As I’m presently taking in the sights and sounds of Jamaica, I’ll use this poori Caribbean nation,ii as an example of how the world is fundamentally hostile and the consequences borne by those who misunderstand the implications of this. While Jamaicans are far from the only people to make such a mistake, they serve as a useful case study.
The people of Jamaica are not overly aggressive (save the odd fellow) but neither are they shy. While they freely chat you up as you’re walking down the streets,iii offering you trinkets, cab rides, weed, and directions to their friend’s restaurant – it’s evident that there’s little respect for their fair-skinned patrons, little love lost for their former masters without whom they still can’t live without no matter how much they might pretend otherwise. Their faux friendliness, extended too half-heartedly and with too much self-importance, is exceedingly thin, like the film that develops on a soup cooled too quickly.
Jamaica’s economic dependence on tourism means that there’s no dissolving the relationship between the imported Africansiv and the descendents of Great Britainv who frequent the island paradise,vi no matter how unpleasant that is to anyone involved. So that the locals here seemvii to have an unwarranted expectation of my generosity that pushes at my heart strings rather than the pulling effect one would only imagine is desirable, is quite -EV, and therefore quite stupid.viii Overall, it feels very much like a welfare state scenario, where the receivers of the benefits have come to expect certain privileges, mainly that they can game me or con me or disrespect me and still be rewarded for it, and that they think they’re better as a result.
So even if I cave in to their demands, as long as the receiver of my generosity feels entitled, as it appears to me that they do here, I’m still being coerced out of the rewarding sense of charitable satisfaction I might otherwise receive. So I decline their advances and offers, to which they respond with resentment, though only in the briefest flashes of facial expressions and never bubbling beyond that. Compared to, say, the nearby people of Colombia, whom I had the pleasure of visiting in January of last year, the Jamaican people by and large, though we’ve certainly seen exceptions, have much to learn when it comes to treating their patrons with the respectful reverence they deserve.
The world is hostile,ix sure, but pretending that you can bully your superiors and ignore your relative position is a poor strategic move, particularly in computer times. Acting respectfully and sincerely towards your potential patrons is the only way to endear yourself to them, that they might decide to offer you a leg up in the world and bring your children a step closer to civilisation. Unfortunately for the children of many Jamaicans, unwarranted arrogance is getting their parents nowhere fast.
Some children are luckier than others, however, like those of these chaps…
Another view of successful Jamaican adaptation is brought to us by fine folks at The Woolery Kitchen, who turned this 19th century priest’s residence…
…into a premium dining venue… …with the best views in the Ocho Rios area, all while offering a uniquely personalised restaurant experience and sourcing their ingredients from within spitting distance, thus keeping the revenue in the local economy.
Success is possible if we recognise causes and our relative position.
Not if we try to out-hostile the world from below.
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- Jamaica might be poor, but there are certain freedoms afforded here that “richer” nations can only dream of, namely, smoking and drinking wherever one pleases. [↩]
- Jamaica was once a jewel in the crown of The British Empire. Today, while the inhabitants still play tennis and soccer, still dress their school children in uniforms, and still drive on the sinistral side of the road, the streets are overflowing with loiterers, seemingly uninterested or otherwise unable to productively occupy themselves.
You wouldn’t think that Jamaica is exactly starved for the natural resources needed to feed its 3 mn citizens – having plentiful reserves of bauxite, sugarcane, coffee beans, fruit, and, of course, weed – yet unemployment is visibly higher than even the 15% reported and imports outpace exports by a factor of 4:1.
The economic situation here is summed up perfectly by one cab driver we had who belatedly observed “Everyone seems to be getting on the Internet these days.” Indeed. [↩]
- All of these observations will seem alien to anyone who’s “been to Jamaica” but hasn’t left the Sandals resort. If this is you, save your venom and order another Stripe beer so that you can at least tell which Caribbean island you’ve visited. [↩]
- Hey, whatever happened to the island’s natives anyways ? Who’s telling their story today ? Meditate on that one. [↩]
- The tourists here are largely from Britain and two of her former colonies: Canada and the US. [↩]
- The food here isn’t as exciting as one might imagine, though the ginger wine alone is worth the trip. [↩]
- I should say, “seem to me,” but then again, who am I ? Oh, that’s right, the patron: he who delineates art from garbage. [↩]
- It’s sort of like having a relationship partner that needs you rather than wants you – it’s so much less attractive. [↩]
- Is the world hostile ? Is it friendly ?
MP No, not at all. The opposite, as currently practiced, is pure poison. It’s like being submerged in a vat of social heroin. The constant stimulation utterly exhausts and soon destroys the brain. If people were correctly representing the world as fundamentally hostile, they would be capable of finding their way, and making friends and starting families and finding meaning. As it is, they’re pretty much fucked, all by a fake pretense to “friendliness”, hypocritical as much as it’s insane.
OP Here’s one: friendliness does exist. Why shouldn’t they try? They’re all going to die anyway, whether the world is fundamentally hostile or not. Maybe they find meaning out of spending their lives trying to be friendly and trying to observe it in others. Maybe some scant few succeed, just like some scant few succeed by fully embracing hostility.
MP This maybe has ruined your country. In the shortest span ever seen, to the most utter despair ever mentioned, this maybe has ruined your country.
OP Yeah well I have yet to appreciate the value, should it exist, of “country”.
MP Myeah. Well, it was great once, but that was in fairness before you were born. At any rate : maybe heroin does a body good too. Who’s to say. Kramer gets it just as well. “What do you want me to say? That the things haven’t worked out the way that I planned? That I’m struggling, barely able to keep my head above water? That L.A. is a cold place even in the middle of the summer? That it’s a lonely place even when your stuck in traffic at the Hollywood Freeway? That I’m no better than a screenwriter driving a cab, a starlet turning tricks, a producer in a house he can’t afford? Is that what you want me to say?”
OP I don’t really like this analogy. Being high is a physiological divorce from reality. How can we say, to the same measure, that someone’s choice to “be friendly” or to “be hostile” enacts a similar divorce?
MP Point to point. Find a difference ? And no equivocation there. Strictly and only “being friendly”.
OP Naturally you’ll say it isn’t, and i’ll have no way to prove that it is. But: former’s objective, latter’s abstract.
MP There’s nothing “objective” about either of them.
OP A body under the influence of heroin must be measurably abnormal. That’s not objective?
MP That may be objective, but it’s not germane.
OP Well I dunno why not.
MP Fact remains that the heroin addict and the “maybe” addict share an exactly homomorphical mental problem.
OP I thought the problem with the friendly blanket was that it’s not how the world fundamentally works.
MP No, the problem with it isn’t outside of the mind, it’s inside of the mind. It’s just recursive stupidity. Sort of slow burning autism, if you wish.iii
OP Then this’ll have to be shown.
MP Ok, let’s show it. Three people, of whom A is sane ; B is high ; C is maybe-sick. They all run into a scorpion. A kills it. B steps on it and gets killed. C steps on it and gets killed.
MP Not the showing you had in mind ?
OP Nah. Problems: you changed blanket friendly people into “maybe addicts”; the maybe you reference was an idea I was postulating and wouldn’t source from them. Moreover this abc is a rehash of the same premise: that maybe-sick is the same as high person. What is to be shown is that the problem is inside the mind rather than outside of it, in the maybe sick person (we can grant as is that this is the case for high people).
MP Can you construct a counter ? I like how you argue these days btw. Nicely matured.
OP Hehe yay! A counter to the idea that maybe-sick’s problem is in the mind? Sure: it’s outside their mind.
MP Like where ?
OP You said “if people were correctly representing the world as fundamentally hostile”. I imagine this’d be the “where” of it; I’d have to say the world is fundamentally friendly. I don’t actually think that’s true, mind you, but I think it’s equally…abstract.
MP What do you mean “equally abstract”.
OP I mean that both statements (world is fundamentally hostile, world is fundamentally friendly) are equally unprovable.
MP To whom ?
OP To a thinking person. I think the best we could do is to construct a list of supports for both statements, and compare them. But how do we know our lists are complete? Could they even possibly be complete?
MP To a little girl they are unknowable, let alone provable. To an adult woman, or an adult man, they are the pinnacle of banal. The stacking of this deck being that I’m not arguing here for the benefit of tabula rasa, so that random pubescent derp may read and be better at picking up girls or w/e. I write for people who already know the world. Which is why the qualification for reading Trilema is above the PhD level.
OP You write for people who already know the world inasmuch as the world is knowable (and not even then; PhD level it may be, but perfect knowledge is unattainable nevertheless).
MP Anyway, this aside : that the world is fundamentally hostile directly flows from basic physics. The laws of thermodynamics are good enough basis to prove it.
OP The world we’re talking about includes human thought, does it?
MP Depends what you mean by thought.
MP If you’re willing to invent an unknowable, purely declarative thought outside of action, of the substance of “with all due respect”, then no. If you see thought as the parsimonious explanation of action, then yes.