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Love this post! Life is always at best a calculated risk but risks fuel evolution especially in the young. What I notice is that those who take safety first as a mindset live incredibly cloistered lives of quiet desperation and often engage in habits that are very unsafe in the long run: they marry the safe choice, stay in the same safe group of associates who validate their perceptions, watch the glowing screens all day, and drown themselves in pointless addictions whether it be drugs, porn, alcohol, shopping or Netflix. They're living vicariously and not really living. You have to make peace with the inevitability of your own death which leads on to what legacy you want to leave behind

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As I see it, it's the finitude of our mortal lives that gives them meaning. Remembering that our time is limited lends urgency; remembering that every time we see someone may be the last, reminds us to treasure them for their virtues and forgive them their faults.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Your amazingly excellent essay brought to mind that crazy German genius who not only predicted the wars of the 20th century but also the "Safety First" epitaph of Western Civ.

This is from his Zarathustra:

"Behold! I show you the last man.

‘What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ – thus asks the last man, blinking.

Then the earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His kind is ineradicable, like the flea beetle; the last human being lives longest.

‘We invented happiness’ – say the last men, blinking.

They abandoned the regions where it was hard to live: for one needs warmth. One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs up against him: for one needs warmth.

No shepherd and one herd! Each wants the same, each is the same, and whoever feels differently goes voluntarily into the insane asylum."

Nietzsche knew how fear, conformity, and the sterility of comfort uber alles produced a sort of anti-life or death-in-life, certainly no real life worth living.

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My boy Friedrich was the first and best philosopher I ever read. Zarathustra's description of the last Last Man made a deep impression on me. Hideous failure mode for humanity.

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I think he was also the last philosopher of any merit whatsoever; a seer standing on the brink of the next Dark Ages, sounding an alarm that largely went unheard, (or was so horribly misunderstood that it had the opposite effect; his most devoted students were monsters, and their own students were idiots).

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Loved the juxtaposition of the safety from the virus vs the safety of the vaccine. This is an amazing rant. God Damn you can turn a phrase!

I had never heard of Burning Man's motto of "Safety Third," until Charles Eisenstein said it. He stated that he received an incredible amount of flack quoting it. It is my new motto.

There's another juxtaposition for you, you and Charles Eisenstein, no offense to either of you.

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Author

I have the greatest respect and admiration for Eisenstein. The Ascent of Humanity was one of those rare books that changed my outlook on life.

Safety third ... Love it.

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Charles has written a beautiful new piece. I have a love/dislike relationship with Charles. Sometimes the middle ground feels/sounds like a copout. Questioning the narrative through paradox is disturbing :)

https://charleseisenstein.substack.com/p/why-i-wont-write-on-you-know-what?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoyNDQ5NjkwNSwicG9zdF9pZCI6NTc1NzA1NjEsIl8iOiJaRUpadSIsImlhdCI6MTY1NDIwMTA5OCwiZXhwIjoxNjU0MjA0Njk4LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItNDI3NDU1Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.F3vVL6hlGofXHZ5kUlBw1FRX32yctDmAq2FJLiqxG1Q&s=r

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Indeed, I read this earlier today. His wider point is reasonable in this case, although I dispute his premise of moral equivalence, largely because mental illness is far more prevalent on the left than elsewhere on the political spectrum.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

I agree.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

The old playground equipment was far superior. Now no carousels, nor swings with ropes longer than toddlers need. Not only is adulthood illegal, so is childhood.

I presume you've read Jack Williamson's "With Folded Hands..." Sicherheit über alles is the overarching passphrase of the nanny state, but they'll beat you to death if you object. Even if they don't beat you, you can just starve in the dark.

However, you appear to underestimate the nanny state's hypocrisy. Safety from the virus vs safety of the vaccine barely begins to touch it.

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Believe me. The virus/vaccine dichotomy was just one example amongst a great many that I could mention to demonstrate that Safety First has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with social control.

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This, and only this...

Safety First = Social Control

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

This made me laugh, recalling the "death-trap" structures I used to play on as a kid, and the Mad Max-esque games we would play on them. My favorite was Cobra Clutch on the monkey bars. The two opponents would swing menacingly towards each other from opposite ends, each trying to tear the other off the bars with their legs when they met in the middle.

I also enjoyed "Smear the Queer" - a game that would be banned for its name alone these days, never mind the physical danger involved. I was a renowned champion at that game, whenever I played the role of "the queer".

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Author

Cobra Clutch sounds familiar, although I don't think we called it that.

We had one called Confess You're a Witch, which involved trying to drown the accused until they confessed, at which point they became witchfinder-general and it was some other poor bastard's turn. That one was played in the local watering hole, reached by a running jump off a cliff. Running because you didn't want to land on the rocks.

Miracle we survived really.

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Jun 3, 2022·edited Jun 3, 2022Liked by John Carter

Never heard of the witch game, but I suspect it had a lot in common with Smear the Queer (which I've also heard called "Rumble" and the amusingly frank "Kill the Man with the Football").

It was a game of asymmetry, almost the inverse of "tag", but much rougher. I recall several variants, mostly to do with how the first target was selected, but the basic concept was this: the boy holding the ball was the target, and would try to stay on his feet and keep possession for as long as humanly possible. Everyone else was essentially "it", hunting him down like a pack of wolves. Whoever was able to steal away the ball became the next target of everyone's wrath.

Depending on the day and location, you'd sometimes see odds as extreme as 30-1... which I absolutely relished in the prey role. I still can remember those faces whenever I got the ball, of guys knowing they had a hard day's work ahead of them, lmao.

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Oh absolutely. There's nothing like having insane odds against you, and knowing you have implicit permission to pull out all the stops. That kind of thing is some of the most fun I had as a kid.

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Yeah. No refs, so whatever "rules" we had were implicit and, ah, casually enforced. Basically, nobody punched you in the balls, poked you in the eyes, etc. But after a good game, pretty much everyone came away looking like they'd been in a six-round bout (except for the pussies, that is).

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Kill the Man....my favorite game as a kid...

Of course I, being the biggest kid on the block, would be tossed the ball first and I would try to bring maximum destruction to all those that would dare try to oppose my possession....

LMAO

Good times..

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Few things in life feel better than making a personal decision to assume risk and having it work out to your satisfaction. The idea that my ability to enjoy such things is being perpetually throttled by dumb cowards is difficult to accept.

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It's infuriating, isn't it? Cowards are bad enough; cowards that demand cowardice of others are intolerable.

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I think you may enjoy this if you’ve never seen it.

This attitude toward life is a chief reason that I moved to NZ in 2015.

Then Covid happened.

Never in a million years did I imagine Kiwis lose all their common sense and cave to this. As a general rule people tolerate much more physical risk than most western countries. I have been devastated to witness the country being smothered to death by the dark mother ruling the country with an iron fist.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Y0cuufVGI

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I did see that! And remember thinking, damn I wish I went to that school.

New Zealand has a weird tension between a starry-eyed liberal ruling class of social engineers who consider the islands their own personal utopian laboratory, and a basically feral working class who more or less went native. Seems to go back a long ways. Horseteeth Arden is the quintessential representative of the former, obviously.

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The real problem, and the motivation for the safety fetish, is the loss of our capacity to manage risk. Everything has risks, some known, some unknown. Everything has value, some large, some small. Competent people learn to understand and evaluate those risks and benefits, and choose actions that optimize their outcomes. The failed education system has systematically eliminated that capability for several generations. Reversing that pathological approach will take time, but the sooner we start, the sooner we recover.

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You are far too prolific to keep up with, sir. I'm still formulating an answer to something you posted this past weekend (maybe my processing speed is on the wain; it happens to the best of us, and I don't claim to be that).

One quick thought that sprang forth was "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The common burial prayer is in fact a middle finger to the concept of material risk. All that lives must die.

The truth of this stalks us always, as creatures of reason. Sometimes -- if we are blessed or lucky -- it grips us in the dead of night, Death shaking us playfully in its fangs until we understand its defining purpose. I fear for those who have not yet been shaken in that way, and think it's largely these poor souls who torment the rest of us.

Somewhere tonight, Bill "Manboobs" Gates will stretch himself out on a luxurious bed, with servants attending to his every need and whim. But he will never find the comfort of surviving Death's fangs, and will remain a terrified child even if he lives to be one million. He and his ilk will senselessly inflict that discomfort on us, much as a wailing infant inflicts itself on flight passengers.

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Jun 2, 2022·edited Jun 2, 2022Author

Jesus. Imagine being Bill Gates for a million years. Talk about fates worse than death. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Even Bill Gates.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Thinking of that dude saying "you won't have a choice" might have contributed to my "death over forced vaccination" position.

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Might even make Dracula reconsider his options.

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The crazy part is that the transhumanist nerds think that would be a good thing.

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Jun 8, 2022Liked by John Carter

I recently read that the final scene of the movie "The Hunger", where the Doctor Roberts/Susan Sarandon character lives on as a vampire, presumably indefinitely, was added on top of the original plan, which was for her to kill herself, because living as a vampire was unacceptable to her. The executives ordered that the final scene be added, presumably to make sequels possible. Which destroyed the whole point of the movie. For capitalist reasons.

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Jun 8, 2022·edited Jun 8, 2022Liked by John Carter

Well, for "potential profits" reasons. All systems seek future value outputs at reduced input costs. No need to add the Marxist smear of "capitalism". But I think I get your point.

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I recently revisited Lem's "Star Diaries", particulaly the section where he chronicles a series of mad scientists. Although they are all wonderfully horrifying lunatics, I think my favorite might be the transhumanistic Professor Decantor, who "invented the soul". Highly recommended if you haven't read it (or even if you have).

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I haven't, in fact. The only of Lem's works that I've read is Solaris. Perhaps I should put this on the list. Thanks for the recommendation.

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To be more accurate, then, the story I mentioned comes from the collection called "Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy", which I believe has been published separately from the collection they named "The Star Diaries".

Bonus: "Memoirs" also contains one of the funniest sci fi shorts I have ever read, "The Washing Machine Incidrnt".

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Yes we do, if you count me as a nerd. (I don't fit the stereotype.) Abolishing aging means we have time for more experiences, including risky ones. Decaying of old age and losing your physical and mental capabilities is not noble. More life! Get more out of more life! Use the time to get off this planet and form new, bolder societies.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Before Safety First, the weak, the less agile, the less cognitive were removed from the gene pool.

Safety First has broken the evolutionary cycle for the past two generations, leading us to this bizarre world we are witnessing today. And we don't appear to be anywhere near the end of this epoch.

It may have saved a few lives of the less genetically fortunate, but it's killed millions of souls.

Great post, I could not agree more.

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Aug 5, 2023Liked by John Carter

Yup. And it’s broader than that. Evolution applies at the nation-state level and for a century America has been getting in Darwin’s way.

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by John Carter

I was recently informed that a young (10 year old) male relative is often bullied by his classmates, that his teachers are aware of this bullying and try to protect him from it and that he is now thinking he that is gay. When told this I immediately commented to my wife that all boys are bullied at some point and dealing with it is is a learning and growth process. When a boy is protected from bullying he is denied the experience of having to develop a strategy to deal with it. His teachers are doing him a disservice by sheltering the boy from the reality that boys are always competing with each other. It is the ingrained survival instinct in competition for food, shelter, a mate. Faced with bullying boys develop a strategy to cope. I was on the smaller side and for me fighting back involved not fists but charm, guile and allies. Protecting this boy from a normal and valuable part of growing up is surely doing more harm than good.

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Precisely so. The only times adults should intervene in bullying is to take a child aside to teach them the basics of self defense, or in extreme circumstances if the child's life is literally in danger.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Man, oh man. Brother John: you are the first man I have ‘heard’ that thinks as I do. For fifteen years I have preached that same philosophy. Kudos. - Ross

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Very good article Mr. Carter. I feel safer just having read it. Perhaps I should go cower under a rock somewhere just to stay on the safe side!!!!!!

Linking tomorrow as usual@https://nothingnewunderthesun2016.com/

Also, this is really strange or then again maybe it's on purpose. I use Startpage as a search engine and happened to search the word cower, sometimes us illiterates have to verify our spelling. You know how a word just sometimes doesn't look right when you type it...

So I type in cower in Startpage's search, and this is the first thing that comes up:

cower

verb

1. crouch down in fear

Example: "children cowered in terror as the shoot-out erupted"

Now just how "fu**in freaky is that? Do they like update search terms to fit the daily propaganda now?????

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

You are speaking directly to my heart, and I am inspired and as assured as ever that I am on the right path. The picture you paint is the world I imagine and am striving for in the interests of me and mine. I know you might have just been making a rhetorical point, but when you say "it isn't totalitarianism... it's because they put Safety First" I disagree. They want safety first for themselves because they are cowards. They demand safety first for you and me because they intuitively understand that they will not be able to compete with those of us (dare I say better men?) that have higher risk tolerance under conditions of freedom. By the way, since you are clearly an American in mind and spirit, have you plans to pursue U.S. citizenship and join the fight to realize the vision you outline?

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If I don't get kicked out of the US for refusing the v, I'll likely stay here a long time, and wouldn't be averse to pursuing citizenship tbh.

And yeah, I was being rhetorical. Totalitarianism and safetyism are kissing cousins if not identical twins. The urge of the weak to hobble and control the strong. Ressentiment, basically.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Well, I'm not an immigration attorney or anything, but I nevertheless feel compelled to help out somehow if you do end up pursuing citizenship. We need more Americans in America.

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Jun 1, 2022Liked by John Carter

Wow, amazing post ! This should be shared far and wide. It is simultaneously incredibly inspirational and a great explanation for how we got here. It is hard for me to imagine this not resonating with almost anyone who has a glimmer of a soul.

I've recoiled from the words "safety first" my whole life. That attitude just closes all doors, windows, peepholes and cracks into experiencing life. And without experience there is no passion, no emotion, no discovery. I just can't imagine a life where safety is my first thought. Or even part of the conversation, at least for the initial wild eyed passion about something.

I equate free speech in the same way with thinking, You cannot think freely without free speech. In large part, if not almost entirely, our innovative, do anything spirit in the USA is a direct result of freedom of speech. You can't spitball and come up with wild crazy ideas if you can't just say the most ridiculous, and perhaps inappropriate things. Creativity comes from tossing all kinds of crazy ideas and perspectives together and seeing what emerges. So yeah, no safe speech neither.

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Exactly. Safety in speech kills insight and creativity as reliably as safety in life kills spontaneity and joy. It's no accident that speech codes have coincided with a creative nadir in literature and film.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Even the comedians aren't allowed to be funny, anymore....

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Aug 5, 2023Liked by John Carter

I’m a retired army pilot and fly in the corporate world now. Safety culture has greatly enhanced aviation with processes, but it’s also prone to become a huge pain in the ass. The military has gotten to the point where data gets manipulated or one can’t fly because you can’t satisfy the safety requirements. Sometimes they just don’t fly because it’s the “safe” thing to do. I’d make a large bet that China and Russia aren’t consumed by this nonsense.

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By far one of the best articles I've read on Substack. The US/Canada/Europe axis of stupidity is completely in the grips of the "safety first" doctrine and you can tell by the sheer number of young people who now identify as trans/non binary/whatever. You give generations of kids trophies for losing, raise them on fear porn propaganda, expose them to moral degeneracy but teach them its normal, and what do you end up with? Terrified, incompetent, "safety experts" who are one step from being classified as insane. These are the people who would rather live to be 100, on a smorgasbord of pharmaceuticals, living in a bubble rather than risk their lives by actually living. Why would are so called leaders be fine with raising generations of Man Children who are terrified of leaving their houses? to prepare them for the glorious future of the metaverse, getting everything you want delivered to your door by Amazon, and zoom calls with your boss; they're being conditioned to love their future virtual prisons.

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