Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

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theanimal
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Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:17 am

As I prepared to move into my little cabin over the past couple months and now have moved in, one of the most insistent questions has been when I'm going to purchase a car. Everyone believes it's essential to own a car, and not only do you have to have a car but a bigger one to haul stuff and a set of winter tires.

I don't think that a car is a necessity in my situation. I am not working full time. I have basically all the supplies I need. I don't necessarily have to go anywhere long distance. I do agree that I need a faster form of transportation. But my solution is a bike, rather than a car. I can travel by bike 11 miles to the other town in the area that offers fuel and has the airport. Whereas it would take 17 miles by car and be much costlier in the long run. One potential issue is the weather, with temperatures dropping below 0 F (-17 C) from mid Nov-mid March (at least historically, not so last winter). But there are others that have travelled great distances in winter by bike in the past in Northern Alaska and others who have commuted in comparable areas like Fairbanks.

Besides this thinking, the questions from others continued and I now find myself in town just almost having purchased a vehicle earlier today. Due largely to what I believe was the peer pressure eroding away at my will and making me want to conform over time. The guy whose car I was going to buy ended up selling it to someone else. I was disappointed for a few minutes then I thought, what am I doing? I don't want to own a car. It doesn't fit in with the system that I am trying to set up. The old timers and Natives seemed to do just fine without having any cars until quite recently.

Now, I realize there are some slight disadvantages to not owning a car, but am I really that crazy? Apparently, most in my neck of the woods here in the Arctic think so.

ETA: Furthermore, I should add that not only could I bike (once I obtain one for myself), but I could also hitchhike (which I did successfully while biking today..didn't think that would work), walk, use social capital to obtain a ride if necessary, use watercraft in summer and skis in winter.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Did » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:04 am

Almost every ER authority will tell you you don't need a car, and yet they always seem to have one (or three). Sounds like you don't want one. Why not do an experiment for a few months now that you've moved in and see how you find living without one?

I'd love not to have one, but where we have chosen to live means that isn't possible. And to be honest we love exploring. Some can live in their brains and within biking distance. I tend to get restless if I can't get about and explore, and here I need a car to do that.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Did » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:10 am

Ps I couldn't give two fucks what anyone thought about that. That's a pretty common view here I think.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by wood » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:40 am

Consciously experiencing peer pressure just motivates me to go even further in the opposite direction.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:06 am

I get the same sort of thing although in my case it is not no car versus having one, but when am I going to get a new/better/second one. I have a personality quirk where I react to shaming attempts by getting so self conscious that reacting to the shaming attempt would make the shame real (if that makes any sense). So the more peer pressure and attempted shaming I feel, the more likely I am to persist in going against the flow.

As long as you cannot identify any major deficit in your life that would be addressed most efficiently by motorized transportation, my vote would be you are not crazy. Vehicles suck up money and create headaches. If they don't "pay for themselves" in some way regarding economic opportunity and precluding headaches, they probably aren't worth it.

If winter transportation is sometimes problematic, would a snowmobile be a worthwhile compromise? Still a motor vehicle but I would imagine cheaper to own and maintain/operate than a car or truck.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Dragline » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:16 am

theanimal wrote:
Besides this thinking, the questions from others continued and I now find myself in town just almost having purchased a vehicle earlier today. Due largely to what I believe was the peer pressure eroding away at my will and making me want to conform over time. The guy whose car I was going to buy ended up selling it to someone else. I was disappointed for a few minutes then I thought, what am I doing? I don't want to own a car. It doesn't fit in with the system that I am trying to set up. The old timers and Natives seemed to do just fine without having any cars until quite recently.

Now, I realize there are some slight disadvantages to not owning a car, but am I really that crazy? Apparently, most in my neck of the woods here in the Arctic think so.
What you have experienced is simply an encounter with the mimetic mechanism that we are born with, which causes us to not only mimic basic actions (like sticking out a tongue) as a baby will start doing almost immediately, but also to unconsciously mimic the desires of other people we encounter, turning them into models (in the cooperative sense) or rivals (in the conflict sense) or obstacles (in the neurotic sense).

I'm been reading an interesting book by a French psychiatrist about how he has applied this to his work. He believes that this mechanism is so pervasive that it should be thought of a "third brain". The "first brain" is the reasoning brain, the "second" the emotional and the "third" is the mimetic in his mind model. The third is based on interindividual (that's such a great word) interactions between individuals (multiple brains) that create these mimetic desires. A simple example he gives that is similar to what you experienced:

"Now let us take the example of a man (or a woman) driving a car into a parking lot in search of a space. At the moment he or she sees one, another car shoots out of nowhere and slips into the coveted spot. The third brain at once identifies this intruder that took the parking space as a rival. The second brain is furious, and produces feelings of anger and a threatening mood. It is left to the rational brain to calm things down and decide to keep driving and look for another spot.

But our reason doesn’t always have the last word, as it did in the parking lot, far from it. More often, it is pulled along by the third brain and requisitioned to justify the rivalry, to accuse the enemy and make him bear the responsibility for the conflict. As for the second, emotional brain, it provides appropriate feelings and emotions and produces a depressive or expansive mood depending on whether the conflict is going well or badly.

The exacerbation of rivalry can also “escalate to extremes” and put the first brain out of commission, even as the second causes passionate feelings of jealousy, hatred, and violence to flare up. Drawn along reciprocally by each other, the third brain, which is “stuck” in the rivalry position, and the second eliminate the reasonable influence of the first brain and the escalation of rivalry ends up so absorbing the protagonists that they lose sight of the object of their rivalry, because they are literally fascinated by each other and by the rivalry that unites them."

Oughourlian, Jean-Michel. The Mimetic Brain (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) (pp. 167-168). Michigan State University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation'

Post by Did » Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:52 am

I don't know how many brains I have - one on a good day I suspect - but I agree seeing your peer group with fancy things, in fancy houses, and fancy jobs and salaries can bring about such feelings (being down on yourself, jealousy, anger, shame even). Consider the one homeless guy who, having read Jacobs book once, lives in a tent by the bridge as all of his old classmates walk past one by one and look over condescendingly on their way to good jobs and warm hearths.

Nightmare, to say at least.

But consider instead the fella who, having escaped his corporate jail and travelled the world, has temporarily camped by the beach in South America with his little local girlfriend to keep him warm when he isn't surfing, surviving all the while on his ample passive income.

I think it's best to dump peers and even familiar geographical locations when first living the life, if it is sufficiently different from your old one. Unfortunately ego is real and this is a nice little way of circumventing it.

Broke post docs have less of a jump to make than so-called high flyers. I think if you aren't sensitive to this then in some circumstances you could be at serious risk of depression or worse.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by jacob » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:28 am

When I clicked on this thread I thought it was going to be about how people insist that the group split a taxi instead of walking half a mile.

That kind of stuff :)

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by cmonkey » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:41 am

Don't give in! If you have gotten along this long without a car, you are definitely doing it right. I think you'd feel a bit ashamed if you regressed back to car transport. I know I would at this point.

Every once in a while, a certain co worker will quip "you still ridin that bus!?". "Of course", with a smile. "Haven't you tried it yet?"

When I first started riding he started talking about the 'freedom that a car gives you' and that he could "get anywhere he wanted", failing to understand that the buses around here run every 30 minutes and that they can take you to within 10 minutes of walking to anywhere as well. 3 minutes if you take a bike.

What he doesn't understand is that cars come with invisible financial shackles leaving you less free than before you had the car. Except for specific examples (hospital transport mostly) cars really are a regression in transportation.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Sclass » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:06 am

Are you sure this is shaming? Maybe you actually need something like a pickup to haul supplies or drive out in an emergency? I dunno your details. Maybe they don't want to be your taxi.

A bike for sub zero? That sounds tough. What if you twist your ankle and need to drive into town for beer? maybe these are silly questions. I have no idea or what your setup is like.

I solved the money problem with my cars by driving reliable beaters. I do get shamed for driving old junk but I must say it works well for hauling stuff. Sometime I wish I still owned a beat up pickup. I lose deals on free stuff because I cannot haul much in my sedan.

A beater isn't free but it costs less than a "good" car. My cousin just showed me her Audi A7 she picked up. Wow, now that is a waste.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by GandK » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:17 am

@Dragline Awesome post. 8-)

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:08 pm

Thanks, all. It's odd too. This isn't the bunch that is extremely materialistic. Most live in small homes, source most of their own goods, but I think at least with cars there still seems to be a consumer mindset.

@Dragline- In your readings on mimeticism, what do they say about overcoming it? If we are living conscious lives, we don't necessarily want to fall prey to mimicking the desires and habits of the average person who is obese, financially insecure etc. What can we do besides having a strong will and without socially isolating ourselves?

@Sclass- Yes, one could make a strong argument for a car. But I don't think it's entirely necessary. First things first, I hate bars and drink only a handful of times a year, if that ;) . If there is a real emergency, most will have issues. Car or no car. I live over 250 mi from the nearest medical facilities. That seems to make most people freak out for some reason, as I guess most are walking around breaking limbs all the time? :P

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Dragline » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:41 pm

theanimal wrote: @Dragline- In your readings on mimeticism, what do they say about overcoming it? If we are living conscious lives, we don't necessarily want to fall prey to mimicking the desires and habits of the average person who is obese, financially insecure etc. What can we do besides having a strong will and without socially isolating ourselves?
Well, policing your social environment goes a long ways! Stick around here, kid, you might learn something. ;)

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I wrote elsewhere: "Most of the adherents of the frugality counterculture make it a point to try not to desire the objects of desire of others. Yet many often reveal that this is sometimes difficult. A number of the posts in the social groups are queries to the group as to how to avoid desires and how to balance them with other goals of financial independence, travel or other future plans. The counter-culture rallies around stories of self-discipline and realization of goals.

True, it is the case that some frugality adherents engage in competitive one-upsmanship, as in any groups of like-minded individuals, and they do copy each other willingly and swap tricks of the trade freely and often."

Just becoming conscious of it is most of the battle. I've come to just assume that ALL of my desires beyond food, water, sex, sleep, etc. are mimetic in nature and copied from another source, and therefore essentially an illusion. So I have to prove to myself that they are not, or that they are valid for some other reason, for them to be legitimate. Generally, the more unusual a desire is, the more trust I have that it is likely my own.

That author I quoted above had some other worthwhile thoughts to share in the conclusion of that book, which I finally just finished. He says:

"Human beings look at the world in a subjective way that is shaped by mimetic desire, which is an illusion. . . . This hallucinatory psychosis can indeed literally make you see objects that don’t exist, or, much more often, make you see objects in a distorted light, make you think the moon is made of green cheese, or, like Don Quixote, that an old inn in front of which two prostitutes are chatting is in fact a chateau graced by two noble ladies exchanging immortal remarks. Seeing reality as it really is thus requires an effort, but it’s a necessity if we want to solve problems and leave illusion behind.

As I have often emphasized, I think that the opposite of madness is not mental health. The opposite of madness is wisdom. And wisdom is the long transformative— that is to say initiatory— process by which each of us can gradually recognize the mimetic mechanisms of which one is the plaything, overcome the mimetic rivalries of which one is the prisoner, and avoid even the most scandalizing and staggering mimetic obstacles, so as to move toward a situation of calm, harmony, and peace inside oneself and between oneself and others.

I think that attaining wisdom, the type of wisdom that I am talking about, is the objective of Socrates, Buddha, Christ, Krishnamurti, the Dalai Lama, and all the great sages. What I am seeking to contribute is a scientific framework that makes it possible to orient oneself along this initiatory path and that offers the therapist constant feedback about what he is doing, and enables him or her to follow along with the gradual harmonization of the three brain functions all the way until— if possible— their final harmony.

Certain techniques or teachings call especially upon the first brain, like those of Socrates or Krishnamurti. Others are based primarily on a mastery or pacification of the second brain, like those of Christ (“ Love one another”), Milton Erickson, J. H. Schulz (founder of “autogenic training,” a relaxation technique), Gurdjieff, and Buddha. I have the feeling that awareness of mimetic mechanisms and of the primordial and automatic action of the mimetic brain as well as its workings is cruelly lacking in the methodology that has to be put in place in order to arrive at wisdom. For the great sages, whose teaching bears essentially on the first or second brain, consider (without saying so) that the third, which they do not mention, could be influenced by the other two sufficiently to attain wisdom.

It is clear that few people have been able to take full advantage of the teachings of these great sages, and I think that their number can be significantly increased thanks to scientific awareness of the existence and workings of the third brain as well as of its dialectical and constant interaction with the other two. Simply stating the goal to be achieved and the innumerable failures of all the teachings offered by the great sages shows us how difficult the undertaking is. This echoes Christ’s words: “Many are called but few are chosen.” This also echoes the fact that the dead ends each of us can wander into are innumerable, while there is but one path that leads to wisdom. It is thus with the greatest modesty— the greatest patience, the greatest benevolence, the greatest indulgence— that the therapist, now conscious of the global reality of the psychic apparatus, must go in search of each patient on the dead-end path where he or she has lost the way, to attempt to guide the patient by means of every initiatory process at his disposal, addressing now the first, now the second, and now the third brain according to which target seems best to him."

Oughourlian, Jean-Michel. The Mimetic Brain (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) (pp. 188-189). Michigan State University Press. Kindle Edition.


I also thought this comparison between Voltaire's view and Rousseau's view was helpful since they are generally familiar, and he hits upon the point I have made before that the inner life (and perhaps all life) is like a garden to be tended constantly, not an building or monument to be constructed.

"At the end of Candide, Voltaire highlights the mimetic mechanism on two occasions. First by showing the effect of taboo on the reinforcement of desire: “At the bottom of his heart, Candide had no wish to marry Cunégonde, but the baron’s insolence made him determined to go forward with the marriage.” This echoes the reply of Lacan’s patient “Aimée” to her family’s objections to her marriage: “If I don’t take him,” she says of her fiancé, “someone else will.”

Then Candide encounters an elderly Turkish gentleman who declares that he pays no attention to public affairs and lives by selling the fruit he grows in his garden. “‘ You must have a vast and magnificent estate,’ Candide said to the Turk. ‘I only have about twenty-five acres,’ the Turk replied. ‘I cultivate it with my children. Work keeps three evils at bay: boredom, vice, and want.’” Candide goes back to his farm, and there he “reflects profoundly” on what the Turk said about work and its positive effects. He finally tells his companions, Pangloss and Martin: “That fine old man seems to have secured himself a better fate than that of the six kings with whom we had the honor to dine.”

From a mimetic point of view, Rousseau, as we saw earlier, senses the danger of mimetic rivalry and makes the object responsible for it: in his view it’s private property, that is to say the object that is appropriated for oneself, that brings about rivalry and thus social disorder and unhappiness. What he doesn’t see is that it is not private property that must be abolished but rivalry. It’s not property that creates rivalry but the comparison between that property and what one has oneself, which is smaller or perhaps nonexistent.

Voltaire, on the other hand, understands two things: first, to cultivate one’s garden is to refrain from comparing it to other gardens, which may be bigger or smaller; second, working in one’s garden is the remedy for sadness, envy, jealousy, and as it happens for basic needs, too. The work that Voltaire speaks about is the same work that I spoke about in my book Psychopolitics. The Turk who cultivates his garden doesn’t have a “job” and doesn’t keep track of his hours. His work in the garden is one and the same as his life. It would be ridiculous for him to think that leaving half his garden unplanted after working thirty-five hours was a guaranteed social right. The day that human beings think of work— not just work on external objects but also work on themselves— as being the very essence of their lives, they will no longer keep track of the hours they devote to this task, for the simple reason that the hours not devoted to it will in some sense be hours of nonlife.

In reality, working on oneself means working on the interdividual rapport, that is to say on one’s relationships with others."

Oughourlian, Jean-Michel. The Mimetic Brain (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) (pp. 191-192). Michigan State University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by oldbeyond » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:47 pm

I tend to weigh the social costs against the gains. A car is such a resource hog that I'd be willing to take quite a bit of flak for going without it, but if it makes you a pariah then perhaps it's worth caving in? Sometimes tribal considerations trump rational considerations.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Ego » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:52 pm

theanimal wrote:As I prepared to move into my little cabin over the past couple months and now have moved in, one of the most insistent questions has been when I'm going to purchase a car. Everyone believes it's essential to own a car, and not only do you have to have a car but a bigger one to haul stuff and a set of winter tires.
Look at it as an opportunity to exhibit a new and different way. When someone asks, tell them that you will be trying to go without a car and tell them about how you are not sure if it is going to work. Tell them about your concerns. Tell them it is an experiment. Tell them why you want to do it. When you experience a setback or a difficulty, tell them. Laugh together when someone says you are crazy. Agree with them and then say something like, "Yeah, I know! The other day I was trying to figure out how to haul 50lbs of potatoes from town using my bike. I thought about a sled....."

Encourage them to suggest solutions. Some will naturally undermine your idea no matter what. Make sure to note who those people are and steer clear in the future. Others may do something interesting. They may use their mimetic brains to put themselves in your position and help you find solutions.

That, in a nutshell, is soft leadership.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by Dragline » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:08 pm

theanimal wrote: @Dragline- In your readings on mimeticism, what do they say about overcoming it? If we are living conscious lives, we don't necessarily want to fall prey to mimicking the desires and habits of the average person who is obese, financially insecure etc. What can we do besides having a strong will and without socially isolating ourselves?
Oh, I almost forgot the most important recommendation, which is LAUGHING with ourselves and each other about our foibles. :lol:

"If all of this is without much importance here, in the therapeutic context it is highly important. We have seen that to address the first brain, we have at our disposal a huge variety of psychotherapies, notably those qualified as “cognitive.” Psychoanalysis also addresses the first brain by trying to bring “repressed” memories to the surface using techniques of free association and dream interpretation. Some techniques, like Janov’s “primal scream therapy,” mobilize essentially the second brain.

On the other hand, to speak to the third brain, the only tools we have at our disposal are ourselves. The discovery of mirror neurons has taught us the decisive importance of reciprocity, such that smiles, amiability, and politeness generally bring about a mirrored attitude that makes social life possible if not agreeable. Laughter is a particular and very interesting form of interdividual rapport. It can be cynical, ironic, mocking, and aggressive, and entail the humiliation and hatred of the one who is its target. But shared laughter and laughing fits strengthen the bonds of friendship. And I have noticed that if during a psychotherapy I manage to get the patient laughing along with me, it always means real progress."

Oughourlian, Jean-Michel. The Mimetic Brain (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) (p. 195). Michigan State University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:07 pm

Great points all. Lots to ponder and implement.

Well, I'm going to continue as planned. This will be my experiment for a while. I'll report back how everything goes.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by BRUTE » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:45 pm

Sclass wrote:Are you sure this is shaming? [..] Maybe they don't want to be your taxi.
brute could imagine this to be the case, especially if they're the rugged rural types mentioned.

brute once went camping in very rural New Hampshire (<-as if there's another part) and talked to some locals at a camp fire. they told him how the winters were really harsh. every year, some Masshole yuppies would move to the "beautiful countryside" in their Priuses or Porsches, and every winter, they would be woefully unprepared. they wouldn't have any food reserves, no generator for power, no gas stocked for heat. their cars wouldn't be able to make it out of their driveway. the power would go out and they'd be stuck in the dark and cold, hungry. every winter, the locals had to "rescue" their new yuppie neighbors, who would promptly sell the house and move back to Boston, leading to another generation of newly unprepared yuppies.

maybe it's a case of that.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by BRUTE » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:01 pm

Dragline wrote:I've come to just assume that ALL of my desires beyond food, water, sex, sleep, etc. are mimetic in nature and copied from another source, and therefore essentially an illusion. So I have to prove to myself that they are not, or that they are valid for some other reason, for them to be legitimate.
even food to a large part, and definitely sex. brute recently found out that it's trivial to not eat anything for at least a week. it's just not a factor. three meals a day is pure conditioning, and even eating daily is completely unnecessary. drinking (water) probably becomes a factor more quickly, though brute hasn't tried.

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Re: Peer pressure and Shaming with regards to Transportation

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:06 pm



Sclass wrote: Are you sure this is shaming? [..] Maybe they don't want to be your taxi.


BRUTE said:they'd be stuck in the dark and cold, hungry. every winter, the locals had to "rescue" their new yuppie neighbors
One thing I learned from sexual dichotomy theory is that frequently in social relationships creating an attractive vacuum works better than modeling behavior. Not owning a car works fine for everything I need to do and much of what I want to do, but I recently realized that I have become so dependent on free taxi and road-trip service (due to fact that I create attractive vacuum for provision) that I sometimes don't even know where I am. Because I have a bit of an independent streak, and I frequently affiliate with men who are a bit hot and/or hard-headed, I therefore have come to suffer from a slight paranoid fear that I will get into a huge fight and end up abandoned in an unfamiliar place. So, I always have to have a plan for how I will get back home on my own whether I am downtown in the middle of the night, five miles into a hike in the woods, or 2000 miles away.
drinking (water) probably becomes a factor more quickly, though brute hasn't tried.
I fasted for Ramadan during the summer and water definitely became a factor. However, I learned that the first signal of dry mouth will subside if ignored. The second signal of peculiar languor should not be ignored. Sleep is #4 with protection from extreme heat or cold being #2 and oxygen #1.

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