be that one reason so many people are so utterly unaware of their environments is that so many modern environments are all so

Classical living room, with water feature floor design in pale blue with coral, dolphins, fish, etc.

Source: DHgate.com

similar.  New, unfamiliar environments may be just what’s needed to kickstart the human brain.

Anyway, I want the cloud bed flooring. I like the idea of going to bed above a serene sky and waking up to something that doesn’t scream “Clean me!”, too.

For more fabulous 3D flooring, check out this link.

Please note – All 3D flooring pictures shown on this blog are copyright properties of their respective owners. I do not claim to own any intellectual property rights over these pictures.  The images are used here under terms of Fair Use, solely for the purpose of commentary.

 

Readability – Nitpicker’s heaven, or is Yoast losing it?


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2I’m always fascinated by the theory of readability, the pedants, and the total lack of interest in actual content requirements. Yoast is no exception. Check out this, based on my “future of books” blog:

  1. Bad SEO score2 of the subheadings are followed by more than the recommended maximum of 300 words. Try to insert additional subheadings.
  2. Mark this result in the text Bad SEO score The text contains 3 consecutive sentences starting with the same word. Try to mix things up!
  3. Mark this result in the text OK SEO score 29% of the sentences contain a transition wordor phrase, which is less than the recommended minimum of 30%.
  4. Mark this result in the text OK SEO score5% of the sentences contain passive voice, which is more than the recommended maximum of 10%. Try to use their active counterparts.
  5. Good SEO score The copy scores 64.6 in the Flesch Reading Easetest, which is considered ok to read.
  6. Good SEO score None of the paragraphs are too long, which is great.
  7. Mark this result in the text Good SEO score3% of the sentences contain more than 20 words, which is less than or equal to the recommended maximum of 25%.

Note the minute deviations like 29% instead of 30%. No bandwidths. Not also the emphasis on “too long”, etc.

  1. …Yet the overall SEO score was “good”.
  2. 3 sentences on the same subject starting with the same word? The subject was “books”, so the subheads included books.
  3. A transition word or phrase: Transition words include “and”, “probably” and “maybe”…. So bloody what? These things are used in syntax, too. Or is syntax another subject never to be mentioned?
  4. Passive voice: Did an entire blog which scored 100% passive voice, and 98% readability. Tell you anything, pedants? Reading is about readability.
  5. Readability on Flesch is 64% but the overall rating is bad?

Do style guides have a clue?

In so many words, no. They’re a nitpicker’s heaven. The people who have nothing to do with generating content can sit there with a readout like this and pronounce judgement.

Passive voice is also usually narrative, the required, and largely unavoidable, story telling information between quotes, active voice, etc. Narrative, strangely, occurs in scientific papers, news articles, and reportage of anything. It even occurs in conversations to tell people what the bloody subject of the story is. No narrative? Gonna be some fabulous bit of communication, eh?

 

This is “narrative”, according to Google:

narrative
ˈnarətɪv/
noun
  1. 1.
    a spoken or written account of connected events; a story.
    “a gripping narrative”
    synonyms: accountstorytalechroniclehistorydescriptionrecordportrayalsketchportraitstatementreportrehearsalrecitalrendering

    “a chronological narrative of Stark’s life”
    adjective 
  1. 1.
    in the form of or concerned with narration.
    “a narrative poem”

I won’t even begin to get in to the technical issues. Some content is written for timing, for perspective, contrast, or simply to add poise to a sentence. Written content isn’t the same thing as a bloody shopping list, clowns.

There are supposed to be a few things in any decent text:

  • Expression
  • Emphasis
  • Modes of speech
  • Syntax
  • Context

Without them, you’ve GOT a shopping list:

  • Now’s the winter of our discontent.
  • Made glorious spring.
  • 500g butter
  • Bread
  • Doritos

Try getting that delivered – Or getting someone to read it. Point made?

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

The future of books


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2The subject of the future of books keeps coming up. E-books, whatever media, the inevitable move to rethinking the whole idea of a book would happen anyway. It’s a bit like saying “nothing will ever replace stone tablets”.

This subject came to mind as a result of reading the saga of the demise of Gould’s Books, a big Sydney book shop where I’ve been going for decades. I met Bob Gould a few times in a “G’day” sort of way, never got to know him. He was a passionate believe in the classic “educate the masses” ideals, and he did just that, for all those years.

How books created the future

In fact, whether anyone likes it or not, that was how modern ideas spread.  From pamphlets to the Rights of Man wasn’t that much of a step, at least physically. Mentally, it was a gigantic leap. The tidal surges of progressive writing for the last 400 years or so are indicative. From serfdom to well, a complete social elsewhere, in fact.

Books have written as much real history as their writers. In China, the rise of books gave birth to the scholar class which was to dominate ancient and even modern China. China without its literature would have been impossible. In Europe, Gutenberg lit the fire which never went out. In the original Islamic world, modern science found its origins in book learned disciplines, which then spread around the world. Continue reading

The never ending American Civil War vs Earth


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2The American Civil War didn’t end in 1865. It simply revised its methods. It’s an interesting fact that whatever is center stage in US politics devolves back to this one very basic Civil War dichotomy.

The Civil War had many different original sources. Slavery vs abolition was one of the catalysts, but it also reflected the very different economics and mindsets of the two sides. The war came and went, but never left American politics.

Mark Twain, in his Life on the Mississippi, mentions that in the South, every conversation in his day turned to the war. In the North, it was just an occasional topic. Not much has changed. The Civil War restructured America in to a more or less permanent adversarial perspective.

American ValhallaThe Civil War was America’s worst war. 3% of the entire population were casualties, dead or wounded. Today, that’d be 9 million people. Roughly 10% of the population served during the war or 30 million today.

Talking about monuments to human suffering – After it ended, Robert E Lee was asked by a woman what to tell her sons about the war. His reply was succinct: “Tell your sons to abandon their antagonisms! Teach them to become Americans!”

It was good advice, and like most good advice, it was ignored. Just about all of America’s internal disruptions and dysfunctions ever since could have been avoided if that advice had been followed. Continue reading

The No Think society


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2A No Think society is a recipe for failure. In the past, No Think societies have blundered on regardless down the millennia, crashing whole civilisations. Now, the same No Think mentality is destroying this civilisation just as effectively.

No Think, defined

A No Think environment is typically all about means and processes, rather than objectives. Goals are vague, and often just token rhetoric, like “… for our children, and our children’s children”, utterly meaningless. (Thatcher’s “children’s children” are a monument to the barrenness of No Think.)

At best, No Think goes from A to B, however haphazardly or insanely. Even the idea of more steps from C-Z doesn’t begin to enter the “thinking”. No Think is also stunningly undemanding in terms of logic. There’s little or no If/then logic, aka contingency logic/step logic/using your brain for something other than keeping your ears apart.

No Think is also extremely simplistic, almost insultingly so. Generally, it’s no more than a jingle, like Make America Great Again or Peace in Our Time. Even the physical realities are somehow expected to follow the jingle, not the facts. Greatness and peace need more than verbosity to happen.

The ramifications of No Think

No Think is also highly counterproductive. For example:

  • Generations full of plagues of psychologists and psychiatrists now exist with unheard-of levels of mental illness. (To be fair, many psychologists and psychiatrists are among the most ferocious critics of this situation.) The No Think theory is that if someone’s there to do a job, it must be being done. It isn’t.
  • Human rights is a major cause for all progressives. It’s even accepted by conservatives, however unenthusiastically. Human rights abuse in the No Think world is now as bad as it’s ever been. Slavery is higher than ever before.
  • Poverty is the all-time leading disaster in human life. Attempts to end or alleviate poverty are ongoing and sincere, but the No Think society, with its one step logic, doesn’t get it. Even by its own very shallow standards, poverty is bad for a No Think society. Poverty means lower economic participation, lower revenue, less business, and serious obstacles to productivity. See anyone actually doing anything about ending poverty?
  • Pollution is poison. Any one of those toxic chemicals can kill you or give you a serious medical condition. Some of the chemicals make compounds of each other, and nobody really knows what they can do. You, on the other hand, are more likely than ever to find out. You’re in big trouble, hit with serious medical expenses, and is anyone doing anything about pollution. Only very slowly and grudgingly. The No Think approach is that “pollution is business”. That’s it. No more thinking has been done. The result is a pole to pole sewer full of toxic materials and very large numbers of very sick people.
  • High fructose syrup is generally considered very dangerous. The rates of obesity and diabetes have gone up drastically in the last generation. High fructose is one of the major culprits. It took at least a decade for even the basic theory of the risks of high fructose to filter through the No Think political environment.
  • Carbon emissions are quite unnecessary and easily preventable with proper process filtering and better, cleaner, combustion. Carbon products like coal and oil can be used to make much safer products that earn more money for producers. Is any of that that happening? No. Again, “Pollution is business,” and the rest is just lying.
  • Polarization is extremely bad for societies. In the whole of human history, there has never been anything safe about people who hate each other’s guts living side by side. What’s happening in No Think Land? Deliberate polarization, and it’s a career for a lot of people.
  • Crime is parasitism. The No Think society is “tough on crime”, but is that having any real impact? No. Quite the opposite, crime rakes in about $1 trillion per year, at the expense of the entire human race. The ridiculous War on Drugs simply bankrolled organized crime, which now contaminates and corrupts just about all sectors of business. No Think, not surprisingly and as usual, has no answers and no ideas.

Yes, this could go on forever, and I’m not going to waste my time or yours on the very long list of subjects. The real issue is the No Think problem. If you don’t think about possible outcomes, you’re going to hit the fan sooner or later. If you don’t model and plan, you don’t have either a model or a real plan.

No Think = No Criticism

One thing that fascinates me about No Think is that all forms of criticism are blocked, however ineptly. Facts are ignored, ideas are simply not developed, and practical issues are rarely mentioned. Even the theory of public, let alone expert, input and criticism is simply absurd in most cases.

Not helping matters much is the fact that in many cases the criticism, particularly expert criticism, isn’t even understood. If your mindset is that A to B = making money, then no criticism is likely to be seriously considered. If the mindset is tail protection, then criticism is very unlikely to be acted upon.

A con man is a good example. The last thing a con man wants a victim to do is think. The fewer risks the victim is aware of, the better. Now apply that theory to global finance. See how those ridiculous, impossible Third World and Greek loan scenarios fit so well in to No Think business? No Think is a built-in barrier to accurate assessment of anything. If you don’t think, you can’t argue.

No Think Executive Culture

Gothic Black, Paul Wallis books Amazon

This book is all about fears. It includes a monster which learns how to bore people to death and the wonderful town of Pithcurdle, in which the coming of the dreaded Toothpaste Man is a cause for celebration.

C.N. Parkinson, author of Parkinson’s Law, made a very accurate assessment of No Think. He said that the targets are very close, so scoring is high. This is a type of incrementalism, the sort that claims that a 1% increase in something or saving money on wages by sacking staff is some sort of achievement.

It isn’t, and can’t be. The nominal figures are also open to debate, given that you’ve just lost your income-earning staff, and that 1% barely equates to inflation. You’ve met your pathetic goals, and patted yourself on the back, but nothing much has actually been done.

Now imagine a world invested in endless executive meetings, where this is the default method of doing quite literally everything. Whether it’s education, health, or a war, this No Think is based on minimal actual logic, perspective, or anything else which could be called mental activity of any kind.

Political No Think is roughly similar, and can be society-wide. The French Revolution against monarchy resulted in an Emperor, Napoleon. The great egalitarian Bolshevik revolution resulted in an oligarchy of privilege for some, and death and misery for millions.

Military No Think

The longest-running and best documented example of No Think is military. In the very first recorded battle in history, a Pharaoh rewrote history so that he was seen as the main hero in winning the battle of Megiddo. The Crusades were recorded as noble adventures in the name of God, but were in fact sleazy, personal-empire-building, failures involving massacres of everybody, including Christians. The Thirty Years’ War decimated central Europe as badly as the Plague, but was always portrayed as a religious cleansing by BOTH sides.

Paul Wallis, Live Lazy and Love It, Amazon

The theory of this book is that if you can afford to be lazy, you must be doing something right.

In World War One, the idea that unprotected human beings charging machine guns was a bad move took 3 years, and millions of casualties, to sink in. World War One itself was totally unnecessary, but its No Think logic paved the way for Hitler, World War 2, and everything else that followed at the expense of slaughtering two generations. The War to End All Wars produced nothing BUT more wars.

Talk about counterproductive – The British Empire, which had absolutely no reason to get involved at all in World War One, started itself on the way to oblivion. The Austrians, who started the war, lost their empire, as did the Russians and Germans. France, the unwilling host of the worst of the war, turned in to a gigantic graveyard from the Channel to the Swiss border.

In Vietnam, 50 years later, no amount of tactical or political information seemed to make the slightest difference. A No Think political  mindset ignored both the successes and the failures. Having discarded the military option and obviously not considered any others, it tried for that most untrustworthy of escapes, a “political solution” which definitively lost the war.

This is No Think incarnate – Stupid, thoughtless decisions based on nothing resembling real logic. The 20th century was the warning. The 21st century may well be the tombstone.

The world can’t afford this type of super-idiocy any more. If you’re not thinking, you can’t really be in control of anything. Situations need to be managed. The next big mistake may be the last. All problems can be solved. Mistakes can be rectified. If they’re not, it’s well past time to go, humanity. Nobody’s wearing T shirts saying “Save the Stupid”, are they?

intelligent

Read a few of my books and claim that they’re interesting. Nobody will believe you, they’ll think you’re a nut, and you can frolic to your heart’s content.

SMJ hasn’t been updated for a while, thanks largely to volume of work and Amazon’s various new features, which I’ll have to manually add. Expect something, but no idea when. 

 

 

The compulsory slum in your head


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Human existence is a range of slightly augmented basic needs. All societies impose a large number of restrictions on human life. That includes providing a full-function conceptual slum by default.

The conceptual slum is based on a series of How Tos. How to be normal, how to have a family, how to have a career, how to have a social life, et cetera. This range of How Tos also eats up a lot of time.

This is a historical phenomenon with many ramifications. The totally screwed current generation of millennials can be easily forgiven for thinking that the past was some sort of great-grand-paternal benign haze of “old things”. It wasn’t.

Quite the opposite. The past was a collection of similar How To compulsions, including status-sucking middle-class imperatives like the nuclear family, two cars, endless appliances, and so on. Who you were was basically dictated by what you had in the way of possessions and social status. Sound familiar?

Paul Wallis, Live Lazy and Love It, Amazon

The theory of this book is that if you can afford to be lazy, you must be doing something right.

If Machiavelli doesn’t deserve fame for any other reason (and he doesn’t, the smug sycophantic little bastard) he deserves acknowledgement for defining a hierarchy of social compulsions. Sycophancy is nothing new. It reflects the realities of social hierarchies/real social relationships very effectively. These social relationships are a virtual map of social compulsions.

Social grovelling is your instant guide to who’s who, what’s what, and the passing priorities of whole societies. All this is based on what are bizarrely called “real world” factors.

This means that your desperate need to socialise with somebody you can’t stand is compulsory. You are afflicted with a range of social relationships whether you like them or not.

Even more excitingly, your own priorities are also very much affected/afflicted with the effects of other people’s compulsions. This banal mechanism is the basis of human society of the past and present. It dates back to the caves, and probably the trees. The big atavism of Jack London’s Before Adam, Orwell’s Big Brother, any form of vague social authority is all you need.

The Mental Slum

If you’ve ever wondered why seemingly intelligent people are virtual slaves to every sort of materialism, ideology, fashion, or whatever, the compulsion is very insidious. The metal slum is derived from the social slum. The lowest common denominator is mediocrity, and the lowest common denominator is also the average.

It may not be your idea to blunder around in a world full of idiotic lifestyles, ridiculous extravagance, and “terror by tantrum” in the form of real terrorism or office tyrants. Socialising with psychopaths may not even be your idea of a good time. This is the social environment, and this is the real slum.

A slum, by definition, is a filthy, disorganised, poverty-stricken, crime and disease-ridden environment. The mental slum is no different. Mental filth could be described as mental trash. Mental poverty doesn’t need a description. Mental crime, in its many forms, is pretty normal. Is it any wonder that mental disease is so common?

Imagine, if you will, a world where compulsions are avoidable. Real choices are available, and your mind and intelligence don’t have to wear the repulsive prison uniforms of suits, offices, mortgages, and constant need.

Somewhat different, would you say?

Talking about “different”– One of the strangest things I have ever heard, and believe me when I say I have heard some pretty strange things, was a single sentence: “Fear of being different”. Think about that seemingly innocuous expression for half a second.

Different according to whom, or what? Society, of course. This pathetic, clapped out, hopeless, mindless excuse for total failure which we call society causes people to fear being different?

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Fear of creativity is the sure sign that you should be a publisher. Read this, and you’ll never need homicidal maniacs again.

If you’re claiming to be a human being, (and you really should know better), you ARE different. Nobody else is you. Even mathematically, you are different. Forget pseudo-egalitarianism; Person A is not Person B in physical terms, mental terms, life experience, perceptions, perspectives, add dictionary here.

The social slum you were born with, however, dictates “normality”, however absurd. The irony is that normality is usually a conglomeration of accepted How Tos, and equally normally completely out of date. The norms of the previous generations are therefore inflicted on younger generations to whom they are basically meaningless.

In Western culture, that famous contradiction in terms, the norm continues to be a whole series of compulsions from roughly the 1950s. These compulsions are now almost completely irrelevant, and progressively becoming more absurd as models for doing anything.

Why inflict new generations with the mental slums of the past? What possible use could it serve? Who benefits?

Getting out of the slum

To get out of the slum:

Keep your distance from it: There is no need to participate. You’ll have a much healthier, much happier life as a result.

Avoid the Idiot Factories: Ideologies, in particular, simply restrict thinking. They rarely if ever add anything to do it. You may also have to waste a lot of time un-learning the bad habits and lousy arguments of ideologies.

Don’t merely accept anything: You don’t have to believe a damn thing. Check out your information; is it consistent, and does it make actual practical sense?

Either you run your life, or it runs you: Who’s winning, the groceries or you? Make sure it’s you.

Forget How Tos: Nobody can tell you how to be yourself. Nor do they have any right to do so. Your best friends will insist that you be yourself, and that should be enough of a hint for anyone.

When you get out of the slum, stay out.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

The new phobias – Fears in a clapped out, thoughtless world


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Fear is a major driver in human existence. Fear is actually one of the reasons humans stand on two legs; to better see danger. These days, fear is a way of life. The new fears are pathetic, but predictable.

  • Gnostiphobia -The fear of knowledge. This is the wonderful mechanism whereby being an ignoramus is acceptable/compulsory in human society.
  • Bibliophobia – Fear of books. This type of fear is largely responsible for the regression of the human race into its present disgusting state.
  • I-phobia – Fear of being oneself and having an individual personal identity. This is a conformist psychological disorder, relating to the risk of actually being a human being. Symptoms include the constant use of the word “we” and disassociation from own actions and responsibilities.
  • Materia-phobia – Fear of material things, either as lacking them, or as agents of social demotion through being cheap or shoddy.
  • Peer-phobia – The fear of one’s social group, self-explanatory.
  • Comprehension-phobia – The fear of being expected to understand anything at all, particularly if it involves oneself actually doing something. Perhaps the final despairing bleat of total intellectual cowardice.
  • Talent-phobia (also known as competence-phobia) – Common in business, Hollywood, media, economics, politics, and largely responsible for the cultural stampede to incompetence at all levels.

If you happen to have noticed that all these fears add up to practically every single thing human beings are capable of doing or being, bingo. Human psychological life is now so stress-laden that phobias are the norm.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Fear of creativity is the sure sign that you should be a publisher. Read this, and you’ll never need homicidal maniacs again.

It requires species-wide stupidity on a colossal scale to achieve this effect. The results of this global gutlessness should be interesting:

At this rate, psychology and psychiatry will no longer be necessary. All mental conditions can be explained by extreme imbecility.

The evidence of fear is everywhere, particularly in the extremely polarised world of politics. Fear is a weapon; it can be used as indiscriminately as you like, as long as it puts people on one side or another.

In the workplace, fear is created by the inferior middle managers and supervisors to reinforce their own position. This is done at the expense of quite literally everybody else, including their employers, at incredible expense to all involved except the causes of the problems.

In relationships of all kinds, fear is based on a combination of any kind of conflict plus whatever interpretation or spin either or both parties use in the conflict. This also relates to comprehension-phobia, for the reasons shown above.

Responses to phobias

Best practice response to phobias is to slavishly and mindlessly refuse to fight them. Running away is okay in theory, but that implies some sort of intelligence, which is of course totally unacceptable. Better is to stick around surrounded by things you fear for years or decades, drowning in stress and living in absolutely hideous life. You genius, you.

Gothic Black, Paul Wallis books Amazon

This book is all about fears. It includes a monster which learns how to bore people to death and the wonderful town of Pithcurdle, in which the coming of the dreaded Toothpaste Man is a cause for celebration.

The trouble with confronting your fears is that at least a few of them may have some basis in fact. Arachnophobia is a case in point. Fear of spiders is quite reasonable. All spiders are dangerous to some extent, and some are extremely dangerous indeed. The theory of confrontation involves you in having direct contact with an extremely dangerous animal.

The other problem is that confrontation doesn’t actually make the spiders less dangerous; it simply makes you less afraid of them. Ironically, someone discovered years ago that arachnophobia is a particularly good indicator of strong survival instincts. So maybe that type of therapy is way out of whack?

Killing the things you fear is of course the traditional response to phobias. The problem is that these new fears are a bit personal. Killing your knowledge, personal identity, or, for example, may be somewhat inconvenient. Killing your knowledge may not be much loss, but if you kill your personal identity, you’ll only have to go and find/steal/borrow another one, won’t you?

The current historic obligation on all human beings to be absolute morons at all times is also a bit of a problem, believe it or not. Being obliged to be a moron by your delightful necrophiliac society, you may not be allowed to think your way out of situations involving your fears.

There is only one real solution – Cheat. Create fake fears, and tell everybody how terrified you are of them. That will convince everybody that you’re perfectly normal, quite harmless, and well worth ignoring. At least you’ll get some peace of mind.

intelligent

Read a few of my books and claim that they’re interesting. Nobody will believe you, they’ll think you’re a nut, and you can frolic to your heart’s content.

 

Feel a desperate need for something intelligent?


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Need something, anything, intelligent to relieve the monotony?Amid the endless fascination of global stupidity, a certain lack of enthusiasm is becoming evident. Maybe there’s something a bit samey about endless disasters and a pole to pole sewer of a planet?

Obviously, your intellect is starving. There is no nutrition to keep it active. Talk about food for thought; where, exactly, would you find it in a place like Earth?

Now the really scary bit  – It’s just possible that having to learn the language of stupidity to communicate with “others” (Other whats, does anyone know?) may be sabotaging your efforts to find the food your mind needs.

There is something almost impossibly mediocre about any situation where futility in communication is the normal state of things. Do people wake up in the morning and say cheerfully, “Hey! Now’s our chance to be futile!” Some don’t, you know. Well, you know now.

Let’s put the no-intellect situation in PR terms so it will be comprehensible to the most unimpressive of intellects and perhaps even penetrate their thick useless hides –

You remember something called “aspirations”? No, of course not. Well, there were such things, years ago, before you useless bastards were born.. There was also something called a credible society, and places where people were allowed to use their minds without having to apologize for it to some jock roadkill PR/media suppository maggot.

Sickening, of course. Imagine billions of people having aspirations and intelligence, sometimes even at the same time. How could you sell it? How do you merchandise intelligence to the point where it might even be noticeable?

It’s a big issue, and people have been avoiding it for years. The language of stupidity is free of any reference to it. Everybody is an ignoramus in good standing, in this language. That’s why you no longer need to listen to at least

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Reading a book may lead someone to suspect you’re intelligent. This book, which can be used as a sort of S&M device, will throw them off the track nicely.

90% of any conversation, because the conversation is as ignorant as the people doing the talking.

It’s inspiring stuff. No issue, theory or fact, however globally or personally lethal, is allowed to be intelligently discussed, described, or comprehended in any meaningful way. The problem of course, is that your mind, down to its last muesli bar of reasons to exist, is  just sitting there like a prisoner, playing its harmonica, and rattling on the bars of social media. It may even be looking at those little tourist brochures for personal oblivion called “trends in modern lifestyles”. Grim indeed.

(You can see why this is being written in PR terms; so that even the dear little gerbils who “manage” modern media imagery will get it. You bloody worthless pig-ignorant peasants, you.)

Meanwhile – Back at your interesting-things-starved mind – It may be digging a tunnel to escape from its prison, but escape to where, you ask? To the wildly exciting blather of the vast amounts of information which will be forgotten in the next 5 seconds? No; that’s not where it wants to go.

The cosmic microwave background – Now, how could you pretend to find something interesting in that. You whimsical soul, you.

Studies by incredibly irritating people have shown that given half an excuse, the human mind defaults to something it’s actually interested in. This is considered by the sages of modern life (aka scum) to be a particularly stupid thing to do, partly because it’s not believed to be possible for anything to be interesting.

Nor is it believed possible for that all embracing demographic called “them” (aka humans) to be intelligent.

That’s the encouraging bit. Your mind can wander away and there’s no chance anybody will go looking for it.  If you find something that actually interests you and saves your mind from eating its foot off in sheer bored frustration, nobody will believe you. You’ll be weird enough to be left alone having fun and staying mentally alive with your interesting thing.

So – Feel a desperate need for something intelligent? You should.

intelligent

Read a few of my books and claim that they’re interesting. Nobody will believe you, they’ll think you’re a nut, and you can frolic to your heart’s content.

Visualization Skills vs Modern Media – Who’s Winning?


 

Do you see it?
I see a herd of beautiful wild ponies.
Thanks, Daria.

Visualization is the process of creating your own visions. It’s complex. It’s also hard to learn if you don’t read and don’t have to turn things in to actual thoughts to visualize. Modern media, rather annoyingly, isn’t helping much.

No, this isn’t going to be a series of easy cheap shots at media imagery.  The very obvious doesn’t need elaboration. The stories might be crap, but some of the visual stuff is pretty good, particularly in gaming media.

The problem is that the stories are trying to be visual, not stories. If you remember being read kid’s stories, and having to fill in the gaps when there were no pictures to look at, trying to follow the storyline, it’s as basic as that.

It’s one of the most valuable skills any human being can have, and it’s being suffocated by this damn spoon feeding media. You don’t have to visualize, to the point you lose the skill.

Visualization – The “advertising effect”

Arguably worse is the “advertising effect”. This is the bit where the brain ignores most of what it sees as irrelevant. The absurd overload of imagery drowns out personal visualization. People don’t even get enough time to really take in an image before it’s replaced with another, or more likely a lot of other images.

This is the epitome of unfocused. While your brain is rummaging around in this visual confetti, exactly how much visualization can you do?

The “illiteracy effect” on visualization

What do you see, what don’t you see? What do you WANT to see, or not see? Is visualization sometimes more than visual?

Since most people don’t read anything which requires visualization, the ability to associate ideas, even in the same sentence (Ahem? I hope not) is pretty lousy. The famous, and dull, “What are we talking about now?” is the illiteracy effect in full swing. They aren’t stupid; they literally can’t make the mental associations between two statements put together.

Literature makes readers make associations, of actions, ideas, mental images, and, well, everything involved in what you’re reading. It’s a unique effect. Only music really goes as far in to “figure it out yourself” as literature.

Good visual art creates associations, even the really advanced type of associations, but how much current visual art is really much more than a “Postcard from Whatever” or “Another Endless Pic of Me, This Second in Time” ? The fantastic things that visual art can do are crowded out by the truly banal, most of the time.

So it’s no wonder that people’s visualization skills are pretty shaky. Ask them to visualize a better world, and you’re going to get a rather uncertain response. Ask them to visualize a better life for themselves, which is what they’re supposed to be doing, aspirations and all, and the response will actually get lost in trying to picture itself as anything more than a shopping list, if that. How good would you say people are likely to be in visualizing issues, given this total incompetence in very basic visualizations?’

Visualization? What visualization?

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Isn’t creativity all about visualization? Has to be.

The inability to visualize mentally is as handicapping as blindness. If you can’t even visualize your own existence, maybe it’s even worse. On a global scale, it’s catastrophic.

If the entire human race doesn’t even have the skills to visualize a sane society, how likely is a sane society? How mindless is mindless enough? Living in a junk shop of a world, being sold crap and crime every 5 seconds, and why would you want a mind? What possible use could it be?

The problem, of course, is that if you can’t visualize a solution to a problem, you’re going to be stuck with that problem for a very long time. Just think how many problems there are in everyone’s lives.

So maybe being mindless isn’t such a good idea. Maybe not being able to visualize is dangerous. The one place people never look for answers is in their own minds. The place is usually a mess, cluttered with “life’s little packaging”. Usually hasn’t been dusted much, either, this place, and there’s often a distinct impression of mouldiness.

The pity of it is that somewhere in that mess is a way to visualize, or at least the remains of the nearly forgotten skills. People may never have visualized at all after childhood. After all, to “live”, all you need to do is recycle whatever you’ve been taught or told, right?

This book is called humor. Humor IS logic. Logic is used for visualization, in many ways. Coincidence?

No thinking at all required. No use of intelligence, either. Any idiot can simply recite information and agree with anything. You could be totally stagnant by 22, and a fossil by 30, and it would make no difference at all in that undemanding little mindset. Life is one big set of quotes from other people.

Of course, you wouldn’t be able to solve problems, either. You can’t visualize solutions outside the information you’re given. Nor can you have the choice or (even the right) to distrust anything you’re told, but that’s OK, too, isn’t it? So the solution is always going to be based on what you’re told, whether it’s right or wrong. You have no options.

So what’s the solution? As an author, saying “read” seems a bit self-serving, but you could do worse. You could try doing something for yourself, too, like doing your own thinking, if only to see if you really can escape from the no options mode.

There is one possible out. Visualization is based on some sort of need, in many cases. You may not even know why you need whatever it is, but it’s a sort of visualization. That pesky need to see clearly is more useful than it looks. If the mind can see, it can think about what it sees. Better option? Better than lost forever in an ocean of bullshit, for sure.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books