As I mentioned in my previous post of this series – an open license to rob, abuse, torture and murder all those “others” is an essential and integral part of all successful organized religions and ideologies. Let me explain that concept with a simple example.
Why does Islam, today, have more followers than Buddhism? Now this question assumes that you believe that Buddhism is a religion, which some of its believers might find objectionable. But the main question still stands- what makes a religion like Islam more attractive to average dumbfucks than any given school of Buddhism? In my opinion- it comes down to one particular promise that the former offers which the later does not. Well.. Islam officially, and functionally, sanctions the robbery, abuse, torture and murder of “unbelievers”. Buddhism merely sanctions looking down on those “unbelievers”.
One offers the promise of personal enrichment through the guiltless looting, abuse and murder of “others”- while the other merely allows its believers to point and snicker at those pesky “others”.
It is important to note that mainstream flavors of pre-enlightenment era Christianity were as covetous, regressive and brutal as Islam appears today. If you do not believe that statement, I suggest that you read up on the many and very bloody Catholic-Protestant wars waged in the 16th century Europe. I should also point out that Christian doctrine was used to support and justify the genocide of many millions in the Americas during the age of “discovery”. Even 20th century wars such as WW1 and WW2 used religion-based concepts (most notably nationalism) to motivate simpletons into sacrificing their lives by the millions for causes that had nothing to do with any improvement of their own lives.
Capitalism, Communism and other secular organized ideologies are no different. Do you really think that all those who imprisoned, tortured and killed millions of others on the “orders” Stalin and Mao did so because they believed in the principles of the Stalinist or Maoist flavor of Communism? No! They just did it because they wanted to! The belief systems, books and official orders were merely a guilt-absolving justification to do what they always wanted- but never had the balls to do on their own accord. Organized religion and ideologies are about providing a sophistic and plausible sounding justification for acting like a total sociopath but without having to accept any personal responsibility or culpability for their actions.
The guilt-transference mechanism of an organized religion or ideology allows its followers to kill in its name as their day job, then go home to their families in the evening and act as if they did nothing unusual or wrong.
Now imagine what would happen if you overwhelmed and subjugated a true believer and then asked them to account for their past actions. For starters, almost every single will claim innocence. Some will tell you that they were acting in accordance with the dictates of some god, prophet or leader who is almost always conveniently unavailable or dead. Others might claim that they were following the most recent edition of some ancient “holy” book of questionable authorship and full of editing and continuity errors. Now imagine how those very same people would react if a person robbed, abused, tortured and murdered scores of other people on the basis of voices in his head, third person accounts of hallucinations and the contents of old comic books. So, what is the real difference between a mentally ill murderer and a person who kills in the name of an organized religion and ideology.?
A mentally ill murderer who believes that he is god is far more honest and possess significantly larger balls than the pathetic piece of shit who has to hide in the shadow of a socially acceptable belief system and defend his actions through misdirection and sophistry.
I was initially going to devote this post to a discussion about the more insidious organized secular religions (nationalism, capitalism, feminism) of our era- but felt it was necessary to first shine some more light on the original dirty secret underlying all organized belief systems. You will therefore have to wait for the next post in this series to read about my thoughts on contemporary secular religions.
What do you think? Comments?
The name of a 16th century “philosopher” known as Thomas Hobbes frequently pops up in discussions on a range of topics ranging from the best type of governance to whether a state is necessary for reasonably stable societies to exist. He is best known for writing a book known as Leviathan in which he argues for of a system in which a very small group of “special” people have a monopoly on violence. In his opinion only such a system could guarantee social stability and economic prosperity.One of his most famous quotes is about the state of human society without a top-down repressive regime.
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
So why am I choosing him as the target of this post? Well.. there are two reasons. Firstly, he is a good example of the prototypical academic who will suck cock and write pretty lies for his paymasters. Secondly, his reputation needs to be demolished to the point where nobody wants to remember him, quote him or even try to recycle any of his ideas.
Many of you might wonder how something like this can be done. Wouldn’t irreversibly tarnishing the image of a long dead, semi-famous, white intellectual be hard. My answer is- not really. Think of all the famous white people who stood behind the idea of eugenics in the early 20th century. How many can you name or, more importantly even want to remember? Similarly the memories of even more famous people like Hitler, who was once widely admired in pre-WW2 UK and USA, are now irreversibly associated with evil. To put it another way, engineering large changes in the public images of famous (or semi-famous) people is actually quite easy.
Moving back to the topic at hand, let us start by looking at his early life and see if it provides any obvious clues as to why Hobbes became a servile cocksucker for the elites of his era.
Born prematurely when his mother heard of the coming invasion of the Spanish Armada, Hobbes later reported that “my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear.” His childhood is almost a complete blank, and his mother’s name is unknown. His father, also named Thomas, was the vicar of Charlton and Westport. Thomas Hobbes Sr. had an older brother, Francis Hobbes, who was a wealthy merchant with no family of his own. Thomas Hobbes, the younger, had one brother Edmund who was about two years older than he. Thomas Sr. abandoned his wife, two sons and a daughter, leaving them in the care of his brother, Francis, when he was forced to flee to London after being involved in a fight with a clergyman outside his own church. Hobbes was educated at Westport church from the age of four, passed to the Malmesbury school and then to a private school kept by a young man named Robert Latimer, a graduate of the University of Oxford. Hobbes was a good pupil, and around 1603 he went up to Magdalen Hall, which is most closely related to Hertford College, Oxford.
Hobbes was not born into a rich family and his early life was somewhat precarious. However, like many of the middle and upper-middle class of today, he had access to centers of credentialism and sophistry aka universities. It is therefore very likely that Hobbes always saw the attainment of elite-approved credentials and subservience to their power as the only realistic way to maintain a somewhat nice and stable lifestyle.
Everything that Hobbes ever said, wrote or argued about must therefore be seen through the lens of his own timid, conformist and sophistic persona. To put it another way, he was an enthusiastic mercenary for anybody who held out the promise of a bit more money, social status and a nice sinecure.
Now let us move on to a critical analysis of the validity of his writings. But before we do that, let me quickly talk about why destroying his reputation is necessary- even 300 years after his death. The arguments put forth in the writings of Hobbes are one of the foundations of modern CONservativism and many other -isms. They, in both their original as well as recycled forms, have been used to justify a variety of socio-economic systems that have brought nothing but impoverishment, extreme misery, starvation and disease to the vast majority of people while greatly enriching a few lucky sociopaths.
One the central arguments in his writings is the idea that all people are highly immoral and only an absolute monopoly of violent force in the hands of a few chosen ones can keep society stable. In some respects his ideas are remarkably similar to those used to justify Chinese-style Legalism. But are most people highly immoral and does monopolizing violent force in the hands of a chosen few really improve the living standards of most people in that society?
While I am certainly not a believer in the myth of noble savages, there is a large body of evidence that hunter-gatherers living in non-precarious environments were not especially avaricious, inhospitable or murderous. Indeed, the lack of centralized authority in such systems makes peaceful inter-group cooperation, diplomacy and exchanges more necessary than it would otherwise be. So the idea that most people will trick, steal from and murder each other without someone in charge is a sophistic lie, projection of the thinker’s own mindset or likely both.
And this brings us to the second part of that particular argument- namely that giving the monopoly of violence to a few “especially suitable” people will make somehow society more stable and better. But how can we decide who is suitable to wield such power and how do we know they are competent? Is there any evidence that supposedly “legitimate” kings are any more competent that those who became kings through less “legitimate” means? How can we define the competence to “rule” when most societies with kings or their secular equivalents (dictators and leaders of one-party systems) are really bad places to be born, or live, in- at least for the vast majority of people?
I am sure that most of you are aware that the material living standards of “civilized” people have been consistently and significantly lower than their hunter-gatherer counterparts except for the last 100-odd years. Moreover the general rise of living standards over the last hundred years are linked to the rise of technology and simultaneous decline of outright autocracy.
The two central foundations of Hobbes worldview therefore have no basis in reality. They do however tell us a lot about his worldview and those of his paymasters.
But why would Hobbes spend so much time and effort on creating this myth? There are those who would like to believe that his worldview was simply a product of the environment he grew up in. I am not so sure and here is why. His early life history suggests that Hobbes had no useful skills beyond learning, conforming and pleasing his superiors. It is also obvious that he always wanted a comfortable and stable lifestyle. So how does a reasonably clever and timid man make a stable and comfortable living in the pre-industrial era?
Obtaining royal (or elite patronage) was the only realistic and feasible occupational choice for a person of Hobbes ability, temperament and desires. In other words, he had to choice to suck elite cock and live reasonably well or not do so and live like an average (poor) person.
Now.. I am not criticizing his decision to suck elite cock to make a stable, decent and trouble-free living. Pretty much anybody in his situation would have done the same. My real problem with Hobbes is that his works are still seen as serious and objective philosophical insights rather than as literary blowjobs to his masters. Doing so is the equivalent of using the collected reminiscences of a house slave as a defense and justification for the institution of slavery.
Hobbes was essentially a clever house slave who got better food, clothing and living quarters because of his ability to flatter his master, justify his brutality and constantly tell him how all those other “lazy and evil” slaves would be lost without the “benevolent guidance” of his master.
What do you think? Comments?
As some of you might have heard by now, an Indian diplomat was recently arrested on charges of visa fraud and lying about payments to her housekeeper. While there are many newsworthy aspects of this case including how it is being handled and reported in both countries, the current post will focus on something that is being ignored by the mainstream media in both countries.
The public response of many in the indian-american community (1st and 2nd generation) to this case has exposed their almost comic willingness to support and justify anything that comes out of the mouth of a white person in a suit. Who knew there were so many brown house n***ers, gungadins and sepoys?
Note: Gungadins and sepoys are similar but not identical to house slaves. A gungadin is somebody who is servile to anyone with a white skin under the expectation that doing so will somehow get him a vaguely promised reward or acceptance as an equal in the distant future. A sepoy on the other hand is just a mercenary who will abuse people who look like him to get paid by somebody with a white skin. The biggest gungadin (or more likely a sepoy) in this case might be the DA, Preet Bharara, himself. However we shall ignore him for the rest of this post and concentrate on some of the recent articles and opinion pieces posted by people of Indian descent in supposedly “respectable” western newspapers.
Exhibit # 1. Arresting the Indian diplomat was just. She isn’t the victim, her maid is by a bow-tie wearing coolie known as Ritwik Deo
Yet here’s the point most in India are missing: Khobragade isn’t the victim here, her maid is. Not one Indian politician, not one Indian media station highlighted the real story about paying your domestic help a mere $3.31 an hour (in a country where the minimum wage is $7.25 and the diplomat stated on official documents that she would pay the maid about $9.75 an hour).
What about the condition and pay of domestic help for consular staff of certain middle-eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia? Is he seriously trying to imply that the consulates and embassies of all other countries treat their domestic help any better? What about all those rich people in the UK or USA who routinely use illegal and underpaid nannies? Why are they not being prosecuted? What about all those upper middle-class professionals in California who employ “illegal” central american nannies and house help? Moving on..
Exhibit # 2. Having a Servant Is Not a Right by another coolie known as Ananya Bhattacharya.
Notwithstanding legitimate Indian concerns about whether American marshals used correct protocol in the way they treated a diplomat, the truth is that India is party to an exploitative system that needs to be scrutinized.
But what about scrutinizing all those white american families using “illegal” mexican labor and nannies? What about investigating the rich white people in NYC who do the same thing. Isn’t it odd that this coolie is also fixated on the behaviors of a visible minority while overlooking those very same behaviors in the majority. Is she seriously suggesting that the 10-20 million “illegal” mexican immigrants in the USA today are treated as well as whites? Is she suggesting that a country acquired by genocide and built upon the labor of slaves and exploited immigrants has any moral standing to lecture others about paying their maids?
Exhibit # 3. Why India is upset about Devyani Khobragade, and why it’s wrong by yet another coolie known as Swati Sharma.
India’s reaction is disappointing. The anti-corruption party in India is gaining incredible momentum — the party even unseated the ruling Congress party in the country’s capital, which was a huge victory. So why are Indians rallying for a privileged treatment of a diplomat? Why shouldn’t she be treated as a common criminal? In India, someone with power would rarely be apprehended for paying a servant a low wage. Actually, it’s laughable to think such a charge would even take place. But there was hope that a movement against corruption would change things.
Has even one major member of the Bush43 administration whose lie-based invasion of Iraq actions resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis been prosecuted? Why not? Have any of the major players responsible for the 2008 economic crisis been jailed? Why not? How many bigwigs at large pharma companies have been jailed for the sale of useless, toxic and or sub-standard drugs in the USA? Why not.. especially since many of these frauds caused a lot of unnecessary deaths? Vioxx anyone? Remember that fungus-tainted steroid injection scandal that killed over 50 people a year or two ago? A country that has no appetite to prosecute, let alone jail, its rich and powerful has no business telling others to do so.
Do these house slaves, gungadins and sepoys still live in a world where people in other countries are not aware of ground realities in the USA? I guess they either do believe that or are cynical enough to pretend that it is so for their older white employers.
What do you think? Comments?
More than a few of my previous posts have centered on, or around, an odd but rarely asked, question.
“What is the point of accumulating money beyond the ability to spend it?”
Now, stupid sophists defending the status quo might say that its is impossible to determine what is enough. Curiously these sophists are seldom well off, let alone truly rich, making their defense of the status quo a bit odd. Perhaps they believe that their incessant barking on behalf of the rich might get them get a few more table crumbs or leftovers. But who knows..
Anyway, back to the question at hand. I have previously written that the reasons for accumulating money beyond the point of usability cannot be rational. But what if they are still logical. Confused? Let me explain. An action can be simultaneously logical and irrational, because logic is a mechanistic process in which the inputs don’t have to be factual or real.
For example, burning women accused of having sex with the devil requires that particular entity to exist in the first place and is therefore irrational. However it can be perfectly logical if you were one of those perpetually fearful and greedy semi-retards who believed in the existence of the devil, especially one interested in having sex with human females.
Coming back to our era, a closer look at much of what we think is ‘normal’ and ‘right’ just does hold up to rational scrutiny. Many of my previous posts are about the sheer irrationality underlying a wide variety of systems- from the basic structure of “civilized” society, the bizarre illusion of money, the worthlessness of supposedly important inter-personal relationships to the futility of loyalty to institutions that demand it. To put it another way- most conventional expectations, norms, rules and behaviors are not rational. But what if they are still logical? and more importantly- what does that say about the real nature of the human mind?
One of the main feature of conventional models for the human mind, be they religious, secular or “scientific”, is the assumption that human beings are intrinsically good, rational, caring or at least capable of all those things. Even religious models that portray human as sinful and fallen, or whatever their secular equivalent are, allow for the possibility of being saved, lifted or “enlightened”.
But what if that is not the case? Could it be the vast majority of humans, including the supposedly smart ones, are fundamentally incapable of being rational.
This question is best answered by looking at the entirety of available evidence (aka historical evidence from multiple sources) factoring in the inevitable underlying contexts and biases. Throughout most of the last 5,000 odd years (aka the age of civilization) the general standard of human living was very low and even the very rich were an infection, poisoning or puncture wound away from death. To make things easy and clear, let us temporarily ignore the actions and behavior of insecure and desperate people under constant stress or duress.
We will therefore, for the time being, willingly ignore most of human history- even though it strongly suggests humans are highly irrational.
Let us focus on societies where a combination of resources and technology make it possible to deliver a very high quality of life to all their members. In case you are wondering, I am talking about the situation in developed countries after WW2- especially after the early 1960s. Studying such societies allows us to eliminate the role of scarcity on human behavior or the ability to reason.
Does the functioning of these societies suggest that humans are capable of rational behavior when not under any real resource constraints?
The answer to this question is complicated. From the end of WW2 to the late 1970s, the socioeconomic changes in these countries suggested that human beings might be capable of rationality- at least under certain conditions. Those times were characterized by very significant technological progress and considerable improvement in the living standards of the median person in those societies. This era was also characterized by fairly low income inequality and a realistic chance to improve ones position in society. It was as if after millennia of screwing around without anything to show for it, human societies had finally found the ability and institutional structures to provide a safe, stable and reasonably good existence for almost all of its members.
But there have been many changes since the late-1970s and almost all of them have taken those developed societies increasingly further away their early post-WW2 vision. But why? It is very clear that we do not lack the technology, resources, productivity or ability to extend the general socioeconomic improvements that occurred within the first three decades after WW2. But every single developed society has abandoned the path of improving the lives of its median, let alone its poorer, members.
How can we account for the rise of neo-liberalistive/neo-conservative (neo-feudal) ideologies throughout developed countries since the early 1980s?
There are those who see this is the result of clever propaganda, institutional capture or mass media-driven brainwashing. While this line of thought might sound appealing to those who see average humans as fundamentally good and therefore gullible victims, there are reasons to believe that it is not the case. You might have noticed that a lot of the ideas recycled by neo-conservatives or neo-liberals, from “personal responsibility” to “work ethic”, are actually old lies and fairy tales.
So what makes people want to believe in obvious lies such as “work ethic”, “meritocracy”, “invisible hand of market”, “creative destruction” and “personal discipline” while discarding other equally old and popular lies about the role of divine entities in human affairs.
Are people really that stupid, unobservant and innumerate? Then there is the troubling question of why the middle class is so eager to believe in the lies, scams and bait-and switches which trick, hurt and abuse them the most. Surely, they are not that retarded or unobservant. I also don’t believe that this behavior is due to learned helplessness. A rational person who understood his lack of control over events would not strive for the benefit of those who were abusing him.
Could it be that most people believe in or play along with norms, rules and paradigms that are against their rational interests because it provides surreptitious satisfaction of much deeper urges in their minds?
In a couple of my previous posts (Link 1 and Link 2) I had suggested that hoarding money beyond ones ability to spend it was irrational as it offered no real objective benefits to the hoarder. But what if hoarding money was about depriving others of resources, security and happiness rather than improving your own existence. Furthermore, what if the behavior of the rich is merely an exaggeration of how most humans relate to each other.
Have you considered the possibility that the primary intention behind almost all “normal” human interpersonal interaction is to somehow con, swindle, abuse, hurt, maim or kill the other party?
In upcoming parts of this series, of which there will be many, I shall demonstrate how my model of the human mind is a far better fit for available evidence on human behavior in a variety of situations.
What do you think? Comments?
The trial and conviction of Ariel Castro is the one of the more recent supposedly “shocking” crime stories to dominate american mass media. To summarize it in one sentence- the guy kidnapped, imprisoned and raped three young women for over a decade while simultaneously living an unremarkable and outwardly normal life.
As usual, talking heads in the mass media have come out with their own interpretations of what drove that guy to do what he did. There are those who see it as evidence for the existence of “true” evil, while others interpret it as the actions of a deranged and mentally ill man. Yet others see it evidence of a decline in neighborliness and social cohesion. However almost every single one of these talking heads and media pundits seem to agree that what Ariel Castro did was very abnormal, unusual and bizarre.
But were his actions abnormal, unusual or bizarre?
And this brings us to an important, though rarely asked, question- how do we determine whether any given behavior or action is normal or not? Are there any hard and fast rules for what is OK or not OK? Let us start by looking at human history over the last 100-150 years. During that period many behavior and actions most of us would today denounce as abhorrent, at least in social settings, were considered normal and socially acceptable.
Slavery and ‘Jim Crow’ was once totally acceptable and legal.. and some would say the later is still well and alive, if under a different name. Using child labor in hazardous industries was once very common and considered an integral part of capitalism. Killings millions of minorities, like the Jews and Armenians, was also totally legal and socially acceptable. Eugenics was once considered progressive social policy and sending millions of men to die for the sole purpose of lining the pockets (and fluffing the egos) of rich, old and decaying impotent white men was once considered normal. There are therefore no hard and clear boundaries to what is normal and what is not, regardless of what paid sophists (academics and intellectuals) say or write. And this brings us to the next important question that even fewer people want to ask..
Were the actions of Ariel Castro typical of American society in the 2000s or were they truly deviant?
Let us start with the part about kidnapping and imprisoning innocent people. As many of you know, extraordinary rendition of people suspected for “terrorism” is a routine and publicly accepted part of the war on “terror”. Almost nobody seems to care that most of the suspects apprehended under this extrajudicial way of doing things are either low-level members or innocent people who happen to have the same names as suspects. Then there is the whole business of secret prisons and torture facilities, often run in other countries by governments that are friendly or compliant with the USA. You might have also heard about Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. The point is that kidnapping and imprisoning innocent people is totally normal and acceptable in the USA, as long as they are not white.
But what about all that torture, sexual and psychological abuse that those three girls were subjected to. Surely that has no equivalent in the contemporary american society, or does it? To answer that question we have to look at who is imprisoned in the USA, for what reasons and under what conditions. Once again, some of you might be aware that the USA leads the world in incarcerating its own people- both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population. The rate of incarceration has also lost any linkage to the amount of violent crime committed. Moreover, a large and important sector of the american economy is now based upon arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people- all under the guise of ‘law and order’.
Then there is the question of who is incarcerated and who is not. The american system has no interest in prosecuting “white-collar” crime unless the suspects is non-white or a small time operator who made many powerful enemies. People who made billions by selling useless or harmful drugs that killed tens of thousands will never be jailed. Similarly, those who made billions and trillions by destroying the lives of millions through ‘legal’ financial engineering will never see the inside of a jail cell. Yet average or poor people who broke some inane and almost never enforced law are often dragged in court and sentenced to prison. Similarly low-level pot or crack dealers often end up in jail for years or decades even if they have not been violent. To put it another way, american “justice” is a bad joke that only a stupid, fat, impotent and decaying CONservative white moron can believe in.
The conditions in most american jails are also pretty grim. Most are overcrowded places with lots of internal violence, rape, drugs etc. Then there is the whole issue of solitary confinement, its effects and supermax prisons.
To put it another way, the american system pays millions of people to do far worse to millions others than what Ariel Castro did to those three women. It is too bad that Ariel Castro chose the occupation of a school bus driver and had to do those things “illegally” when he could done all that and more “legally” if he worked as a police or corrections “officer”. He could also have made much more money doing that than as a school bus driver.
What do you think? Comments?
Some of you might have recently heard that the Chinese government in considering changes to its one child policy. While many see this as a reasonable attempt to reverse the demographic decline, a few commentators have expressed doubts about whether such a change would have any effect on the willingness of the Chinese to have more children. They point out that ethnically and culturally similar neighboring countries have fertility very similar to those in China, even though they lack an official one-child policy. If anything, China has a slightly higher fertility rate (1.6) than more affluent east-asian countries such as South Korea (1.2), Japan (1.4) and Taiwan (1.1). Even many culturally similar but not that affluent countries in the region have pretty low fertility rates; Vietnam (1.8), Thailand (1.6). Only the war-ravaged, poor or extra-religious countries (Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Malaysia) in East-Asia have fertility rates above 2.
So what is going on? Why do so many east-Asian countries have such low fertility-rates in the modern era? Was it always so? When did it start to change and why?
Conventional explanations for this phenomena have tried to spin this low fertility rate as evidence of East-Asian intelligence, thoughtfulness, conscientiousness or degree of investment in their offspring. There is however a very big problem with any such “positive” explanations for this precipitous drop in fertility in that region. For almost all of recorded history, fertility rates in East Asia were freakishly high. Furthermore the general living conditions, levels of over-crowding, frequency of food shortages and mortality from infectious diseases etc were much bigger problems in the past than they are today.
Any hypothesis based on the idea that East-Asians are devoted parents would have a hard time explaining why so many of them are having no children or just one token child. But aren’t we all told that East-Asian parents are very devoted to the welfare of their kids and deeply involved in the lives- maybe a bit too deeply? Why would a socio-cultural-ethnic grouping with such a strong tradition of having children and raising them “properly” stop having them at the very time in human history when doing so has become very easy and safe?
Even more curious than the low-fertility rates of East-Asians in modern times is a look at what factors are associated with having the least number of kids. Other than higher levels of education, it is wealth and status that are associated with few or no kids. While this correlation has been previously observed in other developed countries, it is especially striking in East-Asian countries where the combination of a first-world lifestyle and high levels of education almost always translate into one or no kids. So what else can explain the precipitous drop in fertility rates in East-Asia in the last 60-70 years? Why haven’t the rates stabilized or recovered to levels of around 2- even in countries which have enjoyed reasonable economic stability? Why are economic incentives so ineffective at getting them to have more kids?
There is another way to look at this issue. However taking that route involves killing many ideological ‘holy’ cows and beliefs about what human beings are and are not.
Most of us want to believe that human beings are fundamentally intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable, capable of objective thought and largely rational in their actions. However a brief reading of human history or even short interactions with a few people around you will show that it is not the case. I could write entire books on why the self-image of human beings is so at odds with reality, but that is something for another day. For the purpose of this post, let us concentrate on the effects of such self-delusion on humans and the societies they live in.
While most human beings want to have children of their own, the mix of reasons and beliefs that drive them to have kids is sensitive to their circumstances and true motivations. People who used to live as hunter-gatherers or in small agriculture-based communities wanted kids for company, help, status and future care. Since accumulation of money was either absent or irrelevant in such communities, their motivations for having and caring for kids were not tainted by such extraneous considerations.
“Civilization” changed that.. Large scale agriculture, even in the pre-industrial era, created highly hierarchical societies which depended on a constant supply of naive and disposable workers who could be conned into working hard with the promise of a better future. While slaves and indentured laborers were one option, having more children was a much better option. It is not an exaggeration to say that people who belong to long-lived civilizations are far more likely to see other humans, but especially their own kids, as the principal means of improve their monetary and social status regardless of the cost of such behavior on their kids.
A lot of the ‘peculiarities’ in East-Asian parenting styles make sense if you are willing to consider the possibility that the relationship between parents and their children in those cultures is far closer to an employer and their employees.
The ‘tough love’, striving for higher productivity and ‘quantifiable’ achievement at all costs, enforced conformity and obedience, unspoken rules and protocols in everyday behavior that seem to characterize relationships between East-Asian parents and their children are exactly the things you expect in work relationships. This commercialization of the parent-child relationship is however not without its drawbacks and problems. For one, it creates damaged and very unhappy human beings who require constant threats and external pressures to behave “properly”.
The system worked for as long as it did because of the lack of effective contraception. The introduction and spread of effective contraception made it easier for unhappy and dysfunctional people to avoid having children. Also women can now make decent money by working and can thus achieve all of their material goals without the inconvenience of having kids. Since East-Asians, more than any other group, have seen kids principally as a means to attain their own material goals- it stands to reason that they would have far fewer kids if other (and easier) avenues to reach those goals were available.
What do you think? Comments?
In a previous post (Cults, Religions and Ideologies Merely Unmask Human Nature), I asked why remarkably similar organized religion-type ideologies arose across different cultures and in all historical eras. Towards the end of that post I said..
Maybe the default mental settings for a majority of human beings are very different from what we want to believe. Maybe most human beings are NOT thoughtful and reasonable creatures with any hard-wired concepts of what we call ‘humanity’. Maybe most humans are more like poisonous and invasive weeds than sentient apes who might evolve into something “better”. Maybe most humans, especially the so-called ‘high IQ’ morons, are actually incapable of rational thinking given that they expend their “intellect” into creating newer scams to do steal, abuse and kill others rather than elevating their own capabilities.
Most people tend to see humans as either ‘fallen angels’ or ‘risen apes’. I propose a third view, namely that humans (or at least the vast majority of them irrespective of intelligence) have more in common with poisonous and invasive weeds bent on choking and killing each other than anything that approaches sentient creatures. While I do not dispute that humans posses some degree of sentience and the ability to reason, any alien intelligence studying humans would correctly deduce that there is very little in human history or the present that suggests anything beyond a very limited use of those faculties.
It is especially ironic that the very humans who consider themselves ‘high IQ’ possess the most regressive and zero-sum ‘minds’ and exhibit the most bizarrely retrograde behaviors.
So what is the basis for my claim that those with ‘High IQ’ are the most regressive and parasitic humans. One of my older posts (What the Behavior of Physicians, Academics and Lawyers Says About IQ) talks about this at some length. The gist of my argument is that ‘high IQ’ people are selfish shysters who display extreme conformism and lie with every breath while slavishly worshiping tradition. They have no interest in any innovation that does further their cancerous motivations. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself- why didn’t all the struggles, wars, genocides and other changes in the entire history of human civilization not improve the life of the average person save the last hundred-odd years. I mean.. why did not all the empire building, agriculture, slavery, torture, murder and genocides throughout human history improve the lives of most people- even those who did all those things.
Isn’t that a lot of effort for essentially no gain?
The more delusional and ‘educated’ might say something about ‘thermodynamics’ and ‘availability of technology’. So let us dissect the argument that it was circumstances and not the nature of humans which led to a zero-sum world view. Once again, an older post by me (Why didn’t the Industrial Revolution start Earlier?) tackles this question and concludes with..
Maybe civilization is not about making things better for most people. Maybe it is about making things worse for most people. Maybe civilization is about impoverishing, killing, starving, abusing and torturing others. Maybe it is about depriving people of happiness and human decency. Maybe civilization, as we know it, is about a few getting lucky and screwing others just to feel a bit better about their own pathetic lives.
Let me give you one easy to understand example that illustrates my point. The western roman empire at its peak (100-200 AD) had the minds, size, organisational infrastructure and technological know-how to start the age of “enlightenment and discovery”. They possessed the necessary know-how to build concrete structures, centrally heated buildings and swimming pools, glass making and had a good grasp on mechanics and rudimentary chemistry which could have easily allowed them to build telescopes, microscopes, print books, build better cities, mine and burn coal, build machines that could replace or at least supplemented slave labor.
But did they do any of those things? No.. they just went on doing what they had done before. It is as if they could not imagine a world that was better than their own. Some of you might see this as cultural inertia and institutional rigidity- but was that really the case. The Romans certainly had no problem with changing emperors who lost popularity through assassinations nor did they have qualms about assimilating new religious ideas- so why were ideas on improving human existence so few and far between? Can you seriously say that no person in the roman empire ever considered the possibility of microscopic life-forms causing infectious diseases, methods to mass produce books or mine coal on a large scale? In contrast to that- new ideas about invisible buddies (new gods), new ways to kill and enslave other people (fight wars) and steal from others (unfair laws) found willing and enthusiastic audiences.
Remember that this occurred in an era when the effects of infectious diseases, poor sanitation and energy poverty dominated the lives of most people and affected even emperors. Yet the roman people and their leaders spent a lot of effort in creating bigger gladiatorial spectacles, building bigger arenas, bigger palaces, bigger walls, fighting bigger wars and generally expending their effort into things which did not improve their lives. It was if they were willing to do anything and everything as long as it did not make their lives better. But why? Is human stupidity, shortsightedness and the inertia of tradition sufficient to explain this behavior? In my opinion, the historical record of human civilization only makes sense if a significant majority of people are functionally closer to mindless poisonous and invasive weeds than sentient apes.
Cults, religions and ideologies should therefore be seen as pathetic justifications and self-rationalizations for acting like poisonous and invasive weeds.
The pseudo-rationalizations provided by belief systems are great for people who are too cowardly or somewhat ashamed to act as they really want to. Plus people are narcissistic and want to be seen as doing the ‘right’ thing even when they are not. Believing in ideological bullshit allows people to pretend that killing and robbing ‘unbelievers’ is an act of piety performed by a ‘good person’ rather than what it really is. It allows people following ‘orders’ to commit horrible acts and still maintain their self-image as decent ‘law-abiding’ human beings.
Some of you might still think that is possible to reason with people who have uncritical faith in any belief system. I believe that is not possible and possibly counterproductive since these people REQUIRE those belief systems to justify their sad and pathetic existence. The only way to really stop such people (and their progeny) is to make them disappear- forever.
What do you think? Comments?
As many of you know, my model of the human mind and psyche is based on a rather negative view of human beings. There are those who consider my views to be excessively pessimistic, but the course of events usually vindicates my model. With this in mind, let me tackle something that is rarely talked about in ‘polite’ circles.
What does the mental image of ‘god/s’ say about the human mind- especially as to how humans really perceive, think and feel about the world around them.
While I am an atheist, of the agnostic variety, my knowledge about various religions and religious-type belief systems is almost always superior to those who claim to practice them. With this in mind, here are some of my observations about commonalities of all belief systems based in blind and unquestioning faith.
Religions and similar belief systems are disturbingly similar- irrespective of the era of their origin or ethnicity of the people who practice them. There is not much difference between believing in faiths based on a burning bush, Kolob, Gaia or the invisible hand of the market. In each case, the ‘faithful’ are believing in something that is based on hearsay rather than something which can be measured or quantified. Belief in “credentialed experts”, “upstanding members of society” or the integrity of any profession is also a religion unless the belief can be objectively measured and quantified. Even believing in something like the social contract becomes a religious belief- if you cannot see it in action. We can therefore say that uncritical and unquestioning belief in anything is a religion, especially if people are unwilling or unable to test its authenticity.
But what about the ‘god’ or ‘gods’ that form an important part of the base narrative of all religions? What does their image, as portrayed by those belief system, say about us?
Look at the creation myths of any religion. Most of them go something like this- ‘X’ decided to create the universe and he/she/they did it through some anthropomorphic process. Even those religious faiths which accept the possibility that the universe might have just come into being spend inordinate amounts of time explaining why or how ‘god/s’ shaped things after creation. Here is my question- If you were an all-powerful and immortal being, would you really create anything at all? But lets say you did- Why create one particular version if you can create all possible versions?
In my opinion, the involvement of ‘god/s’ in creation myths is driven by a human desire to justify the existence of the physical reality they inhabit. The rationality of any given explanation is largely irrelevant to its purpose. Which brings us to the next question- Why do humans require justification for the existence of something that can be measured and quantified? How many of you have seen ‘god/s’ and how many of you can see the sun and moon? Do you require faith to believe that fire is hot or ice is cold? So why are humans obsessed with having a firm set of beliefs about how the universe came into being, or who controls it? The lives of humans are rather mundane and pathetic compared to what exist beyond our immediate surroundings- even on earth. People are born, they ‘live’ and they die- just like every other living organism. So why make up outrageous tales about how the universe was created? What is the advantage in claiming that you know the creator/s or his/her/their will? Would you disbelief in any creation story destabilize the universe? Why defend your version of the tall tale against a competing tall tale?
It comes down to celebrity name dropping and elevating your status through such an association.
Believing in any creation myth is no different from saying that you are childhood friends with a famous or powerful person. The best part of this particular scam is that nobody can verify if your famous or powerful buddy actually exists- and you can keep on pulling the scam on gullible rubes until you start doubting your own story. Belief in invisible but powerful buddies is however just the beginning of an elaborate shakedown scam, as you will soon see.
One of the other hallmarks of religions is that those believe in them anoint themselves as the ‘chosen people’. Throughout history- everybody from Hawaiian Islanders, Arabs, Jews, Western Europeans to Indians and the Han Chinese have believed that they alone were the ‘chosen people’. But what is the whole point of believing that you are among the ‘chosen ones’ if you are not better off than ‘infidels’ who believe in another god who has apparently told them that they (not your group) are the chosen people. It seems very fundamentally irrational- doesn’t it? especially given that your all-powerful but suspiciously absent pal cannot beat up the other one’s all-powerful pal. Why would grown adults believe in such utter and obvious crap?
It comes down to creating a justification for scam, theft, treachery, rape and murder.
The easiest way to get more of any physical good is to take it from someone else. But doing that to other individuals in your group might cause a lot of problems. They might stop cooperating with you and even kill you in an unguarded moment. However doing that to people outside your group is relatively much easier to get away with. Plus other members will often join in and assist your ‘actions’. Who does not want a share of the loot- even if it is unfairly distributed? Belief in a different invisible all-powerful celebrity is just an excuse to do what you really want to do in the first place. It is therefore no coincidence that the ‘god/s’ in almost all mythological narratives are portrayed as doing thing that are arbitrary, obviously cruel, grossly unethical and sometimes just plain bizarre. Contradictions in religious texts or narratives should therefore be seen as the result of appending the older fairy tale to justify a new type of crime. Apparently rewriting old narratives to make all stories coherent and tie up the loose ends is really hard.
The image of ‘god/s’ in each religious belief systems is therefore really a projection of the deepest desires of those who profess faith in that particular system.
Will write more about this topic in a future post. What do you think? Comments?
I was originally going to title this post- “On the mental inadequacies and deficiencies of whites, iranians and other assorted morons”. However that title would have been a bit too long and hard to read. Anyway, this post is my brief analysis of the contents of three threads on rooshvforum.com. They are:
Before we go any further, let us be clear about a few things.
Firstly- I do not dispute that the person who is the subject of those three threads is a troll. As some of you may know, people have been trolling the internet before Netscape 1.0 was released. I would go so far as to say that the presence of trolls is a good proxy for popularity of a website or bulletin board.
Secondly- while I prefer to pay for quality pussy, I do not have strong feelings about people who like spend their time trying to get it for “free”. If you believe that an average woman is more honest than a whore, I am quite happy to let you live in that delusion.
This post is not about ‘game’, travel sex, the “quality” of women of different ethnicities or the “deeper meaning” of life. It is about what the various posts in those three threads reveal about the mental inadequacies and deficiencies of whites, iranians, arabs and other assorted things. But before I start dissecting those threads- here a simple question.
Why are people interested in learning to pick up chicks for sex spending so much time talking about what Indian men are or are not?
I mean.. how does that discussing about that particular topic improve their odds of getting laid for “free”? Face it- commentators who frequent, and post on, that forum don’t exactly have a harem of chicks fighting over rights to have sex with them. In any case, it appears that the reason behind these threads is an old post by Roosh about the racial totem pole for dating in north america. While you may, or may not, agree with its premise- I see it as good an explanation as any about the racial dynamics of dating in north america. But that is not what resulted in three fairly long threads about some guy who was ‘trolling’ that forum. While I am not going to critique each and every message in those threads, I will give you a quick overview of what these “people” are saying in the first thread.
Gmac says on 05-06-2012 at 07:42 PM
Based on my own experience, indian (and east asian) guys are some of the most insecure, introverted men on the planet when they are out of their element (or country) – these are usually the guys who understand that stereotypes exist and can’t get over that fact. I’m not really surprised. Ah well, what can you do?
Sounds like an personal observation.. and that is fine by me.
Neil Skywalker says on 05-07-2012 at 04:24 AM
Most Indian guys i have met abroad were anti-social,very very cheap, nerdy,needy,creepy and very unhygienic. The ones in hostels were hated by most people there. I remember one in Sao Paulo who disgusted the whole hostel with his eating habits and how he left the toilets behind.
Hmm.. isn’t that odd. Surely a person of the commentator’s high sociability, big expense account and immaculate hygiene should have no problem getting chicks. So why is he on that forum? To be clear, I am not implying that all comments are unreasonable..
P Dog on 05-07-2012 at 08:54 AM
The thing is: brown guys put the pussy on the pedestal to the max. In that regard they blow any other group out of the water and this is especially more so for white girls. Meanwhile brown girls are just like Jewish and Persian girls in that they’re more status seeking and materialistic except they’re not as attractive (that’s not me being biased against other brown people, everybody here agrees that brown girls on the whole aren’t hot) which makes the attitudes they sport hard to put up with.
But for some reason, that thread (Indian troll in the wild) continues for 18 pages.. I cannot but help wonder why something as trivial as some guy trolling a forum would cause that sort of discussion. Anyway.. at some point in time Roosh started two more threads ( A private email from our favorite Indian and The Indian Race Troll revelaed) about the same guy. One of those threads supposedly has his ‘real’ photo.. though I suspect it is really more trollbait.
So how far has the troll succeeded in what he set out to show- namely, that north american society is seriously racist towards Indian guys?
After going through a few pages of comments in each thread, it is hard to deny that the attitudes and mindset demonstrated by Roosh and his followers in all three threads totally vindicate what the troll intended to show. The very fact that there are enough racist comments to fill over 29 pages (at last count) of the bulletin board shows that the troll had a valid point.
Now you can say whatever you want about his looks, actions or behaviors- but it is hard to deny that all of those would have been far smaller issues if he was white. You can also say that “life is unfair”, but then don’t complain when some Indian guy screws you over in business or at work.
What do you think? Comments?
To the moron who was trying to hack into this WordPress install, here are a few things you should know-
1] The login attempts limit is ‘ON’ by default.
2] I back up this blog two times very week- without fail.
3] Find someone less security conscious than me.
and now back to regular programming.
One of the more peculiar fetishes of the CONservative mind is it obsession with the world as it used to be. Somehow they believe that things, institutions and mores are good simply because they have ‘stood the test of time’. As some of you might realize, this is a form of circular reasoning whereby people justify something they want based on the belief that it used to always exist.
It is as if the prior existence of something, however undesirable, legitimizes its existence in the CONservative mind.
These disingenuous morons are however oddly selective about labeling something as good based on its prior existence. So according to them rule by assorted kings, nobility and hereditary elite is fine but living in cities without a functional sewage system is not. Given that the rise of greedy assholes and the poor sewage disposal are both consequences of urbanization and agriculture, why celebrate one but reform the other? Surely the best way to enjoy the former is to live in an era where half-starving people crap/piss everywhere and bathe once a month (or less).
But why stop there.. what about trying people for witchcraft and killing them? Since accusations of malicious witchcraft have been a part of human society for a few thousand years and across lines of race or religion, bringing back public trials for witchcraft should provide entertainment while maintaining a long-beloved tradition. Witch trials just fits in so well with slavery and indentured labor- practices which the USA is returning to anyway. While we are at it- What about rehabilitating Pederasty a most beloved institution of the greco-roman world which is supposed to the fountainhead of western ‘civilization’. Why let Afghan warlords have all the fun?
Then there is the issue of religion based wars. What was so wrong about crusades, jihads and other assorted religion-based wars? Since killing people because they believe in the ‘wrong’ voice in your head was OK for most of the last few thousand years, what is wrong in bringing such things back. We cannot forget mass murder based on race or ethnicity.. wasn’t that stuff very popular right into the last century. Or what about stealing land from other people? For all the talk of “property rights” and “western civilization” it is hard to imagine the world of today without the genocide of indigenous populations in the Americas and Australia.
What do you think? Comments?
In my previous post in this series, I had mentioned that the next one would be about how the rise of ‘free agents’. Now most of you might be wondering- “how can individuals get anything done?”
Throughout history, humans have primarily relied on collective actions to get things done. Even today most of you think that any ‘real’ change will require mass demonstrations, occupy type protests, wars or revolutions. I however think that we have reached a point where asynchronous individual actions are far more disruptive to the system than collective actions. But that is not my only objection to collective action being an effective agent of change.
The real problem with using collective action to achieve anything is that most human beings are dishonest cowards who will delude themselves into believing that are otherwise.
You might have noticed that mass movements, protests, wars and revolutions often replace one group of assholes with a marginally better versions of them. It is as if mass actions, for all the sacrifices of their members, fall far short of their goals. Conventional explanations for this phenomena talk about betrayal of the cause etc.. conveniently forgetting that all people who want to be leaders are remarkably alike.
You cannot replace one defective structure with another one based on the same basic plan and expect change.
Any real change requires destroying the defective structure without building a replacement. However most people will not do that because they are afraid of an uncertain future and will always choose a recycled shitty world over one that truly breaks from the past. But why do people choose a guaranteed shitty existence over a reasonable chance of change and/or nonexistence? Some of you might say that people are afraid of death, but that is only a partial explanation at best. Pretty much every human understands that they and their creations are mortal and perishable. Furthermore, we have no shortage of people who will indulge in activities and enter professions with a realistic chance of premature death.
So what has stops most people from destroying the system that makes their lives miserable?
To understand what I am going to talk about next, you have to start looking at human history and societies as a real outsider- almost an extraterrestrial alien. One of the most well-known, but often ignored, aspect of human beings is that they are social animals who require others of their kind to exist for reasons beyond basic needs. A lot of the stupid, bizarre and self-destructive behavior of humans only makes sense if you factor in the need to belong to a group.
But is this need to belong to a group independent of the result of previous efforts to do so?
Will you keep on going back to the same people who exploited your desire to belong? While people might continue trying to play nice with shitheads upto a point, everybody has a breaking point beyond which they have no interest in belonging to that group. It does not help that modern neo-liberal societies continuously try to abuse the desire to belong for short-term profits. Today belonging to almost any group or participating in any social institution is an act of stupidity as you will lose far more than you get from such interactions. You might have noticed that almost everything from marrying, buying and living in your own house, working hard to move up in life or belonging to any ‘real life’ social group is a big fucking waste of time with negative gains for the individuals who indulge in such activities.
We live in a ‘stranger’ society where everybody pretends to be friendly but is secretly to stab each other in the back- and we all know it. Social atomization is a rational response to living in a world where even your own kith and kin are almost guaranteed to betray you for negligible gains. We have reached a point where there is no reason for individuals to care about the effect of their actions on other people around them. Throughout most of history, people stopped acting out on their innermost desires for vengeance due to their concern about how society might perceive them. While that was rational in eras where at least a few people cared about you and would stand behind you, that is no longer the case.
The hope that restraint would be rewarded in this life, or the mythical next, is gone.
I would recommend that you read a series of articles (13 to date) tagged Hello from the Underclass at gawker.com about the personal stories of unemployed people in the USA. While that site is famous for tabloid type news and stories, this series about the chronically unemployed is probably one of the better attempts at serious journalism. One of the unspoken but recurring themes in the series is that many people never expected to end up like that or be treated by society and society as worthless pariahs. Almost all of these people are articulated, educated, with decent incomes and lifestyles for many years to decades and still ended up as virtual untouchables with no hope for the future.
A couple of years of chronic instability and utter neglect/abuse from people and institutions they believed in made them see the world in a very different light.
While such chronic instability and material deprivation is not new, its combination with an absence of a social support network is unprecedented. Furthermore, people are not capable of normalizing their condition by believing in the old bullshit.. I mean religion. It certainly does not help that a low birth rate greatly reduces the number of new suckers to use, abuse and exploit. Consequently a rapidly increasing number of people have become ‘free agents’ in that they have no loyalty, obligations or consideration for anybody but themselves. Periodic and recurring stints of unemployment and social ostracization only reinforce this realization.
So why do I find ‘free agents’ so interesting?
Well.. for one they are a rapidly increasing minority in modern societies. However my interest in them is linked to how they act under stress. Historically, societies could defend themselves against disgruntled but still ‘attached agents’ through a variety of means from fake hope to lying and treachery. However the information revolution has made many of these means obsolete as it is much easier for people to see that most humans beings are crap and hope is largely a scam. Social atomization has done the rest by ensuring that people who hate society and humanity in general can do so and easily reach extremely high levels of misanthropy.
To put it another way, we now live in a world with a rapidly increasing minority of people who are highly misanthropic, extremely cynical and devoid of expectations for a better future.
It does not take a genius to figure out that such people might be interested in ways to ‘repay society’ for all the things it had done for them. Given the numbers involved and the organization of modern societies, even a small number of people who ‘repay society’ will destabilize the system- even if such repayments are asynchronous.
But how can asynchronous behaviors by a few individuals destabilize large systems? The answer to that question lies in understanding how the response of society to such behaviors greatly amplifies the effect of the primary events and will be the subject of the next part of this series.
What do you think? Comments?
As I have stated in numerous previous posts, such as this one, there is really no way to fix human problems because they are largely self-inflicted and based on modes of behaviors that are irrational. You cannot fix what does not want to be fixed, but that does not mean you should let it keep on existing. I would like to tell you that there is a magical way to separate otherwise OK people from sociopaths, drones and assholes. But there isn’t such a method or algorithm nor could you implement any such strategy on a scale large enough to reliably rid the world of such people, their kids, grand-kids etc. But there is another way to approach this problem..
Make all humans disappear… the keyword is ALL.
Now you might be skeptical about whether something like that is even possible and more importantly feasible. I mean how do you get rid of people who want to live. Would they not try to do anything to keep on living? Ironically, it is possible to use this very willingness to live at any cost to make humans extinct.
But first let us understand what methods of making human disappear won’t work. Methods based on natural disasters, energy starvation, nuclear wars, comet strikes, epidemics (natural or artificial) might destroy entire civilizations but they are unlikely to reliably cause human extinction. They are also complicated, involve too much work and have single points of failure. The other problem with such methods is that an external threat might make human beings temporarily come together and find a way around that problem.
The best way to cause human extinction is to use certain features of the human psyche, present day society and technology to make things fall apart at an ever-increasing rate.
I am certainly not the first person to wish for human extinction. However I and others who wish that today have some advantages over those who wished something similar even 30 years ago. We now have many of the enabling conditions and technology to complete the job.
Those enabling conditions and technologies are:
1. A globalized and connected world where news, ideas and events spread in ways that are beyond the control of anybody. In previous eras, even the utter collapse of one civilization would often not transmit to another on a different continent. Today we can daisy-chain the whole process and use one node to amplify the damage at another node (and so on) till the whole thing comes apart.
2. In previous eras people could not act on their worst impulses because they were part of some social structure or order around them. Today, we have a rapidly increasing number of people who have no real connection to the society around them nor any hope of benefiting from playing by the rules- and they know it.
3. Our societies, in-person behaviors, customs and expectations are still based in a world that used to exist. We still act as if the social changes and technological possibilities which have occurred over the last few decades had no real impact on who we are. While living in a previous era can work for some time, the shift underlying realities will ultimately interrupt the trip.
4. We have run out the spare human beings! In previous eras, it was possible to cover all sorts of horrible things and mistakes with a new crop of naive humans. Today, you can no longer do that and that affects the amount of bullshit a society can get away with before experiencing irreversible collapse.
5. Newer technological possibilities and older socio-economic mores have made it easier to put some space between us and the damage we cause. Today a billionaire, celebrity, CEO, manager, lawyer, bureaucrat or doctor can cause far more damage without a realistic threat of immediate retribution. Since human beings, especially the ‘clever’ ones, are the most short sighted- the lack of immediate retribution can make people cause far more damage than they had originally intended.
It is relatively easy to make people do something that can start a whole series of secondary and tertiary events whose eventual impact is far more than the primary event.
But how can one translate that into initiating a process which will eventually, but certainly, destroy all humans. Now I fully understand that almost nobody would willingly take part in something along those lines- if they saw it like that. But why advertise it as such? I am not suggesting that lying is the way forward, but what if you presented it in a way that appealed to the needs (rational/irrational) and ego of human beings.
Almost every human being desire to keep on living is linked to some combination of external validation, social acceptance, respect from others, power over others, ability to harm others, make others suffer etc.
Now all of these reasons are not truly rational- even at our current level of technology and knowledge. But then again, human beings are not rational. This is especially true for those who pretend to be “intelligent”, “rational” and “objective”. A truly rational human would spend all of their waking hours trying to get away from the slow-motion disaster also known as the rest of humanity. Therefore I do not expect the very few truly rational human beings will care about what I am talking about- one way or the other.
My idea relies on using the consequences of social atomization and mass personal communication mixed in with simple probability to create a set of circumstances that will elicit a disproportionate and increasingly counterproductive reaction from the rest of people. Fortunately developments within the last two centuries, and especially the last few decades, have made my task much easier than it would otherwise have been.
In the next part of this series, I shall discuss the single most important social phenomena that will allow my vision to prevail- the rise of the ‘free agent’.
What do you think? Comments?
My previous posts on social atomization focus on its large-scale effects on society. But what about the so-called “elites”? Are they not adversely affected by social atomization? Or does it benefit them to the detriment of others?
I believe that the so-called “elites” do suffer the consequences of social atomization, in more ways than one. However their position in society allows them to temporarily insulate themselves from its worse effects- without changing the final outcome.
Let me start by pointing out two odd and interlinked features of present-day “elites” all around the world. Unlike their predecessors throughout recorded human history, they have very few kids and they work even when doing so is not essential and damaging to their ability to enjoy life. The kings, emperors, warlords, high priests, landowners and rich merchants of previous eras used their ill-gotten resources to eat, drink, fornicate and party till they dropped. Today their equivalents go to great lengths to keep on “working hard” and generally act and look like faceless rich drones. Most of the “elites” today are involved in shitty low-sex marriages and generally under the thumb of one or a series of aging miserable cunts who drain their money and sap their happiness. Few of them have more than a kid or two, who generally turns out to be mediocre at best.
So how do you explain people worth billions of dollars living such pathetic lives, when they have the resources to do have much better lives?
The sophists among you might claim that they choose this pathetic lifestyle because it is morally superior, indicative of ‘high IQ’ or long-term priorities. However “elites” throughout human history have always been opportunistic sociopaths who got lucky, and the same is true today. Nor is it due to the present being a “meritocracy” since merit plays a minor role in determining your “place” in society. Furthermore, humans beings don’t live forever so anything that occurs after your death is inconsequential. In my opinion, the progressively odd behavior of “elites” over the last 200 years cannot be explained by invoking conventional explanations such as the ones given above.
I believe that the direct and indirect effects of social atomization are behind the increasingly peculiar behavior and lifestyle choices of the so-called “elites”.
So how did I come up with this explanation? What drove me to associate social atomization with anhedonic behavior? The answer lies in first being honest about what motivates people as opposed to what makes them happy. While we like to believe that the same factors which motivate people also make them happy- that is often not the case. Fear of status loss, fear of material loss, desire to dominate and hurt others are often the strongest motivators. However going down that road takes you away from any chance at achieving any worthwhile degree of happiness or satisfaction with your life. Some morons might see happiness and satisfaction as the desires of an “inferior” and “unambitious” mind, yet they cannot explain the self-utility of a “hard workers” effort after his death.
Any conscious action which lacks self-utility is well.. stupid. If it does not make you happier, “better off” or keep you alive till the next realistic chance at escape- why are you doing it?
Which brings us the question of why “elites” live increasingly pleasure-less lives. To understand the reasons behind this change one has to first appreciate how “elites” become “elites”. In the past, people became “elites” because they were born to the right parents at the right time. They justified their position in society by claiming that they descended from gods or were chosen by gods- and used religion and greedy priests to support their claims. Those who challenged them were usually murdered- though sometimes the challengers murdered the previous “elites” and replaced them. To put it another way, their position in society could not survive even a marginally literate populace with a basic level of critical thinking. Which is why the enlightenment and the effects of the industrial revolution made it hard for the old “elites” to remain relevant, let alone command power or respect. They were ultimately replaced by the new “elites” who justified their position in society by claiming “merit”. While there was some truth to that claim, it did not justify the level of social inequality that exists and used to exist. However there was another little noticed side effect of this shift- loss of social cohesion among the “elite”.
Throughout history “elites” have defended their power through collusion with people related to them. Doing so was very easy in previous eras when you could fill all the important posts in your fiefdom with your progeny and relatives. But it is much harder to pull that off today because intense competition and the lack of good extended family protection means that conventional nepotism will almost certainly cause loss of status, money and dimunition of the ability to dominate/hurt others.
Today people have to work hard or put up a convincing appearance of hard work to justify their “elite” status- even if doing so is a losing proposition at multiple levels.
Therefore they cannot do stuff that would actually make them happy. Nor can they allow other “elites”, with whom they don’t share any deep personal bond, to do something that would make them happy. The “elites” now have more in common with a bunch of brain-damaged dogs who hate each other and are constantly fighting each other in a conflict that no one can win. Yet, they would rather prefer to keep on fighting over who is top dog than come to some form of agreement and live in relative peace and enjoy life- because nobody can trust nobody else. Even the “elites” are too atomized to act as a coherent entity.
Consequently they spend all their waking hours on posturing and fighting an unending war, rather than enjoying a relaxing and luxurious life. It does not take a genius to figure out why such people also have few, or often no, kids. On the bright side, social atomization has finally made the lives of the “elites” almost as miserable as the people they dominate and abuse every single day.
What do you think? Comments?
The last two years have seen a flurry of posts about why ‘Gen Y’ is not that interested in cars. In a previous post, I had summarized my views on that topic as-
The lack of interest in cars (and automobiles in general) by Gen-Yers is the rational result of a combination of long-term trends and the profit hungry short-sighted mindset which characterizes the later stages of capitalism.
While that post listed and briefly explained the main long-term trends that make autos less desirable, it did not really go into the other part of the problem (short-sighted capitalism) in any worthwhile detail. So let us fix that..
Evangelists of capitalism and its numerous minor flavors such as free-market capitalism, libertarianism, fascism, corporatism etc keep on telling us that capitalism is self-correcting. But what does such “self-correction” lead to? Do social or economic systems really have a stable equilibrium? While we can certainly engage in sophistic arguments about what capitalism is or isn’t; such talk is no different from trying to say that soviet- and mao-style communism wasn’t “real” communism.
I am going to use the response of contemporary society and its institutions to the “new car owner crisis” to demonstrate that capitalism-based systems are not self-correcting. Indeed, they have a very strong tendency to destroy themselves and damage the underlying social fabric.
The responses of car companies to this emerging crisis comes in two forms-
a1. Trying to find new car owners in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia and India. They hope that they can get enough new customers to make up for the stagnation and decline in western countries. While the idea is not without merit, it assumes that whatever is causing the crisis in developed countries won’t occur in these emerging markets. While that assumption might have had some merit a few decades ago, that is no longer the case and trends from female fertility, rates of marital discord and other socio-economic trends spread much faster today than they used to. But let us ignore that for a moment and move on to the next response.
a2. They are hiring “trend consultants” and “designers” to create “hip” and “quirky” cars that will hopefully appeal to ‘Gen Y’. While doing so will make a few consultants wealthy, it does not address why things have gone downhill. Designing “hip” cars is about giving the appearance of action. It is similar to putting a colorful band-aid on a cut artery or giving aspirin to a person suffering from a serious infection. In both cases, it allows people to shield themselves from accusations of inaction.
The auto-makers response seems to be a combination of abandoning ship and casting spells to entice new car buyers. What about the government? Are they any better?
Now you might think that people in the government would be interested in keeping the status quo, if only to ensure the continuity of their scams. While they are aware of the potentially disastrous effects of declining rates of car ownership and use on their bottom line, it is apparent that they cannot get their shit together and act rationally. But why not?
b1. A government is a ever-morphing collection of scamsters and vested interests- just like any corporation. While the older version of this institution (from 1935 to say 1985) had some interest in ensuring their future through keeping the underlying society healthy, the newer version is full of rent-seekers. The governments of developed countries are now largely made up of factions and groups that have absolutely no interest in solving problems or building a better future. Indeed, they try hard to create more problems and opportunities to use legal coercion to collect rent. Consequently they spend most of their time trying to collect more and ever larger traffic tickets, build toll roads in preference to public access roads, and write rules and regulations to makes car ownership more expensive and onerous.
b2. Another factor that affects the government’s ability to respond meaningfully is that they employ an ever-increasing number of people to regulate and micromanage rather than do something useful. While this trend was a response to decreasing opportunities for employment in the private sector due to capitalism, it has created lobbies and cliques that want to justify their jobs, expand their domains and abuse others. While doing that is equivalent to killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, most people are too short-sighted to think (let alone act) otherwise.
OK, so the government is solidly into rent-seeking and kicking the can down the road. But what about society in general? How are people trying to address the problem?
c1. The first and most predictable response is denial as most humans believe that reality requires their explicit consent to manifest itself. The strategies to deny this particular problem range from seeing it as good for the environment, a sign of the end of suburbia to seeing it as a reversion to the mean of ‘impoverished’ existence. While I have hate suburbs, I can see that they were about reestablishing racial and economic segregation. Cars just made the process a whole lot easier. The aggregate sum of the pollution caused by cars pales in comparison to that put out by coal powered electric generation in China. Furthermore, comparing our age with any previous one in human history is as meaningless as comparing a fish to a rat.
c2. Then there are those who hope and pray for a second coming of job based prosperity. But is that possible in a world where automation and machines increasingly do most important jobs? Face it, most jobs today are about scamming, bullshitting, zero-sum competition to do tasks that have a net negative utility to society. We can pretend that jobs in education, law, medicine, management, human resources, sales and other sectors are about creating a better world. But is it true? It is also important to understand that automation, technology and machines are increasingly replacing human labor in even these areas.
c3. We cannot also forget the CONservative, and often older, subhumans who try to convince everyone that they are lucky to alive as slaves. These are often the same asswipes who never try of telling others how they bought and worked on their first beater in the 1960s and 70s. They conveniently miss out the part about relatively stable jobs, low (or no) student debt and living under a less predatory version of capitalism. Some of you see such behavior and beliefs as an example of a simple misunderstanding, but I do not. Many of the morons who exposure such beliefs are just greedy cynics who believe that they are ageless and immortal.
Did you notice something common to every major point in this article? Institutions and people are letting boundless greed, delusional beliefs and absolute self-interest rule their very existence. Some many say that doing so is human nature, but is it just human nature? Isn’t that how capitalism really works?
What do you think? Comments?