"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Sorting out the Castes: Testing for Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is one of the most important principles in dividing lower castes from higher.
The need for instant gratification is the eternal and unmistakable mark of low class, poverty, and despair.
If we want to know what kind of people live in a neighborhood, all we have to do is take one quick glance down and see if people are throwing their trash on the ground or in trash cans.  If we walk into a store is the liquor and baby formula out in the open or is it kept behind glass?  It shouldn’t be that difficult to evaluate individuals as we evaluate a neighborhood.

In general, as people get more intelligent the more they can understand the abstract concept that if everyone chooses to cooperate by passing up littering or shoplifting now everyone gets the greater reward of a pleasant community to live in and stores full of easily accessible goods later.
Even smart people with low character tend to pay for their groceries because they prefer to expend their energy on much more valuable prizes with lower risk over a much longer time. They don’t let small prizes distract them when they could be gutting people’s 401k accounts instead.
Stupid people with low character on the other hand distinguish themselves by taking huge risks for small, uncertain, temporary gains. Their inability to understand probability and calculate risk/reward always gives them away.
Some ability for delayed gratification and long term planning is an absolute prerequisite to move up into the middling to upper middling castes.

To move into the highest castes though, the ability to inhibit desires has to be extended to another degree of abstraction.
The highest people need to have the ability to care about a good beyond themselves, to consider the good of an entire people or even the species. They must care about events beyond their own lifetimes.
The ultimate act of delayed gratification and the mark of a high human is planting trees that will never give shade in our lifetimes.
Clever people of the middle castes, on the other hand, busily hoard away for college, a house, or retirement but have little thought beyond the narrow scope of their own parochial circumstances. Their inability to understand a bigger picture always gives them away.
I have met many clever upper middle class SWPLs who wallow in aimless hedonism but don’t have the moral intelligence to care what happens after they die nor the wisdom to understand why their poverty of purpose has left them cynical and jaded.  Perhaps even more upper middles indulge in saccharine feel-good idealism that helps break the ice and gives cheap social proof at cocktail parties.  They know well in the back of their minds they’ll never have to test their beliefs against the real world.  In fact, having to care about the real world is an indicator of boorishness in their insulated universe.  Being insulated in itself, of course, is the defining mark of petty nobility.
Our present system is heavily influenced by these characteristic upper middle attitudes. These are the people who thrive in the meritocracy of credentials, “networking”, “extracurriculars”, “fellowships”, and standardized tests. Ironically, those with greater vision and imagination are pretty effectively weeded out by their criteria.  This is why we need a formalized caste system, to cut through the bullshit of those people far enough above to dazzle the lower ranks, but not so high as to be completely unrelatable.
The rightful rulers, of course, should be unrelatable to the average person.

13 responses to “Sorting out the Castes: Testing for Delayed Gratification

  1. sigsawyer March 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Reminds me of Dune. Good stuff.

    • Giovanni Dannato March 31, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Isn’t interesting how pure science sci-fi has dwindled and universes like Dune and Warhammer 40k seem more relevant than ever?
      The masses want popular rulers to be better than them, but still human within their understanding so it imposes a natural limit on what type of people can rise.
      Being subjected to an oligarchy of mental freaks would be to them like the rule of an inhuman/superhuman God Emperor.

      • sunhater April 1, 2016 at 2:51 am

        For an ubermensch with a more benevolent bent think of Superman, in those stories where he takes control of Earth, despite his best intention he doesn’t really “get” how people work. In the end his work is always screwed by the hands of Luthor or Batman.

  2. Mycroft Jones March 29, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    The rightful rulers don’t want competition. Competing visions isn’t in the interest of social stability. The upper middles are purposely put in place like a cloak put on the ground to block weeds from getting any sunlight.

  3. Anonymous Bro March 30, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Isn’t part of the problem of bad governance that the rulers are too far removed from their subjects? I am reminded of Murray’s “Coming Apart” book in which he asks questions such as “have you ever walked a factory floor” and “have you ever had a job where a body part hurt at the end of the day.” Most of the elites would certainly say no, so he attributes their mismanagement to lack of perspective rather than malevolence (I think its a bit of both actually). Also, in Plato’s Republic, one of the last tests for the guardian ruling class was to live as a common man for some period of time.

    Seems to me like the best rulers are those who are natural kings, but have the common touch.

    • Giovanni Dannato March 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      I wrote a post awhile back on how the people with really original ideas, like Greek Philosophers, were never complete specialists like an Egyptian scribe or a Chinese court eunuch.

      Through my 20s I had lots of dirty jobs working alongside ordinary people. Learning how differently breeds of people see the world played a big role in forming my world view. I came to understand why intelligent yuppies can indulge in vapid idealistic fantasies as I experienced the brutal grind most people have to endure.
      You’re right. Being insulated from reality is a devastating fault that has brought many rulers down.

  4. Kanzen March 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

    How would such a natural caste as you propose arise? If it relies on some form of centralized power and/or inheritance of power, it would be hopeless, I am sorry to say. Any such form of power structure will quickly be corrupted in no more than 3 generations, even if we manage to get a philosopher king in the first place. I’ve though about this for many years, and every theoretical scenario and historical example leads back to the same conclusion. The best hope is to achieve a constructive world is still a resilient libertarian power structure. Such a structure is very hard to organize and maintain, but nothing good is easy. We could take a shortcut and instead opt for centralized power, but such attempts always end in tears despite its originally seemingly good intention and promising results. Historically, the truly constructive phase of a civilization is an opening up of liberty and a distribution of power. Sometimes it is a wise monarchy opting to do it, other times it is after a collapse of a decadent society.

    • Giovanni Dannato March 31, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      It’s one of the biggest challenges of all time. Plato had a basic idea of what needed to be done a long time ago, but implementing something like that is the hard part.
      On the other hand, modern states can already manage militaries, tax collection bureaus, road systems, and a national postal service. The potential is there. We know as average IQ increases the more people are able to take intelligent collective action. Making sure smarter and more conscientious people have more power in society is a proxy for having more of them.

      What would a resilient libertarian power look like? How would it avoid being conquered by more centralized neighbors?

  5. Kanzen April 1, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I didn’t mean we shouldn’t have centralized power — a group of libertarians having a company and electing a CEO would be a centralized power. But that a centralized power formed by assignment, rather than by voluntary agreement of all individuals under its power, is doomed to corruption.

    If a competitive system is designed such that capturing power do not necessitate performing X, then X would not be performed. Anyone attempting to do more X will be out-competed by others who do less X. More preciously: In a competitive system, an action X will only be performed to the extend that maximizes power capture, and no more than that.

    If power is formed by assignment rather than voluntary agreement, then by definition it must be competitive power capture over the agents who control the “assignment”. There is simply no reconciliation between the goals of “optimizing humanity in 100 years” and “optimizing power capture in 10 years”. People can’t see the future in 100 years [and even if they see it most don’t care], but good lies and games can win the office or inheritance, and stifling/destroying competitions is the easiest way to retain power. Overtime, the system design, and power candidates and assignment agents are corrupted to optimize for only one thing: to capture power at the expense of all else.

    If power is formed by voluntary agreement, then in order to capture proportionally more power one must proportionally obtain more agreements of more constructive members, hence allowing the more constructive members to have more power in society. And if an agreement cannot be form, that means one believes that they are not being maximally constructive under this system and they have a better alternative or a different vision, then they are free to join or form the alternative instead of being stifled and destroyed.

    In a voluntary agreement system, power distribution is proportional to the real constructiveness of each member. By definition the power cannot be corrupted [because being corrupted means the member is no longer constructive], or wasted [because otherwise there would be no agreement]. However, the voluntary system itself can be corrupted.

    > How would it avoid being conquered by more centralized neighbors?

    Firstly, there is no reason a free society cannot have a centralized military. Though I agree that most libertarians are rather naive about the necessity of physical force. Secondly, lots of current rich states have puny militaries, they don’t get conquered. People now prefer economic games rather than invasions, and in modern democracies it is rather hard to come up with an excuse to invade a peaceful, rich society. Thirdly, free societies will likely be linked by culture and economic association rather than geography, so there is no capital to capture.

    • Kanzen April 1, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Another advantage of voluntary system is that it encourages the rich to breed more and the poor to breed less, while it is the converse in an assignment system.

      In the voluntary system, because one cannot rely on simple assignment to keep their wealth, they must personally actively management it in order to maintain it, otherwise the wealth will quickly dissipate due to managerial power capture internally and competitions externally. The more wealth one house have, the more manpower is needed to actively manage it, so they need more children. For the poor, it is better to pool the resource to produce more powerful children rather than further diluting their power with more children.

      In a assignment system, the rich would have fewer children, because power capture is more of a winner-takes-all war game, and a centralized, unified powerful entity is better at it than multiple mutually competing weaker entities. Once the war is won they do not have to worry about power dissipation as much as the voluntary system, because their ability to maintain power is proportional to their centralized power chain of coercion rather than cooperation of productive individuals. For the poor, each children is a unit of power: a unit of welfare, a unit of vote, a unit of violence. So it make sense to have more children.

    • Giovanni Dannato April 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I’m with you on the weakness of competitive systems, which I’ve written about a long time. Just see my post on the Ruling Class. A competitive ruler is just whoever is best at staying in power.

      As for assigned rulers, it depends on who does the assigning. In the real world, people are assigned to run the postal service and we mostly get our mail intact. I think assignment isn’t so much the problem as the assigners are those who have won the competition to rule.

      I’m unsure what you mean by a voluntary system. Are you talking about democracies? Are you talking about a system of libertarian independent cities where we simply move to the one we like best?
      How does the voluntary system select for the most constructive people?
      Are you suggesting a sort of military confederation of small states sort of like the Iroquois alliance or the Swiss cantons?

      • Kanzen April 2, 2016 at 12:22 am

        In a democracy, the power of president/government is nominally assigned by a majority vote and surreptitiously assigned by the powerful elites. In a monarchy, the power is assigned as by the king to heir and maintained by continual support of the subordinates.

        What I am saying is that to capture and maintain power this way does not, on average, lead to actions that is beneficial to society in long term. Because such actions are not most beneficial to power capture.

        A voluntary system means each member fully own their private properties and can choose whether to join the system with their labour and properties or not. In all states, one cannot be voluntary because all land belong to the state, which in turn is controlled by the rulers, ie the rent-seekers of the land. So just by standing on a piece of land you are coerced into joining the system and obeying the rulers. But if the state belongs to the people, why can’t an individual have a piece of land as private property and free from this coercion? We don’t have this choice.

        > How does the voluntary system select for the most constructive people?

        It doesn’t select. But since it is the constructive people that creates wealth, the system need to convince the constructive people to join, which means it must reward them with power proportionally.

      • Giovanni Dannato April 2, 2016 at 1:52 am

        Citizenry of course is a modern form of serfdom. Of course it’s something we typically want, just as we’d want the protection of the local gang. Can’t live in their neighborhood without it, can’t go into other neighborhoods without anyone big to back us up.
        You describe a noble way of life but humans would have to be more aware to make it work.
        It would take a highly eugenicized humanity or even transhuman beings.

        Perhaps we may see the emergence of new affordable technologies that make people less dependent on central grids that force people to stay bottled up and easy to control.

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