Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘mediocrity’

The Increasing Mediocrity Of Everything

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

edward_gibbon_-_the_decline_and_fall_of_the_roman_empire

Growing up, students like myself were amazed at the obvious fracture: great art, symphonies and books all belonged to the past. The stuff our teachers told us was good in a contemporary sense was gimmicky foolishness and rarely had the depth of the past, with a few exceptions like Tom Wolfe and Michel Houellebecq.

In the meantime, there was always a trend afoot. Some book was the most recent Hunger Games and was flying off the shelf, to inundate used book sales barely a year later. Some movie was a constant source of pop culture references, or kids were listening to some album, but they never endured more than a decade at best.

Through this, early on we were introduced to the knowledge that our society had once been great, but now was not, and that our current “culture” consisted of little more than temporary fascinations which had no significance. With this in mind, it was hard to take anything seriously but hedonism and careers, since nothing had any meaning at all.

Since that time, most of us have become accustomed to the thought that as every year passes, every thing — institutions, art, culture, products, machines — would cost more and be less functional, but would be correspondingly even more over-hyped. It is like Moore’s Law for decay.

You may wonder why things are so wretchedly awful and getting worse. Here are three good reasons:

  • Ahierarchicalism. In the old days, there were editors on every level who selected the best of what was before them and kicked that upstairs. For this reason, by the time a book hit the readers, it had gone through many gates and was likely at least a candidate for good. As this model became unpopular, writing underwent a “democratization” process by which mediocrity was equated to quality. Now, anyone can publish, and they all do, which has resulted in a flood of books, blogs, magazines, and papers that no one has time to read. Where previously a few hundred thousand “power user” readers sifted through fifty books a year, now they face thousands of books being released per year, almost all of which are terrible and equally over-hyped. Even the famous sources of best-seller lists can tell us what is trendy, but not what is good. As a result, junk proliferates because it is competing on the basis of novelty and ironic uniqueness — a surface trait — alone. This is true not just of books, but all cultural objects and any products, including technology. Innovation has died, replaced by reconfiguration of known tech into new consumer objects. What we do have barely works. Refrigerators that once lasted decades now barely last for ten years. Microwaves fall apart while units from the 70s are still going. Cars seem to work OK if one buys an older design, but the newer trendy ones disappear within the decade.

  • Government. Government does nothing right. At every level it introduces waste and moves slowly, and when it does act, it screws up the natural process of life and business and replaces it with a bureaucracy that rewards the idiotic and punishes the intelligent. Whole fields are now essentially paper-pushing experiences in which new false targets are established by regulation and fear of government interference. Wherever government goes, the markets slow down and those who attempt quality are punished not just by the high cost of all the paperwork, but by the risk involved in going beyond what others are doing that is officially approved. In addition, government demands ever-increasing taxes to keep up with its bloat, further stilling innovation and markets.

  • Education. How can you be against education? That is a modern heresy like saying you are opposed to science. And yet, education produces people who cannot think for themselves. They are good at being taught a task, memorizing its many variants, and working away at it in that low-intensity modern way that involves lots of detail work and almost no analysis. As a result, they pass along blatantly unrealistic ideas as verified truth and fail whenever confronted with something outside of the script that they were taught at school. Think of the blank looks on the faces of European leaders when the migrant crisis exploded, or the number of companies that have fallen into senescence by failing to keep their products relevant. Look at Radio Shack, which vanished without a fight, or even Apple, which cannot seem to invent any new technology so keeps updating the past. Notice the number of district attorneys who prosecuted absolutely hopeless cases, or failed to prosecute necessary ones. Or even the vast amounts of corruption, tax cheating, and general lawbreaking which goes unnoticed and unacted upon. We have created a system that promotes the obedient far beyond their abilities, and then has no response when they somewhat predictably cannot figure out anything that they were not taught.

All of these are secondary to the primary decay of the West, of course. Once upon a time, we chose our best people and put them into a hierarchy, assigning them power and wealth as tools to be used toward the end of advancing civilization. For several millennia we have backed off from that approach, and as a result, every year we are less good and less competent, but more cocksure and pretentious.

Morons are the master race

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

maggot

Recent events have made it clear that the future is moron. That is, it will be both moronic, and possessed by morons, because they are the master race. Before I prove this indubitable fact to you, it is necessary to talk about some related foundational concepts, namely degree and efficiency.

Degree is the simplest: every solution fixes a problem by degree, as measured in how completely removed the problem is, for how long this will be true, and side-effects and other consequences of the act. If you find a spider in the house, you can choose to burn the house down, which technically speaking, does fix the problem. However, it only partially fixes the problem because you will need to build a new house and there, the same methods that caused the first spider to appear in your house will attract others. Thus the problem is “solved,” but not solved. To the opposite extreme, if your house has a structural fault, you can prop the sagging mess up with boards and cinderblock, but the problem is not solved there, either — only deferred.

Efficiency requires a bit more understanding. Humans pride ourselves on our efficiency but our methods are inferior to those of nature. Nature is not just a physical thing; it is a series of abstract patterns and the natural laws that in intersection create them (these intersections are Platonic forms). Nature thus rewards degree of efficiency not just in the now, but in the ongoing future, like a feedback cycle or loop. Today, it is most efficient to buy cheap land in the desert, pipe in water from low-population areas, and set up a suburb you can sell for a million a house and then retire someplace better. Looking at the long-term and ongoing game, it is more efficient to find the right climate, adapt to it in your construction, and live in balance with natural resources, because that way you require fewer things from the world around you and therefore experience less conflict.

Neither of those things matter these days. What matters is appearance, and it is binary if enough people approve. The wealth wave on which our society runs is not so much the cause of this as is the people power. When you form a society based around the idea of each individual being included, this makes every individual happy except the few with foresight, and the happy ones form a great big mob. Whatever they think is good, they will do, and defer consequences to the future, when they will blame those on the ones with foresight and either clean them up or ignore them.

This means that society acts like a robot: it denies the limits of reality and crashes ahead as if on autopilot, and any mess it makes does not bother it. When you have that many people acting as if something were true, it might as well be, at least for the time being. For that reason, being correct — usually a product of being wise, intelligent, good, honorable, far-sighted and so on — is no longer valuable. All that matters is being popular. Morons can be popular especially since the audience is also made of morons and loves to validate and legitimize itself.

Morons are more efficient as a result. Developing a brain, learning about the world, and taking risks in order to demonstrate truth are all expensive acts. Smart people require higher levels of function and favor greater degrees of quality. Morons need none of this; they simply do what is popular and exist at a low level of hygiene, order, function and time-scale, since they think no further ahead than the next pay period. A moron is happy with mediocrity and will rise to the top of the heap since morons are mediocrity experts.

The real reason that morons are the master race however is existential. Morons cannot think ahead of their next paycheck, so to them it is inconceivable that they die. They do not require any of the existential expenses of the intelligent. They do not need purpose, a sense of goodness, or even particular truth. They care nothing for excellence and principle. Morons are all about what is here and now. A cheeseburger to them is finer than all the works of Plato and Beethoven combined.

Smarter people struggle with questions of life and mortality. They worry about whether they are doing right. They create complex political intrigues in order to hoist one principle above the rest. Even more, they are never quite happy, because they are aware of their relatively imminent deaths and insignificance, and so while they are raging against the dying of the light and searching for hearts of gold, morons are simply eating cheeseburgers. With morons, the process of life is more efficient, much as monkeys are more efficient than humans.

Our society, which is run by morons, has realized that morons are the master race. They have none of the complicated habits and needs of smart people, but get right to the point of being human. For them life is having a job they can brag about, some possessions that look cool to others, and a cheeseburger every few hours. This is not only the most efficient solution to the human condition, but the most permanent. When we are all morons, there will be no war, strife or even ideas. Only cheeseburgers and contentment. That is the future the master race will bring you.

This world is designed to make you want to die

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

the_fall_of_empires

The path of “doing right” often leads to misery. Such is the case with societies that, as they succeed, choose to try to improve on nature through government. This creates a cycle that rewards the bad and punishes the good, resulting in a place that is horrible to live on every level but the material.

On the surface, the modern West is the best place on earth to live. We have material prosperity, rule of law and relative stability on a planet where, as usual, most of humanity has studied how to best screw up and is busy beheading each other. And yet, looking under the surface, a different vision appears.

This society is ugly and dysfunctional. Our needs are different from those of the beheaders, and this falls short. Days are spent in pointless labor that achieves nothing for anyone. Everyday annoyances are a peak because most people are paying little attention at jobs and so most details are botched. This means that people spend hours every week dealing with frustration minor issues and bureaucracy.

Unfortunately for us, the basic problem is that a dying society like ours converts sanity into insanity through the principle of relativity. Relative to what we know, we make choices and pick the best option available, but the options we actually need are off the table. Even keeping the system going, a daily struggle, is insane and yet it is the only option that appears sane.

Let us look at three areas where this world breaks down:

  1. “Normal.” To a healthy person, “normal” means a good person: good moral character, reasonable intelligence, healthy and sane. To an egalitarian society, “normal” means mediocre, because when you define all citizens to be equal you create a lower threshold and must design for that. This means that our laws, institutions and social interactions anticipate dealing with people who are low in every ability and character trait.
  2. Hubris. The Greek principle of hubris described those who acted above their natural station in the hierarchy of life. A peasant pretending to be a king, or a hero acting as if he were a god, would fit into this definition. All of our society is based on the hubristic idea that we are in control and can force things to be as we visualize them. Egalitarianism presumes that we can take mediocre people, control their thinking through education and manipulate their behavior through laws, and make them more than mediocre. We cannot.
  3. Bigotry. One form of bigotry never gets mentioned, and that is bigotry toward the smarter, stronger, more moral and more sane. It is legitimized by the egalitarian state, which acts in defense of the less capable by taking from the more capable. The result is a society that hates good people and celebrates bad ones. When its institutions fail, it always looks for some successful person to blame, instead of blaming the herd of mediocre people who — as usual — got it all wrong.

When we speak of the insanity of this time, the above is what we mean, not that iPhones are hard to use or the subway moves too fast. Sanity is destroyed and insanity encouraged. Goodness is persecuted and evil accepted. What was once normal and good has now become rare and persecuted. As a result, daily life is constant nonsense and exhausting bother for anyone with a working brain.

It is not surprising that sane people have abandoned politics, society and public institutions and instead retreat to their living rooms. They have been made irrelevant because insanity rules. Fewer of them are having children, and those that do are investing less effort in those offspring, because they recognize that as long as this society holds power, anything above the mediocre is doomed.

When most people think of “conservatives,” they think of people fighting a rearguard action against the encroachment of insanity. But insanity won. Now we need to think about dissolving our society as it is and replacing it with something that works. Anything else guarantees more of the same, time after time.

National Lowered Standards Day (August 4)

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

national_lowered_standards_day

For years, we have struggled to maintain higher standards, but it just hasn’t worked. It’s inconvenient. To recognize this, we propose a Federal holiday to celebrate a lowest common denominator state of mind. This is the National Lowered Standards Day, and we celebrate it every August 4:

  • If you see a problem, wait for someone else to handle it.
  • Sort of do your job and watch apathetically as it fails.
  • Watch TV, eat junk food and post your tits on the internet.
  • Avoid heavy tools. Duct tape and paperclips fix everything.
  • Make sure to avoid inconvenient work required to have basic knowledge about any topic.
  • Don’t waste time cleaning up — throw it on the floor instead.
  • Even better, throw it directly into a National Forest!

Our slogan is “Good enough is the best it gets!” Celebrate our decline as a civilization to dysfunctional levels of corruption, incompetence, apathy, laziness, filth and confusion. We don’t want to get our act together. It’s just not convenient.

Text message your senators and half-heartedly demand this new holiday. We’ve been praising ourselves for trivial accomplishments while killing productivity, celebrating the mediocre, norming to minimum standards, and happily ignoring the consequences of our actions for years. It’s time to make it official.

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