I talk to myself in my mind all the time. I guess we all do. I suspect some people have debates with themselves. I never debate. I only make speeches. I picture myself speaking to a small gray homunculus with large glistening eyes sitting silently in a huge chair in front of me as I go on and on — me talking and it listening. It frightens me. I believe one day it will jump out of that chair, kick me in the balls and tell me to shut up.
TODAY FROM THAILAND:
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CAMBODIA:
Those, like me, with only a 30-day visa who wish to remain longer in the Land of Smiles, must leave the country briefly and receive a new visa upon reentry. Usually, this means a run to a nearby country such as Cambodia, Myramar or Malaysia. I always wanted to visit Angkor in Cambodia. Although I know I will not visit everything on my prime bucket list, Angkor in Cambodia is on my secondary or fall back bucket list. So it was off to Cambodia for me.
We left for the airport at about six AM. I do not recall ever being up and about BKK that early in the morning. There may have been once or twice I came back home at that time but I am sure my diminished consciousness then erased any memory of them.
Anyway, the giant Koi were swimming gayly in their pool, the homeless sleeping on their cardboard beds and the ladies of the night on their way home passing the ladies of the morning on their way to work. We arrived at the airport in good time for our flight and without serious discomfort or difficulty, we landed in Siem Reap Airport Cambodia at 11 that same morning.
A tuk-tuk sent by the hotel met us and drove us to the hotel. I had spent a considerable amount of time choosing what appeared to be an elegant small relatively inexpensive hotel. The people at the hotel were quite nice but the hotel itself was, I am sorry to say, a bit of a dump. I later learned this is a common feature of all but the largest and newest hotels in the area.
A Cambodian Tuk-tuk.
Siem Reap is a small dusty ex-French-provincial town with a delightful market and food center in the old French quarter along the river.
The next morning the tuk-tuk driver who drove us from the airport returned to take us to the archeological sites.
The first site was Angkor Wat itself.
Angkor Wat is reputed to be the largest religious monument in the world. While the size and the scope of the buildings were impressive, what astonished me most was the exuberance of the open areas enclosed by the walls (over 400 acres) and the magnitude of the moat (over 600ft wide) that surrounded the complex. Later I learned that nothing of the old city streets and buildings made of perishable material that filled the open areas now remains.
We also visited the old royal city of Angkor Thom (nine square miles within the moat encircled walls) and the state temple, the Bayon.
We followed that with a stop at Ta Prom an eleventh-century monastery containing spooky trees whose roots appear to be eating the buildings and which were featured in the movie Tomb Raider. This was definitely a tourist favorite.
I especially liked the Bas-reliefs that appeared in the various buildings.
The ancient city of Angkor at its height in the 12th Century was the largest city on earth containing about one million inhabitants in an area of about 200 square miles. It was not until 19th Century London that another city in the world matched that in population. The Khmer empire reached its height at about the same time as Europe entered the High Middle Ages, China experienced the Song dynasty, and India saw the expansion of the Chola Dynasty. The next 200 years or so, primarily due to the migrations out of central Asia (and Scandinavia) during the height of the Warm Medieval Climate Anomaly, saw the destruction of theses empires, including the Khmer, or in the case of Europe the collapse of its culture and the fragmentation of its various polities
Anyway, the day’s tour required a lot of walking and climbing up and down stairs and through narrow low ceiling hallways and I was exhausted, so I canceled my next day’s visit to the more remote archeological sites and decided to explore Siem Reap instead.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
Five Years Ago In T&T, I wrote much of the following. I have included some more recent information and added a new conclusion.
— A study by Carla Harenski and collaborators revealed that when looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve deployment of principles. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4174863/]
(What this seems to me to mean, if one can generalize it to a gender based approach to public policy, is: “For men, first punish the guilty and for women, first protect the innocent.”)
— In another study conducted by Tania Singer and collaborators, they discovered that when men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved. [ http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bakadesuyo/~3/bea6srN06Qs/do-women-and-men-have-different-moral-values#ixzz1dEZVO7XD%5D
— Numerous studies reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness.https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=TkNx8nUAAAAJ&citation_for_view=TkNx8nUAAAAJ:u5HHmVD_uO8C
In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making, the authors opine that on the whole, women seem to be more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.
Even in that last vestige of unvarnished aggression and greed, the modern derivatives market, recent studies show that women outperform men.
— In a review of returns from January through November 2013 by Rothstein Kass, hedge funds run by women returned almost 10 percent on the funds invested while those run by men barely topped 6 percent.
According to Meredith Jones, a director at Rothstein Kass:
“There have been studies that show that testosterone can make men less sensitive to risk-reward signals, and that comes through in this study.”
The numbers are even more eye-popping for the six years from January 2007 through June 2013. Hedge funds run by women returned 6 percent compared with a 1.1 percent loss of the HFRX Global Fund Index. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained only 4.2 percent during the same time.
All which shows that not only do women hedge fund managers out perform men significantly but also beat the index which some economists maintain is impossible over time.
— My old professor, Carroll Quigley, who was a consultant to the Defense Department during WWII, told me that studies conducted during the war on responses to high-stress situations (like combat or assaults on hospitals) some men exhibited behavior that could be seen as heroic while others appeared cowardly. Women, on the other hand, appeared far less subject to these impulsive behaviors and mostly continued to do their jobs.
Also, women, absent external social influences, seem to outperform men in school to a greater and greater degree as those social limitations diminish.
After reviewing these reports and others, I wrote in Trenz Pruca’s Journal:
“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion have been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years, every justification of those structures has been developed by men to benefit men.”
Can anyone really dispute that, had history, philosophy, economics and even science during these 10,000 years been written by women rather than men, their so-called fundamental verities would be much different then what we have now?
So what can we conclude? Women are more prone to protect the innocent, reciprocate kindness, focus on the collective good and less impulsive than men. When one adds that these qualities seem to also allow women to out-perform men even in the so-called manly activity like war and securities trading, is there any reason why women should not only be entitled to equality but the leadership of society as well?
A. Peter on Top:
Some of Peter’s comments on the previous T&T post:
On life and Calcutta — is there a difference?
It’s all endless life — until it ends. Reminds me of the people who were going around the world for their honeymoon and would pass through India. Asked what to do for a couple of days. I said go to Calcutta (now Kolkata, of course), but it’s like Dante’s Inferno. You might take the next plane out. They went, and they did. Life’s kaleidoscope where the energy continues until there’s just Brownian Motion, but we’re gone by that time. Meanwhile, joys and sorrows in the Age of Kali.
On knowledge, olive oil, and atomic bombs:
How do we know what we know? Hume proved causality cannot be proved, so he stuck his notes in his desk drawer and got on with life.
I read an amazing tome, a classic, by Richard Rhodes about the Making of the Atomic Bomb. He went all the way back to the physicists of the late 19th century and early 20th – Germany in the ten’s and twenties. Factoid: Six Hungarians, including Teller and Szilard, were among the geniuses who developed the physics that led to fission and the bomb. This, and the Kochs, and the streets of BKK and Calcutta and NYC: Meanwhile, now reading about the glories and scams about extra virgin olive oil, the foundation of Mediterranean civilization. Next time you’re in town, we’ll visit our local 24th st. olive oil emporium. This as part of “….universe irrational and let it go at that.”
On quantum mechanics in Frascati with antipasto:
Once the box is opened and found to be empty, was the cat in there at one time? If Krishna is the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, which incarnation of the cat was in the box if it was in fact in the box at some point in time? And, if the box is still closed, which quantum mechanics would imply that nothing is set yet, does the box contain, not a cat, but extra virgin olive oil that is Not bogus veg oil smuggled in from Turkey? Reinforcing the notion of letting the irrational universe go and, with Hume, kicking back with cool Frascati and antipasto under an ancient olive tree.
On the meaning of life:
I always thought that life for people who had a calling or a vocation was easy. I will get my name up in lights; I will serve god; I will get rich. Whatever. In the absence of that, I figured survival and prospering would do.
More on the meaning of life:
The Tarot deck brother Jim gave me many years ago that was created by some woman in Sonoma includes a card the motto if which says: “Time Narrows as it passes.”
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
“In the matter of the preservation of liberty, despair is not an option.”