Attaining Self-Mastery

Stanton Glantz:

Cigarette smokers with high levels of psychological distress are often heavy smokers, and thus identified as a “hard core” group who are less willing or able to quit than other smokers. However, a study by UC San Francisco researchers shows that over the course of 19 years, from 1997 to 2015, this hard core group smoked progressively fewer cigarettes per day and tried to quit in increasingly greater numbers, along with every other group of smokers in the United States.

“Even though they smoke more than the general population, smokers with high psychological distress have been smoking less and trying to quit more, as the overall level of smoking has decreased,” said Margarete C. Kulik, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE) and the lead author of the study. “This shows that with effective tobacco control policies, even hard-core smokers will soften over time.”

What’s meant by “psychological distress”? How is it measured? What are its units (force, energy, speed)? It’s probably not being measured at all, and there aren’t any units. And so we’re dealing with pseudo-science here, as always. And it’s being used to come to predetermined conclusions, dressed up as ‘science’. The mere existence of people like Stanton Glantz inside the University of California is probably reason enough to simply close the whole place down. What’s the point of funding charlatans like him? What’s the point of having students taught fraudulent science? Who needs universities that have ceased to be centres of excellence, and have become centres of putrescence?

The suggestion seems to be that smokers all suffer psychological distress (however measured) depending on how much they smoke. Might there not be a simple explanation for this, which is that smokers are being persecuted (by people like Stanton Glantz), and this persecution is the cause of their distress? And they are more persecuted (and distressed) the more they smoke? And people who are being persecuted – for any reason whatsoever – will quite often eventually “soften” and surrender in the face of “effective tobacco control policies” (i.e. intense persecution)? Eventually, one army usually defeats another, and one side or other will surrender.

But is it that smoking causes psychological distress? Or that psychological distress causes smoking (which is eases the distress)? I’ve just set out one reason why smoking might cause psychological distress, as the act of lighting up and smoking brings the smoker into collision with rules and regulations forbidding smoking.

But I’ve actually always understood smoking as being a a way of alleviating distress (in the form of war, grief, danger, divorce, suffering).

And so we now have a situation where smoking to alleviate distress becomes itself a cause of further distress. And we have a positive feedback loop whereby distress causes smoking, and smoking causes further distress, which causes more smoking, which causes even more distress, and so on.  There will be more and more distress – and more and more smoking. Smokers will get angrier and angrier and angrier (anger is a form of distress).

But Stanton Glantz will never see this.

I was watching fragments of the 70s Kung Fu series yesterday. The shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine, undergoes a lengthy apprenticeship in a monastery, where his mentor tells him that he must attain control of the body. And that, presumably, is what all the elaborate physical exercises are all about: attaining physical self-mastery.

Afterwards, it struck me that the antismokers are trying to teach smokers self-mastery. After all, isn’t it one of their regular complaints that smokers have no self-control? And in this sense the antismokers ideology of self-control is a religious – or perhaps monastic – ideology of considerable antiquity (I was myself a pupil in a Benedictine monastery school, and so am another sort of Kwai Chang Caine). It’s an ascetic ideology of self-control and self-denial.

But what’s the point of attaining self-mastery? What’s the point of shutting oneself up? What’s the point of preventing oneself from doing anything (like smoking, drinking, etc)? Isn’t the man who has attained self-mastery someone who has put himself into a strait-jacket, bound himself with chains of self-denial?

But there’s perhaps another way of interpreting self-mastery, which is that one becomes the master of one’s own life, rather than remaining the servant of some other master. In this interpretation, the man who attains self-mastery becomes the captain of his own ship, free to do as he chooses, and to go where he likes. And when Caine left the monastery, it was because he had achieved this sort of self-mastery, and was able to wander the world alone, without guidance from his former teachers and masters in the shaolin monastery.

But this isn’t the idea of self-mastery or self-control that is advanced by antismokers. The antismokers actually want to control smokers. They want to “soften” them into slavery, with the antismokers as their masters. To the extent that they want smokers to exercise self-control, it is to prevent themselves doing things (smoking). Their ideal of self-control is one of self-denial. You shouldn’t allow yourself to do things.

But this sort of self-denial must result in stasis: nothing is allowed to happen. A man of iron self-control can never permit himself any undisciplined thought about anything whatsoever. He can never invent anything, or discover anything, or dream anything. And when have any of these self-denying killjoys ever produced any new work of art, any new invention, any new insight? Never. And it cannot be otherwise. For if you keep your horse confined in a stable or a paddock, you are never going to go anywhere on it. It’s only when you give free rein to your horse, and proceed at full gallop, that you’re ever likely to go anywhere in the surrounding hills, and find anything new there.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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17 Responses to Attaining Self-Mastery

  1. garyk30 says:

    ‘You shouldn’t allow yourself to do things.”

    True; but, what those things are should be my choice.
    Not others idea of what I should want to do,

  2. magnetic01 says:

    Yep. The first thing that comes to mind when looking at Stan Glantz is “self-mastery”. LOL He oozes “self-mastery”.
    https://imgur.com/tym6L7q
    https://imgur.com/7R9Mpbd

    When it comes to fanaticism, zealotry, bigotry, there is none bigger – in more ways than one – than Stanton. He is a rabid antismoker/prohibitionist: He hates [tobacco] smoke/smoking/smokers. He’s devoted a career to it and a sick system has allowed him to. He’s also a narcissist and pathological liar for the “cause” and for the “moolah”. In Stan’s fantasy world everything can be defined, re-defined, re-re-defined, interpreted, over-interpreted, and tortured to fit this fixed, hateful position.

    This gold-plated twonk has been involved in hundreds of published research papers, all of them, quite incredibly, arriving at an antismoking conclusion. In wiser times this fraudster….. this liar extraordinaire would have…. could have…. no place in academia. He would probably be running a used-car lot – Honest Stan’s – where he could give his penchant for shenanigans a good work out.

    But, alas, these are not wiser times. This is the time of tossers, of fools, posing as the wise. This is the time of the jackasses, of massive egos, stumbling over each other trying to “fix” the world. This is the time that brings the [pressing] need for wiser times. But not before much, much havoc is wreaked.

    The hate-mongers use a peculiar language. Their abuse, their bullying, is peddled as “help”. But those that have spent some time scrutinizing antismoking know better. The prohibitionism…. the incessant moralizing…. provides an outlet for shallow, hate-loaded minds. The antismoking crusade is all/only about escalating punishment for non-conformers. Remember the recent comment by a senior Australian government minister: You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke… make their lives horrible. That’s what it’s about; that’s what it’s only ever been about. Let’s not be deceived by the “benevolent-speak” used by the perpetrators. Antismoking is a persecution crusade run by sick minds.

  3. magnetic01 says:

    Another giant [tee hee] of antismoking – John Banzhaf – that oozes self-mastery.

    https://imgur.com/JLyY8KE
    https://imgur.com/azRbqQB

  4. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Glantz is a mad bully.

    • nisakiman says:

      Glantz is a parody of himself. It beats me why anyone listens to his demented ravings. I would imagine he’s an embarrassment even to Tobacco Control.

      • Rose says:

        Because he has a system that works.

        His latest venture.

        Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease ResearchA Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents
        November 1, 2016
        Stanton A. Glantz
        https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255#ArticleInformation

        And they hunt in packs.

        Sponsorship of National Health Organizations by Two Major Soda Companies
        Michael B. Siegel
        Jan 2017

        “Obesity is a pervasive public health problem in the U.S. Reducing soda consumption is important for stemming the obesity epidemic. However, several articles and one book suggest that soda companies are using their resources to impede public health interventions that might reduce soda consumption. Although corporate sponsorship by tobacco and alcohol companies has been studied extensively, there has been no systematic attempt to catalog sponsorship activities of soda companies.”
        http: //www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(16)30331-2/fulltext

        Tobacco Funds Shrink as Obesity Fight Intensifies
        JULY 27, 2010

        “But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity. As the antiobesity financing rose to $58 million last year, a new compilation from the foundation shows, the organization’s antismoking grants fell to $4 million.

        The steep drop-off in private funds illustrates the competition under way for money as public health priorities shift. In the race for preventive health care dollars, from charities and from federal and state government sources, the tobacco warriors have become a big loser”
        New York Times

        Refutations go almost unnoticed

        Sugar review: Rewriting history to expose a non-existent conspiracy
        19-Sep-2016

        “Last week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an historical analysis of internal sugar industry documents.”
        https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2016/09/19/Sugar-review-Rewriting-history-to-expose-a-non-existent-conspiracy

        • jaxthefirst says:

          Same tactics, I see, as he used on the tobacco companies – “biased research,” “secret documents,” etc etc etc. All old hat as far as the starting point for this lunatic’s latest bête noire is concerned. Well, I guess he’s thinking that it worked for tobacco and smoking, so … Not quite sure how he’ll get to the mother lode that was “passive smoking,” though – that’s a much harder one to convince people about when discussing the consumption of sugar. No doubt they’ll find some way to do it, though – it’s a crucial part of these campaigns, isn’t it – the old “innocent bystander” line?

          But it’s good to see him starting to look at someone else, for a change. I guess that bullying is so much more fun when there’s lots and lots of targets out there to harass and upset. Why bother trying to find smokers hiding away when there’s a whole mass of fatties openly walking the streets just asking to be harassed? Or maybe, as the other article (a bit older) says, the anti-tobacco funding is starting to dry up, being as it’s now being concentrated on fewer and fewer people. Law of diminishing returns and all that. Sadly, it’s unlikely that anyone will stick their head above the parapet and say, “Emperor’s New Clothes” style, “but Mr Glantz, most of those people who are now so fat are only fat because you and your chums persuaded them to give up smoking!” Not sure how long he’ll stick at it, either, being as both he and his partner-in-crime Mr Banzhaf look as if they could both do with losing a lot more than just a few pounds. Been over-indulging on the sodas yourself, boys?

        • Rose says:

          “Not quite sure how he’ll get to the mother lode that was “passive smoking,” though”

          Already done, they’ve been trying to get passive obesity to stick for a while.
          Here’s the latest attempt.

          Obesity Could Be Contagious Scientists Say
          5 May 2016

          “Researchers believe gut bacteria, which influences two per cent of a person’s body weight, could lie dormant and survive outside the body, before transferring to other people”
          “Obesity could be contagious as gut bacteria from overweight people spreads to slimmer people, research has found.
          Scientists believe gut bacteria can lie dormant in spores for long periods of time, through a form of bacterial hibernation. This means that the bacteria can survive outside the body and potentially transfer between people by being ingested.”
          http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/obesity-could-be-contagious-and-transfer-between-people-through-gut-bacteria-scientists-say-a7015616.html

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Since tobacco control finds its basis in propaganda rather than proper science, I view this article as an apology for their propaganda methods rather than an indicator of anything in the real world. Gallant is a fraudulent zealot. Tobacco control must be destroyed.

  6. Rose says:

    A man of many parts, that Stanton Glantz

    Big tobacco fuels nicotine replacement addiction, UCSF study shows
    21 Aug 2017

    “UCSF researchers who reviewed millions of pages of internal tobacco company documents said the firms have long known that such products by themselves don’t wean users off cigarettes, and market their own smokeless nicotine to keep users addicted.

    “Those products should not be used unless they are done in the proper way,” said Stanton Glantz, an author of the study, professor of medicine at UCSF and the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

    “The problem is, without the behavioral support, they actually inhibit quitting,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people think they are making progress and quitting when that’s not so. That’s what tobacco companies have known for decades. They’re developing products under the guise of nicotine replacement therapy.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Big-tobacco-fuels-addiction-with-nicotine-11882030.php

    Tobacco Industry Research on Nicotine Replacement Therapy: “If Anyone Is Going to Take Away Our Business It Should Be Us”.
    Aug 17 2017
    Glantz SA
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28817320

  7. Lepercolonist says:

    Another excellent article, Frank.

    I recently watched Stanton Glantz in the propaganda film: Merchants of Doubt. Glantz came across as a smug prick.

  8. waltc says:

    I think most people are under psychological stress (and-or distress) of one form or another, to one degree or another, at one time or another. (An entirely unstressed organism is likely to be inert.) When stress turns to distress, we just tend to cope with it in personally different ways. Drink, eat, smoke, kick the dog, beat your wife, bite your nails, go to the gym, snort stash, jog miles, drive fast, shoot horse, or else passively pop pills. Smokers smoke, drinkers drink, joggers jog. That’s it. ( Fish swim, birds fly. And Glantz clearly eats.) . A friend once confessed to his doctor that he smoked (we’d already reached the stage where it required a confession) and his doctor simply said, “Be glad you found your drug.” Another way of saying we all need something; so, good for you, you found something that works.

  9. PERFECT closing paragraph Frank!

  10. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: No.85 Part 2 – Eyes Straight Ahead – Library of Libraries

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