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Wonderfully provocative post (meaning no disregard toward the poor old woman caught in the net of a rhetorical and definitional impasse). Obviously in reference to the line of thought in the "devil's dilemma" enshrined in the original Bedazzled, and so many magic-wish-fulfillment folk tales, in which there is always a loophole exploited by a counter-force, probably IMO in response to the motive to shortcut certain aspects of reality and its regulatory processes, known or unknown. It would be interesting to collect real life anecdotes about people who have "gotten what they want," and end up begging for their old life back, like Dudley Moore's über-frustrated Stanley Moon trapped in a convent.

I hope this question, ultimately of the relationship of the Part and the Whole, continues to be expressed, especially as relevant to any transhuman enterprise.


Crocker's Rules are appealing. That's taking responsibility! As to never lying -- even by selective silence --it would be valuable to have a hair-trigger interior recognition when you want to lie, and figure out whether it is for your sake or for the other person's. First case, tell the truth instead. Second, tread very carefully. But be aware, maybe even creative.

Some scripts for common lies might help. "I don't care." > "It's not something I think about much." "Yes, you look fat in that." > "Look, a shooting star! Here, out the window!" Or, "I always love you in green."

The old guy whose poetry was mediocre? Possible to --pick out your "favorite" line; --write him back one more time, chatty, asking how he's doing; --send him a book on writing poetry, saying something about how good poetry is for the soul, whether or not it is published or famous. The lying the reporter did in that case was to save himself any outlay of human kindness.

I don't like the Blanton guy. I think he shows signs of pumping his endorphins at the expense of other people. But at least he makes us notice how much and how easily we lie, and as such generates some motivation to find ways to be more authentic. (Samuel Johnson to Boswell: "Clear your mind of cant!") At worst he encourages more endorphin addicts, bullies with a self-righteous theory.