Questions surrounding the nature of impersonal society and “civilization” (such as link 1, link 2) have a habit of popping up in my posts. While they can sometimes appear repetitious, it is hard to ignore them since they are also highly relevant to many facets of your day-to-day existence. One related topic, which I have also touched upon in previous posts (such as link 3, link 4), concerns the effect of changing circumstances and realities on the individual-group dynamic.
Do you really have an obligation or duty towards any human group that is incapable of, or unwilling to, fulfill its end of the deal- explicit and implicit?
As I have said before, humans are not mindless eusocial creatures like ants or bees. Formation and cohesion of human groups is based on reciprocity (or a promise thereof) between each individual in it and the rest of that group. To put it another way, real cooperation with your group only makes sense if you have a very high chance of receiving what was promised to you (explicitly and implicitly) in the first place. One of the many reasons that I rightly consider CONservatives to be less than subhuman is their repeated parroting of the “society does not owe you anything” meme. Now I know exactly what they are trying to, but don’t have the brains or balls, to say- but that is best discussed in another post. This one will focus on something different and explain my insight through a series of thought experiments.
The first one occurred to me, many years ago, at a time when I had just started using escorts. The circumstances surrounding what I am going to talk about have been mentioned in previous posts (link 5, link 6). It centers around an interesting paradox – I could get high quality paid sex (including frequent freebies) from attractive and reasonably priced escorts while I was being simultaneously rejected by far more plain, dumpy and mediocre women. So what was going on? Well.. in my opinion, it was largely about the belief of those mediocre women in their intrinsic racial superiority, even if there was no evidence to support it. Then again, most humans have an almost infinite capacity for self delusion- something that I will write more about in another post. But it does raise an even more important, if almost never asked, question that is best framed as a thought experiment.
What if all those women, and guys like them, disappeared from the face of the earth?
While I have talked about similar in a previous post, this one tackles a different question. Does the continued existence of people you do not particularly care about matter to you? Also, under what condition or circumstances would that answer change- either way? If you think through my questions systematically and rationally, you will arrive to a somewhat disquieting answer.
In an impersonal and atomized society, the existence of other people matters only so far as it translates into a high probability of serving your own needs.
The demise of anyone whose existence or actions do not serve your needs or desires is, at best, inconsequential. The reader might wonder if the demise of people who did something important for you, but not in a very obvious manner, would be detrimental. The short answer to that question is- perhaps, but not really. Let me explain what I am talking about through one somewhat tasteless thought experiment.
Imagine a situation in which 80-90% or even 100% of white physicians and surgeons in the USA died within a week. Would it matter? Well.. it would certainly matter in the very short term- perhaps a few weeks or months at most. However, their positions would almost certainly be filled through the mass importation of equally competent non-white physicians. Moreover, people who work under physicians perform most of the actual work in healthcare. So the somewhat longer answer is as follows: short-term disruptions seldom translate into long-term disruptions. The only time such large-scale disruptions translate into long-term effects is when those who became extinct had some unique ability that their successors are incapable of developing. In the case of physicians or surgeons, that is simply not the case. A non-white person with similar education, hours of experience and access to technology will do just as good a job as a white person, and the same is true of every job, profession and vocation. And this brings us to another disquieting idea.
People whose utility to others is defined by their jobs are completely replaceable and fungible.
The same is also true of employers- more specifically the people you work under. In an era where people do not have stable jobs, the demise of your immediate superior in the corporate hierarchy is largely irrelevant as most people in that position have no interest in helping you as a person. You could even replace them with a similar looking person and nobody would notice or care. This is especially true in countries such as the USA where all corporations are slow death-marches, as far as most of their employees are concerned. One could make the same case for other institutions, from universities and research institutes to schools and sports leagues. Do you really think that the sudden demise of all the “top” scientists from “prestigious” universities and institutes would somehow set our knowledge of science or progress back? Heck, if anything it might have the opposite effect by removing a lot of politically connected and uncreative courtier-types.?
In an atomized society there are no rational reasons to feel any sympathy or compassion for people who just happen to exist around you.
Now, you might say- this is cold, heartless and inhuman. Well.. perhaps, but it is rational. More importantly, is your experience any different? How many people you have worked with can you trust to not screw you over? What about any person or corporation that has ever employed you? Or what about the women you might have married? Can you really trust them to not screw you over for ego or minor financial gains? What about the government that claims to protect you from “all those bad people” if you just agree to go deeper into bonded servitude?
Perhaps you might want to reevaluate your interactions with people and institutions around you. There is no reason to be loyal, kind or even fair to people and institutions who abuse your trust in every possible way and at every possible turn.
What do you think? Comments?
Following up from my previous post in this series, I made the following statement:
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.
Scamming others and oneself through outright lies, misdirections and sophistry is one of the main foundations of all traditional religious and secular belief systems. But how does anything this fucked up become popular in the first place. How do such scam-ridden belief systems gain any amount of social legitimacy? Well, it is easy..
All traditional and secular religions portray themselves as an answer to a problem, even if that problem is non-existent.
A few contemporary examples of emerging ideologies and movements will help you understand what I am talking about. They will also show you what motivates the early adopters and evangelists of any religions or secular ideology.
Let us start with PETA aka People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. While it was initially started to protest some very egregious examples of medical experimentation and abuse of animals, it did not stay that way. As soon as the group got its first wave of new followers, it diversified into other areas such as opposition to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. Personally, I do support the core ideas behind organisations like PETA and have, on numerous occasions, clearly stated my opposition to cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. But if you have spent enough time following their actions, it is clear that the organization is now largely driven by the need for ever-increasing amounts of publicity, money and power.
Let me illustrate that point with a few examples of their actions and behavior within the last decade. You might have, at some point in the last few years, come across a news item about how PETA wants everyone to become vegan or something like that. My question is- What does not eating meat have to do with the prevention of cruelty to animals? Human beings are an omnivorous species, and while we can survive close to either end of the carnivore-vegetarian gradient- it is rather obvious that our physiology works best when we are somewhere in the middle of that gradient. So the real question is- How do you raise and kill animals for meat in a way that minimizes suffering, preferably to levels experienced by the same species in the wild.
As you might have realized, getting people to agree on not abusing animals raised for meat is relatively easy and straightforward. Nor is it especially costly or technology intensive to do so. You just have to support and perhaps legislate for moderate density animal farming as opposed to the high density crap that is supported by large corporations today. So why is PETA more famous for throwing fake blood on fur coats, constantly promoting veganism or killing animals in their pet shelters? And yes, they have rational-sounding reasons for all of those actions. But is it really about preventing cruelty to animals? Could there be a better explanation for the large gap between what they could feasibly achieve and what they actually devote their energies to?
PETA is now a nascent religion and, like all other older religions, is now far more interested in screwing up the lives of other people than trying to solve the problem it was created to solve in the first place.
Their constant obsession with fur coats, promoting veganism and defense of kill-only shelters is about trying to force other people to live as they want others to live. In that respect they are no different from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or any flavor of Capitalism or Communism. It is therefore no surprise that their more famous supporters sound more like evangelists on a moral crusade than rational people trying to find a better solution. Now let us turn our attention to another nascent religion aka the ‘religion of catastrophic man-made global climate change’ which used to known as the ‘religion of catastrophic man-made global warming’.
While I have written a couple of posts, including this one, about my thoughts on that subject- they tackled the more technical issues involved in modeling complex interactive systems and understanding the mechanism behind previous instances of dramatic climate change. But as many of you have come to realize, for some time, all of that talk about man-made climate change is not really about preventing climate change. It is really about maintaining power, specifically the primacy of a rapidly aging and sclerotic white west in the face of sustained global increases in the quality of life.
At their core, movements centered around “preventing climate-change” or any similar environmentalist bullshit are about trying to prevent non-white populations from enjoying a higher standard of living.
For a century or so (approximately 1850-1950) only the west (and predominantly white people) enjoyed a rapidly increasing standard of living. At that time, they believed that they alone were genetically capable of developing and using science and technology. But reality has a way to spoil delusions and the post 1950 era saw a diffusion and uptake of science and technology among non-white populations who were considered to be generically incapable of doing so. Now we live in a world where the level of scientific understanding and technological competence is rather similar throughout the world. Today most technology intensive manufacturing occurs in East Asia, a lot of chemical manufacturing and processing occurs in places like India and countries like Brazil make commercially viable airliners. Did I mention relatively inexpensive and successful interplanetary probes to Mars?
To put it another way, being white is just not what it used to be and the process is not reversible.
The support for movements to ‘reduce climate change’ should therefore be seen as a last-ditch effort to sabotage the development of non-white countries. And here is the real problem with that approach- it is not working! Countries like China, India and pretty much all other non-white countries can both see through this charade and have the means to tell the rapidly aging and pathetic predominantly white countries to fuck themselves.
So why do I call it the ‘religion of catastrophic man-made global climate change’ rather than a conspiracy to sabotage predominantly non-white countries. I am certainly not the first person to point out the religious nature of belief in man-made catastrophic global climate change. Michael Crichton said something very similar a few year ago. But his main focus on how it resembled the belief system of traditional and secular religions. He did not talk much about how the motivations of prophets, leaders and priests of this new religion are almost identical to their counterparts from more traditional faiths.
So let us talk about what motivates the prophets, leaders and priests of this new faith. Well.. like their counterparts from older faiths, they are driven by the need for power- specifically the power to impoverish, abuse and kill other people. As with all older religions, there is a massive gap between the preaching and actual behavior of these prophets, leaders and priests. Most live in great material luxury and gleefully indulge in all the “sins” they rant and warn others about. No rich white supporter of global warming is ever going to give up any of the fossil-fuel enabled utilities and capabilities they warn non-whites about, except perhaps for photo opportunities.
Another important characteristic of religions, also seen in global warming, is the presence of a significant number of useful idiots who will enthusiastically follow the teachings of their duplicitous leaders. We have all come across a few ‘true believers’ who firmly believe in and obsess about man-made climate change. So what motivates them? Once again, and as I have said before, it is about providing them a rational to abuse other people- even though most of them do not yet have that power. Religions, you see, are a lot like ponzi schemes in that every person who joins it does so to get up to the next level and abuse those below them.
In the next part of this post, I will try to focus on secular religions such as feminism (including the white-knight phenomena) and all those poor and stupid southern whites who enjoy being shat on by rich white people as long as they get to fuck over a few black people. And yes, those two religions are connected.
What do you think? Comments?
Since my initial thoughts on this still unfolding event, I have made a few more observations.
# 1 The quality of nude photos of, and by, willing and frequently non-compensated amateurs is now indistinguishable from those of well-known actresses and models.
There was an era (upto the mid-1990s) when the models in amateur nudies and porn were indeed less attractive than well compensated professionals. However this distinction has steadily eroded since then and we are now firmly in an era where even non-famous photographers and models can produce work that rivals and frequently exceeds the output of highly compensated and famous professionals. Many factors,from the spread of inexpensive quality photographic equipment and photoshop to the ubiquity of gyms, yoga studios, plastic surgery, beauty salons etc, has contributed to this trend. However the end results are unmistakable and raise another question.
Why is the current system paying millions to pretty but otherwise mediocre women like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton while ignoring more talented and attractive women? This question is closely linked to other supposed paradoxes like why the current system pays mediocre to incompetent CEOs millions while laying off the very people whose work created all that wealth. Or why mediocre liars (aka academics) from ivy-league universities make far more money and have far more power than their more competent versions from less “famous” universities. Or why white HBD morons who have never done anything that demonstrates their supposedly superior intellect keep on talking about race and intelligence.
# 2 The end of the brief era, when big-corporation (google, twitter, facebook, imgur, reddit) mediated centralization and control of the internet seemed feasible, has now started.
It is no secret that the last few years had seen an attempt by large corporations and the elite to corral the internet through centralization and providing “cloud” based storage services. To this end many of them tried to provide free services and appear tolerant of opinions that run contrary to their view of the world. However they could never really hide to desire for control and power and incidents such as tumblr’s unsuccessful attempts to get porn off its network and aggressive corporate-friendly moderating in reddit kept on reminding some people of their true intentions. I however believe that two recent incidents related to the “fappening” have accidentally kick-started their demise.
You might have heard that twitter recently suspended thousands of user accounts that tweeted links to the ISIL beheading videos and pictures from the “fappening”. Imgur also tried, if somewhat half-heatedly, to remove pictures from the “fappening” series as did reddit by closing down the subreddit that acted as one of the central clearing places for these pictures. It is no secret that google also did not help people find those pictures. Yet I can see that those pictures have effortlessly proliferated on multiple BBs, personal blogs, shared folders and a host of other locations that were supposedly passe, according to most “experts” and “trendologists”.
Do not, therefore, be surprised if you see the rapid spread of open-source and decentralized social media platforms in the next few months. In any case- the cost and difficulty of hosting content, either by yourself or as part of a group, have drastically gone down since the mid- to late-2000s.
# 3 A lot of new media has revealed itself to be old media.
It is telling that the most strident, and authority-based arguments, against leaking those photos came from the so-called “new” media rather than its half-dead older version. Many people, including myself, have long believed that “new” internet-based media was nothing more than an internet-native version of its old dead tree counterpart. Events subsequent to the “fappening” have shown us to be correct and also revealed the extent of its similarity to old media.
It is also very telling that supposedly hip and Gen-Y ish figures (Lena Dunham, Seth Rogen) promoted by new media are responding to this event in a manner indistinguishable from their counterparts from the pre-internet era. But it makes sense once you realize that neither of them would be successful in a world based on ability. Celebrity and wealth has always been based on nepotism, contacts and luck and the ability to scam others as opposed to competence and ability.
Will write more in an upcoming post.
What do you think? Comments?
On Aug 31, 2014- one or more individuals leaked a couple hundred selfies and a few video clips of many young female celebrities (mostly actress and models) on 4chan/b. This event, now known as the “Fappening” has attracted a lot of mainstream media attention along with calls by so-called “respectable” journalists (aka famous and semi-famous presstitutes) to regulate the “dark” and “scary” corners of the interwebs (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4 among many others). It is especially telling that many of these impeccably credentialed morons initially believed that 4chan was either an individual, hacker or file-sharing network. I cannot help but notice that these media attacks on 4chan and even a tame meta-BB like reddit come in the wake of recent attempts to demonize male gamers (Link 5, Link 6 and Link 7)
Anyway.. the same “credentialed” morons who have never spent more than a few minutes on 4chan or specialist sub-reddits, let alone on warez forums, feel confident enough to tell us how to respond to these developments. Their articles also seem to indicate that they do not understand human behavior or simple choose to ignore it. They also appear to be rather technology-illiterate and have little to no grasp of human ingenuity (Link 8 , Link 9 and Link 10)
Having said that, here are my initial thoughts on the “fappening”.
# 1 These leaks were not the work of a single individual or the result of one class of exploits.
While most of the photos were downloaded from iCloud accounts (and were also taken with iPhones), a few photos appear to be taken with non-apple devices. This is not surprising as some of us have been aware of the existence of loose groups of individuals who devote their spare time to perusing the contents of online cloud accounts of other people, especially pretty girls. This scenario appears especially likely given the long time line of some picture series. My point is that there is no one person or close group of person behind the release of those pictures. Moreover, it is likely that some of the software they are using was originally written for the “law and order” industry. Now re-read that sentence in the light of the Snowden’s revelations and the official response to his leaks.
# 2 These leaks have shown that “cloud” based data storage is inherently less secure than local storage.
For the last few years, companies like Google and Amazon to Apple, have been trying to sell us on the idea of “cloud” based data storage. They have made many claims about cloud storage is superior to local storage. Well.. it turns out that uploading data to the cloud is easy but keeping it secure (and easy to access) is not. The celebrity leak of 2014 has vividly illustrated that problem with the photos of many famous faces, breasts, asses, vaginas and a few penises. We now know what Kate Upton’s pussy lips and asshole look like. We also know how Jennifer Lawrence’s pussy and Bar Refaeli’s asshole looks like or how Krysten Ritter styles her pubes. The average person may not understand the technology behind cloud computing, but he or she can now clearly see that it is not secure- despite weasel worded corporate assurances to the contrary.
# 3 Large entities from previous eras (governments, corporations, professional organisations) are powerless to control the flow of information OR narrative.
Many of the first albums containing all those leaked pictures were hosted on imgur, which removed them within a few hours. Some main-stream media idiots thought that this would contain the damage and information leak. As it turns out.. it did not. Not only are people reloading the original or slightly altered pictures (with different names) back onto imgur, but many of the better photos have since found their way onto popular tumblr sites, public folders of Dropbox accounts or Dropbox-like services, multiple bulletin board and self-hosted blogs. This is in addition to the millions who have downloaded the best ones onto their computers and will eventually mail them (or their slightly altered versions) to friends. I should also point out that the internet (and many corporations that provide services) are no longer under the direct or indirect control of american laws or influence.
# 4 These leaks have shown that the cognitive dissonance of feminists, leftists, white-knights and manginas (LIEbrals) are of the same magnitude as bible-thumping hypocrites and capitalism-shilling CONservatives.
I have, on numerous occasions in the past, said that LIEbrals are not that different from CONservatives in that both base their actions on mental models of the world that have little to no connection with reality. The sheer number of posts by LIEbrals passionately defending the right to privacy of women who make millions of dollars per year based on teasing large audiences with their sexuality is downright bizarre, especially when you compare it to their supposedly “nuanced” stands on far more pressing issues that affect many tens of millions more- such as such as mass incarceration and severe economic inequality. While CONservatives are marginally worse in that regard, LIEbrals are not much better.
Will write more on this issue soon, hopefully after I finish a long-delayed post on the events in Ferguson.
What do you think? Comments?
It is no secret that my views on human beings as a species have been pretty negative for a long time. I have also made it clear, on at least one previous occasion, that my views are not the result of disappointment and therefore are not typically misanthropic. I tend to see things as they are, rather than as they are supposed or expected to be. As regular readers also know, more than a few of my previous posts have been about the apparent inconsistencies in widely held views about the human mind and observed human behaviors. In a few of those posts, I have explicitly suggested that most human beings are largely driven by the desire to cheat, screw over, damage, hurt and kill others- even if does not confer any measurable advantage to them. While I have my own theories on what drives this almost uniquely human urge, the current post will talk about another aspect of this phenomena- its ubiquity. I will also talk a bit about why this urge will almost inevitably result in human extinction.
Let us start with a recent news-piece about how officials in the Pyrenees are considering how to curb the sexual appetite of Pyros the bear to give his rivals a chance to mate. This news-piece also reminded me of another similar one from a few months ago- Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe puts down four lions. While reading both of them makes you wonder about the world view and belief systems of the “officials” in question, almost nobody seems to be asking the most important question- How is interference in the lives of wild animals based on questionable beliefs rational? As you will soon see, the generalized form of this question is intimately connected to what I am going to talk about in the rest of this post.
But before we go any further, let us first be clear about my views on the treatment of animals. While I am against cruelty towards animals, I am not against eating meat or killing animals that are (directly or indirectly) dangerous to human beings. Though I am against the horrible conditions prevalent in the factory farming of animals- especially in north america, I am not against the concept of raising and killing animals for food, as long as it is done in a way that causes minimal pain and suffering to the animals in question. Nor am I against the hunting animals, as long as it is for obtaining food or protecting oneself.
And this brings me to another facet of the problematic relationship between humans and other animals. Large-scale trophy hunting of animals, especially large mammals, was once a very popular pursuit. It reached its peak in the 1840-1914 time period and was responsible for the near extinction of many large mammalian species. Curiously, neither food nor security was the main reason behind such large-scale trophy hunting. So what was it about? Some might say that hunting large animals is about displaying masculine prowess. While that was partially true in the era before long-ranged rifled guns became commonplace, it is really hard to argue that the ability to safely kill an animal from 200 meters with an accurate rifle is somehow linked to masculine prowess. The same questions could also be asked about commercial whaling or clubbing seals by the tens of thousands for fur. So what was all this large-scale animal killing really about? Could it be the act of killing others for no rational reason is more pleasurable than is commonly understood?
Let us now turn our attention to pets. Why do humans have pets? Why do people constantly try to anthropomorphize their pets? Now some of you might say that most humans do infact care about other animals, especially those species that are kept as pets. But is that really true? If that were true why do humans kill so many of the pet animals who cannot find a human owner? Is mass killing of animal pets that cannot find human owners really about their welfare, or is it about something else? And why do humans spend that much time, money and effort to castrate pets, feed them, anthropomorphize them and then try to make them live like humans than the animals they are? On a related note, why were circus acts with animals once so popular? What is the entertainment value of watching lions, tiger and elephants jump through hoops or sit on tables? Why do people go to see animal trick shows at places like Sea World? What about zoos? What pleasure do humans derive from creating subservient animals and then observing their subservience?
Moving on to how human beings behave towards each other.. Why was overt slavery so common in previous eras, even if the slave-owners could not make a worthwhile financial profit from the labors of their slaves? Why go through the trouble of obtaining and abusing people as slaves when the same amount of work could be willingly and enthusiastically done by economically marginalized members of your own group. Why use slaves when there was no shortage of poor and desperate people? Why did rich people of previous eras prefer to have slaves over poorly paid employees? What was the real distinction between slaves and poor people? Does this have anything to do with how humans interact with animals? Could it be that human enjoy having , using, abusing others as slaves rather than taking the most rational way out and hiring people to do a given job?
Then there is the question of money, or more specifically why some people accumulate money beyond any practical ability to spend ever spend it. In a previous series of posts, I had put forth the idea that a few people accumulate money to impoverish everyone else than make their own lives better. Do you really think billionaires want to uplift social morality, educational standards or support LIEbertarian policies because they want to help their “fellow” human beings? Maybe making lost of money is not about showing others that you are better than them. Maybe it is really about willful destruction of the lives of people they do not even know in person. Or consider all institutional and corporate hierarchies. What if they are really about abusing and screwing other others rather than anything related to the supposed function of those institutions? What if bureaucracy is not really about making institutions work, but creating the groundwork for finding creative ways to fuck over other people- especially those you don’t even know. And why are priests of all religions more concerned with disrupting the sexual lives of others than their so-called “god” or public welfare?
The way women see, interact with and behave towards men is another example of this pattern. Why are so many fat white suburban women concerned about prostitution? Why do they want men to jump through all sorts of hoops for a slim chance of having sex with mediocre women? Why are they so concerned about misogyny? Why do ugly middle-aged hags want to be told that they are beautiful? Why complain about guys who treat them well? Why are most divorces initiated by middle-aged women past their physical prime? Why look down on male sexual desire while building your lifestyle on it? I could go on and on, but my point is that the attitude of women towards men is substantially more adversarial than can be explained via anything that even remotely resembles simple competition. It is a much better fit for something that I like to call- maliciousness for its own sake.
Many readers might have, by now, recognized a common thread running through all the above-mentioned examples of human behavior. They all clearly a demonstrate a deep-seated and widespread human tendency to be deceitful, cruel, abusive and murderous for reasons that have almost nothing to with material or monetary gain. It is as if most human beings are actively driven a unscratchable itch to hurt, abuse, enslave and kill others even if they stand to gain very little from it. Human beings as a species will spend their own time, effort and resources to hurt other living creatures just for the joy of doing so.
But why is any of this important? Haven’t human beings being like this for thousands of years? Well.. the simple answer is technology. Previously this particular human tendency was completely contained by technological limitations. People with pre-industrial and early-industrial age technology simply could not do much damage beyond their immediate vicinity. Even large-scale wars, genocides and conquests were moderated by the hard technological limitations. But that is no longer so.. and the (recognized or unrecognized) ability to fuck up the world of humans is real. I also believe that such an event is far more likely to occur as a series of unintentional coincidences, and reactions to them, than anything that is deliberately engineered. This behavioral tendency is also going to be the reason why humans (in their current form) will never become a space-faring species. Travelling between stars, you see, requires energy sources and technologies that would would let a single person kill every other human on the planet. You can be very sure that the development of such technology will result in the extinction of human beings before it is used to make a single starship.
What do you think? Comments?
Almost two weeks have passed since the Isla Vista Killings, and it seems that the “popular” views about Elliot Rodger fall into two distinct, but not mutualy exclusive, categories. Some say he was misogynist, an issue which I have previously written about, and then are others who say that he was mentally ill.
But was he mentally ill?
Here is the short version of my answer- Elliot Rodger was not mentally ill, by any honest and rational definition of the concept of mental illness. Some of you might say.. “but how can you be so sure, you are not a medical board certified psychiatrist”. To this my answer is- maybe the problem begins with using medical board certified psychiatrists to diagnose mental illness.
Before we go into that issue- let us first define the concept of illness, as applicable to any type of illness or disease. What do we really mean when we use words like ‘illness’ or ‘disease’? And what does being ‘healthy’ imply? If you think hard enough about it, ‘health’ or ‘illness’ are about optimal functioning of one of more organ systems in the body. They are about how all parts of the body are behaving, not what caused that condition. Let me explain that point a bit further, since it has relevance to the Elliot Roger saga.
Accidentally burning yourself while cooking or breaking a bone while playing sports is not a disease or illness- even though the result of those physical insults can be treated as such. Similarly you can get a fever in response to some viral infection, bacterial infection or even a non-infectious cause such as some types of lymphomas. On the other hand, even a so-called ‘natural’ phenomena like growing old (senescence) can be classified as a disease, rather than something that is actually natural like growing up (maturation). My point is that diseases and illness are best defined as a fairly continuous, if sometimes slow, self-sustained downward spiral of organ and body function.
But what is the relevance of any of this to defining mental illness or diseases. Well.. it has to so with what can be considered a mental illness and what cannot. For example- hearing disembodied voices that tell you to kill others or consistently experiencing visual hallucinations is not compatible with normal brain function. Nor is obsessive compulsive behavior that the person implicitly recognizes as irrational. On the other hand- feeling very sad after the death of your child or being depressed in the aftermath of a large adverse life event or after being diagnosed with a terminal illness is, for the lack of a better term, normal or physiological. Similarly being sexually attracted to others of your own sex (homosexuality) is not a mental illness- even though it was considered as such by psychiatry until the 1970s.
When we start talking about Elliot Rodger and mental illness, it is necessary to first determine if his worldview was grounded in measurable reality and whether his shyness was a response to that reality.
Based on his manifesto and YouTube videos, it is clear that Elliot saw himself as a victim of the circumstances of his birth. To be more precise, he thought that his social life would have much better if he was white and had richer parents. I , for one, think that he was absolutely correct about both those factors. It does not take a genius to figure out being a white male (as opposed to a half-asian one) and/or being richer in the very affluent parts of coastal south California would have made him far more socially acceptable and desirable. Heck, even being a black or hispanic male is better than being an asian or half-asian male in SoCal- as far as social desirability is concerned. Now this is almost totally about popular perception rather than objective reality, but people (including girls) make their decisions based on popular perceptions- not objective reality. His assessment of his situation, and predicament, was therefore quite accurate.
Elliot also wrote a lot about being ignored, bullied and put down as a kid- both in school and at home. His behavioral problems started after his still married parents moved to California and got divorced within a couple of years. It is also important to note that the peculiar post-divorce custodial arrangements, his father’s remarriage, his father’s busy schedule, his stepmother’s contempt and his mother losing interest in him after the divorce were not conducive to feeling loved, wanted or secure. While his parents did make sure that he had a financially comfortable lifestyle and upbringing- it is clear that they had both abandoned him. The bully-based culture of the american school system did not make things any better and may have directly contributed to his extreme shyness and aversion towards interacting with new people. In other words, his insecurity and shyness were largely a rational response to his experiences, surroundings and condition.
Similarly, neither his manifesto or YouTube videos show any sign of irrational thinking or grandiose expectations. His manifesto in particular is very well written, factually accurate and accurately captures what he was feeling. Nor were the expectations or desires expressed in it or the videos odd. It seems that he wanted one, or at the most a few serial girlfriends, who were pretty and loved him. He was not asking for sex with hundreds or thousands of women, nor did he see himself as a guy who could get all the pussy he wanted. His wants and desires were, if anything, pretty standard for a guy in his age-group.
Now some of you might say- “but, but.. didn’t the doctor prescribe him some anti-psychotic drug which he did not take”. Well.. if you use that logic, then you also have to believe that all those anti-depressants prescribed to people with mild reactive depression, Ritalin to boys with “ADHD”, and anti-psychotics prescribed to people with PTSD and atypical depression-like symptoms are based in evidence-based medicine. Here is a hint- they are not! It is about physicians trying to show that they are doing something- even if that something is useless or actively harmful.
In my opinion, blaming Elliot Roger’s murder spree on misogyny or mental illness are excuses for people to avoid talking about the real social issues that led him to do what he ultimately did. In an earlier era, we would have blamed his actions on witchcraft, wizardry or devil worship.
What do you think? Comments?
One of the important, though largely ignored, changes in the last thirty years involves the increasing degree to which societies have begun conflating credentials with actual ability and competence. This trend is now at all levels of society from who gets hired and promoted at some mediocre corporation to who can run for elected office such as the presidency.
Here is a recent example: Can I get a job at SpaceX after graduating from a low-ranked engineering program? I have quoted the most important and relevant parts below.
I ran recruiting at SpaceX for almost 6 years; everything about how they recruit is part of the footprint myself and my team created – so hopefully you’ll find this input helpful, though it will only magnify the challenge that lies before you. SpaceX aggressively pursues top collegiate talent; but because the hiring bar (mandate per Elon) is top 1% of the human population – we focus on top ranked engineering programs because their strict acceptance requirements are a good prefilter and remove 90% of the bell curve, thereby automatically bringing us to about top 10% of the college population; making our haystack much smaller and thus easier to find the proverbial needles.
The rest of that answer is full of the usual crap that almost all of you must have encountered in any basic interaction with HR personal in pretty much every single corporation. FYI- this particular piece caught my attention because I know a thing or two about rocket engine and launcher technology etc.
Here is what you should know: Modern rocket engine and launcher technology was mostly developed and perfected between 1939 and late-1970s. There has been no breakthrough in the area of chemical rocket engine (fuel or mechanics) in the last forty years. SpaceX is basically trying to build what both the Russians and the Americans perfected over four decades ago. The business model of SpaceX can be best summarized as building relatively inexpensive medium-large LOX-kerosene fueled rocket launchers and accessories in the USA.
The funny wrinkle in their vision of low-cost rocketry is that the ESA, RFSA and the CNSA already offer dollars-per-kg rates that are comparable to those promised by SpaceX.
I should also point out that ESA, the RFSA and its soviet-era predecessor, the CNSA and ISRO were able to develop to develop all that technology and hardware without hiring ivy-league graduates. There is also the troublesome question of why would you want to hire so called “top level” talent to copy 40-year old technology. Well.. actually that is not quite true. SpaceX currently does not even have the technology found in older russian LOX/Kerosene engines such as the RD-180, which itself is a half-sized version the 1970s-era RD-170.
So what is going on? Why can’t SpaceX achieve what the Russians did without much fanfare (and electronic computers) four decades ago? Is it the lack of resources? Is it the lack of government help- both technical and financial? Or is it a basic conflict between their corporate ideology and reality? In my opinion, the problem is largely due to the unbridgeable gap between corporate thinking and reality. Let me explain..
American corporations have for the last few decades been increasingly run by managers, lawyers and other assorted CONartists. The people who make decisions, policy and control money in american corporations have therefore little or no understanding of either the underlying technologies or what it takes to makes things work in the real world. They are mentally incapable of grasping the world that lies beyond PowerPoint presentations, Excel sheets, frequent meetings, committees and subcommittees, buzzwords and endless political scheming.
But what does any of this have to do with the inability of american companies to even properly copy 40-year old technology?
Well.. it comes down to who they hire. People who do not understand the technology behind the products made by the corporations they lead try to cover up their ignorance by going for impressive sounding names, brands and ideas. They therefore hire people who graduated from institution with impressive sounding names and believe that doing so will magically result in some new product or breakthrough. So, why does it not work like that? Why are the graduates of ivy-league and other “prestigious” institutions almost always inferior to their more “common” counterparts at actual innovation or even just getting things done?
Let me answer that question by posing another question- Who is admitted into “prestigious” educational institutions and on what criteria? Here is my answer.. Such institutions admit people who are 1] good at taking tests 2] good at self promotion and 3] good at social interactions. Do you see the problem? Well, if you did not.. here it is.
“Prestigious” universities discriminate against those with technical ability and competence.
Therefore the graduates of such institutions tend to be less than competent and yet simultaneously full of belief in their innate superiority. It does not help that the “prestige” of their institutions allows them to shift blame for their incompetence onto the people who work for them. They are mostly driven by fads, trends, buzzwords and delusions of grandeur rather than anything approximating reality. The end result of hiring a lot of such people is that your research and development programs don’t progress as expected and you cannot even replicate what the soviet space program achieved four decades ago.
But none of this matters to the people in charge of companies like SpaceX, because breaking out their familiar thinking patterns would shatter the fragile (yet internally self-consistent) bubble of lies they inhabit- and nobody wants to rock the boat.
What do you think? Comments?