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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dispelling Rumors

I guess today I can't do my usual bragging about how healthy living moneyless makes me. I got a nasty cold, & so did Cody. I am house-sitting (yes, people ask me to house-sit; I never ask for house-sitting or seek it out). On the one hand, it's nice to be in a warm house when I am sick. But, on the other hand, honestly, it's only when I stay in houses that I get sick. With the exception of having gotten bronchial infection at a couple Rainbow gatherings a few years ago, I simply don't get sick when I'm living out-doors, even in freezing winter.
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Media Myths About Me

I want to blog about other things. But since there are several myths about me spreading around the media, I am reluctantly writing the following:
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I am learning how media works, & how the public & journalists often take what is published as infallible gospel, and how much rumor is spread without investigating the source.
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Firstly, I must say I felt very respected & honored by all the journalists who have interviewed me, & the inaccuracies they reported could probably be due to my being unclear. Journalism is like painting. The painter can't possibly do a perfect representation, but creates artistic interpretation.
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Here are the myths:
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Myth: I have a master's degree in accounting & anthropology.
Fact: I have never studied accounting & have only a bachelor's degree in anthropology (not that degrees really mean anything). I have no clue where it came from that I have a degree in accounting! I don't put much stock in degrees or titles. I learned way more outside school.
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False: I started living moneyless after my fishing trip with my friend Ray, after which I lived off the land in Alaska & then hitch-hiked back to Utah.
True: I started living moneyless years before working on Ray's Alaskan fishing boat. I went to Alaska 2 separate times. The first time was 2 years before I gave up money, and the second time was in the summer of 2007 (recorded in this blog), when I worked a summer without money on Ray's fishing boat. On both trips I ended up living off the land in Alaska. But on the 2nd trip I flew back, paid for by Ray. On the 2nd trip, I often felt I compromised my path, because I was supporting a money-chasing industry that exploits living things, & because I accepted the airline ticket. The experience was invaluable, though. I'm pretty unclear when I talk of chronology, which may have confused the reporter who wrote about me, & both my Alaska trips melded into one.
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False: I was a sadhu in India and a Buddhist monk in Thailand.
True: I was never a sadhu in India, but only observed sadhus & considered becoming one. I was never a Buddhist monk. I only stayed & meditated for a month in a Thai monastery. I also stayed at a Zen monastery in the US for a while.

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Maybe Either True or False: I don't work.
I say this because it is no body's business to judge whether or not I work, and it is not my business to tell! Perhaps when I say the whole point of this lifestyle philosophy is to "freely give, freely receive," I am lying or being a con. Perhaps not. The point of this path is to relinquish credit for work, as is proscribed in the Gospels, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist sutras, & the Quran. This means doing service in secret. Credit is money. Credit is praise. If I do service work & advertise it, my living moneyless is in vain. I may be a lazy bum who does nothing, or maybe I'm not. It's not for me to say & it's not for you to judge.
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Let me let folks in on a secret: life becomes splendidly beautiful when we stop judging (speaking assumption as fact), when we stop worrying about whether or not somebody we have never met might or might not be contributing work, and we do our own work and mind our own business!
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True & False: I live in isolation.
True: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I feel deep down it's unhealthy for anybody to not have solitary time; and it's also unhealthy for anybody not to have social interaction. Both must be in balance. Why is it that because my part-time home is walled by stone rather than sheetrock, this somehow makes me a permanent isolate?
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A reason I live this way is to eschew the utter isolation of American suburbia, where people don't even know who their neighbors are! If spending all day in front of a computer or TV & having interaction only through gadgets & windows (car, teller, digital screens) is not isolation, what is? This lifestyle actually puts me into a position of not being able to hide my dependency on people. I must mingle with people. I can't pretend that I am "self-sufficient." There is no such thing as a self-sufficient life form, or even particle, in the entire universe.
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Okay, this is really minor, & it's kind of silly I even have to bring it up - but folks love to capitalize on it for some reason:
False: My cave smells like patchouli (Denver Post article). My cave smells like I've lived there for years (Details article).
True: I've never used patchouli ever in my life - not that I have anything against patchouli. And I don't have anything against balanced, natural body odor. Either my candles or my citronella incense must smell like patchouli. The cave's vicinity sometimes smells of pack rat waste, since there are pack rats living in crevices above & near the cave. Having traveled, I hadn't stayed in that cave for months when I brought the Details reporter there. The Denver Post reporter says he didn't detect any bad odors on either me or in the cave - just the "patchouli" scent, while I myself noticed the packrat smell). I'm a clean-freak, like a cat, & I transport my urine & bury my shit & compost way away from the cave. And I bathe constantly in the creek, though I do not use soap (because it is a pollutant), though I scrub with sand. I constantly wash my clothes, too, by placing them in the creek overnight with rocks. Though these are minor issues, they are based on stereotypes. Perfect strangers I've never met, even on the other side of the world, have become experts in my hygiene! Then, again, maybe I reek so badly that my body odor wafts to New York & even to Europe!
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There are lots of other myths floating around the media, but these are most common now.

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Again & again, I keep recommending people read the FAQ in my website before making assumptions. I've tried in recent years to make my life as much an open book as possible, & to make investigating the facts about it as easy as possible. But folks still assume & insist on stating their assumptions as fact.

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Hopefully I can get back to some real blogging now.

32 comments:

  1. please keep on blogging! i enjoy your posts. i especially like the quote: "life becomes splendidly beautiful when we stop judging"

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  2. You're an incredible figure. I want to be you one day. Maybe I'll find a nice lady to marry me, who also wants to live in a money-less world. It'll be a difficult find I'm sure. But I hope it happens.

    Thank you for sharing your stories.

    From Reed, with love.

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  3. Though I appreciate the F.A.Q. for what it is, I think it is good to blog in response to media coverage and personally I consider this both "real" blogging and part of your "work".

    The NYT had a piece where Barney Frank says that so many press gaffes really come down to the politician thinking Geez I wish I hadn't said that..

    A couple weeks ago I listened to a member of the Denver Police complaining about how the media gets their stories wrong too. If the police don't stand a chance, what hope do the rest of us have?

    Anyway, I appreciate a lot of what you have to say. Especially There is no such thing as a self-sufficient life form... I blogged about the risks and rewards of relationships recently and noted that there is one ecosystem that consists of a single organism. Still, they are not self-sufficient as they need the earth to live.

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  4. Giving freely without expecting any thing in return is an unquantifiable joy.

    Your posts are revealing and inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Srini

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Suelo, I'd be interested to hear your views on the concept of human good and evil. In thinking about those who are at the top of the corporate hierarchy, once upon a time my instinct would have been to think of them as "evil." Similarly, my instinct once upon a time would have been to think of terrorists as "evil," or Hitler as "evil."

    But now I think that anyone who is commonly perceived as "evil" is, in fact, really just scared. They live in fear, ignorance, and/or insanity. Corporate greed, I think, is caused by a fear of losing the extreme prestige and comfort associated with wealth. Terrorists are motivated by their fear of others whom they consider to be "evil." Hitler, I think, was simply clinically insane, and had a perception of the world that resulted in incredible human suffering. But I am sure that each of these people would consider themselves to be doing something good for the world.

    I have never heard of a person doing something because they enjoyed being evil, no matter how perverse their actions. I think the key to ending death and violence is dialogue, educating each other about ourselves, and trust. I don't think that's naive, but I would agree that it's certainly the more difficult route than reacting to suffering by blaming it on "evil" and then blamestorming for a culprit.

    Short of natural disasters, I think the panacea for just about everything that happens on this planet is education. Not education in a classroom, necessarily, but simply inspiring people to think openly and critically of themselves and each other.

    Funny thing about life. Every currently-alive species exists because they have genetic code that make them want to try really hard to keep their species existing. Who really cares who "beats out" the other species? Every species is working toward the same thing; who's to say which is entitled to "win?" I find myself thinking that if I die -- in fact, if the entire human race is wiped out, or some other race, as the result of the aggression of another species -- yes, the suffering is a terrible thing. But that aggressor race had the same goal as my own species.

    I really don't fear death very much any more; it really is just a part of life.

    Pardon my rambling. It's amazing how a college student can write so much on your blog when they've written so little of the paper for their final exam.

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  7. I will paraphrase your statement above:
    "Freedom cannot exist in the world of Socialism any more than a fish can live out of water".

    The reason I offer this is philosophical. I analyze situations in the world to be either synthetic (inductive, subjective universalism) or analytic (deductive, objective universalism). Socialism is analytic. For it to succeed as a governing social philosophy, everyone must have the same desires and needs. For someone to have greater desires or needs than the average means that that individual does not conform to the model of society as determined from above. The individual is the enemy of socialism. The model of such a society is determined deductively: analysis determines what portion of the productive capacity of the social organization shall be allocated to each individual, in a purely mathematical determination. To want more is to be a wrecker of this plan. Ideally, the method of indoctrination to this mindset is by 'education', but if education does not work, then force is necessary. In fact, force and intimidation become the only suitable method to make members of the society comply with the overall plan of organization. You cannot be free in such a society which must determine the fate or destiny of each individual; you are told where to work, where to live, how much food you will receive and what goods you will be allowed to have. If you wish to deviate from what has been allocated to you (i.e. exceed your ration), you must make formal application to do so. If you attempt to deviate in unofficial ways (e.g. the black market), your neighbors will inform the appropriate authorities, usually for favors like extra food or maybe the approval of a job transfer or a different apartment. It is the duty of everyone in such a society to inform on 'wreckers' who would not comply with the rules of such a society. As a final attempt at education, gulags or concentration camps are used for re-education. You either see the light, or you die.
    Individuals cannot roam free in such a society; everyone must have their place and be accounted for. To not comply with the overall plan is to become an enemy of the state.
    The next step, communism, is presumably reached when every individual has completely lost their individual will and functions as an ant in an ant colony, guided by a collective consciousness. The managers are gone, the committees are gone, no plan is necessary because the collective consciousness of the group is shared by all, with no individual expression required or recognized. Should any individual have any desires different from the collective consciousness, they will be thought of as insane, and just banished or killed.
    Because of its deterministic nature, freedom is impossible in such a society.

    In answer to the question posed; "Do you work", a reasonable response would be "Do animals 'work'? The answer is of course that they do work; foraging for food much or most of the day, providing for their individual accommodation etc keeps them busy all day long, every day almost without a holiday. A holiday for an animal may be a brief rest in the sun, or for some animals, a little play. A few people live like this; they are called the 'homeless', and are often thought of as insane, or at least deranged.
    But the idea of 'work' to most humans is showing up at a job every day at a specified time; they have no concept of providing for themselves based on their own initiative.

    RobertB

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  8. I would go along with the Navajo way of being which is stated on the home page about how the rich get rich (which I suppose is subjective) but I have always had the belief that the filthy rich that we see here in US did not get that way without the abuse of others. In other words the rich only get rich off of the backs of others. We are having dialogues about this some in the US. Some believe its the American way. I watched a congressinal panel interviewing some of the bankers last year following our economic collapse. The right leaning congress people were congratualing some of the bankers like Countrywide Mozillo whose family immigrated to the US on how he was an American example of the American dream. The reality is he is an American example of the American Greed. He only got there via the cheating ways the Navajo speaks about. This Navajo, a true American, is what should demonstrate an American value one who cares about their impact and ways toward others. The above topic written on communsism is an extreme and one the right tends to use to feed on the fears of others. Their extreme is free enterprise at any cost, every person for themselves, the one with the most toys wins etc. Certainly we could at least have some form of system that could be used for everyone for fundamental basic needs such as education and healthcare.

    Thanks for clearing up some falsehoods Daniel. My experince with reading anything in the paper that I have firsthand expereince and knowledge of and with is that its common for mistakes to be made. I think partly out of laziness and being in a too much of rush to verify facts. Also some want to forumlate a story and the facts can get in the way of their story so therefore some twisting and distortion of the infomation. That and people just don't listen. Which is not good for a journalist.

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  9. Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

    http://www.YogaVidya.com/gita.html

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  10. Should I ever have the great fortune to meet you, be prepared to receive a hearty hug and kiss.

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  11. Nice blog :) Greetings from Poland - Yes u are famous now all around the world :)
    Marro

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  12. your lifestyle must be very hard I think.. but interesting. Anyway I know It's a good way and people should think about life without money, how would it be and how everything looks like without them. Greeting from Poland and I'll be waiting for next post. Michal

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  13. Dear Suelo
    You live without money but you benefit from the otehr people's help and you collect the rests from the supermarket - so the things bought by someone and thrown away. So you in fact don't use and spend money but other people spend it for you. Is that ok?
    And one more thing.
    You feel very well living like that. You feel ok, you, you. Sometimes I think your life is a perfect form of egoism. It is life for yourself.
    Do you think we should do something for the others in our life. Are you doing something for the others.
    When I read about the monks, even hermits, their goal was to live for the others not to escape from the world for my own safety and happiness.
    All the best
    wojtek

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  14. Greetings from Poland !
    Take care and Good Luck :)

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  15. Hi there,
    Your story made me smile and feel better. Sending you lots of warm feelings and greetings.When I am thinking about such life - living in a cave,using waste from supermarkets etc. even attitude to money -they are not the most important.What I like the most and would like to achieve is not judging (ourselves and others),not expecting, feeling happiness,living today - in a house or in a cave- that's everybody's choise.we can try to achieve that living "normal" lifes!
    Take care!!
    maja (also from Poland)

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  16. I'm very surprised when I lern this blog. I can't belive in exist this person"? wow. It's will be fantastic- live in nature. But i have one guestion. Why you don't breed any vegetables and fruits? This is safe meal.
    Grettings from Poland :)

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  17. Hello Daniel!
    Money are necessery in aspect of economy and organization of people, but wealth can be measured not just by money. You are proof of that.
    Take care of You!
    So... i'm Pole too :):)
    Rob
    redford@onet.eu

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  18. Thanks so much for the comments, folks. I'm also very honored to have a voice in Poland.

    I hope to check out your links, oroboros.

    Piper, I read your deleted comment in my email & liked it.

    Robin, excellent ideas I agree with. St Thomas Aquinas said, "evil has no substance, so why bother?" I feel that it is impossible for reality to hate reality, impossible for reality to believe reality is evil. We can't hate real humans, we can only hate illusions of humans we create in our minds. Only illusion can hate illusion. Example: when I am not real (sincere) I project my unrealness onto other people, and I either hate them or idolize them, neither of which is real love.

    Judi, I like your thoughts, but I wouldn't totally discount RobertB's comments. He makes good points. However, I would say RobertB isn't talking about True Socialism/Communism. True Communism is human instinct, from the heart, not created politically. I never liked using ants as an example of oppression (like in that silly movie "Antz"), but would say just the opposite. Ants have no overseers or leaders. Individual ants have no possessions, yet they store up communally for all. So how are ants so perfectly organized? Because each ant is its own individual self, running on instinct, from the heart. Nobody whips an ant into submission. Only when we are completely, uniquely ourselves as individuals, when we are completely sincere, can we realize that we are One Mind with the rest of Humanity, and live in harmony and order without governing authorities. Ants are a most perfect example of functioning anarchism and freedom, living communally. "Solomon" pointed this out thousands of years ago.

    Wojtek, please take time to read the blog entry you commented on, and read the website with Frequently Asked Questions.

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  19. I have just read about you on a polish website , i didnt go on it for so long , cuz i stoped carring what they say about politics , money , and all the things that are in news . i stopped watching Tv , the only show i watch is TYRA show lol sorry i just like this women so much (she is a supermodel ) but she has a good heart and does good things . so i watch her shows . anyways so i went to the website and i saw "living without money" article and i started reading it and i started smiling .i cant believe that someone like u exists . I love this fact that u do!sorry my english not so good but im trying my best to describe how i feel .IM young (im 22 ) and for 2 years i live with my boyfriend .I moved out from my parents because for me they were too harsh on me . they always complained that i go out late i come back late blah blah , i know they love me , but i didnt go out to do something bad..... so i hated the fact that they say i treat the house like a hotel . so i moved out .now i live in pressure ... i fall in love with this guy and he loves me trully too . i feel it , its true love . i stopped going to school because of him . to live together i have to make money for rent and bills . i stoped school and went to work . I hate the fact that everything revolves (goes around) money !!! after 2 years of living together we live under pressure , that young people like us instead of having time and learening , need to hustle to survive . and we fight about money a lot!! its all because of money . I hate it so much . monetarry system is bullshit . who came up with this shit? i agree in 100% what u do and what u say about free spirit . I feel u!!! i really do . im m interested in philosophy . im learning durning my free time , whenever im free from work . i read a lot and i question a lot . its liek im in search for truth . And i love that u are . i wish one day i can visit you or u r welcomed to visit me . here in brooklyn. warm regards -EWELINA.

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  20. human race is manipulated by other human . Ants are hard workers , Polish people say that someone is a " workoholic as an ant " ants work hard everyday to survive so they expend , they grow wiser . today people are blind they dont do work as hard as ants for better world . we let other people to decide for us , what we can what we can not , trully if we were like ants . and had one thought on mind ( how to survive how to make a better place for everybody and live freely) we would not need a president !!! the truth is that president doesnt do shit for his "anthill" .
    EWELINA,.

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  21. I have low vision and this color combination is really hard to read. Is it just me? If not, can you please adjust the colors. Otherwise I'll just cut and paste the text into another document and read it there. Thanks! Love your lifestyle, lessons and this blog.

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  22. Dear Suelo
    Thanks for your comment on my comment. I read your website better
    But as you probably presume you didn't convinced me. I still think your "philosophy" is not coherent.
    You wrote "are swallows nesting in house attics dependent upon money? Are pigeons nesting on bank skyscrapers dependent upun money?"
    Of course they are not. BUT they could live without all of this and they would survive. They just choose an easier way to get food and shelter but naturally they would survive without it.
    My question is - would you?
    Would you survive without rests from the supermarkets? Would you survive without your cloths, shoes? Would you be happy without Internet and so on?
    Try to be self-sufficient. Catch something to eat, make your own clothes. Is is possible for you? Are you not anyway in some way dependent on the society you are critisising?
    My point is - money is not evil itself. But we should do everything to make this world be a better place. But not escaping but trying to understand it better and change something.
    with respect
    wojtek

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  23. wojtek: money become evil , because it got to this point , that is bigger then life . today people do crazy things for the money. because money is power . people got atticted to money . it didnt have to be this way , but thats what "evelution" did . thats what people choosen.that way!! money were made in a good way , to make easier lives for people . 1st people exchanged gold for something they wanted . give me this i give u that . but as it proceeded people got more greedy and money become evil .

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  24. i found ur story on one of the bigest polish portals [in polish language] :) so ... we may state that u are v. famous. :)
    Now think... ur power has an influence... i am sure someone the whole world over will try to free himself becouse of this power.
    Greeeetings from Poland ;)

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  25. There are hunreds of comments of ur story here http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/1588546,2678,1,zycie_bez_pieniedzy,kioskart.html - u can translate it with google translator if u wish.

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  26. once again - till now there are over 500 threads (!!!!!) in Poland :) and some of these has a lot of added comments :)
    U know, here we recognize & appreciate freedom and nature.

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  27. I used to hold a public position and was in the local papers quite a bit. The details were NEVER correct, always half-true or just plain confused. No one should ever believe what they read in the papers, although the "gist" of the story is sometimes correct.
    -Brandon

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  28. Anonymous said...

    @Suelo
    The example of ants is given because, at least in our scientific observation and understanding, ants have no individual will or expression. They are 'hard-wired', just as a human's involuntary functions are hard-wired. That is why their system works so well. But we have consciousness that is not hard-wired; it enables us to have variable choices in the environment we exist in (other that just mechanical responses to stimuli). The 'golden key' of communism is to eliminate the wish for individual choice...
    Now, beyond that, an interesting observation. I was destroying a nest of carpenter ants that posed a threat to my house. Only one ant seemed to just stop and look at me for the longest time...a rebel? An 'anti-social' ant?
    Cheers.
    RobertB

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  29. That description sounds more like facism. Communism is more about the sharing of resources and consensus about how that is done than controlling individual thought. Grant it perhaps some communist governments have been doing both a form of communisim and facism. I thought ants had a queen they worked for and brought their finds back to. A bread crumb for the queen!

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  30. i came across this website which help people live without money www.justfortheloveofit.org
    My id there in forum is goafenny and main site too. i am in newyorkcity. just incase you want my help making best use of that site.

    Frederick Dsouza

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