The wonderful powers of make-believe

Sunday, 22 December, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Make-believe is powerless to alter reality in any way. This observation would have been redundant in any other language, but since we're doing English it has to be said, and even after it being said doubts still linger as to whether the reader encountering it doesn't automatically go into WSD mode. Because to the man raised in a cavei and fed shit his entire lifeii, the squick factor of otherwise unadorned reality is quite off the scale.

Make-believe is however quite splendidly able to alter behaviour. Consider :iii

mircea_popescu So today I learned that while in Romania you pay 350 euros a month to rent a property worth 70k, in the US you mostly pay 700 dollars a month to rent a property worth 30k. You people are getting gyppediv over there big time.
Duffer1 We know :(

mircea_popescu But I mean... 4.5x ? Come on. It's real estate not nuclear physics. 10, 15, 17% more I can see. 450% ?!
pankkake I doubt prices are the same in the whole US. If you want to laugh, come to Paris.v

mircea_popescu This was spurred by a guy's data re central Ohio. Meanwhile I had intel check it out. It is eerilie universal to the US, yes. Just, property values vary.
Duffer1 There are too many reasons that compound the issue.
mike_c I've been renting for 15 years and have not found that to be true.

mircea_popescu mike_c: California and NY stand out as exceptions.
Duffer1 Far higher than normal right? "Normal".
mike_c Well, if it is true in the midwest, it is likely related to the fact that nobody can get a mortgage anymore in the US.

mircea_popescu Duffer1: Exaggerate to hell property values, which make rents a smaller proportion but also exaggerated to all hell. Hardly a "fix". mike_c: No, it's really the baseline that's hidden from you because in California rents are what, 1300 minimum, so that scrunches up the curve. You're still being taxed 50k for the privilege of existing, it just shows up less in the %s.
mike_c Hah. 1300 would be awesome. I paid 2100 in CA.

mircea_popescu Minimum, ya know ?
pankkake Is housing out of official inflation statistics?

mircea_popescu Obviously.
mike_c Whatever is inflating is removed from the inflation statistics.
Duffer1 Hehe.
peterL Yeah, housing and food are not included in CPI calculations,
pankkake Food isn't either? Lol.

mircea_popescu I had not previously realised the US is on such a weak footing, tbh. I mean I had a general notion, but I never cared enough to examine the real estate situation. Not to mention you idiots - as there's no better name - still don't use torrens. What in the actual fuck, is it 1785 in the US ?
Duffer1 Torrents?

mircea_popescu Jesus.
pankkake That's the two things that indeed have inflated big time in the last years.
peterL What's torrens?

mircea_popescu Torrens is a title registration system, which makes it quite feasible for me to buy up real estate personally, rather than having to hire some "experts" to fucking fleece me.
Duffer1 Never heard of it.
mike_c Please. Having to hire a lawyer, real estate agent, title company, escrow agent, etc, etc. is totally reasonable!

mircea_popescu Totally. I never used ANYONE. Not a real estate agent, title company or escrow. Ever. All I ever used was a half hour of notary public time, cost me ~35 a pop.
peterL MP, I currently rent a house for about twice it would take to buy it with a mortgage, but because of my credit I cannot get a morgage to buy a house.
Duffer1 Wouldn't matter even if we did use such a system, housing as you pointed out is is obscenely expensive. Add to that the 35year olds and under have less than zero wealth.vii

mircea_popescu Duffer1: It's only obscenely expensive BECAUSE of such restrictions. peterL: Yeah well, how much you paying and what's it worth ?

Duffer1 Those agents take their fees on top of list price.

mircea_popescu I never hired one. Think, millionaire in the 3rd world, never used as much as a real estate agent.
Duffer1 Remove them and list price is still the same.viii
peterL I have not estimated exactly what a mortgage would cost for a while, but it is $1000 rent, house is maybe $90000.

mircea_popescu peterL: You're not getting gypped quite as bad as the average. Which, incidentally, is one of the deep causes of us real estate bubbles, I am coming to realise. It's not loose money policies that cause those, and loose money policies don't cause them in the EU.ix It's the ingrained notion learned through experience by all us inhabitants that the more you pay the less you're gouged. Which is wrong, but they look at the percents. On top of that, loose money bubbles the real estate - because they'd rather be the guy paying 1k for a 90k property than the guy paying 700 for the 30k property. Obviously it's easier to inflate than to improve.
peterL My previous house sold for about $30000 and is renting for $900 a month

mircea_popescu peterL: EXACTLY. Quite frankly, I can not see how anyone'd put up with this arrangement.x
peterL Let me guess, you were investigating "rentalStarter"?
Duffer1 Land owners charge what they can, citizens with zero savings pay what they have to. Rent goes up.

mircea_popescu peterL: It started there. Why, you know something I don't ?
peterL Care to share your thoughts on the business?

mircea_popescu The judgement of the business pivots on the judgement of the guy, as it's that small. He seems clever and diligent but how do you ever know.
peterL He should have listed on MPEX instead of BitFunder?
mike_c It's turning BTC into housing. I don't see how that will work out. It is a BTC divestment.

mircea_popescu Well, it's going long fiat. There are situations where one'd want that. Take the X.EUR, roughly same on that score. You obviously wouldn't think of buying the thing otherwise than "buying an US future with a built in interest rate".
pankkake It allows small real estate investments, where they are usually quite complicated (and taxed). And tradeable.

mircea_popescu That's the only reason this may make sense, the guy seems to know the situation on the ground.
peterL If you expect Bitcoin to stabilize, then it could be a good way to invest in real estate.

mircea_popescu Or it could be a good way to run from BTC if you consider it drops. Just, not the usual "it's been 5 days, any updates ?" sort of "investing". This requires more long term thinking.
peterL OK, who wants to help me buy a house and I will pay rent in bitcoins?
pankkake I'm already invested in real estate, and I feel like I'm sitting on a bubble :D

mircea_popescu Unless there's a war, $30k detached housing in Ohio CAN NOT be a bubble. My mind farts when I consider this. A car costs more for fuck's sake.
pankkake I'm not confortable investing in real estate where I don't know the market, too.
mike_c It will also never be worth much more. So, income stream, ok. Good luck outpacing BTC appreciation.xi

mircea_popescu Possibly not. Who's to know ?
pankkake But would you put 100% of your savings in Bitcoin?
peterL You want to see how low it can go, Detroit is not far from Ohio.
mike_c Hah. Good point. They will pay you to take housing in Detroit.

mircea_popescu peterL: Afaik Ohio does not have the monoindustry problem. But obviously, before buying in one'd have to very seriously consider a whole host of things. Which is what investing is. mike_c: you know, California is going Detroit before Ohio is.
mike_c Yes. You have to start higher to crash that low.

mircea_popescu Ohio has flyover zone immunity. California has nothing, Hollywood's dead and Silicon Valley is losing it. All it can come up with these days is a very thin sliver at the very top and a very wide base of ycombinator retards.
mike_c And ycombinator is the thin silver on top of the 1000 yc copycats.
pankkake It's the 2000s all over again.
peterL At least California has better weather than Ohio or Detroit.

mircea_popescu mike_c: and they got nothing, all they have is CSS devels. They're gonna revolutionize the way people do rounded corners.
Duffer1 Googling "torrens" in the U.S. gives nude photo results >.<
pankkake California has sluts / porn right?
peterL MPEX say "CSS? What's that?"
pankkake But it's mobile-first responsive css!
mike_c That bubble has already started popping though. The "series A crunch" is the term for the million crappy startups that are dying.

mircea_popescu mike_c ikr
pankkake At my ex-ex job I really wondered how all our stupid clients got their funding. They all basically wanted to be the facebook-twitter of SOMETHING. They had the most overcssed websites. Webpages that would belong in a magazine, not a browser. And no business plan obviously.

mircea_popescu "Useless stupid unwanted money that nobody knows what to do with", to quote the still living classics.
pankkake Would be better invested in hookers and blow.
Duffer1 Or a one way plane ticket.
the20year I don't understand it either pankkake. They all want to rehash the same exact stuff, and yet they somehow get millions of dollars of funding. When I have a valid idea, one that's already profitable, and I'm having so much time.

So now, how is it at all possible that people in Ohio, or generally the US put up with it ?

But let's leave this question aside for a moment, and look again at the United States' smaller, more successful, evil twin : North Korea. The thrice cursed less than a dog Jang Song Thaek was born somewhere, just like everyone's born somewhere. And as a kid he heard noises about him, which through the functioning of the brain in children soon enough coalesced into words and meaning (the order may be reversed, depending which neuropsych school you follow). And these words happened to be Korean, but to the same exact baby living in Ohio among English sounds, the words would have - with no difficulty or at all observable change whatever - coalesced into English. Apparently this is how children are born, with a brain that has one language slot which it then proceeds to fill in from the environment - so you can have any baby of any ethnic origin become a native speaker and cultural inhabitant of any culture.xii

This kid grew a little older, and as he grew a little older the insanely repressive social millieu in which his growing older was taking place took its toll. For instance, he ended up with very limited expectations of human sexuality, which in turn limited his experiencesxiii, which in turn reinforced his limited expectations and so on and so forth.

For instance, he could not say nigger. Ever. Not even in a closet by himselfoops... I got the wrong nigger here, don't I ? What I mean is, I'm talking to the wrong sort of Korean. Let's try and patch this up if we can. Or can we ?

For instance, Mr. Thaek grew up as a young gent that couldn't say "cock", or "cunt", or "bitch, get on your knees and suck my cock!". Wait... actually... neither can you, huh. This wouldn't be the point of difference between your Korea and his Korea, this'd be part of "universal human experience" aka "reality". Nobody nowhere ever did that, right ? It's just not done. Women that kinda need to be roughed out a little to get horny don't exist, never existed and just aren't born. That's like rape, that inexistent thing that's quite criminally offensive and I'd better stop with this before I squander the little credit I've managed to build up with you these past three thousand words, huh. Alrighty, let's try a different tack.

Mr. Thaek grew up as a young kid that wanted to perform well and earn the respect of his eldersxiv, and had a very "respectful"xv relationship with women his entire life. At home he got married, had a daughter, at work he got promoted.

Then his daughter went to study in Paris, and then refused to come back home. Consider that : you spend your entire life trying to make some shit work, and at the end of the day, as you’re too old to really start over, your grown kids say the shit you made doesn’t meet the absolutely basic minimal bar of tolerable. She’d rather live in Paris, among dog eating foreigners than home. Than that place where you tried to earn the respect of your elders and succeeded, that place where you've been "respectful" to women and also succeeded. Apparently your success stinks. Now what ?

Now you disapprove of her amorous arrangements, and she kills herself.

That's it.

You failed.

Except you don't actually hard-fail like that. You soft-fail, don't you. You, how did it go, "understand and support" your offspring in "their choices", whatever the fuck retarded stupid crock of shit those "choices" may be. You don't live in hardcore Korea after all, you live in the softcore version thereof, where everything's avoided.xvi

The earlier question going "United States, Democratic Republic of Korea, what the hell's the difference" is a lot broader than the misbehaviour of the person that bubbled to the top, and a lot deeper than simple edge similarities. Were you to find yourself in the mood to connect the dots, such as the deep reason for the real estate bubblesxvii and the various uncuntable difficulties around sexualityxviii and the sheer inability to process anything other than The Scriptxix or adapt to anything other than The Script, you suddenly discover that - as expected - there are some costs associated with living in a world of make-believe.

What's worse than the costs is that the effects mount logarithmically, while the costs mount exponentially. What's this mean ? Let's work an example :

  • For generation one, the cost to be a US type is 1, and the benefit is 6.90. This makes a net profit of 5.90, and attracts lots and lots of immigrants.
  • For generation two, the cost to be a US type is 7.39, and the benefit is 7.60. This makes a net profit of 0.21, and the general impression that the kids aren't quite as good as their parents were, so shamexx on them.
  • For generation three, the cost to be a US type is 20.08, and the benefit is 8.00. This makes a net loss of -12.08, which is more than the gain for the previous two combined.
  • There isn't going to be a fourth generation, for the reason that its costs would exceed 50 while the profits barely top 8, which by now is absolutely unsustainable.

I suppose this arrangement is great for "social mobility", which is a way of saying "If we own this land, how do we make sure that all these jerks are more like bison than like people, which is to say never come to actually challenge us ?" Obviously in that context social mobility is the greatest thing everxxi, and due to how greed works it's easy enough to sell, too.xxii Nevertheless, for actual people living in actual reality rather than whatever tinsel make-believe alternate, the situation is quite dire.

The wonderful powers of make-believe, endless as they may be for the sleeper, are on one hand extremely costly, and on the other hand perfectly useless for they who've awakened. In this perspective, the greatest threat to the continuity of the present US form of government is maintaining sleep as a core social mode of existence, the naked mole rat as the universal mascot and preventing the awakened from reaching critical mass or making any noise that may awake others.

Not that it has a chance in hell or anything.

  1. Review Plato for the cave. []
  2. The naked mole rat is a fascinating beast. Consider :
    Only one female (the Southern queen) and one to three males reproduce, while the rest of the members of the colony function as workers, which mostly means writing stupid shit for, submitting it to rettard and generally doing a whole bunch of clicking and typing. The queen and breeding males are able to breed at one year of age. Workers are sterile, with the smaller focusing on gathering likes and maintaining the homepage, while larger workers hang out on Something Awful. The relationships between the queen and the breeding males may last for many years; other females are temporarily sterile. Queens live from 13 to 18 years, and are extremely hostile to other females displaing queening behaviour (nipple displays are bad, bare midriffs not far behind), or giving off the olfactory byproducts of hormones required for becoming queens (I'll spare you). The young are born blind and weigh about 2 grams (0.07 oz). The queen nurses them for the first month; after which the other members of the colony feed them feces until they are old enough to eat solid food.

    You think I'm kidding ? I'm not kidding. []

  3. Yes, I am aware I'm cribbing most of my material off irc. Here's a link to irc to prove it : []
  4. Did you know this is a racial slur, by the way ? Except gypsies aren't a race, of course, nor does the mapping of complex subjects to simple kneejerks make much sense, as amply discussed on the same venue a different time. []
  5. As far as I know he doesn't actually have a point. While rents in Paris are high, so are land values, it's not the case you could buy rue de Montreuil for what'd it cost to rent it three years. []
  6. Mandatory link to The wonder of inflation. How the Sun can still rise on that land after such outrage (or such outrage) is anyone's guess. []
  7. Speaking of which : not only is it the case that your average US citizen is worth less than zero on a net asset basis, while your average Romanian citizen is worth above zero since roughly birth, on the same basis. Not only is it the case that most Romanians own outright the dwelling they inhabit (a severe drop from 1993, when a little over four fifths did so own their home). It's much worse than that : the average Romanian perceives himself as very poor (literally, dying of hunger in poverty), while he is nothing of the kind. Compare and contrast with the average US citizen, perceiving himself rich and "better off than the rest of the world", when he also is nothing of the kind. Such notions with no basis in fact and such thought processes with no reference to truth are certain to open the door for further nonsense in the same vein. []
  8. This is not particularly a cogent argument, even if on first examination it may seem it were. You could for instance equally observe that jewelry houses take their fees on top of the "list price" of the diamonds they're setting. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the entire existence of such experts is not wholly predicated on the larger diamond scam, of which commercial entreprise they are - certainly willing - subsidiaries, nor does it mean that a DYI market in diamonds wouldn't reduce the per carat price to a much saner $50. []
  9. At least not to the same degree, but mostly not at all. They cause other bubbles here, as the cheap garden hose attached to the blowing hooker will naturally bubble up at the points of least resistence. And in this sense, bubble formation analysis is a very important military intelligence gathering tool, because a country that forms bubbles in real estate is definitely weaker internally than a country which forms bubbles in collector art. Do not imagine the Chinese do not know this, incidentally : if my scarce data on their operations is any indication, they have the exact figure of how much pressure they need to put on the termite eaten piece of furniture for it to collapse, or for it to merely creak. And if the same scarce data is anything to go by, both values are well within their bandwidth. []
  10. Side channel attack at this point :

    Her I just saw, the note about real estate? It's how people fuck the poor. They know poor people can't get the money together to spend efficiently, so they get gouged.
    Me Horrid.
    Her When it's, you food, it's obnoxious. When it's housing it's pretty fucking nasty. I mean once someone gets low enough, avoiding homelessness is like daily struggle, they might as well be addicted to some kind of drug for all the good the day's money can do them.
    Me Outrageous.

    That's it : you don't have a homelessness problem over there. You have the problem of being fucking insane, on one hand, and putting up with insanity, on the other. []

  11. This is quite possibly true, and perhaps we will see an entire degree of magnitude appreciation in BTC this year still. But eventually this sort of talk will have to end. Timing that eventually, of course, is not unlike a game of catching the falling supercritical reactor core shaped in the form of a hatchet. []
  12. Which is one of the chief reasons we don't currently credit theories proposing relation between ethnicity and culture.

    Also kids exposed to ambiguous situations, such as each parent speaking a different language develop all the symptoms of infantile autism, in that they don't learn to use a language - a situation readily reversed once the parents fucking pick a system already. []

  13. Because sex is the first and foremost field which operates on an "ask and thou shall receive" paradigm - although it is rarely the case you know what you ask or what you'll be receiving, which is why all the rubbing lamp-genie jokes are really sexual jokes in disguise.

    And speaking of disguises, the Romanian word to describe a bit of something that makes it past the censors is "lizzard", such as for instance the one time Dali sarcastically congratulated Ceausescu for the latter's brave invention of the Presidential Scepter and the culturally unaware censors inadvertently published it in Scinteia, the party's organ. Or that one time when someone wrote a lengthy eulogy which was also an acrostic which spelled out CEAUSESCU NICOLAE, but the publisher - perhaps running out of space, or perhaps going for a lizzard - removed a few verses thus ending up with CEAUSESCU O LAE published in the newspaper (wherein "o la[i]e" is a common informal way to say something like "how about you suck me off instead"), much to everyone's delight.

    Everyone's delight, yes, because that's the thing with highly repressive regimes : they waste so much of people's time! Once society turns from free to repressive, everyone suddenly has the time and finds the interest to focus on such minutia, which has the effect that humor becomes muchly funnier and also intellectually deeper. And ultimately pointless.

    The lizzard in this footnote being that looky : fifty years ago nobody would have cared which nipple LaToya Jackson shew where. Or was it the other one ? Anyway, the supposed "decreasing quality" of public speech is on one hand in no way a proper decrease - as people pay a lot more attention to detail which in any sane approach is an increase of quality - and on the other not reflective of any sort of decrease of effort. What motivates it is the quest for lizzards everyone's reduced to once previously free society is reduced to the smoldering rubble and ruins of a dictatorship of prevailing stupidity (as any dictatorship by its very definition always is).

    So now, if you've over fifty, how long have you spent during the past five years discussing and thinking about topics you could not have been bothered to even notice twenty five years ago ? Why do you think that is ? []

  14. Ever seen The Graduate, by the way ? Great film, very young Dustin Hoffman. []
  15. This, on the face of it, means boring. Women are a little different beast than what the proposed nonsense contemplates. []
  16. If you're wondering, yes, there IS a US equivalent for the exact situation of Thaek : Obama killed Petraeus, in the soft manner such is done in the US. []
  17. "Gotta keep up with the Jones" is the exact positive equivalent of the negative "Don't want to make a fool of yourself in public". These are twins and they create a monade, fundamentally unfree people will alter their behaviour and even their thought process so that a) their acts and thoughts don't conflict with the social normative and b) their acts and thoughts further the social normative. These are fundamentally the same thing, a mistaken notion that the social normative is above reality, anterior to reality and in any practical situation a better alternative than reality. []
  18. It's not happenstance that women are "outraged" to see a penis - as if - and that the number one fear of English speakers is public speaking, and that kids can't conceive of their parents fucking and that you have to have special classes and an entire profession predicated on telling boys to go up to girls and say hi, something they're unlikely to manage on their own, and on and on and on. Pretty much everything comes back to the central issue of repression, not as a statal function, not as a social function, but as the main socialisation paradigm taught to children from the cradle onwards, alongside declension and flection.

    This obviously is not intended to say or even suggest that repression can or should be eschewed as an adaptative mechanism, but it definitely says quite plainly that any attempt at socialisation which rests on repression exclusively is bound to create desocialised and fundamentally nonsocialisable monsters. Which is pretty much what you see in the kids currently reared by US parents, a general inability to handle anything, much like your typical naked mole rat, kept in the dark and fed shit all his life would be unable to handle the light of the sun, or the smell of roses. What do you mean his shit at home ain't smellin' too rosy ?! These be fightin' words!

    The naked mole rat has a major advantage, of course : the complete lack of substance P in his skin makes him completely immune to any sensation at all, including pain or even itching (scratching being a behaviour frequently exhibited by other rodents). But frankly I rather expect someone in the US to find a substance P chelating agent and start marketing it as an energy drink before anyone'd figure out the repression BS has to cease. It's just how the world works. []

  19. For excelent satire on the topic, see Luc Besson's recent production. []
  20. Ah, shame, such an important concept. Isn't it ? Doesn't simply seeing it written curdle you up inside ? []
  21. Second only to high taxes, in case you're wondering why people like Buffett come out to declare he isn't paying enough tax, when he could simply a) pay more tax and b) stop using all the various tax avoidance schemes he uses, like paying himself no salary - if he paid himself a hundred million a year he'd send the taxman seventy-odd million and be done with it. The reason, of course, is that he doesn't want you to grow rich enough to challenge him. That's all. []
  22. If you hear "social mobility", you immediatelty think of that promised promotion (promised, of course, on the explicit contingency that you work more for less, and the implicit contingency that you don't - horrible dictu! - fuck the cleaning woman on your desk or somesuch shameful activity), instead of the statistically more likely situation where you end up the next bum. (here's an older Romanian article detailing for an awestruck audience the simple facts of homelessness in the US). []
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