Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘utopia’

El Autismo d e l u x e

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Emil Cartwright scanned the horizon for clouds. He had been working from his home in Mexico as a computer programmer for about six months now, and he had learned that the locals had an indifferent attitude toward planning, so if he wanted not to get stranded in a storm, he had better predict it himself.

Satisfied, he climbed into his dune buggy and raced off into the sands that surrounded the mid-size city he had chosen as a retreat. Every day, he got up and fixed web sites and point of sale systems for his clients, working remotely for up to four hours. Then he had the rest of the day for himself and, like today, he often explored the surrounding land, similar to that of his native Arizona.

It was nice to get outside of the disorder of the city. Unlike the city he grew up in, this one was marked by disorganized and apathetic activity. Construction work happened while people still occupied the building being altered. Some buildings were simply abandoned, rotting away. Theft was common. Open sewage streamed through the street.

Being a libertarian, Emil saw the situation differently. Everyone had to go to work anyway, so they should set up society based on transactions. People could pay more to live in nice places and the disorder would not exist there. Since people are rational, he reasoned, they would work harder and earn more to have a nice place to live, and soon the disorder would disappear.

The free market fixed things. He knew that soon technology would make so much suffering obsolete the way it had removed buggy whips, whale oil lanterns and rotary phones from our lives. He had faith in the rationality of people, and looked forward to the day that humanity woke up and stepped into the glowing world of progress.

Today he felt good about his situation. He ventured far beyond the city, relishing the full tank of gas and moderate cruising speed of his vehicle. As the day warmed up, he wanted to get out of the sun, so pulled into one of the antiques shops that dotted the countryside, flypaper for tourists. But today it felt right to stop here.

“Desk, sewing machine, desk, sewing machine,” he muttered under his breath. This particular store was less interesting than he had hoped it would be. Most of this stuff was junk, old furniture that had never seen maintenance and so was falling apart at the touch, or recycled technology from the past decade. But something caught his eye in the corner.

1950s styling distinguished the red metal case. At first he thought it was a refrigerator, but then looked inside and realized it was some kind of radio or computer. He tried tracking circuits, but could make no sense of it. The bottom was badly corroded but the circuit boards intact.

“$25,” he said to the man behind the counter.

“The price esays $50,” said the fellow, a middle class Mexican mix of Spanish and Asians who had been here since before the formation of Europe.

“I want to pay $25,” said Emil.

“Whatever you like,” said the man. “It seems like it has always been yours anyway.”

As he roared back into the city that night, the heavy machine strapped between the seats of his spare parts dune buggy, Emil reflected that this might have been his first impulse purchase ever. With the help of the night porter, he struggled to get the thing into his apartment. There it sat for the next two days as he answered calls and fussed bits into place to make machines far away work.

When he did turn to it, he first vacuumed it out, then disconnected the rusty base and corroded power supply. He did not recognize this old style of parts despite it being only six decades old, but he was able to remove the rust and oil the base, then went hunting for a power supply. He found one at the end of the day, dusty in a corner of a typewriter shop.

“$5,” said the owner. “It hasa been here for years. Just take it away, please.”

When Emil got home, he made himself a light risotto with Chianti for dinner and watched the sun set. Then by the flicker of old incandescent bulbs, he got to work bolting the base back into place and then screwing the new power supply into place. He cleaned the face, watching the logo gleam back at him: El Autismo d e l u x e.

He searched for some way to interface with the device but found only two RCA ports like he would use to connect it to an old television. These were made of cardboard, wax and lucite and looked old fashioned in their handmade, slightly off-center way. It took some calling around but he was able to hire a personal assistant for $5 an hour to find him a converter to hook the thing up to his monitor.

All plugs attached, he flipped the switch on the front of the device and watched as his screen flickered to life. The circuitry looked advanced; surely it must be some kind of radar, or a really fancy television? His spirits fell as he saw the picture on screen which was barely as good as the three-dimensional viewers of his childhood. But he soon relaxed and found himself simply watching.

It seemed he was receiving a television broadcast, but not from any time he recalled. A hand-lettered 1950s style sign proclaimed THE SINGULARITY above a building of a strange modern architecture, based on curves and not cubes, that he did not recognize. People filed in wearing the attire of earlier ages that always struck people from his time as oddly formal, but they carried cell phones.

He saw a woman wearing an elegant summer dress that came down to below her knees, talking on what looked like a thinner iPhone, resting her arm on a Packard in the parking lot as another pulled in. People filed into the lecture hall and the camera followed without a single shake, revealing a gleaming glass tower of octagonal shape rising above the audience. It pulsed with a grey-violet light.

There was no sound, but a balding man in a suit was speaking, gesturing toward the machine. Emil could see more of the strange hand-lettered signs around, talking about processing capability (“one trillion UNIVACs”) and memory (“seven billion LOCs”). Then from the way the man gestured, Emil could tell that he was talking about joining these units together… many of them.

More 1950s hybrid 2020s imagery passed: nuclear tests, wars he did not recognize, space flight from a strange glider plane, telepathic imaging. Then, soldiers in the awkward old uniforms and carrying old-fashioned looking guns jumped into some of those tiny Jeeps to go up a winding mountain road. They went deep inside the rock, and through the darkness ahead he could see light.

A city, he thought. No — some kind of crystalline nexus. As the lead Jeep rounded the final bend, he saw that it was neither. Instead what lay before him was a city block or more worth of these octagonal towers. The cave pulsed with their light. Then the Jeep drove down a tunnel carved through rock, past nuclear reactors, bomb shelters, small factories, hospitals, schools, control centers filled with flashing lights and what looked like streamlined, more powerful versions of 1950s computers…

He dozed off. He awakened to images of flying through clouds. The plane landed outside Los Angeles, or what he imagined was a city like it, and then white-coated scientists hopped onto ten-ton military trucks to drive into the mountains. There, he saw another crystalline city of supercomputers, but this time the film emphasized the thick cable running off through the mountains.

New Year’s Eve. Champagne was poured; chorus girls in red, white and blue danced to what he imagined was the national anthem. At the stroke of midnight, a portly boffin strode purposefully to the center of the stage and threw a lever. The lights dimmed and flickered. Then on the wall, a screen came to life. It showed nodes across the United States coming online.

Next came a news report showing the outside of a brick building that was both ornate and stately, suggesting a university or a church. The video cut to a huge immaculate room in which young men in lab coats were feeding books into ports the size of a microwave oven. The books went in, and a light flashed, producing the shadows of moving pages. Then the book slid out the other side.

On the screen, a hand-drawn illustration popped up, showing stacks of books increasing by the millions. Then another room: photographs were offered on one side, and on another, video and audio were being screened. Intermittent shots of giant memory units, apparently using a solid-state technology, showed how much information went into the machine.

Finally it seemed over. Some years had gone by; the narrator looked slightly older. As he spoke, the camera moved to five scientists in oily lab coats smoking pipes over coffee in a kitchen somewhere. The lights dimmed and flickered again. They looked up, with joyful expressions. The next scene showed more military activity.

Emil lost track of the progression here. The phone rang; he checked email on his laptop; later, he ordered some food. But he caught the scenes of electronic equipment being installed in planes and tanks, submarines taking on new computer units, and then a completely automated factory churning out a car every thirty-eight minutes by the stopwatch of the narrator.

Munching down Chinese food, he lit a cigarette and watched more. The first scene showed the distinctive architecture of St. Basil’s Cathedral against a grey Moscow night. A brightness formed on a nearby building, which then vanished in billowing smoke as multiple additional bright spots struck. As twilight deepened he could see laser beams striking targets across the landscape.

The next news report covered first a charred city somewhere in America, with bodies carried from homes. Since he had no allegiance to America, Emil paid little attention. But other shots showed tanks, more like futuristic versions of present tanks, cruising through snow and mud to attack a clearly panicked enemy. He slowly realized that the computer — whatever it was — had made them, or thought them up. They moved faster and more lightly than other tanks, and fired missiles and shots too quickly for a human.

In the next clip, Soviet flags were dragged across the pavement in Washington, D.C. The film cut to an open ditch dug in frozen snow by what looked like a radio-controlled bulldozer. Soldiers herded several hundred civilians to the edge. Tanks moved from outside the woods, and fired a rapid valley of machine gun fire, puffs of smoke cresting the ice and snow. Bodies fell into the grave, and another group were led out to the same fate.

Other images flashed across the screen. The Eiffel Tower, collapsed. The Brandenburg gate dynamited. Bombers with graceful lines dropping scattershot bombs that erased buildings from the landscape. They looked like traditional Chinese architecture. Again with the mass graves and tanks firing impassively, never missing. The scene repeated in multiple countries.

The camera switched to a university classroom. The narrator stepped up and pointed to a population chart. It showed a prior year list of billions, then a present year number in the low tens of millions. The camera panned to the class, and he saw a sea of white faces, attentive. There were no blacks, Mexicans or Asians present.

Another shot showed these same students studying, quickly marking answers down a page in a physics class, or building complex electronic devices in shop class. In the corner a short octagonal computer stack hummed, pulsing as it assessed answers. The children with the good answers went to meet the principal. The others went to another mass grave scene.

“It worships intelligence,” said Emil. He stared deep into the pulsing machine as the camera zoomed in on it, but just as he seemed to feel a sense of its personality, the scene cut to another setting. It showed people out the in fields, cultivating crops. Then a bell rang and they all ran inside to study. Then another bell, and they were practicing martial arts.

His breath slackened as he watched the incredible vitality of these people. A machine checked test scores; the narrator, quite an old man now, nodded approvingly. Emil saw the new master race emerge from the tutelage of the machine: dark-haired, rigid-featured, a mixture of European ethnicities. From the charts he saw, each one crushed him in educational, athletic and martial abilities.

“Way to make a guy feel inferior,” he said, and started giving the movie half of his attention. He snapped to however when the war films resumed. Tanks surged into foreign lands, their guns seeming to fire indiscriminately, but then enemies — civilian and military — fell in heaps, like reaped wheat. Emil realized that a powerful post human intelligence was at play here.

The Singularity, he thought. The moment when humanity finally got its act together, fed all of its knowledge into a supercomputer, and found some ultimate answers. The charts flashed on screen showed even fewer survivors this time. The computer was saving those who had intellectual possibilities and worked hard, and filtering out the rest.

A new video came on. The narrator was very old and looked barely conscious. The new generation of geniuses was about to enter university. The camera panned over the group, and Emil noticed how similar they looked. Not Nordic, but a generic round face and dark hair and eyes, almost Asiatic.

The videos after that showed the expansion of society. Everyone worked in the fields, then worked at a desk, then exercises and practiced fighting. Society was rigorous, orderly and scientific. Standards prevailed: now any one part of the world started looking about like any other, with the same safety rules, signs, roads, houses, shops and cars.

Emil nodded off again. When he awoke, he saw a new video. It described the glorious merger of East and West, since both were high IQ societies who engaged in the same behavior. Now the parents of college students were all mixed partnerships between Asians and Caucasians. The students looked Eurasian, smooth square faces with narrow eyes.

The camera hovered over the machine. Now it took up dozens of caverns, each pulsing with the same glow, and every aspect of life was managed by the machine. Literature, philosophy and music had vanished; instead, only STEM fields were pursued, and every person lived this regimented life, ruled by the Constitution, the philosophy of Karl Popper, and the inerrant machine.

As the video faded out, Emil saw what society had become. Apartment blocks, each distinctive in architecture, and private plots of land. These covered almost the entire globe. Every person was intelligent, studious, hard-working and rigid in focus. All extraneous activity had been lost. In fact, life had become… mechanical.

The screen quirked and then faded out with the pulse of blue light that happens when analog machines lose power.

“No,” said Emil, pounding on the cold metal face. “No, it can’t be!” He had spent his entire post-teenage life hoping for the Singularity, but now that he saw it, he was unsure. Rather, he felt ill.

As it turned out, his cries had alerted some nearby criminals. The doorframe exploded apart near the lock. Two men, squat and Asiatic in the style of the region, burst in. When they saw Emil’s meagre possessions, they cursed. One of them raised the shotgun and Emil had just enough time to register the burst and think that it must be buckshot. Then his body stopped working, became immensely cold, and he fell to the group.

His eyes unfocused and then came back again. He could feel something leaving him, an event like the shattering of hope. From where he was on the floor, he could hear people arguing in a foreign language. His last vision was of the metal frame before him and the cryptic words which now he understood:

El Autismo d e l u x e

🚁

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Today in Berkeley, California — home of many American conflicts — we saw open battle on the streets. Antifa attacked, the police backed off, and then a group of alt right, pro-Trump and free speech advocates beat down the Antifa. This leads many to wonder if there is any future for the USA as a group of disparate groups united at all.

Physical removal remains a controversial topic. It seems unjust to displace those who merely disagree, until one realizes that they disagree with the concept of civilization to such a degree that they are inherently toxic and parasitic to it, and will destroy it unless removed.

The key to understanding this dilemma lies in understanding that people behave as they do in order to justify their position. There is a cause for their outlook, and usually it consists of defending life choices or lack of attainment. The best find a place in the world, get comfortable and enjoy it; the worst, no matter what they have, agitate for more.

Leftists are those who see an opportunity to take over society using the justification of egalitarianism. They cannot stop doing this; it is in their nature to do so, much as it is in the nature of a wild animal to attack those who might be trying to capture it. The Leftist has one goal, and it is found in the self, not civilization, from which the context in which the self can thrive is established.

Their mode of passive aggression enables them to act the victim. They assert their beliefs as truth and then view dissent as an attack, which enables them to feel justified in preemptive retaliation. This is why Leftist regimes killed more people last century than any other force.

We also should not forget the French Revolution where Leftists killed off ten percent of their population and reduced the average IQ of the nation by ten points.

For this reason, we need to realize that Leftists will not stop until they achieve Full Communism. Even the people now who claim loudly that they want moderate solutions, on both Right and Left, are fundamentally Leftist, and when their moderate solutions fail, they will demand more authoritarian ones. For the Leftist, there is only ideology, and anything else is death, so they are on a mission to destroy everything but Leftism so that they can “win.”

We have to recognize that we who are more Realist than individualistic cannot coexist with the Leftist. We are incompatible and from different worlds, and we desire different worlds. They want an ideological state with a third world society; we want to restore Western Civilization and raise it to new levels of greatness. These two different desires cannot be reconciled

Their behavior is incompatible with what we need, and ours is incompatible with everything they hold dear. History shows us that Leftism wins every time at first, but then when its plans are implemented, it gradually fails. This sometimes takes centuries. But with all of Europe unable to pay for its social welfare programs and importing immigrants to fill the gap, and the USA in chaos, this has changed.

Physical removal of Leftists — and neurotics, criminals, and other permanently miserable people; this is separate from repatriation of those outside the founding group — does not need to involve death, violence, misery and bloodshed. It involves cutting off their lifeline of social welfare programs, and a cultural wave pushing them to other types of societies, elsewhere. The helicopters can be replaced by one-way plane tickets.

Last century may have belonged to the slow but steady advance of Leftism in politics, through the “long march” that ate up our institutions, and in mass culture and media. However, we have seen the society that creates, and it is an ugly one. A wasteland of empty people, selfish and oblivious, covered in graffiti and advertising, with no life but a cube to sleep in and a cube to work in.

In the 21st century, a great awakening has occurred. We trusted in the egalitarian idea for so long to bring about the best for everyone, but it has not delivered on that promise, and has instead shown us the type of dystopian Utopian future that it always had in mind. For those who glimpse that abyss, the more natural — and less egalitarian — ways of the past come alive again.

An Economics Of Survival

Friday, December 16th, 2016

A specter haunts humanity: the fear that even if we do everything right, we are doomed as a civilization, because all good things get mobbed by the herd and end in failure.

This is a hidden fear that few will verbalize.

Bruce Charlton writes about the Calhoun mouse Utopia experiment:

Four healthy breeding pairs of mice were allowed to reproduce freely in a ‘utopian’ environment with ample food and water, no predators, no disease, comfortable temperature – a near as possible ideal conditions and space. What happened was described by the author in terms of five phases: establishment, exponential growth, growth slowing, breeding ceases and population stagnant, population decline and extinction

…The Mouse Utopia experiment is usually interpreted in terms of social stresses related to ‘over-population’; that crowding generated pathological behaviours and a loss of the will to reproduce. But this seems, very obviously – I would have thought – an incorrect explanation; because 1. The mouse population never actually became crowded, 2. The suppression of breeding happened very quickly, and never recovered even after the population declined rapidly and crowding was reduced, and 3. the population rapidly became extinct.

Michael A Woodley suggests that what was going on was much more likely to be mutation accumulation; with deleterious (but non-fatal) genes incrementally accumulating with each generation and generating a wide range of increasingly maladaptive behavioural pathologies; this process rapidly overwhelming and destroying the population before any beneficial mutations could emerge to ‘save; the colony from extinction.

This presents to us an interesting question: does a civilization die from accumulation of deleterious mutations, over-population or loss of the will to live?

Let us look instead into an economics of survival, where we measure the decision to survive in terms of its ability to meet existential needs, or the sense that life is worth living and striving for success within, including the desire to reproduce.

Most are familiar with Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs:

This ranks the index of survival for a creature from lowest needs, namely shelter for the physical body, to psychological or spiritual needs such as embrace by the community, feeling loved, and feeling purpose enough to discipline itself toward self-actualization, or understanding of itself and what it values, and reduction of impulse by favoring goals over bodily reactions.

A creature thrives when all of its needs are met. This makes us see the question of civilization less of surviving, which can be done independently, but as thriving, which is tied up with reproduction in that a solitary creature cannot have a mate, and small groups provide few breeding opportunities for those offspring. Thus the happiest creatures, and those prone to reproduce, are those within a group where they feel that their grandchildren will be like them and have positive lives.

Charlton’s explanation, while clearly partially correct at a minimum, denies the economic agency of the mouse. Economics is the science of choice, with a risk-reward balance present but also a balancing between different types of actions. Do we buy the whiskey, which makes us happy for a night, or the IBM stock, which gives us a greater sense of security for the future? “Utility,” as defined by economists, includes all of Mazlow’s needs because any one of them can motivate a decision; many people have decided to live under less-certain circumstances in exchange for emotional or spiritual needs being met.

To the Platonist, the two conditions — economics and genetics — lead to one another. Mice have economic agency, which means that they can choose to reproduce or to invest that time and energy elsewhere. A mouse confronted with a desperate situation in mating, such as being lower in the hierarchy and likely to lose fights with other males, may choose to avoid mating. Fights can and often are fatal, and so if mating is not in the cards, a male mouse in captivity will sit out the challenge unless conditions change; a mouse in the wild will relocate.

In the same way, a mouse facing impossible conditions of survival will become listless and cease breeding. This hits the most intelligent mice first, allowing those who are less fit to continue reproducing because they are oblivious to the hopelessness of the condition. Being stuck in captivity, where reproduction is high and yet nothing will change, may be enough to induce this feeling in a mouse.

In this way, Charlton’s theory is correct but only as the result of this economic choice. In human societies, as we begin to feel more “in captivity,” it becomes clear that the bad people are winning and so only the bad will win. At that point, the fit slow or stop reproducing, which allows deleterious genetic mutations to take over, dooming the civilization.

Quotable (#7)

Friday, October 14th, 2016

From an article about the blazing futility of Utopianism, disguised as praise of it:

Both books seek to capture the spirit of what Jennings calls “a long, sunny season of American utopianism”—a period of about a century, roughly bookended by the optimism of American independence and the butchery of the Civil War.

History occurs on a long scale timetable, such that the delay between and cause and its effect can be centuries or longer. In the case of America, some Western European colonists did their best to limit the influences of democracy.

Since nothing went too wrong in the immediate aftermath, they assumed that they were out of the woods, and had achieved stability. This prompted calls to reform what they had, but the interesting thing is that these recalls went further in the direction of democracy since it, despite being limited, was presumed to be the source of their success.

It turns out they were wrong. Not only did these Utopian communities self-consume, but so did America. Their empire of freedom, democracy and equality led them into a disastrous war, and they had barely begun to recover when a series of World Wars hit them like a stack of bricks. Sure, the Americans won… but at what cost?

We are still in the democracy bubble. It only became formally recognized in the late 1700s after being the subject of several centuries of “intellectuals” theorizing. Once adopted, it was assumed to be stable, but now after the tragedies of the twentieth century have continued into the present, people are not so sure.

Black Mirrors Of Nemesis

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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by Carey Henderson

The Tell

Look. See. Notice every gesture, every move. Watch as the hand is quicker than the eye, the mind desires to believe, thus what you see is not what you get.

Everything you see—what you read, what you watch on your TV and smartphone—is a lie within truth, truth within a lie; a trick of magic. Magic that we no longer believe in due to its supposedly archaic nature.

But The Tell is all around us; the trick is actually defined with a rather broad brush within our Modernity. But we’re not paying attention. The slight of hand that we programmed into our magician is superb.

 

The Right Trick

A good magician knows that his own life is worth sacrificing for the right trick. He won’t divulge his methods unless his own Hubris prods him, and only then will he unravel his methods by methods requiring much deduction and work. He has dedicated his life to a principle; something that no one can see, touch or feel, and in so doing, has embarked on a course from which no deviation can be allowed. He will feign weakness if necessary.

Denial, lies, and deceit are all tucked neatly into his portfolio, as is Truth, which he will also use, ripping out of any context without so much as a partial whim, along with his other tools, to manipulate his audience. His course is no morality play, only a desire to fool all those who desire to be fooled, for they are not only his physical bread and butter, but food for his own Hubris and ego, things which he has long since given up attempting to deny.

A truly good magician’s identity can become irrelavent to him. If his magick has become his ideal, then it can be put into symbolic existence, thus attaining immortality, transcending not only himself but all of Modernity; something to be remembered by, a fifteen minutes of fame that will be put into superior data storage: that of the written word.

And so he will do all that it takes, if the magick that he has tapped is of a power to make such a transmutation, to turn all of his work into an idea, a principle unto itself, something that he can then die knowing will replicate itself like some digital worm.

 

Modernity is Transmutation

During the Industrial Age, Western Humanity became a magician of rather impressive stature.

He learned to transmute one substance into another at an industrial level, turning all of Earth’s resources into his own, personal fuels. No longer requiring the lengthy processes of Alchemy, humanity marched onward, building bigger and better things, learning to transmutate the elements at will, until he’d surpassed his own Industrial Age and entered into the Information Age.

Herein, humanity found the ability to create a new digital universe.

 

It’s all Bits and Bytes, Ain’t it?

Prior to this digital creation, humanity had begun to understand that the very universe that he inhabited was also digital. Throughout this digital universe was the evidence of the permeation of analog direction—as though a higher form of intelligence just might exist and was, in some way, guiding it all—yet, at the quantum level, humanity found that energy does, more or less, get delivered to his universe in packets—digits. While humanity continued to discover the truths about his own universe, he also began creating a digital world of his own.

Cameras, then moving pictures, then public theaters showing the moving pictures, then televisions invaded the Western World in stages, but always with purpose, tethering itself and its own creation to that creation’s newfound prosperity, comfort, and boredom; entertaining that creator’s boredom, until finally, this new method of delivering information had become not simply a member of the human family, but had replaced many previous notions of what being part of a human family had entailed.

This analog creation was merely the necessary precursor to the digital world that humanity would create. And so he did.

 

The Hell of Digital Information

The next stage would grow much faster. The internet took hold of humanity with little effort. The convenience of being able to share information quickly was a lust that mankind could not dampen, could not satiate, once he had put this temptation into actual existence.

The internet grew with little resistance, until the point that nearly everyone in the Western World (and many others besides) had, in their hands at all times, instant access to a digital world in which humanity thought that he could hide from his true reality; a place he believed he owned, since he felt he’d created it, and thus believed that he could become anything that he desired.

As above, so below. This was the dream of the digital world that mankind had created. There is no way to separate this digital dream from that of magick’s dream, of an occultic dream, for all those dreams are on in the same.

 

Black Mirrors Summoning Our Favorite Demons

To think of the demonic as simply an archaic notion of religious fanatics is to deny the inherently correct natue of what often draws this human creature toward Evil.

Let us then ponder the demonic from the level of our dim understanding of the quantum nature of ourselves and universe. Let us say that the demonic works on a level similar to a quantum ‘virus’ of sorts: something that can infect and affect the culture at large, due to its own makeup and how this demonic itself is programmed to divide and conquer, for within its own programming is written the very correct notion that, should humanity discover its ruse, humanity might find a way to defeat this brilliant and simple ruse, given time. This is also a ruse, yet it is one that must not be discovered, for it can lead to truth.

 

Spin is In

Our modern science has told us that everything spins—from the universe at large down to the quantum level. Even when observed with only a ‘half’ spin, what we call as a collective ‘science’ has come to the conclusion that our world continues on through spin.

The demonic knows this far better than humanity. If the demonic is an actual entity, somehow existing within the digital realm of our existence at the quantum level, then it inherently grasps the concept of spin and, furthermore, would understand, given its longevity within that universe, how to use spin to manipulate humanity’s perception of the world it inhabits.

In more than a few occult circles, to summon a demon, one needs only a black mirror, the will, and the correct incantations to summon their demon of choice.

What we call our televisions, computers, tablets, smartphones, and more, act as black mirrors for this demonic motivation towards destruction: as we stare into them, demanding to be entertained, we are answered in seconds, not merely entertained by what we have summoned but fooled, tricked, and manipulated by the ‘demons’ that we continually call forth, like some addiction. We cannot resist: for our digital demons might be stupid, but they’re not fuckin’ stupid: they know what buttons to push to addict us forever to not only their whims, but our very own whims.

Whatever the demonic may be, or if we can admit such a things exists, the one thing that is obvious through no more than the anecdotal evidence of our long history, is that the demonic knows us, controls us if given a chance, and has no love whatsoever of its sometimes-master (us).

 

We Have Seen the Enemy.

And we know whom that enemy is. There is no other recourse when determining our true enemy than coming to the conclusion that the enemy is, without a doubt, us. For we create Nemesis, each and every time, through our own Hubris.

Modernity’s Hubris comes down to the fact that we believe, in our utter lack of self-awareness, that we are the Chosen; the ones who outgrew the outmoded ideas of cultural differences, of sexual differences. Of all differences. What the Western World believes right now is what the Devil on our shoulder whispers in our ear that we must believe: “You are capable of so much more,” that Devil tells us, “so you should simply keep telling yourselves that.” And we listen.

As we are unable to conquer the things that make us human, this constain refrain that we programmed into our own Nemesis, our little black mirrors, haunts us day and night, to the point that much of the population is simply mad with the obsession that humanity is something more than it truly is; that humanity can ‘rise above’ its own programming, and that it can create a Utopia wherein we all ‘just get along’ and where there is no sorrow, no pain.

Carey Henderson has been writing in some form online for over seventeen years. He kept his day job, however, because the desire to be a starving artist never really appealed to him. He lives in the Deep South, USA, and spends most of his time when not at his day job either writing or reading. You can find him at his site Speakeasy X.

The garden of earthly delights

Monday, July 13th, 2015

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Gregor awoke to a cool wind blowing over him. Dew had settled on his skin and he felt a chill from within, mostly related to the tumult in his mind. How had he arrived here? And why could he remember nothing but being here and a few moments from the day before?

He tugged himself under the large fronds of a nearby tropical plant. Animals noises occurred far away, sounding like small creatures. Hunger drove him away from his shelter and he found himself removing large yellow fruits from a nearby tree. They satisfied his hunger, both sweet and starchy, but giving him energy as if he had eaten a meat-based meal. Puzzled, he wandered on.

In one clearing he found a plant on which every other branch was dead and devoid of leaves or twigs. He pulled on one and it came away in his hand. Remembering a long-ago lesson he plugged it into a thick swathe of dry bark and began turning it. As if it were coated like easy strike matches, it burst into flame rapidly. He added more dry wood — it seemed oddly convenient in its scattering nearby — and he soon had a blazing fire.

While the coals smouldered, he wandered among the trees and discovered that this strange place possessed a number of caves, each about the right size for a person or two to hide out or hole up for the night. Some even had natural flues. Cupping coals in a wet leaf, he transferred his fire to one, dumping dry grass and sticks onto the embers to create a roaring blaze. Hungry, he tried another sort of fruit. The same result: sweet like juice, but filling like a meal of meat and potatoes.

He must have drifted off at that point, and slipped into dream. He woke to the sensation of a hand on his shoulder, but could see no one around. Perplexed, he tried to rise, but felt himself forced down. Then strange bright lines appeared across his perspective, and the verdant Eden melted away. He found himself in a chair, holding a pair of headphones with strange spoon-like appendages for his temples.

Two guys in uniform stood on either side of him. “Another one, lost in the loop,” said one. “Come on, fella, we’ve got to get you out of here.”

“Who am I?” he said, bewildered.

The other shrugged. “Sim-amnesia,” he said. “Keep it under your hat, but we get a few cases every month. It’s the interface. It can heat up and scramble you a little bit. Dave will pull your record and figure out who you are.”

And so it was Gregor found himself holding his identity card, reading his file on a computer screen. He was an Actuarial Lifestyle Estimator, it said. He read his home address which seemed oddly numeric, with no street name, and his work location. Then they clapped him on the shoulder and put him in the elevator.

When the bell clanged downstairs he stepped out into the world. There he paused. The street thronged with cars under an unbroken block of skyscraper-buildings forty stories high, each filled with units of equal size for business or dwelling. Every block had a number, and since the buildings filled a block, that designated the units within it. Addresses took the form of three groups of numbers: neighborhood and region, building and unit. He almost fainted when he saw that his unit was numbered in the ten thousands.

Gregor found a public terminal and logged on with skills he could not remember acquiring. There he accessed the People’s Dictionary and saw that the entire planet was covered in blocks like these, all filled with people. Last names had been abolished and people used their work description instead. Education had taken over any other form of qualification, and Gregor realized he had been training since before he could walk for this role. Crime was near non-existent and deviation from the norm impossible, except in the simulators like the one from which he had come. There people could be anyone they wanted to be, forever unique and amazing in their own way.

Once this planet had been wracked by warfare, he read. That had been conquered by equality and managerial science. Now people were assessed only by how far they went in education, which had been adjusted to reward number of hours spent on it instead of natural skills, and everyone earned almost the same amount of money. Each person got a cube at work and a cube to live in, complete with its own air filter, climate control and algal garden to produce food. No one wanted for anything. Peace and prosperity reigned. The average work-week was sixty hours.

A line formed behind him, so Gregor logged off. The day had ended and the sun was setting. He looked up to see the slanted rays of daysend cutting down the avenue, lighting infinite blocks of uncountable buildings, each filled with people acting out their function and thinking of nothing else. A scent came to him, that of a fire in a jungle. Bereft of anything but this moment, he turned and began the long walk to his new home.

Why the singularity will not happen

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

singularity

Those who want a prediction for our future as a species that is both positive and plausible often turn to the term “singularity.” This refers to a moment when our technology reaches such an advanced stage that it changes human nature and magically creates a new Utopia from our wiser, more advanced selves. Technologies commonly mentioned include human biological enhancement, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces and transhumanism. But how likely is this singularity, given larger trends?

Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether growth has limits, we can see that growth is finite by looking at the available data. In the US, average annual growth in real GDP over the prior 40 quarters has gone steadily downhill since the 1950s.1 The 21st century has seen very little increase in real GDP, which is GDP adjusted for inflation. Globally a similar trend is visible. Using global real GDP data, we find a decline in the global growth rate, from 4.7% in the late 60s, to just 1.3% in the late 00s.2

The fastest growth rates are now in those places which were until now effectively completely undeveloped. Economic growth happens where there are many resources left or where violent conflict made those resources inaccessible until recently. No developed economy has escaped the trend of declining GDP growth rates. Japan went from a 7% yearly real GDP growth rate to around 0% in recent years.3 Thus the effect does not originate in the changing demographic compsition of Western nations.

A similar stabilization can be seen in global life expectancy.4 This is again most visible for those countries than perform best on this metric, like Japan.5 We find stabilization in every trend that would be indicative of continued exponential growth. Most developed countries show stabilization in IQ, as better nutrition and an improved environment can no longer increase IQ any further.6 There’s also a stabilization visible in the number of miles driven in the United States, while a decline is visible in much of Europe.7 Developed economies have seen a small decline in total energy use compared to the 70s.8

Energy use has declined with further improvements in energy efficiency. Steel production represents five percent of global energy use. Developed countries however no longer manage to book any further improvements in energy efficiency in steel production.9 Energy efficiency in air transport of passengers has effectively flatlined since the 1990s with much of the improvement coming at the cost of the comfort passengers enjoy while traveling.10 Fuel efficiency of cars is still improving in developed countries, but this comes at the cost of energy used to produce the cars as is visible in the higher up front cost of hybrid vehicles. The decline in improvements in energy efficiency and the rising cost of energy have led to peak speed, visible in the fact that since 2003 passengers can no longer fly at supersonic speeds between London and New York or any other cities for that matter. The fact that humans have not landed on the moon in decades represents a peak distance in regards to how far a human being can travel.

We can therefore conclude that if a singularity were to occur, it would not be through a continuation of the trends we have witnessed over recent history, but rather, through a break in these trends. Assuming infinite resources at current prices, the trend would seem to be one towards gradual stabilization. The fact that non-renewable resources are being depleted would suggest that the opposite, a decline in standard of living, is in fact inevitable as well as effectively permanent.

What then about the two industries that are supposed to revolutionize our world, biotech and artificial intelligence? These are the two industries that would represent the most likely candidates for a break in the trend towards less growth. There are however limits to what can be accomplished through the use of these technologies.

Understanding the limits to what can be accomplished through biotechnology requires us to understand the nature of human intelligence. It is increasingly believed that human intelligence is not so much a product of certain mutations, but rather, a product of the absence of mutations. Intelligence is a product of the healthy functioning of a wide variety of processes in our body. A state of general health and a low mutational burden would thus translate into increased intelligence in our species.

This represents the first challenge we will face in our quest to increase human intelligence. Instead of increasing intelligence by selectively endowing people with a particular mutation, we will have to screen people for a wide variety of individually very rare mutations. To prove that any particular person’s very rare mutation leads to subtly reduced intelligence will be a gargantuan task, as these mutations may be limited to certain families, which makes separating environmental effects from genetic effects very difficult. Biotechnology will thus mostly prove itself to be effective in eliminating those genetic defects with severe effects, where causation is easier to demonstrate. The step from an IQ of 85 to one of 100 will thus be much easier accomplished than the step from 100 to 115, in the same way that increasing a nation’s life expectancy from 70 to 85 years is proving easier than increasing it from 85 to 100.

Assuming we pass this hurdle, there are a number of different issues we subsequently face. The nature of the process of fertilization tends to select for the healthiest sperm cells, which carry very little genetic damage.12 Bypassing this process through IVF, which will be required to enhance the intellectual potential of the next generation, means increasing the mutational load of those children, thus negatively impacting their intelligence. Screening the various embryos produced to find out which ones are free from the mutation we seek to eliminate is also an invasive process that has detrimental effects on the embryo, as it involves selecting a single cell and destroying it. Comparing adult mice that underwent preimplantation genetic diagnosis with adult mice that did not undergo the procedure shows they suffer poorer memory and higher body weight.13 It’s likely that this procedure is subject to diminishing returns, with the costs outweighing the benefits when dealing with minor mutations that do not cause severe genetic disorders.

What about actual genetic enhancement then, in which we choose to produce an embryo with genetic material that does not normally occur in humans? This has been successfully accomplished in plants after all, producing traits beneficial to humans that do not naturally occur in the plant. Here it has to be noted that we have been quite successful at producing traits that originate from a single gene, like the production of a specific pesticide. A complex emergent phenomenon like intelligence is of a fundamentally different nature.

The second issue to consider is that plants are organisms that are better capable of handling a genetic disturbance than animals. Consider that polyploidy, a doubling of an the number of chromosomes in an organism, is a common method of speciation for plants. In animals, it is comparatively rare and occurs mostly in non-vertebrates, never having been demonstrated in mammals. This suggests that animals are more “fine-tuned” and vulnerable to the effect of any drastic changes to their genome. The effects of such drastic changes would be expected to first affect those processes most dependent on overall functioning of the organism, ie complex thought.

The third issue to consider is that even plants have shown very negative responses to the introduction of alien genetic material. Besides the fact that the process of introducing the genetic material is believed to damage other areas of the genome, artificially introduced genetic material is regularly rearranged. Even more interesting is the fact that plants do not pass on the introduced foreign genetic material. It is selectively removed from the genome on a systematic basis.14 The transhumanists who argue that humans will one day carry synthetic extra chromosomes that give us superhuman abilities are pushing a science-fiction narrative.

Since the biotech bubble offers no answers, the remaining alternative for a radical transformation of our civilization lies with artificial intelligence. The first problem to note here is that the fundamental nature of consciousness remains unknown. If it is produced by a quantum field, as believed by some physicists, it will be of a fundamentally different nature than intelligence produced through binary logic of the type that our computers use. Efforts to simulate a human brain by 2020, known as the Blue Brain Project, have recently been accused by prominent neuroscientists of having narrowed the scope of the project, who argue that the project no longer seeks to simulate such higher-order brain processes as thinking and decision-making.15 Like fusion energy, artificial intelligence appears as far away as ever.

The project currently uses a supercomputer with 8,000 parallel processors to simulate ten thousand neurons. Considering that the human brain has 10^12 neurons, humans would face the task of building and running 8,000,000,000 parallel processors to simulate a single human brain. Moore’s law, referring to doubling of the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit, is then suggested as a trend that will help us escape from the apparently massive costs of machine intelligence. The problem here becomes the fact that Moore’s law is slowing down and will apparently come to an end by 2022.16 Exponential growth is seen in the early stages of most technologies, but there are always physical limits we encounter which we seem to be reaching in computer science as well.

We have to consider the possibility that the blobs of fat drifting in cerebrospinal fluid that happen to emerge spontaneously if you leave a large amount of hydrogen unattended for a few billion years are really the most energy-efficient method of producing self-awareness available in our universe. Assuming that present economic trends and our decades long failure to discover methods of energy production that share the characteristics of fossil fuels persist into the future, civilization seems very unlikely to grow a lot more complex than its present incarnation.

1 – http://blogs-images.forbes.com/beltway/files/2011/06/Ten-year-growth-rates1.jpg
2 – http://unctadstat.unctad.org/wds/TableViewer/tableView.aspx
3 – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Real_GDP_growth_rate_in_Japan_(1956-2008).png
4 – http://homework.uoregon.edu/pub/class/hc434/wme.gif
5 – http://www.gfmer.ch/Books/bookmp/185.ht99.jpg
6 – http://www.iapsych.com/iqmr/fe/LinkedDocuments/Sundet2004.pdf
7 – http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_pMscxxELHEg/SXiH7ajGVVI/AAAAAAAAEWI/38691ym6xms/s1600/VehicleMilesNov2008.jpg
8 – http://www.financialsense.com/sites/default/files/users/u673/images/2012/0313/per-capita-energy-consumption-countries.png
9 – http://www.worldsteel.org/steel-by-topic/sustainable-steel/environmental/efficient-use/content/0/text_files/file1/document/energyconsuption_linechart_final.jpg
10 – http://www.theprimitivethinker.com/2013/10/jevons-paradox-in-aviation.html
11 – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-decline-ever-since-8307101.html
12 – http://www.clevelandclinic.org/ReproductiveResearchCenter/docs/agradoc148.pdf
13 – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721122857.htm
14 – http://www.i-sis.org.uk/transgenicLinesUnstable2.php
15 – http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28193790
16 – http://www.cnet.com/news/end-of-moores-law-its-not-just-about-physics/

Utopia

Monday, April 14th, 2014

city_in_the_clouds

Yet another thread, on yet another forum, eliciting yet another comment, containing yet another cheap-shot.
I felt like replying: “How does it feel to be on the losing side, in a war that doesn’t even exist?”
But I didn’t.

Instead, I do what I always do, with anything anybody writes. I considered it…

This ability to consider, lies at the heart of all that is amiss in our current state-of-society.
It is an ability remarkable for its near-complete absence.
I have discovered that, no matter what I write, or how it’s put, or which words I choose, no matter the topic, it is never seen for what it is, or what it says, but instead is seen as anything other than what it is.
In fact, very, very little of what I write, is responded to with anything other than a blatant attempt to ridicule, misinterpret, or undermine. As far as figures go, approximately 0.1% of responses indicate that the reader even understood my post. And so I am left with the undeniable fact that 99.9% of readers are completely unable to receive my transmission.

As you can see, this is not because I do not write well, or clearly. In fact, according to a silly grammar software program I once owned, many years ago, I write in a way that even five-year-olds can understand, and I might want to – it suggested – raise my ante a bit. God only knows what my percentage of comprehending readers would have fallen to, if I had taken that little snippet of critique to heart.

“Why do you do it?” my wife is fond of asking me. “With all the abuse you get, how can you possibly keep it up?”
I always attempt to explain that this is something I must do, not because I enjoy it, but because someone must, and almost nobody else is going to. Besides, as I so often point out: how else would I get to experience all that is so wrong with people, in so concentrated a form, in actual, day to day life?

And so I drone onwards, through the spears and bear-traps, and the utter stupidity and boorishness of that 99.9% of readers, to that unforeseeable result that I had been searching for, all along…

What is it like, to be on the losing side? In a war that not only does not even exist, but to which there can be no possible conclusion? What on earth is that like? Which is a very good question, in that unless you happen to be on that losing side, there is no way you can possibly conceive of why anyone would, voluntarily, be.

Let’s see…
Pick a loser. Any loser. No need to be specific. But, remember, the more losers you pick, and the more diverse they are, the better the chance of being on that elusive losing side:

Feminists. They lose out because the stinking patriarchy is aligned against them. Vilify men!
Homosexuals. They lose out because there are some that do not like what they do, and that’s not fair. Declare war on non-gays!
Medieval French Peasants. They lose out because they are not all aristocrats. Get out the guillotine!
The Poor. They lose out because they are not rich. Eat the rich!
Black people. They lose out because they are not white people. Exterminate white racists!
Brown people. They lose out because they do not live in our country. Open the borders!
Illegal immigrants. They lose out because they must do stuff to have our stuff. Pack ’em in and give it all away!
Leftists. They lose out because, well, they always feel they lose out. Make sure they win!
Losers. They lose out because they are losers. Criminalize winners!
And on, and on, and on…

I met a woman, just today, who told me she once had an Iranian friend. She realized, one day, that she had treated her friend graciously, and with an exaggerated respect, that had that friend been white, she never would have been so kind. She was horrified at this realization, so she said, because it showed her how subconsciously racist she was.
I studied the woman, unsure of how to proceed. Then, being me, I dove in to an empty pool, headfirst, and told it like it was…
“That’s terrific. Why treat anybody with graciousness and respect, just because they are not like you? Why not just treat everybody, from anywhere, in exactly the same shoddy, disrespectful way you treat your own kind?”

And that’s equality. That is where it goes. Down.

As always, it really comes down to Heaven versus Hell. We are a lot like sharks. We must be ever-moving, or we die. We either move, purposefully, by degrees, Heavenwards, or move, purposefully, by degrees, towards Hell.

Society builds itself, over centuries, the gifted alongside the not-so-gifted, each contributing according to his differing abilities. Until the point of comfort is reached, where the gifted lose track of what it is to be gifted, and extend the fruits of their labours to the not-so-gifted. This is often referred to as ‘education’.
Intellect becomes something available to all, regardless of innate ability. The intellect replaces God as the highest aspiration a man may have. Even dolts come to see themselves as intellectuals. Which, in many ways, is understandable, since intellect, without God, really is a dolt. Disaster follows quickly on its heels.

Utopia? It sounds so good, doesn’t it? But what is it, exactly?
A state of having whatever you want, whenever you want it, without the inconvenience of ever having to do anything at all in order to get it. A dolt’s paradise. And what is a dolt? One who simply can not understand that if all the members of his country contribute nothing to that country, and instead, endlessly take from it, at some point, there will no longer be a country.

That’s fine, says the dolt. Countries are obsolete now. It’s all global, man.
Ah, says I. I see. Not only do you not give a toss about destroying your own country, but now, you operate globally as well. Contribute nothing to your planet, and instead, use up everything upon it and within it, until…

Utopia is reached.

Utopia self-destructing

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Those who want Utopia are talking about intermediate results, not end results.

“I don’t want anyone to die, or any wars to occur,” presupposes that all people are rational and thus both sides can agree to argue their cases rationally.

It also presupposes that rationality should decide the issue. If two populations both need the same resource, who should have it? If they share, neither gets enough to do anything with it, and so that energy is dissipated. War decides. Struggle decides. Conflict decides.

On the lighter side, innocent and wholesomeness also decide. If you decide to be selective in your activities, that’s a type of war against all other possibilities; if you pick one woman to love, raise a family, build a position in a city instead of flitting around pursuing empty pleasures, you have made a solid warlike choice.

Our modernist Utopia is based on the idea that we can regulate end results through intermediate results.

  • Peace. We can stop war by stopping conflict by enforcing equality among all people. What if two have a claim to the same thing? Then we stall in endless cycles of debate, studies, neurosis and palaver.
  • Universality. We love the idea of a single rule that is the ScientificTM Absolute TruthSM but then we are applying radically different standards between North and South, East and West, agrarian and urban, middle class and ghetto.
  • Equality. We demand everyone be equal! And if they’re not, we’re going to trim off the extra that doesn’t fit into our tiny little boxes. If they resist, we will crush them. They are not fitting the plan and are thwarting our will.
  • Choice. It’s a world of choices. It would make more sense if people chose not to litter, drive giant cars or buy huge homes they cannot afford to keep maintained. But they can do those things, so we’ll encourage them, and socialize the cost.
  • Education. Our grand plan for all ills is “education.” If you give people the truth, they’ll act rationally, we think. Yet they’re generally in bad situations from an inability to act rationally in the first place.

By focusing on methods, and not values and goals, our society has created a hell out of Utopia. It just isn’t working. Its design is fundamentally flawed: it works on the wrong part of the process. You have to get to those end results, and the values and goals that motivated them, instead of regulating the intermediate.

A new Marist College poll shows that 36% of New Yorkers under the age of 30 are planning to leave New York within the next five years – and more than a quarter of all adults are planning to bolt the Empire State.

The New York City suburbs, with their high property values and taxes, are leading the exodus, the poll found.

Of those preparing to leave, 62% cite economic reasons like cost of living, taxes – and a lack of jobs.

“A lot of people are questioning the affordability of the state,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

An additional 38% cite climate, quality of life, overcrowding, a desire to be closer to family, retirement or schools. – NYD

We made a city; we made it a huge center of money; we invited everyone in; now it’s a hell on earth. It’s cramped, dirty, stinky, noisy, criminal and corrupt.

Why is it that all human plans end this way? A new idea is found to be good, then it gets popular, then it “jumps the shark” and becomes corrupted.

Maybe it has something to do with the illusion that the good part of the city existed in the city, not the people who created it. Maybe it also has something to do with our false Utopia, where we make everything permissible and then try to regulate methods, so people find alternate methods to the same bad values and goals, thus end results.

If our problem is people getting distracted at work, and the method is that some people show up in swimsuits, our standard response of banning swimsuits won’t work — they’ll just show up naked or in revealing evening dresses. You cannot regulate end results through method.

Permissiveness is the most intense form of regulation of all. It says that everything is accepted, but — there’s always a but — there are just a few things that we don’t want you to do. Starting with not being permissive. But permissiveness, in turn, cheapens the value of life by making choices arbitrary and non-binding.

Is it any wonder the sexual revolution destroyed marriage by teaching us away from fidelity into disposable relationships?

4. She waits to have sex. Yes, the sexual revolution arrived long ago and few people expect a “pure white bride” nowadays. But sex is still a pretty big step for couples. Daily says that many women don’t even realize just how much sex changes the dynamics of a relationship. When women have sex, they release a hormone called oxytocin (also referred to as “the cuddle hormone”), which some scientific researchers believe makes women feel extra warm and fuzzy for their sex partners. Daily warns that if women do the deed too soon, they might make too much of a relationship that barely ever existed outside of the bedroom. When you inflate the significance of a relationship, the man often bolts. Daily’s advice is to wait at least one month into the relationship before having sex with your new man. – iVillage

The above paragraph is perfectly neurotic modern propaganda: everything is permitted, but that’s destructive, so here’s the exception you follow in order to succeed. Oh, but it’s only a halfway exception, so you won’t actually escape the doom trap we’ve laid for you.

Our Utopia that regulates methods causes a new kind of speech control — using permissiveness, or a lack of desire to pay attention to the results of our actions, to encourage people to ignore uncomfortable facts:

As I have come to learn firsthand, the anti-journalist does not seek to report the news. The anti-journalist attacks the people who do report the news or, just as likely, ignores them completely. When in attack mode, the anti-journalist disregards the facts and dismisses the fact finder as partisan, whacko, reckless, and inevitably, in regard to Obama, racist. – American Thinker

In theory, we would want to discover truths and then discuss them rationally.

In reality, it’s open warfare — pick what you want to believe, ignore the rest, and run them over.

With permissiveness as part of our Utopia’s regulation of methods, we have enabled journalists and readers alike to simply deny unfortunate aspects of reality.

As a result, our news is not news but opinion: spin, taint, shading, implication and innuendo.

A vital insight into the nature of our society:

Actually, the present state of the “international community” is a perfect reflection of bureaucratic imperatives. Bureaucracies tend to maximize their impact. They are often quite shy about expanding their authority, especially if it is formal authority – because once you take authority over something, you have essentially taken responsibility for it. Bureaucracies are not fond of responsibility. – UR

Our Utopia is not fond of responsibility, or taking charge of results.

It is fond of impact, or making sure it visibly regulates methods which (superstitiously) we assume are the only ways we end up at bad results.

How did we get here?

Lorenz and Rahut’s experiment fits between large-scale, real-world messiness and theoretical investigation. They recruited 144 students from ETH Zurich, sitting them in isolated cubicles and asking them to guess Switzerland’s population density, the length of its border with Italy, the number of new immigrants to Zurich and how many crimes were committed in 2006.

After answering, test subjects were given a small monetary reward based on their answer’s accuracy, then asked again. This proceeded for four more rounds; and while some students didn’t learn what their peers guessed, others were told.

As testing progressed, the average answers of independent test subjects became more accurate, in keeping with the wisdom-of-crowds phenomenon. Socially influenced test subjects, however, actually became less accurate.

The researchers attributed this to three effects. The first they called “social influence”: Opinions became less diverse. The second effect was “range reduction”: In mathematical terms, correct answers became clustered at the group’s edges. Exacerbating it all was the “confidence effect,” in which students became more certain about their guesses.

“The truth becomes less central if social influence is allowed,” wrote Lorenz and Rahut, who think this problem could be intensified in markets and politics — systems that rely on collective assessment.

“Opinion polls and the mass media largely promote information feedback and therefore trigger convergence of how we judge the facts,” they wrote. – WIRED

The dreaded hivemind, or groupthink, or even herd behavior — pick the term you prefer — arrived. I call this Crowdism, because it consists of a mechanism whereby the logic of the Crowd replaces the thought of our most logical individuals, and initiates a race to the lowest common denominator.

It is a symptom of modern society. Equality means permissiveness; permissiveness means truth becomes arbitrary; arbitrary truth means people behave chaotically, and then as bad results filter in, become “conservative” in the grim part of the lower-case-c sense of the word, meaning that they refuse to do anything except what works for the majority. A standardization and regression to the mean begins to gain momentum.

We spread this process like a disease, because with prosperity, industry takes over from culture — and in so doing, obliterates anything but the permissive:

For a sneak peek at what’s in store, we can look to American history. In the postwar boom of the 1950s, mass prosperity became the norm. For the first time in history, a generation of kids – the baby boomers – was raised with their material needs taken for granted. And the economy had reached new heights of complexity: By 1960, as author Todd Gitlin notes, the US became the first society with more college students than farmers.

What followed was the cultural upheaval of the 1960s and ’70s. Groups long marginalized or stigmatized – blacks, women, gays and lesbians – rose up to challenge the established order. New values – in particular, environmentalism and hedonism (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll) – emerged as reflections of the new focus on quality of life and personal fulfillment.

[…]

While the details differ from country to country, the American drama is now playing out on a global scale. For evidence, there’s no better source than the World Values Survey, a worldwide effort to track changing cultural attitudes. The director of the survey, Ronald Inglehart, has found a clear pattern: As development widens the circle of people who enjoy material security and amass human capital, “survival” values wane and “self-expression” values strengthen. People start caring more about personal growth and less about mere acquisition, and they grow more tolerant and less deferential to authority. – CSM

As the article summarizes itself, “‘Survival’ values are waning and ‘self-expression’ values are gaining.” With wealth comes permissiveness, and arbitrary consequences, and thus a desire to be self-expressive instead of reality-conforming.

We might call that state of constant self-expression; it’s the opposite of survival logic. As Laura Wood states:

Their lack of thoughtfulness and their hair-trigger emotion are painful to behold. They suggest minds addled by texting and almost constant self-expression. To say that a woman’s dress may give the impression that she is promiscuous and ready for a casual encounter is not to say that most sexual assaults are a result of the woman’s behavior or that any sexual assault is only the result of the woman’s behavior. Nor is it to say that sexual assault is right.

The facts are:

  1. Many women dress and act like what was once called a slut. They are not criticized at all. In fact, they are often complimented.
  2. Few, if any, accused sexual assailants today are judged innocent because their victims dressed immodestly.
  3. Most people don’t hold to the view that it is a woman’s behavior that causes rape.
  4. Men react to the physical appearance of women and receive cues from women.

If all this is true, what are these women protesting? As I said, they are frightened. There is such a thing as rape, and they cannot process that reality. They have no way of understanding or making sense of it – and so they protest against it, hoping that outrage alone will make it go away. They want a world in which rape does not occur. Such a thing is not possible. However, there is a way to gain some measure of safety. A woman can protect herself against rape not by participating in protests, especially protests defending sluttiness, but by earning the protection of good men. Men protect women against men. The sensible path for a woman in a dangerous world – and the sensible path for women collectively – is to earn the protection of good men. Protection is not a right, but a privilege.

Women earn the protection of good men by dressing modestly, by recognizing the nature of masculinity, and by remaining faithful. Then their safety increases. – The Thinking Housewife

She describes the anti-Utopia: a society based not on regulating method, but on finding the right goals and values to produce positive end results.

You cannot force respect on people.

You need to build it into a system constructively, by forming bonds between the parts.

In the same way, you do not end war by declaring war=bad.

You realize you will never end war, but you can avoid wars but making strong underlying political systems.

In the same way, you can never end problems in society, but you can avoid most of them by designing a strong social order which rewards good behavior, and smites bad.

This is the opposite of our modern Utopia, and its sheer logicality explains why it is a rising concept as Utopia disintegrates around us.

Let California secede

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As usual in politics, we’re going about everything the wrong way. Huge parts of the Midwest and South want to distance themselves from Obama, so talk about nullification and secession looms.

That backward thought suggests that, if a new idea takes over your land and turns out to be horribly wrong, you should drop out and let it take over the rest. I propose instead a scientific approach.

When you have a new idea to test, you create a control group which you keep as it has been, and separate a new smaller group on which you test the new idea. This way, you can see how that idea works out.

Liberalism proclaims itself a new way. It’s “progress,” a new vision, a social vision instead of an economic or hierarchical one. It is begging to be tested. I propose we make California our test subject, a nation-within-a-nation, and construct a Liberal Utopia there.

Instead of constantly fighting over whether liberal or conservative ideas are right, we can implement the liberal ideas — all of them — in a test subject that is both wealthy and varied. Legalize dope, keep abortion legal, go hogwild with diversity, enact all the welfare you can, ban all taboos, make gay marriage mandatory if you want. Just do it in California.

The rest of us will watch. It takes about three decades to see the beginnings of the long-term effects of any political plan, as Europe has found out. By 2040, we can know whether liberalism will work for us here in the United States.

No one has any legitimate reason to prove this plan. Liberals, who presumably believe their leftist and progressive ideas can work, should welcome this chance to create a Utopia and show the world how right they are. Conservatives, who believe their ideas are workable, should delight in this chance to be seen in contrast to whatever comes from the liberal Utopia.

Instead of splitting our nation in half over our irreconcilable divide between liberalism and conservative values, maybe we should just make a test subject — a blank canvas for liberal imaginations — and see how our idealistic notions work out there.

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