Between the hammer and the anvil...

Tuesday, 18 November, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

That drawing's a lot more on point than you realise. Consider :

undata It wouldn't shock me if people have some hard-wiring to accept abuse from authority.
asciilifeform Accept abuse - that would not be astonishing. But this is something else. This is more like
assbot Logged on 17-11-2014 04:35:56; asciilifeform mircea_popescu: They wish to steal not merely the farmer's cow, but to also steal the farmer's "having being stolen from" << USG (and the 'Enlightenment') in one sentence.

undata ^ I found that a fascinating way of describing it.
asciilifeform The 'sense of stolen from' atrophied.
undata Alienation, no?
asciilifeform Sorta like the folks who once proposed to grow chickens lacking brains. This was accomplished. But not with chickens.

Let's leave that aside for a moment, and instead let's imagine that the lizard Hitler actually exists, as a factual matter, the same way your chair existsi. Suppose that if you met whatever objective standard, said lizard Hitler would pop out of nowhere right behind you, say "Congrats X, you've made it. You've proven yourself. Now you can join my secret empire of greatness." and basically that'd be it, you thereby have anything you can conceive of. Just wish it and you got it, it's yours. Pop! Just like that.

Provided, of courseii, that you never say a word to any of the moogles about any of this greatness. Just, never give the show away. You don't have to be in some sort of physical reclusion a la Brave New World, but you do have to keep mum. I suppose at this point you expect me to ask you "what would you do". Well... no, I won't. Save it, for I don't care and it's stupid anyway.iii

Suppose instead that the lizard Hitler... doesn't actually exist. What exactly does that change, from the situation above, where it did exist ? If you're not completely fucktarded, such as would be expected of one that passed an objective standardiv of accomplishment, you definitely have better things to do with your time than catering to the needs of mental deficients.

In short : those who can add, add. They have no time to teach addition.v Those who find the time to teach addition generally have no fucking idea how it works. They enjoy the sound the blackboard makes or something, they're Lloyd Brown salesmenvi. And this doesn't stop there, either : those who know the answers can't be bothered to "vote", while those who find the time to vote have no fucking idea what's going on, which neatly explains the failure of every single attempt to enact "popular democracy" or "representative democracy" or whatever the hell you dress-up socialism as when going for that quaint nobler-than-itself angle.

It's not just a question of moneyvii, you see. It's not just that the socialist state needs to steal firewood and coat buttons from Mary to prop up Jane. It goes all the way to the bottom of the stack, in order to function the socialist state actually has to steal the use of knowledge, skill and ability, it has to steal intelligence, it has to steal things inaccessible to its grubby little physical hands.

It's true that for as long as the cocks are well sucked, for as long as life is an exercise in contentment within the illusion of abundance, the five that matter may be willing to donate enough smart so the five million that can't find their way out of a paper chicken don't immediately die. But this temporary lull is stuck between an anvil and a hammer. The hammer is that... well, the millions have to be groveling and sucking the cock. Eagerly! Abjectly! The moment bullshit rears its ugly head, the unlikely marriage's up and famine looms. Meanwhile the anvil is that well, as time goes by complexity increases, which means more and more cocks to suck, through more and more complicated, demanding methods.

Between the hammer and the anvil, socialism is, has been and will forever likely remain extremely fringe human behaviour. I say enjoy it while it lasts, neither your grandparents knew it, nor will your grandchildren ever meet it again, Maybe once the year changes prefix.viii Or maybe once unixtime changes prefix. At any rate : it'll be a while.

  1. Nobody knows about it but you, yet as far as that goes you're pretty sure it's actually there, for an array of reasons. And if it came to it you definitely could prove its existence to any individual or assembly thereof, provided of course you could be either arsed to transport the damned thing or else could stomach having them in your house.

    But as a purely intellectual exercise, what would you do if "someone from the Internet" firmly, loudly and expressively denied the existence of your chair ? You know, the one you're sitting on right now.

    Would you, what, "prove it" ? How do you prove things to "someones from the Internet" ? This is trickier than it seems, incidentally. Sure - you could prove it to Ann, the everyday, next-door alleged manifestation of that "someone on the Internet". But in so doing, all you've accomplished is showing your chair to some neighbourhood girl, which is another way of saying "nothing, really". The problem of breaching the metaphysical gap is still untouched, proving things to "someones from the Internet" by showing physical people physical objects is not unlike "fighting crime" by putting individual fellows in prison. If it worked so well why are you still stuck doing it, thousands of years later ? []

  2. Funny how there's always a catch, huh ? []
  3. If the why is not readily obvious to you : the value of a counterfactual in direct comparison to actual reality is nil, as perhaps best illustrated by the parting post of Shannon Larratt :

    I do admit that the closest I come to any sense of “life after death” is my nagging suspicion that we’re living in a simulation… I don’t know that I buy the statistical argument (since there is only one “real” reality, and a huge number of simulations, we are almost certainly in a simulation), because it makes so many big assumptions, but there are other convincing hints — the quantized nature of reality, so of the weirdness at the edges of perception, and so on, to say nothing of how “special” life feels.

    Check out the "statistical argument", aka the "pleading to complete ignorance of statistics, logic or anything else" argument. Formally : since in an arbitrary set of undefined counterfactuals any one defined counterfactual is in fact a single element in an uncountable set, and if we simply identify reality with "one defined counterfactual", as if that's how that works, then we can claim that the "likeliness" (undefined) of reality being reality is a function of dividing one by the (undefined) cardinal of an undefined set made up of undefined elements and for this reason in principle uncountable. How do you like that!

    Now let's apply it : because I'm just a guy, the probability of me being me rather than some other random person living somewhere out there is pretty much nil. But that's not as bad as it sounds, seeing how most people that ever lived are currently dead, and so we're both more likely to be some dead guy than ourselves. And since we're on it, bacteria have always been more numerous than people, so on the basis of this new learning not only can banana peels be used to prevent earthquakes (since there's more banana peels than earthquakes) but also, anyone is more likely to actually be the shit in his gut than himself. Which shows, in reverse order, the value of trusting your gut, the power of magical thinking, the benefits to consciousness of doing a lot of various drugs and the ultimate oneness of everything.

    Back at the "I've not just dropped half a cup of acid" ranch, counterfactuals don't get used in straight comparisons with reality, as we're not twelve years old. []

  4. The objective part in there is very important. The Internets are full to the brim with idiots who, on the basis of little more than personal exceptionalism, grant themselves imaginary certificates of achievement. Guess what : it doesn't matter that you think you're "basically an ok guy" or "with a great sense of humor" or whatever. If you can't make nine out of ten bitches laugh you don't have a sense of humour at all, you obnoxiously stolid fuck. "Great" in this context means that to fail to amuse you need a pathological case before you, and those are parts per million. That's what objective standard means, like a real exam, made so most of your contemporaries fail. Starkly opposite to the crud you've seen in school, made so everyone - not most, everyone - passes. []
  5. Not for free, anyway, which is exactly why slavery is, exactly opposite to morally wrong : a social necessity. If she who's wrong on the other end of the line is your own thing, then putting in the time to fix her/it may well be justified. "I can't come to bed, my server is broken" makes sense, and so does "I can't come to bed, my bitch is fucking crazy". People may perhaps be persuaded to put in the effort needed to distribute all those hard lashes if they own the chattel being thus improved. And even that's a maybe. []
  6. Frank: You single-handedly brought Costanza & Son to the brink of bankruptcy.
    George: Well what about all the Lloyd Braun sales?
    Frank: He's crazy. His phone wasn't even hooked up. He just liked ringing that bell. []
  7. Although that's bad enough to sink the whole shebang on its own. From the article discussing government clerk myopia :

    It is a fact of human psychology that we hold dearer to that which we lost, above and beyond its actual value, while we disregard that which we’ve gained, deeming it worth less than would be factually correct. This flows out of necessary biology, seeing how the maintenance of life requires material consumption, and so the mammalian brain can’t reasonably be expected to view the matter in a strictly neutral perspective. An influx from the outside to the inside is the zero level of biological survival for purely thermodynamic reasons, and because of this situation an ounce lost could mean death whereby an ounce gained does not necessarily mean life, and if it does it’s only temporary anyway.

    From the perspective of governance, this state of affairs has the following unfortunate implication : should a collection of people each produce p units and immediately consume p units, their per capita contentment will be p. Should however a collection of people each produce p units, be taxed for k units (where k < p), benefit from government prestations worth exactly k units, and as a result consume p units, their per capita contentment will be p - nk, where n > 0 (though hopefully < 1). In other words, even in the socialist ideal society where everyone produces exactly the same, and even if we throw in capitalist ideal methods, where government waste is exactly 0 and k = k, nevertheless there's a loss through the simple workings of the different psychological treatment of loss and gain.


  8. There's a lot of historical substance to this observation. For an anecdote, consider that the first socialist revolution tried to restart the year count. For a different tack, consider that the one abundance that really matters - an abundance of naivity and hope - is much likelier as things get started. Should the nascent thing not manage to also become economically productive, you'll simply never hear of it, and so form the mistaken idea it never existed. Should it manage to become economically productive, it may briefly flirt with socialism, of the eager, easy, "heroic" type.

    Then many years later as the empire is coming to an end, the center's desperate efforts to prop itself at the expense of the outskirts are just as socialist. Sadly, the treasure trove of naivity and hope the thing started with is by now long exhausted, and so the exact same stupidity now appears clunky, ineffectual, ridiculous, then in due time criminal and inhuman. At this point the students of history that don't actually study history except in small pieces put forth the cries of "stalinism was not really socialism", because they notice the difference between the two, but don't actually grok that it's still the same socialism it was before, it just doesn't have the valuable ideal treasures to squander that it had before. I suppose to a monkey, a car that has run out of gas is also not a "real" car. []

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6 Responses

  1. I don't really see the reason for necessity to keep silent about being accepted by lizard hitler. Unless it's your case, since you always avoid talking about source of your own wealth. But I disgress. Either you won't be believed. Or you get them heaps of bezzle USD, which they'll promptly use to kill them.

    Anyway,it's prolly inconsequential, as I'm drunk and lost your train of thought shortly thereafter.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

    The question is "shortly thereafter what ?" :D

    But seriously, the "keep silent" necessity is to account for the fact that the whole affair is not generally "public knowledge". This is the homage counterfactuals must pay to actual reality, like it or not : they have to change in such a way as to explain how their unreality can coexist with reality. This never flows the other way, and in its patent "unfairness" it brings to mind the situation of women (who are the ones who have to change to coexist with men) and of various transhumanists (who are the ones carrying the burden of coexisting with humanity, never the other way around, be they transsexual, potheads or w/e else they may be). In fact, this is the deep reason the USG and the US-people will have to change to cope with Bitcoin, not the other way around : the greater degree of reality present in the later, to the "detriment" (understood narcissistically) of the former.

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