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Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 8, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,719

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Chef Craig Shelton has over 40 years of experience in science-based cooking and teaching in the hospitality business. He trained in eight of the world’s greatest restaurants, including “El Bulli”, “Jamin”; “Ma Maison”, “L’Auberge de l’Ill”, “Le Pré Catelan”, “Bouley”, “Le Bernardin”, and “La Côte Basque. Chef Shelton has earned countless awards as Chef-Owner of his own restaurants including a James Beard Best Chef medal, NY Times 4-Stars ratings on four separate occasions, a 5-Star Forbes rating, the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef title; and Number One Top Restaurant in America in 2004 from GQ. Mr. Shelton is also an instructor at Princeton University in the Princeton Environmental Institute, where he teaches a freshman seminar on the interrelationships between public policy, agriculture, diet-related disease and anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Shelton began his expertise in this area while an undergraduate of Yale where he earned his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is a co-founder of the think tank, Princeton Center for Food Studies, the founder of King’s Row Coffee, and a co-founder of Aeon Holistic Agriculture, Inc. He is recognized as a consummate business consultant with specialization in macro finance. He is known for his ability to generate excitement in his cooks and instill in them the drive toward excellence by connecting all aspects of gastronomy to the larger intellectual landscape – chemistry, ecology, literature, art and human physiology. His great passions are reading and ocean sailing. His full C.V. can be seen here. More about Aeon HospitalityMountainville ManorAeon Holistic AgricultureKings Row Coffee, and Princeton Studies Food (in the hyperlinks provided). He discusses: common sense and scientific tenability; and motivation.

Keywords: Aeon Hospitality, agriculture, Craig Shelton, farming, human health, motivation, nutrition.

Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What about on the side of food production? In other words, making a dish, delivering it to the plate of individual customers, what have been some big things taken as folk wisdom or common sense in the culinary arts, which are simply not scientifically tenable?

Master Chef Craig Shelton[1],[2]*: Yes, sometimes, I think only the Marquis de Sade could have designed the restaurant business model.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shelton: You could not have designed a model more poorly to do the bigger issues with consistency, delivering high quality. All businesses are supposed to have three divisions: marketing, finance, and operations.

The restaurants, especially independent restaurants, are basically operations divisions. For generations, they only had operations. There is no finance. A bookkeeper comes in and does the damage report every once in a while.

You have no marketing department with a whole group of people who study markets and test ideas and determine memes. None of that happens. I think it is partially because we have defaulted to the critic.

You have these evangelists, originally, in the industry. The connoisseur type critic who is out to spread the gospel and the wonder of arts at the table. It was kind of lovely, but it also invited a certain intellectual laziness saying, “We don’t need to market. That’s the job of the critic.”

When you’re not making a promise to your clients, things get wobbly really fast. It’s a lack of clarity of what operations should be fulfilling. The purpose of marketing is to make promises and powerful promises, and successful promises.

As you build the business, the promises should be meaningful to the market. They should be unique and explicit. People should know what it is that they’re expecting. All of that is completely missing.

If you were to say, “What are the implicit promises?” Since no one has a tagline, if you have a company like Federal Express, we can all remember the opening regional tagline when it positively has to be there overnight.

That is an extraordinary promise in all regards, extremely valuable to the people who use the service. It is unique. No one else can have an overnight guarantee. Thirdly, it is explicit. It is laid out.

None of that is happening in the restaurant industry. You are left with the default premises based on the word “restaurant,” which is from the French restaurer. So, what is it we are promising to restore? We are promising to restore the traditional health of the body.

Of course, wouldn’t you know? That is the absolute largest gap in the pedagogy of cooking schools. There is no training on nutrition, especially on up to date modern nutrition. What about the second? The emotional welfare, the restoring of emotional state of happiness.

Much of that occurs through the intermediation between the senses: taste, smell, touch, and so forth, guess what? There is a second great lacuna missing in the pedagogy of cooking school. There’s no teaching about the neurophysiology of the senses, none whatsoever.

This is why you will see every cookbook with such inanities as ‘seasoned to taste.’

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shelton: Because if you understand how fluid the sense organs work, the one thing that you can never trust is sense. The momentary rigour of your sense organs. It can be extraordinarily precise, if you will, in measuring the change, the first derivative.

The change, “The thing I just tasted is this saltiness. The thing I tasted now.” It can be a high degree of precision in noticing the change. However, because of fatigue or desensitization, it is remarkable how unreliable the sense organs are.

The nominal quantity, the actual degree of salinity, the actual degree of acidity, the actual degree of sweetness. It can be off by many magnitudes of order because of the immediate prehistory of what has happened before.

Jacobsen: On a personal level, where do you get your motivation? It’s not simply having a high ability level and channeling it. It is drive too. For some, they acquire this from a personal faith. Others, they acquire this from an individual preference for challenge.

Others see it based in some kind of abstract ethical duties. Others, they want to make a living.

Shelton: I judge this by a moral imperative. I grew up as a dual-citizen in the full sense of the word. I enjoy the culture deeply. I was introduced to gastronomy. Here’s what I kept noticing, when I was in France, we ate with reckless abandon, including dessert. No one counted a calorie.

I always lost weight. Enjoying the food to the Nth degree, never measuring anything, never leaving the table hungry, always fulfilled, happy, experiencing the highest states of clarity, cognitive clarity, which I recall.

Then I come back to America to the standard American grain-based diet. I feel sluggish, comparatively, put on weight until it was uncomfortable. So, this is one reality. I am experiencing this.

I am going through high school science classes and chemistry, physics. I am being told a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Obviously, all of the problems in this society are the fact that we need to justify the idiotic thing called Occam’s Razor.

This belief that when multiple solutions present themselves, then the simplest one is the most correct one. What is the basis for the claim? There is no basis for that. In fact, human experience should tell us the exact opposite.

Almost all things, in fact, that are important that we want to understand require complex systems mathematics, which very few of us are comfortable with and employ. We would rather have this totalitarian Napoleonic-type tale of the totalitarians, which is a desire for a simple folk tale.

To look at all this, and to look at what the standard American diet has done for human health here, and around the world, this grain-based diet and industrial seed oil called vegetable oil replacing wild, organic, 100% grass-fed animal fats.

It has caused more death and more economic harm, and more medical harm, than all the wars America has fought put together. This is a great breaking of the trust, in my mind. It is the idea restaurants are supposed to be peddling life.

Whereas, most of them are peddling death. Many of them are not aware of it. There is a way, in my life. I have been desperately trying to show through Aeon (Hospitality) with combining gastronomy and agriculture some things to people.

The reason French cuisine is still possibly the best cuisine on Earth is because French agriculture is the most beneficial, the healthiest, agriculture. It is the nation that made the decision-tree based on behaviour based on hedonism.

Whereas, everyone else was compromising that with economics. No one worse than America. To me, America and France (and Japan) represent the ends of the spectrum of agriculture. America, I can describe it as corn disguised as protein and water disguised as produce.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shelton: Toxic water disguised as produce. That’s what is interesting. Our entire feedback loop is the FDA, which only concerns itself with shape and colour. They don’t even measure nutrient density or nutrient composition.

It is purely superficial, which is exactly the right mechanism if what you’re selling is corn disguised as protein and water disguised as produce. So, even in my work at Princeton, people are much more comfortable with the simple map of unstacked agricultural systems.

Let’s compare the yield in calories, a mono-cultural yield of corn versus a mono-cultural yield of beef. Of course, you’re going to get more calories from corn. However, regenerative agriculture, especially integrated livestock systems, are not to be understood in terms of monoculture, but in terms of multi-culture. It means stacked systems.

You can have trees. You can have fruits. You can have a cycling on-and-off lands, which increases the fertility and the nitrogen fixation. The nutrient density of the produce can skyrocket. The quality of the protein and, most importantly, the quality of the fats skyrockets.

There’s a massive deficit worldwide. The major deficit worldwide is Omega-3. We have these damn vegetable oils. The point, which I am trying to make, is: If you use rotational management of herds and rotational management of produce, and those are well-understood, you rotate those two rotations on parcels of lands.

You end up with a pretty extraordinary case of biomimicry, which captures carbon. So, the net result is a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere. You end up with extraordinarily healthy output as a byproduct of the sale.

In a sense, the price of everything comes down, as long as you have the same scale. That’s the only reason industrial agriculture is able to produce – if you want to call it – food products. The only reason a tomato or a cucumber raised in an industrial farm is less expensive than an organic version is because of scale.

Industrial farms can be 10,000 acres. Most of our organic farms are mini-mom-and-pop places with 2, 5, or 100 acres. They are too small to use the same labour saving equipment. The automated carrot harvester that can do the work of 50 people, better, with less damage to the carrot and to the soil, etc.

For a long time, I have been trying to make a proof of concept to get to the next real level. Where, you are not farming 100 acres, but farming 5,000 acres with this labour-saving equipment. This is the idea of replacing extractive systems with generative systems.

The center piece, most of these problems, e.g., climate change. If we converted 60% of the crop land that we have remaining over to these carbon negative, regenerative, integrated systems, we would have more food than the current system.

We would be growing topsoil instead of destroying topsoil. We would have infinitely healthier human outcomes, so drop the cost of medical expenditures, including diseases of civilization caused by a high grain-based, high-glycemic index, toxic thing.

At the end of the day, this is the idea of integrating all of these things for the love of the biological sciences. My love of cuisine and human health. It is the diet related aspects of human health. The natural health of the planet, planetary sciences, ecological sciences, the environmental part of it.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Aeon Hospitality.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 8). Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Common Sense Versus Scientific Validity, and Motivation: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (3) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-3.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Justice for Accused and Convicted ‘Witches’ Everywhere

Author: Dr. Leo Igwe

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 623

Keywords: Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Claire Mitchell, Leo Igwe, Scottish, Uganda, Wtchcraft Act.

Justice for Accused and Convicted ‘Witches’ Everywhere[1],[2]

Dr. Leo Igwe is the Founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, the Founder & CEO of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, and the Convener of the Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030. 

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AfAW) welcomes a petition calling on the Scottish government to pardon those accused and convicted as witches under the Witchcraft Act of 1563. This initiative is significant because it underscores a well-known fact that persons accused and convicted for witchcraft in Scotland were unjustly treated.

It is pertinent that this historic miscarriage of justice is acknowledged and remedied in some way. The petition asks the parliament to memorialize the victims of witch hunts in Scotland. One hopes that the Scottish parliament would answer this call.

AFAW applauds the Scottish lawyer, Claire Mitchell, who is championing this effort. Claire launched the “Witches of Scotland” campaign to rehabilitate witch-trial victims in 2020. She claimed that the Metoo movement emboldened her to seek a redress of this historic injustice. It has been noted that “Scotland’s parliament in March will debate a blanket rehabilitation for the thousands of people, mostly women, executed for alleged witchcraft. In the late 16th century, Scottish monarch, King James VI participated as an interrogator in witch trials and wrote a book about how to detect and prosecute witches. For generations, almost no one in the country defended alleged witches or acknowledged a family connection to them”. As Claire rightly pointed out, “We feel strongly that there needs to be a reckoning”. Indeed there is.

AFAW is delighted by this campaign to redress the injustices that alleged witches suffered centuries ago. Unfortunately, alleged witches have continued to suffer unfair and unjust treatment in many parts of the world today. Although, accusation and conviction of alleged witches belong to the past in Scotland, witch persecution rages in many places across the globe- from Africa to Oceania to the Indian subcontinent.

In Ghana, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa, thousands of alleged witches who are mainly old women, and children are routinely attacked, lynched, stoned to death, banished, or imprisoned. In most cases, efforts to redress the unjust treatment of alleged witches are few and far apart, if at all, because the state is often complicit in the miscarriage of justice. States fail in their responsibility to prevent witch persecution or to protect alleged witches. They turn a blind eye to the persecution of alleged witches and sometimes indulge in prosecution and conviction of accused persons.

In cases where states intervene, it is usually too little too late. The police arrive after the alleged witch has been murdered; they make some arrests, or they claim that the suspects are at large. In Nigeria, the government has yet to arrest and prosecute those who set ablaze 15 suspected witches in Boki, Cross River State in Southern Nigeria. The incident took place in May last year and no steps have been taken to ensure justice in the case. In Ghana, the government has taken no measures to remedy the injustices against suspected witches. Thousands of them are languishing in various ‘witch camps’ in the Northern region. Instead, the government of Ghana is threatening to shut down these places of refuge for the accused. It must be noted that in some parts of Nigeria, suspected witches are subjected to post-mortem witch trials. And if confirmed as a witch, the body is burned, buried in a forest or thrown into a river.

So injustice against alleged witches did not only take place in Scotland and did not happen only centuries ago. Injustice against accused persons is not only a thing of the past; it is also a thing of the present. Any campaign to remedy the historic injustice against accused and convicted witches in Scotland should be used to highlight contemporary manifestations of witch persecution including other cases of miscarriage of justice against suspected witches in other parts of the world.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Humanist Association of Nigeria; Founder & CEO, Advocacy for Alleged Witches; Convener, Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/justice-for-accused-and-convicted-witches-everywhere.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Mubarak 7 – Et Tu? Two: How Bad Could Things Get?

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 658

Keywords: Mubarak Bala, Nigeria, nonbelievers, religion, secular.

Ask Mubarak 7 – Et Tu? Two: How Bad Could Things Get?[1],[2]

*Interview originally published February 13, 2020, in Canadian Atheist.*

Mubarak Bala is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria. We will be conducting this educational series to learn more about Humanism and secularism within Nigeria. Here we talk about punishments against him, this was shortly before the imprisonment. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was the reason for the punishment by the religious fundamentalists against you?

Mubarak Bala: I was mostly threatened in the hope I recant and convert, the punishment was largely medical, with false diagnosis; I was administered epileptic drugs even as I was not.

The other punishments meted were isolation, boycott, seizure of assets by parents, and disinheritance, in hope that the elements get me. Several times I had nothing, and no friends, but other times, a few loyal friends and relatives come to the rescue.

The cultures are never tainted nor refined by the colonists here in the north. So, they are in their pristine forms, with all the accompanying misogyny and patriarchy, as well as elements of slavery and archaic punishments.

But I was lucky to be economically above the mob class, the middle class are mostly respected, as they have something to offer financially, which I did at most times, to be safe from those around me, of the lower socioeconomic class, which produces most of the mob.

Jacobsen: More on the state and punishment of nonbelievers. How did religion and state converge for the punishment of you?

Bala: The Kano government practices sharia, and when I left Kano, they announced that I have converted back, and that I have apologized for my blasphemy. The laws of the Federation are secular, and superior to the state’s laws, and as such, secular cities such as the capital, provided an escape.

The society mostly copies from the cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, and even though these cultures have long weaned off Islamism and are fighting it, in many fronts, the region here, makes sure no one wakes up, by tagging any progressive ideas as alien, western, satanic, bound for hell, and dangerous.

The real emancipation came with the internet, for this landlocked region, with the highest number of out of school children, highest birthrate globally, and the highest poverty rate.

The internet, not only brought home the information catalyst; no, it also allowed for secularists and rationalists to come together, form a community, socialize, help each other, befriend and network, as well as safely debate without actually meeting people, or jeopardizing their location and privacy.

Although, the big media locked us out; and the social media shuts down many of our accounts, based on the number of complaints over blasphemy and anonymity for those who could not really reveal their real identity. We endure, and forge ahead.

Atheist, agnostic and humanist ideals are now normalized even if not accepted. Instead of threats of actual violence, over the years, all we now endure is hate speech and threats of imagined monsters supposedly after we die naturally. A lot has been done, and there is progress…

Jacobsen: What were the justifications for the punishment of a nationally leading humanist with some international renowned?

Bala: Honor, prestige, conservatism, puritanism, narrow mindedness, fear of imagined gods, lessons to be set so others would not tread such path of apostasy.

In the end, they succeeded in only earning the cause more publicity, embarrassing themselves and rubbishing the system since they actually are corrupt, and also do such sins they caution against, sins they fear would be normalized, such as adultery and fornication, even as videos of their sexual escapades emerge online, with even little children.

In the end, though, something good happened, even theists now tilt aware from the hitherto trendy fanaticism, jihadism and fundamentalism, online, on-air and even in town hall gatherings.

It is all a new phenomena, a new social revolution, overturning the age-old system on itself. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter trends from northern Nigeria, is now awash with #MeToo like narratives, #NewIdeas as well as #SocialChange tags which most importantly, is led by young ladies, under 30, defiant and progressive. There is hope for the next generation.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mubarak.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-mubarak-7-et-tu-two-how-bad-could-things-get.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Takudzwa 16 – Minorities within Majorities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: One Time Per Year

Words: 278

Keywords: Humanist Society of Zimbabwe, science, Takudzwa Mazwienduna, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Secular Alliance.

Ask Takudzwa 16 – Minorities within Majorities[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 30, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a Member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand more. Here we talk about Zimbabwean humanists and science, and vigilance.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Zimbabwean humanists, as with other nations’ humanists, will remain a minority for the foreseeable future. Its emphasis on science may limit the degree to which individuals may adhere to the principles of humanism as a complete set. What will be some barriers involving scientific topics into the mainstream of the culture through the advancement of humanism with science component and chip of it?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: Indeed, scientific literacy is a barrier since many Zimbabweans do not take the discipline as seriously as they do religion. Most of them understand science as a Western concept rather than the universal aspect it is.

Most people see it as a troublesome useless subject that should stay in the classroom and be done only by those crazy enough to be interested in it. Most Zimbabweans also probably can’t tell the difference between science and Scientology.

Implicating science in worldview matters won’t fly in most Zimbabwean circles. If anything, most will see it as Satanism as they do everything else that contradicts their Christian beliefs.

Jacobsen: What does this minority status within the larger religious demographics mean for the humanist community in Zimbabwe in political and social involvement (when that time comes as it must)?

Mazwienduna: It means the Humanist Society in Zimbabwe should remain vigilant and bold if they want to stay relevant in socio-political circles. We should stand up for secularism every time it is compromised and as long as the law is on our side, making sure it is enforced is the best we can do. All the weight we can give it.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: Thank you, Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 7, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-takudzwa-16-minorities-within-majorities.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,534

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Ricardo Rosselló Nevares holds a PhD in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Developmental Economics. Rosselló continued his academic studies at the University of Michigan, where he completed a master’s degree and a PhD in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. After finalizing his doctoral studies, he completed post-doctoral studies in neuroscience at Duke University, in North Carolina, where he also served as an investigator. Dr. Rosselló was a tenure track assistant professor for the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and Metropolitan University, teaching courses in medicine, immunology, and biochemistry. Dr. Rosselló’s scientific background and training also makes him an expert in important developing areas such as genetic manipulation and engineering, stem cells, viral manipulation, cancer, tissue engineering and smart materials. He discusses: American political extremes; and the coronavirus for Puerto Ricans.

Keywords: complexity, coronavirus, leadership, Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares.

Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Looking at Canada, as a comparative metric, we have the similar situation with two dominant parties, but three minor to moderate-sized parties in terms of election numbers. In the United States, much more extreme with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. You see a  bit with the Green Party and the Liberty Party.

I think you may see this with the Pirate Party or something. Extreme support of anything science-supporting in policy. I don’t know if it is thought out much beyond that. This binary of two extremes becoming more extreme, as you stated it.

It is, certainly, reflective of a condition of the United States that is concerning because when the wind blows with the United States. You don’t what other boats it is going to rock if not bump into because it $20,000,000,000,000+.

Only the European Union and the People’s Republic China have a similar kind of financial force. What are you seeing as some of the root sources of these divisions that  then lead to this bifurcation, this splitting into extremes in either direction?

Dr. Ricardo Rosselló[1],[2]*: I think this phenomena, even though it is occurring in the United States, as you said, is reverberating in many different parts of the world. I think there is a reason or several reasons for this. One, I think social media has changed the game.

There are a lot of voices, which is good. Now, the sort of negative symptom that I see. Unless, you make an outrageous claim. You really won’t get covered. Let’s take healthcare, you have three folks. One says, “I have this proposal: work with the insurance companies, work with choice. This and that,” sort of nuance.

Another says, “Let’s completely privatize healthcare.” Another says, ‘Let’s give healthcare completely for free.” Who do you think is going to get more attention?

Jacobsen: [Laughing]

Rosselló: It is, unfortunately in my view, the person who says, “Just give it for free,” versus the guy who says, “Privatize everything,” because it is a sort of a seemingly simplistic solution to a very complex problem. That’s a fell swoop.

I’m not diminishing. There are some things where solutions may be like that. I’m saying not all the solutions are like that. In fact, many are complex and nuanced. You need to think of secondary and tertiary effects.

What do I think keeps on happening? People see that the more extreme – I do not mean “extreme” derogatorily – or on the fringes that you make a statement, or the bolder the accusation or the bolder the statement, then the more coverage you’re going to get.

It is a symptom of something. Someone might have an interest analytical solution to one of these problems. Nobody cares. That’s one thing. A second thing, I lived this. I told myself as an element of discipline when I was governor, “I am not going to attack the opposition. I am going to oppose them on policy issues.”

The strength of the personal and negative attack, the effect of it, is so much greater than anything positive that you can do. Inevitably, a rational player in the game will always say, “If I want to get to do this, I will have to play by these rules and will have to get nastier.”

If Nancy Pelosi stands up and says, “I kind of disagree with President Trump.” It is not the same as saying, “That guy is crazy and has to be imprisoned.” What one of the two is going to get the headlines? That’s where I think this complexity is a little bit out of hand in a way.

Jacobsen: It’s our fault as journalists too. We play into this.

Rosselló: It’s everybody’s fault. It is like a chicken and an egg thing. People want to consume something. Take CNN, for example, CNN was – 20 years ago, 15 years ago – maybe, left-leaning, but center-left. It was sort of an editorial push.

Washington Post over here, as well. It has gone to a place, where it is very bold, strict statements that fly in the face and catch your attention. When you see that, and you’re producing as a media entity, you see; there’s been other media outlets that have tried to stay informing the news.

Those have died out. Again, taking just the news shows, I say “CNN.” But you could apply this to anyone. Back in the day, I remember watching with my grandfather Crossfire. It was the talking heads show. The rest was the news. Now, it’s the opposite. It’s like there’s an opinion show 50 minutes out of every hour, then it’s like “this happened.”

Because of the strength of that, there has been this emergent phenomenon. In my view, there is this big center. That was partially my calculation and I’ll tell you how I failed. There is this big center looking for rational solutions. Neither from the left or the right.

What is the rational solution to improve the quality of life of the people in my jurisdiction? Because the initial conditions in Puerto Rico are different than the initial conditions in Vancouver. Policy that might apply there might not apply here.

My view was, “I’m going to try to apply this scientific approach.” But because I was so tame, in the middle, I was sort of over-run by the corners. Then there’s another thing that you said. I want to be watchful. I don’t to pass judgment.

But I want to be watchful. I hear people say, “Let’s listen to science. Let’s listen to the experts.” I hope this doesn’t become a tag sentence that becomes cute. Because you can repeat it over and over again. There’s so much noise. They won’t be able to tell the difference.

I can envision two paths. Either we say it and we do it. I have some ideas on how we can get there. Or people say it. They will say it from both sides, but just use different data to support their claims.

Jacobsen: Sure [Laughing], which is primarily anti-scientific.

Rosselló: It is! It is. Even though, on the top layer of it, it is “trust science, trust science, trust science,” but it is really “trust science only if it fits into your storyboard.” Before, there was not a lot of information. People didn’t have enough information, perhaps, to make the correct choice.

Now, there’s so much information. I fear people have an innate feeling of something: “I like this” or “I like that.” They will pick-and-choose whatever data fits into that as opposed to being persuaded because the data is so strong on one side and so strong on the other.

To me, one of the clear issues is climate change. I make no apologies that climate change is happening and is happening at a very speedy rate. Not only do I say this as a scientist, I say this as somebody who had to lead a jurisdiction was the third hardest hit jurisdiction in global climate change in the world.

I – literally – saw an island off the coast of Puerto Rico called Palominito. It was there four years ago. It’s not there anymore. I’ve seen the hurricanes, of course. I have seen the coastlines. For Republicans, unfortunately, depends on your prism, to have veered into this opposition view of climate change – some of them, it seems ludicrous to me.

Because there’s no more conservative agenda in the galaxy than avoiding climate change.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Rosselló: Somehow, some way, “if my opponent is here, I have to be in a stark contrast over here. Otherwise, I get railroaded.” There’s a lot of that happening. There’s two paths. It could unravel a little bit. My gut tells me: it’ll unravel for a little bit longer, then things will, like the ebbs and flows of waves, start coming back to the shoreline.

It is still concerning to see that that is the paradigm and whoever yells loudest and has the craziest claim has a seat at the table.

Jacobsen: In Canada, our most cited doctor is a epidemiologist named Gordon Guyatt. He makes the distinction between equity and autonomy in medical systems. Western European, most North Americans excluding the United States, value equity when it comes to healthcare.

So, then you get kind of a nationalized healthcare system, in the United States, they value autonomy more, so get privatization more in healthcare. So, he doesn’t make it in terms of a judgment, but the outcome you would expect in different situations of evaluation, intersubjective national evaluation of what matters in certain areas.

Even in Canada, he said ‘by accident’ to me. We don’t have pharmacare [Laughing]. Some Western European countries have pharmacare, which allows them to bargain better. In Puerto Rico, you have a situation in which healthcare and pharmacare are not present.

Yet, after your term in office, Puerto Rico has the coronavirus impacting it. There is a distance from other areas in which there may be more supplies to give the citizenry. How are Puerto Ricans handling the coronavirus? What is the situation for ordinary citizens?

Rosselló: I think it is similar to what is happening in the United States, but with a wider broken structural integrity. When you look at a black elephant event, like a pandemic, some say it is a black swan, because it is unexpected. I think we should expect pandemics.

We should embed them into the design of whatever it is that we are doing. Now, you could see countries that do that responding better. There’s a plethora of different factors. It is hard to compare a democratic society to an autocratic society and how they respond.

Whether you like it or not, that matters, but there are some things that I think are important in this. It’s one of the big things. If we move forward with this scientific mentality in the United States and in the world, I do believe there is a need to create what other places have created.

But we need to tailor it more to a Western mindset, which is a foresight capability. The way I see this is people talk about science and people talk about government. Let me go back philosophically to what I have found are the major differences between being a political figure and a scientist, I happen to be both.

The scientist, typically, explores ad nauseam, looks for every little thing, analyzes, has the whole map in front of them, but are reluctant to make a conclusion from it. They, typically – and by “typically,” I mean “we typically,” the political figure needs no evidence, a whim or an intuition if you will. Some have it; some don’t.

They can make a very clear and concrete determination based on it. If this is the starting point, if you agree with this concept that this is a starting point, and if we endeavour to merge the world’s of science and politics and policy, there needs to be some bridges made to approximate that.

To me, one possible solution, they may be many, which may be better. One possible solution is creating or establishing a basis of your government, like the judicial system, but a system of foresight that is there to do a few functions.

Number one, to care-take for longer term projects, one of the advantages, for example, which could be a disadvantage as well; one of the advantages that Qatar or one of those places has the autocratic rule saying, “The next 40 years, we are going to invest here. This is what is going to happen.”

The liability in the democratic system is I could come and say, “We’re going to invest here,” and then a few years later. Somebody comes to say, “No, no, scratch that, we’re going to invest here.” It might be good, but that might also be bad for long-term growth.

We need to start segregating some of these things that are infrastructure, for example. It needs to be always changing, but a longer term endeavour because, otherwise, you’re never going to see those results. Similarly, crisis and disaster management is something that’s rarely on the mind of elected officials.

Because they operate – their space of operation is solving the problems right ahead or looking forward to a brighter future, but avoiding all these inconveniences, avoiding earthquakes, avoiding pandemics. I see that one possible path is creating a foresight function, embed it into government.

You put scientists there. But also, you put project managers there. The idea is you have all of these people in a dormant state for some time planning, preparing, and doing these things with foresight, expecting, and helping.

In the dormant state, you help the leader develop his path. So, you give the leader, “Hey, here are all the conditions, these are all the things that we see. These are all of the facts. You create a path forward. These are the things that we see. These are the things that we need to look at, and consider.”

Say an earthquake, a hurricane, or a pandemic hit, then these teams, different to the rest of the political establishment, they’re ready to be activated, because they are thinking about this all the time. You couple this with project management, then you deploy.

Now, for example, the United States has FEMA. FEMA is another big bureaucratic monster. It gives a lot of money and that’s great. But it is nowhere near as effective. I’ve had this thought for four years. I tried to implement this in Puerto Rico.

It was a long-term path forward. The pandemic highlights why this is necessary. With the pandemic, you are battling a virus that is really 14-days ahead of you. A lot of policymakers that didn’t understand that were always going to be behind the curve.

They were reacting what is happening today. What is really happening, it is what you are projecting happening in 14 days. I think establishing that model will be very helpful. So, bringing it back to Puerto Rico and to the United States, I think they lack that model. Singapore has that model. Great Britain in some parts has that model.

Again, other factors, just by the sheer or the immediate reaction of some of these countries, “Hey, put a mask on”; whereas, others took months. The numbers are staggering in terms of the difference that one fact provided. I think there needs to be that bridge between science and policy, and politics.

There needs to be that institutionalized mentality of how we create this. I know it’s very raw how I foresee it. But I envision it as a judicial system if you will, which runs parallel and takes care of some of these things that are longer term and reacts to these phenomena.

To me, what is evidently clear, whether for good or for bad, complexity is going to keep increasing. If you have people thinking linearly in positions of power, they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot one time after the next.

Whereas, if you have people understanding complexity, maybe not controlling it, but, at least, understanding it, it changes the ballgame completely.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Governor, Puerto Rico.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4). Retrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Dr. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares on the American Social and Political Framework, and Puerto Rico and the Coronavirus: Former Governor, Puerto Rico (4) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/rossello-4.

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Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,308

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Chef Craig Shelton has over 40 years of experience in science-based cooking and teaching in the hospitality business. He trained in eight of the world’s greatest restaurants, including “El Bulli”, “Jamin”; “Ma Maison”, “L’Auberge de l’Ill”, “Le Pré Catelan”, “Bouley”, “Le Bernardin”, and “La Côte Basque. Chef Shelton has earned countless awards as Chef-Owner of his own restaurants including a James Beard Best Chef medal, NY Times 4-Stars ratings on four separate occasions, a 5-Star Forbes rating, the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef title; and Number One Top Restaurant in America in 2004 from GQ. Mr. Shelton is also an instructor at Princeton University in the Princeton Environmental Institute, where he teaches a freshman seminar on the interrelationships between public policy, agriculture, diet-related disease and anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Shelton began his expertise in this area while an undergraduate of Yale where he earned his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is a co-founder of the think tank, Princeton Center for Food Studies, the founder of King’s Row Coffee, and a co-founder of Aeon Holistic Agriculture, Inc. He is recognized as a consummate business consultant with specialization in macro finance. He is known for his ability to generate excitement in his cooks and instill in them the drive toward excellence by connecting all aspects of gastronomy to the larger intellectual landscape – chemistry, ecology, literature, art and human physiology. His great passions are reading and ocean sailing. His full C.V. can be seen here. More about Aeon HospitalityMountainville ManorAeon Holistic AgricultureKings Row Coffee, and Princeton Studies Food (in the hyperlinks provided). He discusses: science; Aeon Hospitality; financial consulting; awards; and restaurant models.

Keywords: Aeon Hospitality, Craig Shelton, culinary arts, enterprise, finance.

Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, we were cut short due to time constraints yesterday around the subject matter, which you’ve devoted 20+ to 35+ years of your life depending on the metric. This is around culinary arts and business, and the biophysics infused into those, not everyone will do them. Because they take common sense and folk knowledge from centuries past into the current style of culinary art. When, in fact, the science may have some evidence contrary to what is considered wisdom from days past. Let’s talk a little more.

Master Chef Craig Shelton[1],[2]*: What is interesting too, there is so much pent-up demand. When you’ve allowed an entire century to pass, and have almost isolated a discipline like the culinary arts, you’ve isolated it from any and all advances made in the rest of the intellectual world.

Once that pin is pricked, it’s an intellectual prophylactic. Then there’s an explosion. So, it really came in the moment with El Bulli, so, it didn’t just like a light switch happen that one day; no one is willing to embrace or talk about or allow reading about kitchen science, then it became a little bit allowed.

It was like an absolute immersion. It went from nothing to everything seemingly in the top kitchens. It was laboratory-type equipment. People are pushing this thing on steroids. It was quite an extraordinary thing to witness. A deficit has built up over centuries, this intellectual deficit.

When the levy broke, it was quite a flood. It was really quite a beautiful thing to witness. To be in that picture for a while, to see it, it was important.

Jacobsen: Why the name Aeon Hospitality?

Shelton: So often, people and companies are consulting companies, economists. I did not use that because I wanted to emphasize an intellectual position rather than a personality. Most hospitality comes to a brand of a personality.

I was a very reserved, very quiet, very brainy human being. Then all of the sudden, it is my turn to be a sous chef. In those days, back in the mid- to late-80s of the last century, there was this presumption of a larger than life personality. I had to manufacture one, adopt my style.

It took a certain effort to get into producing a persona that I felt was required for the task. I think part of this explosion, which kept some out of the discipline. I think it levels off rather quickly. Then the notion of chefs was not so thoughtful.

It suddenly allowed for a much broader type of presentation.

Jacobsen: How do you build financial consulting into the expertise you have around hospitality and running restaurants?

Shelton: It is a question that deserves a question. In the sense, when you say, “Financial,” there is a whole suite of disciplines in finance. There’s expertise in raising money. There’s expertise in managing money.

The kind of expertise that would come into play when you’re running a restaurant have to do with general knowledge. It’s odd the industry has no exposure to financial concepts, time value of money, pricing of risk.

The most basic fundaments of the entire body of knowledge in our world. But it is most useful for people in understanding the basics: What do you mean by “present value”? What do you mean by “these things”? What do you mean by “return on”? What is the function of a business?

How many thousands of times a manager said to me, “Craig, how can you say this project is upside down when it profits?” They don’t understand the difference between an operating profit and a return on investment, even something as simple as that.

It completely can change the way people can understand their job, the management of labour. So, it’s kind of like this. You have studied a lot of high-range people. You become more – I’m sure – learned in a range of subject matters, which is quite expansive.

Here’s this person who experiences a similar thing, which he chose to stay current, he is reading the Harvard Business Review vigorously each month. Every year, these kinds of journals publish lists of the most important business books ever written.

You start reading some of the stuff. There’s absolutely no limit to how much it could improve your business, how much it improves your life, your inner life and relationships in life. What you find, in a lot of industries, this is a long-time standing observation.

Entrepreneurs are too busy to work on improving their business, more lives suffer, even more tragic on the lives on their employees who dramatically suffer for it. The businesses suffer for it. They are underperforming.

I have read so much. I have real-world experience, as I have CPAs in my companies, MBAs in my companies, who helped me along; I tried to get mentors for me, from an early age. One of my business partners was very, very, very, successful as a United States developer.

He allowed me to be his mentor, and an understudy of how he runs successful companies. Like you, when I was young, my restaurant was in the middle of the world’s most important pharmaceutical center, New Jersey.

One of the centers for telecommunications was there and for business products, e.g., insurance, financial services. So, the people who come to my restaurant every single day for 25 years are some of the best minds in the business world, in the entire world, I befriended many of them.

They were absolutely generous in sharing their insights with me. I was extremely fortunate in that way.

Jacobsen: You’ve had a number of awards. “#1 Top Restaurant in America” in 2004 from GQ, a 5-star Forbes rating, a number of distinguished titles or accolades for performance in your relevant area. What do you attribute most of the success at the highest to now?

How do you integrate that into more improvements still in the performance of a restaurant, of the consulting, while still keeping your feet on the ground while acknowledging individual and collective excellence either under the individual or business name?

Shelton: One of my taglines is “I never witnessed a business in my life ever working harder than us.” Every restaurant, generally, which I have seen fail, is people weren’t thinking deeply enough, certainly not deeply often enough.

Jacobsen: In what way?

Shelton: In every way, business models, the business model was broken 150 years ago, but there was more demand than supply. If you had 25 days, I could start talking and never repeat myself and not run out of new topics.

I’ll give you the simplest example. Every restaurant in the world punishes good customers and rewards bad customers. All of the incentives in restaurants reward things that lead to bankruptcy and punishes things leading to financial success.

Jacobsen: Is this where the restaurant models were broken 150 years ago?

Shelton: Yes, if you used to own a restaurant in Italy or France, you most likely inherited it from your father, who inherited it from his. Your pricing model did not need to include capitalization expenses, because you inherited it tax-free.

Secondly, who were your workers, all these family enterprises didn’t have to account for labour. It was your family. You didn’t need to pay for all the labour and made profits if you will. Overhead was generally diminished because there weren’t a lot of insurance costs, of marketing going on, etc.

These things were negligible to many of their costs. Primarily, it had not yet gone through the artificial asset inflation process of the 20th century in British banking and in Europe. So, what I observed early on, the fact of three macros in business.

The cost of the materials on the plate or on the glass if you’re drinking. Then you have labour, which is the second macro. The third is all the single line items. We call this overhead in business. It could be 500 things all related to this.

At any rate, the point is: If you think about it, if you do the thought experiments, you understand the labour or the overhead costs are, actually, fixed costs. That is, if you filled your restaurants with 100 diners, and if each dish sold might be a chicken dish, on one given night in the suburbs with a single seating (they’re not turning the tables in America in the suburbs), you’re selling chicken at 20$ per person.

On some other arbitrary night, it happens the same number of people, 100 people, came in and ordered the most expensive item. Let’s say the rack of lamb at 50$ a plate, would there be a penny’s difference in the labour between those items? The answer is “No.”

Would there be a penny’s difference in the overhead? The answer is “No.” Those things have to be considered fixed. The only variable thing is the cost of goods. There is not a single restaurant in the world pricing to that reality.

No one says, “I have a million dollars a year of the combination of labour and overhead. I have 100,000 customers in the year. Therefore, my pricing model should be 1,000,000/100,000 equals 10$ at fixed cost plus the variable cost, whatever it is that they choose to eat, plus some amount of profit.

There is not a single restaurant in the world, outside of my own clients, which have even the awareness of this. Then what happens, they are coached by the finance community into this faulty way of thinking, which is the way you price everything.

You only worry about the cost of goods. A 5$ cost of goods for this dish, mark it up times 3 for 15$. A 10$ cost of goods goes to 30$. A 15$ dish goes to 45$, and so forth. Then they’re told, “If you subtract the cost of goods from the retail price, then you get gross margin.”

In those cases, 15 minus 5 is 10, 30 minus 10 is 20, 45 minus 10 is 35. Now, we’re going to allocate a fixed percentage of the gross margin to account for labour in each of these cases, which is – let’s say – 50% of gross margin.

So, that’d be 5$, 10$, and 15$. The overhead may be 40% of those margins: 4$, 8$, and 12$. That is a mathematical representation. It seems to tell you. In the case of the first dish, you are making 1$ on the first, 2$ on the second, 3$ on the third.

It is like mainstream economics, but it excludes banks, credit, and money from their formulas describing the new economy. It may be beautiful mathematics. It may be stunningly beautiful mathematics. But does it have any relationship whatsoever to reality?

The answer in both cases is “no.” Hence, the almost perfect failure of prediction in economics. They resort to calling things black swans, as in unpredictable, rather than realizing the models are based on false assumptions.

Why did you exclude this money from the banking sector, when it’s the single largest source of money? Perhaps, 50:1 or 100:1 depending on the nation. Economics entirely omitted it. It is a similar kind of situation in restaurants.

The reality: Once you understand, it doesn’t matter what the customer orders once the labour and the overhead is fixed. “I am not making money on the chicken dish. I am losing 12$ on a dish, which I sell for 15$. I am overcharging the customer.” Not knowing this, not understanding things such as what the true cost of using your purveyors as your source of interim credit rather than using the financial institution for credit.

These are multimillion-dollar mistakes. I can keep going on, and on, and on, where the first assumptions, almost everything held to be true in the hospitality industry, are absolutely wrong. So, there’s lots of opportunity if you can get someone into a place of willingness to do something generally uncomfortable in our industry, which is this thing called “thinking.”

When you have mispriced your entire array of goods, it comes down to this: Not understanding, every restauranteur has been brainwashed into believing that they have one business, which is to sell food and beverage; the reality is quite different.

The reality: You have two different businesses under one roof, not even in the same industry. You manufacture food. You merely retail beverage. When you manufacture, you have to include the pro rata cost, fixed costs, per product or per customer.

In addition to the variable cost, now, the beverage component is purely discretionary. It’s purely incremental. Therefore, it should be priced as no proportion of the fixed costs in it. What ends up happening, in most restaurants, if you do the forensics correctly, you realize.

They are losing about 75% on the totality of their food sales. If you took away all the beverages, you would see that they are losing the food part at about a 75% loss. That’s the reason that they have to mark up their beverages for an average of 4 times. That’s how they stay alive.

It is two mistakes trying to cancel each other out. You are gouging on the beverage side because you are mispricing on the food side. It is not that they are overcharging or undercharging. They are doing both. You are overcharging on the expensive items.

You are dramatically undercharging on the cheaper items. You are turning your generic customers, unwittingly, with your improper use of math. You turn them into customers who lose money on the food side and aren’t even aware of it.

This terrible so-called solution is to gouge everybody on their beverage purchases, which especially punishes the people who want the finer things, e.g., the nicer bottles of wine or the nicer drinks. They really get gouged. That’s one small example.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Aeon Hospitality.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,180

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Gareth Rees is a Member of the Canadian High IQ Society. He discusses: extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; some work experiences and jobs; job path; the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; God; science; the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; ethical philosophy; social philosophy; economic philosophy; political philosophy; metaphysics; theology; worldview-encompassing philosophical system; meaning in life; meaning; an afterlife; the mystery and transience of life; and love.

Keywords: Canadian High IQ Society, Gareth Rees, genius, intelligence, IQ.

Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of the past have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Gareth Rees[1],[2]*: I do not have a great answer for this. Negative reactions that lead to death likely threatened then current paradigms, positions of power or monetary inflows. Those mocked were probably poor communicators or their surrounding kind were of low mean intelligence, making it difficult to be understood. Reasons for the opposite ends of those reactions are usually the witnessing of whatever groundbreaking production. Seeing is believing, and in such cases, it is simply novelty (not seen before). It is a simple rule of deviating from the norm. Deviating enough results in getting noticed and that is sometimes inevitable. It can also get more complex than what I have mentioned though. There is also the social dynamics side of this phenomena but that is not as important. People simply enjoy having role models or heroes, there might be an aspect of divinity therein. The element of rarity is another ingredient for such reactions.

Not wanting to be in the spotlight is probably due to most geniuses being introverts. If nothing or little is gained from it or they find the attention off-putting then perhaps it is the way the media is framing such events. The media can be obnoxious, so I am not surprised.

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Rees: I believe I have answered this before. The ones that are also mystics are my favorites. Tesla, Einstein, and Newton are my favorites. There are so many geniuses that have lived as enough time has passed despite their rarity. Another one was possibly Walter Pitts, but he was destroyed by a certain someone’s irrationality and might not have been a genius but just one with an IQ >170 SD15.

There’s also Archimedes, Maxwell, Ramanujan, and da Vinci that I admire.

Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Rees: One must accept that a genius is more than one identified by IQ. This would best be answered on a case-by-case basis. A high caliber genius such as Ramanujan is extremely difficult to explain. He supposedly did not quite have the distasteful personality that has been most common. Such a personality is not static anyway, or at least is dependent on mood, therefore diet, health, social life, status, resources etc. States of mind change from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week and so on. If Ramanujan truly received most of his insights in his dreams, then that is some very powerful unconscious noesis. It is almost as if he was given the knowledge as he claimed. This is extremely disturbing from an artificial intelligence standpoint. It implies a limit, but one can hope his interpretation of dreams are simply coincidental. In other words, Ramanujan was of divine being. More than just IQ, more than just being creative and more than just being in states of high creative output. It would take a super intelligence to deconstruct the algorithms of intelligence that he possessed.

There have been other models of genius that have been extended. Paul Cooijmans has two very well explained definitions that are necessary to grasp the concept. Starting from Eysenck, Paul has reiterated intelligence, associative horizon, and conscientiousness. I would like to add that conscientiousness is required to produce work over extended periods of time, it is not quite necessary to come up with the ideas required for the work. Conscientiousness also aids in learning, but it is not necessary to keep an interest in whatever one’s subject is.

Another important detail is awareness as outlined by Paul Cooijmans. From my understanding, being in a genius state, awareness is increased. This is highly important because not many discuss or reference it. I think this is probably the most common situation for one’s mind required for extreme breakthroughs. High awareness is not sustainable though. It requires a certain brain wiring/structure which is not neurotypical, and on top of that the amplification of awareness is regulated by dopamine/serotonin. Dopamine is the neurochemical driver of mania. There is some research that suggests being in a state of flow leads to genius, but this is something different that is not even that rare. Genius is the rarest of all. We can even stream a synthetic version which is by the pharmaceutical product, Adderall. This is something that is relatively new, released in 1996.

To sum it up, a profoundly intelligent person is much less complex than a genius. A profoundly intelligent person can be identified by IQ alone, if one defines an arbitrary classification as such. 160 SD15 is quite commonly used for this category, but that is just a score achieved on one test. Enough tests need to be taken to qualify one at that level.

It is usually said that Mensa accepts those in the top 2%, but really, they accept a score of 130 (should be 130.8) SD15 which leads to members not actually requiring an IQ within the top 2%. Paul has also mentioned this. This goes for any high IQ society though, including his own, Glia.

There’s more to be said about this distinction but this should suffice. Genius is extremely rare. It requires training of the mind, the necessary genes for the unique brain wiring and reception to neurochemistry. It requires intelligence and optimal personality characteristics. It requires time and isolation. It requires passion and conscientiousness. It requires luck of being born in the right era for whatever that genius is wired to do. It requires being in delicate states which are not sustained, but not all geniuses seem to require this. They are often molded by harsh environments, sometimes involving the death of a parent at an early age. A profound intellect mostly just requires a healthy upbringing. It also doesn’t hurt to have mentors and a strong intellectual social network or more.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Rees: If 160 SD15 is a level of profound intelligence, then no, it is not.

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and jobs held by you?

Rees: Factory worker, door-to-door sales, IT support worker and software specialist. There are more but they are not anything special.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Rees: I work best when I am at a computer. That will never change.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

Rees: The fact that the word “genius” is overused, and still used as an IQ classification, whether that arbitrary cut-off is 140, 150 or 160 SD15. It is not important; it is just annoying. The researchers know the distinction, so no harm done really.

Harm can come from expectations though, so really if parents think their child is destined for greatness just by evidence of an IQ score, they are likely to be disappointed while at the same time torturing their child.

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion?

Rees: Sure, if I were God and had to please both sides, I would design it so intentional belief with heart was enough to make it so. If one believes in God, then God exists for them in their reality. If they do not think God exists, then there is no existence of God for them. If one wanted to live in an afterlife and did not want it to be heaven, that would be granted too, from God though. This is quite like the CTMU by Chris Langan.

Other than that, I do not care much for it. Some people seem to require it; The need for support or a framework. Provided they are not trying to influence others too strongly then it is mostly harmless. The biggest problems seem to come from wars caused by religion, but there would be wars regardless I would think.

Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Rees: I am typing on a computer and use electronics daily, and mostly listen to electronic music. The result of science is the biggest aid to my life bar none.

Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Rees: My scores worth mentioning are as follows:

DynamIQ (1st attempt) 150 SD15

FIQure (1st attempt) 150 SD15

WARP (avg of 1st/2nd) 149 SD15

LexIQ 152 SD15

CIT5 152 SD15

PIGS3 154 SD15

VAULT 162 SD15

GIFT III N 158 SD15

GIFT IV V 156 SD15

GIFT III V 160 SD15

GENE III V 146 SD15

GET (avg of 1st/2nd) 147.5 SD15

Verbatim 148 SD15

VerbIQ 150 SD15

Vortex 151 SD15

SymboIQ 158 SD15

WIT 148 SD15

Spark 142 SD15

Logica Stella 140 SD15

W-Test 148 SD15

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Rees: My scores range from 115 SD 15 to ~160 SD15. My outlier scores are on homogeneous tests, so they aren’t that meaningful. My attempts are also quite brief as I am not that persistent. I am not the kind of person that is able to work on a test for months on end as I end up getting bored.

Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: That is private for now. I will make it public later.

Jacobsen: What social philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: I do not really understand the importance of a social philosophy. People will do what they want to do, given whatever constraints they wish to abide by.

Jacobsen: What economic philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: This is dependent on the citizenry. Different systems work for different people, so I am not sure I would subscribe to one. I would divide the people up and optimize to tailor to their benefit and thus the system.

Jacobsen: What political philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: Same deal as above. Since not one works for everyone, it is best to divide people up. Existing philosophies could have their complexity increased as an alternative, but that’s messy, time consuming and might not work.

Jacobsen: What metaphysics makes some sense to you, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: My own of course. More detail on that later through other means of communication. I have a negative outlook on the utility of metaphysics. It is hard to transform it into meaningful use for everyone. Making a framework isomorphic to sensory experience is not only very difficult, but not even really necessary.

Jacobsen: What is theology to you? Is this an important part of life for you?

Rees: Theology is an interesting development. People long for an answer and the popular one has seemed to be an easy way to deal with the inception of reality. It is not that important to me.

Jacobsen: What worldview-encompassing philosophical system makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: That intelligence rules all and determines the future.

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Rees: Positive sensory experiences. Being on the computer, being with a woman or exercising. Daydreaming. I am a slave to dopamine as is everyone that is free enough to benefit from it.

Jacobsen: Is meaning externally derived, internally generated, both, or something else?

Rees: Meaning is determined by level of investment, which can be associated with low to high level attribution and time. It is obviously external mapped then internally processed, executed by a continuous process we call consciousness/awareness.

Jacobsen: Do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why, and what form? If not, why not?

Rees: An afterlife could be fun. I would not mind one. I also would not say I believe in it since it implies uncertainty. If it is a possibility then cool, sign me up.

Jacobsen: What do you make of the mystery and transience of life?

Rees: I have no idea. Life just is. If there is a higher order of being then it is not going to be easy to reach.

Jacobsen: What is love to you? 

Rees: A neurological, biological, and chemical process. It is a synergy of many things from awareness of the object, the experience, impact, and evolutionary bind that forms the bond. Pretty faces or beauty gives us dopamine. We cannot escape this constraint, but would we want to? The rest that follows is more complex, but the gist is that love serves as trust and survival for our species.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Canadian High IQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Land of Fire and Ice: Islandia, Snelandia, and Insula Gardari (2)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,686

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Terry Gunnell is Professor of Folkloristics at the University of Iceland. He is author of The Origins of Drama in Scandinavia (1995); editor of Masks and Mumming in the Nordic Area (2007) and Legends and Landscape (2008); and joint editor of The Nordic Apocalypse: Approaches to V†luspá and Nordic Days of Judgement (with Annette Lassen, 2013); and Málarinn og menningarsköpun: Sigurður Guðmundsson og Kvöldfélagið (with Karl Aspelund), which received a nomination for the Icelandic Literature Prize (Íslensku bókmenntaverðlaunin) for 2017. He has also written a wide range of articles on Old Norse religion, Nordic folk belief and legend, folk drama and performance, and is behind the creation of the on-line Sagnagrunnur database of Icelandic folk legends in print (http://sagnagrunnur.com/en/); the national survey into Folk Belief in Iceland (2006-2007); and (with Karl Aspelund) the on-line database dealing with the Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson and the creation of national culture in Iceland in the mid-19th century (https://sigurdurmalari.hi.is/english). E-mail address: terry@hi.is. He discusses: the conception of God within Iceland; reactions to catastrophes; and the national motto.

Keywords: þetta reddast, armies, Christianity, God, Iceland, Terry Adrian Gunnell, War, World War Two.

Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted May 23, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: The one thing that stands out is God.

Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell[1],[2]: Yes.

Jacobsen: Even in a Christian context, Christians will mean different things.

Gunnell: Oh, yes.

Jacobsen: The mentioning of World War Two is important because countries that tend to go to war a lot or have war imposed on them a lot. They tend to have populations looking to something to rally around or to find some kind of comfort or consolation, or some unifying image they can build a community around in a life of chaos and destruction.

So, if you look at the developed nations, the most religious country is the United States. It is off the spectrum. It is a very war-like country. It is still embroiled in two major wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, which has claimed upwards of 500,000 to 1,000,000, or more, lives depending on the estimates.

There are many estimates. The fact that Iceland does not have army. I want to take this in two directions. On the one hand, a country without too much chaos can maintain and sustain general culture. This includes the beliefs.

The people’s ideas about Fylgjas, a Christian God, about having a sense that the land is alive, etc., will be consistent. On the other hand, things will, more or less, be the same in terms of the trajectories we’re seeing with more comfortable lives with healthcare, pharmacare, education for all or most at least.

We see a decline in formal traditional religions. Those religions with practices and beliefs connected to some kind of transcendent object of worship. So, how does not having an army affect Iceland?

When Icelanders think of “God” in a Christian context or otherwise, how are they conceiving this being?

Gunnell: [Laughing] What is particularly clear, Iceland has been living on the periphery for such a long time. First World War, Second World War, all of the European wars hardly touched Iceland at all.

Jacobsen: That’s amazing.

Gunnell: These are things that Iceland hears about, until the Second World War forces itself onto them and Britain invades Iceland. I’m still not really sure about the word “Invade” there. Yes, it was an invasion, but it wasn’t an invasion that had much affect on people except bringing a lot of money.

It was a flood of cash into the country, which had been up until that time poor. In that sense, war was a good thing for them. So, this is very deep within the Icelandic culture of not having an army. You haven’t got soldiers around all the time.

It is not part of the way that they view history. The soldier, the army, isn’t part of the way they look at the world compared to the way I do or you do. British history is war all the way through from the beginning to the end: French is; German is; American is. Canada is drawn into it wherever Britain goes.

We carry the blood of so many people with us. Iceland just doesn’t have this. It is non-existence. In a sense, to other cultures outside, they don’t really understand in the same way that I do from Britain.

People of a different colour are new. Icelanders will go abroad and stare and walk into lamp posts and say, “Look!” They are intrigued by this. Same way by Judaism and Islam. They are foreign. Nothing against it, but they find it strange.

There is this still island character, much more so than Britain. A periphery culture all the way through. So, armies, in Icelandic history, very recent with the arrival of first the Brits, and then the Americans and the American base, which forced itself onto Icelandic mentalities.

You couldn’t go abroad without going through the American base and get accepted every time you went out there. The influence on Icelandic culture of English-speaking soldiers who were coming into town and going to dances and whatever.

The Icelanders keeping black soldiers out of the base. There’s a fear. This fear of losing the pure Icelandic-ness, which is still floating around in terms of language. So, in a sense, war and armies are never part of Icelanders themselves in spite of the Sages with fighting and battles there.

You fight. You fight for your farm. You have arguments with other farmers, but you don’t have really armies. They know from the Sagas, the contemporary Sagas of the 13th centuries of the civil wars in Icelandic discourse caused trouble.

They haven’t got time for space or war. It’s about daily survival for a long time. It’s simply armies are not the way Icelanders look at things. They’re very different to the way you or I will, as Brits and Canadians. A very strong left movement against NATO, against the American base, and so on.

The right will be more open to it, but not in terms of sending your sons off to join. It brings cash with it. “Okay, come on America, we like you if you bring some money with you.” In terms of God, I think if you asked any Icelander, “Are you Christian?” They would look at you as if you were nuts.

It is a lower level somewhere. This sense about superstition of the cross and a power out there. I would expect them to answer with a power in nature. They believe strongly in a sense of fate. What came out of this, it was a Christian God, which has somehow been brought in on the side.

But the two are very separate. To being Icelandic, that causes problems at the same time. In the sense, it has caused, to a large extent, the banking crash. Icelanders were brought up with the Sagas and their poems from the early 19th century.

The Sagas will tell them when you go to another country; the first person you meet is the King of Norway. Why? You’re an Icelander. It’s quite natural. You’re a poet. You go to Norway. That’ll do nicely. Thank you!

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Gunnell: It’s the equivalent of the American Express card. You have people in the 19th century. The romantic poets saying, ‘Iceland, what has happened to your fame of the past, the golden years…,’ and whatever.

What happened with the crash, they started fulfilling the dream that they’d been presented with for a long time. You have to go out buy a football team, buy a private jet, hang out with the royalty, everybody wants you.

It was a fulfillment of the idea that Icelanders are different than others. You could watch the news and people saying, ‘How could an Icelander in a country like this could buy a football team, could buy half of the main strip of Oxford St.? Because he’s an Icelander. They are different.’

The President says, ‘It is because they are Icelandic. They take risks better more than anybody else.’ It didn’t really bring out the risks that it would have on the economy. The Star Trek idea of going where no one else goes before.

“This is an Icelander. We’re better.” It is the ‘How do like Iceland?’ thing. When I’m teaching courses on Icelandic culture, again, these two sided elements of it. It expresses, on one side, a hope that the person is going to say, “Wonderful, perfect, better than anywhere else.”

“Why is it us?” Because there is an inferiority complex behind it. That you might not be. Then the rest is saved for the football clap. Suddenly, everybody wants Iceland again. Suddenly, I am being asked by bloody English journalists, ‘Does Iceland do so well in football because of their elves?’

Come on! [Laughing] Get over it.

Jacobsen: Who asked you this?

Gunnell: This was when Iceland was winning football games and it was an English newspaper wanting to know if it was their belief in elves. Basically, they know each other. They have grown up together. It is a stronger sense of a team.

Iceland has done some amazing things in terms of the strongest man in the world and the most beautiful. But only if they aren’t putting that in front of your face all the time, being the best. It is part of the, again, island culture: ‘We’re different.’ There’s something about the DNA of Icelanders.

The crash was a matter of shame, which they never had to deal with before. Of going to different places, like islands off Greece, the first question, ‘How are you doing financially? Poor Iceland.’ They went from being the worst in the world to not being the worst in the world.

The first to get over COVID. It is to be the first or the best. But there is a very strong sense of being Icelandic. That we are a little nation that has done so much. Different to the Brits, we’re just hobbits. Icelanders aren’t really hobbits. There’s much more dwarfishness about Icelanders.

Jacobsen: At the end of the 1700s, there was the catastrophe that took out 1/5th of the population. What does this do to people’s faith in lore? Does this look as if it’s, as you’re noting, just simply a matter of fate or the fates playing out?

Gunnell: No, the sense of fate is seen in people interpreting dreams for example. That there is something laid down. You can tap into it. There is a sense that your life is mapped out, a plan behind it, a higher power.

It’s not the Christian God. There’s a higher power that’s laid down. It goes back to the Sagas very much. You die and even know your fate/meet your fate.

Jacobsen: They sound like Spinoza.

Gunnell: Yes, there’s elements of this. It is very much a Scandinavian element. You go down bravely in spite of it. Things go badly. Okay, they go badly. We’ll survive. This wonderful Icelandic motto: þetta reddast. It’ll work out. [Ed. Literal: “It’ll all work out okay.”] Things go badly.

Okay, things go badly. We’ll survive. þetta reddast, people have begun accepting it as the national motto. It’ll all work out. It is both good and bad.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)[Online].April 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (April 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021):April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)[Internet]. (2021, April 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

AFAW Welcomes Closure of Faith Healing Church in Uganda

Author: Dr. Leo Igwe

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 587

Keywords: Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Africa, BBC News, COVID-19, faith clinics, faith healing, Leo Igwe, Uganda.

Witch killing: When Will Enough Be Enough in Malawi?[1],[2]

Dr. Leo Igwe is the Founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, the Founder & CEO of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, and the Convener of the Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030. 

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) commends the Ugandan authorities for closing down an evangelical church in Kampala where a pastor “treated” people with mental illnesses through prayer. According to a BBC report, the police in Uganda arrested the pastor and rescued many people held at the church. Nine of them were shackled to metal poles as part of the treatment process. There have been reports of similar ‘healing’ practices in NigeriaGhana and Zambia

In the quest to grow their churches and finances, many African clerics venture into faith healing.

Evangelical churches as well as Islamic centers across Africa operate faith clinics, prayer camps where they claim to provide healing services for persons with all diseases, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and even COVID-19. In the absence of affordable health care, many Africans go to churches to get “healed” by faith. But they end up suffering abuses and further health damage.

Unfortunately, for many people across the region, faith healing places are the first port of call whenever they fall ill. In the Ugandan case, most of the persons rescued had not been to any mental hospital. The reality is that many people cannot afford the costs of evidence-based medicine or treatment, even if there are hospitals to go to.

The mental health infrastructure is inadequate. Mental health hospitals are few in the region. Some countries have mental hospitals, but they lack equipment or facilities. In cases where the facilities exist, there are no health experts to operate them. And where there are equipment and personnel, the cost of mental health services is out of reach for the local population. As the case in Uganda has shown, evangelical churches are filling the personnel and infrastructural gap in the mental health sector in ways that leave much to be desired. And local authorities must rise to their duties and responsibilities.

AFAW urges African governments to explore ways of improving evidence-based mental health care in the region. Governments should make medical services available and affordable to the local population. Without a robust public health care system that most people can access and afford, these faith clinics will continue to operate and proliferate. Governments should devise innovative ways of stopping the brain drain and address factors that make African health workers migrate to work in the West. Brain drain has created a personnel gap, which these pastors and fake healers are trying to fill.

As was the case in Uganda, the police should arrest faith healing pastors/imams and close down their churches and healing centers. Although faith clinicians seem to be filling the gaps in the health sector, they are making the health situation worse because faith healers lack the capacity and competence to deliver effective health care services. Governments should prosecute pastors, imams, or anyone who pretends to treat people with mental illness through prayers and rituals because these medical impostors are harming, not healing people.

By their training, traditional, Christian, and Islamic clerics are religious, not medical experts. They have no business with mental health work. Churches, mosques, and shrines are worship centers, not hospitals. They are not established or equipped to treat the sick. Clerics who claim to treat people with mental illness through prayer are quacks and charlatans. They pose a danger to public health. They spiritualize ailments and attribute the causes of diseases to demons and witchcraft and then subject the sick to violent exorcism and abuse. Other African countries should borrow a leaf from Uganda and rein in ‘faith doctors’ and stamp out faith-healing practices.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Humanist Association of Nigeria; Founder & CEO, Advocacy for Alleged Witches; Convener, Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/afaw-welcomes-closure-of-faith-healing-church-in-uganda.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Takudzwa 15 – Political Influence, Political History: Zimbabwe’s Governance Heritage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: One Time Per Year

Words: 340

Keywords: Humanist Society of Zimbabwe, Lazarus Dokora, Takudzwa Mazwienduna, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Secular Alliance.

Ask Takudzwa 15 – Political Influence, Political History: Zimbabwe’s Governance Heritage[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 16, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a Member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand more. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we examine the history of Zimbabwe, and its modern leadership, who have been bright lights of science, cosmopolitanism, and the like?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: The former minister of Primary and Secondary education Dr. Lazarus Dokora has been the most progressive force and he has faced backlash from the ultra-religious Zimbabwean population because of it. He banned religious prayers and proselytizing from public schools. He also introduced a program that enhanced science education in schools.

Jacobsen: Has anyone identified as a humanist, freethinker, atheist, or something akin to simply rejecting the religious beliefs of the general public without accepting them?

Mazwienduna: There hasn’t been a public figure that has come out as a Humanist or Freethinker in the history of Zimbabwe. It is political suicide considering that Zimbabwe is ultra-religious.

Jacobsen: How is the inherited political legacy of past generations holding some aspects of Zimbabwe back from progress? How is this bringing Zimbabwe forward in its efforts to modernize?

Mazwienduna: Patronage is the biggest problem in that regard. Liberation war credentials are the ultimate golden ticket for Zimbabweans to benefit from the corrupt, totalitarian system. The system of patronage impacts everything to do with progress.

Jacobsen: How can the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe utilize these heritages of national governance to bolster the efforts for humanistic progress in Zimbabwe?

Mazwienduna: The Humanist Society of Zimbabwe finds itself in a tricky position in this situation. Its mission is not a priority for the totalitarian government hence unlikely to receive any genuine support. Some government ministries have been welcoming however, since they had the same goals and initiatives, such as the ministry of education under Dr. Lazarus Dokora. The government is obliged to respect secularism as the constitution dictates, but they do otherwise very often and opposing them almost always ends in death. As long as the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe stand for secularism without crossing the government or countering its interests, they are safe.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: It’s always a pleasure Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-takudzwa-15-political-influence-political-history-zimbabwes-governance-heritage.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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