Inmate brags about how great it is to be in prison

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

I found this video hilarious, but I know a lot of people will disagree.

If you unclench your jaw for a second, you could ask, “so what?” He’s still in prison. We tell ourselves and each other that we object to the hoarding of food, certainly the weed, and the cell phone, but the part that enrages is simply that he’s happy. Too happy. If he was in solitary confinement with a toilet and zen tranquility we’d object that he had oxygen. He’s supposed to be miserable, that’s the point of the punishment.

But what do you want instead? Harsher punishment? He’s in for aggravated robbery, but it’s the same jail for burglars and murderers– should the only difference in punishment be the duration, not the severity? And do you really think that how harsh prison is or is not is really going to change the calculus of this guy’s next smash and grab?

But his happiness just enrages us, even though we don’t know what he did and who he did it to. This desire to see our “enemies” suffer is natural to the human race, and is reason 1, 2, and 3 why power should never be centralized.

I suppose that the reason I find this so funny is that I know this guy’s hoarding of popcorn isn’t a flaw in the system, I know that this is the system: the corrections officers are in on it. Perhaps they’re bribed, in most cases that isn’t necessary. Everyone’s there for months or years; they get friendly with each other, with their visitors; they know their cousin who was in last year or their buddy in the other wing; and it’s a hell of a lot easier to just let them have their Twinkies and weed then it is to not allow this.

I will point out that if that prisoner was white, this story would definitely have been about the COs’ complicity and not just lack of vigilance; but the racial angle was just too juicy to contaminate with investigative reporting. The news may get a second chance if it turns out that the COs were also black (corruption!); or, even better, that the COs were female (and please please please let them be blonde.) 

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51 Responses to Inmate brags about how great it is to be in prison

  1. Old Mike says:

    I know I’m staying out of prison. Doritos, Mountain Dew and weed? Sounds like being thirteen years old for twenty to life. To be honest, I feel a strange kind of respect for this man. He’s happy to be in prison, relishing his stupid snack food and getting some trolling in on the side.

    What I find funny is the interview with the mayor. It’s clear as day he know nothing. Why would he? He’s the mayor. I like to think the news weasels just ambushed him in a parking lot without calling beforehand or anything.

    • suicism says:

      I agree. No matter what kind of spin you put on it, being locked up is awful, and it’s hard not to admire someone who’d so enthusiastically make the best of it.

      Still, of all the stories a news channel could choose to broadcast about prisons, they choose this one? I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s still disappointing.

  2. BHE says:

    Ask him if wants early release and then see where he decides he has more fun. This is posing, obviously, a childish defense of shame and embarrassment.

    Sure, you get your weed and your chips, but every day you know it sucks ass not having the freedom to go where you want and do what you want, so you ‘sour grapes’ the outside world and/or pretend to yourself that everything is just fine. Better even.

    Until one day you look around and realize that you hate this cubicle job and things are going nowhere with your girlfriend and you finally snap. Wait, what was I saying?

  3. drop says:

    Shocking video” – my favorite part.

    Any outrage is probably a result of seeing all those empty carbs.
    The horror!

  4. herereadthis says:

    My reaction was actually, “good for him, he’s making the best of a really crappy situation.” And then my next reaction was, “Oh okay, this is a bunch of race baiting.” Like that news piece Anderson Cooper did a while back about a woman who was talking loudly on the train, who happened to be black.

  5. ExOttoyuhr says:

    He’s out of the picture, not continuing to do damage to society; if he’s enjoying it, so much the better. (Barring a situation where people start deliberately going to prison for the sake of Doritos and marijuana, of course. Wait, isn’t the latter supposed to be illegal? I.e., if you have it, you go to… … oh, right.)

    This is why the Church fought so hard to ensure that anyone about to be executed could receive Confession first: if you can protect society from them and get them to Heaven (against all odds) to boot, so much the better. You win, the criminal wins, and God wins: since the Catholic God, unlike the Calvinist, “wills that all men be saved.”

  6. vandal says:

    Yeah, I just started laughing at this too. It’s just so damn happy and they’re intending it to be funny. I also imagine it’s there for anyone that might be worried about him, it’s why this is on facebook instead of an anonymous twitter or blog. I remember when my oldest brother was serving time he would tell me about how he was fine, he was watching cable tv and eating pb&j s and playing cards all day. He’d say these things so we wouldn’t worry about him.

    Later when he tells me stories about it he tells me they’d make mead out of water and orange peels and what they’d get from the kitchen. He was also what’s called a “guardian” in prison. A guy that beats up others for benefits because he was a very tall and strong black-looking man. Guards that get mad at some loud snot and can’t touch them by law would pay by brother in cigarettes and food to ruff him up while they looked the other way. Usually it was pedophiles and rapists. Sometimes it was just a rich guy that was being a prick while there for a month between court, but did some major crime and was bragging or egging on the guards.

  7. MarcusB says:

    “quench your thirst”

  8. Guy Fox says:

    It’s the Schroedinger’s litter box of a society ambivalent about its own values. On the one hand, if you break the law, you ‘owe a debt to society’. As an aggravated robber, he might well owe a debt to somebody directly, but to prevent people from getting the idea that their relationships can go on without mediation by a higher Power, Society assumes the right and responsibility to stand between victim and perpetrator. Of course, ‘paying your debt’ means suffering of some sort. Otherwise, you could just soma the bad guys into submissive bliss. On the other hand, rationally liberal society can’t punish people for being bad because a) nobody’s really bad, they just make bad choices and b) a Society that punishes for retribution instead of education might actually be Bad, not just making bad choices.

    So how do you reconcile this quantum superposition of Savage instincts and enlightened Ideals? Well, you punish without suffering, and you call it ‘rehabilitation’. It’s not much of a secret that ‘rehabilitation’ is kind of closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. What you really need is habilitation: stop people from making bad choices before they get the chance. Yes, you build a society where aggravated assault never comes up. But that’s hard*, and it would mean that those who direct poor(ish) people’s money to build prisons for the poorer would lose that privilege, which means it isn’t gonna happen, and you get summer camp prisons and SSI instead (or Sicherungsverwahrung and Hartz IV in another context). Punishment without suffering; sustenance without improvement; Schadenfreude without a guilty conscience.

    It’s remarkable how far that limb can bend without breaking, isn’t it?

    *Not only hard, it might be impossible. If we tried, we might find out that our nature does indeed have better angels, but they might not be able to veto their worse-demon counterparts. It might be that cheese of humanity can’t exist without a bit of putrefaction in there somewhere (Agent Smith said the machines had tried, and humans rejected it). And imagine the rules and mechanisms required to Ned-Flanderize us all. Just the thought is almost enough to get me to go out and buy some weed and booze for local teens.

  9. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    LOOOOL.

    Funny that the dumb sheeple get angry this neanderthal has a ton of doritos but no one seems to care about all the normal kids who go to jail for petty drug crimes and are raped / abused by people like this (who gloat over hoarding doritos and cellphones).

    The victims of prison rape are usually the most normal (i.e.non psychopathic/aggressive/disinhibited) and are invariably the smaller relatively socially agreeable types who are usually young white kids. Simple uncomfortable statistic prison rape is a black on white youth crime.

    So you fat american slobs make sure prisoners aren’t eating doritos and using cell phones but keep on allowing horrific violence in “corrections” facility. Only evil people end up in jail anyway right you dumb animals?

    • ASeriesOfWords says:

      Hey look the race baiting caught one.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        Yes because speaking about prison rape = race baiting. Try reading something. It is a simple fact that prison rape is a way to establish heirarchy/dominance as well as release sexual frustrations. Blacks are the majority in prison and will often target the young caucasions locked up for drug crimes and relatively minor non sociopathic acts. They are easy targets for victimization. Blacks get raped in prison too duh but that’s like saying some asians are 6 feet tall. True but meaningless.

        It’s just quite the knee slapper that people are angry about doritos and cellphones but no one gives a shit about injustices like that. Remember: It’s written in the bible which was authored by GOD using a ballpoint pen that people in american jails are evildoers who are part of the axis of evil and deserve what comes up to them. However should a prisoner aquire a large stash of cheap diabetes causing costco goods this would be like the axis of evil WINNING and stealing our freedoms.

  10. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    Anyone who is “outraged” by this should probably meet a compulsory appointment with a firing squad.

    BUT WAIT I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY CHEAP CORN STARCH AND OIL MSG TREATED PRODUCTS! This brute gets them for free! How unamerican! If we give ad lib doritos and weed to criminals what will stop normal people from being criminals??!!
    I paid for my costco membership FAIR AND SQUARE so I could have the OPPORTUNITY (america is all about opportunities) to buy a bag of doritos that is twice the size of the normal one in thes tore which is already way too fucking big. Turns out I can just steal from people and get them for free!!! SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW!!

  11. roking says:

    This post reminds me of this:

    “The Russian author Eduard Limonov wrote of his experiences with poverty in America. To his joy, he discovered that he could supplement his cash earnings with public assistance. But he also quickly discovered that he had to keep this joy well hidden when showing up to collect his free money. It is a curious fact that in America public assistance is only made available to the miserable and the downtrodden, not to those who are in need of some free money but are otherwise perfectly content. Although it is just as possible to be poor and happy in America as anywhere else, here one must make a choice: to avoid any number of unpleasant situations, one must be careful to hide either the fact that one is poor, or the fact that one is happy.”

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/08/miserable-pursuits.html

    • Guy Fox says:

      Limonov is a freakin’ schizophrenic, commie-nazi, homophobic homosexual. (Adjectives intended as derogatory, but true, though the noun is neutral.) You’ll get more enlightened listening to a scratched Nyan cat soundtrack.

      • Tim says:

        There is truth in what you say. After 25 hours of Nyancat, I reached zen like state, and felt one with the universe.
        However there is also some truth in Limonov’s rant. It is neccesary to look broken to recieve welfare money. This ecourages people to stay broken. I see this in real life.

        I’ll approximately quote a conversation I had recently:
        him> ‘So I was thinking of trying to find a job, but there is nothing out there that pays as much more than my SSI [british equiv] to justify giving it up’
        me> ‘Yeah, and it could be a problem if it doesn’t work out’
        him> ‘Once you get one job, they start expecting you to get another’
        me> ‘I really don’t think staying home all day is good for you though. You get really down sometimes’
        him> ‘Yeah but it’s a gamble. If it doesn’t work, I’m screwed. Better to stay here and play computer games’

        I really understand where the guy is coming from. If I was hiring, I wouldn’t hire him. It would take years for him to get more than minimum wage shop work. Better to stay down than stand up and face the gale. Too easy to get swept away.

        • AnonymousAtLarge says:

          Your friend is undesirable and unemployable probably because he is a grotesque loser who justifies not working so as to keep not working.

          While I will be first in line to RANT about how teh world it is ending and things sort of are terrible it’s beyond evident your friend is only around because natural selection has been terminated by the very same handouts he complains about.

          • Tim says:

            I wouldn’t appeal to natural selection, natural law. We live in a system now, and you could say it selects to some extent, but it doesn’t perpetuate the people I think you’d choose.
            Do you appeal to a world without social security? Hungry people can be very violent, and I think the law of the jungle is not a favourable system for soft blog posters. I wouldn’t last very long in a south african slum.

            We are all automatons in the system Anon, pinballs bouncing deterministically from our previus experiences to our next. I won’t judge him for where he has bounced.
            That isn’t to say I don’t judge people by thier actions, but his are fairly morally neutral, compared to others.

            What troubles me is his lack of self belief, or rather his strongly held, internalised belief that he can never do or be anything of value. The idea of gaining ability or reward from effort is alien to him, to an amazing extent. Sustaining the status quo, as you say, perhaps. He is happy, but I don’t see his situation as sustainable, and he is so ill equiped for when it falls appart.

            But meh, personal examples, who cares.

          • AnonymousAtLarge says:

            You basically just reiterated what I said except kinder and prosaically.

            Your friend is a loser who does not try and the irony is he bitches about the system which is keeping him around. THere is no natural rule that states every human stealing oxygen must have their life protected and prolonged by some social structure. In a natural environment the sort that created our genes any such useless sack of organic matter would die very quickly unless he got off his ass and showed interest in his own existence.

            I’m not an anarchist or even a libertarian I am actually pretty pro social programs but lets call things like we see them hmmm? I just got off shift for 10 hrs running around taking care of the elderly and infirm like a LUN-A-TIC. I did not get to eat or drink fluids and used the potty but one time. Meanwhile your friend was probably sitting on his duff eating ramen soup playing on the internet and moping / complaining about how hard his life is.

            See the difference here? I am typing to you in my pastel blue scrubs after working brutally violently hard and earning every penny of my check. Your friend on the other hand wrote some bad emo poetry in his brain and did NOOOTHING for NO ONE ; he performed no service nothing of value nor did he take steps to further his education. The nerve this loser has to COMPLAIN when he lays around like a jellyfish or some similar invertebrate animal sans nervous system.

            The audacity. He should be grateful we live in a civilized world where such genetic mistakes are given a stipend to keep them out of trouble.

  12. JohnJ says:

    Yet another reason to support alternative sentencing. Prisons are neither good for society nor good for the prisoners.

  13. carlisle says:

    I have a friend who is a gang leader. He’s high up so he doesn’t have to do anything himself, he has nothing to prove; he gives orders and others carry them out. He’s been in a federal pen (twice, I think). I asked him if it was scary and how you survive, how you avoid getting hurt. He said you never show fear, even to your homies when you are being tried and sentenced, and definitely not in prison. It’s some kind of being-a-man thing, and you’ll lose respect from others if you show fear. You act like everything’s cool, as these men in the video are doing. You try to form alliances, like by joining a prison gang.
    Street crime doesn’t sound that different to me than other kinds of things people do to survive, like stockbrokers who deal in junk bonds and whatever. The essence of criminality, according to my friend Michael, is a mindset that you have to get one over on others before they get one over on you, and that you get what you want based purely on your wanting it, without regard for other people.
    Bleeding heart liberal alert!: it reminds me of abused kids, in a way. Certain people who’ve been knocked around too much start to refuse to react when they’re being hurt. Defiance becomes a sort of power. Considering how irrational it is for these men to be this childish/gleeful/whatever about some extra food and a little pot in the face of –hello! Being locked up 24 hours a day-, I’m not sure the comparison is that weak.
    Food stamps and even social security disability are supposed to be taken away when one goes to jail/prison. With social security, when you get out of prison you are supposed to have to reapply- they don’t automatically start it up again. In Cook County jail (Chicago) you’d get reported to the Social Security Administration (according to a man I know who is an advocate for special judicial programs for the mentally ill). – I believe the county actually gets paid for reporting. It can turn into quite a problem when a disabled person with a mental illness commits a crime, because there goes their benefits.
    Prisoners who commit more serious crimes or who have the power to order hits and run gangs from within prison sometimes go to special prisons underground, where a cell signal wouldn’t ever work. There’s a prison like that in Colorado. The prison system, like all other institutions, has to make judgment calls about where to send people and what rules to enforce based on what’s available and of course what the funding situation is.

    • Guy Fox says:

      I have a friend who is a gang leader. He’s high up so he doesn’t have to do anything himself, he has nothing to prove; he gives orders and others carry them out.

      Okay, this piqued my interest right away. If he does nothing, what’s stopping one of the underlings from disposing of him? They’re too dumb to figure out that they can put one over on him – especially when he’s doing squat? Could it be that he does a lot and makes it look effortless, or has your friend become the first to get a Gramscian hegemony up and running in a street gang? If the latter, we gotta get him a book deal.

      • carlisle says:

        Is that a legitimate question, or was the opportunity to comment just too available?

        • Guy Fox says:

          You’ll have to decide whether the question was legitimate, but I am genuinely curious, if that’s what you mean. From what you described, your friend does squat but others follow him, implying that they want to follow him even if he does squat. Their need to follow is strong enough that they’ll follow an inanimate turd. Sounds to me like a parable, and I’d like to know the mechanics of it. Is he incredibly charismatic, do his followers share some interesting characteristic, does he give them hypnosis or drugs, is it a microcosm of something bigger or in a class by itself?

          Is the question out of line, or was the habit of interpreting statements at the next meta-level up just too automatic?

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        Common sense:
        A person rises to prominence in a crime organization by their ability to organize and orchestrate people and acts.

        If a rogue element challenges the leader that rogue element needs to have enough wits and charisma to have enough resources and support to take on the leader who has all those things already. If the rogue element tries to topple the leader the leader will kill him brutally by utilizing his men.

        By “he does nothing” he probably meant this in the physical brutal/violent sense… which is not uncommon for leaders of organized crime from what popular media has educated me and popular media is never wrong! You don’t get to the top of a crime organization (or a corporation lol) by actually getting your hands dirty and working. You get to the top by manipulating people who do the work for you and organizing people to benefit you.

  14. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    I have decided to just troll from now on (post the most irrational and inflammatory things I can think of) because it seems as if everyone wants me to play this position. I’m all about customer service just like a high priced prostitute.

    • Guy Fox says:

      Where’s operator when you need him?

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        I scared him off for good in the last post when I rejected his olive branch (he tried to link me to his crap forum; I was like LOL NO).

        I think I finally found the off button for the operator robot! It turns out it was programmed with feelings and I made it sad when I shook my broom at it and screamed to get off my porch. A little metallic tear rolled down its face and it made sad computer noises and clogged off into the sunset to find a new internet person to stalk/harrass.

        • operator says:

          Nah, just had a lot of better things to get to – blogging doesn’t pay, after all, and as deeply endearing as your witticisms and selfless attempts to enlighten everyone toward who you are and what you’re all about are, other things need doing.

          Thanks for the reminder, by the way – as much fun as thought exercises (and the distractions you provide from them) can be, life that’s all theory and no action isn’t worth consideration or pursuit.

          Please accept my humble gratitude. I hope you’ll come around and figure out that there are better things for you to do in your life – then, just maybe, you’ll find yourself thanking me as I’ve thanked you after you enjoy a long day of something other than the boorish reality that’s holding you back from your potential and whatever happiness it might entail.

          If you can’t do that, then the least you can do is be considerate and STFU about yourself – I’m your #1 fan … and that speaks volumes.

    • JohnJ says:

      Why would you let other people define who you are?

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  16. carlisle says:

    …in which Carly Responds and Accidentally Convinces Herself that Gang Life is Not Such a Bad Idea:

    That’s just way too much to address effectively. So I’ll just respond to whatever.

    This gang is not really a “street gang.” It’s not small and pieced together from random elements. It’s not petty crime, either. And it lacks the element of acting-out that might be present in other gangs-like the gangs that are so poorly organized and so inept at planning they can’t even execute a drive-by effectively. People, mostly children, get killed all the time with stray bullets in Chicago. Mostly in Southside.

    The gang I was talking about is large, 25,000 members. That’s not counting other sizeable gangs that they affiliate with, when it serves their purposes. The leadership is highly structured-the whole organization is highly structured, with a rigid hierarchy. The leadership is not centralized so much around one person that it would be highly effective to bother taking that person out—it wouldn’t destabilize anything. Maybe at best there’s some kind of shock-and-awe value to someone being able to do it and not get caught and killed. But as things stand, there’s systems and back-up systems, and the leaders have the support of the people. Coups don’t happen, but if they did, the leaders of that would get caught and killed. It’s not a vengeful, emotionally charged reaction; it’s protocol, or even deeper than protocol, it is simply How Things Are Done. It’s not just the “government” of the gang that has a ton of protocol, it’s everything. If you go to your homies house to watch the Superbowl and grill some steaks, there is a right way to do that and a wrong way to do that. And the right way isn’t mysterious, it is carefully thought and reasonable, and people are expected to know these things.

    Which brings me back to the emotional/cognitive space that everybody in a gang seeks to occupy by belonging in a gang: “It’s family.” “You can’t ever quit.” I have heard this from anybody I’ve ever met who is in a gang, a big gang or a small one, with rules or kind of random. So it must mean something. Even if they got it originally from, I don’t know, watching The Godfather. It must resonate. People want a place to belong and something unconditional and absolute, I guess, something permanent, something that gives an emotional sense of stability (even if it is at a high cost and dubious, at that).

    But my absolute favorite thought about this gang my friend tells me about? I’d love to infiltrate and write a book. I’m so innocuous they’d probably let me. I’d let them authorize it. But that’s not even my favorite thought. My favorite thought, come across in a whimsical moment, was that maybe the book could be framed as a self-help book, marketed for a target audience of CEOs or maybe even the United States government.

    And the question that seemed to really matter to people, about leaders who do nothing. Based on what I learned, yeah, you do stuff to get where you are- it’s a merit system, but sort of like a meritocracy with a retirement plan. People can attain a certain status and rest there without losing rank and power, even if they are replaced on other, practical levels. Unlike what happens so often in the real world.

    • Guy Fox says:

      Thanks for the explanation. Yes, I misunderstood what you meant by ‘gang’. Reading the second paragraph of this answer, it sounds more like you’re describing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of, say, Austria. Of course someone like that doesn’t have to go around smacking people back in line, and if he did, the group would never be able to get that big. He doesn’t run anything, the rules, the knowledge about How Things Are Done, is what runs things.
      The book idea is great (not what I had in mind, but great). The book I had in mind is redundant, because for something of this scale, the book has already been written. My suggestion for your book would be just to rewrite it to make it more of a hero’s quest sort of thing, with Brave and Resourceful CEO at the center with all sorts of nifty coincidences that make his course through the rules of the game seem like a triumph of enlightened agency. Something like this, but with more brand names and yachts and stuff.
      Fascinating stuff. Thanks again.

      • carlisle says:

        Oh. And people get “smacked back into line” all the time. There are rules about how this works as well-what gets done wrong and what happens as a result. You don’t do punishments or violence on other people if you’re at a certain level. people do it for you. Enforcers. That is protocol.

        The Latin Kings constitution and rules are evolving; we’re talking about ‘living documents’. Same as the idea behind the US Constitution and, for some people, the Bible.

        If it sounds like I’m a little too approving at this point, I’m not. I’m just gathering information. Although it is interesting that the article I read online is so focused on why people join these gangs with a sort of disapproving slant, as if they’re going to go in and fix everything somehow, probably with faulty knowledge and massive expense, at any rate, the article was not very neutral; I wonder if it might be just as good to flip it and say, what are they doing right and what can be learned here. But I suppose it would be egotistical of me to assume that some people aren’t working on this already.

      • carlisle says:

        Look, dude. Can you respond in brief and in plain English without links? I don’t want/have time to sort through a TLP post on The Matrix. Are you kidding? I have heard enough of people using The Matrix every which way to say whatever and it’s getting on my nerves. If you took away certain shortcuts TLP uses, (narcissism, white pumps, Matrix, etc) he’d have to change the writing and it would be better, for me at least. I can’t believe people let him get away with this! Say what you mean, plainly. That’s very basic universal writing advice.
        Also, I have to say, for someone who knows diddly about gangs and knows it, you’re so frickin snarly. Can you even talk without the attitude? Or is that style all you have of substance?

        • Guy Fox says:

          The Matrix was an interesting metaphor, and TLP’s spin on it with narcissism and schizotypy makes it more interesting. Metaphors are convenient because they can convey meaning economically, or they can convey a particular impression that is clearer than a schematic representation of the thing itself could be (think Plato’s cave). Anyway, the idea to write a book as kind of a Matrix meets Scarface meets Wall St. II was kind of a joke, but it wasn’t intended as snark. It was just riffing on your description.

          I didn’t intend to snark at all really. I was genuinely curious, you gave me a helpful description, and I thanked you for it (twice) out of sincerity. The rest was just riffing off your ideas, like when a friend says “Oh, and after you paint the boner on his face, you should totally put some shaving cream on his hand and tickle his nose! That’ll show the stupid Dean!” That’s it.

          As for the language, I thought I was using plain English all the time, but I don’t talk to native speakers much anymore, so it’s not surprising if my idioms are getting a little out of date. You need not assume that I’m a fool or a knave. I might well be both, but I might just be different. No harm intended.

          • carlisle says:

            Ahhh, that was such a nice response. Thank you. Sorry if I was mean. I always hated Plato’s Cave and could not understand why everyone grooved on it so much. I do think TLP wrote something about when a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if nobody hears that I liked, actually. Normally I’d just sigh about it or think of the REM song. No wait…it wasn’t REM, it was some environmentalist singer.

            But if you have time to explain why people like this Plato’s cave thing so much, I’d love to hear it. Really. If you’re snarky I’ll overlook it, for a chance to hear what you see in that. Without relying on links, though, please.

          • Guy Fox says:

            It’s probably easier to explain why people like the cave than the cave itself, because of the whole metaphor vs. literal representation business. Strictly speaking, we’d have to go out and ask people why they do or don’t like it, so all you’re getting here is my best guess.

            It probably has a similar appeal to the Matrix (i.e. the movie), come to think of it. It implies that there is a deeper truth and confirms the suspicion that ‘this can’t be all there is’. Your life is low on meaning? No worries, mate, what you see is all an illusion.

            There’s also the implied conspiracy of the thing. Plato doesn’t talk much about the puppeteers and captors, ’cause they don’t really make sense in the rest of his scheme, but they gotta be there right? And conspiracies can reassure in two ways: 1) if you feel held back, there’s someone out there holding you back; it’s not your fault and 2) in a pretty chaotic world, you’re assured that there’s someone out there who knows what’s going on and is at the wheel. It’s not just random tragedy; it’s part of a plan, even if the plan seems malign (I think I ripped that part off of TLP’s interpretation of The Adjustment Bureau – fanboy, you say? shut up).

            The imagery in the cave is also generic enough that it works as a great projection surface for whatever metaphysical preferences you bring to it. Christian? You go from the profane world of man to the pure kingdom of God, i.e. the light of the Sun. Buddhist? You go from the perfidious realm of sense desire to the enlightened state you’ve been looking for. Atheist? Great. You’re not one of the church-going sheeple, you’re already in the Sun, and everyone else is still watching the puppet show inside. A very versatile metaphor.

            Getting a little more cynical, it references ancient Greece and philosophy, but you can grasp it in about 5 minutes on Wikipedia. Herodotus is long and wrong about almost everything (but great). Xenophon is neurotic, and his brand isn’t big enough to brag with. Thucydides is a buzz kill. Everything you can learn about Socrates is hearsay anyway. But the cave gives you the conceit of knowledge without the effort, and you can impress your cousins at thanksgiving without having to do much legwork.

            And just to be contrarian, here’s a totally irrelevant link to John Miles’s ‘Music’ , just because.

          • carlisle says:

            You know Guy, II was listening to “On the Borrder” and I suddenly thought, as far as metaphors conveying meaning economically, the Matrix piece was frickin’ looooong. Metaphors should really only be used when they’re the best way of conveying something, such as to enable people to project what they want…which would be basically allegory, or midrash. I suppose they might also be useful for conveying levels of meaning. One of my websites mentioned recently that metaphors are useful for conveying spiritual meaning students can’t grasp any other way, because they’re students…I do notice you avoided tying your piece together, such as by using the various elements strung together and some sort of wrap-of, other than going into “people think…”

            Speaking of… um, what I said before about transcendence, which you referred to earlier as “sheeple.” Another method of trascendence would of course be sex and love…for those for whom God is dead, and also for those who are believers (me). Like perhaps John Donne. Maybe William Blake.

          • Guy Fox says:

            FTR, I referred to the pious as ‘sheeple’ from the perspective of some imaginary atheist, not from my own (but yeah, I’m the Guy who imagined the imaginary atheist – make of it what you will).

            As for metaphors’ value depending on their efficiency, you do have a point, which is one reason why I’ve never really liked most poetry, but they can also have artistic content that surpasses their most economical interpretation. E.g. Homer never refers to ‘dawn’ or ‘sunrise'; it’s always ‘rosy-fingered dawn’ (odd for a blind Guy). The personification of dawn doesn’t really add much, because this would be one boring gal who does exactly the same damn thing every day and nothing else, but the aesthetic of the thing, the visualized image, is maybe worth something more than just saying ‘dawn’.

            It’s also doubtful that any metaphor will be received the same way universally, so what to you might seem like a lot of excess content might be just right for someone else and leave a third hungry for more. Most Zen koans won’t make much sense to someone who doesn’t have the context to interpret them, so who you are, what you know, and where you’ve been is sure to influence how you receive any symbol, metaphors included.

            Your idea about sex-love being a potential path to transcendence is interesting too, but I think that path is pretty fraught and littered with the remains of lost pilgrims (how’s that for metaphor?). Yeah, it probably has that potential, but many try it and many end up sex junkies: they get a kick with every orgasm, but the kick fades and the shame increases with each effort, leaving people feeling used up and cheap. YMMV

            I reckon transcendence and meaning is where you find it, and there are more and less worthy pursuits, but character comes from looking and working at it.

            I’d have never thought that Al Stewart could get juices flowing like that. I almost shudder to think where you’d go with a little Sonic Youth in your tank.

    • Tim says:

      Usually when someone tells me a story like ‘I am a gang boss’ or ‘I am really rich, so much so that I can do anything’, they are lieing, in order to gain power over me. But your smart so I guess you already know that and have reason to believe your friend.

      If someone is involved in organised crime, they probably don’t have very strong morals. Most things gangs do are crimes for a reason, because of all the damage they cause. What ever self justifying psuedo religious bs you paint it with, selling heroin to addict whores your colleague pimps is pretty screwed up, as well as sound buisness.
      Talking to people like that is a bad idea. I’m not saying ‘sheep should not hang out with wolves’, but rather that immoral people screw others over all the time, and your friend probably won’t live to retire. But he will use you without remorse first. Because he lacks morals, which is why he’s a gang member.
      But you know that, and it’s what makes it exciting.

      • carlisle says:

        Immoral people may screw over people all the time, but so do moral people.

        Many institutions or people that become powerful or even philanthropic or artistic have been seeded with drug money. Or otherwise crime-related money. Every restaurant I know the genesis of in Portland, Oregon—I used to do restaurant work there—was started with drug money. Supposedly the Kennedys made money during Prohibition or something—I’ve heard it, I don’t know if it’s true. Actually (this is humor, spoiler alert!) probably the people who utilize illegal activities the least to finance their endeavors are rap stars, Ha, ha!

        In the case of the Latin Kings, check out the wikipedia page. It’s interesting.

        My friend is retired already, although of course he still has gang tattoos all over his body. And he is still a Latin King. He’s far from rich. It is true the tons of very obvious gang tattoos could be faked, which would be a really stupid thing to do in Chicago, where there are rival gangs, policemen all over, (and Chicago policemen have a reputation for a reason, let me tell you), and Latin Kings who would probably kick your ass if they thought you were using them to enhance you street cred without giving anything back. In fact, I think that a murder along those lines- 3 kids-may have gone down like that already.

        As far as excitement, I’m not sleeping with my friend, if that’s what you mean. I’ve never been into bad boys- I am weird that way, something is clearly wrong with me as a female, I admit. I met my friend at Walgreen’s and I talked to him about the medicine he was buying and why it was a poor choice, there were better products available.

        I appreciate the concern about hanging out with creeps who are going to hurt me though. I try to minimize the damage as much as I can without totally withdrawing from life. (I know, it sounds so bleak, doesn’t it)?

  17. carlisle says:

    Oh, I was trying to be vague for the sake of confidentiality issues. No, he does plenty of things- and it’s not violence-it’s brainy stuff, like making rules with reasons. He told me some of them, and explained why, and he’s right. Just look up The Latin Kings gang on wikipedia. Then you’ll see what I mean.

  18. carlisle says:

    Oh, OK, Guy Fox. So the cave thing just appeals to people wanting a sense of “more” or the possibility of heightened/altered experience of reality. So, transcendence. You said more than that, I’m just cramming in my 2 cents. I got into that with my depression group-me saying this was essential to mental health but not backing it up very well. I think Melanie Klein also said that although a little differently. Anyway, you made me smile- I’m kinda contrarian too-I’m going to check out the link.

    • carlisle says:

      That link-the song is so dark and melancholy and dramatic! But it reminds me of Al Stewart-you might like him- the song “On the Border” is awesome. Everybody likes “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages.”

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