Michelle says: I never knew the “trickster” was considered a myth. Though I’m not particularly myth savvy to begin with, I suppose.
[Wahrheit] says: Well, consider the definition of myth that was provided in the quotation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers. And then consider the pervasive nature of the constituent elements of this trickster myth. It equates to what Tolkien had defined as a myth, even if it is not recognized as such. Would you agree?
Michelle says: Yes. I just don’t understand why people would blindly follow the trickster, just because they’re “happy.” This baffles me.
[Wahrheit] says: Because to uphold virtue is useless. There is nothing challenging which virtue can be used as a sword against. Due to the fact that we have sterilized the world in the manner I spoke with you about earlier. As such, to uphold virtue only serves the purpose of restraining desire for no reason. If we were to re-arrange our perspective and our actions upon a teleology of overcoming, than the myth of the virtuous warrior would be a valuable inspiration.
Michelle says: I still don’t think I understand it. I mean, in the sense that why can’t there still be virtue in the world? Why are we so desensitized? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have this sort of romantically naive view of the world. Or maybe I’m just misinterpreting the blog entirely.
[Wahrheit] says: It’s not that virtue cannot exist, it’s that it serves no essential purpose to the average individual anymore. Virtue is heroic, it is a reaction to challenge. Virtue is saying that even if you are to die facing some great onslaught, that you will still place every bit of effort into facing that onslaught, because that is your heart’s desire. But there are no more great onslaughts. Why do you think so many people are broken, depressed, and driven to suicide today? If virtue is a reaction to challenge, and challenge is imparted through conflict, and purpose is made by determining how to react to conflict, than we have destroyed purpose. By trying our best to eliminate conflict. And purpose is essential to consciousness.
The conscious being defines stimuli by placing them within a categorical hierarchy, and to place something in a hierarchy is to determine what level of importance it has in order to determine what reaction is appropriate for that something. But, that process has been rendered useless. There is no point anymore, to the modern man, to create purpose. “We have created happiness.” They say, with no expression, and they blink, to paraphrase Nietzsche. Does that make sense?
Michelle says: I suppose it does. But I don’t understand why it isn’t still there. And maybe we just can’t see it.
[Wahrheit] says: Virtue will always be there. Virtue is an eternal truth.
Michelle says: Yes.
[Wahrheit] says: The cosmos is designed to include conflict. Thus, a reaction to conflict is part of the design of the cosmos. We are just futilely attempting to rail against that, because we are unhappy that the cosmos does not exist in a state of equilibrium. If you understand this concept, then you are on your way to understanding God. Not to sound dramatic.
Michelle says: Not at all! I understand it, but I also question it.
[Wahrheit] says: Unless I’m mistaken, you questioned why people act in the manner I described. You basically asked “Why is that necessary?” Am I correct?
Michelle says: Yes.
[Wahrheit] says: Well, I’m asking the same question. I don’t think we are at odds.
Michelle says: That’s good to know!
[Wahrheit] says: Did you honestly think I was advocating modernity while I was diagnosing it?
Michelle says: Oh, no. I was pretty sure you weren’t. Though I was just expecting you to have some sort of answer to go along with it all.
[Wahrheit] says: Oh, I do. The answer is implied in the diagnosis. Re-evaluation of all values. As of now, we value safety, comfort, and happiness. This has made the world what it is. If this is a problem, then we should re-evaluate our values. We should en-value conflict, and reaction to conflict. Heroism.
Michelle says: I think you’re right. People are in love with the idea of it, but don’t want to put forth the effort to bring about the change. Because of what it entails. It threatens their comfort, their safety.
[Wahrheit] says: Exactly. We must remake ourselves into innocence, into open-hearted, forward-standing individuals. Individuals who will do whatever is necessary to experience life in a capacity that is fulfilling and pro-generative. Pro-generative meaning producing further challenges and goals in order to sustain purpose.
This unnecessary deception, social pandering, and selling of symbols and of “self” to each other in order to desperately fill in the void of purpose that we have engaged in, we call this wisdom. We call it wisdom because it based on the “fact” that there are no absolutely tangible examples of virtue, and thus virtue is subjective, but we have only become depraved, not wise. Wise and unhappy is not a totally accurate description; true wisdom would account our need for purpose. And so I advocate the adoption of what Nietzsche calls The Joyful Wisdom, which is that wisdom which accounts for purpose, and the ability of conflict, and heroic effort against conflict, to create purpose.
Burn all values until we reach this point.
We shall become like children again. Virtue, and the grave facing off of it with challenge, shall not be necessary in order to make the world safe. It will be our toy, our game, our playfully living life and shaping ourselves into calm warriors simply for the love of what life is: a perfect machine, a design, a system for creating purpose. Those who love life rejoice at this concept: We shall become like children again.
Michelle says: I always thought adults were just taller children. Tall, disillusioned children. Though I get what you’re saying. So many people just become tired of life. If we truly were like children again, everything would be fascinating. We’d be eager to learn, to wake up the next day and explore.”
Friends are good for reminding you of these things. I’m Michelle, by the way.
The American dream, of a white picket fence around a tidy suburban house, should die.
This dream was born of the American ideal, which was that we had this new land where everyone could make the best of themselves.
That notion ran facefirst into technology and the post-WWII industrial boom that took former floor sweepers and turned them into a new lower middle class.
We’ve continued that process of democratization by dumbing down education, and dumbing down jobs, so that everyone who is even marginally competent — or of a protected gender, ethnic group or sexual orientation — can make a decent income a year.
Multiply that by two, and you’ve got a lot of people who can suddenly afford a house. Unfortunately for them, in most of the country, housing close to their jobs is expensive.
Banks being banks saw opportunity and did what they always do: write riskier loans, for a fee, knowing that across the board they’d come out ahead.
Consumers being opportunists as well, they signed these dubious papers, generated by computers and reserving all rights to the banks. Had the economy continued its Clinton-era upward boom, all would have turned out well.
However, there was a worm in the rose: the Clinton-era boom relied on easy faux value generated by the internet dot-com boom, most of which did not generate any real value. Even worse, most of it is a house of cards based on the assumption that blasting people with advertisements is working (we know it’s cheaper, and it reaches people; it’s unclear whether it reaches the consumers who want to buy the advertised product).
So when the Clinton-era currency of artificially inflated value had to confront its real test, which is whether it transferred into real goods, the economy hit a stack of woes. This was at the turn of the millennium and we were “lucky,” economically speaking, to have a war going to thrust money into the economy and keep it moving. Unfortunately, that was only a brief respite, and the piper had to be paid for all that false wealth.
Now the citizens — never well-informed — want gubbmint to step in and save them from their own opportunism:
Even if the paperwork was faulty, the fact remains that most homeowners in foreclosure have not paid their bills, often because they bought more house than they could afford or because they lost their jobs. As a result, they will most likely lose their homes eventually, once the banks clean up their paperwork and resolve any outstanding legal issues.
“We believe that the overwhelming majority of the cases will be that the loan was seriously delinquent and needed to go to foreclosure,” said Paul Leonard, vice president for government affairs of the housing policy council at the Financial Services Roundtable, an advocacy group for the nation’s largest financial institutions. – NYT
Fond notions of equality, meet hard reality: even if as the article asserts there are many paperwork errors, not all cases by a vast majority are paperwork errors. Most are consumer error.
Yes, if the fake money had just stayed valuable! If the economy had kept growing! …for another 25 years, to match the terms of the loans, of course — but if that had happened, everything would be fine! So we’re told.
But I think it’s time we question the democratic “right” of people to own houses. If the epidemic of people not reading paperwork before they sign it, and trusting banks, wasn’t a sure sign that we’re heading into Idiocracy territory, maybe the treatment of their houses will show us.
Go into the average American neighborhood where household income is below $140,000 a year — that’s the cutoff point that divides our middle classes between those who are faking it, and those who can actually afford what they’ll need to. Take a look around that neighborhood.
Here’s what you’ll see:
Neglected animals. In the morning, the dog goes out into the backyard and the iPod goes onto the charger; in the evening, the process is reversed. All day long the iPod charges and the dog barks alone in the heat/cold.
Piles of poorly-reasoned purchases. You needed the electric singing fish. It’s important. You bought it. Maybe you bought another for Uncle Frank. Now they languish in your garage, next to the bread-makers, old TVs and $400 Dell computers, and other ill-advised purchases. If you lived in an apartment, you’d have to actually throw them out. But now you have… a garage. Fill it to the brim!
Omitted maintenance. It isn’t fun to cut the grass, really, but you have to do it. Might as well trim the weeds growing over the curb too. It wouldn’t hurt to prune the trees, but you’ll pay some fly-by-night a couple hundred to half-ass that. He’ll cut off the lower branches and go home, while your top-heavy tree awaits a good soaking and strong wind to become a fifty-thousand-dollar insurance liability crashing through your kitchen. Rats in the attic? Throw poison; don’t find the holes. Don’t worry about painting the house or water-sealing. It’ll be foreclosed by the time it decays anyway.
Poor life decisions. The usual flood of teenage pregnancies, alcohol abuse, wrecked cars, trashcans bulging with half-eaten food, and jobs failed because you were hungover and didn’t really understand. All of this adds up to a huge amount of mess and waste.
Even better, however, is that because this flood of people exists, the builders keep going crazy. They find a big patch of land, cut down most of the trees, and put up homes, often using illegal or recently-arrived labor, which they lobby politicians to legalize. They then sell these at a vast profit, transforming mediocre builders into millionaires overnight.
We have many critics of capitalism and corporations in this country, but almost no one willing to point out the obvious: the callow selfishness and disconnect with reality of the American consumer makes them a destructive force.
In the process, they get taken advantage of, but judging by their poor judgment that would happen anyway. The point is that what drives capitalism and corporations is what the buyers will bear, and if the buyers are oblivious and careless, industry itself becomes geared toward corrupt goals.
The situation, by the way, is worse in apartments; the only reason we don’t notice it is that apartments, being smaller than houses, have to be cleared of the wreckage. Throw it in the dumpster at the end of the lot and it goes away forever with no trouble to you.
When the aliens conduct a postmortem on our civilization, how many singing electric fish will they dig out of the landfills? “Very odd. These are still functional, like they just got tired of them. Must be a religious artifact.”
Looking at all those now-empty homes, we might feel a twinge of regret as we realize that these people would be better off in apartments, and perhaps better off protected from their own insane desires, appetites and urges.
They’re not the only ones. Our forests and natural lands would be better off protected from their urges, too. Each house is — including road, access ramp and neighborhood mall — roughly an acre of forest reduced. And we have infinite people who will want their own homes in the future. Where does it stop?
If you want to really think toward the future, don’t blame the banks. They’re just doing what banks do. And don’t blame the consumer — they’re just doing what they do. Instead, limit both because without some kind of regulation of their desires, they will consume the world, leaving a trail of discarded toys and empty decomposing homes.
The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans produced a series of informational advertisements representing the Confederate point of view on the War Between the States. These short commercials clarified key facts about the South’s motivation, the progress of the war and the underlying reasons for the war. They aired briefly until they were removed due to one (1) complaint.
I received an email on Saturday morning (10/23/2010) from Mr. Timothy F. Pilgrim – Adjutant, Georgia Division of the SCV – regarding the excellent series of videos that they produced. It appears that the History Channel received a complaint from a liberal blogger and Friday they reacted as liberals so often do – they have pulled the videos from their broadcast schedule.
As common as this sort of thing is, I would think that it would no longer shock me, but it does. The irony of this is a thing of beauty. Here we have a major media outlet, calling itself the History Channel, pulling a series of paid videos that present historical facts that go against what today is accepted as unquestionable fact in America. What are they afraid of? What is so dangerous about this information that they would turn away paid advertising to keep it from being shown? – Confederate Colonel
If you’d like to see these dangerous ideas for yourself, and decide whether you would ban them on your own screen or not, here are the commercials in their entirety, aired and unaired. Owing to the complaint, only a handful were shown, but you can see them all here:
Geology is an interesting subject, it studies the macrocosm of Earth and how its dimensions are the very support that allows biology to exist.
In this sense planetary geologists observe higher dimensions to that of biology, of which biology is almost entirely dependent. We call the interaction of geology and biology an ecology.
Life as we know it wouldn’t be as complex without these dimensions which provide a supportive framework, something that can be called a support niche.
As the Earth is just one planet, it itself is a successful niche in amongst billions of others across the universe. Perhaps some more or less supportive of complexity – the Sun also being a support niche to the Earth, the Milky Way supporting the Sun, and so on.
Now this is a hierarchal framework, we humans can take this and apply to everything we do. It is essentially philosophical and is our meta-geology, meta-science, meta-physics of the living world.
Let’s take this further.
Geology helps our understanding of reality through the interaction of grouped materials similar enough in qualities to generate distinctive entities, different dimensions. A geologic dimension being a part of a cosmic whole, seperate and occupying another form within space to that of another – together they create an interactive support framework, a structure that defines reality.
Observe the Earth, there is four immediate dimensions formed from a quantity of different elements; the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and the core. These four dimensions form our basic understanding of geology, the four dimensions have different qualities, yet constantly fighting one another.
In ancient western thought, these elementals were called simply Air, Water, Earth and Fire, these are symbolic of what is being described by geologic dimensionalism. This can also be taken further to include space, as this also is a dimension of its own, it is a spacious, immaterium that provides the support framework for the four main groups which constitute our plane.
How these dimensions battle for dominance is essentially generative of evolution. We can think of the Earth’s natural history and group the four dimensions into two parental ones; the heavy elements and the light elements, solid/ magma and gas. One is tugged toward the core the other is toward space, one heavy enough to fall firm toward material, one light enough to reach into the immaterial.
Here the Earth’s surface is molten rock and there is no ocean, it is still growing in mass and hasn’t the support for it.
The gradual out-gassing of lighter elements from comet and asteroid debris, along with the oozing up of gases from the centre of the Earth (through radioactive elements decaying in the core) generates a dense atmosphere about the world.
This is geologic dimensionalism, it is between the interaction of these dimensions that a localised branch of evolution is created. The oceans and the atmosphere evolved from the land and core and other contributions from space which gave the Earth its mass.
Once it had enough mass, the atmosphere could be sustained due to the increased gravitational enthalpy, after which, liquid accumulated in the skies until such a time where the molten surface of the Earth cooled enough to allow a thousand year rain that drowned the lowliest trenches of its creation into an entirely new dimension able to expand the support niche on this world.
As the oceans slowly raised themselves, the molten rock on the surface cooled and solidified into the crust, this is the bedrock of our known biosphere, and upon it now rests an atmosphere of increased pressure and relatively equalised temperature to preserve Earth from extreme temperature fluctuations.
With this stable climate, liquid water is able to exist between the two dimensions of land and atmosphere, therefore these two have essentially created a support framework for another dimension within this duality.
Now the combined efforts of land and atmosphere shift and mould the oceans, the atmosphere absorbs the evaporated moisture and transports this onto the farthest reaches of the land, it brings the two dimensions into interaction, between them gullies and lakes mix up basic elements into sophisticated molecular complexes, which further increased the support niche of the biosphere.
Further still, due to the proximity of a Moon, much closer to Earth here than is today, an enormous molten space rock taking up a chunk of the sky as it orbits close to the Earth, ripping the tides into tsunamis across the edges of the land. How the tides whipped up the ocean into a conquest of volcanically savaged terrain, throwing up all kinds of atomic prerequisites for organic compounds to generate.
This chaos is bringing all four dimensions of land, ocean, atmosphere and core into a fierce onslaught – between them all lies the creation of biological life. Complexity is the by-product of this interaction.
Bubbles are a simple life form in this sense, a complexity arising between gas and liquid, now with other elements in the mix, it becomes a mixture of organic molecules (amino acids) in amongst the interaction of the atmosphere, oceans and nutrients in them from the land.
With a bolt of plasma from the lightning, catalyses organic molecules, creating them into chain complexes like ribonucleic acid. These propagate like a virus and widens the support niche; from this the they fuse into deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA also popularised as Life.
Each time the complexity of the interaction (between dimensions) is significantly leaped, it creates and conquests a higher support niche, like a singularity, an intersection where all lines cross, even if momentarily; that creates further niches for complexity to emerge and propagate with relatively little competition.
In a historical context; the emergence of unicellular organisms, multicellular organisms, plants evolving onto the land, the emergence of pollen and with this tall structural and flowering plants (significantly transforming a brown landmass into a green, forestry), animals emerging from the oceans onto the land, the emergence of speech between animals, of tools, of civilization, of technology, to the first materialised deities of Earth that may yet to become.
Each succession overruns a boundary of existence, it takes from the dimension of unexistence and brings this subjectively into the objective world; like foam raising the volume and complexity of space, breaking the symmetry.
In doing so it increases the support niche, or provides the dimension to which a future interaction will emerge fresh complexities in amongst the others.
Now make some use of this, change the prefix of dimensionalism toward; Political, Cultural, Social, Economic, Caste to name a few examples, and find their sub groups whilst trying to intuit how eachinteracts with others to create a support niche that sustains and evolves complexity.
We have made one world culture, and it is based on us all getting along. We do that by giving up on events of actual meaning, and concerning ourselves instead with the surface trends. Since that as a life-path is unfulfilling, we are constant searching for “uplifting” stories and memes to make us forget our lives are plastic and hollow.
Check out this tweegasm:
The German-Turkish director of Head-On and The Edge of Heaven cooks up a fresh comedy with the award-winning Soul Kitchen. Hamburg restaurateur Zinos (co-screenwriter Adam Bousdoukos) is heartbroken after his girlfriend departs for Shanghai, but his Soul Kitchen is reinvigorated, thanks to a scary but talented new chef, a rock band, his ex-con brother and his gambling buddies, and a childhood friend with questionable motives.
Mouthwatering shots of food preparation, over-the-top personality clashes, and a chaotic unfolding of circumstances (good and bad) combine into a hilariously entertaining story of self-realization, set to an irresistibly soulful soundtrack. – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Film
What is this, Eat Pray Love? All modern culture has the same plot:
Revolution. Misunderstood geeks get bullied by jocks, rise up and take charge. Everyone is now equal.
Compensation. Our lives are a neurotic mess; they must get more neurotic to get better. We all compensate with food and wine. Everyone is equal.
Police Action. Neurotic heroes are busy screwing around, then realize they’ve got to save the world from people who don’t believe in equality. The good guy gets beat up (twice) then turns it around from sheer willpower, and the world is saved. Everyone is now equal.
Descent. Because no one can be neurotic enough to be truly harmless, a character descends into his or her neurotic delirium — preferably a unique and ironic blend of sex, drink, drugs and shopping — only to find true love in an abandoned puppy, or similarly neurotic person of the desired gender. We are left to assume that everyone is now equal.
Whenever people ask you why you oppose modernity, you might point out that not only does our art suck, but it’s also boring. You can listen to Beethoven your whole life. Listening to Lady Gaga or Deerhoof for your whole life is like a jail sentence. And watching movies like these just because someone said they were “arty” is enough to kill you with carefully-disguised boredom.
We like to think that at some point, we broke away from the past. The past: nasty, brutish, short lives in which ignorance was a constant companion and our only hope was religion, which had us believe we were immortal.
In contrast, we like to think, we’re now enlightened and have risen past that primitive stage and are conquering all of human problems step by step with infallible rationality, and a respect for every being.
A more likely scenario is that if people were deluded then, and we came from them, we’ve just found a new way to be deluded. Some likely points of discussion:
There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. – PLoS Medicine
Science is like our new religion. It’s so hilariously beyond critique that it even got satirized successfully in the video game Portal, where a range of sadistic experiments were justified in the name of science. Politicians bow before it. Normal people fear to criticize it. Scientists wield great power — and reap great profits.
If millions of people want their research to show a certain finding, it probably should. Within five years they’ll have published the book, done the talk show circuit, and maybe even had a movie made about their valiant search for “truth.” At that point, they’re basically retired if they want it, or can lead their own laboratory because they have proven earnings potential.
But just like the Vatican in 1602, the scientific establishment fights back against any accusations that it is anything less than the divine word of truth. In 408 years, maybe the proles will be angry about that, too. They’re too busy now patting themselves on the back for getting rid of superstition, yet there’s a glitch:
“What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.
The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity. Do dreams foretell the future? Did ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis exist? Can places be haunted? Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Will creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster someday be discovered by science?
The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did. – WSJ
Religion, as a unified system of thought, answers questions that most people do not have time or the inclination to answer for themselves. Many also lack the ability. But most fundamentally, they’re busy. Busy having jobs and family, relaxing on weekends with hobbies so they can do it again the next week. They want a reason to trust someone, to trust and revere life, and religion gives it to them.
In place of truly “organized,” meaning logically self-consistent and orderly, religion we get the bugshit crazy superstitions that belong on late-night infomercials and $1 books they sell in dodgy truck stops. Maybe the Mayans did invent television, or Bermuda Triangle swallows souls, but more likely, it’s easy to make drama out of relatively little data. (If UFOs show up here on earth, many of our current “UFOlogists” are in trouble because the truth will not match their overhyped, radical claims.)
So again, in our modern wisdom, we have deposed centuries of learning and replaced it with The National Enquirer on steroids. Brilliant, really.
And then we’ve got a final tidbit here bashing one of our favorite illusions here, which is that more than one group, culture or values system can occupy the same place at the same time and not either (a) exist in conflict or (b) dumb each other down to an average with none of the specialized adaptations of any group intact:
No doubt there’s a strong sentiment at play that if you turn your back on them for five minutes those kooky Germans will be marching in jackboots and stiff uniforms on a banner-festooned Brandenburg Gate to launch the glorious Fourth Reich. Therefore, many might feel, the Germans themselves should have no opinions at all on the conduct of immigrants, assimilation, preservation of German values and the like. And since anyplace, anytime, can turn into Weimar in the 1930’s, multiculturalism is a good thing everywhere as a ready antidote. In this scenario, cynical politicians are forever ‘courting’ and ‘exploiting’ and ‘playing to’ and ‘placating’ eternally immutable and globally indigenous – the oxymoron is intentional – neo-fascist elements in order to scare up a few extra votes when they’re in trouble for incompetence in other matters such as the economy. In The Guardian’s report on Merkel’s speech, the first sentence reads “The German Chancellor has courted anti-immigrant opinion,,,” and goes on to talk about a “lurch to the right to placate that element in her party”.
Victor Hanson Davis once said that we should beware of automatically portraying diversity as an absolute virtue (a kind of categorical imperative in the Kantian phrase). He pointed out that the Nazi forces invading Russia featured plenty of diversity – Ukrainians, Poles, Circassians, Chechens, Muslims and others. One might add that the Soviet occupation of anywhere was always ethnically diverse. I drove around various Russian checkpoints during Moscow’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and was astonished to see ethnic Chechens, Koreans, Central Asians in Russian uniform. Empires are usually diverse and they’re forever invading others. A Greek and a Turk beating up a geriatric German – how’s that for diversity? There is even a kind of Darwinian tinge to the lazy peddling of diversity as the new gospel: it’s a healthy phenomenon in nature and therefore must be good for society. Consider that notion for a moment. Survival of the fittest anyone? The closer you scrutinize the diversity mantra, the more contradictory and muddled it looks. I always wonder: why are we anxious to preserve the culture of Amazonian Indians from enforced diversity and integration and not, say, the culture of France? – Forbes
Every age has its moron mantras, which amount to little more than superstition. What’s superstition?
Superstition is confusing proximate events for cause and effect; it usually happens when something symbolic, or visually/emotionally important, appears near to an event that is economically or socially important.
Basically, it’s our big heads fooling us into thinking the emotional event in our big heads triggers the event in reality. It’s an inversion of cause and effect: we think our emotion caused the event, but really, our emotion is the effect of what the event signifies, like “thank the gods for rain, so now we eat this season!”
Diversity is the latest moron mantra. The United States and Europe threw their last real resources into WWII, and then they botched it, as all democracies do. The war is over; who cares about the cleanup? The “Greatest Generation” ignored the threat of communist revolution, itself an outpouring of the populist revolutions related to the events of 1789 in France, and so the next fifty years were spent in constant low-grade warfare.
At the end of it, America was exhausted as was Europe, and we had built up a dangerous myth of freedom. To our founding fathers, freedom meant a lack of interference by small-minded governments. In the new American dogma, it meant do whatever you want, whenever you want! — as long as you can afford it.
We claimed we were better than the Soviets because we had freedom. The Soviets fell; the dogma remained. And then it became a race to the bottom, because if you wanted to unseat someone in America or Europe, you claimed to offer more “freedom” than they did.
This joined a long narrative of granting “rights” to previously unrepresented groups, assuming that political rights were their only source of power. Did women have power before the vote? Yes, but no one will admit that. Instead, we like to think that we as a society in an ecstasy of enlightenment granted them those rights. See how selfless we are! How different, how altruistic? Not like those shady Sovs.
Diversity was another step in this process, but went radically overboard because of a few things. First, many race riots wracked America from the 1960s to the 1990s. Second, we needed a new reason why we were ahead of our post-Soviet competitors, including Europe.
Finally, we were hoping for an easy answer: who will replenish our people, breeding below replacement levels as they get education, neurosis and dipsomaniac habits and as a result become incompetent at marriage? Who is the next generation of industry, and of warriors, who will help us crush the next enemy? Can’t someone just do it for us?
Into that walked an old and ugly American myth, which is that of the noble savage. It’s both condescending and benevolent. The benevolent part is that we assume anyone outside of white European culture has vast inner wisdom; the ugly part is that we assume this is true because they are simple people (compare to European peasant-worship in the years leading up to 1789) and have held on to animal truths through their simplicity. Add the noble savage myth to the need for a breath of fresh air in a dying civilization, and you have diversity as religion!
These are just a handful of our many illusions. Among others: that we, the people, are not responsible for the leaders we elect or the corporations who sell us wasteful products, because we were manipulated. That we are all the same inside, so the same guy who is our janitor now could be our president. That global warming is our only environmental problem. On and on, South of Heaven.
On this blog we often talk about how people cannot think from cause to effect, but are only able to compare effects and like mute fetuses, wave their tiny little hands and shout while their obese bodies jiggle in outrage.
This is why politicians ignore and manipulate you, average citizen: you don’t understand how government works, like you don’t understand even the basics of how your car or computer work, like how you couldn’t successfully run a farm, or even excise an infected appendix. So you get the Saturday morning cartoon version because if they told you the truth, you’d be sure they were wrong.
Republicans, as the party closest to “this is how it works, son” are at a disadvantage because they try to explain more of the truth. “We need a source of income to pay for that or we devalue our currency” can never compete with a Democrat saying “and it’s all free!”
Democrats and some silly Libertarians, Republicans and other armchair make-work do-nothings are warming up their bloviation over legalizing drugs. I’m all for legalizing drugs — in California. The governmental framework to do that lasted from 1776-1789, and later in the South from 1861-1865. That would enable states to define their attitude toward drugs (and other issues) apart from federal law.
If we let California legalize drugs, as they have already de facto done, we get to watch the results. Luckily for California, the internet, defense and media industries produce so much cash that they can carry a huge load of parasites, slackers, fools, etc. The real cost comes in thirty years when these people start retiring or being hospitalized for having lived in oblivion.
From my personal experience, drugs and alcohol are generally bad news. Some people use them casually, but that generally doesn’t last. Soon it becomes part of the lifestyle, and whether you’re the good liberals buying three bottles of wine a week, or the hardcore stoner with ten varieties of Kush, you get a hazy view of life. You conveniently forget or leave out things. You glide over the troublesome stuff you should focus on, and focus instead on pleasant visions. Life imitates drugs.
This is why California is the “we’ll fix it in post-production” state, an overhyped arcology which sells itself hard and then fails to deliver on the details, leaving problems for the next generation like the eddies around the heaving stroke of a powerful swimmer. When California passes, all you see is turbulent water, but while it was passing, you saw a vision worthy of an adventure film. The stoned state is the illusion state.
But in the meantime, they want us all to legalize drugs, so if the experiment goes wrong, at least we all go down together:
According to a report released Friday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the N.A.A.C.P. and led by Prof. Harry Levine, a sociologist at the City University of New York: “In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half-a-million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially men.”
For instance, the report says that the City of Los Angeles “arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.”
This imbalance is not specific to California; it exists across the country.
One could justify this on some level if, in fact, young blacks and Hispanics were using marijuana more than young whites, but that isn’t the case. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young white people consistently report higher marijuana use than blacks or Hispanics. – NYT
I can only handle so many bad logical statements at a time. First, surveys do not compare to real world data. People exaggerate on surveys to impress others or hide dangerous truths. Those who are trying to climb socially probably answer more conservatively than the entitled. At least, I would.
But the main point here is this: Democrats, who see the world as a flat logical construct made up of effects without causes, assume the drug war is about drugs.
Here’s the grim reality: it’s not. It’s about:
Morality. People who like to get intoxicated hate life. If your life requires the boost of grape or herb, you’re missing something that you should be getting from a sense of fulfillment in life. You don’t have that, so instead you warp your brain temporarily so you get the good feeling without having achieved the tangible real-world results that give you an honest good feelings. Yes, I know I sound 85 and embittered, but from my experience of watching my generation fuck up on drugs — mostly genteel wine-drinking and pinkie-lifted joint smoking — this is my conclusion.
Criminality. The people who can least resist their desires for sex, intoxication and food are those who are most prone to be criminal. Think about this for a moment: criminality is a shortcut to income or having nice things. Drugs, casual sex and insane appetites are a shortcut to feeling good without having much to feel good about. People who don’t have much to feel good about are the ones most likely to roll the dice on crime, and to work in low-income jobs for impulsive people lacking self-control. There’s a causal relationship here: they’re in these jobs because they lack desire/impulse control, and they also commit crimes for the same reason. They take drugs for the same reason too, which is why police departments love to keep drugs illegal. The guy you bust for drugs is more likely to be involved in other criminal activity than a sober one. It gives you a great excuse to bust him, put his fingerprints on file, and keep track of his ass. Same way busting women for prostitution or public lewdness puts them in the file. They can’t admit this in public of course.
Secondary costs. The vast majority of people on drugs screw up even their simple jobs. Why: they are on drugs. They’re either up and not paying much attention (who could, with these flying gnomes yelling at me in Japanese) or they’re down and enervated, dragging until they can find another spike. When they drive, this is a problem. They sometimes accidentally throw out functioning objects. They make questionable life decisions, and leave messes behind for others to clean up. Just like winos love to shit on the floor, drug users leave a trail of wreckage strewn behind them because they are by definition schizoid, or divided between drug-reality and sad-cold-hard-reality, and neurotic, in that they end up introspective without any outside referents. Imagine someone afflicted at random by temporary insanity. A wrecking ball for everything around them? Yes. So jail them.
You will not see these reasons in the mainstream media because they are highly offensive. They point us toward our morality: we are not the creators of ourselves, and in fact, we can easily not be in control and become complete disasters. We may need to be protected from some things because the vast majority of us will screw them up.
Sure, there are some people who seem to handle drugs just fine. Hunter S. Thompson and William S. Burroughs come to mind. It makes sense to me that such people just be given access to drugs. Then again, Thompson shot himself in depression and Burroughs fought most of his life to stay off junk, so maybe my examples are poor.
For people who are not high intensity writers like Thompson and Burroughs, namely the 99.999% rest-of-us, drugs are probably a bad idea. This truth is offensive. Doubly offensive is the truth that we bust people for drugs because drug user correlates with other activities that are destructive. Even more offensive is that we consider anything you do with “your body” to have consequences outside of that body. Yet all of the above is true and if you think about it a little while, you’ll see why.
Say you walk into a building at which you’re employed. You feel businesslike – coat, computer bag over shoulder, maybe a cup of coffee or tea in hand. Others look similar and climb into the elevator with you. Buttons are pressed.
Your eyes venture, but never into other eyes. Stainless steel walls in this contraption affirm your businesslike presence. At this point, are you not just an extension of these mechanisms with which you interact and rely on just to begin a day of productivity?
Then you salivate, swallow, cough. Others in the elevator pretend not to notice, but they do. Germs? Is that guy sick? Did he cover his mouth? Maybe you feel more human now.
Many of us leave the workplace each day only to catch up on television or hit a local bar. Either of those activities may make us feel alive but when the TV is turned off or the bar closed, most simply limp home to bed. This allows us to turn off further thought until the next morning, when the process repeats.
This type of “individualism” may ultimately lead to collectivism, because many of us want the same thing with different labels. For example, we believe the Polo socks, Banana Republic pants, and Claiborne shirt are enough to announce us as different, even while we herd into metal elevators and stroll over to our cubicle space.
From bodily functions to unplanned social interactions, we are human to the core. The lack of balance in our lives is embodied in that steel cage-like elevator and mindless job fit enough for a robot. We don’t try to fix what’s wrong with our processes – the ones that drive us each day to get up, shower, arrive at work dreary-eyed. That is human to a tee, and unfortunately it’s all too normal.
Most of the time we spend is on mindless work, and as a result, we lash out when we can in bursts – junk food, entertainment, the bar scene. It’s like an extension of modern-day education: you know you’re stuck in a building for eight hours (sound familiar?), but it doesn’t make you accept it any less because deep down, you feel passion in your life burning out.
Maybe when you’re young, you don’t feel it burning out in quite as pronounced a fashion, but there’s something off with eight hours of boredom day in, day out. That’s the reason children look forward to recess, and only resent authority more as they grow older and more intelligent. Even recess is regulated now. No physical contact was a big recess rule over twenty years ago; one hesitates to imagine what recess must be like in 2010.
In denying humanity from an early age, and over socializing the individual snowflakes we call our children, we create robots who are beaten into submission to do what they’re told, only to find that some of them are in fact individuals – more individual than we’ve planned.
These would be your shoot-em-up types, the ones that get sick of the mindless game and feel no opportunity at home or at school to lash out or be human – so if guns are nearby, why not end it in a blaze of glory? Unfortunately, options are limited at a young age, so lashing out involves a wide spectrum – not just conforming or shooting people.
Diagnoses of ADD and ADHD have skyrocketed in recent years, but when you think about how much more careful most people are with issues of reproduction – not drinking wine, not doing anything to damage a fetus – it’s unlikely these are new chemical imbalances in chlidren manifesting themselves in the classroom. Education hasn’t changed significantly in over 50 years. So what’s new?
Perhaps its our evolving methodology about how to deal with children. We think back to individualism actually leading to collectivism, and it makes some more sense. Modern kids go into a classroom, many from different backgrounds and no real common cultural thread. Some are more tolerant of eight-hour work days at the ripe age of six years old, some not so much. Those who are not are treated as the special snowflakes they are with specialized instruction, individual time with the teacher so they can catch up to everyone else – and be the same as everyone else. If they continue to resist, they are labeled problem children, or worse, assigned “special education”.
Never mind that the material doesn’t change to suit different needs – and never mind that would be more useful: find the strengths of people and focus on those strengths, while addressing weaknesses.
Instead, we do what’s easy and label it as pandering to the individual student mind. All this despite the widening disconnect between parents who want education to be day care and education, and educators who want to get through the next school year without having to stash whiskey in their desks.
Marriage and long-term relationships face a difficult future not because of the economy, but because we’ve trashed the idea of sex as a means to an end — the family. A culture shift in the 1960s and 1970s allowed people to trivialize sex, but the process started long before, and the “sexual revolution” was more the seams of our formerly great culture bursting.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it also causes people who have been affected by these problems to assume that institutions in and of themselves are faulty due to the end result of societal problems, rather than looking at root causes.
For example: America wins World War II. The economy booms. People have plenty of money and resources. Pleased with ourselves, we realize it was wrong to disallow certain people to vote, and wrong to discriminate – this country of plenty can provide for anyone, so everyone should have a say in how it’s run.
As other writers in this blog have noted, however, this “revolution” really began in 1789, a result of The Enlightenment.
Even science and medicine fell prey to this new paradigm of throwing out all the old methods, even the ones that worked. Psychologists pandered to children, coddling egos instead of using disciplinary measures to address problems. Nurses told mothers to pump out their breast milk and throw it away in favor of formula.
Society put the cart before the horse, because we assumed that external things like institutions regulated results, not intentions/nature/moral standing.
And how did all that feminism, liberation, etc. work out in 2010?
As long as marriage remains an institution designed to suck the lifeblood out of men for the benefit of lawyers, the government and women, it will continue to weaken until it meets its well-deserved demise.
OK, there’s a couple of things going on here, per the writer: marriage is parasitic, and it will “continue to weaken until it meets its well-deserved demise”.
Again, cart before horse: marriage is parasitic when waged by parasites, but wonderful and joyful in the hands of those competent of building lives with others. As for well-deserved demise, seems like alarmist hype to anyone capable of a real relationship.
Sex and pleasure are means to an end, much like displeasure and pain are means to an end. These force us to evolve, grow, develop technology — but when we look back, humanity suffered through more than we could tolerate today.
Statistically, marriage may be fading with this recession, but it’s not the economy killing it:
Recently released Census Bureau figures reveal that in 2009 the proportion of married Americans fell lower than ever, dropping 5% in the last 9 years alone. Compared to 57% in 2000, today only 52% of all adults are married. The institution of marriage is crumbling under a combined feminist and federal assault, which has legislated it into something that is roughly the opposite of what it used to be.
…if current trends continue, marriage will cease to exist within roughly twenty years.
Seems a bit alarmist. There are plenty of happily married people out there. Since the beginning of our focus on individual “freedom”, many have rutted like pigs in sex, food, whatever strikes their fancy. The rest, a dwindling minority, cling to supposedly outdated traditions like education, marriage, religion, practical knowledge, and fitness.
We can draw a parallel between dwindling marriage rates and student loans. Once you make it easy for students to get a loan, almost irrespective of the students’ ability to pay it back, tuition rates increase. Why? Because college boards are savvy enough to know that easy money means higher costs are tolerated. Then the very idea of education is cheapened, such that students are just bags of money with dollar signs on them.
Similarly, with marriage, if you pass legislation that makes it easy to divorce in a time when plenty of bitter and broken people want to do so, of course you’ll see the divorce rate skyrocket. The lawyers, politicians, etc. referenced by the author were a product of the times, not villainous predators looking to cheapen an institution as a cause toward a greater goal.
People have become increasingly short-sighted, and lack the quality which allows marriage to flourish between two individuals. They are trained, in part, to be this way by media, selfish parents, and an educational system that spits them out like assembly-line automatons after passing a series of standardized tests.
The cheapening of all institutions is a result of a culture shift away from community and core values formerly shared by many. When you’re done marrying and procreating, then regretting it, you’ll possibly have messed-up kids with absentee landlords as parents, but at least you’ll get to go camping with your buddies, go to concerts, drink beer, and pursue all your career ambitions with day care right there to raise the products of a marriage that probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place.
Rather than cheering the destruction of the institution while it crumbles around us, as the writer of the aforementioned article suggests, we should rather reshape our culture such that the lawyers and politicians need not concern themselves with marriage.
Marriage isn’t the cause of problems; neither is the economy the cause of marriage in decline. We should instead look toward our attitude that it’s better to make life easier for ourselves as individuals than strive for what is right and honorable. Let’s not use generalizations to confuse what marriage is to many people today with what it can be to the right people.
It’s a slow news season, so we figured why not tackle one of the stories we’ve been avoiding because it’s difficult, and ask God a few questions. Since most people are atheistic, this should go right under the radar and keep us from having to do another one of those god-awful (no pun intended) Miley Cyrus features.
What’s it like running the entire known universe and you know, being God?
I am not a personality as you are accustomed to. It is more like being in a deep sleep, with lucid dreams. In these dreams I make small changes to the patterns of the world. It is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. I am pleased when a design improves, and miserable when it goes awry, but part of the larger design is that misery and pleasure balance themselves constantly, so it is difficult to be miserable at misery or find pleasure pleasurable.
Do you have any message for believers on earth?
Dear believers, you are not believers, you are intuiters. When you look at the whole world and cosmos, and realize how it is organized, you intuit that a god-force exists, and that makes you a believer. Others do not have your vision. Help them but burn their books, because they’re incoherent.
I’d like to also add that the perceived split between religion and science is kind of funny actually. Religion and science are both ways to explain the world around you, but each has a different scope. Science can explain material, but religion tries to explain the order behind the metaphysical. But since you both study the same world, your conclusions will always be compatible, if you look hard enough. Yet scientists are people too and so also fallible.
Are you infallible?
No. I am a process that is infallible, but at any given instant, I can make an error. Then again, from this point of view it is not so much an error as a prototype decision which will later be revised.
What is the source of evil?
I am, of course. Evil is necessary to balance good; both are extremes. If you look at a Normal/Gaussian distribution, you’ll see that outliers on the left and right represent those extremes. If you watch over time, you’ll see how they help corral the majority of points in that distribution toward the center.
It’s a very effective way of locating a mean and gradually refining it without having a predetermined “center.” If you have a predetermined center, it’s easy enough for the whole thing to fall into rote and become stagnant. Evil and good keep beating the center about, which forces the system to self-correct, shifting its energy to keep it in constant motion.
This way it is a perpetual motion machine, of sorts. Eventually it must be reset, but that takes nearly infinite transactions to hit that level.
What happens when the universe is reset?
A huge explosion, or implosion, after a seemingly endless time of gray inconsequence. When you hit entropy, any choice is about as good as any other. So everything grinds to a halt because there’s no positive transfer of energy for any action. This causes a condensing of matter, and eventually, a vortex forms. This packs the whole thing in tightly, but you wouldn’t notice that if it were happening to you because it happens so uniformly it’s unobservable. After the implosion, a radical potential energy is created by the vast distance of collapse, and so a new cosmic iteration forms.
What happens to the old one?
What happens to you, after you die? You get stuck in time. Time is an artifact of causality, but that whole causal chain persists at the informational level of the universe, so you exist simultaneously while you don’t exist yet. It’s hard to explain in time-based causal language, but basically that universe persists in a palce we can’t access it.
The same is true of death: you’re no longer there, in your present time, but you have existed and therefore you exist. All action in this universe is synchronous, so that to be born is to die, but to have the conditions existing for your birth, there must have been a previous causal state, so you’ve always existed. I’m sure that makes zero sense to you because you see time as linear. That’s… well, if you swim through an ocean, you may see your path as linear but waves move under you, and the ocean itself is far from linear.
What you see of existence is like a movie generated from your path through existence. Existence itself exists in more dimensions than you can see, and time is an artifact of your relative motion, so while you’re dead in your present time, you exist in the past and because you existed in physical space, there are also causal consequences of your existence in other dimensions.
You know the saying “a watched pot never boils”? Well, a watcher never dies, at least in the sense of ceases to exist. But you’re no longer there, you know, where you live now.
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
That’s understandable. You know that old parable about if you had infinite monkeys typing infinitely randomly, would you eventually get a volume of Shakespeare out of one of their typewriters? The universe is like that, except that randomness isn’t random. It’s based on existing patterns, it’s causal. But it’s not linearly causal, meaning that you don’t need object X to collide with object Y to interact. It’s more like the two converge because of a harmony between the patterns they’re trapped in.
So imagine infinite monkeys typing away on computers, dreaming of the same kind of shape or maybe a musical riff, and that influences what they type. Eventually one of them writes a UNIX operating system (on the way to that point, sixty of them write Windows 95). It might take a billion years or a few billion, but it happens without outside intervention. All of this is my dreamstate. I sleep, I dream, and the universe — which you might think of as my mind — organizes itself, forms thoughts this way, and then picks them through a process like the one that controversial guy (the one with the beard, Darwinks or something) wrote about: natural selection.
So infinite monkeys type ideas, I dream them, and then one of them “fits” in with all of the causal relationships that have gone before, or at least approximates a fit best, and I go with that. That’s what I do. It’s like a deep meditative state, where imagination and logic are joined perpetually. Anyway, this process isn’t as smart as you, but it’s consistent, which you’re not. And it has billions of years, and even more than billions of simultaneous processes, so it’s vastly smarter than you.
Shocking, isn’t it. Well, it’s probably not any comfort then for me to say that you’re also part of this process. Like every atom of this place, and every other living thing, you’re a monkey with a typewriter. Good luck parsing all of that. If I were stuck in linear physical causal time, my head would explode trying to understand it.
It’s just that… I can’t bear the thought of not seeing Aunt Georgiana again.
You will. If you did see her in life, you’ll see her again. Or rather, it’s correct to say that you never stopped seeing her. She never stopped seeing you. In a part of the vast causal chain of being, you exist in a perpetual exchange of energies. You, as a consciousness, shape the world around you, and it shapes you. Most of the time it’s bigger, so you’re on the receiving end. But you also carve out a place. So does she. And you’re there now because you were there in the past, and that past doesn’t change just because a future occurred, in fact, they co-define each other. So you’ve seen her in the future already and you’re already dead and you’re both still there, so I think you’re OK.
I have to admit, I’ve always gone to church, but I’ve never really bonded with Jesus. He seems like a really hippie version of You.
Did I sent Jesus? Well, I guess anything that splits off of divinity can claim to be sent by me, but it’s more complex than that. I sent every genius in history.
I sent Jesus to tell you not to worry about death, just do the right thing. He — well, you know boys — they’re all heart but not as much wisdom. He was only 33 when he died. And since then, most people have gotten his statements wrong. He never wrote down a damn thing, other humans did. And as part of the plan, they changed it a little. And so on, for centuries, before the Bible even got to Europe, where it got translated into a more specific language and lost a lot of its connotation. So the Bible you have is a beautiful work, but often a dream.
I am known in all languages, and on all continents. They call me different names, and describe me differently, but it’s still me, because I am the only God of this cosmos and this world. Jesus tried his hardest but he was all heart. You should just take away from him the idea that you shouldn’t fear death. Do what is right and if you die, you died well. You carry on elsewhere. Even more importantly, should you succeed, you will have helped keep this universe brilliant. Your life will have no higher accolade. Think about being old and nearly dead: do you care about your awards, your money, how many homeless people said “Gawd bless” as you passed? No, you’re past those things. And so the only reward you really get in this life is knowing you spent your time well, by creating beauty.
Beauty occurs when form fits function with grace. Grace is that insight which takes us past linear thinking into synchronous thinking, when you see all the factors at once, and you make something beautiful. Oh, that’s tautological, you say? When you get outside of time, son, everything must be tautological or it doesn’t make any sense.
I was going to ask you about the death penalty, legal drugs, and, uh… but you probably know that.
Yeah. I kind of sidetracked your interview because that’s my job. I’m God. And you’re asking me about all these little details, as if you needed someone to explain the obvious for you? Here it is again, if Jesus didn’t make it simple enough: treat people as they deserve to be treated. If they’re good people, give them good things and never stop. If they’re murderers, murder them. You have plenty of people. You want to make life sacred? Keep only the life with the light in it. That way, you’re helping make the experience of being alive that much brighter and clearer.
Remember that Gaussian distribution? Evil must exist, and good must fight it. If they do, that keeps the middle in line. If they don’t, well, you shift over toward evil, and it’s such a vast shift you can’t perceive it except by measuring yourself to the past.
They say you should put the most important thing at the end of an interview. I can’t imagine why in 2010 this would end up there. Except I can. I planned it that way, and I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I’m starting to dream a shape. Or a melody.
Either way, the future is being formed as we speak, and it’s up to you to help. So stop talking. Go do it. Don’t call me — I already know. I’m God.
Thanks to Derek at SolidPR for hooking us up with this interview. Transcribed by Steve Harris. We do not promise an absence of farcical content.