Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘disorder’

Entropy And Heat Death

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Human convention and social lore hold that we must always be vigilant for external threats: monsters from beyond, invading tyrants, alien invasion, nuclear war or world financial catastrophe.

As always with humanity, the vivid threats deflect from the prosaic reality that the threat is within. The brutal truth tells us that most human efforts fail because the people involved give in to an impulse — greed, lust, self-importance, convenience — and lose sight of the purpose, thus become agents not of their own goal but of their own misleading desires.

This shows us that while the conventional is not incorrect, it is also not the full story. Threats occur from both outside and inside our walls, but the ones inside are more likely, statistically, to carry us away or at least prepare us to fall to the external threats. We self-destruct more than experience conquest.

Perhaps the most challenging and most typical circumstances are those between two extremes. We are oblivious to some facet of reality, so a parasite or enemy takes advantage of it, defeating us through our insistence on paying attention to something other than the task at hand and the rules of nature, logic, mathematics, information or the divine.

Focus requires constant re-investment of energy in something that is invisible. If you are working, and produce objects, even if they are useless, everyone in the crowd can say you are doing your part. If you are investing time and energy in avoiding change or decay to the present tense, then most people have no use for that, because they do not realize that without your work, decay would win.

When we are athletes, soldiers, musicians or other high-performance roles, it is understood that daily effort must be spent to avoid losing ground one has won in terms of ability. But for civilization itself? No such thing is permissible to expend, because the rest of them will not understand, and upon seeing you do nothing they recognize as necessary, will begin doing nothing.

Thus it is that human populations become vulnerable to entropy, or the process by which too many possible directions make choices difficult if not impossible:

Entropy, the measure of a system’s thermal energy per unit temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work. Because work is obtained from ordered molecular motion, the amount of entropy is also a measure of the molecular disorder, or randomness, of a system. The concept of entropy provides deep insight into the direction of spontaneous change for many everyday phenomena.

We have to look critically to see how this works: thermal energy (potential) per unit, measured in temperature, refers to the advantage to any choice in terms of heat. When a choice offers wide variance, or inequality, then some choices return a huge amount of energy, and others return less. When they are made equal, every choice returns the same, and so the process of choosing itself breaks down, and with it, the incentive to do anything.

This quickly leads to a condition known as heat death, where the lack of potential advantage to any particular choice makes the selection of options random, since any is as good as any other. Heat death causes complex systems to break down from a lack of purpose to any given choice:

For any system to be capable of producing useful work, there needs to be disequilibrium, a difference in potential. For a mill-race to turn a water-wheel, the water must flow downhill over the wheel. If the water on one side of the wheel is at the same level as on the other — that is, the parts of the system are at equilibrium — then nothing will happen. When the potential gradient inside a flashlight battery reaches zero, the battery is dead.

Without that disequilibrium, where one choice wins bigger than another, no motion happens and energy dissipates through a lack of ability to keep it in motion. An acceleration in entropy eventually begets heat death, much as when a society looks inward and stops having a purpose related to the external world, all choices become about the same.

Look at our world. You can take just about any job, and some will earn you more money than others, but you will still be there for most of your life, dealing with similar problems. You can live anywhere, but eventually some idiot will destroy that place, combining your school system with that of the poor kids across the tracks, building shopping malls and apartments, running in new freeways.

It all becomes the same in the bigger measurement of things, which we refer to as “existential.” If we have some purpose, our actions are not random, but designed to end up fulfilling that purpose, therefore converge on a few basic notions, which reduces entropy. With purpose, each action is ranked by how well it succeeds, which creates the inequality necessary to avoid heat death.

When thinking about such things, we translate them into temperature, but really, they reflect differences in information — patterns, essentially — associated with each choice. Thermodynamics provides a way of understanding the world through its underlying mathematics, as expressed in patterns, that shows us the order of life in a way that material existence never could.

In other words, we can measure entropy by the amount of variation between reality and our actions. The more we are realistic, the less chaos we introduce and thus, the farther from heat death we are; the more we are humanistic, or focused on individualism and its extension into the social group and process of socializing, the farther we are from purpose, and the more entropy we retain.

Our modern — from the age of ideology, or egalitarian — society seems to be designed around entropy-as-a-virtue. This makes sense, because the more entropy there is, the less any individual is likely to suffer consequences for his actions. Heat death is his ideal because when no action has consequences, any action is permissible, and in this energyless disorder, the individual feels he is safe from social judgment or Darwinistic consequences.

The non-modern style of acting toward purpose at first seems inefficient because there is always a shorter path to material reward, comfort, convenience and the mental stability that arises from a lack of social threats. But in the mathematics of the universe, the modern style brings nothing but a grey void, while from the non-modern style, infinite colors emerge, but they reflect order, and not the chaos of individuals expressing themselves to a sky they believe is empty in a universe where no purpose can be discovered.

The fruit of equality

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

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Most people identity George Orwell’s 1984 with a warning about the dangers of totalitarianism. Read more closely, the book serves as a warning about political instability brought on by popular sentiment.

The political authority in the book is IngSoc, short for English Socialism. Citizens are herded into activities like Two Minutes Hate that remind us of corporate team-bonding activities today. Telescreens watch for dissidents. The root of the problem here is not the control itself, but that it is needed.

In the same way, we live in the ruins of equality now. Equality as a concept is like a virus, using altruism as its approach and reductionism as its weapon. Once allowed into a society, it spreads like a cancer, demanding the “democratization” of all things. First we engage in class warfare to make ability levels equal, then equalize the sexes, and finally bring in the third-world labor as equals.

Equality swallows up all other ideas. If you are an environmentalist, you must work equality into your platform; to make the two work together, environmentalism must not tell anyone what to do — unless they are at the levels above equal, at which point they must be punished to benefit others. If you are an architect, your buildings must emphasize equality; scientists must consider all people to be identical molds that serve as interchangeable parts with no biological differences.

Since equality is a fantasy, and if people were actually equal society would quickly disintegrate, equality serves as the perfect control virus. You either obey and go insane, or resist and are marginalized and eventually destroyed. Since the price of success is accepting nonsense as reality, actual competence becomes secondary. This creates a society, headless and out of control, careening toward oblivion…

Returning to 1984, we can read Orwell’s pugnacious analysis of liberalism:

But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

In his view, it is a pure power trip. The joy of subjugating others with ideology and having the ability to abuse them drives these people. He creates this in parallel to the hate rallies that keep people bonded to government:

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.

This is what drives the egalitarians. From SJWs gangrushing employers to coerce them into firing employees with controversial opinions, to the mainstream media attacking Donald Trump for even mentioning immigration, all of leftism is an addiction to the power of harming others. It is the rise of those who cannot do much against those who can, and their desire to humiliate, subvert, sabotage and enslave the can-doers. It is human envy, resentment and fear enshrined into a false “goodness” that gives its members license to destroy whatever they want for the brief thrill of power and feeling of superiority.

Even 1984 is infected with this crowd madness. The only conclusion one can come away with from the book is that the crowd is mad, but they can be controlled through “freedom” instead of power-lust. What Brave New World points out, but 1984 missed, is that the root of power-lust is the drive to freedom and individualism. People seek power with their freedom because they lack actual purpose, and because through egalitarianism and assuming that everyone is the same, we have empowered mob rule instead of leadership by the wise and capable.

Physics provides a metaphor here. As written about by Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLilo, modernity consists of chaos: a pretense of order, with people in states of zombie-like panic acting out their individual desires at the expense of the rest. With equality comes chaos, or a lack of cooperation between people, which results in infinite activities of a perverse, distracting, pointless or destructive nature. The concept of entropy comes into play here because it states that, over time, options proliferate.

As more options become available, it becomes less likely that any particular one will be selected; entropy increases. Eventually a state is reached called heat-death where all options are equally the same in value and likelihood of being selected, at which point selection itself shuts down. There is no point doing anything. And so the system drains energy and becomes dead, much like the senescent Soviet Union and now, the modern US-EU axis. Equality creates individualism which creates chaos and ends in a state of paralysis.

If I could leave you with one image, it will be this: that boot smashing into the human face — since not all humans are equal, and most are unable to control themselves, most faces should be smashed by the boot so they do not do the same to the rest of us and doom all of society. Most people are doomed to disappointment by their own inability to control their desires and impulses, but not all of us should go down together, although it appears that “unity” is the goal of liberalism.

When warriors become meek

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

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In the West, we became weak as a society the minute we legitimized interruptions over purpose. Think about your day in this modern world: many small interruptions, subdividing every task into shorter and shorter pieces, each one less related to the others with each additional interruption, in addition to become simplified and the reason for its existence forgotten.

This is what egalitarianism does: it interrupts any clear intent with infinite small objections and exceptions because it associates people with importance of function, rather than function itself. A bureaucrat must announce himself as often as possible to show his importance; hipsters must make as much noise as possible to demonstrate their validity; everyday people must bungle, move slowly and otherwise interrupt flow in order to feel alive. Every act possible is thwarted by phone calls, advertisements, visitors, queries and paperwork; every simple task involves obtaining permission, filing forms and extensive background study to fit into the bureaucratic model. But, if we were not to do these things, they would not be accessible to all, which means both “equal” opportunity through bureaus and dumbed-down to the point where Beavis and Butthead can (but won’t) do it.

Aggression is seen as objectionable. Conflict is minimized through compromise and subsidies. Buy off the disenchanted; what do we care, it is only another hour or two in interruption. The lack of actual power means that people are always defending their power, so every staffer must show up to every meeting to maintain the illusion that they were “kept in the loop.” Every person must compete with others to be important, so the walls, screens, floors and even foreheads are covered in advertising. Each one wants to be different, so chooses ludicrous outfits and even less sensible hobbies to distinguish themselves. The Crowd reveals its face subtly, but pervasively.

In contrast, what builds good healthy people? Concentration. Dedication to task, learning it on their own and not with prompting from thousands of memorized rules. A warrior in particular treasures his concentration. It is how he goes from nothing to achieving an objective often with very little on his side. Consciousness itself is a commodity that our society does not recognize yet we need it to create anything better than mediocrity. Could it be that the war for interruptions is in fact a war against concentration, so that mediocrity is “safe” for those who fear they are less than equal? Leaders become sheep, warriors become meek, and only those with something to hide in the chaos are happy.

When looking at politics, it is important remember that cause->effect reasoning is about our only accurate guide. Every bad thing you see has a cause which is not necessarily “near” it visually or how you associate details. White suicide, for example, does not start with race, but far from it in the class warfare and egalitarianism that turned life in the West into a neurotic hell. Miserable, the people began to die out, and their leaders — probably in the midst of constant interruptions and unable to think anyway — opted to replace them with more convenient people. It is the type of distracted, neurotic and solipsistic decision-making that defines this time.

The nature of collapse

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

awaken_the_fury_of_the_beast_within_youPeople love a good excuse for panic. It draws people together. Panic also lets us off the hook. When a natural disaster or great cataclysm occurs, it’s too big to attach to us as individuals. We all just shrug and blame something much bigger, like God, fate or the government.

Collapse is on many of our minds of late. The economy is bad and continues to get worse despite our efforts to counteract; no one’s government seems to be doing well, and the stench of panic is wafting through every part of life.

Many people will talk to you about the certainty of an external collapse. If it’s not the economy, it’s global warming; if not that, peak oil or peak plutonium, or perhaps the water and food wars. Guillaume Faye had the best read on this when he proclaimed a “convergence of catastrophes” that removed most of the wiggle room that has helped us survive in the past.

That’s one thread of people who think collapse is coming. We might call them “external” collapsists because they believe an external force will doom us. Then there’s people who believe our doom lies within. Both inside of us as a population, and inside each of us in the moral choices we make.

Internal collapsists are more on a Plato – Spengler axis, with a bit of Jack London thrown in. We know that when societies no longer have anything in common, they turn on each other, and that this life cycle repeats through the centuries when people forget to actively counteract it.

The Jack London part is the interesting part. This is the moral sense of the collapsist. We know that certain things are required for civilization. If people don’t do them, consequences follow. This idea is radical in every end stage civilization where people are so bloated with social pressures and wealth they assume nothing has consequences.

People get masochistic about this. Their lives are like bubbles floating above the cities, where nothing really changes and thus, nothing really has any impact. They’re spoiled, but they’re bored. With boredom comes a sense of ineffectiveness and futility. It makes us hate ourselves.

Imagine your standard modern person. He lives alone, except when he can pull a bird at the pub. He goes to his paint-by-numbers job and does fifteen minutes of real work a week. The rest is filling out forms, shaking hands and going to meetings. Compliance paperwork.

For the first ten years of adulthood, he thought he was fooling someone when he went off to the pub and got blasted. He thought he made a difference. But Monday came just the same, and there were never enough sick days. Soon the message came through: he was trapped.

Since then, life has worn him down like water pouring on stone. His shoulders hunch, his belly pouches. He eats bad food, drinks too much, takes drugs when he can. Even sex is joyless, a process of conquest that’s more a “screw you” to anyone who doubts his relevance, than sex itself. It’s closer to rape, justifying his virility as every other factor says he has none.

Men living this kind of life become sick in a deep and pervasive way. They may even get married, have families and succeed at their careers and retire wealthy. But the Jack London morality comes back. They’ve never accomplished what they really needed to in life, which is what makes them feel masculine.

This afflicts women too. When you are surrounded by problems, and you can fix none of them, stress wears you down. The temptation is to declare the problems aren’t problems, and go back to being “happy.” But then you can’t respect yourself at all. So the grind continues.

The modern person is cut off from any sense of actual power because nothing can be fixed. Society is dedicated to the individual and so there can’t be any problem on the personal level. The problem is that a society of peasants acting as kings is a miserable, functionary, drab place. People hate it with good reason.

If you want to know the origin of collapse, it’s in this sensation. There are no more mountains left to climb. Not only that, but there are many tiny rules to adhere to, many tiny tasks to attend to, and no consciousness left undivided. The brain is active, but it’s being fed tedious feces of the worst variety. It drives people mad.

Eventually this madness makes them turn on their civilization. They become actively hateful and destructive, toward the children and coworkers and random people on the street. They are passive about it to avoid getting caught and destroyed, but they sabotage, subvert, undermine, poison, ruin and mangle wherever they go.

As you can imagine, this creates a miserable fraternity of people covertly trying to do each other in while appearing to be smiley happy New Age success stories who mountain bike on weekends, make artisanal cream cheese and yet have fulfilling careers and model families. The ego struggles to stay above water.

What we’ve targeted on this blog is the step before the moment of helplessness. Our message is simple: you are not helpless. All of our problems as a species can be easily fixed. It takes mental clarity and some applied effort, but it can be done with less work and pain than it will take to not do it.

This outlook outrages many people. They have their pet theories about how the Jews did us in, the Negro is stealing our nail polish, or how evil bankers have ruined our civilization. They miss the point. Our civilization ruined itself through boredom, pandering to the individualism of the raging ego, and general internal decay and disorganization.

With that in mind, our task is simple. We either fix it, or let it keep getting worse. We’re not here to tell you which to pick. We’re here to tell you that there’s an option to failure and frustration, to misery and bitterness, and that it’s easier than you thought.

The shrug

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

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What makes mental patients fascinating to observe is their delusion: they will act on something that is not there as if it were, and will even do so when reminded of its nonexistence. It might be that insanity is a hyperextension of the human ability to operate in a state of paradox to the point where no two conflicting pieces of data can be wrong.

As we gear up toward elections in the USA and Europe, we are reminded of the continuing collapse of the West because no public voice is acknowledging the obvious. We fight and spit over elections, write endless paragraphs about one side or the other, and then note offhandedly the increase in problems. More internal violence. Less agreement. More parasitic and predatory behavior. More pollution.

All of these are symptoms of a great disorder originating in a poor design of our civilization as a whole, and that they are increasing should signal to us a general timetable. But we hear nothing of tackling the problems. Instead, we have reached a point in society where our population is divided into small camps that each pursue their own partial solutions. There is no chance for consensus on any direction, since each group is addicted to its own incompatible partial “solution,” and therefore the real problem – the problem at the root of all others – is not addressed.

When this situation is named and described to the above-average person, the response is recognition and a shrug. What am I gonna do about it? It seems irretrievable, so we resist passively and negatively, trying to slice heads off the Hydra fast enough to preserve what little we have left. This time of rearguard action will delay the end but not steer around it, because it does not have another action.

This Oedipal tendency – we kill our impotent fathers, and try to crawl back into our mother’s wombs – is natural to any psychology, not just human, which feels it has been born into a dark and pointless time. Yet to steer around this mess we need not only to recognize the dark, but to create a light, a different (although not “new”) direction. We must rediscover what has always been true and give it a new face.

If we do not take this path, we face more of the shrug.

During the late 1980s, before the collapse of the USSR, I had a chance to speak unguardedly to several Soviet emigres. Each was proud of his or her nation, but each also expressed reservations. “It is a great nation, in bad times, but so few see this,” they would say. “So we carry on, and hope–” and then it came, as unpredictable as a stormfront on a sunny day: The Shrug. The sentence ended before its end. The thought ended before its conclusion. Where there might have been a course of action, there was only The Shrug.

Let me make it clear for you: no partial solution will work. Another election with a new outcome will not work. A race war will not work. Our empire is decaying from within, and there is no one to blame nor any need for blame, so long as we correct it. If we can build even a partial consensus among the intelligent and capable, this change will happen easily, as society depends on such people for its daily operations. We are in a time when the horse is heading toward the barn door and we have a chance, perhaps a decade or two, in which to lock it. We are in a time when such consensus is possible simply because of the ominous horizon facing us.

It is the tendency of all things in nature to regress toward a mean as a way of stabilizing them. Higher intelligence entities are willing to try more ways of tackling a problem, but with that comes an instability, and so nature surges forward first, and then drops back. What emerges is more stable and less highly articulated (genius) than what was earlier. However, it is equally “natural” for smart things to preserve themselves and to resist this change. All of the greatness of humanity has come from this resistance, and it takes the form not of holding back but of surging forward, of creation an option to the regression. The best resistance is a positive offense. This is the metaphysical opposite of The Shrug.

We cannot depend on our leaders because they do not lead. They adhere to a philosophy of consequentialism, which roughly translated is “Whatever most people think they want is best for the nation.” It is illusory because the nation is not an individual, although it is composed of individuals, and the tendency of individuals to not see the whole picture and do only what benefits them personally can endanger the nation. We are bound to our nation as much as ourselves, but most will not see this.

Lacking the experience for judgment as much as the capacity, because they have not had the years and overlook to witness large systems rise and fall, the average intelligent person is as misguided as the average moron. They are not wrong, in the sense of having a defect, but they have picked the wrong conclusions. They try to patch up the system they have while doing what is in their own interests and when things get out of hand, they pick a strong conservative leader or a liberal revolution. Neither helps.

Both strong conservative leaders and liberal revolutions attempt to fix problems by weeding out the bad and replacing it with a blank slate that they hope will restore the best of the previous system in a new form. The problem is that they do not understand architectures, and therefore are unaware that they are trying to build a skyscraper on the foundation of a cottage, and are amazed when the system breaks down. Depression then reigns, and an embittered population essentially suicides by choosing fanatical tyrants who promise order and deliver conformity.

In this depression, you hear two dominant voices: those who believe they can buy off the disaster and those who are sure they will personally survive it. The placators want to spread the wealth evenly, assuming that this will solve the problem, but thanks to the judgment skills of most, this ends up simply redistributing wealth to the more parasitic and destructive personalities in the system. The “strong survive” types are oblivious to the concept of multiple generations and the effect of time, and do not recognize that while they, personally, might survive, anything of greatness they achieve, including their descendents, will be wiped out.

These failing attempts parallel the problem itself. Most people will overlook the obvious (empire decaying) in favor of detail management (stop drunk driving) because it is easier and cannot destabilize themselves personally. Even the liberals have a variation on the “strong survive” virus in this: the whole thing might be going down, but somehow, I will prevail, and that’s what is important. It is not surprising that every declining society in history has been remarked upon by others to have a startling degree of egomania.

When we look deeply into egomania of all its various types, we see beneath the bravado a simpler mechanism. It is a turning away from the obvious decline, much as foregoing notice of the decline in favor of petty partial solutions is; what separates the two is the degree of imminent collapse. Our refusal to see the problem, recognize its inescapability, and act upon it with a positive different direction is not logic, but an ancient signal of failure: The Shrug.

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