Monetary Policy

Caveman Rejects Money, Blogs to Tell About it

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Interesting Details profile of a 21st century caveman:

Not Daniel Suelo. Nor his friend.

Daniel Suelo lives in a cave. Unlike the average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn't worried about the economic crisis. That's because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.

His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He's either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo.

Sounds fun! Except for all the non-fun stuff:

Mice scurry over his body in the cave, and kissing bugs sometimes suck the blood from under his fingernails while he sleeps. He shrugs off these indignities. "After all, it's their cave too," he says. I hunker down near a nest of scorpions, which crawl up the canyon walls, ignoring me. […]

What about starvation? He's never gone without a meal (friends in Moab sometimes feed him). What about getting deadly ill? It happened once, after eating a cactus he misidentified—he vomited, fell into a delirium, thought he was dying, even wrote a note for those who would find his corpse. But he got better. That it's hard is exactly the point, he says. "Hardship is a good thing. We need the challenge. Our bodies need it. Our immune systems need it. My hardships are simple, right at hand—they're manageable." [..]

Suelo is 48, and he doesn't exactly have a 401(k). "I'll do what creatures have been doing for millions of years for retirement," he says. "Why is it sad that I die in the canyon and not in the geriatric ward well-insured? I have great faith in the power of natural selection. And one day, I will be selected out."

And yes, Suelo has a blog.

NEXT: The Case for MichelleCare

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  1. Paging ChicagoTom!

    I will call this man “stupid” too. For largely the same reasons I bash on organics.

    There you go.

  2. A blog? This guy sounds like Thoreau–isolated but not really.

  3. “”I’ll do what creatures have been doing for millions of years for retirement,” he says. “Why is it sad that I die in the canyon and not in the geriatric ward well-insured? I have great faith in the power of natural selection. And one day, I will be selected out.””

    A man after my own heart.

    Just die, people. It’s very inexpensive.

  4. I think nature is going to select out Daniel Suelo a lot sooner than he thinks.

  5. It’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years.

  6. I have a soft spot for eccentrics. It doesn’t sound like he’s sponging off the taxpayers, so I say go for it.

  7. I wonder if the cactus he got sick and delirious from introduced him to Mescalito?

  8. Lonewacko? Lonewacko, is that you?

  9. I nominate fluffy for the victory.

  10. Lonewacko? Lonewacko, is that you?

    Quit changing the subject, Fluffy, and tell us what you think about Gatesgate!

  11. And yes, Suelo has a blog.

    Colonel: Right, you two hermits, stop that sketch. I think it’s silly.
    Second Hermit: What?
    Colonel: It’s silly.
    Second Hermit: What do you mean, you can’t stop it – it’s on film.
    Colonel: That doesn’t make any difference to the viewer at home, does it? Come on, get out.

  12. IS BARBARA BACH LIVING IN THE CAVE, TOO?

  13. Sorry, Matt, but Katie M-W is going to be all over your ass for that boob shot.

  14. I wish ABC would bring Cavemen back. It wasn’t that bad.

  15. I will call this man “stupid” too. For largely the same reasons I bash on organics.

    Cuz your a douchebag with a superiority complex?

    Why is this guy deserving of disdain exactly? Oh I get it, because he isn’t living his life in a way in which you approve. How very libertarian of you.

  16. Do I draw pictures of animals on walls? Sometimes. When I’m drunk.

  17. When he stands there and watches one of his children die slowly from some easily cured bacterial infection, I’ll be impressed with his dedication (but not his sanity or morality.) Putting oneself in a stressful environment is easy. A lot of people head out everyday to uncomfortable dangerous jobs they wouldn’t let their children anywhere near.

    The acid test of people’s disdain for the modern world comes when they are responsible for children. When a child starts coughing blood all the attributes of the modern industrial life that seem so deeply, deeply wrong suddenly become just minor annoyances.

  18. I was going to mention the totally rad boob shot, but Ringo’s massive head and bulbous beak takes up half the picture, so I didn’t see the knockers until the fifth or sixth viewing.

  19. As long as he isn’t begging or sponging off the dole, good for him.

    Who owns the cave?

  20. I suspect that he’ll rediscover the value of money when he’s offered his first book deal or guest spot on Oprah.

  21. I read about this guy here the other day. He agrees with TAO.

  22. As long as he isn’t begging or sponging off the dole, good for him.

    Wait what? Begging is bad? So you are against charity?

  23. I don’t care if the guy lives in a cave and dies of hantavirus transmitted by mice, if that’s his goal, but I can still think he’s a dumbass for doing it. ‘Cause, well, he is.

  24. Who owns the cave?

    Strangely unclear, at least in my reading of the story.

  25. Dude doesn’t understand natural selection–he’s already selected out. To wit: as a stinky hermit, he has little chance of reproducing now if he hasn’t done so already.

  26. In light of his embrace of natural selection let’s hope his life soon is acutely nasty, brutish and short(er).

  27. Why is this guy deserving of disdain exactly? Oh I get it, because he isn’t living his life in a way in which you approve. How very libertarian of you.

    Why, actually, it is. Because our disdain, so long as it isn’t translated into a government mandate, is an essential part of civil society, as is our freedom to express it.

    CT apparently can’t imagine anyone expressing disapproval without also wanting their disapproval codified into law.

  28. What about starvation? He’s never gone without a meal (friends in Moab sometimes feed him).

    Then he hasn’t completely divorced himself from money, he’s just using his friends as a shield between himself and modern finance. In other words, he’s only gone half the distance. I’d be much more impressed if, instead of relying on charity, he simply starved to death to show how great his values are. Like that kid in Alaska, he had some balls (just not enough food).

  29. I wonder what he would do if his friends in Moab didn’t sometimes feed him? He’s not exactly living in the most hospitable part of the world for hunting and gathering.

    More power to him, if he’s got it all figured out.

  30. He’ll be fine until Arch Hall Jr. shows up.

  31. Why is this guy deserving of disdain exactly? Oh I get it, because he isn’t living his life in a way in which you approve. How very libertarian of you.

    You do know that disdain and disapproval are basically the same thing, right? Kind of hard to have one without the other.

  32. It doesn’t sound like he’s sponging off the taxpayers, so I say go for it.

    Considering we’re all going to be paying for his health insurance in a few days (thx Blue Mutts!), we’d better hope he’s right about his immune system.

  33. Well at least he won’t be disturbed by those GEICO commercials and billboards anymore.

  34. Why is it sad that I die in the canyon and not in the geriatric ward well-insured?

    It isn’t sad. It’s actually kind of funny.

    BTW, some eastern countries (like thailand, India) are plagued with these hobo-ascetics. The bastards wander around, with their holier-than-thou, I’m too good to work, I “transcend” money” attitude. Their poor neighbors, who actually work very hard for their money are guilted into supporting the “holy men”.

    They aren’t holy men, they aren’t onto some higher truth. They’re people who can’t deal with modernity. Standard libertarian disclaimer applies, of course.

  35. CT apparently can’t imagine anyone expressing disapproval without also wanting their disapproval codified into law.

    You mean like Ron Bailey can’t imagine that anyone might choose to avoid pesticides or tasteless crap food bred for transportability and shipped across two continents without also wanting their preferences codified into law?

    I am so happy to have a new horse to beat into the ground.

  36. CT apparently can’t imagine anyone expressing disapproval without also wanting their disapproval codified into law.

    Because my mocking you judgmental pricks on this site have been accompanied by calls for codification into law the outlawing of mockers.

    RC Apparently can’t imagine characterize people based on their actions rather than on his ignorant misconceptions.

  37. characterize should be characterizing

  38. “Dude doesn’t understand natural selection–he’s already selected out. To wit: as a stinky hermit, he has little chance of reproducing now if he hasn’t done so already.”

    Sorry to burst your bubble but he’s gay, he probably wasn’t going to do much reproducing anyway. His lifestyle doesn’t bother me, why would it?

  39. Thanks to Daniel Suelo, the world is a bit of a more interesting place than it would be without him. I say let him be.

  40. Sorry to burst your bubble but he’s gay, he probably wasn’t going to do much reproducing anyway

    It rather reinforces my point. He says “I have great faith in the power of natural selection. And one day, I will be selected out.”

    Again, the dude is already selected out, or rather the copies of the genes he’s carrying are selected out, and the fact that he phrased it that way shows that he doesn’t really have a good understanding of what he’s talking about. The copies of the genes riding in his body ended up in a dead-end. Copies may continue down the germ line through other individuals, but given that he hasn’t reproduced now and won’t in the future (for whatever reason, whether stinky or gay, and by the way I’m sure that most gay people who aren’t hermits smell delightful, ra-ra for gay people, not that I’m gay myself, NTTAWWT), and as a hermit he’s not really in a position to aid the copies of his genes in other individuals, his death isn’t going to have any (further) significance for the gene pool. The damage is already done.

    I’m pretty sure, anyway. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  41. wingnutx- great mst3k reference! best show ever.

  42. wingnutx- great mst3k reference!

    That’s, uh, pretty esoteric! 🙂

  43. BTW, this guy’s gonna get rich when they pay him for the rights to Gay Caveman 2000.

  44. @Marc – My primary reason for the point being invalid is that Darwinism is almost completely irrelevant in modern society. I won’t judge him for not being genetically successful and I do get the point he is trying to convey. I mean in a literal sense he is probably already selected out, but he means that nature will weed him out when he is not capable of surviving in the wild anymore. It’s a decent analogy.

  45. Art, Wingnutx’s mst3k reference is not a food.

  46. nature will weed him out when he is not capable of surviving in the wild anymore. It’s a decent analogy

    Darwinism says nothing about the survivability of individuals. That’s the point Marc is making, and that Suelo doesn’t understand. It’s a common misapprehension.

  47. I’ll admit shamefacedly that I haven’t yet seen Eegah is it “better” or worse than Manos: The Hands of Fate?

    Also, did anyone recently waste even a moment watching Dragonball: Evolution? That movie’s so bad it’s almost worth watching.

  48. Eegah is better than Manos. Manos is so painful a movie that even Joel and the bots have a tough time making it fun. But Eegah has a little more interest and easy to make fun of characters. And “Watch out for snakes” is a great line.

  49. OK, I suspected so. It’s amazing to me that Manos is so bad not only in concept but also in all phases of execution. Truly a marvel, like a 50-car pileup.

  50. I know Manos was done by amateurs, but sheesh.

  51. CT, missing the point again:

    Because my mocking you judgmental pricks on this site have been accompanied by calls for codification into law the outlawing of mockers.

    There is nothing unlibertarian about being a judgmental prick, as long as you aren’t calling for your judgments to be codified into law.

    Thinking reflexively that anyone who is a judgmental prick can’t be a libertarian is a sign that you can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t want their judgments codified into law.

    Being unable to imagine that somebody doesn’t want their judgments codified into law is a pretty good indication that you, yourself, can’t resist wanting your judgments codified into law.

    Someone who wants their judgments codified into law is a statist.

    Ergo, CT appears to be a statist.

    Is that clear enough for you?

  52. Art, in my opinion the best MST3K episodes are: Mitchel, Werewolf, Secret Agent Super Dragon, Legend of Boggy Creek II, and Pumaman. Just some suggestions if you haven’t seen those.

  53. It happened once, after eating a cactus he misidentified-he vomited, fell into a delirium, thought he was dying,…

    Fuck, i know people who pay good money for shit like that and this guy gets it for free.

    I can’t RFTA since the link is blocked at work. The thread’ll probably be dead by the time I get home so my $.02:

    Given that he’s in SE Utah, I’d conjecture that he’s living on BLM land.

    More than likely as long as he does nothing spectacular to attract the attention of the authorities (stealing artifacts, some kind of environmental damage or commits an assault or theft) he’ll most likely be left alone. His biggest danger is from well-meaning busybodies concerned with his well-being.

    If he’s on National Park or Forest Service land on the other hand it’s possible the authoritahs might eventually take an interest.

  54. “Mice scurry over his body in the cave”

    I believe real cavemen solved this problem using cats.

  55. I’ll take those into consideration, ConHugeCo. The last few just sound fun.

  56. @ RC Dean

    Don’t forget QED.

    Protocol, don’t forget the protocol!

  57. Definitely Hobo. From the article,

    “Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he’s wearing. He’s also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. “You made it,” he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager.”

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