Delcambre, Erath, Abbeville, and New Iberia – and Object Permanence

by admin on 2017/04/19

Jimbaux wants to live; he wants to give.

Today, Wednesday 19 April 2017, we see images that I made today of a train on the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Abbeville Branch, and we read all of the things that were going through my mind – well, okay, not all of them, but all of them that aren’t inappropriate to publish – as I was out-and-about taking these pictures.

Object Permanence

You Don’t Know

Years ago on one Friday evening, back in the glory days when I was in college and was hitting the weights hard at the gym almost every day, a friend said to me that evening that I had skipped going to the gym that day.  That afternoon, he had gone to the gym at his normal time, and that was the time that he would normally see me there; so, for him, despite the fact that the gym was open for hours before he got there and hours after he left, that was somehow all of the evidence that he needed to conclude that I had skipped the gym that day.

I told him that he was thinking like a little baby, thinking that the ball ceases to exist as soon as it rolled behind the sofa and the baby could no longer see the ball.  Even though I didn’t need to have such an analogy on hand to question his baseless assertion, I had, apparently, just been exposed, perhaps in one of my psychology classes, to the concept of object permanence, the realization that objects continue to exist even once they are no longer seen or observed, and the fact that infants have trouble with this concept.

As I vaguely recall (again, it was a long time ago), I had gone to the gym that day earlier than my normal time, perhaps because I had gotten off early from the job that I was working at the time (which happened often on Fridays), or something like that.  So, my slight sense of indignation at having been accused of skipping the gym that day was an early warning that even adults very often get into the toxic habit of making unwarranted assumptions in the form of accusations, something that I have discussed repeatedly over the years on this publication, and for things far less harmless than being accused by a friend (who, as such, would have no ill intent) of skipping the gym.

Object permanence is very much a theme of today’s pictures and essays, not only about the subjects being photographed, but also about broader subjects roaming through my mind, including unconditional basic income; yes, there is an important lesson here, which will be explained throughout this piece, including after all of the pictures.

It’s Today, Or Not Until The Fall, At The Earliest

I had decided that my spring break in Acadiana should come to an end today.  Two days ago, I got some pictures of a shrimp boat landing and unloading its valuable cargo.  Yesterday, I got some images of Avery Island and what remains of the old Salt Mine Branch.  In all of this time, I was hoping to get some images of a train on L&D’s Abbeville Branch, which, lately, happens only about once per week, and I was thinking that it would run on its usual Tuesday time, but this didn’t happen; it happened today (Wednesday), which actually was the best day for me to have done it.

By midday today, I had decided that I was going back east to go home regardless of whether the train ran, that I wasn’t going to stick around longer in the hopes that it might run on Thursday or Friday.  Why?  My face and neck were painfully hairy.  Why?  I forgot to put my stick razor and the can of shaving gel back into my overnight bag after cleaning it recently, and I’m not going to spend $12 on another one of those things when I already have four of them, two more than I really need, all because of situations like this.  I had been in town since Sunday, hadn’t shaved since no later than that morning, and was, by today, looking like I was auditioning for membership in the Taliban.

I’m sorry if all of this is too much information, but, hey, at least it’s not “political,” right?  Heh, everything is political.  Deal with it.

So, Again, Why We Are Here

Okay, I’m sorry.  Okay, I’m not really sorry, but I am sorry that I am not sorry, or something like that.

Anyway, this is the fifth time that I photograph a moving train on the L&D Abbeville Branch, and the entirety of all sets of pictures except for the first one have already been published.

The locomotive on today’s train would be the LDRR 1707, the same locomotive on the first Abbeville Branch train that I photographed in early 2012.

But What Does The Rest Of All Of This Stuff Mean?

It means what it means.

Neither the trains nor my love of them exist in vacuums.  I know that some of you railroad enthusiasts dislike some of the non-railroad-related content here, and I addressed that in length earlier this month, but it is neither possible to separate railroads from the broader world that they serve and that serves them nor possible to separate my own love of trains and railroads – and photography – from the entirety of who I am, how I think, and what I feel.

I wish to reach out to the Trump supporters and Trump voters about whose awful and destructive decision I have been venting since the fall.  I realize that, while some repugnant ideas are driving Trumpism, some legitimate concerns are driving it as well, many of which aren’t addressed by other parties or candidates either.

So, I have some questions for some of you Trump supporters and Trump voters.

Do you feel like you’ve played by the rules and are still getting a raw deal?  If so, what, exactly, do you mean by that?

Do you feel like you’re not able to succeed based on the expectations that you had a few decades ago, and-or the expectations that you would, just like each succeeding generation is better off than the generation before it, be economically and materially better off than your parents?

Please let me know, and, if you answered yes to any of those questions, I not only sympathize with you but also wish to present a remedy.

You weren’t wrong to think that the system is messed up, but electing Donald Trump will only make it worse, and so would have electing Bernie Sanders.  Electing Hillary Clinton would have kept things the same, which is far worse than making the necessary improvements, but not as bad as making things worse, which Trump will do and which Sanders would have done.

And maybe you just don’t see what I see.  So, that means that I have to work harder to show you what I see, which is that your relative underemployment and relatively falling income is actually a sign that the economy is incredibly prosperous, because, thanks to technological progress, the economy now makes so many more things with less and less labor input that paid human employment simply isn’t nearly as important as it once was.

This is a good thing!  And that’s why it is ridiculous to continue to insist that each person’s ability merely to survive in a modern world in which they don’t have access to productive land be totally dependent upon a paid job or a familial monetary inheritance.

And that is why you should get behind unconditional basic income!  It’s such an obvious solution, once you spend some time thinking about it.  As soon as you see how the world would operate in a world with unconditional basic income, you see how silly, unjust, irrational, and needlessly destructive the world without basic income is.

So, How Can You And I Help Each Other And Help The World In The Process?

I’m trying to get those of you who are upset at my “political” content to understand that many of the legitimate grievances that you have that led you to Trumpism can be addressed with basic income, that you’re blaming the wrong causes for otherwise legitimate problems, and I hope to put my skills as a writer, journalist, teacher, photographer, and INTP to work toward that cause; I’m also hoping that you can help me make this work possible!

Yes, I have been thinking about placing my images elsewhere in less personal settings, like, possibly, on RRpicturearchives.net, devoid of political content, so that the ages can have them, but the taking of those pictures was costly, and the time that I spend working on them now, too, is costly.

Maybe you can help.

Each one of us has a set of gifts, and whether you believe that the gifts come from God or whether you believe that it’s a matter of genetics and upbringing doesn’t matter (so, when I talk about “God-given abilities” or “God put _____ on Earth to _______,” it’s not necessarily to express a belief in a deity but, rather, to indicate that the gifts that one has aren’t really of his choosing); the point is that each one of us has these gifts and, as such, feels that the best use of his talents, the best use of his limited time on this Earth, is to use those gifts in the service of the world.

I’d like to use my gifts in the service of the world, but the problem is that the particular set of gifts that I was given are, ever since I burned out of being a regular classroom schoolteacher, not something for which one can be paid in a job.

Unconditional basic income would enable a world in which knowledge, information, and scholarship can both happen more and be more genuine.  It would help quarternariats like myself do the work that we are born to do!

Most people who farm, manufacture, or drill for oil want more than just a subsistence wage, and most of them get more than just a subsistence wage.  So, in a world with basic income, most of those who currently do such work would continue to do so.  For the rest of us, for those of us who wish to do work that we feel born to do, it takes money to work.

I would love to do so much more work, but I cannot afford to do so, and this is a problem that is completely unnecessary in a world of such abundance!

There is no benefit to society in forcing those whose talents are best suited at doing non-paid work to do paid-work in order to survive!

I’m not even asking to be paid to do the work that I love.  I’m asking to be paid money so that I can acquire food and shelter so that I can do the work that I love to do!

Perhaps you can help.  Perhaps you can help to ensure that I can, for the rest of my life, use my gifts to the fullest.

Soon, I will be starting a Patreon page, where any person who follows or likes my work can, through a credit card setup, have an amount of your choosing – some patrons give as little as $1 per month, but I hope that those of you of better means can offer a little bit more – deducted from your account every month.  If several dozen people do this, I can eat every month.  If a couple of hundred people do this, I can both eat and have shelter every month, and, if I can eat and have shelter every month, I can work!

About five years ago, I was at the Subway in Morgan City and ran into an old friend from the college days.  In the course of our discussion, when I lamented even then that I couldn’t do the work that I wanted to do, he said (and I don’t remember the exact words), “you’re one of those guys who’s going to be famous only after he’s dead.”

This hit me like a ton of bricks, partly because I thought that it was true, partly because it suggested that the rest of my life might be grindingly miserable only because I lack the resources to get the work that I wish to do done.

So, please, if you like my work and want to see more, please consider patronizing once that page is made available.  This is the reason for the selection of today’s song!  I do want to live, and I do want to give, but I can’t do either if I don’t have food and shelter.

But, James, What If I Love Your Pictures But Can’t Stand Your Opinions About Things?

That’s a great and fair question, and I’m tempted to reiterate what I have said before, that you can’t separate the two, that my pictures are my opinions, but, while that is true, there is a much easier answer for this question.

First, let’s look at how I would use my future time if I had enough of a crowdfunded income off of which to survive (I suspect that it won’t be enough off of which to survive, which means that I’ll keep doing the traditional paid work that isn’t the best use of my gifts):

  • photography – mostly processing and posting old photographs and occasionally making new ones
  • advocacy for unconditional basic income and an ideology that I’m building around it called “libertarian progressivism” (to be distinctly different from Leftist progressivism, which I find, while mostly well-intentioned, to be ultimately repugnant, both due it its innate tribalism and divisiveness and due to its unintended negative consequences)
  • instant-runoff voting – You’ve got to learn about this!
  • music
  • headlights on at all times
  • flashing green lights

The reason that fighting Trumpism isn’t on the list is that I think that UBI and IRV would largely handle that, and I don’t intend to devote much time specifically to fighting Trumpism directly; I’d rather find ways to bypass it, and I think that, as I’ve said before, basic income addresses many of the very legitimate issues driving Trumpism.

Now, the very simple reason that those who appreciate my photography and the information in my photographs can become a patron of my work even if you dislike my ideologies is that, by far and away, the photography is the most expensive part, and that’s mainly because I have already spent so much money on the photography, and that’s why I made the distinction above about how I would spend my “future” time with a crowdfunded subsistence income.

So, if nothing else, you can look at patronizing my photography work as reimbursing me for so much work that I have already done years ago.

Does this make sense?

It’s picture time!

The Chase, The Journey, The Interception

So, as high-sun time was getting close to ending, I hit the road, determined to get home tonight regardless of whether the train was running on the branch today, but sticking close to the branch in the hope that, if the train was running on the branch today, I would see it and be able to photograph it.

Sure enough, that is what happened.

Coming into Delcambre from the west, I spied headlights and an orange locomotive at the Delcambre Canal bridge!  My first shot was at 15:47 CDT.

This basically was perfect, as I would not have gotten any good shots of this train prior to this point on its journey, not only due to the angle of the sunlight in relation to the surface of the Earth (high-sun) but also due to the angle of the sunlight in relation to the train.

The train was stopped so that the conductor could close – or open – the lift bridge that it had just used.

The Sadness

Here is a branchline on which service is down to about one train per week, and we yet again have a very short train.  Not all that long ago, 15-car trains were common on this branchline, and this is making me very concerned about the future of this little railroad, but that is somewhat why I photograph branchlines!

Picture #30,000

The main camera that I am using now, and the one that took all of today’s pictures, was a gift from my parents – a gift that I could use to use and share my gifts, get it? – in November 2011 as a replacement for my first DSLR camera that went missing, presumably stolen, earlier that year.  The 10,000th picture was made a little bit more than six months later in May of 2012, and the 20,000th picture was made less than one year after that in March of 2013, not long after which my picture-taking seriously slacked off.

So, while I regularly, since going digital in the summer of 2005, took about 10,000 pictures every year, that intensity slowed down considerably after the spring of 2013, and it has taken me more than four years to take another 10,000 pictures on the main camera (with probably no more than about a thousand or so pictures on the secondary camera.)

So, here it is, picture number 30,000 with my ‘new’ camera.

Yes, Canon uses four digits for its picture numbers, starting with 0001 and ending at 9999.  So, there is no picture 0000.  So, the first picture that the camera takes is labeled “0001,” the second 0001 picture that the camera takes is the 10,000th picture, the third 0002 picture that the camera takes is the 20,000th picture, and, here, the fourth 0003 picture that the camera takes is picture number 30,000.

Also, it’s a safe bet that more than four years will pass before we get to 40,000.

Also, I just told you that my current camera is one that was a gift to me by my parents.  Given what I wrote earlier about asking for patronage so that I can continue doing this work (and be reimbursed for the work that I have already done for free), do you see the my parents’ gift to me was also my parents’ gift to you?  You and persons yet to be born benefit from these pictures and the information in them, and my parents paid for the tool that makes the picture; so, parents’ gift of the camera and my and my creators’ gift of my gifts of photography talent (this post actually doesn’t show nearly my best work) are, combined, gifts to you and to the rest of the world.

Please remember that when the Patreon page gets posted!  :-)

I Wish That This Business Would Get Railroad Service

Six minutes later, we’re next to the lumberyard that I wish would get railroad service.

I must confess that one of my out-there ideas is to buy all of the local lumberyards, cement facilities, and feed stores, consolidate them to one location next to the branch track, expand the operation to include bricks and other products, and start a joint business of some sort of prefabricated cabinets and furniture and concrete products, too, so as to maximize the amount of railroad shipments of lumber, bricks, plywood, particleboard, cement, fertilizer, and other building materials to one location. Lumber is one of my favorite railroad shipments to see!

Now, here’s the image that I posted to the Facebook page that night.

Yes, and, here, copied, is an excerpt of what I wrote with the piece that night.

These are hard times for the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s branch to Abbeville, Louisiana, from New Iberia via Delcambre and Erath. Since the rice mill in Abbeville is now shipping much less by rail, service on the branch is down to about once per week, usually with trains as pitifully short as today’s train seen in this picture passing the Hebert Otto Lumber Yard where Delcambre meets Erath.

How much longer this 21-mile-long branch can survive with this weak of a traffic base is an open question. Can the people of Vermilion Parish save their railroad? Can the Twin Parish Port District & Port of Delcambre get a spur to get some railroad business for some of the oil field services companies or seafood processing plants? Can lumberyards like this one get a car or two of lumber now and then?

As recently as two years ago, much larger trains were common – and ran more often – on this branch.

Yes, I would love to see the nearby port get some business.

My Usual Erath Broadside

This is getting to be a regular photo location for me, this broadside view of the train coming into Erath.

This is the fifth time that I’ve photographed a train on this branch, and I’ve shot this broadside view for four of those five trains, though two of those four weren’t telephoto views, and were a little bit less that broasidey.

I raced to get another shot of him in town, but I couldn’t get there in time.

Mack

Next, we are by West Erath, where the train passes the Mack track.

The storage track is empty, a sign of the hard times on which this branch finds itself.

Just a couple of years ago, this track would normally have overflow empty cars for the rice mill.  I don’t know if the dropoff in rice shipments is something specific to the rice mill in Abbeville not shipping as much by rail or not doing as much milling at all, or if it is something regarding the entire southwestern Louisiana rice industry, but Donovan Reed – whose photographs are definitely worth checking out (he, too, was endowed by his creator with the ability to see) – said that the same thing is happening on the Acadiana Railway.

The train and crew are stopping here to shove the tank car into the storage track.  I was told that it was bound for Creole Fermentation and that that industry wasn’t ready for it, because the tank car there still hasn’t fully been unloaded.

This storage track was built to serve the gas shipper that was just south of the track, that stopped shipping sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s and is the reason for the track east of here being in good condition.

In a really sick way, I feel like, as I take these pictures, I am attending this railroad branch’s funeral while simultaneously attending my own funeral, as I am making a now-rare occurrence of going through the motions of something that was once a very common thing for me, something that at once gave me life and took life away from me.

I wonder about this branchline’s object permanence, and I wonder, too, about my own.

I guess that the good news is that I’ve still “got it,” and that the world can see and use the pictures.

And, CV has still “got it,” too!

I like shots of a trainman switching.  Don’t you?  As I mentioned two days ago, this is something that I don’t wish to see automated, but that brings up another issue that I wish to soon discuss.

I am told that the L&D isn’t sure how long it can continue serving the Abbeville Branch now that the trains have this pitifully low amount of cars on them.  The L&D’s business overall is slow, and I am hearing rumors that the Schriever Job might be abolished due to not enough work to keep it busy every day, that extra-board crews out of New Iberia might run the Schriever Job on an as-needed basis.

Of course, why can’t the two guys who run the Schriever Job just run it as needed and then do what they want with their own time on the days that the train doesn’t run?  The answer is that we still don’t yet have basic income, and we think that if it’s not “full-time,” then it’s not a job at all.

This “bring back jobs” stuff has to stop!  There are more men who want to be railroaders than there are railroad jobs.  In a world with basic income, these guys could afford to do paid railroad work three days per week and then do what they want with their lives on the other days!  I happen to know that plenty of these railroader guys have good hobbies and are wholesome individuals.

Most people want to work.  Most people want a paid job.  Most people want disposable income.  However, most people wish that they didn’t have to spend as much time at their jobs as they spend there, and it’s no longer necessary that they do!

I certainly wish to work, including and especially the kind of work the fruits of which you are eating now by reading this, but I cannot do this work without money.

Come on, people!  Wake up and smell the robots!

Speaking of smell, I smell food.

I Didn’t Plan This Well

You can strike this up to my decreased interest, if you wish, but, as the train and I came into Abbeville, I had to break off of the chase – and miss the great shot at Hospital Road, which would have been lit perfectly at the time – because I had to go to Wal-Mart and get another memory card for the camera and, while I was there, something to eat, because I hit the road on an empty stomach.

After being disgusted by what I saw as I looked at my shirtless self in the mirror on Thanksgiving morning, I got serious about health, and the day before that – when I took my November 23 pictures here on the Abbeville Branch – was the last time that I ate fast-food.  I intended to go just to the Christmas holiday without fast food, but, even when I was chasing this same train a month later, I packed a sandwich and some trail mix.

I have, since Thanksgiving Day, lost about 20 pounds!

So, does getting an already-wrapped-up turkey sandwich at Wal-Mart count as fast food?

Abbeville

Here’s a shot that I’ve never done before and am not likely to do much again.

The city street pattern with the track running among it here is interesting.

The next stop is the mill!

Before the train gets to the mill, though, the “Weatherman” got some video of it.

 

Well, that was neat!

The Mill

It’s sad.  The train is arriving with only three empty rice cars and has only three loaded rice cars to pick up.

That structure at the left is the old hull loader; rice hulls to be used for animal feed were shipped from there even in L&D times, but that operation has stopped, and the track removed, for reasons that I do not know.

I like that old white building in the back, even though I dislike how its brightness blows out the picture.

Below, you can see the three loaded cars that are about to be picked up, and the three empty cars are obscured behind the locomotive – you know, “object permanence.”

Now, the LDRR 1707 begins the process of running around the three cars with which it just arrived.

The track in the foreground goes across the street to a part of the mill that is across the street – and next to the river – that isn’t receiving or shipping any cars now.  What I like about the below image is that it shows both three empty cars that the railroad just brought to town for the mill and the three loaded cars that are about to be pulled from the mill and brought to New Iberia, to be later picked up by Union Pacific Railroad train MAVBT.

Aren’t railroad tracks neat?  Fourteen minutes pass between this shot and the next one, partly because now is when I gobble down the sandwich.  Below, we see the three loaded cars being pulled from the mill.

Next, the three loaded cars are put “on top of” the three empty cars before those cars are pulled, to make the process efficient.

Dammit, what is this white smoke emerging from my truck’s tailpipe?

I am concerned about being able to make it all the way back home.

Now, the empty cars get shoved for spotting.

So, now, you can see all six rice mill cars that the train will move today being moved at once.

The three cars closest to the locomotive are the loaded cars that were pulled a little while ago.

Now, it’s time to reposition myself to the other side.

I can’t decide whether to present this next image in color or in greyscale; so, I shall do both.

The two empty hopper cars have been spotted, but, apparently, a decoupling had to be made to spot that boxcar where the mill wanted it spotted.

Which version do you prefer?

Let’s take a look in the other direction up the branch.

This seems to be more evidence for my theory that the hull-loader track was the original branch mainline.

Now, we look back at the mill as the 1707 is emerging with three loads after completing all of its work, and, once again, I can’t decide whether to go color or go greyscale, and, as such, I present both.

I like this image; the curves of the train work well here.

Okay, we look back east and get one more view of the CV and the train, as he has a look of contemplation, as we contemplate his contemplation, as we contemplate our own contemplation.

Now, especially knowing that photographs would now be difficult due to the train moving almost due east with the setting sun almost directly behind it, it was time to put metacognition aside, and I needed gasoline and more food.

Held Back By The Held Down

I had to stop at that gasoline station and convenience store by Airport Road because I needed gasoline, and, while there, I went inside because I needed some munchies, but this might have been a mistake.

I started the gasoline pump, and then I went inside to get my items.

And then I had to wait in line behind six other customers.

And the line moved abysmally slow.

Why?

I sent myself the following text message in frustration.

OMG, lottery tickets!

Yes, I was held up for several minutes not so much by people buying food, drinks, or motor oil as by them buying little slips of paper with numbers on them.

Gosh, this is horrible!  Technology and capitalism have solved the supply problem!  Poverty doesn’t need to exist!  These poor people shouldn’t feel impelled to participate in such a disgraceful and destructive practice!  No, you really don’t want to win the lottery.

There actually is a way to make the lottery far less destructive, and, no, it’s not only basic income.  The article linked at the end of the last paragraph discusses how bad life is for winners of big jackpots, that they become targets.

What would be a huge improvement is if there could be, instead of one set of numbers drawn, the total pot amount divided by 50,000 numbers drawn.  So, if the total pot is $500,000,000, then 10,000 numbers can be drawn.

Each winner would get $50,000.  That’s a great number, because it’s not high enough to ruin a winner’s life by corrupting him (and it makes it much easier for him to stay anonymous), and it wouldn’t make the winner independently wealthy, but it’s still a big enough amount of money to have a significant positive impact on the winner’s life!  The winner could pay off debts, do some home or automobile repairs, maybe get an automobile in the first place, go or send a child to college, or something like that, all while he or she would still need to keep working in paid jobs.

And, if such a lottery existed, I might occasionally play it!

So, all of this messing around meant that I missed a shot of the train at Airport Road.

Inversion At Erath

I had plenty of time, once I got back to Mack, to think about things, and that might be a problem.

How about that jointed rail?

Here is a better view of the tank car that was set out here earlier today.

I knew that the train was to stop at Coastal Chemicals to pick up a tank car or two, which is why I knew that my convenience store stop exacerbated by dumb lottery ticket purchases from other people wouldn’t stop me from getting here in time.

Now, I am on the other side of the track from my traditional (for photographing this branchline only four times before today) shot on the other side of the track, and the sun is basically almost right behind the train, albeit a little bit to the south.

I guess that the cars have some object permanence even if the old “SOUTHERN PACIFIC” lettering on the side has been wiped out.

I now see the Southern Pacific, or, more specifically, my fascination with it, as some sort of early religion from which I have been very slowly dissociating.  I do feel dead.

Oh, well, I tried.

For all of my sensuality, for all of my existentialism, and for all of my experiences of experiencing, my life seems to be a prolonged out-of-body experience; trying to get a hold of my life is like trying to hold sand.

I’ve About Had Enough of This

The train had several more miles of travel on track that is almost due east-west, and the sun would just move even more in line with the track.  So, I decided that I might have had enough, and that I’d get just one more even worse shot about a mile to the east.

Well, now what?

When You Can End Something Well, You Should End It Well

There is one place where I figure that I might be able to get a good shot of the train if the train gets there in time, but it’s far away from here, and, even though I have to pass that way anyway, it’ll be awhile before the train gets there; so, I won’t lose any appreciable amount of distance by attempting this shot, but I will lost time and delay my arrival home so that I can get the shower and shave that I so desperately need.

Questioning Object Permanence

I guess that I know why adults have trouble with object permanence.  I sat here waiting for a long time, waiting for the train to show up, to the point that I wondered if it would show up at all.

I wondered, had I missed it? had it gotten ahead of me?  I had gone at least 6omph on the highway to get here, and my route to this spot was circuitous, but not much more circuitous than the train’s route; so, logically, I had no reason to think that I could have missed it, but, emotionally, I wondered.

Also, maybe there had been some problem that had caused the train to stop.

But, no, the train still exists!  somewhere!

I think that I passed the time by using my touchpad to scroll around on social media.

You Can’t Possibly Be Doing This Just For Your Own Satisfaction And Curiosity

So, it finally happened again.  Since I hardly take pictures anymore, it had been a really long time since I had been questioned in real-time by another human being about what I was doing, but it happened today.  This is something that, as long-time readers of this publication know, happened often back when I often took pictures, but, scratching my head to try to think of when it last happened, the last time that I can really remember something like this happening was when I got that weird questioning from the woman at the Waste Management facility in Raceland, and that was nearly five years ago, which is amazing.

A man dressed in a jump suit who lived nearby walked up to me, and I don’t remember how the conversation started, but I gather that he asked me something along the lines of what I was doing, because I must have told him that I was waiting to photograph the train, because he responded, “something wrong with the train?”

What the hell?  Here we go again.  This just like the woman at the Waste Management facility in Raceland (seriously, read the photo essay linked two paragraphs above if you have the time), with the automatic assumption that I’m taking pictures because there is some problem.

Why?  Why do people respond like this?  Why, when seeing someone show some sort of interest in a thing, is there an assumption that something might be “wrong with” that thing?  Can you not be interested in something unless there is something “wrong with” it?

Let me just walk up to people watching a baseball game and ask, “excuse me, but is there something wrong with those people playing the game?”

Do you see what I mean about the systematic degradation of intrinsic motivation? and how it is an obstacle to basic income?  Scott Santens, a basic income advocate, has a great piece on the topic.

Come on, humanity, get it together.

No, sir, there is not, to my knowledge, anything wrong with the train, I told him.

His next question reinforced his absence of faith in intrinsic motivation.

“You with the railroad company?”

<Sigh> – That is not a completely unfair question, but why not just ask why I am photographing the train?  And I am wearing cargo shorts, athletic shoes, and might have been wearing a tank top shirt, but he just assumes that someone has to be in the paid service of the railroad company to be interested in the train?

All of this reminds me very much not only of past encounters but also of an essay from Bertrand Russel that I have read since those old encounters.

“The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, never for its own sake.”

That definitely describes so much, so many of these encounters, and what I think is the huge problem of the degradation of intrinsic motivation and how it is what is behind much of the opposition to unconditional basic income.

Basic income would free the sense of personality being imprisoned to adopt a fake personality for survival; it would go a long way toward building a world in which you’re not suspicious of the motives of someone who is being nice, and you’re more free to be yourself.

Object Permanence Indeed

Finally, at 19:06, I heard horns off to the south.  Object permanence is indeed a thing.

While we’re at it, let’s turn around in the other direction and photograph some Iberia Parish cows.

The light was much better when I got here nearly an hour earlier, but there’s still just enough left to make a presentable shot.

I guess that it was worth the wait, especially when this railroad’s object permanence – i.e., its future – is questionable, don’t you think?

Finally, we look to the north, going-away, in so many ways, with the US Highway 90 interchange, where I, too, am headed, in the background.

I wasted no time leaving, and I enjoyed the view of the train in my rearview mirror as I went up the upramp.

That’s all for the pictures today.

Thank you.

Monetary Object Permanence And Basic Income

Before the train showed up at that last shot, I was thinking about object permanence and basic income, maybe because the long wait made me question the train’s object permanence.

A question that I see over and over again in discussions of basic income is, “where does the money come from?”  It’s often accompanied by the idea that the money has to be “taken” from “some” to be “given” to “others.”

That is ridiculous for two reasons.

First, everyone gets basic income; that’s the entire point.  It doesn’t come from some to others; it comes from all and goes to all; nobody gets anything that anyone else doesn’t get.

Second, and I cannot stress this enough, in a market economy, there is no way for you to “earn” money if other people don’t have it to spend!  Having a billion dollars would do you plenty of good, but it would do you no good if you and your family were the only human beings on Earth.  No matter how hard you work, how skilled you are, or how good of a person you are, if there isn’t a market for what you are making or selling, then you have no income.

So, the money “comes from” where it goes, and it goes where it comes from.  People will spend the money, and that is the entire point; if basic income would be so high that a significant percentage of recipients would put a significant percentage of each basic income check into savings, thereby taking the money out of circulation and depriving producers of the sales that the basic income is designed to sustain, then, yes, you could say that basic income is “taking” from the productive.

It seems that people forget object permanence when it comes to money and government benefits.  We always talk about the “cost” of these benefits, which is kind of stupid, because that money goes right back into the economy.  It seems like, from my experience in these discussions, so many people seem to think that as soon as a public assistance payment is put into a recipients hand, or as soon as the recipient spends the money, the money somehow ceases to exist!

“But that has to be paid for from taxes from my paycheck!”  Yes, and you wouldn’t get that paycheck in the first place without people spending the money, which basic income enables!  Basic income would not in any way harm you.

Market value is a function of demand.  There are a handful of intelligent people in libertarian circles who understand this, but it seems like many “libertarians” and “conservatives” who are apt to scream about “socialism” are actually themselves repressed Marxists!  They, like Marx, seem to think that their labor gives a product or service its value!

That has been one of the more curious revelations of both Trumpism and the basic income debate, and both issues have split the libertarian movement along more or less the same lines.  Believers in supply-side economics tend to self-identify as “conservative” or “libertarian,” but supply-sideism actually meshes quite well with Marx’s labor theory of value!

No, Hayek knew better, as did Adam Smith.

No, basic income would not in any way take anything from “the working man,” but he does have one very legitimate complaint about those who receive means-tested public assistance payments; they get it, and he does not.  Basic income resolves that problem; that’s the point.

Pointless Bickering Ending The Day

I come home – made it back fine without the truck giving me problems, but I do need to check out what the problem is – and crank on the internet to see more fighting among Democrats and Leftist types about Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton, and it’s utterly insufferable.  I couldn’t give less of a crap about that, and, furthermore, it’s destructive.  There needs to be instant-runoff voting so that that crap doesn’t matter.  This is no way to fight Trumpism, nor is it any way to have an electoral system.

Why are you not screaming every day at your state representatives for instant-runoff voting?

Oh, and, it looks like Bill O’Reilly is getting fired, too.

It’s about time.  He had some good points here and there, indeed, but, consistent with his personal history of sexual harassment, he based his entire persona on demonization and denigration of the less fortunate, personal attacks and mischaracterizations, and other such nastiness.  That, apparently, wasn’t just an act.  Why do we tolerate that?

Why do people think that stuff like that is cool?  It’s not.  You’re an adult; act like it.

Mothers, girlfriends, sisters, do not ever encourage that kind of behavior.

Thank You

I want to live, I want to give, and I want to be able to work and use my gifts with the world.  The best that anyone can give to society is the set of things that he does best.

Thank you for any and all help you can give, and I’d like to remind you that the e-mail list is one of the best ways to be alerted to posts like this one.

Thanks, again.

JBX

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