On owning things

Friday, 10 April, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Since the Killer Micro Revolutioni, value has drastically shifted away from material items towards ideal items, exactly in the manner the Industrial Revolution shifted value away from agricultural products towards industrial products.

One way to phrase the problem would be that "prices are sticky". More generally - that for a good while the last time this happened people overvalued the old stuff, misrepresenting or outright failing to even represent the change undermining the old value equation. Your average feudal lord was surprised to discover the burgher richer than himself, much for the same reasons Mises would have been surprised had he lived to see me take girls to the river. Much like people today tend to not understand the importance of intangibles.

A fine example of this is the general failure to grasp the overpowering importance of the WoT, as displayed by say Swanson, or Locklin, or the list goes on. Endlessly, on. Another fine example however came to light in chat recently. Like so :

funkenstein_ This guy wrote a couple papers over a year ago, claiming vulns in mining. Totally bogus. If any of you care I can write it up.
mircea_popescu I'd read it.ii

funkenstein_ vixra.org/abs/1504.0072 <-- my writeup from earlier convo
assbot viXra.org e-Print archive, viXra:1504.0072, “The Majority is Enough” a Rebuttal of Two Proposed Vulnerabilities of Bitcoin Mining

mircea_popescu Da fuck is vixra.
funkenstein_ Arxiv backwards.

mircea_popescu And I'm not reading a PDF. What the fuck funkenstein_ !
funkenstein_ Lol I throw it on a blog then.

mircea_popescu Dude...srsly. A walled garden/proprietary platform is bad in and of itself. It's not bad only if it becomes big. The difference between this stupid Disqusiii shit and just writing for Gawker is 0.iv Own your content, AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. You don't need someone else deciding anything whatsoever. Not what url to use. Not when to "put up a warning page".v Not. Any. Thing.

funkenstein_ Hmm I hadn't thought of it like that.
mircea_popescu You don't want me to think "hey that was a great piece, I wonder IF ARXIV ORG HAS MORE". Fuck them. you want me to think "I wonder if you have more". You know Ellison ? youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE << watch this.
assbot Harlan Ellison -- Pay the Writer - YouTube

funkenstein_ Their (arxiv / vixra) competion is journals that charge the author per page.
mircea_popescu No dude, that's how *they hope to make money*. Later on. Once "we" and "contact us" have got enough of this fuzzy baseless trust made by appealing to a certain naivity of the intelligent.vi "O look, they're hippy dippy cool and got cat pictures". What "they" ? And it's not THEIR fucking cat, either.

ascii_field Plankton filter feeders.
mircea_popescu 'Cause that's all they know, Facebook model. Pretend like "we" are interacting with the stakeholders but stay anonymous, and then if/when this gets big enough, assert a new identity and whoopdeedoo, claim you're worth a billion. Why ? "Because people follow us". Well fuck you, back when YOU were anonymous, Joe Schmoe and Lucy Lue followed you. Not "people", anonymously. Yet now that you wish to be Facebook Inc, suddenly *they* gotta be... you know "people". To take the place of the vague "we". Oldest scam in the book, this identity transfer.vii Keep your identity, it's yours. And for that matter, it's not only the most valuable thing you'll ever have - it's outright the only one.

Owning things fundamentally reduces to indentifying what things are, and how things are given away. The anonymous Indiansviii that traded away Manhattan Island for 50 dollars' worth of beads failed to identify what things were - they had no idea what land means, per se - and how things are given away - they had no idea they were even entering a contract in the first place. Bear in mind that one isn't magically protected from being the anonymous Indians. You may imagine you "have a right" to "not fear being raped" all you wish, alongside any other rights you wish to imagine for yourself. In reality, however, either you figure it out or else you're getting it, good and thick.

So figure it out.

  1. People generally think it was mainframes that the killer micro killed. This used to be true, in the 80s, but then the Internet happened. Originally ARPANET etc ran on big iron, but once the shitty chickens got a whiff of it (recall how the BBS system took over as a cheaper alternative on leased lines ?) that was the end. The killer micro is the equivalent machine for the steam engine, and while it is perhaps improper to refer to the Industrial Revolution as The Steam Engine Revolution, it is still functionally correct. Meanwhile, we have a conventional name for that revolution, but not for this one yet, and so absent convention we're stuck with functional nomenclature. I suppose there's no need anymore to try and convince anyone that yes, this one is just as much a revolution as that one ever was, and as the agricultural revolution before them, and as nothing else. Is there ? []
  2. I don't think anyone rightly apprehends how much I read. []
  3. Try and think, what exactly does Disqus do ? It gives you for free... your giving to them of comments people made on your shit. That's what Disqus is : "how about you give us all the stuff you get ? For free ?"

    In what sort of anti-universe does that make sense ? Suppose I come up to you and go "Hey, Christmas is coming, tell you what, I'll take all the presents you get off your hands. Free of charge!" Put like this it suddenly reveals itself for the stupidity it is, seeing how even the bad socks Aunt Marge gives you can at least be donated to clothe the nude or something. But back when we were discussing "technologee" it seemed like hey, a great deal. Because you don't correctly value the new things, just yet. []

  4. Gawker is merely symbolic of the non-qntra model - that sort of venue where they give you the gift of taking your stuff. For free! You know, just like colleges work, you get to pay a trunkful of money in exchange for the priviledge of assigning to them the fruits of the mental labours of your most fruitful years. Hey, if you discover cold fusion while an undergrad at Stanford, what then ? Look up Matthew Cook while you're at it. []
  5. Google "lets you" blog, for free. You know, like Dunkin Donuts might "let you" wait tables, for free. And then they put stuff on your stuff, that's driving benefits to them. Such as for instance link stealing "next blog" links. Yeah, those steal money. Such as power stealing "NSFW" confirmation pages.

    Let's delve into this matter a bit. The first part I expect should be more or less obvious : if people get to put their links into your material, those people pay for it. If they don't pay for it you're either being overly generous or overly gullible, but inasmuch as someone other than you put that link in there, it's a money thing. Just like, you know, if you do something because you felt like it then you call it leisure, but if you do something because someone else told you to then it's labour and there'd better be a paycheck attached. Same exact principle at work, yet one's somehow obvious and the other somehow counterintuitive huh ? Funny how this works.

    The second part is iffier but not incomprehensible. If someone stops you and tells you not to go further "for your own safety", do you pay him any mind ? If you don't, he's just a raving fool on the side of the road. If you do, he's a policeman. It doesn't matter what comes past the spot, whether it's dragons or nude teenagers or nude teenage dragon turtles. It doesn't matter when this happens, or where, or anything else. If the guy gets to put warnings on your process flow, he's an authority above you. If he does not, he's not. Whole story.

    Now, whatever the walkers may do or may not do when confronted with the warnful someone, the owner of the bit of real estate where that someone sits - ie, you, the writer! - loses some power. Because in tolerating the third party policeman on his own grounds he is no longer lord of the domain, possesed of the ancient rights of infangenethef, outfangenethef, etceterief. He is just a subject now. This should cost money. Is google paying you anything to be its subject ? If not, why not ? Is your servitude worth what it pays ? If it is, how come ?

    These are things you should think about - strictly because failure to think about them is not different (I didn't say it's not distinguishable - I said it is not different!) from an inability to think about them. In other words, if you don't think about this it doesn't matter that you could have thought about it. In your failure you are a cow, exactly like any other cow. Yes, you're a cow that could have not been a cow, whereas Joiana's a cow that couldn't not have been a cow. Meanwhile, you're both cows. []

  6. That's exactly what this is. Remember the memory hole problem ? Well... it doesn't happen just with newspapers, or just with elitism. It happens with everything. Everywhere. All the time.

    But especially so on the Internet. Here's an illustrative conversation :

    Her : I'm so sick of that "Keep Calm and..." bullshit meme. It's like... taken over.
    Me : Taken over what ?

    Her : Everyone on Facebook uses it!
    Me : What's that even mean ? Those aren't actual people.

    Her : What are you talking about, everyone I ever run into has a Facebook account.
    Me : These aren't the same thing. On one hand, yes people will declare, in social circumstances, that they "have" a Facebook account, especially if the prevailing social expectation is for them to. The bar to this is indeed very low, people will make all sorts of weird claims socially for very little reason or no reason at all. Meanwhile, maybe they had an account six months ago, that they lost the password to and it's now spamming Viagra links. On the other hand, have you ever tried to look at a random page on Wikipedia ? 99% of the pages there are about some tiny town somewhere, some obscure band or cartoon, it is strictly not different from Myspace in its heyday. Sure, if you carefully curate your visit you may manage to limit it to pages full of stupid shit that purport to discuss interesting topics, rather than pages full of stupid shit that purport to discuss "685 Hermia" or "Dirt Merchant". But this happenstance does not make it any less full of stupid shit, or any more interesting generally. Remember the Fetlife thing ? Supposedly it's a sort of "social media" platform for "kinky people", whatever that may mean. But in practice it consists of fifty pages maintained by various studios / knick-knack salesmen trying to hawk their wares, five thousand pages of aspiring studios / knick-knack salesmen and otherwise hundreds of thousands of dormant accounts, plenty of them showing two days' activity and three years' gap since. So... you know, "everyone on Facebook", really ? How is that in any sense relevant ? Because "everyone I know is on Facebook" ? That's in no sense the same thing! If you throw all your money down the toilet, and the toilet makes a gurgling sound does it now follow that money is gurgling ? What if some other part of the toilet was gurgling, and the money you threw down the drain doesn't figure into that at all ? Which is exactly what this is : your attention is money, that you're pouring down a drain. The gurgles that drain spits back at you have nothing to do with you, or with attention, or with people or anything else. It's just what the facebooktoilet does.

    Her : Wow. I never thought about it this way.

    That's what it is : a bizarro sort of pareidolia where a guy leaves a cutout of a cat by the highway, and people passing by in their cars go "o look, a cat". It's not actually a cat, but it kinda looks like one, and at the speed they're going that passes muster. After which, because it doesn't stop there, after which they become attached to it. Especially if the sight repeats itself. It will, necessarily, happen that they go by it right as the love of their life is proposing on the phone, or just as their favourite song comes on the radio, or just as they're eating a great bit of shitty food. And they'll form an attachment, exactly like the children that form a faux representation of animals, through lack of exposure to actual stimuli, because actual stimuli were replaced with painted cardboard (for safety!).

    And so now the chumpatron's ready, you take away the cat cutout and replace it with a "buy a cat" stand. Who wouldn't buy the "cat", which is to say who wouldn't pay 39.90 so as to avoid the need to adjust their stupid head ? Sure they'll buy, all you need to do is make it somehow possible for them to do it while they're driving.

    That's the driving force behind all this "making payments easier" bullcrap - the simple fact that consumers are retarded, essentially, and the easier payments are, the more superficial and less important failures of the brain are exposed to exploitation. Because really, people have kind-of started to figure out why "believing in your country" to the degree of paying into open ended pension funds isn't the best use of their resources. Gotta find more... you know, hip, trendy, intunewiththenewgeneration stuff. Cats!

    The problem with this entire echafaudage of first-pass Killer Micro Revolution stuff is that it doesn't actually create any value. Yes, it captures attention, but only of stupid, or perhaps shall we say yet-naive people. Remember Grama Moses who earnestly thought "if it weren't true they wouldn't have printed it in the newspaper" ? Was she exactly stupid ? Perhaps, but consider how outright ridiculous that proposition is now. Something changed, has the new Grama become somehow less stupid ? Perhaps. But in any case, it's changed, and it's changed deeply.

    The early "inventions" of the industrial era failed exactly in this manner, too. You don't remember them, but for a long long while the undisputed "new wave" brought about undisputably stupid "social media sites" as its "technologies". So thickly and intensively dysfunctional and pointless, so broadly missing the mark of industrialisation that the whole shebang was still being derided in the early 1900s for its ineptitude - in sketches and bits you probably could not recall, but let's try. What made Chaplin famous ?

  7. Think about it for a minute. Maybe you're in a position to have seen this go the whole length, maybe you're in a disposition to take my word for it.

    So, you're an entity with some - very moderate - power, and this new thing comes by, and they wish you to help them. For free. Because hey, "we're just trying to ". Maybe you do. If you do, and if others also do, just as soon as the thing grows bigger than you it'll be all "fuck you". They make "a new X policy". Why not ? It is, after all, a policy. It's not like they took the deals they had, implicitly and often enough explicitly, with the people that got them there and burned them. It's just... you know, something vague. A "policy". So now, freed from the dead weight of the identity of the original stakeholders, they can soar to collect a bunch of generally naive but deeply aspirational folk on the strength of that undue association. And if this stage succeeds, the next one is to try and collect the true consumer public, ie, the utterly braindead, through sheer size. "Everyone I know is on DumbFuck!". Yes, ok, sure.

    Facebook doesn't exist, per se. Facebook is this one guy, who went around asking specific, named, particular dudes to help him. Because hey, kitten cutout here, a place for college kids to get together, it's cool, Joe from X and Melissa from Y is here. And then he pulled the plug on this deal, but dudes kept flocking in because hey, "college kids!!1". And then pulled the plug on that deal too, and went for the entire "everyone's on it". Sure. You know what other thing everyone else was on ? Myspace. You know how that went ? Exactly like Facebook's going to go. Because the deep secret this early revolutionary, overexcited crowd does not wish to face is that a) derpitude of this kind creates no actual value and b) by the time you've collected the dumb consumer you've lost the only people who actually matter, and you're done for.

    Sure, from the perspective of the various people that supported it back when they had a name and it was anonymous, the bait and switch where they now become anonymous, it gets a name and Zuckerberg gets a piece of paper with whatever number printed on it is at most mildly annoying. Who cares, it cost them nothing, they'll inflate another bubble just like this one in another decade. No argument. But from a systemic perspective this nonsense's just a massive waste of everyone's time.

    Seriously, there are much better things you could be doing with your time. Do you even recall the name of the Myspace founders ? Srsly, Chris DeWolfe ? Ring a bell ? Tom Anderson ? Nothing ? How about Digg ? Aww.

    Do something useful with your time. Do something real. Do something on your own terms, do something you've thought about, forget this "everyone does it" thing because it ain't going anywhere but the toilet. It also belongs there.

    And no, there's really no exceptions. You don't keep most of the house clean and then wonder where the cockroaches are coming from, do you ? Make the world irrespirable for idiots, that's why all serious inventions raise the bar of required skills. Reading used to be enough, but someone had to go teach them how to read. Then driving used to be enough, but by now they've all got cars. Then computers kept them at bay for decades, but that's pretty much gone. Encryption, the WoT, Bitcoin, that's the stuff of the future. And, for that matter, the people who specialise in ruining parties by bringing the idiots over know this. []

  8. Ever wondered why "the Indians" are anonymous, whereas Minuit has a name ? Would it be perhaps something to do with that ancient Anonimity, or the urban versus rural dispute ? How would one have "a contract" with an anonymous party, ever wondered about that ? What sort of contract would it be, perforce ? []
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5 Responses

  1. > they give you the gift of taking your stuff. For free! You know, just like colleges work, you get to pay a trunkfull of money in exchange for the priviledge of assigning to them the fruits of the mental labours of your most fruitful years.

    Complicated. The most appealing bait is the chance to temporarily avoid being thrown into the hell of 'the real world', where a month's rent in the sticks could easily buy a used Toyota anywhere else on the planet; and if you can't come up with this money - you get to live and work in the company of ethnically-hostile criminally insane folks. Whereas a student lives on credit, in the company of his own kind. While the air in the tank lasts.

    > Hey, if you discover cold fusion while an undergrad at Stanford, what then ? Look up Matthew Cook while you're at it.

    If you discover it while working for Google - exactly the same thing.

    While a Cook who self-funds his own existence is theoretically possible, in practice it is not entirely unlike asking for a Bolshoi-theatre-grade ballerina who is also a Belisarius-grade strategist and a Gauss-level mathemagician in one bodily package.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 10 April 2015

    Nobody said it was easy...

    I am not the prophet of convenience, he's the other guy.

  3. I wonder how many people would choose to own their shit, were they to take your counsel and actually think about it first.

    I'm inclined to doubt there are many who desire but do not grasp, but I'm sure those in the overlap would be well served by this piece.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 10 April 2015

    Sorta links into that older Romanian piece about mind powered furniture.

  1. [...] What do I care how many trades some anonymous randos (for all we know, and likely so, bots, or as close to bots as humans get) say a trader under my consideration has done? Why would I take some website's word on the matter, [...]

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