In the moment: There’s mention of Roger Scruton and some other interesting thoughts: ‘The ways of dog to Mann.’
Having had many dogs, I’m pretty sure I could infer what they were thinking a lot of the time (where are we going now? can I eat that? I’m gonna eat that), but I’m pretty sure I’ll never know what it’s like to be a dog.
Speaking of which, what’s it’s like to imagine oneself a snake and write about that? What have you done with your I/Eye, dear Reader?
From Paul Bowles ‘Allal,‘ found within this collection of short stories.
‘Moments passed with no movement but then the snake suddenly made a move towards Allal. It then began to slither across Allal’s body and then rested next to his head. He was very calm at this moment and looked right into the snake’s eyes and felt almost one with the snake. Soon his eyes closed and he fell asleep in this position.’
Long experience, but none yet yours?
A narrow fellow in the grass
You may have met him, — did you not,
His notice sudden is.
The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.
He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,
Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun, —
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.
Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone
It’s not so much the social science knowledge claims which worry, though there are epistemological problems of accuracy and reproducibility. More often, it’s the hopes and moral sentiments which can follow into institutional rules, group-think, policy, and law.
Many people are quite reasonable, but some people need to be right because they can’t be anything else (watch out for this part of yourself). Deeper problems within the latest published paper can be mere loose-ends, whereas getting funding to meet payroll and printing-out motivational mantras for the next meeting are what really matters. Or worse yet, making the personal political and punishing political enemies.
Still, it’s interesting to get some data from longitudinal studies. Tyler Cowen links to this book.
The traits of being “undercontrolled” or “inhibited,” as a toddler are the traits most likely to persist up through age eighteen. The undercontrolled tend to end up as danger-seeking or impulsive. Those same individuals were most likely to have gambling disorders at age 32. Girls with an undercontrolled temperament, however, ran into much less later danger than did the boys, including for gambling.’
Just thought I’d Throw This In There:
An interesting take from Slate Star Codex-‘The APA Meeting: A Photo-Essay:’
There’s a popular narrative that drug companies have stolen the soul of psychiatry. That they’ve reduced everything to chemical imbalances. The people who talk about this usually go on to argue that the true causes of mental illness are capitalism and racism. Have doctors forgotten that the real solution isn’t a pill, but structural change that challenges the systems of exploitation and domination that create suffering in the first place?
No. Nobody has forgotten that. Because the third thing you notice at the American Psychiatric Association meeting is that everyone is very, very woke.
This reminds me of a poem by Robert Pinsky, entitled ‘Essay On Psychiatrists’
V. Physical Comparison With Professors And Others
Pink and a bit soft-bodied, with a somewhat jazzy
Middle-class bathing suit and sandy sideburns, to me
He looked from the back like one more professor.
And from the front, too—the boyish, unformed carriage
Which foreigners always note in American men, combined
As in a professor with that liberal, quizzical,
Articulate gaze so unlike the more focused, more
Tolerant expression worn by a man of action (surgeon,
Salesman, athlete). On closer inspection was there,
Perhaps, a self-satisfied benign air, a too studied
Gentleness toward the child whose hand he held loosely?
Absurd to speculate; but then—the woman saw something
Maintaining a healthy skepticism:
Previous ‘elite’ links on this site, arriving at some yet predictable, unrealized truths: Via Marginal Revolution via American Affairs: ‘The Western Elite From A Chinese Perspective:’
Kenneth Anderson At Volokh: ‘The Fragmenting of the New Class Elites, Or, Downward Mobility
Two Kinds Of Elite Cities in America?
There are people with careers writing about elites, becoming somewhat elite themselves, which haven’t fared too well