Sorting out the Castes: Testing How People Think

A quick data mining search could give us a rough idea where most people are at in the hierarchy, but the caste system, like a system of courts needs to judge people with a very high degree of accuracy to preserve the system’s legitimacy.
A lot of busywork could be eliminated with easy disqualifiers but this frees up greater effort for the rest.
For the next step, maybe a test or evaluation of some kind would be required. The goal might be to look for key indicators of someone’s psychology in a way that would be hard to fake. Or perhaps even start testing people when they are children and continue to test periodically. In this process we would look for accurate constants that could improve the data mining algorithm.

Tests would need to be focused more in determining how someone thinks as opposed to memorized knowledge in itself.
Perhaps some raven’s style matrices could be thrown in like on an IQ test or reading comprehension/analogies to get an idea of spatial and verbal reasoning but more important might be simply asking someone’s opinion.
The idea wouldn’t be to screen people based on what they believe, but to examine why they believe it. If someone explains they believe in invisible unicorns because of lack of falsifiability principle, however specious this may be we already know this isn’t someone from the lowest tiers.

-Simple people tend to hold beliefs for simple reasons. The USSR is bad because the Russians are the bad guys.

-Middle people have an idea of a conflict between communism and capitalism and will be able to explain the differences in basic detail, something along the lines of free enterprise against collective control. They can tell us why one is bad and why the other is good but their reasons will mostly be the official propaganda without too much thought behind it. If you ask them to explain what “free enterprise” actually means they begin to stumble.

-Upper Middle can delve into more nuance regarding why a communist ideology that sounds good in theory doesn’t work with human nature and begin to simultaneously examine the flaws inherent in capitalism as well. However, they are quite content that capitalism is at once the least of evils and the best of possible solutions. They are not too interested in exploring further.

-Above that level someone might dissect the weaknesses in both systems and ask what a better alternative might look like. They might be willing to entertain the idea that communism suffered from being too extreme and that perhaps certain forms of socialism have applied Marxist principles more successfully and might in fact be more effective in the long run than a free market system with minimal controls that allows corporations to run rampant. This person has a mind that can place themselves on both sides of the issue and toy with different solutions from a detached perspective.

In short:

-Simple people believe what they’re told because they were told it and everyone else believes it.

-Middle people believe what they’re told because it seems to make sense in their daily life and everyone else believes it.

-Upper middle believe what they’re told because it seems to make sense in a larger context, seems better than what anyone else has come up with, and because everyone important believes it.

-Above that level, people examine what they’re told in depth and come up with their own ideas if it doesn’t check out. Or if it’s generally valid but just sub-optimal, they still ponder better solutions. They don’t really care what others believe for its own sake. They know full well most people believe what they’re told or at least they rationalize belief in what gets them laid and employed.

I figure just getting an idea of how someone thinks would be hard to fake. Even if someone memorized what to say about one topic, they would be lost if the subject were to change. I figure like confucian East Asia, people would send their kids to cram academies to learn how to think, or at least how to talk like a higher person.
My experience tells me though that there’s only so much that can be learned. And if the highest ideal is what every ordinary person strove for, that would be the mark of a healthy and vigorous social order.

Results could be cross-checked against data mining information and if there’s an unusual or unlikely patterns, the bureau of caste standards might have auditors it could send out to take a closer look.
It occurs to me that once people knew there was a data mining algorithm and a testing system, people would constantly try to game the system. An auditor might try to figure out if someone just memorized what to say on several topics and changed their purchase history to reflect tastes they don’t actually have in a bid to “get ahead.” “Speeding tickets” for caste fraud would disincentivize trying to cheat because there’s nothing to lose by trying and drastically reduce auditors’ caseloads to manageable levels. The biggest deterrent of course is most people simply wouldn’t find life beyond their rightful caste attractive.
Ultimately, though, the people on top must really be smarter than those below or else they will fail at preserving the legitimacy and integrity of the system.

By Giovanni Dannato

In 1547 I was burnt at the stake in Rome for my pernicious pamphlet proclaiming that the heavens were not filled with a profusion of aether, but rather an extensive vacuum.
Now, the phlogiston that composed my being has re-manifested centuries in the future so that I may continue the task that was inconveniently disrupted so long ago.
Now, I live in Rome on the very street where I (and others) were publicly burnt. To this day, the street is known as what I would translate as 'Heretic's Way'. My charming residence is number 6 on this old road. Please, do come inside and pay me a visit; I should be delighted to spew out endless pedagoguery to one and all...

12 replies on “Sorting out the Castes: Testing How People Think”

To quote a famous movie, “There can be only one”. Such a caste system is unstable. Upper caste people want their children to retain status, no matter how lower-caste they should be. This is called “securing these blessings for our posterity”. Therefore, it is best for society to be split and subdivided along genetic lines, from nation, to tribe, to clan, to family levels. This may seem weak; big empires will always come in and clobber such societies. But, a hundred years later, the empire has vanished, and the genetic based society reasserts itself, if it hasn’t bought into the empire propaganda and let itself be dissolved. The Celts bought into the Roman propaganda, so the Germanics conquered them. Those Celts who remained outside Roman influence, did pretty well; the Irish Diaspora today is far larger than the Irish population itself. Damn those Irish, snobbishly turning their backs on us half-breeds.

You bring up a good and wise objection. People, short of philosophical restraint, will do anything they think will help their children succeed.
This is why such a system has to assign the castes with a high level of accuracy. The top castes would have to be truly long term oriented people. People that can reason that if they get their incompetent son promoted today, the entire nation will suffer(or even fall) tomorrow. This in fact is the topic of the next post I’m working on.

I will give a glimpse ahead and suggest that we should give higher castes a lion’s share of wombs to promote a eugenic order. This would serve a dual purpose. If a few of the magistrate’s offspring were slow and incompetent there would be 5 or 6 more that better inherited his optimal tendencies.
You’re right that an order where high caste people have just 1 or 2 children could suffer from serious instability. But if your average mandarin had at least a few concubines, he could deal with it much more easily if some of the offspring were unsuited for the higher functions of the breed.

Also, you should look at my previous posts about public resources. A virtuous system would have plenty of safety nets for the middle classes and above. So if someone’s well bred child wanted to be a stoner during their 20s living out of their car, the system would readily indulge their explorations, provided they have the raw mental wattage and native curiosity to justify society’s investment.
I have written many times on the divine importance of permissiveness and leisure regarding the true aristocracy. Idle (stupid) hands do the devil’s work.

In China, the mandarin with many concubines was a real thing. It did help, definitely. But the eunuchs kept mucking things up. I believe eunuchs should never be allowed political power. Their motives are too unstable.

In the Bible, only fathers got the vote, only fathers who were native born citizens could stand for office. So, only mature males who had a stake in societies future, got to say how society was ordered.

For such a system to work, there have to be frequent purges. This happened in China; this happens today in the corporate environment. Every so often there is a wave of firings and layoffs. This is like the dog that swims in a river to get rid of fleas. No matter the caste, people are susceptible to flattery and brown-nosing. Thus, the system is corrupted. Only a hard reboot every so often can keep the parasites and deceivers at bay. So corporations have massive layoffs every few years to get rid of the weak. The more frequent the purges, the more unstable the system.

In the genetic/family based system, purges are more or less ongoing at a very low level, but at such a low level that it acts as a type of hormesis, strengthening everyone, and noone falls too far. It isn’t devastating.

I have often thought about this kind of thing. The important thing in your picture is getting the highest caste, as you identify it, into power. We already have the other castes. Problem is, that’s never going to happen.

What is needed is segregation from the grassroots up. Find a way for the most virtuous of society to band together and effectively quit society together. More of an “exit” approach.

I would also suggest that there are two natural ruling castes: the self-interested intelligent, and the virtuous intelligent. The former are in power already. The latter, if they have any power, are in places like Silicon Valley where that kind of psyche is (more) adaptive. A high-achieving example would be Linus Torvalds, for instance.

A caste system exists, but because it is informal and ideologically invisible, the people and the state are not able to think or act intelligently concerning it. I’ve given some ideas of how a deliberate caste system might be organized more constructively.

Yes, the first step is for a smaller group to control their own sphere and grow from there.
I’ve predicted a resurgence of tribal structures for years. Without a common enemy, people have no reason to compromise within a large nation when they could realize their entire vision within a tighter band.
State coercion struggles with this sort of secession because modern tribes won’t rely on geographical boundaries and territory like a state does. States are already struggling versus “asymmetrical actors” with no state affiliations.

The selfish intelligent tend to act rationally in terms of getting as rich and powerful as possible but can end up destroying everything with their greed. In some ways, they act quite stupid. They’re far from invincible. I don’t even propose being especially virtuous for its own sake but to have an approach of the long term as opposed to plundering the system now even if it leaves behind an unstable system with disaffected millions. A billionaire who just wants to plunder is a bigger version of that prole at the grocery checkout who can’t pass up on the national enquirer.

Aye, I hear you.

Linus Torvalds is a guy who decided to sit down and write his own OS 25 years ago. He created an avalanche (IBM got involved, etc) that today results in a high excellence with continuous development, with no obvious profit monopoly on the software. That’s an example of the virtuous intelligent having a big impact.

Now, what would it take to create an organization that is capable of scooping up these virtuous intelligent people and putting them to good use? How much genius could $1 billion unleash, for instance, if applied in a laser-like way?

Seems to me that the virtuous intelligent today either drop out completely and become broken, or go into sub-optimal roles (engineering at Faceamagoosoftbook, etc). Torvalds is not the norm. If we could figure out a way to turn money into genius-optimization for societal benefit/disruption. Then, it would just be a matter of charming a few billionaires and setting things in motion…

We all see big organizations dump billions of dollars into idiot projects. We’ve all thought: what if you took just 1 billion and invested in the best people?
I think virtuous intelligent are just more intelligent period and they drop out because you have to be within a couple orders magnitude of most people to get anywhere in a mass society without caste barriers. If you’re above or below that margin, society isn’t designed for you and like-minded people you can band up with are few.
To allow people on the extremes to get together and do their thing, they have to be both protected and given power beyond their small numbers. Ironically, it seems even capricious noble patronage may have done a better job of this in some respects than the credentialist scuffling of modern education. Even ivy leagues seem to select mainly for upper middles and heirs to rulership who “get it” rather than having ideas of their own. It’s a recipe for civilizational stagnation and that’s what we get.
So all we really need to do to get started is to change the attitude of the organization. I remember well how public school was all about teaching to the middle and neglecting the extremes. Wrong priorities. The top 20% should be getting 80% of systemic investment.

Aye. I’ve often met smart people in my career where I’ve gone “if only I had the finances to give that guy a proper focus in life”.

Are there are any examples of billionaires cutting geniuses a fat check and going “off you go, do whatever you want with your epic brain”?

I guess Y Combinator would be a slightly structured way of doing just that. But it biases toward commercial feasibility.

Well, Michelangelo was pretty much a borderline autistic whose single-mindedness and freakish neural wiring made him one of the best. He’s exactly the sort of person that would get tossed aside in our present day society for his lack of people skills. It’s amazing the bullshit that even the Pope would put up with if the talent was there. He had to stick with commissions but had a level of creative freedom within the bounds of his assignments.
We could look at examples like Voltaire in the court of Frederick the Great. Until he stupidly screwed over his patron, he pretty much seems to have had free room and board to do nothing but provide counseling and entertainment for the monarch. Seems like there used to be eccentrics flourishing who would just be dropouts today.
I guess billionaires today donate money to charitable organizations rather than talented individuals, possibly because that’s what the tax system incentivizes. So perhaps the system then is structured to actually discourage noble patronage and subsidize the bottom 20% instead.

Instead of giving applicants a quiz to determine their class, maybe it should be reversed.
The applicant should ask the ministry of caste officer questions designed to filter out people of the desired caste of the applicant.

Their queries will reveal much about who they are.

I wonder if it is more difficult to ad-lib the right questions or the right answers.

I just did a post on “easy giveaways.” I.e. somone who’s favorite pastime off the job is reality TV has no place above true middle. It’s amazing what you can learn seeing someone’s room or their facebook page in less than 1 minute per person. Or I could see just watching someone go about their daily life for awhile before the quiz and/or interview ever happens.
I could see an interview being a useful part of the process, but I suspect sociopathic strivers would start to get wise to what the interviewers like and try to imitate it like they do in the job market.
But I don’t know, the really apex people could keep most ambitious strivers out simply because it’s almost impossible for anyone of normal mind to imitate successfully. Most parasites seem to specialize in learning how normal people think because they’re easier targets and there’s far more of them.

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