Life simulator

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The human brain is actually a life-simulator. Did you know?

It runs simulations of what could happen in real life. What would happen, if…

But people have largely forgotten it is only a simulation, and has, in itself, no life.

They concern themselves with gathering ever more data to input, in order to run the simulation, because the simulation never gets quite life-like enough. But they often demand the data be unquestionably accurate, and verifiable, depending upon how intellectual they happen to be. They demand proof of it being virus-free, and certified, by others, before they will touch it, and load it into the simulation.

Meanwhile, actual life never happens.

Originally, the simulator was a superior way of deciding how best to kill a mammoth, without winding up dead.

Dangerous days, those. Crouched in a draughty cave, with saber-toothed tigers lying in wait, just outside. Only a flint spear for protection, and no armor to speak of. A man could get seriously hurt, trying to feed himself and his grubby clan, without a proper plan of action.

Later, a few thousand years on, the simulator morphed into a sort-of last-ditch means of living a sort-of last-ditch life, if one could discern no actual life to live. Deaf, dumb, noseless and blind, the quadriplegic could still enjoy some kind of existence, by living inside his skull. No need, any more, to venture forth. The mind supplied every need. Well, almost every need. Even it still needed some physical input, occasionally.

Knowledge, truth, wisdom, well, who had any use for things like those, when opinion seemed to serve just as well.

When everything could be rubbed-out, edited, and run as a new instance, who really cared about the effectiveness of anything, or the utility of decisions taken? Not a place of consequences, this simulator. Just reload…

These days, the simulator has all but completely replaced life, and is a highly unsatisfactory end in itself.

People actually believe that there are many realities, and every one of them is completely arbitrary.

You can see how they came to this, and even, to an extent, sympathize.

When safety, security, comfort, and longevity are the overarching concerns, who in their right minds would ever want to take any risks? Clearly, only the insane.

Thus did insanity come to replace sanity, as the barometer of so many societies.
Get enough fakes together, and fake becomes real, while real becomes fake.

Being able to exist outside the termite mound becomes a crime punishable by incarceration.

Bring him back into the fold! For his own good! Take away his life, for a better tomorrow!

So much for thinking. Which is really nothing more than ego, manufacturing its manipulations of what-is, for its own gain and standing. Intellect is not the noble thing it poses as. Not at all. It is ego made Godly. Idol worship, with itself as God. The seedy nirvana of the atheist.

I’ve often wondered, you see, what thinking actually is, since I do so little of it.

The only way to get an objective view of it is to stand somewhere outside the process.

I have. And I do. And now, with a little consideration, and a little contemplation, along with a fair bit of practice, so can you.

Free will and fate

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The denial of free will is a curious thing. One almost has to wonder why there would be a question in the first place. I suppose it is because we all have limitations and therefore construe that we are not “free.”

On the other hand, when one overcomes a challenge, we realize we are capable of more than we thought. We are not at the mercy of fate. We are unstoppable and we choose our destiny.

I think that the free will deniers simply take exception to the term “free will.” They would say we are limited by our circumstances. Not everyone can be a professional athlete and there are only so many options. I believe that they would prefer the term “limited will.”

That is fair enough, and strictly speaking, true. You can’t flap your arms and start flying if you wish hard enough. You did not will your birth; you did not will your circumstances. However, this misses the broader point that choice exists.

I suspect that many people know darn well what is meant by free will. It means you can either choose to do something or choose not to do something. If you do X, Y will happen; if you do B, A will happen.

You could just as easily cast a straw man the other way, and liberals do this on a regular basis. You cannot blame me for anything, I have no free will. Criminals? It’s just their genetics, there’s nothing that can be done. We are all helpless, hapless victims of reality. Why leave the house? Why deny myself another candy bar? If I don’t eat food I will die — I’m enslaved by the Culinarchy!

Absolute helplessness goes hand in hand with the demand for absolute freedom. If we are not absolutely free, we take it out on the concept of free will. We feel better about our helplessness now. The denial of free will becomes the alibi and backwards rationalization of our bad decisions and lack of both assertiveness and restraint.

I propose we stop nitpicking the term “free will” and go with it for tradition’s sake. The concept is already too well established to cede ground on this. The bottom line is that free will means choice and capacity for assertiveness or restraint. If you give in on a technicality the rationalizers of helplessness win.

The End of Logic

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Logic has held a special place in Western philosophy since the time of Aristotle and Plato.

It depends upon logical language, which is words having specific, exact, and agreed-upon meanings.

It also depends upon an agreed set of assumptions about the basic nature of things.

For a long time, logic was more or less dependable. It was one of the foundations of civilization.

Enter the notion of ‘equality’, which first claims, then demands, then writes into law, that all people are equal.
Combine that with political correctness, which changes the meanings of words, often inverting their meaning completely, and the result is that logic becomes purely arbitrary, depending upon whatever one’s personal meaning of the words used happens be, along with the baseline agreement of the way things are, changing from person to person.

What do you get? Spend any time on an online forum, especially one populated by self-imagined intellectuals, and you will find utter chaos. No two people can exchange information on anything. Because each will claim that their logic is logic, and that anybody else’s is not, if it in any way disagrees with their own. This leads to a curious binary state of either ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’.

If one agrees with a statement, one does not challenge it, so its logic is taken to be sound.

If one disagrees with a statement, there ensues a battle to establish whose logic is more logical, or if it is even logic at all.

In this climate, it becomes impossible to actually get anywhere, since the logic that is the most popular is the one that prevails.

Should one actually know what one is talking about, which, in itself is a rare thing among people so lacking in real-world experience, one finds it is beyond the bounds of possibility to convey what one knows, to those who can merely theorize, without knowing, purely on the basis of their own flawed logic.

The most common flaw is the baseline assumption that everyone is equal. From there, everything else crumbles.

Another one is the assumption that there is no God, and religious people are insane, and thus valid targets for justifiable — often shockingly cruel — abuse.

Yet another, is that ‘nobody can know’ whatever it is that is presumed to be unknowable, so their statements can be ridiculed as delusion.

Along with the labeling of anyone with knowledge not known to the larger group, as a charlatan, fake, or egomaniac.

Logic, sadly, no longer has much to do with anything, and henceforth will be about as useless as mammary glands on a bull buffalo.

We have arrived at a point where it is no longer possible to ‘talk to people’ as a means of communicating anything much more complicated than the state of the weather. And even that may well fail. In fact, the only people one may successfully communicate with, in any satisfactory way, are those few people one may meet that already hold views, or knowledge, substantially similar to oneself.

The really, really terrifying thing about all of this, is that only older people will have a comparison to make, regarding just how far this decay has gone. The young, having no such comparison to make, have no idea anything is even wrong. They can — to an astonishing degree — no longer listen, deduce, reason, think, or learn, except in rare cases where their own particular brand of rebellion happens to mesh with the fast-disappearing tradition of civilization.

And older people, apart from being not-listened-to by the young, and often ridiculed, instead, are inevitably dying out, and so are ever less able to contribute anything that might slow, or reverse the coming dissolution.

A woman said to me once, imagining me as a man of violence, that: “You can always talk to people, you know”.

It wasn’t particularly true, even then. It is very, very much less true now.

In Memorial of H.P. Lovecraft, the Philosopher of Terror

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Howard P. Lovecraft died March 15th, 1937 and his fiction about the terror of the great beyond is less of a fantasy and more of a warning.

The predominant philosophers of the 19th century spent their time imagining and theorizing about the limits of our world and the extent to which we humans can explore those limits. H.P. Lovecraft wasted none of his time on that and instead cut straight to the chase and told us unflinchingly what exists beyond the limits of our perception.

In Lovecraft’s cosmos, the world beyond is a world hidden within our own world. We pass through it as it passes through us, but we can never know about it or see it. Unless, of course, we are properly attuned to it.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) is one of the pre-eminent thinkers in philosophy, and one of his views on human perception is called the Two Worlds View or “dualism.” In this outlook, there is the world that our sensible intuitions present to us, and then there is the Thing in Itself. The Thing in Itself has also been called the Absolute. We can never know the Absolute because our faculties of intuition are limited, and we can only know an object and the world around us as well as our senses represent the object to us. Because of this we will always be ignorant of any absolute truth.

For in this case that which is originally itself only in appearance, e.g., a rose, counts in an empirical sense as a thing in itself, which yet can appear different to every eye in regard to color. The transcendental concept of appearances in space, on the contrary, is a critical reminder that absolutely nothing that is intuited in space is a thing in itself, and that space is not a form that is proper to anything in itself, but rather that objects in themselves are not known to us at all. – Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Reading Kant is not easy. Depending on who you ask, German philosophy has killed more people than the electric chair. Nobody knows if it is because of the dense text or if it is because of its tendency to invoke existential crises in readers. If you are faint of mind, then I suggest you return to reading more tame philosophy from a more contemporary thinker like Dr. Suess.

For those who wish to brave the brinks of existential terror in Kant’s philosophy, then the Two Worlds view would lead to the logical conclusion that everything before us is merely an illusion. It’s an easy enough of a mistake, but Kant would prefer to have us believe that the Thing in Itself is real, and that we shouldn’t take everything before us as an illusion. Considering Kant’s hopes and also his propositions about the nature of objects and the painfully limited nature of our sensible intuitions, I don’t know which is more terrifying — the possibility that everything we see is an illusion, or that there are unknowable objects that will forever confound our senses and intuitions.

But, is it desirable to have access to the Absolute, and can we learn anything from it?

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) would disagree. Schopenhauer was properly steeped in Kant’s philosophy, and he was renowned as the philosopher of pessimism. We all know what Schrodinger did with his cat, but if Schopenhauer had a cat it would be Grumpy Cat. If that doesn’t put things into perspective, just know that there wasn’t a more pessimistic thinker in all of history than Schopenhauer. But, as Schopenhauer says, if we could overcome the limitations of our own cognitive abilities and sensible intuitions then we should be able to encounter the vast gulf of the incalculable infinity that is all around us.

If we lose ourselves in the contemplation of the infinite greatness of the universe in space and time, meditate on the thousands of years that are past or to come, or if the heavens at night actually bring before our eyes the innumerable worlds and so force upon our consciousness the immensity of the universe, we feel ourselves dwindle to nothing as individuals, as living bodies, as transient phenomena of will, we feel ourselves pass away and vanish into nothing like drops in the ocean. – Arthur Schopenhauer, “On the Inner Nature of Art,” from The World as Will and Idea

This is what Schopenhauer calls the Sublime. The sublime is what we feel when we are encountered with something that exceeds the limits of our senses. When we are faced with the sublime, our senses of reason and comprehension are suspended; our capacity to reason and communicate become ineffective. The sublime is not something which is simply inconceivable to us, or something which confounds our reason. The sublime is not a mysterious puzzle to which we cannot find the solution. The sublime is terrifying because it is impossible for our senses to completely register, and it completely overwhelms our senses in a forceful and uncompromising assault.

The Thing in Itself and the Absolute are completely beyond our sensible intuition, and thus must fall entirely within the realm of the sublime. Access to the Absolute would be nothing less than complete absolute mind-bending terror.

This is where Lovecraft comes in.

While the other philosophers were busy trying to draw the line at where our senses would stop perceiving the given world, and what it would feel like if we could have access to the Thing in Itself or the Absolute, Lovecraft told us what it would look like.

Imagine if we had a machine like the one from Lovecraft’s story “From Beyond”, one that could pull back the veil of ignorance which we live under, and reveal the true nature of the things that we encounter world…

‘You see them? You see them? You see the things that float and flop about you and through you every moment of your life? You see the creatures that form what men call the pure air and the blue sky? Have I not succeeded in breaking down the barrier; have I not shewn you worlds that no other living men have seen?’ I heard him scream through the horrible chaos, and looked at the wild face thrust so offensively close to mine. His eyes were pits of flame, and they glared at me with what I now saw was overwhelming hatred. The machine droned detestably. – H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond

There are only two options when we are faced with the Absolute. It will turn us stark raving mad, or cause the urge to break from contact with the Absolute in a complete panic. In no case is it desirable to have contact with the Absolute, and we should be thankful that our senses restrain us from encountering it.

Is ignorance bliss? Perhaps, but a life of ignorance and apathy will be the death of us all.

The self-driving car

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The rise of the machines continues. Right now we have a self-driving car in the works that is apparently safe enough to be street legal. It scans the world around it using 64 lasers to produce a constant topographical map through which it navigates using GPS and road data.

People get nervous when this happens. Who really trusts the machines? Not just the type of scary scenario as found in 1984’s Runaway, perhaps Gene Simmons’ best appearance on film, but the everyday ability of machines to screw up, get hacked, misjudge or just go haywire.

Even more, the self-driving car presents a view into the division of human thought. There is knowledge of what is, and knowing what to do about it. The self-driving car for example is very good at driving, and can even find the route there, but how does it know where to go? We can set up the computers to do anything, but in all aspects, that is a question of knowledge of what is. We still don’t know what to do about it, or in human terms, what goals and values we should have. That belongs to a discipline still far removed from the digital machines of the self-driving car.

The question of goals and values is one feared by most people. It is tied intimately with death and with the question of whether our lives were worthwhile. When we can’t tackle that, we focus on self-driving cars and try to make them stand in for us as a type of direction. For the past two centuries, we have chased industry (technology) and administration in the hope that our method can stand-in for our goals (which we no longer have). With equality as our focus thanks to the French Revolution in 1789, we can no longer have goals unless the majority of our citizens share them. Since majorities do not form around anything but threats or benefits, this translates to no actual goal, only a reshuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic so that everyone gets a piece of the pie.

Ultimately the question of politics distills to this question of a goal, which is tied to values, and then the question of method which comes with it. When we choose to have a goal, leadership becomes important. The crux of politics is to be found in this question: how do we achieve good leadership? Our hope with democracy and capitalism has been to produce a self-driving car, e.g. a system that “automagically” selects the best leader based on who is popular. However, popularity is a lowest common denominator based on what flatters the self-opinion of others, and thus popularity becomes a quest to evade reality not confront it.

In this light, the debate over totalitarianism, democracy, monarchism, et al. takes second place to the primal question of leadership, which is How do we get good people in positions of power? Agnosticism toward political systems makes sense here in that those are secondary as they are designed to be means to the end of good leadership, not leadership in itself. The healthiest political sentiment might voice itself as a will to brush those concerns aside and focus only on who are the natural leaders among us, and how to promote them to power. In first world nations, good leaders are far-sighted; in third world nations, they are warlords and capos.

The debate over political systems is an artifact of progressive ideology which emerged from the Enlightenment. In this view, humanity changes as the year numbers do, and we emerge from the requirements of the past — life as nasty, brutish and short — into a time when we are all enlightened beings. But that mode of thought has died, as Richard Fernandez points out:

It was consistent with the view that mankind had entered a kind of post-historical phase, where no one, not even Vladimir Putin, could possibly revert to the 19th century mode any more. In this brave new world, the only problems left to fix were Global Warming and establishing Universal Health Care. In line with that enlightened view Europe not only neglected its defense, it acted as if none was necessary…

A Western elite that was no longer interested in war found that war was still interested in it. It discovered that mankind believed to have been transformed by the turning of the calendar was the same old grasping, greedy and violent collection of individuals described in the Bhagavad-gita or the Bible. It has not yet come to terms with this turn of events.

A conservative viewing our time might see the late 20th century shuffle over political systems to be a distraction. The question is leadership, not mechanisms. Our efforts to find a self-driving car for politics have failed as the past century of world wars and corruption — and our own consistently declining fortunes as our nations are less unified and more kleptocratic — should show us. We cannot substitute method for goal. We cannot substitute political system for good leadership. We need to cut out the middle man, and simply select our best and follow them to whatever end.

Internal and external reality

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Humans are proud of our big brains. This is what sets us apart from the animals and makes us special. At least, that’s what we think is true.

Opportunity cost however comes with all advantages. Thus every strength is also a weakness because in order to have that strength, something else was displaced. In the case of humans, big brains means that we live inside of them.

Witness a cat for example. This majestic creature lives in a world of quasi-mythology and meditative somnolent beauty. If it has thoughts, it projects them into the world and sees them among the butterflies, swaying grass and tasty rodents.

Humans do the opposite. We take the world into ourselves and make a little diorama out of it in our brains. Then we project that mental map onto the world and claim it as reality. We then compete over who has control of the map.

The grim fact is that there are two realities, but only one reality. Inside our heads, there is an internal reality composed of thoughts that manifest in electro-chemical signals and thus are very much a part of reality. However, they are not communicated past the skull barrier. Outside of our heads, there is an external reality composed of the interaction of all known objects according to natural law. We are still learning how this works, although in every age we have claimed to have mastered it.

Nature however exists in a state of perpetual restlessness because it does not want to stall or enter an infinite loop of unknowable answers. Thus it pushes back against the vague, making it finite, and displacing other finite to make more vague. Thus nature always wants answers, and there can be only one decider of them. This is external reality.

A useful tool for clarifying internal and external reality is the venomous snake. No matter what you are thinking, the snake is thinking of its own needs. Thus if you are intoxicated, and pick it up (the cause of most snakebites), it may bite you. In an instant your internal reality will be reconciled with external reality; you will feel a sickening vertigo as your mind races to cover the gap between what you thought you knew and what you now know.

The disease which afflicts humanity is invisible. It follows us wherever we go. It is hiding inside us. It is a bias toward internal reality, which in a seeming plot twist includes the internal realities of others as shared through language, image and social interaction. Whenever we gain enough power, our tendency is to push aside external reality and to try to make our internal reality predominate. When groups do this, it forms a phenomenon named Crowdism which can manifest in any form, but from which all liberal movements are derived.

What most of us do not understand is that nature has built in a trap for us. All of life is ridden with traps, in fact, to keep that which is not thoughtful from rising above the level of servitude. The biggest trap for humans is that if we as individuals do not learn to discipline our tendency toward the fallacy of internal reality supplanting external reality because it appears so to our big brains observing themselves, we become delusional and, in defensive posture, tend to associate with other delusionals. That group then serves to re-inforce its members’ illusions, becomes Crowdist, and because it is threatened by reality, attempts to seize power and legislate away reality. Every democracy is this way, but so is every neighborhood PTA group where a few delusional types seize power. The problem isn’t a question of system of government, but whether the people in charge are delusional or not, regardless of how they came into power. When delusion replaces reality, crash — and in our case, civilization downfall and possible self-extermination of the human species — is not far behind.

David Brooks recently made a powerful point about growth. We start out ignorant and prone to following our impulses, he says, but we can learn to control this over time and even develop depth of personality which some might call “soul.” Similarly, we start out in life unable to control our limbs, unable to speak, and generally useless. Over time we learn how to push back against gravity, to work with the physics of our limbs, and to organize our minds to produce speech and use logic (whether logic is intuitive or not is another question). Classic conservatism takes this further and says that we are here in life to develop depth. Our goal is to learn right from wrong and more importantly, to learn why this is so. To understand that wrong leads to consequences that produce a pointless and ugly life, where right leads to truth, beauty and goodness. In the classic conservative view, society is an extended family that helps urge us toward making sensible decisions and protects us from those who cannot control themselves (or, as in the most frequent cases, do not wish to).

The Crowdist view — and all liberalism — exists to escape this burden. It is designed as a justification, or after-the-fact reasoning, to support the initial impulse of people to break away from the moral challenge and the challenge to grow some depth within themselves. Instead of reaching out to external reality, it shuts it out, and in order to drown out the insistent reminders that it exists, paves it over with internal reality projected into social tokens. The group gets together in order to agree on what their shared internal consensual reality is so that they may blot out that threatening external reality.

This presents two challenges to you, dear reader. The first is that you join me in the attempts to grow depth, moral reasoning and a soul. I would be an ass and fatuous pretense of a human being to say anything but that I am a learner barely beginning this process. The second is that we take a long hard look at our society. Most of us live in denial of its decline, but there is no reason for this decline except the selfishness of others who are too afraid, selfish and defensive to embark on the path of self-development and thus recognition of external reality. We must help them along, by any means necessary. Whether it is a kind word or a bayonet in the back really matters not. We are fighting for our survival.

You cannot educate the fool

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At the risk of being repetitive, exploration in finer detail of a crucial concept may reveal its central role in understanding realist thinking.

For today, let us tackle this simple idea: education does not make a fool wise; it only makes foolishness appear wiser. Thus to educate everyone is to educate fools and to promote foolishness in our society.

Our innate abilities are what determine what we can learn. It does not take looking at the hundreds of thousands of people who erroneously went to college and are now doing poorly with their degrees in the real world to recognize that higher education does not benefit everyone. Some excel, most do not.

But then we must ask, what about education in general? If you take someone with no skills of judgment and no ability to reason with depth, and teach him all the tools of a wise person, what is accomplished? You have a fool who knows how to fake it just enough to get his foot in the door. Eventually he will become accepted enough to validate his foolishness.

We know this is true because we know abilities vary widely and that a certain amount of ability is required for any task. Further, we know that there is no “communication” as a magical property of words; the sender and receiver must both know a fair amount about what they’re talking about, and have the brainpower to parse it, to communicate or actually send knowledge between the two.

Our modern illusion is that we can treat people like an assembly line. Equal people come in, and are taught proxies for morality (ideology) and ability (science). Then they go out, just as able as the geniuses who invented the curriculum. Yes? No — not really. They have skills and can apply them when they encounter similar circumstances. Beyond that, they are lost. They do not have the inventive ability of the originals.

The hard part of life is not the repetitive problems but the variations. As Goedel pointed out, no set of rules completely defines any real-world situation; there are always exceptions that arise in unpredictable ways. As a result, what we need is not educated fools applying repetitive logic, but creative and powerful minds who can invent logical solutions as they are needed. But that relies on innate ability, and in inherently unequal.

Satan hides in our own eyes

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Wherever I wander, there is always Satan, lurking in doorways and the shadows of obese people.

I am told by people who have degrees than I have toes that he is everywhere, in varied forms. Global warming. Inequality. Racism. Terrorism. Intolerance. The 1%. Haters.

No matter how far I wander, he is there. In a desolate and lonely field miles from civilization, the Coca-Cola can. The dumped 55 gallon barrel of who-knows-what. A skull, empty and sightless through the third eye opened in its forehead by a bullet hole.

Even those who are highly scientific know Satan and proclaim his works daily. We would be enlightened, except for the Koch brothers anti-climate change agenda. People deny the obvious cost benefit of a broad pool of payers, which reduces costs to the mean. People are just ignorant, and motivated by hate.

I have also run into those who claim inspiration by a literal Satan. Almost all of these have a simple message: society is lies designed to chain the strong for the benefit of the weak; deny these lies, which requires being a total pariah and stepping outside the bounds of normalcy.

And I, useless to the bone, ponder. Measure twice, cut once. But when the measurement is so abstract and yet so earthy at once, twice is an eternity. I continue to think as the stars coat the sky in glittering light.

On reflection, it seems to me that Satan is dead and always has been. He may have been a rebel angel, once, but now he’s a shut-in lurking in the depths of Hell, probably eating TV dinners and cursing at re-runs on a tiny television screen.

However, evil is with us. But the first illusion of evil is that it exists. That is to say: almost no one — barring a few mental cases — intends to do evil. Evil is a byproduct of them doing what is convenient for themselves by ignoring what is necessary for the whole.

For example, I sure would like five grand without taxes. I am fairly certain that if I go to the right (wrong) parts of town, nose around a bit, and meet the right people, I can get five thousand dollars a night for dumping toxic waste out in the country. They’ll give me a truck, half the cash up front, a warning and send me off. I could retire in a couple years doing this, and there’s almost no chance of getting caught.

If I were to ignore the fact that dumping toxic waste results in a great evil, which is a toxicity of earth and a blaspheming of the gift of nature and life itself, then I could partake of this easy cash. This is a black-and-white line, which it itself a Satanic opinion according to many people: you either ignore the whole for personal convenience, or you don’t.

It reminds me of the old joke. A man sees a pretty woman and asks her out, but she turns him down. Fortified with liquid courage, he returns and asks her if she’ll sleep with him for a hundred dollars. Indignantly, she says no. He then sheepishly admits that he’s very wealthy and wants to take her to the Seychelles for a vacation, fine food, wine and luxury, but he can only do it if she goes as his girlfriend. She agrees. He then says, “Well, now we know you’re a whore… and we’re just negotiating on price.”

It’s the same way with humanity. We are either whores to our own convenience, or not. The results of being a whore to our own convenience is like the result of whoredom in general, which is social breakdown and long-term effects that will destroy the health, hope and happiness of our descendants. We can blame Satan for it, sure. And most people will. But Satan is deaf, dumb and blind to these things.

Our great evil — the Satan that follows us like a nagging doubt — is our own illusion and the bad choices we make. It is not Satan who marks up our cities with graffiti. It is not wealth that makes people greedy and horrible. It is people acting for their own convenience at the expense of long-term consequences, which can only be expressed as ideas and are thus intangible.

Tell me, what is the value of children playing in innocence on a broad summer day in a beautiful and healthy world, where they can expect a social order that rewards the good and smites the bad? Contrast this to children playing in the filth of the third world, in a dysfunctional social order, where their future is blighted by toxic diseases and corruption. Those are your two choices. You either act for the bigger idea, or you give in to your personal Satan and condemn your society to third-world squalor.

Rationalism is the death of realism

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Conservatism is like a mountain peak rising above the clouds. The light glints on it and we realize, surrounded by the ruins of the delusions of our fellow citizens, that conservatism gives us an option to certain failure. But we do not yet understand it.

As a non-ideological viewpoint, Conservatism needs a different form of study to be understood. Liberalism and ideology reward the memorization of talking points and arguments; conservatism requires an understanding more like biology or mechanics. Liberalism teaches thoughts, conservatism teaches how something works.

Conservatism will always suffer a disadvantage to liberalism because liberalism is at its core a very simple ideal. Despite people my whole life telling me how “complex” liberalism is, I find no complexity in it. It is the idea of egalitarianism and the mechanisms required to make that happen, and to make it appear as if it should happen. It is more a study in salesmanship than ideas.

On the other hand, conservatism is like that mountain peak. You already know the shape of the mountain upon having glimpsed the peak, because the peak recapitulates the shape of the mountain. A mountain is a natural phenomenon and thus cannot be understood in isolation, however, because it is interconnected with all else in the way of the organic. Thus a background in the philosophy surrounding the mountain is needed, while the mountain itself is grasped immediately.

As part of that philosophical background, this blog periodically attacks the — wait, are you asleep? wake up please — less tangible and immediate topics. Sitting through theory about how reality is put together may not be your bag, and that’s understandable, but it’s useful for putting conservatism into context. Some of our favorite targets are the thing-in-itself, the many notions of materialism, deconstruction and rationalism. Today we attack the latter.

This definition of rationalism perhaps works the best:

a view that reason and experience rather than the nonrational are the fundamental criteria in the solution of problems

A more sage view:

The problem with rationalism is this: it tries to raise a human perspective to a universal one.

We project a lot of our own minds and what types of data-structures are convenient for them to use. When analyzing life, we break it down and fit it into those human data-structures.

We also impose the solipsistic bias, which is (a) because this is what I see, it is what everyone sees and (b) because I am seeing it, my viewpoint is absolute.

This is distinct from “I have seen reality, past my own bias, and I can’t believe others do not.” But from a distance and to someone has not experienced both, they look identical.

This is the root of the Crowd’s poison: they wish to make the two the same on a social level. Thus, socially (meaning socializing with friends, not institutionally) we assume that self-bias equals reality-bias.

Reason and experience will answer everything, we are told. And yet those things are ill defined. Who benefits from vague definitions? Those who want to manipulate them. In this case, “reason” has come to mean a prototypical force for deconstruction. It is yet another way of projecting human needs upon the world.

For example, reason tends to phrase questions in discrete and or binary ways. Is the house red, yes or no? In reality, the house is painted a shade of red, which means the whole thing isn’t red. It has degrees of red on the areas that are painted. It may even have some walls that are another color.

This becomes important when we reach questions such as “free will.” Do we have free will? That’s a yes/no question when really we should be talking about degrees of choice. Some people can make wider ranges of choice than others. They do not need perfect free will, only the ability to pick better over worse.

Rationalism encourages this kind of deconstruction, but also urges us to use justification. When asked for the reasons why we do things, we are forced to put our actions into reason form. This requires a justification, or an explanation relying on values the audience recognizes already. It does not actually explain why we think we did what we did, only how we use social logic to explain why we should have or could have.

Most people can’t handle even a fraction of this, and it’s cut short here, because it is both abstract and assaults one of the underlying notions to our society. It’s sensible to believe logic can help us. However, “reason” is “human reason,” or a projection of human needs onto the data, when we should do it the other way around and adapt as humans to what the data indicates is true.

Science defeats liberalism

Pity circa 1795 by William Blake 1757-1827

“If a fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise,” wrote William Blake in his Proverbs of Hell.

This proverb is widely misinterpreted as meaning that we can make a wise man out of a fool. That is not so; what it means is that a fool who tries new versions of the same foolish thing will eventually discover the truth of the thing he’s undertaking. It’s another way of saying we learn by error.

In 1789, with the French Revolution, the West formalized its enlightenment ideal: the human form comes before nature and God, and is the ultimate ideal.

Enacted into political form this notion becomes egalitarianism, or the insistence that all people are equal. A form of pacifism, egalitarianism exists to eliminate internal strife by making sure everyone is accepted everywhere.

This idea of equality is the foundation of liberalism and unites all liberal concepts into one. All people are equal; nature/God comes second.

But now something else must come second, or be politically controlled at least. That thing is science which, fumbling toward the light of truth, has uncovered some rather un-political/social facts.

Thus it’s not entirely odd — at this point in history’s cycle — to see an article entitled “The rise and rise of ‘neoracism'”:

New forms of discrimination, known as “neoracism”, are taking hold in scientific research, spreading the belief that races exist and are different in terms of biology, behaviour and culture, according to anthropologists who spoke at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago.

This comes despite decades-long efforts to reverse attitudes that were used to justify the slave trade and the Nazi ideology.

This dovetails with what Amerika.org has been writing about for the past few years and what I have been writing about since 1997, which is that race is not a social construct, it’s a linguistic descriptor for a biological reality. See also The Race FAQ and The Nationalism FAQ.

But the fact is that science has recognized race with increasing frequency, and not just because genetics shows it. Race-targeted medicine is the opposite of what happened in Hitler’s camps; doctors are using it to improve survival rates among populations which do not respond well to a Euripid-normalized average. Race-targeted histories let people discover who their ancestors were. It’s likely we will find race useful in prescribing diet, lifestyle habits, and even educational path.

All of this is separate from the attack I make on diversity, which posits the following simple rule:

Diversity — of any type: ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic or other — increases internal division and distrust in a society, requiring greater degrees of institutional enforcement and thus ushering it into tyranny and internal collapse.

It doesn’t matter what the ingredients of diversity are. It’s the diversity itself that’s the problem. Even if it’s Swedish and Japanese, the mixed society is destined for fragmentation that will reduce it to tyranny, then collapse, and thus leave behind the shattered husk of a third world nation.

Our modus operandi for the past century has been to pretend that race doesn’t exist, thus pretend that diversity can work despite all historical evidence to the contrary, and thus to assume everything’s A-OK and we can continue shopping.

Not only has science taken a big fat swing at that illusion, but it has shattered another illusion, which is that our altruism is anything but a callow manipulative technique.

Most people would like to think that they and other people are fair in their dealings with others because of some inherent goodness, i.e. some form of altruism. In this new study, Fober and Smead suggest that the real reason people are fair with one another is because they fear being the victim of a spiteful action.

Spite, the researchers note, is the opposite of altruism—it’s when people cause something negative to happen to someone else, at their own expense. And it too, they add is a part of fairness, or at least in its perception.

In simple terms, egalitarianism arises from our desire to appease (or “buy off”) people who might be angry that we have more than they do.

It’s not an impulse of kindness, peace, love and happiness. It’s an impulse of fear. Similarly, the left’s paranoia about race is a form of fear, too. Fear that someone might be different and we might not all be on the same level.

Perhaps as Jonathan Haidt suggests, liberals and conservatives care about different things. Now we see the reasons behind why they care. One group wants to appease the herd, the other group to restrain its destructive impulse through values like loyalty, sacredness and authority.

As Blake said, even the fool will find truth if he keeps applying himself to the question. It’s worth closing with another epigram from Blake: “One law for the lion and ox is oppression.”