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100 Stories- Butthole Sunning: How To Calibrate Your Bullshit Detector ☀️ 🍑

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Drew's Letter

January 12 · Issue #91 · View online

The latest things I've dug into including books, quotes, songs, gadgets and other things I've found interesting.


Sawubona! The sprint and marathon continue. Today is #12 in the 💯 Stories in 💯 Days Series. In case you missed it, yesterday’s was- The Theory of Localized Vitamin D 🌞 That is a preamble to this. Today, we are diving into…
Butthole Sunning: How To Calibrate Your Bullshit Detector ☀️ 🍑
If the phrase “butthole sunning” triggers you, I invite you to take a deep breath. 💨
There may be a lesson here.
Notice any stories in your head that may arise around the phrase.
  • No!
  • This is wrong!
  • Ew!
  • This is gross!
  • Bullshit!
  • Hippie crap!
  • Hmm…
  • I’m curious?
  • What if it’s not bullshit?
A common thread for me is exploring my edge. One of my mantras is- “if you want different results, you should do different things.” Doing the same things yields the same results.
I like to set up my thinking no topic is out of bounds. I believe that ideas become better thanks to more discourse, not less. Putting them underground doesn’t kill the ideas. It just kills a particular distribution method. If something is stupid, and everyone hears about it, we can move on with our lives. But, if I can’t hear about it, even if it is just as stupid, I’m now deeply curious to find out.
There was a CrossFitter named Ronnie Teasdale. He was ranked 55th globally, which I’d say is pretty great, considering CrossFit as a population has some of the most strongest healthy user bias of any demographic group.
I like studying people trying to be the best at something and people with rare, terrible health conditions. They are similar in several respects, like people at two ends of a spectrum. They are identical in how extreme they are. Both of these groups have a high “openness to experience.” Whether this is innate or learned, or a blend, I don’t care.
These people are willing to try things—almost anything. The top performers want to be the absolute best. They do whatever they can to get an edge like Ray Lewis putting deer-antler spray on his arm. He is arguably the best linebacker to play the game. As per the people with health conditions, they will do whatever they can to get well.
This brings us into the realm of possibility. 🙌
When I have a mindset like this, I drop into childlike (not childish) curiosity. The world is my oyster. 🐚 I think Emerson said it best,
“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”
So, what is butthole sunning? It’s also called perineum sunning. Just get some sun on that area where the sun doesn’t shine. 30 seconds is enough. 5-7 minutes is ok. Too much, and you incur the risk of being burned.
Is it complete bullshit?
This is tricky, and makes me pretty mad. I did a fair amount of googling for this. The phenomenon went viral about a year ago, thanks to Instagram posts from Ronnie, who now goes by “Ra Of Earth”. Josh Brolin got into it. Metaphysicalmeagan posted about it. The Certified Health Nut also did.
Then, a bunch of “experts” chimed in on podcasts, articles, talk shows, etc. In my judgment, there was a ton of lazy, sloppy reporting. I wouldn’t even call most of it journalism.
But why, do you ask?
Well, its simple. The Instagram influencers cited the practice as one that comes from Taoism. Most MDs don’t have a clue about Taoism, neither do journalists.
The next logical step would be to study Taoism!
That way, you can see if these people citing Taoism are charlatans or not. The next logical step wouldn’t be to call bullshit, nor to call these people prophets. They stated where they learned the practice. The journalists’ job is to check the validity of that source, and they didn’t.
Most of the articles used argument from authority, which is a logical fallacy. For example, “doctors say…” Well, the book cited by Ronnie was written by…
surprise…
A doctor!
(no pennies go to Drew from that link) On top of that, it was illegal for doctors to prescribe fasting to patients in the state of California as recently as 1984. The link is to Rich Roll’s podcast, you’ll want to watch a ~30 second bit at 22:40. It was considered criminal negligence! Again, not a joke. Just about every religion on the planet has stories of historical figures fasting. Many of these religions practice fasts to this day. Ramadan is arguably the most well-known.
Who cares? How does that relate to butthole sunning? ☀️ It’s about hubris and the loss of ancient wisdom. About thinking we know better. About a philosophy called the NPP, or Narrative Of Perpetual Progress. It involves discounting the wisdom of those who came before us, repeatedly, at scale.
This is like the blind leading the blind- the public doesn’t know about butthole sunning. Journalists then asked other people who don’t know about it for the definitive answer, the one that solves the debate.
I’m sorry, but that is flat out stupid. This is why primary sources are important. They are the “root cause”. The first. Everything after that is another person playing the game of telephone. If you’ve ever played telephone, you understand how quickly things get misconstrued, and I believe that is the case here. ☎️ A man reads a book. Gets excited enough about it to share a page. He shares it. It goes viral. Thousands of people read, tweet, and talk about it.
How many of them read the book themselves? Contacted the author? Hard to know for sure, but it seems like the answer is: not many.
The book is over $100 for the cheapest version, and some go for $400. This may have discouraged reporters from investigating. Perhaps the share caused book sales to blow up. It is old, so maybe the price spiked? Hard to say. I wasn’t finding articles where reporters mention reading the book themselves. While I’m not a journalist, I suspect a publisher would pay for a copy as a business expense. 📰
The price reminds me of this article, Books Not Sold by Amazon, which is worth a read. It’s an interesting take on censorship…
I was interested to hear that this past September, California schools decided to ban classic texts such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. The rationale appeared to be that these important anti-racist texts were racist. Curious. I suppose it is only a matter of time until we are burning 1984 for its criticism of doublethink.
Does censorship exist in America? If it did, would it look like the censorship of the past, or would it be different? If you wanted to destroy a nation, would you take away their guns, or their books?
I’m sad and disappointed. 😨 Again, we have a case of people being too lazy or stubborn to entertain an idea. After going through article after article, no one was citing Taoism. That had me hot. 😡 Check the damn primary source, and go from there! It may be difficult, but it is simple. This article from Rolling Stone seemed to do the most research before publishing. Of course, they don’t mention anything about interviewing the people who originally shared the idea for the article. They quoted someone who owns a tanning salon though. I found that funny, as I haven’t heard a single MD recommend tanning salons, and that they should be avoided. Apparently this person is enough of an authority figure to be quoted, but the original speakers aren’t?
Lessons Learned:
  • Get it from the horse’s mouth- check the damn primary source! 🐴
  • Practice steelmanning- shed your opponent’s view in the best possible light. This helps me glean nuggets from it rather than completely writing it off.
  • Being an expert on one thing doesn’t make you an expert on everything.
  • Be curious, if something seems like BS, investigate it.
  • Most journalism today isn’t. It is op-eds.
  • Be mindful of the formula “Adjective + Occupation + Name”. Adjectives aren’t news in that they aren’t facts. They are opinions.
  • Be careful when people play the telephone. 📞
For the record, I’m not convinced butthole sunning is bullshit. I’ve been trying it. 🍑 It hasn’t burned me nor hurt one bit. Am I convinced it’s the greatest thing ever?
No. I’m on the fence. 🤺 But being on the fence is boring. People want to read stories saying “gotcha! I told you so! I showed you!” Often, the truth is somewhere in the middle, which isn’t nearly as exciting.
As always, thank you for reading! tomorrow we are diving into The Importance Of A North Star. ⭐️
Be well,
Drew

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