Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish or arrogant or greedy, the money brings that out, that’s all.

Henry Ford


“They were cold, professionally polished, and well on their way up a career ladder that would ensure that despite the uniforms they wore, they would never have to come within a thousand kilometers of a genuine firefight. The only problem they had, as they cruised sharkishly back and forth across the cool marble floor of the court, was in drawing the fine differences between war—mass murder of people wearing a uniform not your own; justifiable loss—mass murder of your own troops, but with substantial gains; and criminal negligence—mass murder of your own troops, without appreciable benefit.”

From Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

Sociopathy and Allegiance

“I tried for the Envoys once,” Trepp said suddenly.
I glanced sideways at her, curious. “Yeah?”
“Yeah, long time ago. They rejected me on profile. No capacity for allegiance, they said.”
I grunted. “Figures. You were never in the military were you?”
“What do you think? She was looking at me as if I’d just suggested she might have a history of child-molesting. I chuckled tiredly.
“Thought not. See, the thing is, they’re looking for borderline psychopathic tendencies. That’s why they do most of their recruiting from the military in the first place.”
Trepp looked put out. “I’ve got borderline psychopathic tendencies.”
“Yeah, I don’t doubt it, but the point is, the number of civilians with those tendencies and a sense of team spirit is pretty limited. They’re opposing values. The chances of them both arising naturally in the same person are almost nil. Military training takes the natural order and fucks with it. It breaks down any resistance to psychopathic behavior at the same time as it builds fanatical loyalties to the group. Package deal. Soldiers are perfect Envoy material.”

From Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

Rules and The System

“Kristin, nothing ever does change.” I jerked a thumb back at the crowd outside. “You’ll always have morons like that, swallowing belief patterns whole so they don’t have to think for themselves. You’ll always have people like Kawahara and the Bancrofts to push their buttons and cash in on the program. People like you to make sure the game runs smoothly and the rules don’t get broken too often. And when the Meths want to break the rules themselves, they’ll send people like Trepp and me to do it. That’s the truth, Kristin. It’s been the truth since I was born a hundred and fifty years ago, and from what I read in the history books, it’s never been any different. Better get used to it.”

From Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

The Machinery of Justice Will Not Serve You

The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here—it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference—the only difference in their eyes—between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life, and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.”

-Things I Should Have Learned by Now, Volume II, by Quellcrist Falconer From Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

Choking Someone is Felony Assault and Attempted Homicide

There have been several high-profile cases in the news this week about people choking people. I wanted to bring it up and talk about some important facts.

Consent must be talked about before-hand. Non-consensual choking, even during consensual sex, is strangulation. It is felony assault and it is attempted homicide; with a mandatory prison sentence.

Beyond the legal definitions, it is also the number one indicator that a person will go on to kill a partner in the future, and since it is a power-and-control-dynamic, it is also one of the highest indicators that abuse and violence will escalate in the future between the two partners.

It is not ok to choke another person, even during consensual sex, without talking about it beforehand and getting an explicit and enthusiastic yes to that specific act. Furthermore, if a person wants to do that to you, it is extremely likely that it will lead to more violence and potentially homicide in the future.

Deviance and Justice Quote

“Individuals who fight to change the established social order sometimes face the possibility of being labeled deviant—and even mentally ill. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for instance, women in Britain who demonstrated for women’s right to vote were widely viewed to be mentally ill. When a person’s or a group’s behavior challenges social expectations, we must open our minds to the possibility that such actions are in fact an adaptive response to injustice. People may justifiably challenge what everyone thinks is true and may express ideas that seem strange. They should be able to make others feel uncomfortable without being labeled abnormal.”

From Experience Psychology, Third Edition by Laura A. King. Textbook for my Psychology 100 Class

The Relationship Between Stress and Submissiveness

Super interesting research into stress related to dominance versus submission in social rank and lots of research about specific health consequences.

One of the strangest things I would not have expected is a connection between social submissiveness and the amount of body fat specific to the abdomen. Social submissiveness is also directly connected to very high stress hormone levels across the board compared to socially dominant individuals. This also leads to higher blood pressure for submissives, lower immune system, greater risk of cardiovascular disease, shrinking brain cells, lower memory and learning performance, and more arterial plaques. This is all true across lots of different mammal species including humans, macaques, and baboons.

Super weird and interesting. Watch this documentary!

Gender and Altruism

“Women are more likely than men to help when the context involves existing interpersonal relationships or nurturing, such as volunteering time to help a child with a personal problem (Eagly, 2009). Men, on the other hand, are more likely to help in situations in which a perceived danger is present (for instance, picking up a hitchhiker) and in which they feel competent to help (as in assisting someone with a flat tire) (Eagly & Crowley, 1986).”

From Experience Psychology, Third Edition by Laura A. King. Textbook for my Psychology 100 Class