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Saturday, July 17, 2004
homely girls and heros
notes on the origins of "self-esteem" 2
god said to abraham "kill me a son."
abe said "man, you must be puttin' me on!"
god said "no."
abe say "what?"
god say "you can do what you want, abe, but
the next time you see me comin', you better run."
well abe said "where d'you want this killin' done?"
and god said "out on highway 61..."

dylan - highway 61 revisited

"Self-Esteem (Dominance-Feeling)
and Sexuality in Women"

title of a paper by Abraham H. Maslow
Journal of Social Psychology, 1942, 16, pp. 259-294, included in
Dominance, Self-Esteem, Self-Actualization:
Germinal Papers of A. H. Maslow

"It is worth noting that Maslow was one of the first psychologists to take the psychology of women seriously." [1]

"In their efforts to identify dominant women, [Lucien] Hanks encouraged Maslow to look at style of dress as a statement of self-expression. Presumably, the more dominant the woman, the more eye-catching her clothing. To test their hypothesis, they ventured down to Madison's lakefront area to observe how dominant women (ones they knew from the university) presented themselves in bathing suits. Undoubtedly, there were many stalwart University of Wisconsin males eyeing the coeds on warm spring days, but Maslow and Hanks were probably the only ones doing so under the aegis of science." [2]

"The commonly seen hatred of or jealousy of goodness, truth, beauty, health or intelligence ('counter-values') is largely (though not altogether) determined by threat of loss of self-esteem, as the liar is threatened by the honest man, the homely girl by the beautiful girl, or the coward by the hero. Every superior person confronts us with our own shortcomings." [3]

If you are saying to yourself, "Yeah? So what's your point?" click here...


[1] Toward a Psychology of Being, 3rd edition, by Abraham H. Maslow, p. 73, footnote 1.

[2] The Right to Be Human: A Biography of Abraham Maslow, by Edward Hoffman, p. 57.

[3] Toward a Psychology of Being, 3rd edition, by Abraham H. Maslow, p. 217.

9:55 PM | link |

maslow and the ´┐Żbermensch
notes on the origins of "self-esteem"
Who doesn't love the idea of dominance, right? Here's a small handful of titles showing how much we all care about this intimate topic. Hold that thought. It will recur in a moment in a much different -- and for most, I suspect, a wholly unsuspected -- context.

cover cover cover cover

The following is from The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist by Frans De Waal. The passage quoted is from the beginning of Chapter 9, "Apes with Self-Esteem: Abraham Maslow and the Taboo on Power." The bits that I've highlighted in red indicate why I'm posting this at all.

"Few people realize that Abraham Maslow, one of the first modern psychologists to explore human ambition, was greatly inspired by monkeys. He was struck by the cocky, confident air of the top monkey, and the slinking cowardice, as he called it, of individuals near the bottom of the hierarchy. Maslow also saw that high status pays off in terms of access to resources. In 1936, he postulated a drive for dominance...

Turning his attention to human behavior, Maslow observed in some people the same self-confident attitude that he had seen in his monkeys. After proposing some now-forgotten labels for this attitude, such as 'dominance-feeling' and 'ego-level,' in 1940 he hit on the concept of 'self-esteem.' This blend of self-evaluation and self-love struck a chord in American culture, and the term remains immensely popular. Feeling good about oneself has become a goal in and of itself, sometimes quite disconnected from actual ability or merit." [pp. 297-298]


"[Maslow] thought mainly in terms of individual differences and personality types. Because he saw dominance as a sign of inherent biological superiority, he felt that in a good society the elite should be given the opportunity to realize their potential. They should be protected against the malice of the nongifted, who inevitably have trouble accepting their miserable positions. He this forgot that dominance is a social phenomenon that resides in relationships, not individuals. Alone on an island, the biggest boss is no boss at all. Individual abilities do play a role in achieving high status, but the abilities involved are often distinctly social, such as diplomacy and a talent for building lasting relationships." [p. 300, italics in original]

I think it's overgenerous to say Maslow "forgot" the social dimension of dominance. Esteem bestowed by others for accomplishment is of a higher order than self-assessments, which are often based on nothing more than naive and narcissistic mantras of uncritical self-affirmation. What he was interested in was superior "human potential" (as in the movement), which his later -- but closely related -- theories of "self-actualization" sought to develop. It is my theory that Maslow was a closet Nazi seeking to create a master race of supermen. More evidence suggestive of this hypothesis will be forthcoming shortly.

5:24 AM | link |

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
more fun with spam
including Safety-Hacked® clickable button!

1:52 PM | link |

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
the hour of the wolf
gone awry again
It was four in the morning and I was bored. It's been very hot here lately, and I've been getting sunburned walking to bus stops and walking around Boulder. I'm not complaining. It's been quite liberating in a strange way. Loosing my car, and soon my apartment (the foreclosure is back underway after the bankruptcy monkeywrench I threw into the works slowed it down for at least three months)... seem to constitute the objective correlative of jettisoning obsolete conceptual structures -- some of which I was quite fond of for a while there; there are places I remember; etc. But as I was saying, it's been hot here. And I haven't been running the air conditioning, as it costs money I'd far rather spend on exotic women of the night. Or failing that, food, cigarettes and coffee. So it's become my favorite part of the day when it cools down and I can open all the doors and windows and let the cool night air blow through the place. Maybe go outside and look at the moon. Perform otherworldly calisthenics half naked for the benefit of my bewildered neighbors. Yes, things have been looking up.

As long, that is, as I don't dwell too long or too deeply on Certain Matters I may have mentioned here once or twice. I've sort of invented my own personal form of Cognitive-Behavior Modification -- I wouldn't go so far as to call it therapy, exactly; it retains various elements of my overall outlook, which, though trending sharply into regions far from any notion of normative, seem unlikely to change any time real soon. I have come to accept this, finally, and it has brought a kind of peace to embrace my fundamental fuckedupness and, you know, as they say, move on. They don't say moving on to what, though, so I'm allowing myself considerable leeway in my options. The first step along this new path is to pretend that I have options. This is a lot of fun, actually. Attending to the wisdom of Wayne W. Dyer (more about him soon enough), I am Learning to Co-Create My World My Way. Wow, fucking cool! I can be what I want to be; on Cloud Nine. And I don't even need to take heroin, which is what that Temptations song is all about, you know, getting messed up on shit and living in a nice cozy fuzzy-warm little dream world. But I don't need drugs to get high. I need drugs to just feel halfway normal, which is what has forced me to create this new Cognitive-Behavior Modification methodology whereby I convince myself that I am actually ripped out my head on acid. It usually works pretty good, too. The trick is in counteracting the effects of the seratonin reuptake inhibitors I am taking to keep myself from being depressed, though Christ knows I've got plenty to be depressed about. But see? This goes right into a whole ontological-epistemological cul-de-sac where I'm going, now let's see, what is real? And how can I ever know if what I perceive as real bears any relationship to what you perceive as real? Unless we fall in love or something, in which case all bets are off, boundary violations abound -- some of which are pretty damn exciting, I have to admit -- and these abstractions take on a terrifying reality of their own, over which neither party has the least control. I am talking about intimacy, of course.

So none of that. I'm not messin with it no more. Someone once wrote: "Before you can love another, you first have to learn to love yourself." I don't know the author. I saw it written on the wall of the crapper in Barnes & Noble this afternoon. Or maybe that was yesterday. Yes, I'm sure of it; it was yesterday. So I was up all night learning to love myself, which I must say I've gotten pretty good at. And I must also say -- though it's not that I really must; it's not like a compulsion or anything -- that the Internet has played a large role in my gradual recovery from being cut off so suddenly from any possibility of sex with other humans. So as I sit alone at my terminal at 3am with only hi-rez JPEGs to remind me of, as they say in the Program: "what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now" (they really do say that; all the time), I recall those prescient words of Crosby, Stills & Nash to the effect that if you can't be with the one you love, or, alternatively, you realize that loving that particular person might just count as the worst mistake of your life, but in any case, there you are with no one to love, so you should just get used to the idea of loving the one you're with. Capice? So as I was saying, I've gotten pretty good at that. In fact, I'm starting to be one of the best lovers I've ever had. I'm thinking of branding it, actually. Intimacy Without the Endless Fucking Misunderstandings, Bald-Faced Usury and Betrayal, and All the Rest of the Usual Shit It Takes Just to Have a Simple Satisfying Goddam Orgasm®.

What do you think? I'm still in the development stage with this, but I'm looking for first-round financing, if you like, know anyone.

But then, as I said, I basically got bored. Which happens, right? I mean, even under normal conditions. And by then it was, yes, the hour of the wolf. Which is 4am, according to I think Ingmar Bergman. And it's a good time to think heavy thoughts of mortality and death, the failure of love and whether we are all alone and permanently insane, or merely a little lazy. Well, none of these thoughts were coming to me, so once again, I knew I was missing an opportunity to be morose and lugubrious. But try as I might, I just couldn't give a good shit.

Therefore, I decided to create a listmania list on Amazon, using a technique originally developed to trickily bring my books to the attention of the idiots who buy only bestsellers. Some of you may recall this Action Item from several years ago before I totally lost it. If you don't remember because you were still on AOL then and this is all new to you, don't worry. You wouldn't understand anyway. So this morning at 4, I created a list using sort of the same method. First I searched for Body, Mind Spirit / New Age, which is a preconceived category on Amazon. It's probably a Library of Congress Subject Heading. Well, no, it seems not, as I just tried searching the LOC Subject Headings for "Body, Mind Spirit" -- the ultimate insider buzz-phrase euphemism for the now denigrated-in-many-circles-as-not-being-quite-special-enough "New Age" -- and the first hit that came up was body odor. "A fleur de peau : corps, odeurs, parfums..." etc. I was once a beta tester for the Library of Congress Subject Headings when they first came out on CD-ROM, which was a very big deal, for the Library and for me personally, and I could go on about this at some considerable length, but it would no doubt entail a fairly gargantuan (speaking of which I got a postcard from Bremen today from Kombinat) sidebar that goes right into the whole ontological-epistemological cul-de-sac where I'm going, now let's see, what is real? And how can I ever know if what I perceive as real bears any relationship to... and so on and so forth. So let's not go there.

See? I am slowly becoming more reflective and less impulsive. I am learning that I have limits, and that I must respect them, in myself and in others. Thus I am returning to some semblance of mental health, or at least not rocking back and forth on my couch medicated into near oblivion but nonetheless moaning and speaking incomprehensible gibberish to people who only ever existed in my head. As does the entire universe, including you btw, who only exist for my amusement.

Yeah, so it's a slow process, OK? Leave me alone!

But enough of this light persiflage and unintentional humor at my own expense. I'm so broke I can't even afford that! Here is a sample item from the listmania list I created (if you recall, I think I did mention something about this back there in the weeds somewhere), which, if you click on it (or click on where it just said "click on it") will take you to the Compleat List, which has 22 more such items, and one nonesuch. I therefore strongly encourage you to curl your index finger slightly downward and give a firm and forthright double tap on the leftmost button of that mouse you're holding. Thank you. I'll just wait here a moment while you go off and do that before continuing with my... let's call it "little story" without getting into any gnarly structuralist debates about narrative categories. OK?

I don't really know if this is properly part of the story referred to above, but what happened then did come on the heels of my decision -- already decided really, but I mean my conscious pre-operational intention -- to post this in some way or another here on this very weblog. Well sir, seeing as it was now going on 6 and the birds were starting up, I decided I might as well have another cup of coffee, as I'd been drinking iced coffee all night anyway, on account of how fucking hot it was. At least that's what I told myself. If you can't tell the one you love, tell the one your with.

Christ, I'm really dragging it out this time, aren't I? These posts are becoming like shaggy dog stories, except with less of a point. But wait. It gets better.

Yeah, so anyway. I went downstairs and made coffee. Grind the beans, wash the coffee maker parts, what a fucking hassle, you know? Put the Equal I steal from Starbucks in, stir, add the half-and-half. Ah! And finally, it was ready to drink. It was just getting light out and my back slider, which is just off the kitchen, where I do all these things, was open. I'll just walk outside here with my coffee and watch the dawn a little, I thought. So, holding my coffee cup carefully in front on me, I walk straight into the screen. Oh fuck. Coffee flying everywhere! Immediately I'm thinking shit I'm glad nobody saw that, as it's one of the stupidest things I've ever done, and I look outside to see if maybe somebody did see it and is laughing at my bungling brain damaged ineptitude. No. Thank God.

The only other thing worth telling here is how I got the coffee off the screen. There was a lot of it, as it was my biggest cup, which is pretty fucking big, and there was only half a cup left, which explains why I went to take another hit just now and it's gone. This keeps happening to me. The part that got on the floor -- gravity assisted -- was easy. Paper towels, wipe, slosh, yuck, man, I haven't washed this floor for a year, look at this grime! Plus a close encounter with a living earwig, which seems hardly worth mentioning. But the screen, you know? That's a trickier proposition, and by now the sleep deprivation is getting to me. It's a little like dying, I imagine, but less lethal. And this is the part I'm most proud of, so I hope you're paying close attention and not skimming. I look at the sink, which is about eight feet away from the slider screen in question, and there's one of those sprayer hoses for blasting grease and shit off your frying pan, you know what I mean? God I wish I hadn't spilled all that fucking coffee because I'd really like some more of it right now so I could see the little letters better. And I'm wondering, hmmmm, how powerful is this thing? As it turns out, we are talking majorly puissant! I turn on the hot water full bore. I aim at the screen. I pull the trigger. Holy shit! It zaps across the kitchen and hoses down that screen just like on television. Goes right on through, taking any remnants of the coffee with it, to deposit in a harmless oily film all over the back, I guess you'd call it, patio.

So that's what happened.

10:16 AM | link |

Sunday, July 11, 2004
a little unscientific google experiment
martians have baggage, venutians have issues
I have long suspected this to be the case, but it wasn't until tonight that I realized there was a way to test it. Of course, these results are not conclusive, but I believe that, whatever they say, they speak for themselves. Of course, that I would even hypothesize about something like this just goes to show that I'm dragging around a lot of baggage.
about 717,000 English pages for "women's issues"
about 136,000 English pages for "men's issues"  

   there are over five times as many pages on "women's issues"

about 641,000 English pages for "women's issues" -"men's issues"
about  40,700 English pages for "men's issues" -"women's issues"

   there are over 15 times as many pages on "women's issues"
   excluding any mention of "men's issues" than there are pages
   on "men's issues" excluding any mention of "women's issues"

about 140,000 English pages for women -men baggage
about 239,000 English pages for men -women baggage

   there are 99,000 more pages that include the words "men" and
   "baggage" (with no reference to "women") than there are pages
   that include the words "women" and "baggage" (with no
   reference to "men")

about 7,590,000 English pages for women -men issues
about 6,440,000 English pages for men -women issues

   there are well over one million more pages that include the
   words "women" and "issues" (with no reference to "men") than
   there are pages that include the words "men" and "issues" (with
   no reference to "women")

man with baggage

woman with issues

1:41 AM | link |

"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

Chris Locke's photos More of Chris Locke's photos

Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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