Come see me clutching at straws

Saturday, 09 August, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

fluffypony Has anyone written a blog post on what exactly makes the Bitcoin Foundation such a stupid idea? I mean besides their uselessnes to date, I mean fundamentally why it would never have worked regardless of who was at the top.
mircea_popescu It would have worked fine with better people at the top.i So would have the forum. If bitcointalk weren't run by a random 20yo kid with nary a clue of this world and a random gang of the otherwise unemployable, it'd have not failed into the scam swamp of all time.

chetty Good people can make even bad ideas work.
mircea_popescu Yeah, the more general point being that no structural considerations can ever excuse personal ineptitude. Obama is a failure first and foremost because he, himself, personally, is an imbecile, not nearly up to the task he asked to be allowed to undertake. Every poor black person in jail is in jail because they, personally, are fucktards. The "system", family and all else come vehehehery distant seconds, and of little practical consequence. They're only discussed because we don't really give a shit about the prisoner himself. If we did give a shit, we'd discuss how fucktarded he is instead of how x is failing y and other statistical wankery.

chetty But but but, they are all victims.
mircea_popescu They're all fluffy magical unicorns, too. So what of it.

chetty Get with the program, you are supposed to feel sorry and guilty unless of course you too can find a nice victim group to be part of.
mircea_popescu What, gotta have my emotions available for use as part of the "productive future society" ? That's okay, I'm opting out. It'd be fucking ridiculous if I took my capital out of the bezzle, but allowed the emotional soliciting nonsense to continue. I guess that makes me a terrorist AND a sociopath dunnit.

chetty Well they kinda go together, newspeak the words are synonyms.
mircea_popescu You know, English as a discussion space is getting incredibly boring these days. You have "science" which mostly consists of the sterile nonsense of "creationists" and a few fringe groups (homeopaths, scientologists, whatever nuts), some very primitive "o look, I discovered fractals" repackaging of basic understanding ("i fucking love science!11") and a bunch of bureaucracy-serving faux debates (o, really, 97.x% of the "scientists" hoping for a govt grant agree the govt position has scientific value ? how very Ceausescu v2.0ii of them!). Then you have politics/current affairs, which are mostly a bunch of "who are we calling the bad things this week". Putin "doesn't understand how the world works" for having dared to humiliate our beloved leadership bimonthly for the past year, and the Israelis are whatever and on and on. And then you have some stale local interests topics, mostly molded in this mold, and some (bad) sports. That's it. I'm surprised people even bother learning the language for this crap. O wait... they don't, do they.

chetty Well do not dispair we have b-a.
mircea_popescu Talking to some random guy yest.

Him : It's gonna take awhile to digest this. You like writing eh.
Me : I have a lot to say :D
Him: Lol yeah, it's an unusual writing style. It's like a mix of technical, story telling and stretched analogies. I'm sure you get a lot of hardcore readers who follow along. From a technical standpoint, it's somewhat of a nightmare lol.

Basically, that's what b-a reduces to : using English as a language rather than as a lingo is so uncommon by now, it takes intelligent people some effort to accommodate.

punkman What's this technical standpoint anyway.
mircea_popescu I believe it'd be the proposition that words work unequivocally and logic may be applied to natural language constructs.

punkman "This isn't the textbook I was expecting!" ?
mircea_popescu It all dovetails neatly into BingoBoingo's recent stuff about sublanguages. And I guess my recent article, at that. The possibility of text meaning something to the reader is quite severely restricted by a whole list of novel issues, not directly familiar to the historian of this topic. By chance, I was just reading the latest on crooked timber. Here : crookedtimber.org/shit-and-curses-and-other-updates-on-the-steven-salaita-affair. There's a bunch of academics no less, discussing a topic of no particular interest with utter abandon : some Palestinian guy who's also a professor got offered a job and then de-offered the job, because Urbana admin didn't like him ranting about Israelis on Twitter. Now this is all about as irrelevant as you like, but if you read what these commenters say to each other it becomes rapidly obvious they fail before even remotely engaging. Goat sperm'd have a better shot impregnating toad eggs. So I suspect pop culture and the (very specifically English, btw, and Chinese!) tendency towards the lowest common denominator and cultural sterility result from this chasm : on one hand people expect to be belonging together, unwarrantedly.iii On the other hand, they share exactly nothing. Thus parallel discussion is not a funny occurence but the vast majority of all interractions, people happily arguing with self-constructed dopplegangers of each other respectively. Basically, a strawman is not merely a logical error, but the substance of all English language discourse today.

punkman Oh wow. I like this concept of parallel discussion.
mircea_popescu It started as this literary device I had thought I had invented like a decade ago.iv We even tried to work it into our book with Chet. But the more I read the more I realise that actually... it's not me inventing something novel, it's my brain trying to cope with nonsense. Back in the 70s when politicians started doing this, engaging in pseudo-debates on "issues" that had no coherent definition in their respective systems, people derrided the entire process as nonsensical. Enter the Internet, everyone is doing it. Everyone. Everwhere. Find the most obscure blog and you'll have two nobodies doing it to each other for sport. I suppose it must be cheaper than actual speech.

punkman Yeah you don't have to spend any processing cycles on what the other guy said, just do the most superficial pattern-matching to harvest some entropy for your Markov chain.
mircea_popescu Precisely. So you know, when the Markov chain-based invaders finally take over, they'll be welcomed by the populace.

punkman "Act like a dumbshit and they'll treat you like an equal!"
mircea_popescu I don't think action is possible anymore. You can't run with your eyes closed. You can't act in a world inhabited by these phantasms. I suspect for the average English-as-sole-language speaker action is actually impossible today.

chetty I am not sure its actually language relevant. People can fail to think in any language. Speaking more than one probably just gives you a better shot at noticing.
mircea_popescu Well, here's the thing : some languages act as a metamind for the speakers, the collected intellectual effort of antecessors having constructed the linguistic equivalent of engineer's scales and whatnot. So that through the mere workings of the language, one's point is refined. This used to work in English too, three centuries ago. "Put your idea in writing to see what it actually says". Some other languages however act as a confounder of thought, I am discovering, and a hindrance to expression, with contemporary English being a major example of this sad situation. A point expressed in today's English is actually LESS than what it was before it met expression. That's a sad state of affairs, and it creates a spiral of doom. As the language stops working positively, people stop caring, and so it'll just rot further.

chetty I dun think thats the languages fault, poor abused language.
punkman How's the Spanish language fare?
mircea_popescu I can't really distinguish Latin languages enough to have an opinion, other than that modern French is perhaps having a similar if unrelated problem. Maybe it's all the fallout of television, who's to know. "Here's what three generations of visual 'thinking' barbarians will do to language" sort of thing.

chetty bzcbal7cuai7yux
mircea_popescu Kinda interesting how teh black square is trying to do the same "I'm opting out of your fucktarded language space". Something tells me it won't work.

chetty Maybe more than blacks actually, how often do you need to look up stuff in urban dictionary?
mircea_popescu Well every time someone talks about me, interestingly enough.v

BingoBoingo Re your 70s observation, this is why I kind of follow sports. There is an entire infrastructure built around the mythos of each team and numerous parallel conversations, but at the end of the season there is a win-loss record and people are butthurt in proportion to how wrong the mythos they bought into was.
mircea_popescu That's a point. I guess wrestling actually IS the mother of all US sport.

BingoBoingo Not quite because of kayfabe and the heel/face dynamic.
mircea_popescu What is the whole "x random team owner is racist" thing ? Kayfabe neh ?

BingoBoingo That's not sports, that's politics. And private taxation styled after North Korea.
mircea_popescu There can not be such a difference. Differentiation presumes meaning. If you can't have meaning, you can't say "that's not sports, that's politics".

BingoBoingo Steve Ballmer and Magic Johnson fighting over who gets to take Sterling's team is a political discussion a la which contractor gets this bunch of tax money. David Price can't in the middle of the game take Mike Trout's bat and compell him to use a curtain rod instead.
mircea_popescu That's a point.

———
  1. Linux has worked splendidly and for a long time with Torvalds at the top. Canonical Ltd has been working horribly and for a much shorter time with Silber at the top.

    Perhaps you can not directly distinguish between these two : they're both people, they both eat, they both wear clothes and speak in rooms with other people. This inability to distinguish merely translates your idiocy into yet another palpable example you'll readily ignore (like all the others), nothing more. It doesn't somehow make Silber's pointed uselessness passable, nor does it make Canonical a sort of Linux Foundation, even if "they both deal with software".

    Learn to discriminate, it's what separates humans from chimps. []

  2. Yes dears, that's the advantage of those with life experience over those without life experience : we've seen it already. Your fascinating show is our stale re-run. We've seen the "resistence through culture", too, which is your next stage. It'll come to you with all the trappings of novelty, of course, and like all the other people unaware of history before, you'll think you're discovering new ground and innovative moves over there. Have fun, I guess. I'm not spoiling the ending, btw : it's spoiled already. []
  3. The funniest part of this unwarranted presumption of belonging is where various people misrepresent the United States as "a nation". If the US is a nation then so is Africa - what, you thought Biden's "error" is accidental ? It's not accidental, it's essential. To him Africa really is a nation, because why wouldn't it be ? If the US is a nation so is this bowl of cereal, any random continent and the Confederated Oceans of Saturn. Why not ? []
  4. It's not exactly unknown in Romanian, these days. Here's a guy doing it better than me. []
  5. Yes, I actually do this, research terms people use to describe me. This is of course to my benefit, I understand more of the world this way. I could of course just create a word (preferably an acronym) to describe those people who use terms I don't understand to describe me, and leave it at that. This of course would be to my detriment, as I wouldn't understand more of the world in this way. I'd understand less instead.

    There's an old Romanian article dealing with the exact same topic, title roughly translates as "what's the use of square roots to me". The mob you see has no patria, the stupid-and-poor filth is the same - exactly the same - in the gutters of York, New York or Mumbay. Given this, it comes as no surprise that the anti-intellectualism of the ignorant is equally present wherever one finds the ignorant, which dovetails neatly into one of the main reasons there isn't nor can there be a US "nation" : the substance of those various populations could just as well be Mexican, or Korean. Mostly, they actually are.

    In any case, in between the fundamentalist ignorance of those decried as "ignorant", the militant alternative flavour of ignorance of those doing the decrying and the plain indolent idiocy of those cautiously not getting themselves involved there are no actual people left that could make a nation out of the US. Mind that three rosebuds do not make a Spring, there's some minimal density of crystal lattice required before an amorphous mass can be described as crystaline macroscopically. Now how and out of what unseen straight timber will you make a majority of US citizens that effectually and efficiently marginalizes the rednecks, the libertards and the corporatists all at the same time and over the entire spectrum of public life ? 'Cause that'd be the US nation. Once you find it, let me know. []

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3 Responses

  1. "Obedience is not Partiotism"?

    Speaking of today's English, why does attitude seem to correlate with error?

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 9 August 2014

    For the same reason trying to run with your eyes closed would correlate to broken bones, I suspect.

  1. [...] post follows from a discussion this morning which has already been blogged once, but in which I introduced an idea that would benefit from further elaboration and clarification. [...]

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