The 2016 Harvest:Philosophical Thoughts About ‘Comfort’

Today, I shredded and flaked the last batch of leaves to be cured. There is one more batch which I have on one side to try an ageing experiment. Actually, the experiment is underway. A batch of cured leaves, slightly dampened, is tightly sealed in a plastic box in a warm place. They say that the leaves will age in a month or so. I halfheartedly tried this trick a couple of years ago, but it was an abject failure. There were two problems on that occasion which might have skewed the results – 1) I don’t think that the box I used was tightly sealed, and, 2) I had the box in a rather hot environment. The stuff went very dry and black and stank awfully. I had to throw it away. This time, I am keeping a careful eye on the colour of the leaves, and, as far as I can see, there has been no change in the last ten days or so since I started the experiment. I have been opening the box every couple of days, rearranging the leaves, and misting them a little with water. They  are tightly packed in the box to minimise the possibility of mould. When I open the box, a smell akin to cats-piss emerges. I’m not sure it that is a good thing or not. But then, that is the idea of experimenting, innit – to see what happens? There would be no point in experimenting if you already knew the outcome.

Hang on….. Isn’t that precisely what Public Health have been doing with their epidemiology ‘studies’? They don’t do studies if the answer might be the wrong one. And if by some mischance such an event occurs (wrong answer), the study is rubbished by the people who originated it. Enstrom and Kabat comes to mind. In that big study, using hundreds of thousands of individual records, E and K sought a correlation between passive smoking among spouses and a variety of illnesses. They found no correlation. As soon as their sponsors, The American Cancer Society (?), found out, they pulled the funding. To complete the study, E and K got sponsorship from a tobacco company organisation. They have both paid in spades for their treason by being persecuted ever since.

How do these institutions get away with such persecution? Is it not akin to Nazi Germany and Communist Russia? Well, it is, but why should we think that only states like Nazi Germany and Communist Russia engage in such activities? Suppose that these institutions get away with such practices because they are very common? “Toe the line or you are out of a job and we will make sure that you will never work again…”

I personally had a similar experience many, many years ago. The Bank I worked for had a system of recording the replacement of bank books when one became full and a new one was issued. Fine, except that the new books were not numbered, so you could not subsequently identify any particular book. The whole exercise was pointless, but we did what we were told. When I was appointed to take control of this particular branch, I found that the previous boss had discontinued keeping such pointless records. I continued with his system. The shit hit the fan when a Government Inspector pointed out the error. I was hauled over the coals. My protestations that the previous boss had not kept such records for a couple of years fell on deaf ears. My immediate boss told me to take a couple of days holiday and ‘make myself scarce’ because the General Manager was out for blood. I immediately shelved all my objections and got the fuck out of there. I fled. After a few days, it had all blown over. Needless to say, from then on, we meticulously recorded to whom we issued blank pieces of paper.

My thinking about that incident is that the Inspector found all sorts of rather more serious faults, and that the General Manager was going mad about those. I got caught up in the mess. But you see my point? It is very easy for the officers of a wealthy organisation to intimidate an employee. But there are exceptions. Suppose that I had been very wealthy in my own right, and worked because I wanted something interesting to do? I could have amused myself by telling my immediate boss to fuck the fuck off.

But, philosophically, does not my little story indicate just how much The Elite depend upon poverty? Suppose that everyone was wealthy and did not need the income from their jobs? Suppose that they did their jobs to give themselves something to do? Isaac Newton was just such a person. He was independently wealthy with his country estate. He had the time to think about and investigate gravity, light and electricity. He was sufficiently well-thought of as to be appointed to be ‘Warden of the Royal Mint’ – looking after the currency – and then ‘Master of the Royal Mint’.

Imagine the chaos if everyone was wealthy! And yet, there is no reason whatsoever that everyone should not be wealthy. In this little discourse, ‘wealthy’ means having the resources to provide shelter, warmth, clothing, food and drink, and such, for the foreseeable future – independently. Why should not the people of the world not aspire to such a situation?

Well, they can aspire until they are blue in the face, but such a situation would blow Government, as we now know it, into smithereens.

I remember reading somewhere that, if all the wealth of the world was spread out equally among the people, then, sooner or later, that wealth would accumulate into the hands of only a small number of people.

I am a bit surprised that philosophers have not given much thought to how the world would look is everyone had sufficient wealth to be independent. Perhaps the Capitalist System needs wage slaves to survive. But suppose that those wage slaves were replaced by robots? What would be the theory? It would be that everyone receives from the benevolent state an allowance to spend as they wish, on top of free accommodation, fuel, food, etc. In that way, there would be no point in any specific person accumulating wealth since there would be no point. In fact, the accumulation of wealth would be outlawed.

But it would not work. Well, not as I have described it. But we seem to be moving gradually towards the description of a minimum living standard for all human beings. What is extremely weird is that the UN has described that standard as ‘the right to health’. How odd! Before you have a right to health, you need a right to comfort – shelter, warmth, clothing, food, water. Medicine comes last, if it figures at all. That is another philosophical question.

It seems to me that The Elite have got everything the wrong way round. Regardless of what quack science has been produced, and even it that science is correct, what is REALLY important for the population of the world are shelter, warmth, clothing, food, water. What is really, really important is that the UN, WHO, IPCC, etc, have lost sight of their basic function. Their basic function has nothing to do with smoking or drugs. Those things are of little relevance. Their basic function is to ensure, as best they can, that everyone in the world has a minimum standard of living.

So, at least for the time being, such ideal situations as ‘a tobacco-smoke free world’ and a ‘coal-smoke free world’ have to be put on the back burner. The primary objective must be ‘COMFORT’. COMFORT means lack of fear.

It surprises me so much that philosophers have not addressed this question that I suspect that they MUST have. They surely MUST have? But where is the discussion? I do not see it. Surely, Universities must be discussing such important questions? Those questions far exceed smoke-free objectives in importance.

I think that every philosopher (including us!) should emphasise the dereliction of duty by the UN. The UN has been a flaccid jellyfish of corruption for decades. Had its Executives had their eyes on the ball, they would have spent the last several decades on alleviating poverty by describing a minimum standard of shelter, etc,  and trying to get nations to put that into effect. Tobacco Control and Climate Control would not be relevant.

There is a sickness in high places. A serious sickness. It is that HEALTH precedes COMFORT. The reality is the other way round. Stress, poverty, deprivation, LACK OF COMFORT precede HEALTH. Smoking has only a tiny part in the equation.

I understand that all of Doll’s questionnaires addressed to doctors are held at Manchester University. I just wish that I had the time and devotion to request sight and examination of those documents. But I am too old to be bothered, and there are no ‘Newtons’ with wealth, time and inquisitiveness to be bothered.


A HUGE problem is that some person somewhere, somehow, finds data which overturn Tobacco Control. Would such data ever see the light of day? It might appear on the internet, but would it gain traction and go ‘viral’? LoL. What would it matter if it went ‘viral’ but had no effect whatsoever?

No, what must happen is that politicians must see that COMFORT is far, far more important than smoking. All the deaths attributed to smoking would have occurred anyway. Much better to have a COMFORTABLE life and die from smoking than to have an UNCOMFORTABLE life and die from some disease like Ebola.

I like philosophy. It is calm and non-judgemental. Physics is about perfection of our understanding of the Universe and how it works. Philosophy is about how human beings relate to each other and how their beliefs influence their decisions.

I must to bed.


4 Responses to “The 2016 Harvest:Philosophical Thoughts About ‘Comfort’”

  1. Darryl Says:

    “But suppose that those wage slaves were replaced by robots? What would be the theory?”

    You might find these videos interesting Junican.

    • junican Says:

      Two very interesting videos, Darryl. But there is catch 22, is there not? There needs to be a demand for the things which the robots are making, and if no one has any money to buy the products, there will be no need for the robots. What happens then? We go back to bartering, do we not? If you supply me with apples, I’ll look after your chickens.
      On a cruise a few years ago, our party was allowed to go onto the Bridge (granddaughter’s wedding). No one on the Bridge was actually doing anything, even though there were several personnel present. There were a couple of lookouts, scanning the horizon with binoculars, two or three people sitting in front or computer screens, and a couple of ‘officers’ (?) vaguely supervising. No one actually did anything.
      Yes, automation of processes involving THINGS will continue, but an automated Kim Kardashian bum? I think not.

  2. smokingscot Says:

    Re your leaves in the plastic box. Sounds like they’re fermenting, hence the very pungent and unpleasant smell.

    That was most certainly the case with your previous experiment, where the leaves turned black and the chemical composition was shot.

    I find my tobacco leaves when taken from the plant have stacks of bits on them. Dust, debris, dandelion seeds, bird droppings and of course trails from various bugs and dried slime from slugs.

    Unless yours are surgically clean, then all those things act on the leaves.

    I do rinse mine for the most part with plain water, then hang them to dry. However at the end of the growing cycle I just cut the stem and top leaves then hang them upside down until they dry to a nice brown colour.

    Then they go into a box and I forget about them for at least one year, preferably two or more, then take the dry, fragile, crinkly leaves out – 10 at a time – stick them into a large poly bag, sprinkle with water, leave for 12 hours, then when they’re flexible I get rid of the main vein, then shred.

    I’m working my way through this box, that’s now 3 years old (and I have 2 more the same size from 2013). They get better with age.

    I only ever shred enough for a couple of pouches at a time because I’ve found the contents can go the same way as yours if left for more than 3 months. (I use old Golden Virginia pouches that have a seal).

    My suggestion for next years leaves is hang some of them up in your attic, or your garden shed and forget about them. When dry, just box them. They do their thing just fine without my having to turn them or anything.

    • junican Says:

      Putting the slightly damp leaves in a sealed plastic box and having the box in a warm place is supposed to be a rapid way to age them. They should be ‘done’ in a month.
      There are all sorts of complications, too detailed to discuss here. For example, does the recommended curing process (humidity, temperature, etc) apply to my leaves? I could go on and on.
      Regarding detritus on the leaves, I always wash them in warm water after I have picked them. It is a simple process which involves just dipping the leaves and rubbing the front and back with my hand.
      I shredded and flaked all of 2015’s stuff, and the produce is now in small plastic sealed bags containing about 150 gms each in a box upstairs.
      I have only one significant problem, which is getting a nice taste. But is it normal for the stuff not to taste nice immediately after curing? If it tasted nice right away, why would it be advisable to let it age ‘to improve it’, and why would tobacco companies use all those additives?

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