* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

How to get exactly what you want

8 August 2002
Matt needs instant gratification

Mostly, one thing is between you and exactly what you want: someone else.

Either they have it or they have to give something up for you to have it. (For example. In the case that exactly what you want is sexual release, they might have to give up their pride and dignity. And disease-free status.)

This is the conundrum to solve. This is the resource allocation problem that has tested generations of great thinkers. This is the great barrier for humanity between the here and now and the glorious post scarcity tomorrow.

Naturally, it is I who have the solution.

But first, to warm up, to flex the brain, some simpler situations.

You want to speak French. The answer. Learn French!

You desire lasagna for dinner. The answer. Cook, and eat, lasagna!

You want to have a lie-in. The answer. Stay in bed!

In general, that someone else between you and the exact thing you want is just: yourself. Perhaps you're wanting the wrong thing. Perhaps you don't realise you want it. But setting your ambitions such that everything you want is easily obtainable and requires minimal effort (preferably even inaction) means you'll never be denied.

Some more examples, to illustrate this for the feeble-minded:

You want to shoot lightning from your fingertips. The answer, in two steps. One! Persuade yourself that what you actually want is a cheese sandwich. Two! Make, and eat, a cheese sandwich.

(Possible step One B: You'll have to go to the shops and buy more cheese if you don't have any left over from your lasagna earlier.)

Another example. You're depressed, and have confined yourself to a dark room. You wish you could face the world again. Answer. Convince yourself that what you really need is a pair of sunglasses. You don't have them, true, but no matter, it's already dark! You win!

But what if you want something that by its very definition involves another person? What if they're sitting on your chest? What if they're not sitting on your chest, but you want them to? What if they'be got all the best mucus membranes, and they won't let you borrow them, use them, not for just a minute, just one little minute, that's all it'll take you won't feel a thing please please let me I'm on my knees here go on nobody's touched me for ages oh I feel alone, so very alone?

What if. They're the one. With. All. The. Cheese? What then?

Two paths you can take. Choose one.

Numero uno. Persuasion. They've got something you want. It might be something they own, it might be some of their time (and possibly their mouth too, go on go on, you know you want to). Bully, cajole, and otherwise harrass them until they give whatever it is up.

The trick with this form of persuasion is to threaten something so ludicrously out of proportion that they'd be a fool not to comply. Don't you think they'll change the channel sharpish if the alternative is you setting light to the sofa? Is hanging on to a half pound of cheese really worth losing a mouthful of teeth?

It's not just physical violence either. The constrant drone of your whining voice, day after day of your wheedling nasal whimper, pathetically chanting "pleeeeease" over and over, don't you think that they'll surely let you squeeze their tits just to shut you up? And if you keep it up for another week, probably come in their mouth too. Their gummy, toothless mouth.

Path The Second. Which is actually a variation on Path The First.

Why should persuasion always be unpleasant? Disproportion goes both ways. Grant them a small empire of their own if they'll get off your chest. Bring the dead to life if they let you watch the football. It'll work. I promise you.

Okay, and I see your objection. What if you don't have a small empire? The power to bring the dead to life? You'd like to, but you simply don't.

That's you in the way again. You wanting the wrong thing. Just find a thing that they want more than you want it, and give it to them. In return, they'll give you back what you originally wanted.

Example. You have flowers and a randy disposition. They, on the other hand, have just the hole you're looking for. You could plead for hours (days, weeks). You could build a cathedral dedicated to them. But what you already have is flowers, and what good are flowers doing you? You don't want them. They want them more. And so the match is found -- throw in dinner, and magic: target orifice obtained.

Sometimes of course you don't already have what they want. They want a house, you don't have a spare one to hand, you know how it is. But what you do have is time, and lots of it. So you give your time to some other third party, in return for which you get a house. Which you give. And then it's done.

But this is where we started. A house? For how much time? Just by sorting that out you're losing time. And more time lost is more time without your erogenous zones being sternly eroged. Which is where we arrive at my proposal.

Instead of swapping things for other things, in order to swap those things for yet other things, and so on and so forth, until ultimately you get a thing you can swap for two minutes grope and fumble, instead of that: I propose an intermediate system of exchange. Some abstracted thing that instead of being the thing itself represents it in some way.

So instead of me having to figure out how to get a house in order to get into your pants and whip away your dignity before you blink, instead I could give you some of this intermediate, generic stuff, and then you could go and obtain a house yourself. And if we all swapped this stuff instead of the objects themselves, we'd all get exactly what we wanted because different objects are worth different amounts of stuff to different people, and the resource allocation problem would be solved. Ta da. Everyone has exactly what they want.

Deciding how to set stuff values to everything in order that everyone has enough to get what they want, I leave as an exercise to the reader.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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