Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘the bell curve’

Doing The Wrong “Right” Thing

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

At the start of a journey, the end remains shrouded in mystery. Adventures tend to be cumulative, with each stage dependent on the previous one. When the explorer finally looks down on the objective, it may not resemble at all what was anticipated way back when the journey began.

Frequently people discover that what seemed like the right path at the start of the journey was clearly a wrong path as they approach the end, even if they were able to get to a better path from that wrong path in the first place. Something of this nature currently embroils the West as we realize that modern civilization, or maybe just civilization, is killing us.

Our species struggles with The Human Problem, which is our tendency to adapt to the audience instead of the goal. Humans are social animals because other people are closer to our understanding than the world outside of humans out there, but this creates a trap in that in order to accept others, we must broaden our standards to include both lowest common denominator and any outliers or exceptions.

That in turn forces an inversion, or removal of some truths that are not socially acceptable, which reduces our mission from what must be done to the simplified version consisting of what others can understand and what does not offend anyone. Over time, this turns the mission from its original purpose to something which fits all members of the group comfortably.

We can see this in action in all areas of human life:

  • A rock band. They finally got some recognition after their first demo. The drummer wants to be more like what he hears on the big internet stations. The bassist wants to be more arty and obscure. The guitarist wants to become jazz-fusion with a surface covering of their old style. The vocalist wants to continue doing what they did. Agreement cannot be found, so they mix it all together. The songs get more pop, with more jazz technique, but arty touches when possible, and they double down on the tropes in their music that reviewers noticed. Six months later, no one remembers them.
  • A church. The old roof leaks; a new one is needed. The elders of the church gather. They determine that it will take them years to achieve the funding for a full roof replacement, but patching the roof will take only a few months of fundraising. They also note that laying on a plastic sheath will take a few more months, and will cost half as much as a new roof, but is modern and fashionable although it does not fix the underlying problem. The group takes a vote, and it is decided that the sheath is the best option, because it is both acceptable and achievable. In six months, the roof leaks again.
  • A corporation. The old product is doing well, but competitors offer competition. Some in the committee room argue that the company should adopt something more like what the others are doing, while many say it should stay with what is true. Finally a compromise is reached: the company will offer its old product, but tweaked to be more like the competition. This pleases no one and fails, which means that within a year it is no longer on the company website.

In each case, the mission migrates from what is possible to what the group will accept, and everything else is filtered out, resulting in the choosing of a lesser option.

Our human world contains the idea of “doing the right thing” which is usually interpreted to mean ensuring that every person has a stake in what is done. However, when everyone has a stake, no one has a full stake, which means that decisions are assigned as a responsibility of the nebulous collective, and no one faces any real accountability for their actions. They blame the herd.

As we see it, “doing the right thing” involves supporting our society: first, getting a career and money; second, giving money and time to institutions; third, trying to choose the right option of many in politics, society, culture, and socializing with others. What we do not realize is that these seemingly-correct paths are in fact journeys to doom.

Consider the job. We go, because we need money. It takes up all of our time and we neglect our family, culture, learning, and souls. The job bores us because most of it is make-work nonsense. We become frustrated, and take that out on our families and neighbors, because there — unlike at the job — there are no consequences.

Much as drowning people at night often become disoriented and swim downward instead of toward the surface, in our society we are blinded by a desire to do right according to the definitions of the Herd, and so we pursue our own doom as if it were goodness and mercy.

We go off to jobs. We work hard to get ahead. We pay those taxes to support the parasite state. On Saturday, we get up and mow the lawn so that everyone else in the neighborhood sees us as respectable (for the record, neither this blog nor this author are “respectable”). We fritter away the rest of the day trying to catch the sales at the grocery store, find replacements for failing gadgets, adjust our computers into working order, cleaning the house, organizing all the stuff that piles up, and engaging our kids in respectable activities.

Then on Sunday, we rush off to church to be told how to be good and moral to the “less fortunate,” then come home and find out we have no idea what to do with the remaining time, so we turn on the television or Facebook and farm our brains out. Then we do it again, and one day we wake up at age 65 and find that the world no longer needs us. It used us and threw us away. And it took our best years for its own purposes, mainly for the eternal social goal of subsidizing the lower by taking from the higher so that an external administrative force — the State and its Leftist constituents — to have a perceived necessity.

The Human Problem manifests in this way: the smart people do what seems to be the right thing, which consists of what appears to our blocky human intellects to be an order that beats back unruly nature and substitutes a universal, level, fair, and organized system that succeeds because it makes everyone in the social group nod along, thinking that this is a good idea. We forget our purpose, and instead focus on the methods we perceive as necessary for that purpose, along the way losing our direction and souls.

Those methods inevitably involve deconstruction; human intellects favor isolated institutions with single-issue functions, which divides up the question of “civilization” into a series of disconnected roles, like the thought of a neurotic mind raging on in their own monomaniacal intent without ever correlating the whole or acting in parallel. We never look at the whole picture of survival and adaptation, and consider last if at all the question of the existential, namely whether we are living in such a way that makes us see the beauty in life and work to enhance it.

Our mania for this false type of order leads us to create cities where every person has a narrow function, jobs where we perform so that those above us approve without regard for what is actually needed, tolerance of those who are dysfunctional such that the individuals in the group are not threatened by the possibility of being noticed for their own failings, and a sense of stewardship of society as defined in terms of human individuals, such that we perceive that what is “right” is what subsidizes every member of society instead of obeying the selection instincts of nature and focusing only on those who are the type of people we want to be in the next generation.

In other words, what we think is right is in fact incorrect, which means that it is not wrong because it is morally wrong, but wrong because it consistently does not work out well in reality. Our minds are not perfect replicas of the world; in fact, we know the world only through interpretations of it, and these vary among people. If the “Bell Curve” that applies to IQ is consistent with other abilities, this implies that in fact very few of us are very good at all at understanding the world, with perhaps 5% having a mostly-clear picture, another 5% having a reasonably clear picture, and everyone else existing in a muddle.

This divides humanity into two groups, a 10% who basically “get it” and a 90% who essentially do not. As human societies grow, they become dedicated to managing people externally, or control, which basically consists of setting up an organization outside the social order in order to enforce rules, like an administrator or manager. This group is external because it is appointed or hired to do so, giving it the gloss of “objectivity” and “neutrality” that allows the vast majority of individuals to settle in like pleased chickens because they believe they are safe from loss of face, prestige, social status, and the good will of others, for their mistakes and character flaws. That external group then, because its mandate is to enforce unity, uses the 10% who are reliable as a means of subsidizing and stabilizing the 90% who are not. In defiance of evolution, it sacrifices the good in order to keep the rest in line for minimum function.

If the 10% were to cut itself free from the 90%, it would experience an exponential growth in happiness and a proportionate massive reduction in tedium, crime, vandalism, cruelty, vice, and passive aggression. However, the 10% likes to hold on to the 90% because if another society attacks, having a large number of warm bodies who can wield weapons is more important than having a few experts. This was the lesson for Europe of the Mongol Invasions, re-learned by Germany when she fought against the Soviet Union, whose quarter-Asiatic citizens fought in human waves much like is common in Asian land warfare.

Traditional societies sequestered the 90% in lower castes, kept them comfortable but without much disposable income, and limited their political, social, cultural, and economic power to avoid their bad behavior from corrupting the core of social order. These societies understood civilization as an organic whole, or not as a group of people to be managed, but as a living thing in which each person served a role. Organic civilization is only aided by doing what keeps the civilization healthy, which takes a higher precedence than trying to save each person, especially trying to save them from themselves. This allowed the 10% to prosper and the 90% to live as they always do, in a miasma of selfishness, self-sabotage, attention whoring, drama, confusion, greed, incontinence, and self-destruction.

When our civilization decided to be egalitarian, or dedicated to preserving the individual at the expense of civilization, it created the type of environment we recognize from the modern job: an external source of control managing individuals through enforced conformity so that everyone stays within the lines of the minimum required of them, and thus unity is upheld. This made the 10% into slaves of the 90%, since the 10% both contribute more and have specific mental needs, such as freedom from uniformity, tedium, conformity, and the type of ugliness that mass culture, popular architecture, and government pamphlets have in common.

Jobs serve not actual needs but the need for people to gel together like a slime mold. While businesses address needs, or at least consumer demands, jobs are partially creations of regulations, politics, and social attitudes, and as such they serve more to keep everyone busy and feeling self-important than to achieve actual end results in reality. In fact, for most people, going to work is a social event, which is why they keep going. Driven by a need to be recognized, they use the workplace as an extended social group.

This social basis creates groupthink through rampant extroversion. Extroversion, or allowing oneself to be guided by what others are doing, leads to a desire to achieve good feelings by making the group feel good. Class clowns know this; when they make others laugh, they feel better about themselves. In a group, where people are managed based on external appearance, extroversion proves to be a winning strategy because those who are getting along with the group are automatically seen as not a threat; introverts, or those who are entirely self-directed, are seen as unpredictable and therefore threatening to the group, in addition to being less present in social events so prone to be overlooked or forgotten when a time for promotions and awards comes around.

Groupthink in turn creates the worst condition of a dying civilization, namely its self-referentiality. Instead of paying attention to the results of its actions in reality, it exclusively looks inward to see what other people think of any action, which occurs because rewards to individuals come from whatever pleases the group. Like a group of people so intent on their conversation that they then walk off a cliff, civilizations in the grip of groupthink self-destruct by pleasing themselves at the expense of doing what is necessary in a reality-referential context. As with all instances of The Human Problem, the group adapts its purpose to the group instead of adapting to its environment, and so dies out like any delusional species.

In the grips of this self-referential social order based on control, people become domesticated, infantilized, and atomized, or entirely separated from anything larger than their own self-interest. From this comes many of the behaviors which are blamed on anything other than the group — capitalism is blamed for greed, under-socialization is blamed for apathy, atheism is blamed for immorality, and nihilism is blamed for lack of faith in the group morality — which form intractable social problems because the same means used to “solve” them are the methods that perpetuate them. This places the civilization in a death spiral where it will keep pathologically repeating the same behaviors and expecting better results, when it is in fact swimming downward toward a cold and lonely death.

To solve this problem, our only recourse involves ceasing to take society at face value, and also, to apply the same treatment to ourselves. What we think we want is usually a path to our doom; what we actually need, more than personal needs or social needs, is stability through a thriving organic civilization. With that, we will be rewarded for doing what is good, and those who do bad will be encouraged or forced to move on. This replicates the role that natural selection served among humans before we formed fixed, organized civilizations.

We can see that instead of worrying about Leftist ideals on the basis of face value, and concerning ourselves with whether this plan or that plan would fix our issues and problems, we should be concerned about the environment we provide for ourselves because civilization shapes us. The type of civilization that we select will in turn make us into the ideal citizens for that type of civilization, and if we choose one that indulges the group instead of striving for adaptation, we will end up becoming obese tattoo-vandalized blue haired neurotics. If we choose adaptation, all of what we see as “good” will be that which produces good results for organic civilization as a whole, and so we will make ourselves stronger, smarter, healthier, and of greater moral character.

A healthy civilization rewards the good and punishes the bad; an unhealthy civilization equates good with bad so that all are equal, and therefore that they can be used as a mass for purposes of warfare, profit, or staying in power. This is the difference between noble rule and tyranny, more so than methods, because one can have a good dictator or a bad democracy, and in fact, all democracies rapidly and inexorably become bad.

Human minds work through symbols. As with the difference between religion and a cult, at some point in every human group the symbol for the goal replaces the goal itself, and this inverts the value system so that instead of rewarding productive behavior, it penalizes it by forcing the productive to serve the unproductive. This occurs through social means because we try to motivate the group to stay together so that it works as a mass, and therefore control remains uninterrupted, instead of realizing that power is rare and is the property of those who have the intelligence and moral character to use it well, because if not used well, it self-destructs.

Motivating the group toward a hierarchy naturally enforces a focus on purpose because this is how more intelligent and moral people operate: they measure the results of our actions in reality, and select the best, so that they further beauty, excellence, and realistic thinking (“truth”). When a society orients toward hierarchy, it creates what is best called “the genius pump”: a constant upward pressure that produces people of great ability because their contributions are recognized, instead of used as a weapon against them as happens in egalitarian societies. If the good are rewarded and the bad punished, this creates a sorting mechanism where those who consistently do good — the 10% — rise above the rest, and then are further rewarded for doing well in their new capacity, so that the most competent and best ascend toward the top of the hierarchy. This intensifies competition among the best, elevating those who are genius at leadership and ensuring that they find mates of similar ability. From this comes a healthy aristocracy not impoverished by property taxes to pay for the 90% and a sane society encourages such people to have large families, and the best of those children then rise further, creating a constant stream of better people to keep the rest in line and drive the group not as a mass but as many unequal roles working toward the same goal toward greater degrees of qualitative excellence, or gradual improvement in the details of what the organic civilization already is, instead of looking for new methods on the broadest level, or the opposite of details.

To appreciate this type of society, we need to accept that we live in a relative universe. As Plato points out, a drawing of a circle is never a circle, only an approximation thereof; Schopenhauer says that we experience life only through layers of interpretation, since we never make contact with the thing itself, being removed from it by intellect and the distance inherent to perception; Nietzsche tells us that there are no truths, only interpretations. This means that there is no subjectivity or objectivity, only an ability to have greater precision in approximating what we know of reality. In this esoteric view, people are not equal in their ability to perceive the world, and knowledge is cumulative and relative to the individual, so only those with the ability and the drive to be more accurate in their perceptions will achieve greater levels of approximation of understanding reality, creating a hierarchy of accurate perception that parallels the hierarchy of the good.

In the traditional view, we each are part of a whole living thing known as the cosmos, and civilization emulates that in order to be as efficient and excellent as possible. We serve our roles like cells in a body, not focused on making the cells happy, but on achieving the goal that they share despite each having a different place in the hierarchy, both vertically by ability and horizontally by location and competition between those on the same levels. In contrast, the modern view holds that life is something we manage from outside as if we were hired in a job to administrate it, independent of our own connections to the world or inner traits like excellence and intelligence. The traditional view makes us active participants who take responsibility for their actions; the modern view delegates all thinking to an external party, the State, and designates obedience as our only obligation.

That viewpoint descends from government through society. We treat ourselves as means-to-an-end at jobs, and we condition our children to be defensive and neurotic by treating them as products to be managed. Husbands treat wives as tools, and wives see men as managers, eliminating unity and even actual love between them. We treat nature as a substrate to be exploited, and instead of making our cities into a glorification of beauty, we create ugliness as if it were the fundamental design goal. All of this flows from equality, which makes the individual the focus and civilization the means-to-an-end, at which point inner traits are denied, and therefore hierarchy is forgotten, reducing us to a mob that consumes everything in its path through a tragedy of the commons comprised of individual wants, desires, needs, and assertions of authority.

At the time of this writing, The Age of Ideology is ending, putting to rest the egalitarian delusion. In the final calculus, ideology was the product of individuals using civilization for their own ends, and this conditioned people to be less thoughtful and more destructive. We are now searching for a new or at least different civilization design, one that puts the goal first and the audience second.

When we look back over this time through the lens of history, we will see a broader scope than ever before. Human civilizations will be seen like rocket tests, where each time a design is tested and it blows up on the launching pad, it is redesigned. Every human group so far has detonated because of The Human Problem sabotaging it from within, and it has become clear that for our species to explore the stars, we will need a civilization design based in hierarchy and transcendental purpose, or a type of purpose that is ongoing and immutable, meaning that it can never be fully achieved but we can always more closely approximate it.

Humanity has suffered from exhaustion for some time. Our rockets keep blowing up, but we have been unable to change the design at a low enough level to make it succeed. Instead, we keep applying the same bad theory and seeing the same sad results. When we finally get to the root of that theory, we find (as always, with bad things) the fear that human individuals have for themselves has unreasonably swayed us toward denying the need to be good. When we overcome that fear, nothing holds us back; the stars await.

We Are Not Equal

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

In the modern lexicon, we are expected to think of each other as equals, meaning that we are all equally important. In reality, however, very few people do anything more than go through the motions, and so we know that most people are not really all that important. In addition, our abilities vary in the same way that traditional lore and modern science tell us they do.

Even observation shows us that people are very much unequal:

[T]he 1-9-90 rule…states that in a collaborative website such as a wiki, 90% of the participants of a community only view content, 9% of the participants edit content, and 1% of the participants actively create new content.

Similar rules are known in information science, such as the 80/20 rule known as the Pareto principle, that 20 percent of a group will produce 80 percent of the activity, however the activity may be defined.

In traditional culture, 1% are Brahmins, 9% are Kshatriya and 90% are Sudras (minimally-skilled labor) and Vaisya (merchants). The Bell Curve reminds us that only the top 1% of our society have near-genius or genius IQs, that a chunk under that are over 125%, and that almost everyone else is at 120 or below. These divisions are apparent in every human group, although the numbers can shift if the group improves its average IQ.

Our modern time has made its ultimate taboo the singular idea of The Enlightenment,™ which was that all people possessed equal reason and therefore should be treated equally. In reality, most people are incompetent for tasks beyond the basic, and so their opinions, votes and purchases need to be ignored or limited because they will make the decision poorly.

In addition, if we are thinking clearly, we should seek out those with the ability to make complex decisions and put them in places of power because we all benefit from their improved competence. In the same way that the Pareto principle informs us that in any group, 20% of the people do 80% of the work, the 90-9-1 principle tells us that in any human group, 1% make most of the accurate decisions and the input from everyone else will amount to little more than spam.

Did Universal Education Destroy The West?

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

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In the midst of a standard Leftist rant about how education is failing because the people who were not all geniuses before education are still not all geniuses, The New York Review of Books goes full greebo with a wishful thinking history of American public education:

Death may be the great equalizer, but Americans have long believed that during this life “the spread of education would do more than all things else to obliterate factitious distinctions in society.” These words come from Horace Mann, whose goal was to establish primary schooling for all children—no small ambition when he announced it in 1848. Others had already raised their sights higher. As early as 1791, exulting in the egalitarian mood of the new republic, one writer declared it “a scandal to civilized society that part only of the citizens should be sent to colleges and universities.”

How that part has grown is a stirring story. It begins in the colonial period with church-funded scholarships for the sons of poor families. It continued after the Revolution with the founding of public universities such as those of North Carolina and Virginia. In the midst of the Civil War, it was advanced by the Morrill Act, by which Congress set aside federal land for establishing “land-grant” colleges, many of which became institutions of great distinction. By the later nineteenth century, when most colleges still admitted only white men, the cause was advanced again by the creation of new colleges for women and African-Americans.

Hillary Clinton may have recently shocked people by referring to Bernie Sanders fans as “basement dwellers,” but in the quarter of the population that is above 115 IQ points — this is a terrible sign, by the way, when only one in four people in your nation can halfway make sense of even moderate complexity problems — it is not exactly a secret that most people are basement dwellers, greebos, geeks, or otherwise dummies. In fact, it is openly mentioned all the time.

The reason is that while the Dunning-Kruger effect limits what we can understand, and makes smart people cowed as a result, it also allows us to see what those dumber than us cannot, which is that their idiocratic solutions are laughable and insane. Society is a cascade, with the upper levels looking down on the lower and laughing, not out of malice but sheer absurdism. When you are not an idiot, what idiots do is usually slapstick because of the wide gulf between anticipation and reality.

Most of us bumble our way through life, stumbling onto working combinations more by accident than anything else. This is even more prevalent at lower intelligence levels, which is why those groups are even more rigidly conformist so that they can take advantage of what has worked for others in similar situations. The bizarre conventions of the ghetto or inbred isolated community seem odd to us, until we realize that in those groups, signaling normalcy is more important than trying to distinguish oneself, no matter how ludicrous the results (sagging pants, “No Fear” stickers, etc).

And so we have the Bell Curve — the standard mathematical distribution of intelligence that occurs in all populations, of the same shape but varying according to the mean on which it is centered — appearing yet again. To the people on the far-right side of the curve, the left side is inscrutable and vice-versa. To the people in the middle, the far-left is nonsense, but what the far-right goes on about is equally weird. Translation: most people oppose intelligence.

How to deal with this? The principle of equality is that we cannot agree on a direction, so we should pacify individuals by offering equal inclusions in society, ignoring the differences in capabilities and the bad decisions made by others. In order to keep that mythos of illusion alive, the new religion of education springs up: we will educate them, and then, everyone will be equal, or at least roughly so.

Modern citizens cling to symbols and education is one of them, along with book fetishism. External appearance is more important than reality as always. Are they capable of making intelligent decisions? What is the content of those books? These questions of actual importance are denied so that the illusion can keep functioning, and so we insist that educating the three-quarters of the Bell Curve who cannot be educated will mysteriously, magically solve the inner inequality of individuals.

This results in a large number of people memorizing what they do not understand, and applying it rigidly because in the absence of understanding, they have conclusions given to them by others which become assumptions that take on a religious role. One cannot question the orthodoxy because the orthodoxy is what allows most people to feel good about themselves, and like heroin addicts, they prize feeling good over being realistic.

In essence, education legitimates a lie. Those who can learn generally will do so on their own, by reading books, experimenting and thinking. Many if not most of history’s greatest contributors were autodidacts. But for the pretense of keeping the group together, this cannot be, and so education falls prey to control, or standardization in order to limit the role of each individual to a universal, abstract and pre-determined form.

As with all utilitarian systems, in order that education be universal, it is dumbed-down or reduced to the lowest common denominator. This means that in addiction to people parroting conclusions that they do not understand as if they were universal law, they are getting these with a removal of all nuance. They have no idea how to correlate details to a larger argument, so they memorize assumptions and interpret every detail according to those, which results in mastery of detail and utter obliviousness to any larger point, as if those could be understood.

One reason for this is that in Europe and America, the wise choices of our ancestors led to an overflowing of the lower castes who breed at higher rates than the upper castes. This means that we are awash in fools, and under democracy, they must be made to feel equal too or there will be unpopularity. As Vice observes about the composition of the American population and in turn, the excesses of its originating population:

Although your textbooks are silent about it, most historians agree that two-thirds of ALL whites came to the colonies in some form of bondage. Legal papers on both sides of the ocean referred to them as “slaves.”

We are taught early in life that education is essential to democracy. In fact, it is the reverse: democracy is what produces education, which is designed to remove intelligence from the process and replace it with factory-made assumption-spouting robots who cannot analyze anything for which they do not have a template. If you wonder why our leaders and functionaries are shockingly but blithely incompetent, the reason is found in that saint of liberal democracy, “education.”

The Necessity Of Genius

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

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The cornerstone of the Alt Right is that genetics determines culture, and culture determines everything else. Genetics also determines hierarchy. The question then arises, how do we find the best? Dr. James Thompson advances a good entry-level argument that centers the debate on the actual topic, instead of the tangents that most people will pursue:

In summary, you can spot exceptional minds early, if you bother to test for them. Verbal and mathematical tests provide powerful predictors. Adding spatial tests (done for some of them in later testing) assists in getting even better predictions. There is no upper limit after which additional smarts make no contribution. On the contrary, every increase in ability, like additional height in a basketball player, adds to achievement in life. Very bright people contribute a lot to society.

My digression is to note that although a simple explanation for the different directions these very bright people take in their occupations is that they play to their strengths, the observed differentiation is similar to the patterns of international trade as noted by Ricardo in his theory of comparative advantage. Ricardo sought to explain why a country like England which in 1817 could produce many things more efficiently than most other countries (such as Portugal) still bothered to trade with them. Similarly, why do very bright people, very much better at virtually all intellectual tasks than most people, still bother to specialise in only one of their manifold talents? Applying Ricardo’s theory to these very bright people, if any two eminent minds capable of producing two products, say Words and Sums, engage in a free market then each eminent mind can increase their overall consumption by selling the good for which they have comparative advantage while buying the other good, provided there are differences in productivity between both eminent minds. Bright people who are better at words will do wordy work, even though they are very much better than 9,999 other people at Maths. It is comparative advantage rather than absolute advantage that is responsible for intellectual specialisation and the trading of intellectual products.

While the basics are sound, it misses a couple of other key points:

  • Economic system is a proxy. Smart people are useful when they are rewarded for their work, because not rewarding them creates a de facto disadvantage because rewards for performance and non-performance are the same, making performance inefficient.

  • There are grades of highly intelligent. The above makes an initial cut for the talented people who are genetically gifted enough to offer thinking that no one else can do, and sensibly divides them between words people and maths people. But there are divisions within that structure as well.

In addition, we should identify that rarest of rara avis, the creative genius as identified by Bruce Charlton:

But why is genius so rare, even in places where there are a high concentration of geniuses – as there were here in England in the past few hundred years?

1. Genius requires very high intelligence – in a country with a high average IQ like England, this means in the top ten percent (above 120) and considerably higher for some subjects (e.g. mathematical subjects). But often geniuses are at intelligence levels of about the top one in ten thousand. Some societies have much lower average IQ than England.

2. Perseverance, self-motivation to pick-out and work in one area without need for external encouragement, autonomous indifference to the evaluations of others, ability to go it alone.

3. Creativity. This is Eysenck’s big contribution.

Creativity is associated with a style of thinking that is relatively loose in its associations, inclusive in its linking of disparate elements – a style of thinking akin to that of dreaming sleep, psychotic illness, and intoxication.

This would be the upper echelon of genius: the artists, philosophers, writers, composers and rare public figures like Arminius and Charlemagne.

On top of that, it must be said that lack of verbal ability excludes people from some fields. The greatest intelligences of my acquaintance, in the course of venturing through the top echelon of our educational and social layers, have been of the verbal variety as paired with a high ability to organize thoughts in a non-linear fashion, which seems to equate to the spatial or something like it.

STEM people, while intelligent, came nowhere close. This has been consistent for many years. STEM requires linear analysis of finite tasks; this is a bit easier than non-linear analysis of multiple factors, any of which may be weak or fallacious. That kind of balancing — a sort of architectonic thinking — belongs to the artists, writers and philosophers, and those are the upper crust of intelligence.

It is worth noting two points from Schopenhauer; first, the rest of us are Dunning-Krugered when it comes to genius, because we will not recognize it and it will sound like raving drivel to us:

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

If we use the merely-talented/talented-plus-genius dichotomy, the merely-talented are generally confined to STEM fields, where the talented-by-genius can venture toward less concrete forms of thinking.

These modes of thought in the humanities are maligned by the Leftist takeover of these departments which occurred because most conservatives focus on the practical, allowing the Leftists to occupy this “lesser” territory. This parallels the difference between mainstream conservatism and actual conservatism: humanities as taught in US/EU 2016 are far different from humanities as they are understood on their own terms.

Schopenhauer also suggests that genius is not of practical value, but is useful in understanding the true nature of things and the transcendentals:

Although the intellect exists only to serve the will, in certain humans the intellect accorded by nature is so disproportionately large, it far exceeds the amount needed to serve the will. In such individuals, the intellect can break free of the will and act independently. A person with such an intellect is a genius (only men can have such a capability according to Schopenhauer), and this will-free activity is aesthetic contemplation or creation. The genius is thus distinguished by his ability to engage in will-less contemplation of the Ideas for a sustained period of time, which allows him to repeat what he has apprehended by creating a work of art. In producing a work of art, the genius makes the beautiful accessible for the non-genius as well. Whereas non-geniuses cannot intuit the Ideas in nature, they can intuit them in a work of art, for the artist replicates nature in the artwork in such a manner that the viewer is capable of viewing it disinterestedly, that is, freed from her own willing, as an Idea.

A genius can dig more deeply into structure — the patterns of existent, not their material substrates — and in so doing undertake the mentally-demanding task of ascertaining their true nature. Here Schopenhauer agrees with Charlton on the dream-like state of genius; the person bearing genius has transcended his human state, and as a result his thinking is not constrained by self-interest.

If anything has promoted the West, it has been its abundance of genius — especially in leadership. Most of the geniuses of the West are unknown to us because their work formed the groundwork for popularizers to express to the world, and history remembers those instead. But for every great discovery, the path ahead was found by lone geniuses working independently toward understanding the root of the problem.

Currently, our society is opposed to genius, because nothing makes a crowd feel less equal than the presence of genius. In fact, that it exists seems to refute our idea of equality entirely. At the far-right of the IQ curve, people are targets for the herd, which in its loss of confidence seeks to eliminate the symbols of its inequality.

The Slow Death Of The Blank Slate Continues

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Some years ago, a popular science writer named Malcolm Gladwell penned a book in which he insinuated — short of outright claiming — that what made epic talent was practicing a certain number of hours. In his view, because the greats did this, it meant that it was what made them great.

We call that “blank slate” reasoning because it assumes that people are identical in ability. Our society must assume that, because it is based on the assumption of human equality, and ability serves as a proxy for wealth and power. Therefore, we must pretend that everyone is the same, even though when it is time to choose a doctor we want a smart and naturally talented one.

Gladwell has one massive talent, and that is recognizing the crest of a wave created by a notion that will flatter people that is about to float into public consciousness. What the top ten percent knew twenty years ago will become available to the lower ninety percent today, and the writer who scripts it in an engaging text will get quite rich.

Against the blank slate assumption however have emerged a number of challengers, especially The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. In this view, people are not equal; genes determine abilities, and some people get more of this or more of that than others, in a matter of degree. This explains how some people have genius or talent that can be shaped by those hours of practice.

On the topic of genius studies, a recent article on the innate nature of genius hammers a further nail into the coffin of the blank slate:

“Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,” says Jonathan Wai, a psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program in Durham, North Carolina, which collaborates with the Hopkins centre. Wai combined data from 11 prospective and retrospective longitudinal studies2, including SMPY, to demonstrate the correlation between early cognitive ability and adult achievement. “The kids who test in the top 1% tend to become our eminent scientists and academics, our Fortune 500 CEOs and federal judges, senators and billionaires,” he says.

Such results contradict long-established ideas suggesting that expert performance is built mainly through practice — that anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind. SMPY, by contrast, suggests that early cognitive ability has more effect on achievement than either deliberate practice or environmental factors such as socio-economic status.

Since democracy inevitably mutates from the idea of “political equality,” or treating everyone the same by making them go through a bureaucratic process, to the notion of “actual equality,” or the mistaken thought that people are identical in ability, the notion of democracy — and related notions of class warfare, diversity, sexual equality and pluralism — will die with the blank slate.

For that reason, the Left and the everyday useful idiots who fear change are hanging on with their fingernails to the idea that Gladwell advanced, which is that you can take any human and run him through the right education, instill in him the right opinions, and make him undertake 10,000 hours of practice and he will be a genius. The reality is the opposite: a genius, if not deprived of the ability to practice extensively, will gift us with acts of genius, where the average person will merely occupy space that displaces geniuses in a society based on equality.

Class war in reverse

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Just about any issue you encounter in the modern world can be separated according to the salesperson model. There is a surface layer, in which broad positive assertions are made, and after that an underlying experience layer, in which you figure out the more complex truth.

When you go to a store and see the new dishwasher on sale, promises are made: it cleans more efficiently, it is whisper-quiet, you can fit more stuff into it. When you get it home and use it over the next year, you find out the limitations: it still uses a ton of water, whisper-quiet is relative to a jet plane, and some of the stuff you can fit into it doesn’t get cleaned. Sales pitches do not equate to reality although they purport to do so.

In the same way, all political discourse splits into two threads. The first is how it will work out in the complex interaction between finance, politics and social factors; the second is how you spin it to the voters in a 30-second sound bite on the local news. The two are often completely divergent because the demands of political situations rarely fit into half-minute explanations at a fifth-grade reading level.

The real problem with this situation is that once we tell these pleasant lies, and as grotesque oversimplifications they are that, they snowball as people “trust” them to be literal interpretations. As a result, we quickly reverse course from truth-seeking to myth-building.

One such example is class warfare. Here’s the official story, which is official because it’s the most popular with the widest segment of our population:

Conservative social scientists argue that income inequality is mainly the result of more workers in the average household and their age and education, and that the disappearance of the middle class is more statistical than real.[4] In a 2004 poll of 1,000 economists (from the AEA), a majority of polled economists favored “redistribution”. Note that in voting, the majority of respondents were of the Democratic ideology (Democratic:Republican ratio of 2.5 to 1.) [5] A study by the Southern Economic Journal found that “71 percent of American economists believe the distribution of income in the US should be more equal, and 81 percent feel that the redistribution of income is a legitimate role for government.”[6] One social scientist argues that without holding education, experience and industry constant, inferences to inequality are mere guesses.[7] – Wikipedia

For an even more dramatic view, you can feed into the burn-the-witch-err-the-rich view:

The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. – Vanity Fair

Why do so many economists, journalists and others think that wealth redistribution is a good idea?

It’s the dominant media myth: that we’re experiencing class war from the top down.

In fact, if we look at the layer beneath the sales job, we will see that the reverse is true.

Throughout history, societies have collapsed because of class war, true — but class war from the bottom upward.

What kind of war is this? Demographic warfare.

Think about it this way:

  1. You start a civilization with ten of your buddies and their families. A few others come along, and while they’re not quite as sharp, you let them tag along as unskilled labor.
  2. You and your buddies find a way to prosper. First, you organize specialized roles and get everyone working efficiently; then through hard work, you make the land ready for sustainable farming, and start producing.
  3. Over time, a surplus of food is created. This enables you to spin off more people — grandchildren, at this point — into specialized roles such as doctor, hygienist, inventor and law enforcement. Stability increases, efficiency increases, and with your new technology, so does safety.
  4. What happens next is a shift in perspective, but a valid one: because you offer more of a safety net, the poorer and/or less intellectually powerful people in your society have more of their children survive, which means you have a sudden surge in the lowest sectors of your population:

    Throughout human history around half of humans died during childhood, and without reproducing:

    http://137.140.1.71/jsec/articles/volume2/issue4/NEEPSvolkatkinson.pdf

    In developed countries, almost all children (about 99 percent) now survive to adulthood, and even among the most impoverished, ignorant or undeveloped segments of these populations, the proportion of children who die during childhood is biologically almost insignificant.

    […]

    But childhood mortality was probably considerably lower than 50 percent among the wealthier, more intelligent, higher in status.

    Therefore, the modern population in developed countries (you and I) are almost entirely the offspring of the wealtheir, more intelligent, more conscientious, higher status classes of history.

    […]

    No matter how relatively underdeveloped and underprivileged a population – no matter how stupid, feckless and uncaring the mothers – for almost everywhere in the world at present, childhood death rates are all-but irrelevant to reproductive success: almost all children are ‘kept alive’ by ‘society’.

    Consequently, for the first and only time in human history, pure fertility drives demographic change – and also evolutionary change. – Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany

    With the advent of a modern-type society, childhood mortality falls and so those who pop out the most kids dominate demographically. That means a shift from the wealthy and powerful, to the poor and less powerful.

    In other words, you replace the founders of a society who could craft civilization out of raw wilderness. You replace them with the people who tagged along and ended up being unskilled labor.

  5. The unskilled labor starts demanding that it be recognized, because it can. It now knows that the civilization you built is passing on to those who came along for the ride. This is as natural as a leech draining blood, or rats stealing grain, or snakes snagging the eggs of unwary birds. It’s class warfare of the unskilled labor against the skilled founders.
  6. Eventually, degenerate members of the founders class — generally those with stern and judgmental parents — decide to “defect” and take up the cause of the poor. They invent theories of equality and the brotherhood of humanity to sugar-coat what is essentially a seizure of society by its least competent members.
  7. A revolution occurs. Like the revolutions in France and Russia, as well as the political intrigues of old Rome and Athens, it is followed by executions of those with the wisdom to point out what is going on. Socrates dies alongside the Romanovs; the guillotine severs the head of Lavoisier and drops the average IQ by ten points.
  8. Now the civilization enters its death cycle. The unskilled promote their Middletons own, who gain riches for their party-planning businesses relatively trivial acts. These nouveau riche are nothing like aristocrats; they squander wealth and use it as an excuse to be abusive. Society as a result enters into a downward spiral of class warfare that is actually not class warfare; you’re not seeing the hereditary upper classes versus the poor/unskilled, but the former-poor against the poor. This isn’t productive class warfare, but incompetents squabbling over social status as they try to divide up what’s left of the pie.

The official narrative is that the poor/unskilled are persecuted by the rich. The truth, if we look at broader history, is that the poor/unskilled overwhelmed the ability of that society to produce wealth. The root of class warfare is overpopulation from the bottom, and because they won’t blame themselves, they blame “the rich” which becomes a broad brush to target anyone with more than subsistence income.

Naturally, this has dire implications for democracy. What is the point in having universal voter participation if each idea to be voted upon is in fact a sales job? The myth of the “informed voter” dissolves when we look at how little of the situation is actually conveyed, and how a stalemate would occur if we tried to tell the voters the truth. Politics becomes a stage-play after which the actors scurry home and get real work done.

Even worse is the fact that we’re thinking in reverse. We blame people for being rich, since we assume that the rich are waging class warfare against the poor. As a result, we ignore the fact that people who got wealthier legitimately — professionals (doctors, lawyers, architects, MBAs) and small-business owners or managers — did so because of raw cognitive ability:

Even assuming that, there are massive advantages inherent simply in being born rich (and disadvantages in being poor.) My favorite example, simply because it’s so dramatic, is that a child born into the lowest-earning quintile who manages to attain a college degree is less likely to be in the highest-earning quintile than a child born into the top quintile who does not attain a college degree. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that making it to, and through, college is far harder for poor kids than rich kids even at a given level of aptitude. (Two thirds of the kids with average math scores and low-income parents do not attend college, while almost two-thirds of high-income kids with average math scores do.) – TNR

Even reducing all other factors, what we’re seeing here is that those who are more prosperous tend to be more intelligent.

Not all of them, of course, but statistically, most of them.

This is why books like The Bell Curve freak people out. Sure, there’s that troublesome chapter 13 about race — but even more, there’s the problematic idea that our native abilities determine what we should be doing in life.

When you look at people who got rich for trivial acts, like entertainers or those who sold venal products like liquor to the masses, you’re not seeing the best of society rising. You’re seeing a champion of the unskilled dominating other unskilled through their own incompetence at choosing art over trashy entertainment, or quality liquor over gut-rot.

We love to subsidize the unskilled, and pretend that by raising their income, we somehow make them as intelligent, morally balanced and insightful as the founders who persist in our professional classes:

Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills? – WSJ

Our budget in the United States is divided roughly in two. On one side are military and infrastructure costs; on the other, equivalent in dollar value, are entitlements and resulting government costs.

Conservatives want to end war by ending subsidies. This stops the reckless proliferation of the unskilled and preserves the founder class. If you want your country to avoid falling into third-world status, this is your only option.

Liberals want the unskilled to win the class war through wealth redistribution. The idea underlying this is that if uniformity is established, and equality imposed, there will be no cause for conflict. Sadly for liberals, it doesn’t work that way — when equality is established, even more vicious internal fighting results as some try to climb above the rest.

In the process of trying to reach that equality, civilizations and lives are destroyed en masse:

We live in an era of ethnic, national, and religious fratricide. A new two-volume reference work on “the most severe civil wars since World War II” has 41 entries, from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zimbabwe. Over the last 50 years, the number of casualties of intrastate conflicts is roughly five times that of interstate wars. The number of refugees from these conflicts similarly dwarfs those from traditional state-versus-state wars. “Cases such as Afghanistan, Somalia, and Lebanon testify to the economic devastation that civil wars can produce,” note two political scientists. By the indexes of deaths, numbers of refugees, and extent of destruction, they conclude that “civil war has been a far greater scourge than interstate war” in recent decades. In Iraq today—putting aside blame and cause—more Iraqis are killed by their countrymen than by the American military. – Chronicle for Higher Education

What is the source of our failing as a human species?

Class warfare. Specifically, the unskilled/poor crusading against the skilled/wealthier.

Much of the history of the 20th century has resulted from political jockeying to evade this problem. It didn’t work; the problem persists.

And what happens to nations where the unskilled predominate?

Prole behaviour is invariably guided by poor impulse control, and subsequently, their lack of foresight.

[…]

This compounds my theory about low IQ people having high testosterone, and therefore poor impulse control and everything else that entails, like breeding more. Obesity and addiction problems are also symptomatic of proles, which can be partially explained by other factors, but when it comes down to it: they are guided purely by caprice and appetite and those very issues engender prole problems. – Sofiastry

Whether we call them proles, drones, unskilled or poor, the reality remains the same: people differ in intelligence and character, and those at the lower end of the scale wind up in less-essential positions with less wealth.

While we may want to treat them well (most of us want to treat everyone well) we also have to look at the implications of their predominance in society. Sofia’s description above is as apt as any: lower-IQ and higher testosterone equals low impulse control, low systematic/planning, a certain amount of opportunism and socialized cost.

Societies do not collapse because the rich decided to wage war on the poor. In fact, it’s ludicrous to think the rich would bother; they’re already rich. Societies collapse because the unskilled overwhelm their resources, force a crisis point, and then bring about collapse.

This offends the public eye, composed equally of guilt-ridden middle-class people and the burnt-out unskilled, which thinks it is “elitist” to notice differences in ability and to deviate from our Soviet-style insistence that all are equal.

However, that pathway leads only to the one kind of class warfare that does exist, which is the unskilled destroying the founders and thus, by killing off the intelligence their society needs, plunging it into darkness.

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Dumb and Dumber (Screengrab)

The Dunning-Kruger effect states that incompetent people are also incompetent in assessing their own performance. Therefore, less competent people think their performance is competent, while smarter people focus on their own flaws.

It explains, among other things, how in a society that places too much value on image, idiots and insane people are able to get ahead by overestimating their value and getting fools to agree with them.

The essence of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.” Studies have shown that the most incompetent individuals are the ones that are most convinced of their competence. At work this translates into lots of incompetent people who think they are superstars. And what is worse is that if you have a manager that doesn’t closely supervise work, he or she may judge performance based on outward appearances using information like the confidence with which these incompetent blockheads speak.

An important corollary of this effect is that the most competent people often underestimate their competence. This is a result of how you frame knowledge. The more you know, the more you focus on what you don’t know. For instance, people who can name 15 of the 50 state capitals tend to think “I know 15.” People who know 45 of the 50 state capitals tend to think “I don’t know 5.”1

Dunning and Kruger, two researchers at Cornell University, described their findings in a paper entitled “Unskilled and Unaware Of It: How Difficulties In Recognising Ones Own Incompetence Lead To Inflated Self-Assessments” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Their conclusions can be summarized this way:

  1. Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
  2. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
  3. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
  4. If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

Translation: without leadership at the top of the curve who is willing to call people on their incompetence, the incompetents will appear competent to other incompetents and be advanced, possibly even to the presidency.

This causes a mathematical problem for democracies since most people are not particularly competent at leadership, government or logical argument, meaning they are both unable to assess the best leadership choices and sure that they’re right.

It’s essentially similar to the Downing effect:

One of the main effects of illusory superiority in IQ is the Downing effect. This describes the tendency of people with a below average IQ to overestimate their IQ, and of people with an above average IQ to underestimate their IQ. The propensity to predictably misjudge one’s own IQ was first noted by C. L. Downing who conducted the first cross-cultural studies on perceived ‘intelligence’.

His studies also evidenced that the ability to accurately estimate others’ IQ was proportional to one’s own IQ. This means that the lower the IQ of an individual, the less capable they are of appreciating and accurately appraising others’ IQ. Therefore individuals with a lower IQ are more likely to rate themselves as having a higher IQ than those around them. Conversely, people with a higher IQ, while better at appraising others’ IQ overall, are still likely to rate people of similar IQ as themselves as having higher IQs.

The disparity between actual IQ and perceived IQ has also been noted between genders by British psychologist Adrian Furnham, in whose work there was a suggestion that, on average, men are more likely to overestimate their intelligence by 5 points, while women are more likely to underestimate their IQ by a similar margin.2

That tendency could go a long way toward explaining why many successful societies have relied on strong leaders who had no problem beating down the incompetent with force. Unless suppressed, the 90% of humanity who per the “Bell Curve” are unskilled and unaware of it will take over and, being incompetent, run society into the ground.

In addition, while people can be taught specific tasks, they cannot be taught to reason in general; education does not raise IQ and in the process of trying, becomes dumbed-down to the point where no one intelligent will get any benefit from it, which discriminates against the intelligent.

When you combine the Bell Curve, the Dunning-Kruger and Downing effects, and the natural tendency of human beings to compromise, you have a working explanation why human societies inevitably begin the pursuit of a “race to the bottom” once they become powerful enough to stop losing so many people to natural events, disease and war.

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