An eclectic post by Maynard

This is Maynard writing, who is of the opinion that we ought not focus entirely on the antics of our un-esteemed political leaders. Sure, those jackasses are busily arguing amongst themselves whether they prefer to bankrupt us before they get us blown up, or the other way around. But until they succeed in their lunatic plans, we must survive and prosper. Hence this post of useful information.

I had previously mentioned that I was picking up the classic humorous novel, Three Men in a Boat. Herein I obtained life lessons. This is the value of a diverse reading program.

The book opens by describing the narrator’s struggle with infirmity. It seems he, like so many of us, is stricken with every disease in the book (with the possible exception of house-maid’s knee). In consequence, he consults a physician, who writes out a medical prescription. All who follow its regimen will benefit:

1 lb. beefsteak, with
1 pt. bitter beer
every 6 hours
1 ten-mile walk every morning
1 bed at 11 sharp every night

In a postscript to the foregoing, the physician advises the narrator, “And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”

So much for health. Happiness is addressed later in the manuscript. In preparing a small boat for a leisurely vacation, the narrator contemplates our fundamental needs:

Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need — a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

It really is that simple, I think. (Absent from this list is the pursuit of a philosophical basis for our existence, which is a vital quest indeed, but beyond the scope of today’s essay.) Part of our problem is we’re frantically chasing something that can’t be caught by speed or cunning.

With respect to the pursuit of women…here I shall be circumspect. I will cite sources, but you can research the sordid details for yourself.

I’m pausing awkwardly here because this post is starting to sound rather squalid, and that’s not entirely the effect I wish to create. By way of explanation, I’ll offer additional background. I was exchanging thoughts recently with Pat about mind control techniques — something I’d like to write more about, and maybe I will soon. It’s a frightening thing, to think about the manipulation of people, and how easily it can be done when you know the tricks.

It’s a world of manipulators and manipulation out there. You know it; you see it every day. But where does that leave us as inhabitants of this world? Do we aspire to manipulate people? Or are we subject to manipulation by others… or perhaps you feel you are far too clever to succumb to those Jedi mind tricks? These are interesting questions, and not easily answered, if you want to consider the matter honestly (and frankly I’m not comfortable doing that, but I think it should be done nevertheless). So in all seriousness, I’m not writing this to help people pursue mindless conquests; I’m just thinking (with concern and despair) about what it is that makes human beings tick.

Getting closer to the details…In an earlier blog note, I mentioned Jack Woodford’s autobiography. In one of the chapters, Woodford gives a straightforward technique for seducing any woman.

A similar lesson is to be found in Part 4 of Richard Feynman’s eccentric collection of autobiographical tales, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”. (This book is IMHO generally interesting, but does not rise to the level of a must-read.)

The amorous revelations of both authors follow the same broad (no pun intended) pattern. Both observe another gentleman who has inexplicable success with the ladies. Both are curious how this stranger does it. Both eventually find an opportunity to have a frank discussion, and from this they learn a behavioral technique that is unbelievably simple. Both eventually put this technique to the test, and are astounded to discover that it really works. However, both find the results to be spiritually unsatisfying and even troubling, and are thus disinclined to make further use of this technique. (Interestingly, the two seductive techniques are different.)

In reporting the foregoing, I’ll quickly clarify something that may already be obvious: These procedures are of no possible use to you, and there’s no point in pursuing them as if they were. If you’re of a mind to seduce, you already know what you’re doing, and cookbook instructions won’t help you. If you’re a fumbler in the arena of romantic arts, you’re seeking something that won’t be satisfied by mechanical acquisition.

I’m flashing to a film I recently saw on TCM, the 1931 version of “Svengali”. The villainous Svengali uses the power of mind control to make off with a beautiful woman, who is now under his spell and will do whatever he asks of her. But she does not love him, and this troubles Svengali greatly. Even a villain seeks true love! In a touching moment, they exchange these words:

Svengali: [With yearning]…we could be so happy. Look at me, in the eyes. Open your eyes.

Trilby O’Farrell: [With love, induced by Svengali’s trance] Oh, I do love you!

Svengali: Close your eyes.

Trilby O’Farrell: I love—

Svengali: [With despair] Ah, don’t say it! You are beautiful, my manufactured love. But it is only Svengali talking to himself again.

We can manipulate each other. But satisfaction is forever elusive. (Sometimes I wonder whether this is part of God’s reasoning, when He chose to give us the precious and much-misused attribute of free will. Thus God’s dilemma is preferable to Svengali’s dilemma…or so I believe. Likewise, I choose the path of liberty rather than coercion (within reasonable limits, of course…murderers and child molesters must be forcefully stopped), in spite of the fact that free people have more latitude to, as a power-hungry community organizer once claimed, go off “acting stupidly”. Yes, liberty is problematic, and we are unworthy of it. But we relinquish it at the cost of our humanity.)

I remember being a young man at Starfleet Academy, and thinking everything would be so simple after graduation. You get this and that and the other thing. Then you’ll be happy. Now I know better. Some things we can get, and some things we can’t get. That’s the human conundrum, and how we deal with it in large part defines what kind of human being we become. (Cognoscenti will recall the notorious Kobayashi Maru test, which forces the participants (can I refer to the people being tested as “testes”?) to face failure. Did young Jim Kirk act appropriately in short-circuiting that test, do you think? I might argue that he did himself a disservice, but in so doing became a hero to the rest of us. This is quite reasonable for a fictional character, since he doesn’t exist and we need heroes. Unfortunately, I fear I am not a fictional character, so I’m stuck with the raw test, and so are you. I apologize for the digression, but it seemed relevant.)

I’m not writing these words to be discouraging. No, not at all. Rather, my goal is always to clarify the framework of our existence, so that we may better focus on doing good where good can be done. I have listed here some useful pieces of the puzzle. The health, the happiness…these will help you! And the woman (or whatever it is you pursue)…well, just try to connect to another human being. If there’s anyone out there that knows you well and still likes you, you are indeed a lucky creature. And if there isn’t, then just keep your eyes open. And in the meantime, a dog or cat will serve you well and keep your secrets.

This section is for comments from's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Tammy agrees with or endorses any particular comment just because she lets it stand.
5 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. BeforeGoreKneel says:

    Mind control works, for sure. Here I am reading this (and commenting) after clicking on a link in a tweet from a notorious lesbian conservative who repeated your lurid title. (Woofaw!) And I am happily married these last 35 years to my BetterHalf. (Who points out that between us we have nearly 72 years of marriage experience. Though to what end?)

    Just curious, I suppose. (And speaking frankly, there was a tinge of amused disappointment when the link led here… anyone else care to ‘fess up?)

    Meanwhile, after watching The Matrix once again, I offer this hypothesis: Obama supporters had found their Morpheus, and when he said I am the One, they were sure that he would show them the computer codes. So are they disappointed to be bit players? Or manipulated? Or are they on their way to Zion? (Real world question: is there a correlation between Matrix fans and Obama voters?)

    • Maynard says:

      “The Matrix” is an intriguing framework, but it’s impossible to nail down the details with certainty. Where does the simulation end and the reality begin? How do you know for sure that you’re not still in an artificial environment? And what is the meaning of a Matrix-level victory, in which your weapons and acrobatic maneuvers are all merely lines of code in a giant processor array?

      I enjoyed “The Matrix”, but maybe “Eyes Wide Shut” should also be mentioned. “Eyes Wide Shut” is a cautionary tale about a man who steps off the path, and then finds much temptation to go further astray and much difficulty in returning to “normal” life. How does one avoid the perilous snares of the world? Do we maintain the righteous path by overt battle (that is, jump into the Matrix and fight), or should we instead march ahead with closed eyes (that is, proceed with “eyes wide shut”) and thus shun the evil?

      • thierry says:

        i recall being acutely annoyed at the matrix- a post modern jesus tale where jesus doesn’t die populated by attractive creatures dressed in really cute goth outfits. ohh, look, shiny! a video game re-enactment of the archetypal human myth- the savior sent from beyond, foretold by a prophet (in this case morpheus) to save mankind from itself. the problem is they forgot the savior is a human sacrifice who must die to ensure life.

        what is the point of it all if jesus/ ‘ the one’ does not die? that the 2 main characters and central love interest look way too much alike points to the eternal narcissism of hollywood and our world- people only in love, like obama, with their own sweet sweet selves who think they will live forever; humans who more than ever think they ARE god, are the ones who tell everyone else what they have to do or be or think or else . if you’ve already posited yourself as god, why seek him or her or it out with the philosophizing or going to church or praying? in ‘the Matrix’ humans are god, they created the matrix, the machines that control them- they created ‘reality”. the wishful thinking for and of deluded narcissists.

        making other humans god or the savior is where everything literally goes right all to hell. people assume because one does not ascribe to christianity or judaism (which after all like all religions contain manipulations as well as outright threats to obtain compliance) , that one does not have a moral foundation or a conception of a creator greater than oneself. nothing could be further from the truth.i have opted not to worship other human beings and have opted to sacrifice my ego of my own free will to that which is greater and She offers only this- you’re born into the grave. do with it what you will . you’ll save yourself or not- no one else can do it for you.

        loathing being controlled or told what to do, i only really feel i made any progress toward change in my life when i became aware of how i too used manipulation in my personal relationships and decided it was not a good thing. likewise because i refuse to participate in these sort of machinations, the foundations for most relationships it seems, i find myself rather alone with a lot of very attractive gothy cats who sort of look alike and do the most amazing gravity defying wall climbing and fighting. they just want to eat , be safe and to be loved. don’t we all?- but at least they’re honest about it and don’t really have any other hidden agendas.

        i prefer ‘the holy mountain’ by alejandro jodorowsky as opposed to anything from hollywood.

  2. Laura says:

    String theory is easier to comprehend than women, I simply do not understand them. I am just too open and honest, avoiding any and all aspects of manipulation on my part, I take the direct approach, why waste time.

    Some are on there way to Zion, some may have wished they took the blue pill, the one’s who are disenchanted are glad they took the red pill and are converting to the other side.

  3. The Ugly American says:

    I subscribe to The Tao of Steve

    That or beg.

You must be logged in to post a comment.