This is how you fail ; and why ; and wherefore.

Sunday, 17 January, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Here's a graph of actual wealth distribution in the soi-dissant civilised worldi.


Yeah, it's still technically called a distribution, even if practically speaking it's the screaming embodiment of the opposite concept.

It may or may not obviously be the case, to your eyes. If it isn't, chances are you were befuddled by the workings of what Christos Ballas calls "the aspirational 14%"ii. There's a ready test to evaluate whether this problem affects you : write down ten names of people who are famous and in your opinion earned and deserve their fame ; next to each name write what you expect would be their net worth, as a % of the total money in the worldiii. Then go research the actual values.


For completeness, here's a graph you probably well know : the usual distribution of human ability, accomplishment and talent measured against an objective scaleiv.


Now suppose for the sake of enlightenment that you are a freshly hired expert, given the task to exert a force upon the second image so as to smush it in the shape seen in the first. How do you go about it ?

Obviously, if you just drop an anvil on that hump the contents will splatter every which way - which is something that happens in society when anvils drop (usually in the shape of foreign invasion, but also significant disease and so forth) : the "lower" become much higher than "their station" and all that.

If instead you try to bulldoze it at an angle the result will likely bear the incline of the angle of attack you chose. How is one to obtain that incredibly debalanced "distribution" through purely external means ?

One isn't, because it can't be done. Absent particular, peculiar and very polarizedv behaviours in the very red substance of the drawings, there's exactly nothing you can do from the outside to end up with that crestfallen, hopeless, pointless and depressing landscape that is the halmark of the second best Korea.

What could those be ? That's where the "civilised" part starts.

You see, whatever people may desire, they only have their own labour to procure it with. Yet while results are always dubious, effort is always painful, and labour certain. It's then extremely tempting to regard value as attaching not to the desired result, but simply to the expenditure of effort and the indignity of labour. It's this sort of nonsense that impels Hussein Bahamas to respond to the capture and rape of some goats (allegedly, US soldiers - but obviously soldiers in name only) through citing numbers - as if spending "more than everyone else combined" somehow improves the sad end result of having more faux soldiers captured than everyone else combined. Hey, the narrative goes, the US Army couldn't possibly be the laughing stock of everyone everywhere, because "we work really hard".

This is why the proposition that you're somehow civilised so readily persuades you - complete absence of any sort of achievement or visible product or mark of that civilisation be damned. So what if maintaining the delusion of your own civilisation requires you never travel anywhere (and if you do carefully sit in specially-designated pens) ? You didn't want to travel anyway, and besides, it's dangerous! So what if your putative civilisation would make for a first in human history, for it was never yet the case civilised people were conversant in just one language ? So what if anything, all sense and any consideration can go to hell, your supposed civilisation is not about what you got, but about what you've sacrificed, isn't it.

And you've sacrificed a lot, haven't you. Never a more thoroughly castratedvi lot has walked the earth, it'd better have been worth it, wouldn't you say ?

This is how you fail ; and why ; and wherefore : that when you decide if to call or fold, the consideration of what cards you hold and how much is in the pot is crucial - but the consideration of how much you put yourself in there is irrelevant.

  1. No, it's not civilised. Of course it's not civilised, it's anything but civilised - and let alone the civilised.

    A circlejerk built around vulgarity enthroned has about as much to do with civilisation as a flock of chromosomally female but otherwise mayo-gendered seniors at Anytown High, USA dressed up in sheets and braying have to do with the three graces. []

  2. The workings of this particular opiate for the masses are amply documented in many places under countless names. Consider for one the Hollywood system, consider the systemic implications of that "fake it till you make it" nonsense. Why do you think it's "in bad taste" to discuss your salary, and why especially with your coworkers ? Cui prodest ? []
  3. This part is important. "A million dollars" means nothing by itself. []
  4. It doesn't usually matter what you're measuring, but it does always matter that you're actually measuring something, as opposed to merely hallucinating numeric values to suit whatever ideological agenda (and no it doesn't matter one whit whether you're aware of it or not). []
  5. Ie, not isotropic. []
  6. You have "no idea what this means", do you ? It happens. []
Comments feed : RSS 2.0. Leave your own comment below, or send a trackback.

4 Responses

  1. [...] the most creative - I mean they're above average, and markedly so) and that they're "civilised" (god help you), and that the only way they've ever seen things done is necessarily the best possible way (do read [...]

  2. [...] the regime under which you're belabouring today. Can you feign surprise convincingly ? [↩]See this discussion of what that means ; and while at it see also this. [↩]The Latin anecdotal retelling of this [...]

  3. [...] the most creative - I mean they're below average, and markedly so) and that they're "civilised" (god help you), and that the only way they've ever seen things done is necessarily the best possible way (do read [...]

  4. [...] that the items answer to the same purpose. They must actually be of the same kind. [↩]See This is how you fail ; and why ; and wherefore, do the exercises contained therein etc. [↩]As Lara Flyn Boyle didactically points out in [...]

Add your cents! »
    If this is your first comment, it will wait to be approved. This usually takes a few hours. Subsequent comments are not delayed.