Posts Tagged ‘groupthink’
Friday, January 6th, 2017
The struggle of our time has become clear: realists, who want civilization, stand against ideologues, who want to rationalize the decline by directing our attention with the false metric of “progress,” which is essentially virtue signaling for social status.
Realists face a series of tough realizations. The first is how much recent politics was bungled; after that, the time scale and scope expands. Soon it becomes clear that our society has been afflicted with deep rot for many centuries.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all this is realizing that the decay runs deeper than politics. It has infested all aspects of life, including the “lifestyle” and daily experience of people, leading to existential misery. Worst of all of these realizations is the knowledge that modern society is a giant waste of time.
Most of what we do is completely unnecessary except that it allows individuals to claim they are important. Most products fail, but their launches allow ambitious little sociopaths to claim they are wizards, at least for long enough to get hired somewhere else. Most tasks at jobs are there to demonstrate the importance of the manager. Most red tape events involve bureaucrats asserting their power over you. Most social events are jockeying for positions in a hierarchy, and art, culture, literature and even friendship get used as means to that end.
In short, competition has created an infinite demand for ways to compete. As has been observed many times, every thing creates more of itself, and so when we make competition in specific areas part of our society, that takes over everything else. That we do it with money makes it mandatory that everyone join in and waste their time.
The average job could be done in a few hours a week, if we subtract out the activities done to demonstrate the importance of managers and employees, the red tape which solves no problems but creates work for everyone, the waiting around for people who are merely posing at being busy elsewhere, the pro forma meetings and emails. Jobs are mental spam for the most part, and they obscure the tasks which actually need doing.
Add to that the other great waste-of-time activities in modernity: returning the constant defective products, researching products to see which of the options are not corner cutting scams designed to get some idiot promoted to management somewhere, spending days or weeks filing paperwork which no one will see, arguing with self-important customer service representatives and waiting in line — endlessly — while someone in front struggles with understanding the simple nuances of the obvious solution to their avoidable problem.
Modern society is a trap. It will kill us off the same way every advanced civilization dies: it tolerates the stupid, who then gang up on the rest, take over and make a society designed for idiots. This exhausts the intelligent, who promptly die out, leaving the stupid in charge for a glorious generation or two before their corruption accrues and society plunges (slowly) into third-world status.
The intelligent are forced into a role by civilization that they feel obligates them to the rest. What this means in reality is that the smarter parts of our civilization are forced to babysit the rest. That group, essentially reckless proles hungry for power and wealth, is the most destructive force in any society, like a stomach that thinks it is a brain.
This exhausts the intelligent, and makes it easier for the proles to take over.
While this happens, those of mental ability are forced to either (1) stand against the ongoing decay and become marginalized, dying childless in small cabins in the woods or (2) rationalize the decline as good, make the right virtue signals and “succeed” despite it wasting all of their time and energy in the process of babysitting the insane and stupid herd.
Rationalization of a clearly sick and moribund society makes them crazy, and from these tormented souls we get our intellectuals and social elites. They tend to be corrupt because their minds are scrambled by having to accept the destruction of their civilization as a good thing, and to assuage their guilt, they tend to endorse ideas like “progress” and Utopia in order to avoid talking about the actual problem, the collapse of civilization, because it is hard to solve where Utopian plans are trivially easy.
The dying civilization of the West has tormented its intelligent people and driven them insane as they try to adapt to a world created for the crass tastes of the herd. They were aliens in their own society long before diversity, and now they are simply ghosts wandering among the others, with everyone waiting for them to die out so the prole party can kick into high gear.
As we come to grips with how utterly insane and corrupt our leaders have been for the past eight years, it is time to reflect on the fact that these acts did not occur in isolation. We The People voted for these idiots; we are the bigger idiots. But who is “we”? Our society has been hijacked by a mob which wants to destroy civilization and replace it with an endless carnival.
Until we start talking about that problem, we are merely putting band-aids on a sucking chest wound. Our civilization is dying. It has been dying for a long time, and its death will be a slow descend into third world chaos, crime, and corruption. The only way to fix it is to take power away from the proles, and restore it to the responsible people, which recent elections have indicated is a popular (enough) idea.
Sunday, October 16th, 2016
By the time democracy arrives, things are well and truly dead for a civilization and the only formalities remaining are the toe tag and the estate sale. Our ancestors knew that if you indulge the pretense of humans, or the defensive assumption that they are good, it will give them license to run amok, and that they have done.
What we have left of “civilization” is essentially an economy with cops, lawyers, judges and nagging nanny journalists riding herd on the chaos. This is predictable, because we can see that people without strong leadership behave like herd animals.
You can see the proof of my point if you work with any volunteer organization. Sit people down in a committee and they start making the same type of bad decisions that our nations are making. The cause is this bad decision-making, and the result is our terrible elites.
In cause-effect terms, the elites are the effect and our choices are the cause. They did not impose this on us; we imposed them on ourselves by selecting an unrealistic type of government, namely herd-based leadership which was inevitably capitalized on by a corrupt media, political class and lobbyist layer.
You can also see the same thing at a job, or even in personal lives. People in groups make terrible decisions. People are pretentious and selfish, generally. It is entirely logical that the end result of this process is awful government and its handmaidens, who will be massively corrupt.
The point is that, regarding leadership, we have a binary option:
The best oppress the rest. Some claw their way to the top, demonstrating exceptional ability. They then restrain the rest of the group because this restraint is needed for civilization. End result: more effective leadership, no runaway herd acting selfishly. — or:
The rest oppress the best. Strong leadership is feared, so society adopts weak leadership, which results in a slow but constant growth of many small problems which converge in a loss of social order and suicidal policies like endless war, immigration and quasi-legal corruption.
At the most abstract level, these are the choices we have in “government,” and every single possible type of leadership structure fits into one or the other of these categories. Either we put the best on top, or we have mob rule.
The Americans tried a middle ground. Their Constitution is as complicated as an Italian race car, and yet, it was dismantled in as few as a dozen years, depending on who you talk to. After a disastrous civil war, two world wars, and now endless war in the middle east as the American Leftist regime goes the way of the Soviets, the Constitution is effectively dead.
And so, like people lost in a maze, here we are again, back at the same crossroads we have been at before. Best, or rest? The last two hundred years have showed us what the rest can do, and it is ugly: horrible jobs based on attendance more than performance, cities that are wastelands, corrupt leaders, gross mass culture, and what seems to be a decline in genetic ability to think among even the upper echelons of our society.
We are not just in trouble because of our system of government, but because it is making us incompetent. First, it redirects our attention from actual issues to symbolic ones, like how popular something is or whether it plays the politics or law game well. Second, the system promotes only those who think this way.
The Brexit/Trump Revolution (BTR) has much going for it. The weak point in its armor is that it scapegoats our elites for the mess we are in. We are in a mess, but the elites are an effect of that mess, not its cause. The cause is our reliance on herd voting and buying to make decisions, instead of having actual leadership.
Francis Fukuyama told us that we have reached the end of history, which depressed everyone because while the West is wealthy, it is dead in its soul. People hate their daily existence because it is humiliating, menial and incompetent, even at the highest levels of career and social life.
What he meant to write, perhaps, was that liberal democracy had beaten down all of its competition. That does not mean it is the best system; it was fortunate in its choice of allies, and often what works in the short-term is the opposite of what is needed in the long-term.
The thought of resurrecting society from the degeneracy of the unpunished herd is daunting in itself. We are not, however, rescuing everyone. There will be a new civilization and only those who “get it” and are useful will be welcome. The rest can be cast aside. This is always how it is.
Once we wrap our minds around the enormity of this task, it becomes clear that we should not be afraid to make the decision to go all the way toward what we need, instead of taking halfway measures. We are at one of those nexus points in history where all that was considered established is now fluid. Vast change is upon us, like it or not.
As modern citizens, we have grown up listening to constant voices — television, teachers, politicians, parents, friends — telling us that certain things are cast in stone, and that as far as changing them, the ship has sailed. But now, all of these stonecast pillars are in the process of collapse. We can finally move on.
Potentially what we are seeing is the beginning of a great time to be alive. The twentieth century was mostly carnage and stupidity, and so far the twenty-first has been worst, but that means that the trend of the eighteenth century has finally peaked and is falling. We can cease repeating the mistakes of the past.
For now, the herd runs free. Its low standards, enforced through utilitarian policies, harm those who can tell the difference between mediocre and good. Its indecision has attracted all manner of manipulators and parasites. Its policies have produced horror and evil as handmaidens in everyday life, making us all complicit.
The rise of the Alt Right has shown a challenge to business as usual, which means a continuing slide into decay. People across the West are tired of living in failed states and a failed system. It is time to think the unthinkable, and move on from liberal democracy a.k.a. oppression by the rest.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Witness groupthink and hivemind in action:
Rider Jessica Shockeness said that she heard three loud booms during a delay as her 2 train pulled into the station. She said after she got off she heard another commuter say “I think it was gunshots” and people started running out of the station.
Shockeness said she didn’t think the noises she heard were gunshots, but she decided to run too.
“I see people running, I’m gonna run,” she said.
If the Crowd does something, and you do not, you will be blamed if something bad happens to you. And at the same time there is zero loss of public status for simply imitating the rest…
This explains the insanity of human herding behavior. It is not so much that people are led into delusions, but that they are afraid to not follow them if others do in advance. It takes one steer to start a stampede, and all of the steers to end it.
We always use the example of shouting FIRE! in a crowded theater, but few realize that liberalism is essentially the same on the level of morality. It creates moral panics that people are afraid not to conform to.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
Individualism is both a personal choice to prioritize the desires of the self over all else, including reality, and a political system. That system has three parts:
- Democracy. The person who flatters the most people wins. This flattery can occur through pacifism or bullying, jingoistic warfare against weaker opponents. Both are perpetually popular.
- Consumerism. Whatever product cultivates a large audience, regardless of who that audience are, wins out over products with smaller audiences, even if better.
- Anti-culture. Culture arises from methods that work; anti-culture arises from a small cluster of intellectuals and entertainers manipulating a vast herd of consumers who are bored.
What these have in common is the simple idea that quantity outweighs quality. The best idea, if not the most popular, is denied. This is the root of our downfall here in the West.
Since the arrival of individualism as a political system in the eighteenth century, much effort has been spent trying to design a “System” that regulates it so it makes quality decisions. All have failed, but that failure is not yet evident because of the wealth of these societies.
Individualism gained power because of the wealth of these societies in the first place. Wealth means that incompetents survive; put them in a room and, because they are incompetent, they will agree that they should rule instead of whoever is in power. They will invent tales of their victimhood to “justify” this choice.
As we look toward the future, as one should always do whenever it is clear the present methods have failed, the race is on to decide what core concept will form the basis of the next era. Since our past era was based on individualism, which in turn forms collectivism as individuals group together, I suggest that the next era be based on the idea of exceptional individuals.
Exceptional individuals are not, as your television will tell you, those who are most popular for having the appearance of a lone genius scorned by all. Instead, they are those who find what works and cling to it. They are the people who get out there and discover reality.
That behavior rewards the best in Us: the brave, honorable, moral and competent people who go into the usual human chaos formed of the pretense of individuals and make it work toward higher goals like social order, beauty, goodness and truth.
This standard rewards heroes instead of salesmen.
If we look at the core of our failure, it is our misery. People have no hope that doing a good thing will be rewarded, and see daily how whores and flatterers are given the keys to the kingdom. This is what makes us weak: we have defeated ourselves.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Human downfall occurs when our intangible ideas collide with tangible realities which we did not notice because our symbols did not correctly reflect the underlying reality. One vector for this is ideology.
An ideology which is not producing variations — like natural mutations among species in nature, causing constant conflict but also avoiding stagnation — is incapable of responding to changes in the environment. In nature, genetic variations provide random traits which can prove adaptive to new ecological niches or changing environmental conditions. Without the chaos that creates these “glitches,” the organism is incapable of responding to its environment and does not survive.
To apply this to the ideological dimension of human ecology, it is important to consider each human ideology within the context of a civilization and then civilization’s role within the planetary ecosystem.
Ideological civilizations succeed when they can explain the ecological conditions a civilization finds itself in and provide a means of subsisting within that ecology. This process of selection diminishes the propagation of maladapted variations. Thus, within a civilization — the human ecosystem — a species of ideology becomes more numerous as it finds acceptance with an existing generation as well as new generations. It achieves that status by successfully explaining the conditions of civilization survival and motivating people to meet them.
Because civilizations function as a means of concentrating wealth, they place strains on the non-human ecosystem in the form of disruptions of natural cycles and resource depletion. As ecosystems strive for equilibrium, nature pushes back on human intrusion by finding equilibrium. Individual species or systems within an ecosystem do not do this on their own; it is an effort of the whole system. The usual form human civilizations deal with are changes in climate, invasions of intrusive species (ideological/human/nonhuman) and changes in wild-caught food supply. Unlike its controversial global cousin, the most common form of climate change is localized in disrupted rainfall patterns lending to drought in response to growth of urbanization and agriculture.
An ideology which has lost the capacity for variation is incapable of responding to ecological conditions that differ from those to which it is already adapted, as well as the negative feedback prompted by a civilization acting on its beliefs where they do not correspond to natural reality. An ideology will continue to seek propagation through preservation by responding to change through increasingly extreme reinforcing of the status quo. When wealth distribution programs fail, the response is more distribution programs. When aggressive foreign policy and one sided diplomacy fail, the response is more aggression and less diplomacy. When manufacturing financial goods and services fails to prompt the growth of real goods and services, the response is more printing, more bailouts, austerity for the poor and more cheap credit.
Caught within these patterns, ideologies drag their civilizations down with them. This is the intangible mode of collapse prompted by the tangible adaptive challenges listed above. The intangibles can persist so long as the conditions under which they evolved remain so; intangibles such as ideology can have such effects on the condition of the world that they prompt environmental changes, such as to rainfall, food supply or scarcity of other resources including water.
Successful ideologies do not cease creating variation entirely. Instead, that variation exists on the intellectual fringes in the realm of unacceptable belief. Ideas propagate more successfully when the ideological data points between each individual are nearly identical. This is why diversity creates conformity that serves to avoid ideas, and instead repeat new forms of accepted notions, and why societies that are homogenous can have difficult or challenging conversations that their mixed-culture cousins could not.
Through this process of increasing enforcement, the demand for conformity to conventional wisdom forces a need for ideological homogeneity onto each new member of a population. This tightening of control follows the power law and is exponential rather than arithmetic, which means that it increases at a far greater rate and that intensification accelerates as time goes on. The likelihood of adaptive variations propagating within such an environment is very low. The resulting phenomenon, known as groupthink or Crowdism, is nothing more than natural selection caught in the process of that intensification, and represents the end-stage of an ideological civilization which has reasoned itself away from adaptation into control.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
A revolution occurs. In theory, the justification is that the people are starving. But then, it starts to look like revenge.
For months at a time, people stream to the public squares. There, they watch the execution of whole families: men, women and children.
They cheers as the heads roll. Over time, it becomes clear that it is dangerous not to cheer. If you do not, someone might suspect that you sympathize with the executed.
Those who were executed were given trials, by the way. Their caste was enough to convict them, but to keep everyone happy, investigations were conducted and official paperwork completed. Then, to the guillotine.
This mentality lives on in our time. In fact, it has existed in every age of humanity and probably also exists among animals. When computers get smart enough to talk and explain themselves, it will exist among them too. It is eternal. It is also evil.
A great man once said:
Insanity in individuals is something rare — but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Insanity — or delusions — in groups exist because whatever is most popular in the group is selected as a replacement for reality itself.
This occurs in part because a more easily comprehended idea will be more popular. And in part because people prefer to believe what they want to be true, not what is true.
But there’s another mechanism that’s more insidious. It has two parts, a positive and a negative.
Groups determine what succeeds. The positive part of this mechanism is that if you want to succeed in a society, you need to come up with something that is popular. Then people buy it, vote for it, and demand it in social circles.
In groups, people abuse outsiders. The negative part of the mechanism is that if you offend someone within the group, they may style you as an outsider. This allows individuals to control the group, but only through styling themselves as victims of someone else’s failure to side with the group enough.
This is what happened in France — if you didn’t cheer enough when they beheaded six year old girls, you were seen as a possible enemy of the state. It can be you at the guillotine next, citizen. The execution of ideological enemies unites the group to such a degree that turning on itself is a net win. Welcome to being a cog in the machine.
If you wanted to draw an analogy, this behavior is similar to what happens when an abuser confronts a child. He or she says to the child, “Don’t tell what we’ve done here, or I’ll hurt your pet.” Maybe he threatens the parents, a younger sibling, a friend or something else sacred. But the point is the abuser is holding the victim hostage to fear.
Our modern politics is based on rule by the mob which holds us all hostage to fear. We’ve got to go along with it… or we might be misunderstood, mistaken for the enemy, and executed publicly for the amusement of others.
This is why in our society, everything gradually gets dumber and more ideological at the same time. No one wants to be out of step. Or they might be next at the guillotine.
Sunday, May 5th, 2013
Our ancient societies evolved much like a species does. Over time, they tested out their hypotheses about how the wide world out there operated. They kept the ideas that worked, and pitched out the rest. From that came culture, wisdom and even religion.
Part of this original culture was that we had social castes, which were viewed as preferable to social classes, which are ranking by wealth. Social castes were ranking by ability, and wealth came later, namely because the king would gift the most useful people with large amounts of money in the theory that they would make good use of that power.
Eventually, crisis hit. A Mongol invasion, a black plague or two, even social instability caused by the wealth of new areas to colonize. However, at the same time, the wealth of the past through innovations in agriculture, hygiene and social order meant that there were more people than ever before. The population grew, from the poorest upward.
In this instability, many people became discontented. They grumbled and agitated. The rising population had outpaced its food supply and, instead of blaming the selfishness of individuals for going forward with raising larger families despite warnings about food supply, they found a scapegoat: they blamed the kings.
Naturally, they waged a type of guerrilla war. Your goal as a guerrilla is to be passive-aggressive, or to provoke your enemy into attacking you by needling them with many small but easily hidden aggressions until they finally lash out. Sabotage became common, as did petty attacks, thefts, accusations, and so on. This brought the situation to a boiling point.
At this juncture, the nature of warfare after the rifle became clear: whoever has the most people wins. The herd overran the kings, and proclaimed a new age. Since they needed to sell this to their fellow citizens, they claimed it as an age when all individuals were equal and decisions would be made by merit not inheritance.
It sounds good, on the surface. 224 years later, we’re seeing what it actually means. In reality, we have replaced an orderly system for finding leaders, in which those who actually accomplished something got ahead, with a system by which those who “play the game” well enough get ahead. In that, we have sewn the seeds of our doom.
The average person now grows up in a world of standardized tests. Since IQ is racist and assessing critical thinking is probably classist, these tests measure memorization ability. Thus school becomes a quest for those who can memorize the most details and recite them accurately. Whoever gets the most points wins.
What this creates however is a group of “merit”-selected people who are oblivious to anything but the test, and are helpless outside a world where they are told what to know and how to repeat it. If you ever look at actions by a government, or lawyers, or even doctors and think, “How can they be so stupid in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary?” you’re seeing the end result of this problem.
The bigger problem is that our society is now entirely driven by reference to its internal conclusions. It has shut reality out of the picture. We have books and rules of facts, and those tools have now become our masters. Those who master them become our leaders; those leaders in turn do not refer to facts outside of the books, but only look at reality through that filter.
Think of the many filters — this is a concept from Immanuel Kant — that we have in our lives. There’s the moral filter of good/bad, which ignores consequences of actions, where often “bad” acts are needed to get “good” consequences and vice versa. There’s the filter of what other people make popular, and thus is worth money or votes. There’s the filter of rules, “gaming the system” versus being good at something in reality.
Currently, our society is chasing its own tail into the abyss. The books give us certain rules and facts, and we follow those; when that doesn’t work out, we redouble our efforts using the same rules and facts. Like robots, we cannot deviate from our programming because we’ve eliminated the people who can think outside the box.
In fact, our current political environment is manic with the desire to achieve power over anyone who might know better. We want only people inside of the Ideology and its approved rules and facts. Anything else is a threat, and probably Hitler or Satan. We want our warm cult-like environment inside so that we can exclude the world.
This is how civilizations die. The final double-tap may come from invaders, or overpopulation/low food supply (these are the same thing). But what causes the death is our inability to make leadership decisions because our leadership is based on a robotic obedience to a filter, and ignores reality itself, eventually seeing it as “moral” to exclude reality.
Like civilizations before us, we will do what our books tell us and follow our facts and rules until we fall apart. The wall we run into isn’t that the rules were wrong, only that they were not realistic. And so we create a little in-group, a hive-mind prone to groupthink, drop out from reality, and like robots march toward the cataclysm.