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March 06, 2006


This is easy to do. First prepare a benchmark meal and eat it, remembering to save the relevant by-products. Now prepare the same meal again and render it liquid. Suspend the Euphemous Material in the meal-potion using cheesecloth, or a spice ball, or similar, taking care to center the mass. And voilà: as like attracts like, the waste portion of the meal will precipitate out by a process of shittotropism.

This would only be handy in situations in which having shit around later would be significantly worse than having it right on the table, during the meal.

Not at all! Suppose that the shit is separable from the food prior to cooking. (Whether this is so or not requires investigation, obviously.) In that case, the shit and food could be separated immediately at harvest, and the farmer would have fertilizer right there! Meanwhile, groceries would be less massive, so trips to the store would be less burdensome, and shelf space would be freed for a greater variety of products!

Just like you can't get the honey without the bee, you can't get the shit without the spit. Our wonderful digestive acids make it happen! So unless you plan on shipping some of that humany goodness to the farm, I don't think it's possible. Sorry to be a negative nelly.

Our wonderful digestive acids make it happen!

Ex hypothesi we are doing this without digestion. It sounds as if you're raising doubts about the very feasibility of the process for which the post pines, about its utility should it prove feasible.

Nevertheless, it's true; I wouldn't want to live in a world without zinc.

What do bees have to do with honey?

Fuzzy yellow bumble bees are filled with honey on the inside. It takes upwards of 200 bees to get enough honey to fill one of those honey bear things, and each bee must be cracked verrrrry carefully lest anything but its honey get into the mixture. At least, that's the way artisanal honey makers do it. Most of your massed-produced honey is made by just mashing bees up indiscriminately, and later forcing the bee-y goo through successively finer filters.

Surely honey-containment is a natural and necessary property of bears? Why else would we take such pains to store the extracted honey in bear-shaped containers? Bees make wax, and other bees.

Have you tried keeping honey in anything else? Can't be done. It's absurd, like splitting the atom.

You have, my friend, fallen into a grave albeit understandable error. Just as bees themselves are generated from the corpse of a bullock or calf, suitably contained for a period of time, so too are bears themselves made out of, and grow by the ingestion of, honey (the bee-material they excrete—to bring this discussion full circle, in the case of bears the postulated separation is possible, and if, once one has created a bear out of honey in the accepted fashion, one fed it honey alone, it would produce no waste). But it is bees which are filled with honey. You are correct that bees make wax.

Honey is kept in model bears as a magical warding-off of real bears. The fleshly bears will see the untransmuted Bärstoff and treat it as if it were a bear itself, and avoid trespassing on its territory.

I vouch. Them things is fuckin scary.

How rude of Standpipe and me to talk of bears so glibly while in one's presence.

My apologies.

Hippies are always putting honey in non-bear shapes, like jars or squeezebottles. The Zapatistas, Golden Blossom, and Grindstone Farm all make bear-shape-free honey. Thank God for hippies!

I was going to point out that honey itself isn't bear-shaped or not, but rather assumes the shape of its container, but then I remembered that, like glass, honey is not a liquid, but rather an extremely ductile solid.

So said Mr. Wizard, among others. But Mr. Wizard also stood children on their heads and fed them apple slices. He was, to be sure, an up-through-children-moving snack fetishist. Everything he said was therefore false.

Let's stipulate that modifiers associate to the left.

I think the arbitrary distinctions between highly viscous liquids and amorphous solids is endemic of the material scientists' glass-centric bitumen-o-phobic world view.

Ben Wolfson is a true biologian.

In the grand old tradition of Professor Sedgwick (PDF):

The Sedgwick lectureship is the only one of its kind at the Institute. It was founded after the death of Professor Sedgwick four years ago [1921] by his friends and former pupils as a result of the admiration which the famous biologian had inspired in those who were fortunate enough to know him.

It being stipulated (under good counsel) that bees are filled with honey, and bears are made of honey, and yet that hippies do not put honey in pastic bears, is not the proper direction of inquiry the composition of hippies? And is that composition not, for certain, composition, that is, poo?

For it is well documented that like attracts like, and therefore, one's wasteproduct, suspended in liquid food, draws out the wasteproduct from the food, provided that the liquified food goo and the poo and the cheesecloth are in proper proportion to each other and to the various beakers and containers.

But what is left over, when the poo has attracted poo; what remains from the liquid food? Of course, it is honey.

For is it not true that, upon ingesting only honey for a day, one will not require usage of the stinky pot? It is true, and has been known for all the ages and what's more for several ages hence.

Is it not true that bees, who are filled with honey, do not create wasteproduct, whereas bears, who are merely made of honey, do? It is. And that is because, being made of honey, bears must eat food, such as fishies and documentarians, the food containing waste and not being pure honey. In order to convert the food to honey, the bears must need separate the poo from the honey, and in so doing, they produce large, nutty things.

And yet, it is also so that bears are uncommonly fond of honey. This falls also under the ageless maxim that like attracts like. And it reduces the need for the bear to excrete. Bears, being lazy animals, always welcome reduction of need.

But the hippy does not put its honey in a bear shaped container! And for what purpose? To obscure the very fact that it is honey, of course! For, being made of feces, the hippy will perforce excrete, even when eating only honey, which otherwise negates said need. So as the bee, who is filled with honey, need not excrete no matter what it ingests, the hippy, being formed from excrement, must needs excrete even if it eats only honey! Hippies are sensitive to this fact, and wish to disguise when they eat honey so as to sheild their true natures. And, perforce, hippies eat uncommon large amounts of honey, it being that they excrete less, though they must needs still excrete, when eating honey. And it explains the smell.

Hopefully my analysis has gotten us part of the way towards solving the larger delimma: separating the hippy from the honey at the time of the harvest.

It would seem that merely instilling wasteproduct into the ground would do, for the waste in the wheat must needs be drawn the waste in the soil while it is interred. But this is not so, for obvious reasons. The wastproduct, while interred, becomes weasels, chipmunks, and other varmints.

Another approach would be to get hippies directly involved in the harvest but so far they have not been cooperative.

finally, the theory that hippies are composed of excrement is well supported by the following thought experiment:

a thing which is made of excrement must necessarily excrete. That is, such a thing would excrete irregardless of what foostuffs it ate. Therefore it must needs eat more foostuffs to make up for the loss.

And so, a thing made of excrement must needs eat more foodstuffs than an average thing, not made of excrement.

Closing the thought experiment, hippies eat lots of food, due to a phenomenon called "munchies" and yet do not get very fat, for the most part.

Hippies are made of poo.

a thing which is made of excrement must necessarily excrete.

This is like saying that the form of the tall is tall. Won't fly.

Oh, Ben, what's a category error among friends?

I'm beginning to question this whole enterprise. At first it was because I thought we were just reinscribing shit-negative norms. But what is a norm, anyway? A condition on the very shape of honey: a bear. To underline this connection, let us call them "borms".

My real qualm with borms goes deeper. I like food, a lot. Food, you might say, is the shit. To propose separating the two—could there be an ontologicaller crisis?

"with borms" s/b "with the instant borms"

do you mean to say, ben, that hippies aren't made of poo?

if bees are filled with honey & bears are made of honey & Hippies are made of poo...

what about Winnie the Pooh? does Pooh excrete poo too?

I like food, a lot. Food, you might say, is the shit.

This is a strong point, and I admit that I don't have a ready response. Must go off to class, after all! But I'll be sure to address it, later.

Convenience isn't everything. Sometimes food has to taste good, and the highly processed gloop that might satisfy the demands of this question might not (indeed probably wouldn't) commend itself as a meal you'd actually want to enjoy. And from that you may infer that it's the shit that gives food its enjoyable flavour. Bon appetit.

We may make no such inference, Doc. We may, however, make the supposition that the true toxicity of your dochood lies in your attempts to pass off the dross of fallacious argumentation for the golden honey of truth! You have merely suggested that the result of a de-shitting procedure would be bland "gloop", and then concluded from that suggestion that it is the shit which gives food its pleasing taste.

Here's my counterargument: Sometimes food has to taste good, and the presence of unremoved shit in our sustenance is the only thing keeping our meals from being ambrosial. From this we may infer that a de-shitted repast would, literally, be the food of the gods.

This line of thinking also suggests that we would be best to try out the procedure, once mastered, on nectarines.

It is well documented that gods do not shit, for if the reverse were true, and gods did move their bowels, we would observe shit falling from the sky. We do not observe shit falling from the sky, save for that which falls from birds, which does not truly fall from the sky but rather from birds; therefore, it must be the case that gods do not shit.

Neither would gods eat food that was not pleasing. All human desires come from the gods' desires and therefore, although our desires are mere shadows of shadows of the imprint of the gods' desires, they cannot contradict said desires. Since our desire is to eat pleasing food it cannot be that the gods desire to eat not-pleasing food. And the gods eat whatever they please. Therefore the gods eat pleasing food.

It being proven that the gods (A) do not shit and (B) eat pleasing food, it follows by necessity that de-shitted food is pleasing to eat.

It could also have been argued, with more brevity but less wit, that since honey is de-shitted and honey is pleasing, then de-shitted food is by necessity pleasing.

All human desires come from the gods' desires and therefore, although our desires are mere shadows of shadows of the imprint of the gods' desires, they cannot contradict said desires.

Do humans desire what the gods desire because the gods desire those things, or because those things are desirable?

Also, it's well known that the gods have bodily functions similar to our own. For instance, the Tigris was first filled by Enki's ejaculate.

Now, I agree with the conclusion of your argument. But alas! Rightness is path-dependent.

I hate to crap all over this brilliant thread, but I just had an experience which could only be expressed by commenting on it here.

You do not know the meaning of true love until you get up in the middle of your dinner meal, every night, to go wipe someone else's bottom.

You do not know the meaning of true love until you get up in the middle of your dinner meal, every night, to go wipe someone else's bottom.

What if you only do it for the money?

I can't imagine that any money would be enough to compensate one for regularly interrupting one's evening meal to deal with someone else's shit.

"Do humans desire what the gods desire because the gods desire those things, or because those things are desirable?"

To say that a thing is desirable is to say that the gods desire it. For it is true that humans' desires are formed from the shadows of gods' desires. And therefore, if the gods desire sweet things, humans desire sweet things in kind, though the human desire is a lesser, impure desire. But if the gods were to change course and desire only bitter, then humans would too desire bitter, for the shadows would have changed shape, and then it would be true if one said: bitter things are desirable.

And so the answer to your question is that there is no difference between a thing being desirable and the gods desiring that thing. It is like to ask the question: is a rock a rock because it is a rock, or is it a rock because it is a rock? No, pupil! That is nonsense!

Ah, I see. I'd like to contest your argument, but I have to go prosecute my father for murder at the moment. Maybe later.

On The Gods' Bodily Functions.

It is true that the gods ejaculate and that many rivers and also demigods have been formed in the powerful spooge of mighty deities. It is also true that the gods urinate on occasion, on account of the gods are particular to strong drink.

But it is not true that the gods defecate. For it has been said that the gods do only what they choose to do, and not what they choose not to do, except that another god make a particular god do a thing he does not desire. For it has also been said that the gods' desires may be extrapolated from human desires, in as much as human desires are formed from the shadows of gods' desires. Therefore, if the gods did not desire to perform a certain bodily function they would not perform it unless forced to do so by a more powerful god. And therefore if humans did not desire to do a thing, it could not be the case that the gods desired to do it.

Unless struck with the urge to make feces, humans do not desire to make them. This is to be proven by the fact that a man, having already made a satisfying log or snake of brown poo, is not seized by a desire to make another one, his innards having yet to extract the poo from his bread. A man only wishes to poo if he needs to poo, and does not need to poo out of his wish.

Therefore, it being that the gods' desires may be extrapolated from human desires, we may conclude that the gods do not desire to poo. And because the gods need not do what they choose not to do, they need not poo.

There remains an exception: what if a more powerful god were to force a lesser god to poo? This could be done. However, in order to force the lesser god to poo, the more powerful god must needs desire that the lesser god poo. It being that the poo of the gods, if it were to exist, would be uncommonly noxious, it is only theoretically possible that a more powerful god would desire a lesser god to make feces. It has not historically occurred.

oh no, not more bees

Clearly, this conundrum would be more easily solved if hippies were made of superhydrophobic plastics. I'll be accepting grant proposals for this project beginning next week. Please separate any shit prior to submission, as I already must manually remove it from my one-year-old several times a day and have no funds to hire an assistant.

Notwithstanding my earlier objection, food decomposes into irreducible units, which as a nod to the chemistricians we will call "aliments". For example, as we've established, bees reduce to shit and honey, which reduce only trivially to themselves. Shit is the least of all the aliments.

In my dwelling there is a table, on which aliments are arranged periodically.

When there is strife,
You're the spice of my life—
A vital aliment.
When there is mirth,
You're the salt of my earth—
The perfect condiment.

Oh, the pain of salivation!

Those kids look tasty. They're almost bees. They're bees pretending to be kids.

Let's take this in a different direction, prompted by A White Bear's mention of digestive acids. In the following discussion, I'll use "food", written thus, to refer to what we eat, whose components are "Food" and "shit". When we eat and digest, our theory tells us, part of what happens is that we separate the food into Food and shit.

We want to know if it's possible to separate food into Food and shit before eating. But consider this! Perhaps even in eating, we do not fully separate Food and shit. It may be a theoretical impossibility. Now, we aren't yet equipped to prove its impossibility, though perhaps when we know more, we'll be able to do so. However, I propose the following experiment which, if successful, would demonstrate that the separation is possible.

The key issue is this. We ordinary digesters, when eating food, may well excrete some Food and incorporate some shit. There are two ways we can err. Therefore, for the experiment to proceed, we will need to breed two efficient digesters. Each of them will be as efficient as we can make them at successfully extracting the Food from food and incorporating it, and excreting as pure shit as is possible. (One might expect that these efficient digesters would have more copious shits than ordinary digesters. This is not necessarily so, for while there will be more shit in their shit, there will also be less Food, and we cannot know in advance what the proportions will be.) As a result of this, each digester's body will have a minimum of shit incorporated into it. (In anyone's body, Food is transformed into flesh, bone, blood, etc., but the shit simply remains as shit. Inefficient digesters, being unable to separate the shit from the Food thoroughly, have more shit in their bodies than do efficient digesters. This is the case on a relative as well as absolute scale, of course, and is the explanation for shitty human beings.) Thus they will consist almost entirely of Food. The next step is simple: feed one of the efficient digesters to the other. If, afterwards, the surviving digester shits minimally or not at all, we will be confirmed in our hypothesis that Food and shit are separable.

Perhaps you say: this argues in a circle, for the notion of an efficient digester is predicated on the in-principle separability of Food and shit. But that is why I refer to shitting "minimally or not at all", and not simply "not at all". We know that shit and Food are separable to an extent, and all the efficient digesters need to do is increase that extent as much as possible. Then, we will know that the separation is possible to a greater extent than takes place in current humans, and will have greater reason to believe that an absolute separation is possible.

The next step is simple: feed one of the efficient digesters to the other.

Great scott! An idea this brilliant belongs not on a blog, but in the heavens.

Rather, it's totally fudgewolf.

The postulate that it's the unseparated shit wrongly incorporated into our bodies that lies at the root of shitty behavior suggests that efficient digesters will be mostly pleasant, agreeable people—maybe even paragons of virtue!

Also, that we should try to eat food with a low shit content, if we want to improve ourselves morally.

A true biologian, and a shitty behaviorist.

Sorry, I'm a bit behind here; had family visiting etc. Just wondered if I could get the reference to that paper where it's been proved that the gods don't shit? I wondered if the tests were double blind and subject to peer review.

It leads me on to a long standing query I've had, possibly off topic, which is to do with this God guy making man in his image. Presumably he added things like the navel, genitals, digestive and pulmonary systems etc from imagination. Surely it's blasphemous to suggest that God has an arsehole? In that case, at what point in God does the hole that starts with his mouth stop? If there's a paper on this too, I'd be so pleased.

Text provided an argument in his comment. If you find it unpersuasive, you should take it up directly.

In Moderan, the few flesh-stips still remaining to the Stronghold Matsers are nourished by Introven.

Sh*t is a thing of the failed past!

So we (THEY, our wonderful science-men) have picked up the VERY STRANGE accident (life) at its highest development (man) and have turned it to its ultimate durability, which is the eternity-durability of new-metal man. YES! We (THEY) caught it just in time, those science-men. How lucky we to have had those top-dog giants waiting in the labs at that grand time in history to pick up the VERY STRANGE accident (life) at its ultimate flesh-needs development (man) and freeze it for all times. YAY! good science plan, take your bows now, you good old Saviour Men, you've won the game for sure.

If we were to perform Ben's experiment, would not the efficient digesters come to resemble bears, the only things we know to be made of pure honey, increasingly, until they in fact transformed into bears?

And once the bear was fed the second bear, would he cease to be a bear, and instead disintegrate into bees? For it is said that a bear is merely made of honey, whereas a bee is filled with honey. Here we would have a thing which is both made of honey and filled with honey.

The consequences could be terrible and therefore we must never feed a bear to another bear.

Second: if a person is shitty because he is an inefficient remover of shit, what is a person who is full of shit?

I propose that is a person who has eaten a hippy.

In further support of wolfson's behavioral thesis, it is true that the native americans indigenous to northern illinois ate a diet almost solely composed of bear, and were, according to all sources, uncommonly genial people.

The native americans of the gulf coast were given to tall tales and unfounded speculation and ate, almost solely, hippies.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that honey is the same thing as Food, text.

I hate to repeat my arguments, but it is made evident by the following:

(1) eating nothing but honey forestalls usage of the stinky pot.

(2) bees, who are filled with honey, do not create feces.

(3) bears, who are merely made of honey, do create feces, for they must eat non-honey very often.

(4) the gods, we know, do not shit. we do not know for certain what they eat. however, we do know that our desires are shadows of their own. And what do we desire more than sweet, and amber color, and sticky fun? Those things are all found in honey.

(5) Were it to be true that Food was honey, all of the above calculations involving hippies and bears would work out, and those calculations ring with the truthfulness of truthful certainty.

But this entails that there's honey in everything nutritive which we eat, which is manifestly false.

also, if honey were not Food, why would Nature have dispersed it inside so many fuzzy bumble bees, rather than storing it in a single location, such as an oblong object with paper-thin cells, and hung that object on a tree?

if by manifestly false, you mean manifestly true!

The honey is in all food, but we do not see it, for it has been mixed intricately with shit, to create varying tastes and textures.

Similarly, we do not taste the shit in food, but you would not deny the shit is there! That would be foolishness.

Well, listen, we know that honey comes from inside bees, and that its extraction is precarious. How does the honey then get into our food? Consider beeless areas.

but every school child knows that flowers suck the honey from the bees and for sustenance. The honey travels through the earth where it is dispersed to miniscule beasties. The miniscule beasties are sucked through the roots of trees and other plants, and certain animals eat those plants. Certain animals eat those animals. Certain animals eat those animals. those animals create maggots, flies, and computer salesmen. Certain animals eat those. And so on.

It is basic biologistry.

the real question is: who puts the honey in the bees.

It is the gods, and they remove it from their very own stores.

If we were to perform Ben's experiment, would not the efficient digesters come to resemble bears, the only things we know to be made of pure honey, increasingly, until they in fact transformed into bears?

text, though your subsequent defense is so beautiful it nearly truthes perforce, Ben's objection stands. Not all Food contains honey, nor is every efficient digester a bear. But in fact, every bear is an efficient digester. For otherwise some bear motes would be motes of shit and not honey: a contradiction.

So yes, we must feed one bear to another.

According to Ben's original hypothesis, the first bear will be fully incorporated into the second. But I propose a revised hypothesis: that while the second bear will not shit out any of the first, neither will the second bear fully incorporate the first. These are efficient digesters, not carnot engines, after all! Some of the first bear will be lost as heat and growls.

And if we fed a bear to itself? It would not incorporate any of itself into itself. It would evanesce.

Since it is possible to create a machine that in effect produces poo with out the apparent retention of Food, could it then be feasible to produce a machine that completely turns food into Food?

Possibly the evanescence of bears(presumably the depressed suicidal sort who would like to go hunting with Dick Cheney(in disguise of course)) is absorbed by bees as they fly through the air.

The evanescence of bears is collected, condensed, and resold as Evan's Essence of Bear, a Burt's Bees product. For best results, apply lightly to your pulse points.

relatedly, how do I filter shit out before eating the food? amazing how closely related this thought is to the topic here... wow.

That is the topic, Jesse. Read the post.

Here is how you do it:

(1) feed your food to a bear.

(2) feed your bear to another bear.

(3) feed that bear to itself.

(3) wait for the bear to excrete a hippy and disintegrate into the air.

(4) place essence of bear and hippy in a closed container with a thousand bees inside.

(5) remove Food (honey) and enjoy.

(6) leave shit inside the container for future use.

It requires two distinct step number threes in order that the process work successfully.

text, suppose I have two sets. The first is the set of all X such that X is a hippy. The second is the set of all X such that X is a hippie. Now, what did you have for lunch?

I had dim sum.

If, as text maintians, bees do not create feces and gods do not shit, then can it not be supposed that the gods are, in fact, bees? I add in support of my hypothesis the following facts: both bees and gods eat nectar; both bees and gods reside in the heavens, except when they choose to descend to earth; and both bees and gods enjoy tormenting me when they are angry with me or when it strikes their fancy. I must therefore conclude that bees are gods, and vice versa.

there is an elegance to your reasoning, MAE, and it might be well perfect if it were so that bees were gods. But we live in an imperfect universe, MAE, where fountain pens break, dogs can't sweat, and children wipe their buttocks with their hands. And so I am inclined to disagree.

For it is known that gods, on occasion, have sex with mortal women, producing viable offspring, often very tall. But have you ever seen a bee mate with a woman? I have seen it, and I don't think the bee did a very good job, and what's more, there wasn't any little beeling left over.

Of course, the gods may take the form of bees, and have sex with women, but as you see, that is a totally different thing.

The dim sum of two sets is the image of their union under the canonical map from hippies to dumplings.

This is what Badiou fails to consider.

A semi-honest attempt was made to provide an image of the union of two sets beneath a canonical map from hippies to dumplings, but sub-clerical boho-culinary cartographical obscene ASCII art in a proportional font is far beyond me.

How about that.

(Still beyond me.)

Just as Zeus appeared to Leta in the form of a swan, the bee-gods typically assume other forms when they desire to mate with mortal women. For example, they may choose to appear as door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen when they intend to couple with a mortal, for they know that their usual bee form would prove too potent for all but the most robust of human females.

The bees do not reside in the heavens but merely pass through them while going about their inscrutable business. Nay, the bees are known to reside in hives - sordid, crowded affairs which are scarcely suitable as habitations of the Divine.
Note that the gods may choose to afflict a person with hives, or indeed with other ailments such as distemper, incontinence, and white flecks upon the eyeball, but this is a different matter altogether.

Ben and I were discussing this (the general question, not the ensuing posts) and he asked me to share with the group. As a biologist, I hope to offer a more scientific perspective.

Now, as many of you may know, a significant portion of your genome--defined as all the genetic material in your body--is actually bacterial, contained in the gut flora. Thus, much of you is actually symbiotic. Those little guys need taking care of.

As we are, in effect, in loco parentis, it's important to think of the moral fiber--the protestant work ethic--of these bacteria. If the shit has already been removed, what are they to do? Lie about on the villi, cell walls gradually swelling with nutrients? This sort of torpor brought down Rome. Allow it to begin in the colon and soon the jejeunum and doudenum will be lost in sybaris and over-run by Goths. We do not want this.

At least you're frank about your biologism.

    | o o                 |
    | # # .   ..'. .X * * |
    | ^ ^  `.'    `    *  |
  _ P---------------------+
  O/    ,-----.,-----.
 /V     |  censored  |
  |\    `-----'`-----'

An office party is not, as is sometimes supposed the Managing Director's
chance to kiss the tea-girl. It is the tea-girl's chance to kiss the
Managing Director (however bizarre an ambition this may seem to anyone
who has seen the Managing Director face on).
-- Katherine Whitehorn, "Roundabout"


I'm glad I read this post after I had breakfast.

biology has revealed many thing about the humankind

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