Posts Tagged ‘john mccain’

Self-Trickery

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Human brains are notoriously complex and so we attempt to diagnose them with complex methods, but recently a much simpler analysis revealed more of the workings of the mind than the complex approach. This in turn revealed the presence of self-deception or more accurately “self-trickery” as the basis of human mental operations.

According to author Michael Lewis, we are biologically wired to trick ourselves:

But we are also endlessly irrational, delusional, overconfident and often just plain wrong. They unearthed any number of different ways in which our minds trick us into believing things that simply aren’t true.

For example, if we enjoy the last day of a holiday, then we tend significantly to overrate how fun the entire experience was. They labelled this the “peak end rule”. Similarly, if we are given a list of female names and a longer list of male names, we will think the female list is longer if there are famous and recognisable names on it. They called this “availability bias”.

Kahneman and Tversky showed again and again that our decisions, memory and understanding of the world are often wildly distorted by self-deception. We seek to turn huge and unpredictable events into manageable stories, cutting endless corners in the process. “The world is so much more uncertain than our minds can tolerate,” says Lewis. “It drives you crazy if you really think about it. So we have these mechanisms that make it seem more knowable than it really is.”

Reading this together with Dilbert creator Scott Adams reveals an unsettling picture. Adams predicted that Trump would win the 2016 Presidential election not based on statistical predictions, but simply based on persuasion.

“If you see voters as rational you’ll be a terrible politician,” Adams writes on his blog. “People are not wired to be rational. Our brains simply evolved to keep us alive. Brains did not evolve to give us truth. Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence.”

…(Among the persuasive techniques that Trump uses to help bend reality, Adams says, are repetition of phrases; “thinking past the sale” so the initial part of his premise is stated as a given; and knowing the appeal of the simplest answer, which relates to the concept of Occam’s razor.)

…Writes Adams: “Identity is always the strongest level of persuasion. The only way to beat it is with dirty tricks or a stronger identity play. … [And] Trump is well on his way to owning the identities of American, Alpha Males, and Women Who Like Alpha Males. Clinton is well on her way to owning the identities of angry women, beta males, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities.”

The academic angle on these revelations is based on research and writings of two Israeli psychologists Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky. These two psychologists overturned the economic idea (in the 70s) of the rational consumer or voter who thinks rationally — in The Enlightenment™ style — when making decisions.  They find that civilizations have made some excellent rational decisions, but that it does not deter from the fact that humans and consequently their organizations are fundamentally irrational.

This irrationality in turn makes humans natural bluffers, with organizations commonly based in illusion that they utilize to demand power and wealth. The need to justify this bluff makes humans over confident, prone to rationalization or ex post facto justification, and thus simply wrong for the most part. Jim Collins supports this with his research by noting that only eleven of 20000 companies were found to be “great,” with most merely going through the motions based on their bluffs and sacred illusions.

Danny Kahneman — presumably influenced by Plato’s metaphor of the cave and Kant’s notion of the perceptual filter — wrote:

We are blind for our own blindness and we have very little understanding of how little we know.

Several interesting points arise from Lewis analyzing Kahneman and Tversky, specifically regarding how humans asses risk. For example, we rarely prepare for disaster because we irrationally do not anticipate it, and instead wait for disaster to happen before doing something about it (politically: Hurricane Katrina, bursting dams and immigration).

Even with day-to-day risks, we ignore the actual chances of events in preference for addressing our own emotional reactions to events, even exceptionally rare ones. Lewis makes the point that insurance statistics are a waste of time, but, because we cannot handle the emotional pain associated with remorse, or having regret after a crisis, we will pay whatever premium they ask. Insurance plays into our fear of feeling bad after an event, and not practical concerns with the event itself.

The anticipated emotional pain caused by remorse is able to distract us from real life around us. Because of this, it is possible that we normally make illogical decisions and later rationalize them — or backwards justify them — as being logical. This creates industries like insurance which serve emotional rather than realistic needs.

Our irrationality makes it hard to believe in human civilization itself if we assume that rationality is necessary and good. Organizations are made of people, and in utilitarian times, the preferences of the individuals determine the needs of the group, which leads us to wonder how we can trust a large-scale organization like civilization based on preferences which will eventually be revealed as illusion.

Tversky addresses this point more generally:

It is terrifying to think that we don’t know something, but it is even more terrifying to think that the world is mostly controlled by people that “believe” they know “exactly” what’s going on.

Lewis’ last comment in the article — presumably influenced by the Christian notion of original sin — on the issue of how little the “experts” know was:

Failure is part of being human. We should not be afraid of it, because it is what we are.

Lately there have been too many blatant and obvious failures of human reason exhibited by organizations like government, media and academia. This means that we require re-assessment of human decision-making, since because our irrationality is fact, this must be taken as a parameter of the human input into organizations, and limited or channeled so that individual illogicality does not cause organizations to become viral self-perpetuators of the illusions upon which they depend, making the broader society delusional.

Organizational pathology in fact amplifies individual illogicality, creating results that are far worse. Obama’s remorse led him to act against the interests of his host country, although his ideology of Leftism — itself a rationalization of civilization decay — pointed him in that direction in the first place.

Scott Adams identified fear as the single worst factor in persuasion. The psychologists above identified “the anticipated pain of remorse” as the biggest factor towards being fake or delusional. This applies to the media, which specialize in selling us justifications for our behavior so that we may avoid remorse and the perception that we will lose social status because we did not anticipate the actual threats. For this reason, ideology specializes in creating scapegoats that allow us to distract ourselves from the real risks, and by focusing on the pretend risk, imagining that we are acting on a “higher” level than those who respond to actual risks.

As President Trump said: “(fake) Mainstream Media is the enemy of the American people.” Media, like insurance, operates by selling products to allay remorse instead of dealing with actual problems. This means that media has a financial incentive to never address the actual issues, just like insurance has an incentive to never reveal how rare problems actually are, and instead of selling comprehensive risk policies, to sell many little policies addressing specific fears instead of potential realities.

Clinton, McCain and the media use a different persuasion strategy called the “politics of fear.” This, too, exploits remorse by inventing new non-threats and selling them as risks, so that people want a strong powerful government to intervene between them and the threat. Like insurance, instead of coming up with a comprehensive policy — strength of the nation — these lesser persuaders produce a cornucopia of terrors to keep the population nervous and desiring strong assurances, such as benefits, subsidies and more laws.

Now that this strategy has failed, the resulting remorse for Leftists has become extremely painful. This produces the source of their recent aggression, which focuses on false risks as a means of disguising unarticulated (because humans are illogical) fear of the actual problem, which is a civilization in decline. While this seems extreme, it is merely a method of avoiding the greater remorse of admitting to having wasted time, energy and money on non-issues, and this propels the Left forward to further resistance to recognition of actual problems.

In turn, that mechanism reveals the failings of The Enlightenment.™ When we proclaim universal human rationality as the basis of our civilization, we are projecting the notion that we are in fact rational, which obscures the irrationality and allows it to lead the discourse from behind. That in turn gives power to those who preach fear, instead of those who persuade by identifying real issues, and causes the spiral of delusion that pushes social assumptions into direct contradiction of the actual problems, precipitating the collapse of the civilization.

The Cockroach Republic

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Every so often, evil becomes so self-unaware that it reveals its intrinsic nature with no shame. Putting a microphone in front of (((Bill Kristol))) has recently produced several such moments. Either he is old and losing the fastball, or he just feels so entitled and so invulnerable that he will tell the world exactly how he and Caligula both think. (((Bill Kristol))) drops all pretense on the YouTube below.

Now Mr. Kristol passes himself off as a Conservative. He is no more of a Conservative than Hillary Rodham Clinton was a Progressive. Neither should be legitimately considered as a patriotic American. F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked that the rich are different from you and I. Ernest Hemmingway dismissed him by pointing out the obvious. “Yeah, they’ve got more money.” Yet Fitzgerald did have a point.

Fitzgerald could understand the impact of caste on a person’s development. A man or woman or Hillary is at some fundamental level the average of She/He/Its five best friends. The people surrounding you rub off and effect you. People like Mr. Crowley, oops I mean Kristol surround themselves with people like Mrs. Clinton and vice-versa. They become their own separate peer-group in the rarified airs of Davos.

So when somebody Conservative attempts to take a few privileges back from people like (((Bill Kristol))) or Hillary, then who does Conservative Mr. Kristol support? Clearly, he has to look out for his peers. He had a choice between Davos and Wichita Falls. He decided that while he preferred democracy, he would take The Deep State over The Trump State. In other words, he only accepts the results of America’s succession process that suit his own personal predilections. This implies that he isn’t indisposed to overturning or undermining the results of a recent election.

Others are less polished and even more explicit. Evan McMullin openly labels our President-Elect a domestic enemy.

After Trump criticized the FBI and the NSA for leaking information to the Washington Post and the New York Times, McMullin tweeted, “By oath, intelligence officials’ first duty is to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So, the real scandal isn’t that the President of the United States of America appears to have been co-opted by America’s greatest adversary?” he added.

This takes place in an environment where intelligence agents are accused of not sharing intelligence with The POTUS.

“Any suggestion that the U.S. intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the President and his National Security team is not true,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Public Affairs Office said in a statement. The story alleged some in the intelligence community are too concerned with the White House ties to Russia, a claim that is unproven despite rigorous investigation. The story was published only days after the firing of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom sources tell People’s Pundit Daily was just “the first victim in a political coup by members of the permanent government.”

And we have further witnessed US Intelligence Agencies involved in a smear campaign to undermine General Michael Flynn’s position with President Trump. We now find out that the accusations that he was too cozy with Russia are not founded on legitimate data.

The intelligence official who has personally seen the transcripts told Mary Louise they contained “no evidence” of criminal wrongdoing, although the official said it can’t be definitively ruled out. The official also said there was “absolutely nothing” in the transcripts that suggests Flynn was acting under instructions “or that the trail leads higher.”

This all means that unelected career employees of the Executive Branch feel entitled to make policy and personnel decisions that their employer does not want to see made. If you worked for GE and tried this, you’d be logged to Monster.com after your boss had dealt with you. Even McMullin talks about defending a constitution by disobeying the individual that very constitution identifies as the boss. Again, if the employee handbook at GE identified someone as your rater, then undermining that individual would get you a ticket to the welfare lifestyle.

Perhaps Mr. Kristol’s comment about his preference of the Deep State to The Trump State is illuminating as to just where Mr. McMullen and Mr. Kristol invest their loyalties. You, I and anyone else who choose to work for a corporation, or even join the less elite levels of the military or the government, are expected to do and die like the poor soldiers in the Kipling poem. Into the valley of death ride the 600.

Here is where the rich such as Mr. McMullen and Mr. Kristol are different. They owe a loyalty beyond the state that employs them. That oath that Mr. McMullen makes The Sophist’s Jape at is to The United States of America that we are supposed to be electing the leadership of. These two audacious pricks feel they can unilaterally any commitment to this country that doesn’t benefit them and their coterie. The average E4 who feels similar anal chaffage and chooses to renege upon sworn oath will end up like Michael G. New.

This is detestable. We should all be in it together. There should be the same amount of skin in the game. NeoCons and Cucks never have to meet this standard. All good Conservatives are supposed to support Mitt Romney of John McCain tot he bloody, losing hilt. If they turn away from that group and elect their version of a legitimate Conservative…Then the Kristols, McMullins, the MeAgain Kellys and all the rest of them can do all in their power to invalidate that choice.

This makes Amerika a Cockroach Republic. Our elite does not set an example. They just feed off the wealth produced by more worthy and less connected working people. These roaches feed off what the decent yeomen produce. The Yeoman sees this racket and they quit and become Pill-Billies or Urban Trash. A parasitic elite sets and example that all Americans come to follow. Then, one day, everyone is a hissing cockroach and nobody remains a producer. Who can blame the disgusted observer whos sees this hideous excuse of a nation and whips out a giant can of Thermonuclear Raid.

But this won’t matter to Kristol or McMullen. They just get into their jets and fly away. Like Tom and Daisy Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the Cucks and Deep State NeoCons leave trash and bodies in their wake and walk away with no responsibility. The only thing that matters to them is their status above the hoi polloi. They only exist to feed off the products of others. They are The Cockroach Republic and no more deserve our respect than the mooching bum on the street corner.

Is God Both Friend And Enemy?

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

the_creation_of_adam

Nietzsche is famous for saying “God is dead” meaning “we” killed God. A different approach might have been to say that God could be either a friend “or” a foe (because being a foe we would have to kill Him). However, thinking that God is “both” friend and foe boggles the mind and would be a contradiction.

With this in mind, news in more recent times related to Senator McCain being asked by Senator Gohmert to “take a rest in Arizona” (referencing overdue retirement). This happened because of McCain’s support for unsafe American (global) policies. The contradiction exhibited by individuals such as Senator McCain, was described as:

“we owe them all a debt of gratitude…

…Yet that does not give any one person the right to do harm to our country from a legislative position nor to put others in peril around the world by ill-conceived policy.”

In some countries it is illegal to work past the retirement age although it is possible to do a different job after retiring. However, Sen McCain is seventy-nine years old and he persists in pushing for yet another election as if four prior elections were not good enough. But still, some politicians by virtue of their wisdom might feel obliged to serve (their) people in their late years.

The problem is that Senator McCain lost his wisdom, or maybe even never had it, since he was always the maverick (already in capture which apparently continued to the end of his career), ending up his working life serving something else. He was neither the first nor the last that will happen to. Not that change is wrong (to be honest) – but sometimes it is.

One other example (of changing your expert opinion) is the South African sports scientist Dr. Tim Noakes that became known for his 1985 book on the “Lore of Running” and then in his early retirement, made a controversial “u-turn on fat vs carbo-hydrates” . Basically he wants me to eat fat (now), despite advice to the contrary from my dietician.  Maybe for others he is not wrong, but for me, he is.

The common ground between McCain and Noakes is that in the beginning they were right for “some” while in their retirement they are right for “others.” Another point where they coincide is that they affect not just “their own” people, but everyone. They obviously think they are still the same person they always were and I would agree, but that is also where the catch is. On the one hand they are the friend while on the other they might have become the foe. (Same person, same guy).

In working life one could easily find the same with colleagues. For example, things will go smoothly when a colleague is in good spirits, but under stress the environment changes his/her temperament (either slowly or quickly), where it can happen that a complete (permanent) turnaround may occur. In other words, instead of working with you, he/she works for the competitor.

Little children show similar tendencies (on a daily basis). One example is that one kid would call another a “friend” to play with, subsequently changing completely by exclaiming that “you’re not my friend anymore” and “I’m not playing with you anymore.” They also extrapolate this to the old “let’s play house” game where they get “married, have kids while looking after grandparents,” but one week later they are not married anymore, because the girl picked another boy she wants to marry, and so the boy picks another girl –- right? That is permanent because neither of these two will ever play that game with each other again.

Are such contradictions possible in nature? Recently a century old tortoise started looking after a baby hippopotamus. This may be heart-warming, but nature is full of contradictions such as day/night and predator/prey. These contradictions are permanent and cannot be overcome, but the hippo is not going to eat the tortoise when it is fully grown. The point in nature is that some days are a lot darker than others and sometimes the predator becomes the prey.

So allow me to return to God and whether you believe in God is not the issue. One has to believe nature and if nature can change, then humans can change, and thus organizations can change. In fact the same nature, the same human, the same organization and the same God can change. God can save, but he can also punish, regardless of whether we understand it. Perhaps it would be better to accept and understand the change, rather than God. He might just become your foe despite being the same “you” and the same “God.”

The lesson for me is rather that change is not a step-function and therefore not binary either, because at least two things change simultaneously: the hippo and the tortoise and man and nature. In that sense God (and my nature) will always be my friend.