Friday, 28 August 2015

Men of Yore: Ludwig van Beethoven

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.

Ludwig van Beethoven

The events of Beethoven's life are the stuff of Romantic legend, evoking images of the solitary creator shaking his fist at Fate and finally overcoming it through a supreme effort of creative will. Born in the small German city of Bonn on or around December 16, 1770, he received his early training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned some money as an assistant to his teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe, then was granted half of his father's salary as court musician from the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for his two younger brothers as his father gave in to alcoholism. Beethoven played viola in various orchestras, becoming friends with other players such as Antoine Reicha, Nikolaus Simrock, and Franz Ries, and began taking on composition commissions. As a member of the court chapel orchestra, he was able to travel some and meet members of the nobility, one of whom, Count Ferdinand Waldstein, would become a great friend and patron to him. Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 to study with Haydn; despite the prickliness of their relationship, Haydn's concise humor helped form Beethoven's style. His subsequent teachers in composition were Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Antonio Salieri. In 1794, he began his career in earnest as a pianist and composer, taking advantage whenever he could of the patronage of others. Around 1800, Beethoven began to notice his gradually encroaching deafness. His growing despondency only intensified his antisocial tendencies. However, the Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," of 1803 began a sustained period of groundbreaking creative triumph. In later years, Beethoven was plagued by personal difficulties, including a series of failed romances and a nasty custody battle over a nephew, Karl. Yet after a long period of comparative compositional inactivity lasting from about 1811 to 1817, his creative imagination triumphed once again over his troubles. Beethoven's late works, especially the last five of his 16 string quartets and the last four of his 32 piano sonatas, have an ecstatic quality in which many have found a mystical significance. Beethoven died in Vienna on March 26, 1827.  

Beethoven's epochal career is often divided into early, middle, and late periods, represented, respectively, by works based on Classic-period models, by revolutionary pieces that expanded the vocabulary of music, and by compositions written in a unique, highly personal musical language incorporating elements of contrapuntal and variation writing while approaching large-scale forms with complete freedom. Though certainly subject to debate, these divisions point to the immense depth and multifariousness of Beethoven's creative personality. Beethoven profoundly transformed every genre he touched, and the music of the nineteenth century seems to grow from his compositions as if from a chrysalis. A formidable pianist, he moved the piano sonata from the drawing room to the concert hall with such ambitious and virtuosic middle-period works as the "Waldstein" (No. 21) and "Appassionata" (No. 23) sonatas. His song cycle An die ferne Geliebte of 1816 set the pattern for similar cycles by all the Romantic song composers, from Schubert to Wolf. The Romantic tradition of descriptive or "program" music began with Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6. Even in the second half of the nineteenth century, Beethoven still directly inspired both conservatives (such as Brahms, who, like Beethoven, fundamentally stayed within the confines of Classical form) and radicals (such as Wagner, who viewed the Ninth Symphony as a harbinger of his own vision of a total art work, integrating vocal and instrumental music with the other arts). In many ways revolutionary, Beethoven's music remains universally appealing because of its characteristic humanism and dramatic power.

Biography by


Reading biographies can occasionally make one feel distant/disconnected from the person that we are learning about.  So that we percieve them from a distance rather than feeling as if we were in the same room with them experiencing them personally, emotionally.  This deficit of emotion can be remedied in certain instances though, for example if we can see the person moving around (to see whether they are a active-mobile sort or a passive-sedentary sort of person) or hear them talking (i.e. their inflection).  In the case of Beethoven though because he was a composer we can hear his music;  and because we can hear his music it means that we can experience the type of emotions that were flowing through his veins as he lived.  It may not be as good as speaking to the man in person but it'll have to do for now.

Here are a few snippets of his music.  And whatever you make of the emotions that the songs provoke within you (whether you like them or not) there's no denying that they are more provocative than songs by 21st century popstars like Coldplay, Kylie Minogue or Lady Gaga!

Ode to Joy:

 Fifth Symphony:

Moonlight Sonata:


Monday, 24 August 2015

One Example of How Not to Debate Leftists

Here's the infamous video of Roosh getting well and truly mullered by Dr Oz over the topic of fat shaming.

This video is just one example of why being both passive and logical won't work when debating a leftist because the leftist will always end up being aggressive and emotive, and emotion trumps logic with the majority of humans the majority of the time.  It's why adverts and political election campaigns use emotion more than reason.  Just think of car adverts and how they stress the importance of 'the freedom of driving' (an emotional appeal) rather than highlighting their low maintenance costs (a logical appeal).  They do this because an emotional argument is more likely to win potential customers than a billboard with a list of black and white numbers on it.  It's also why buxom, scatily-clad women are often draped over the cars and so on.  It's a sad fact of life that we are often convinced by emotion instead of reason but that's the way it is.

Emotion is why Roosh got mullered and lost the argument with Dr Oz:
  1. Dr Oz controlled the intro to the interview (portraying Roosh as the pantomime villain for the peasants to throw hatred at),
  2. Dr Oz dominated the interview itself (using emotionally provocative quotes taken from Roosh's internet site),
  3. Dr Oz used the 'impartial' audience as tool to attack Roosh with by making them hate him.
Why Roosh didn't see this coming is beyond me.  Daytime tv programmes are always going to be oriented towards their target audience - working class, stay-at-home women who like watching soap operas and Jerry Springer.  Open-minded debate is not gonna happen.

Anyway enough of my jabbering, here's the video if you haven't seen it already.

(Source: Fat Shaming by Roosh V by croatiajournal2 )


Monday, 17 August 2015

A Trait of Leaders - Redistributing the Riches that he has Recieved

'The Big Man' is a label that is applied to hunter-gatherer chiefs principally from Melanesia, but the phenomenon occurs throughout hunter-gather tribes worldwide.  It's a label indicating that he is the man who is big in his heart and generous in his ways.  He is the man who does not horde the resources that he accumulates (by his own hand and the hands of his fellow tribesman) but the man who gives his resources back to the tribe, to those that need them the most.

This is just one of the attributes of genuine leaders, rulers, Kings, Chiefs or whatever name they are called.

The phenomenon was first noticed by Marshall Sahlins (an anthropologist) amongst tribes in Melanesia:
In Melanesia, where a well-established form of personal politics thrives, the leader is called Big Man or Centre Man.

The Big Man in Melanesia is big because he has a following. He begins with his own family and near relatives and friends, who provide goods that he, on behalf of his group, gives away to other groups at a feast on some ceremonial occasion. He and his faction are feasted reciprocally by others at other times. His ability to redistribute on an increasingly lavish scale to larger groups expands his following. He thus amasses what the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, in reporting on the Trobriand Islanders, called a “fund of power.” With the public esteem gained in this economic contest, the Big Man is sought out for giving advice, adjudicating quarrels, planning ceremonies, and admonishing and conciliating. But this is influence, not the true authority that inheres in a status or office in an established hierarchy. A really big Big Man may succeed in integrating a region of several villages, but when he loses to a rival or dies, the unity of the region dissolves until some other unusually influential man unites it again.

The same attributes of the big man, generosity, are also found amongst the chiefs of North American Indians:
The Northwest Coast Indians elaborated a hierarchical form of organization, or chiefdom. They were the only hunter-gatherers to have done so. Chiefs or nobles occupied positions of high status that were inherited in a single descent line by primogeniture. Secondary lines of descent, collateral to the above, were of lesser status. Finally, there were the commoners.

Along with chiefly status went the socioeconomic institution of redistribution. Surplus products of family production were passed on to the chief, who in turn gave a large feast (or “potlatch”), during which he distributed gifts to those who needed them.

As well as the Americas and the Pacific Islands, the Big Man is a phenomenon that occured in Australia:
Aborigines had no chiefs or other centralized institutions of social or political control. In various measures Aboriginal societies exhibited both hierarchical and egalitarian tendencies, but they were classless and an egalitarian ethos predominated, the subordinate status of women notwithstanding. However, there is evidence in some areas, such as northeast Arnhem Land, Bathurst and Melville islands, western Cape York Peninsula, and among the Arrernte of central Australia, that strong leaders akin to the Melanesian “Big Man” existed

And it's a phenomenon that has carried through from the stone age into the modern era.  Titus Salt, Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie were some of the men in recent times who sought to redistribute the riches that they accrued over the years.  Titus Salt redistributed the wealth in the form of housing, schools and other buildings (in a town called Saltaire in the UK that he funded).  Henry Ford redistributed his wealth in the form of a fair wage for his workers (so called 'Welfare Capitalism').  Andrew Carnegie redistributed his wealth in the form of numerous philanthropic charities.  All of them gave away the wealth that they had accumulated over their lifetime from other people.  They didn't horde is and spend it on fine wines, yachts, women, mansions and all the other fripperies of the jet-set life.  They spent it on people that needed it.  And whether those riches which the Big Man has accumulated are tangible things (like food, housing, land, gold etc) or intangible (knowledge, information, social contacts etc) is irrelevant because they are both riches accumulated from others.  The point is to give them away again, and crucially: To those who need them!

This is what Big Man is all about, receiving and then redistributing goods to those who need them.  Hording, consuming, stockpiling and other similar traits are alien.  Giving is good, hording is bad.

Think about it this way: what would God be like if all he did was consume the fruits of your labour and give you nothing in return?  Would you think much of him?  Would you think him worthy of being your God, or would you despise him and all that he stands for?  Would you seek to supplant him and instead have a God that facilitates redistribution of things (be they tangible goods or intangible ideas & emotions) to those whom needed them the most?

God's not just a consumer, he's not an avaricious despot lording it over the Universe like a cliched Alpha-stud romping his way through all the goddesses he can lay his mucky paws on.  If he was then we wouldn't be here because the universe would be like a black hole - totally obsessed with self and consumption.

But of course God is not a black hole, and we're not trapped inside of it.  Instead God is (amongst many, many things!) a conduit through which goods flow from one person to another who needs them.  This is what God is like and this is what leaders are like, they let the goods flow through the tribe from those who produce them (and enjoy doing so) and giving them freely (i.e. un-conditionally) to those who need them. 

This is one of the traits of chiefs, and of real leaders everywhere.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Hedgerow Fruits

(Foreword: This was originally posted May last year, but seeing as it's fruit picking season, at least here in Blighty, and some of you might be interested in picking your own fruits and making your own jams, jellies, wines and so on I thought I might re-post it.)

Foraged or Hedgerow foods might not seem like a topic you'd expect to seen on a blog that usually talks about men's issues in society (political, social, economic etc), but seeing as man is supposed to be a go-getter, an entrepreneur, a survivor, that means that he must have some capacity for self-reliance, and one area of self-reliance that every John Doe can do with little effort is collecting and processing hedgerow foods. It won't provide you with your kilogram of meat or wheat (~2500 kCals) that you need for your body for the day, but it will provide you with some variety.

Below are the three main stages that you will go through if you intend to go out foraging for foods - scouting, collecting, and processing - and some brief comments on each them:

1. Scouting:
To engage in some foraging then you must first be aware of where you can successfully forage wild foods. If you walk or cycle around your town and/or the surrounding countryside then you'll almost certainly be more aware of hedgerows and what they contain than if you're driving in a car at 40mph.

Once you've spotted an area of hedgerow that yields one or more wild foods then, just like a supermarket, you can return to that area time after time knowing what to expect. After that, it's simply a case of adding more locations to your database (either mental or physical), which will happen over time, and thus increasing the quantity and variety of foods that you can forage.

2. Collecting:
Fruits are more often than not soft and nuts are hard, so if you want to collect some fruits to put on top of a sundae or some desert, and appearance is important, then get a firm container that isn't going to distort the shape of your fruits. But if you're just making jam something where appearance isn't important at all then a plastic carrier bag, or plastic bread bag will suffice (so long as you don't go over the top and pile kilogram after kilogram in the bag, 'cause the fruits will get squashed and lose their all important juice).

Before you start picking you should be aware of whether the plants that your picking from are on public or private property, because you don't want to get arrested for trespassing or theft. You should also be aware of whether collecting wild food is legal or not in your respective country (or State if you're from the USA) so that you don't get nabbed by the police. For example THIS MAN was banned from foraging on Southampton Common. Silly laws are out there so try and be aware of them if you can.

Respecting other peoples property is important, as is respecting the plant that your harvesting. Pick only as much as you need. And try to leave some fruit on the plant for other insects, animals and people. Foraging is about collecting with respect, rather than Kolonial Raubwirtschaft.

3. Processing:
After you've collected you're hedgerow harvest there's then the question of what you're going to do with it: Eat it raw? Process it into another product (like jam or wine)? Perhaps process it again and turn it into another product (like jam tarts or jam roly-poly)? Read around and see what different recipes are available, and what takes your fancy. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet and in books both old and new. If you live near a second hand book shop then it might be worth checking their shelves because there are plenty of old cookery books that were written for housewives and women before the 1960s (when the so-called 'liberation movement' started to take place) and so they contain recipes for hedgerow foods (like rose hips, stinging nettles etc). An observation that you might make while perusing the recipes is that all of the jam recipes (that I've seen over the years) are based on a simple ratio - 1 weight of fruit to 1 weight of sugar. For instance 500 grams of blackberries requires 500 grams of sugar. The same ratio can also be applied to most home brew wines. This is a useful ratio to know because it saves you the bother of learning the same ratio many times in numerous different recipes.

Final Thoughts
One of the bonuses of making homemade food like jam is that they contain a higher fruit content than many, possibly most, of the jams and preserves that supermarkets sell. If you look at the label on a typical jar of jam then you'll see that it contains somewhere between 25% and 45% fruit (depending on the quality), the rest is sugar. A jam with more sugar than fruit obviously means it's going to have less flavour than a homemade equivalent.

I haven't gone into any detail about what types of fruits, fungi, nuts, plants, shellfish etc to look out for because the internet has readers from all over the world, and I can't provide data for every country and ecosystem out there. There are books on foraging that will have data (edible plants, where to find them, what time of year to harvest them etc) relevant to your country (or State if your from a continental country like the USA or Russia) so keep an eye out for them.

Finally, there is a particular website called Nutrition Data, which, as you might gather by the title, contains a veritable cornucopia of nutritional data on foodstuffs, including wild foods such as acorns and blackberries that you might find useful if you take an interest in the nutritional content of what you eat.

Other than that, bon voyage and bon appetit(!)


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Men of Yore: Dominique Larrey

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.

Dominique Larrey

Born: July 8, 1766
Place of Birth: Beaudéan, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
Legion of Honor: Commander
Imperial Nobility: Baron
Died: May 25, 1842
Cause of Death: Illness
Place of Death: Lyon, France
Arc de Triomphe: LARREY on the south pillar

Dr. Larrey is credited with reforming the French army's medical procedures of the time and was renowned for his humane treatment of any wounded, regardless of nation. Honored by Napoleon, he was also friends with many French generals of the time, including Desaix, Lannes, Duroc, and Drouot.


The son of a shoemaker, Dominique-Jean Larrey began his medical career when his father died and he was sent to live with his uncle who was a surgeon. Trained as a surgeon, he served aboard a ship for a brief time but by the time of the Revolution he had arrived in Paris. Believing in the ideals of the Revolution, Larrey led a group of medical students and took part in the storming of the Bastille. During the violent days of the Revolution, he practiced his skills and became convinced of the need to immediately amputate if necessary, instead of the tradition of delaying the surgery. In the meantime he met his sweetheart Charlotte Laville whom he would later marry in 1794.
In 1792 Larrey received a position with the Army of the Rhine and traveled to Strasbourg. After witnessing the speed at which the horse-drawn artillery could move on a battlefield, he proposed to General Custine the construction of a similar system, an ambulance to transport wounded soldiers from the battlefield for medical treatment. General Custine, anxious to not appear to be ignoring the plights of citizen soldiers, approved Larrey's plans. Initially the ambulance was a simple horse-drawn cart which Larrey led into battle to save the lives of wounded soldiers. Despite being exposed to danger, he worked tirelessly to rescue soldiers, sometimes participating in combat. At one battle in 1793, a group of French soldiers began to run away from the battle. Larrey drew his sword and charged after them, yelling at them for so cowardly leaving their comrades to fight while they ran, and this act convinced them to return to the battle. Later during the same battle, seeing four wounded soldiers being stripped of valuables by the Prussians, Larrey led a charge of his dragoon escort against the Prussians, and rescued the soldiers. The wounded were loaded into his ambulances and escorted to the rear, where he operated on them and saved all their lives.
In 1797 General Bonaparte requested Larrey be attached to the Army of Italy. During this time, he began to establish a clear policy on the ambulances. In the midst of battle and at risk to themselves, teams of his ambulances would hurry around the battlefield, picking up the wounded whose lives might be saved, and transporting them to the rear of battle where they could be operated upon. While at times his teams would perform first aid right there in the middle of the battle, the most critically wounded were usually retrieved and taken to relative safety before operating on them. This kept the best surgeons safely out of harm's way and able to perform their duties at stations set up specifically for saving lives. Overall, his system of transporting wounded soldiers away from the battlefield significantly reduced death rates, as almost all critically wounded soldiers were operated on within 24 hours, oftentimes before the battle was even over.

Expedition to Egypt

The next year Larrey was appointed Surgeon-in-Chief to the expedition to Egypt. As the army disembarked from its long voyage west of Alexandria, General Maximillien Cafffarelli du Falga unfortunately got his wooden leg caught in the rigging and fell overboard. Larrey immediately dove into the water after him, and drug him to the beach, saving his life. Later that month at the Battle of the Pyramids, as during all times, Larrey was willing to treat enemy wounded. One wounded mameluke came to the French for help, and Larrey treated his wound. Thankful, the man gave Larrey a brilliant ruby ring, which he wore until it was taken from him at Waterloo.
Before the army began its march in Syria, Larrey noticed the plight of some English prisoners of war who had been captured when their ship ran aground. Held in deplorable conditions, Larrey asked General Dupas to improve their treatment, but he refused. Undeterred, Larrey went to General Bonaparte and told him of their conditions, and Bonaparte allowed for the men to be returned to the English on the grounds that they had not directly fought the French.
As the army besieged Jaffa, one day an Egyptian entertainer who was caught in a skirmish came to the temporary French hospital for treatment. After treating him, Larrey noticed his pet monkey, the man's companion and his livelihood, was also wounded and he offered to patch it up. With tears streaming down his face from happiness at this unexpected gentleness and generosity, the man accepted and held the monkey while Larrey bandaged it up. The monkey returned many times to have its bandages replaced, and each time would run up and hug Larrey.
One evening during the siege of Acre, senior officers including General Bonaparte and Dr. Larrey were invited to General Verdier's quarters for a dinner. As everyone but Larrey had arrived, Madame Verdier began to signal that dinner would be served, as it would be rude to keep General Bonaparte waiting. Napoleon insisted that dinner not start without Larrey, to which the Verdiers replied that Larrey was at the hospital and no one knew when his work would be completed. Bonaparte continued to insist that they wait for him, and the dinner finally went ahead when Larrey arrived an hour later. 
Later during the fighting at Acre, Arrighi de Casanova arrived at the front only to be hit by a ball that passed through his neck. Blood splurting everywhere, he fell to the ground, and a soldier rushed to him and put a finger in each hole on the sides of his neck, slowing the bleeding. Dr. Larrey was called for, and he quickly applied bandages while ignoring the shots falling all around them, saving Arrighi de Casanova's life. Larrey didn't even bother to look up from his patient when his hat was shot off. 
Napoleon decided to leave Egypt and return to France, and Larrey was one of the select few chosen to accompany Napoleon. Larrey informed Napoleon that if Napoleon insisted he would return with him, but in his opinion the army needed him more than the general did. Napoleon accepted Larrey's suggestion, and Larrey stayed in Egypt. After the French surrendered in August of 1801, Larrey returned to France to receive the position of Surgeon-in-Chief to the Consular Guard. With Napoleon becoming Emperor, Larrey became the Chief Surgeon to the Imperial Guard, and was rewarded as an Officer of the Legion of Honor.

Battle of Eylau

Over the next few years, Larrey fulfilled his duties in treating the wounded during the campaigns across Europe. Before the Battle of Eylau in 1807, Caulaincourt attempted to commandeer the building Larrey had set up as a hospital for the Emperor's quarters. Larrey refused to surrender his hospital, and Caulaincourt threatened to go to Napoleon, to which Larrey replied, "As you please, but you may be sure that his majesty will decide in my favor."1 When Caulaincourt did go to Napoleon, Napoleon sided with Larrey, preferring that Larrey's work for the wounded take priority over his own comfort.
During the battle, the Russian attack on the French left flank almost overran Larrey's hospital. As French soldiers reeled back from the Russian onslaught, Larrey calmly finished the operation he was performing and announced that he would die with his casualties if need be. That very morning Larrey had assisted General Lepic with his arthritis so he could fight, and it was lucky that he had done so. As the French soldiers reeled back, Lepic's cavalry rode to the rescue with a succesful counterattack, driving the Russians back and keeping the hospital out of harm's way.
Later the same day, a colonel badly wounded at Eylau had to have his leg amputated, but as Larrey attempted to perform the operation, the man's leg would not stop shaking from his fear of the operation. Larrey slapped him in the face, and the officer demanded satisfaction for such an insult to his honor. As the man angrily spoke of honor, Larrey performed the operation, then apologized and explained that he knew the affront to the man's honor would cause him to forget the operation for a moment, all the time Larrey needed to carry out the operation.
As the Emperor and Larrey left Eylau on the 17th, Napoleon noticed that Larrey no longer wore a sword. "You don't have a sword?" Napoleon asked. Larrey explained that his sword was lost during the battle as the Russians had overrun his baggage wagon. Napoleon removed his own sword and held it out to Larrey, telling him, "Here is mine. Accept it as a reminder of the services you rendered me at the Battle of Eylau."2

Campaigns of 1808 - 1814

Rewards followed for Larrey, as he was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor and given the military rank of general. The next year he traveled with the Imperial Guard to Spain, and after participating in the campaigning, returned with them to address the new threat from Austria in 1809. During the Danube campaign, at Aspern-Essling Larrey personally amputated one of the legs of his good friend Marshal Lannes who he had patched up numerous times before. Despite the emotions of performing such a procedure on a good friend, Larrey carried out the operation successfully, though the wound became infected and Lannes died within a matter of days.
After the Battle of Wagram, Larrey was further recognized for his contributions by being made a Baron of the Empire. He spent the new few years in relative peace in Paris before being named Surgeon-in-Chief to the Grande Armée for the 1812 Russian campaign. Accompanying the army, at Borodino he performed about 200 amputations throughout the day. Once Napoleon realized the Czar Alexander would not negotiate, he ordered the retreat which was almost stopped by the Berezina River. At the crossing of the Berezina, the temporary bridge for vehicles was twice swept away, and Larrey was unable to bring his ambulances across the bridge. He repeatedly crossed the other bridge, carrying as many medical supplies as he could. As the bridge began to break, panic and a mad stampede erupted. Recognizing Larrey caught in the stampede, the soldiers began to cry out, "Let us save him who has saved us!"3 A group of soldiers pushed their way through the crowds, grabbed Larrey, held him up above themselves, and passed him above themselves to safety.
Larrey continued in his role as Chief Surgeon to the army during the campaign in Germany in 1813. In the midst of the campaign, many young soldiers were showing up with wounds on their hands. Suspecting an attempt to avoid fighting, Napoleon ordered two men from each corps to be shot as an example, and told Larrey to inspect their wounds and determine the individuals whose wounds were clearly self-inflicted. Larrey refused to do so, arguing that there wasn't enough evidence, so the Emperor ordered an inquiry into the wounds. Larrey and the surgeons analyzed the evidence and determined that none of the suspects had self-inflicted wounds. When he told Napoleon, Napoleon was very grateful and thanked Larrey for having the courage to stick to his beliefs, saying, "Happy indeed is a sovereign in having a man like you at his side."4

The Hundred Days

After Napoleon's abdication in 1814, Larrey was well treated by the Bourbons. But the next year when Napoleon returned from exile for the Hundred Days, Larrey eagerly greeted him and welcomed him back to Paris. However, when Dr. Percy was selected as Chief Surgeon to the Army, Larrey refused to accept the position of Chief Surgeon to the Imperial Guard until his friend Drouot convinced him otherwise. He set out to join the army on the 10th of June.
During the fighting at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington noticed a surgeon working on the wounded while under fire. Upon asking who it was and learning that it was Larrey, he directed his men to not fire in Larrey's direction and took off his hat in a salute to Larrey. When asked who he was saluting, Wellington pointed at Larrey and explained, "I salute the courage and devotion of an age that is no longer ours."5
After the loss of Waterloo, Larrey, his ambulances, and his escort found their retreat blocked by a Prussian unit. They launched a charge to break through the Prussians, but Larrey was hit, knocked unconscious, and left for dead. Upon waking, he set off on his own, only to have a Prussian cavalry squadron hunt him down. All alone, he surrendered, but was immediately manhandled and stripped of almost everything on him. The Prussians then took Larrey to their general, who ordered that he be shot. As a Prussian surgeon stepped forward to bandage his wound before his imminent execution, the surgeon recognized Larrey and convinced the general to not execute Larrey. Larrey was sent first to General Bülow, who improved his condition, giving him new clothes and untying his hands, and then sent him on to Field Marshal Blücher. Larrey had previously treated Blücher's son at Dresden, and Blücher treated him with respect and sent word to his wife that he was alive, as the French had thought Larrey was killed in the retreat from Waterloo.
In Napoleon's will, he called Larrey, "the most virtuous man I have ever known."6 At another time, Napoleon said, "If the Army were to erect a monument of the memory of any one man, it should be that of Larrey. All the wounded are his family."7


Whatever your attitude of a particular war or war in general the soldiers on the front line who fight those wars deserve to be well treated before, during and after the war has ended.  Good treatment during war time means, among other things, recieving quality medical healthcare should the soldier become wounded.  While many men have contributed to the improvement of medicine Larrey's contribution was to make sure that the wounded soldiers got treated as soon as they had recieved there wounds and were not left on the battlefield to suffer.


Monday, 3 August 2015

An alternative to the Socio-Sexual Hierarchy

.. or why the 'SS Hierarchy' needs to be scuppered (badum-tsh!)

For some reason, lord knows why, some folk in the manosphere have felt the need to construct a hierarchy of men according to their proverbial 'notch count' and then extrapolate that hierarchy on to the rest of society.  It's a hierarchy that's based on how lucky men get in the bedroom department, with the top scoring men labelled as Alphas at the top of the ladder and the not so lucky lads branded Omegas on the bottom rungs.  Alas it's just plain wrong and un-helpful to men, and these are the two points that will be briefly discussed in this short blog post: it's erroneousnous and it's un-helpfulness.

Proponents of the socio-sexual hierarchy, like proponents of any theory no matter how sane or doolally, utilise any and every means at their disposal to try and 'prove' or legitimise their theory.  Some of these proofs of the Socio-sexual hierarchy crowd can be summarised (and subsequently disproved) by the following:
  • Applying it to historical contexts (e.g. Ghengis Khan was an alpha.  Regardless of the fact that slavery, polygamy, violence were all methods he used to 'get lucky with teh ladies'.  Ergo his sexual success has nothing to do with chat up lines, negs or other PUA terminology.)
  • By using sociology (Vox is keen on this.  He simultaneously rubbishes science when it's of no use to him and uses it when it is useful to him).
  • By using personal anecdotes.  (Lots of anecdotes are fine so long as they are collated and then tested according to the hypothesis, after which they are used to either confirm or reject the hypothesis.  See HERE for basics on inductive and deductive hypotheses.)
  • By using animal sociology e.g. the 'animal pack' and 'lone wolves' (Even though, as Bob Wallace has pointed out a gazillion and one times, the Alpha Wolf theory was only applicable to domesticated wolves, and has since been debunked by the man who originally proposed it.)
  • By using evolutionary psychology lots and lots and lots. (Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science' page explores the pitfalls of evo-psych and why it's bad science)
  • By using film stars as proof of the veracity of the hierarchy (I kid you not!  How someone can use fiction to verify reality makes my head hurt.  Like HERE, why James Bond is SO alpha!)
  • By twisting/interpreting news reports in terms of the hierarchy.  (e.g. Andreas Lubzitz killed people because he was a homosexual omega (according to Vox), the Virginia Tech massacre also happened because of sexual frustration, as was Elliot Rogers killing spree.  This is no different to anyone else using a topical event as 'evidence' of their own beliefs.  Feminists use it to support their theory, mental health care experts use it to support their theory, economists use to to support their theory and so on).
The socio-sexual hierarchy could generously be described as astrology for PUAs, or less generously described as the love child of codswallop and woo.  Either way you look at it the socio-sexual hierarchy is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard and as verifiable as David Icke's theory on shape-shifting Illuminati lizards.  But that doesn't stop people believing it.  Many men are, unfortunately, quite often gullible and some of them are eager for authority figures to tell them the truth rather than find it out for themselves.  This is doubly true regarding sexual matters - the humongous number of penis enlargement ads on the net is proof of this.  There wouldn't be masses of ads unless there were customers willing to buy the goods.

Bad science and gullible folk aside, the truth of the matter is that successful men don't have to get laid a lot.  Just take a look at anyone of the Men of Yore posts from this blog and you'll see all kinds of men with all kinds of sex lives:
  • Multiple marriages with kids from each marriage (Abel Tasman).
  • Married to one wife with kids (Adrian Carton de Wiart).
  • Married with no kids (Henry Nestle).
  • Un-married with no kids (Isaac Newton).
  • Celibate monk (Gregor Mendel).
All of these men, and many more besides, are remembered by history and by society for their goods deeds rather than what went on between the sheets - cue the Isley Brothers track!

The truth is that how frequently you get your end away is no measure of your manhood.  And quite often men who spend their lives chasing tail are less than admirable, and certainly not the type of people that you want to elevate to the level of paragon of the tribe.  Is Russell Brand someone that you want to elevate to the position of paragon?  How about Charlie Sheen?  Or Peter Stringfellow perhaps?  Maybe Hugh Heffner's more to your liking?  What about the suave, but frequently broke, Casanova?  None of them?  Nah, me neither.  That's why the position of paragon of the tribe (or any figure held up as one to emulate or inspire positive example) should be reserved for men who are a cut above, not for men whose heads are buried deep in the down belows (ahem!).

That's why the SS hierarchy should be scuppered: because it's not reality and it's not useful.  As for the people who I've seen say that they need a replacement for it, well all I can say is: Do you need a replacement for astrological star signs?  Or how about MBTI?  Or 'What's my Star Wars character?!'  Do you need substitutes for any of those or any other classification system?  No of course you don't.  You've gotten on perfectly well without them.  Just like other people have gotten along without other bad science (like orgone theory).  They are superfluous and spurious: MBTI can be debunked at a cursory glance by noting that Carl Jung said that archetypes, upon which the MBTI 16 are based, couldn't be reduced down to a mere handful.  And debunked further by reading around.  It's the same with the SS hierarchy.  If it ain't good then, gosh darn it, you don't need it!

If truth be told, sex/coitus is as much as measure of manhood as bicep size is, or brainpower, or how much gold you have, that is to say that it isn't a measure at all.  Take Audie Murphy for instance.  The war hero and movie star.  Did you know that he was rejected by the military when he first applied for the infantry because he was too scrawny.  They looked him up and down and said "Sorry son, you just don't cut the mustard" (I'm paraphrasing of course).  And look what that scrawny little man ended up doing: not only joining the army a short while later, but while on active duty in the Ardenne during Winter 1944 he defended his own company from an attack by an enemy company, single handedly killing 50 enemy soldiers, while getting wounded in the process.  He finished the war one of the most decorated men in the army.  That takes courage, real manliness, more manliness than I will ever have, and he was alot skinnier and shorter than I am.  It shows you that physical size has little to do with real manhood.  And it's just the same with nookie.  More nookie does not make you more of a man.  Doing whatever it is that you do makes you a man, i.e. doing your Will, regardless of what others think.  That seems to me to be a true mark of manhood, like the Rudyard Kipling poem says (which is coincidentally a positive note to end this blog post on):

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

by Rudyard Kipling