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My Interview With Robert Stark

I was interviewed by Robert Stark of Stark Truth Radio earlier this month.

http://www.starktruthradio.com/?p=4088
We spoke about:
-Singapore as an inspiration for alt-right government in a multi-ethnic country.
-The aesthetics of a post-Western social order.
-Mercantile ethnic groups from Southeast Asia and the Levant and its HBD implications.
-Trump’s political situation where both parties hate him and would get rid of him if given the chance.
-How the alt-right is limited mainly to the white working class and how a larger populist movement could attract progressive voters who have been neglected by the democrat coalition.

Post-Western Aesthetics post:
https://colonyofcommodus.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/what-might-a-post-western-aesthetic-look-like/

Military Juntas are Cool Again !

Look, the real story of those years is not told in the books.  The military never bothered anyone unless they were leftist agitators or were committing violence.  Even our president now [Dilma] was detained for participation in making bombs.  Why doesn’t the media talk about that?  They don’t, ever.  There were demonstrations all the time.  One day we woke up and there were tanks in the streets.  That’s how it was.

But I can tell you one thing:  the military in those days were actually less corrupt than the rats we have now.  They cared about power and order, not so much about getting rich.  And those stories about pregnant women in Argentina in detention centers?  Let me tell you that a lot of them deliberately got pregnant because they thought it would get them released.  So a lot of it is propaganda.

There was a real war there.  To win a war, you have to be ruthless.  It’s fashionable to hate the junta, to hate Pinochet, and our own dictators, but the economies we have now we owe to them.  And that is the reality.  The real mistake the junta in Argentina made is that they lost a war to Britain.  Nobody has anything good to say about those who lose wars.

Those rubber fascists with their helicopter taxis weren’t so bad after all, I mean they were fighting leftists, the very spawn of Satan!
Let us forget about all those clandestine torture centers, of the genital electrocutions and the Desaparecidos.

Fascists apologists…. Is the Alt-Right showing its true colors?

For the full article Why The Left Is Suppressing The Truth About Argentina’s Military Junta

Shelters From Planned Obsolescence

Here’s a blast from the past, an article I wrote in 2011, that illustrates how much things have changed in a very short time thanks to new communication technologies that have sped and grown the flow of information through non-elite channels by orders of magnitude. At the time planned obsolescence was somewhat of a fringe topic and now seems like it’s being talked about far more. I will be following this soon with some more musings on economies, this time written in the (present year).

6 Heretic's Way

Builds Upon:Living On A Keynesian Playground

Many an old aphorism tells us that human desire is limitless.
Yet not so many tell us that human imagination is quite limited.

Humans can desire only what they already know of or are capable of imagining.
Thus kings in ancient times never had any desire for personal computers or i-pads.

Markets are like a genie that grants the wishes of a collective—anything that people want tends to manifest—but like a typical Arabian Nights style narrative, the moral of the story is the banality and short-sightedness of the wish-maker.

Somehow, we never see the ‘experts’ factor in shortcomings in human knowledge and imagination when they discuss the workings of capitalism. The theoretical customer seems almost like a Laplace’s demon with perfect knowledge of the universe.

In real life, imperfect consumer knowledge and foresight plus the influence of emotion makes planned obsolescence a more…

View original post 830 more words

Relaxing Music Part 1

One of my favourite musical tracks by an overlooked author, if you have any of your favourites to share, please post the links in the comment section.

The Aesthetics of Dominance

I just wrote my last article on the measured political strategies appropriate at this moment. But this is also a season for fiery comeuppance after a resounding historic victory!
Much of society is run at a gut and emotional level, just as is the human brain itself.  The cerebral cortex we associate with rational thought is a pitiful addon tacked on as an afterthought.

Societies give behavioral cues through aesthetics.  It’s no mistake that most buildings of governance across time and place are designed to dwarf the individual gazing upon them, whether a pyramid, a castle, secret police HQ, or a government agency, they make an argument through their forms for overpowering legitimacy.

Since ancient times, much imagery is displays of dominance, the towering ruler over other groups of outsiders.  As with dogs, the alpha is large, confident and on top and the subordinate always hunched, crouched and beneath.

ramsesii-smiting-loop-stela-egypt

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It’s clear Ancient Egyptians intuitively understood intuitively many truths of human nature that our “modern” society has chosen to forget.

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The Ancient Maya seem like they were quite clear on the concept.

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And so are Indians to this day.

One of the most important motifs in all civilization across thousands of years is to show triumph in battle over a despairing and demoralized enemy.  It’s all about conveying the feeling a modern day sports fan gets when his team soars to triumph.  Except for pre-modern people it was in real life, not a game.

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The 60s Cultural Revolution leadership subtly kept up the tradition.  Absolutely love those forced smiles.  May as well all be baring teeth and snarling!

Group of diverse business colleagues enjoying success

After almost 60 years of stultifying oppression it’s now up to us to choose the story of humanity!

We must project overwhelming dominance in every aspect of culture.  For every sitcom and ad that portrayed the husband as a blithering idiot puppet of his commensense competent wife, we must change the story to masculine leadership.  The actors and folk(pop) musicians must be demoted to minstrel tramps.  That’s one thing both Cromwell and the Taliban got right.

We must begin the “march through institutions” and hunt down the high priesthood of intellectuals, journalists, professors who betrayed the supreme, sacred trust given them by society in the most base, duplicitous, and wicked manner imaginable.

Those who betrayed their culture and their ancestors must be rounded up, publicly humiliated in every possible way and then poetically driven into the sea.  After being made to understand the essence of their fall and forced to watch their former lives incinerated before their eyes, they must be driven by ranks of ornately armored cataphracts into the waves with loud speakers projecting the applause of hundreds of millions.  The last sound they ever hear as they are driven beneath the wine-dark waves by steel shod hooves is the joy of their enemies.  Such is divine justice.

Somewhere in the nation is designated a Tarpeiian rock from which traitors are thrown to join their dishonored predecessors in a heap of bones ceremonially defiled with the contemptuous excrement of the righteous.  After living my whole life in an age of total decadence I can’t summon in myself the slightest spark of magnanimity or pity.

See Also:  White Collar Criminals Are Worse Than Street Criminals,
Election 2016: The War In Heaven

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Excuses for Losing: “It Was Teh Jooz!”

The trouble with pro-white groups is so many of them seem to blame Jews for all their problems.  If there’s no visible evidence, it must be a hidden conspiracy of some kind.  Mention the Rothschilds and Soros in hushed tones and voila, you have a bona fide Jewish plot with le happy merchant looking on greedily rubbing his greasy palms together.
It’s absolutely true Jews play a tremendous role in the finance industry, journalism, and in Hollywood.  But that’s true of any prestigious field or any discipline that requires brains.  Jews are over-represented among both the best scientists and the best writers.  Jews comprise more than their fair share of avaricious establishment elites, but they are also numerous amongst the revolutionaries.  There are predictably lots of Jews in the manosphere/alt-sphere.

This is because Ashkenazi Jews have unusually high IQs.  Even in Israel they rise to the top as a default ruling caste.  Their baseline is ahead of your typical European as a European is ahead of a typical mestizo or mulatto.  Jews are everywhere to be seen at the highest levels of accomplishment despite their small numbers because they are simply more capable on average than other groups.  No conspiracy theories are necessary.  Other high IQ groups such as Armenians, Indian Brahmins, Parsees, Lebanese Maronites, and Syrian Alawis follow the same pattern.  They all have in common that they come from mercantile and/or priestly castes that were more urbanized than average for generations.  If anything the very existence of these peoples is of great significance to heterodox thinkers.  They prove eugenics is not only possible, it happens naturally under certain selective pressures.  Even better, we have seen this phenomenon put to the test many times in the laboratory of real life.   Every time one these groups gets too successful for their own good and gets pogrommed they do just as well, if not even better starting from scratch in the next place.  It proves that “if only whitey wasn’t keeping us down”, “if not for the Jewish bankers” is just a load of crap the losers use to rationalize their failure.
I’ve seen it argued that Jews are even more successful than their IQ numbers would suggest because they practice nepotism.  But this is a truism.  Every group that takes control of something tends to give their own kind first dibs of the spoils.  Jews are just better at it.
It’s ironic that the same whites who complain about blacks blaming everything on whitey don’t see that they do the exact same thing by indulging in “bitter beta boy” anti-semitism.  Instead of trying to improve their lot, they can absolve themselves of having to put in the effort by saying everything is a Jewish plot.  It was never their own flaws that brought them down, it was teh Jooz.
Hollywood is full of Jews?  So what?  Make your own Goywood and don’t watch films from Jewish studios if you don’t like it.  It’s the same as blacks complaining that they don’t own any businesses in their own neighborhood or that hardly anyone wants to open a business near them.
These complaints are meaningless noise because if these groups were more capable these problems would already be solved.  They’re no different than that favorite laughing stock of the manosphere: the fat post-wall career feminist cat lady crying every night into her bucket of ice cream.
And what if the black or white nationalists get what they want?
The blacks get to live in even worse squalor when they win whether it’s Detroit or Zimbabwe.
Whites inadvertently send lots of the best talent to competing nations.  Look at how that worked out for the Nazis.

The truth is crushing talent is a poor strategy and Euro culture needs to have a successful means of harnessing Jewish potential while reducing their ability to leverage their superior brains into parasitism.  Actually every society needs to have incentives for the brightest, whoever they are, not to simply become vampires.  Let’s imagine for a moment that we’re several orders of magnitude smarter than average.  Ordinary people would seem to us pretty much like chimpanzees.  Why would we care about the wellbeing of the average person or their ability to live a middle class lifestyle?  It would be easier just to bleed them nearly dry, keeping them barely alive.  As we feel no regret over the slaughter of chickens or pigs we’d feel no remorse for the peasantry.  Giving the best a reason to care is a structural challenge every society faces.  It’s not without coincidence that the villain in storytelling is frequently a prodigy who uses his talents against the group rather than helping out.  We can try to blame the Jews but was the gilded age with its gentile robber barons any better?
The reality is race is just one criterion that determines how we form associations.  Class and intelligence matter at least as much.  Smart whites have more in common with average Jews than with trailer trash just like oreo blacks are usually the smart ones.

See also: Smart Racial Realism

Toward a Neo-Tribal Philosophy Part 2: Nihilism-Free Living

One of the major hurdles of living in a scientific secular society is the subtle sense of nihilism that pervades everyday living, even the dumbest proles can feel it because in our subconscious we realize that we’re still living as peasants despite all our modern “enlightenment” and technology.

Human beings are not adapted for urban living among millions of strangers and without the constant struggle for survival they lose purpose, a purpose that must be filled somehow.Survival is guaranteed by the endless repetition of monotone task, the resource surplus is so great that parasitic elements flourish like cancer inside the cracks of society.

Historical evidence points out that monotheistic religions arose in times of great urbanization when strong social control was imperative for the survival of the community.
With time a priest-caste arose and created complex rituals and rules increasingly delusional and rigid, culminating in the concept of an afterlife of a sort, this fantasy degrades the material world (reality) to a mere “testing ground” of a sort.

To the rational observer and thinker it is clear that the concept of God is a surrogate Father figure for weak-willed adults: a paternal figure who instills unquestioning discipline, rules, and purpose; Given the overabundance of weak willed manchildren, a flock under a common faith can provide nearly unlimited manpower to sly opportunists & charismatic sociopaths alike!!!

Throughout history, many valiant attempts have been made to find an empowering philosophy that could give purpose without the need of cognitive dissonance & mental gymnastics.
I will list a few that are significant & modern (you can write any addition in the comment section):

Environmentalism/Gaia Theory: it recognizes that humans are part of the natural world and that endless growth and “progress” will destroy Earth’s ecology spelling our doom.
While the Earth’s ecosystem is a very complex system there is no proof it has a “will” of its own or that it “cares” about humans in general.
Pro: It can help to curb over-population, pollution, stress from modern living.
Cons: It degenerates into a cult of nature for its own sake and it gives little value to Sentience, the greatest achievement of the universe.

Pacifism: A very good ideology in theory if all aggressive individuals are purged somehow.
Pro: Essential in large societies to maintain social peace & very practical for the development of “advanced” scientific or cultural endeavors.
Cons: It violates basic human nature, it leads to the domestication of humans.

Ubermensch: Individuals will create their own moral code to live by.
Pro: Excellent for small tribes of like-minded individuals, rejuvenating for the human spirit.
Cons: Impossible to apply to large societies, high inter-tribal conflict is inevitable.

Toward a Neo-Tribal Philosophy Part 1: The Hurdle of Religion.

For ages social control has been achieved through compliance to organized Religions, in particular, monotheistic creeds like Islam, Judaism & Christianity have been able to extert a tight grip over their practising societies; More importantly these dogmas have endured for millenia unlike 20th century Totalitarian ideologies ( mere fads by comparison).

A dedicated Priest class is able to shape the rituals & world view of an entire people, most religions share these traits:

  • Belief in the elusive existence of an Ultimate Authority Figure & Creator of the world.
  • Simplistic made-up explanations of natural phenomenas, everything works because “God” wills it.
  • The demand for complete submission to God and of course his representatives on Earth.
  • Hostility towards competing creeds & “unbelievers”.
  • Reliance on Faith & Belief instead of Logic, Reason & Reality.
  • An almost viral need to convert all individuals to their creed.
  • Resistance towards change & denial of all conflicting evidence or facts.
  • Belief of the existence on an afterlife reserved for all “true believers”.

A system like this is fit for churning out mindless automata not intelligent & responsible individuals but Priests are good salesmen: they paint their dogma as stress-relieving, “empowering” not as a pervasive domestication tool; Believers can avoid personal responsability since everything that happens is God’s work.

Religious people like to cherry-pick instances where their Holy Books “predict” or should I say guess events or contain legitimate knowledge, given the lack of consistency they are no more “right” than a broken clock (that is right twice a day, as the saying goes).

Mankind’s first religions were based on simple make-believe explanations of natural phenomenas, for millennia the absence of the scientific method and adeguate instruments prevented the accumulation of good data & knowledge.

The very first rituals like offerings and sacrificies were utilitarian in nature and purpose, they followed this simple formula:

sacrifice [X] to deity [Y] to receive advantage [Z]. Example: sacrifice goat to Farming Deity to receive a good harvest.

On the other hand Philosophy is a “lens” through which we can see and interpret reality & explain abstract concepts; Since science is “only” a tool to test hypotheses and gain knowledge it’s still up to us to decide how we are going to use knowledge.

Interview With Giovanni Dannato on the Stark Truth

 

Robert Stark, of The Stark Truth radio show graciously invited me for an interview last week, an opportunity which I soon accepted.
Over the years I’ve typically gone with the written word since you can think about everything you say and then go back later and make it better.  It also feels a lot safer, of course.  As a self-described introvert, it has never been my first inclination to put myself in front of an audience, so naturally that’s why I must do it.
I understand many people prefer to engage the internet through audio and video rather than text.  It’s also a way to put myself out there in a way writing alone cannot not achieve.
Here’s our podcast!
We discussed everything from my origins as an blogger on introversion almost 7 years ago, my transition into red pill/reactosphere blogging including my writings for In Mala Fide.  We addressed many of my more recent posts on Forward Base regarding.
-Caste systems in modern societies
-The importance of sexual market regulations in healthy civilizations
-The problem Marxism and Capitalism have in common.
-Deep divides in American culture
-Trump and Sanders and the emergence of a new populist movement
-The importance of controlling who controls wealth.
-The effects of aesthetic uniformity on the human spirit in architecture and urban planning
And more…

Would it help if I posted talks about my ideas for those who are more into podcasts than blogs?
I’ve thought of ways to grow into different forms of media, but haven’t seen how twitter or facebook would help me in my particular niche.  I’m presently putting some thought into having a tumblr to set an aesthetic theme in pictures.

Comments Make Top-Down Journalism Obsolete

On news sites anymore, I skip articles with a gnawing sense of annoyance when I find they have no comments section.  Articles are limited in length and I find there’s no one person that knows so much that other people out there can’t expand on their points and further illuminate the topic.  Even where commenters are hysterical and stupid I get a valuable sense of the mood of the readership.
Comments serve as quality control.  I notice articles that lack a comment section are often opinion pieces with some wordy and smug aristocrat blowing wind out of their ass without having to face the contemptuous criticism they deserve.
When an article is poorly written, commenters point out the problems and shred it to pieces.  And when it’s well written they analyze and expand beyond what any one person has time for.

I often see the comments attract people far smarter and more experienced than the author. The very word “journalism” sounds like something limited to an age before the internet got big. That’s because the author of an article is no longer an authority talking down to the masses. They’re now just an OP that starts a discussion thread. It’s a good public service to start a thoughtful thread that attracts smart commenters, but it’s no longer a pulpit to form others’ opinions for them.
My parents still e-mail me articles from mainstream publications that either have no comments, or its obvious they didn’t read the comments section, where the piece they found value in is convincingly trashed and refuted by dozens of thoughtful people, or at least greatly refined and improved on.

Journalism remains as a sickly presence on life support mainly because older generations are stuck in their habits. But just as actual printed newspapers are disappearing, journalists recognized by society as ceremonial caretakers of truth with “expert” opinions will also phase out.
In a high-information world everyone can see the man behind the curtain and comments make it painfully obvious that average people on the street are often more knowledgable than the sheltered pets that write for big-name gatekeeper institutions. Well-connected mediocrities that have always hidden behind these information monopolies will not survive the transition.
Soon, only those who earn audiences will have them. There still are and will be gatekeepers—but they will only maintain their influence by maintaining their quality standards and jealously guarding their credibility.

I often hear disgust about comments and it’s true mob rule is no good. But the OP always gets to speak first without interruption even if there’s a crowd of thousands. I also find there is a natural justice in commentary. A low quality click-bait article attracts low quality commenters. A thoughtful piece tends to attract top notch analysis while the nature of its content weeds out people who just want to troll or scream in ALLCAPS.
The mob aspect of comments means it is a tool that has its proper uses. I might start out reading an article with its comments and later look up facts and numbers to see if what people are saying makes sense. I might find both the article author and the people are on the wrong track and come to my own conclusions. The psychology of why so many people are mislead creates interesting questions in itself.

The way crowdsourcing has developed through mediums like comments and wikis demonstrates how internet enables new ways of benefiting from the wisdom of the crowd while avoiding the downside of mob rule.
I suspect that the crowd structures we now use for navigating a broad range of opinions, or looking up facts will eventually prove useful to states that will be increasingly pressured to discover means of administration faster and more nimble than traditional bureaucracies.

Quantum Medicine Quacks Explained

21st Century Gurus for Fun & Profit !

“Like everything else, science also has power politics because it is done by people, not logical automatons. Like elsewhere, power also accumulates in its institutions and develops inertia of its own. But science itself presents studies that make its community aware of these imbalances. It is one thing to rail at the human failings of science, but entirely another to rail against scientific process itself as a religion.”

“Quantum Theory is a difficult area of physics. Even physicists are humble in their claims of fully understanding it.It is an unintuitive and complex mathematical theory that does not lend itself to rhetorical expression. Several attempts have been made to state it in plain language, all of which seem to have done more harm than good (the absurd von Neumann–Wigner interpretation was perhaps the most damaging and was the basis of most pseudo-science that arose from the area), to the public understanding of science. To think that one understands quantum mechanics by reading these interpretations is closer to thinking that one understands the issues of robotics by watching Transformers movies.”

“But particle physics is not what happens in human bodies for the simple reason that particles get liberated from atoms at only high energy states. Since our body does not have mini particle colliders, understanding biology and its chemistry at the level of stable atoms and molecules has been quite adequate. But should a case to go beyond atoms present itself in the future, before we can have quantum medicine, we must have a robust quantum biology. The lack of this never bothered “quantum healers”.”

UPDATE!!! Face to Face with a Quack

One of my associates bought a pair of those magical quantum machines from China for the “fair price” of 350€ considering that they’re sold at 12000€ in my country, it could be profitable to resell them.
The machine consists in a pair of headphone connected to an electronic device with a fancy archaic connector also Junk Software with pretty animations is included with the product: all it does is generating random diagnoses based on inputs from the user such as Age, Gender etc.

I volunteered for a free diagnosis & these are the results:

INPUTS: Male, 20-30 years old.

Health Report:

Nasal Obstruction (I actually have it).
Severe Vaginitis ( My phantom vagina must be in severe pain ).
High Blood Pressure ( No I don’t ).
High Trygliceride ( Nope but many other people do ).
Blindness ( I am Mr Magoo ).

Best of all I appear to have delayed menstruations.

When asked for any proper scientific findings he started to ramble about how BigPharma is conspiring against this wonderful invention, ironic since he displayed signs of having simple paranoid delusions.

He started to claim that I know nothing because I don’t have a degree (not in medicine, mind you ) and he does so I should shut up and believe it without a SINGLE scientific explanation because if I don’t I am a “close minded” fanatic ( so much projection going on here ).

Since a single diagnosis was correct he started to ramble about it’s clear accuracy !
Like broken clocks are “right” twice a day so are Quacks for all the wrong reasons but that’s all they need: post-hoc rationalizations & magical thinking.

The solution is simple:
Be open minded only with other open minded individuals. Much like the Geneve Convention should be applied only to those who signed it.

Join the Flamewar!

Cultural Secession: Reaching Towards A New Religion

I recently discovered the blog of a college aged young man who disenchanted with a society that has utterly lost direction seems to be moving towards cultural secession, though by no conscious impulse as far as I can tell.  That is probably how it is best done.

This young man, calling himself Aleph, peruses through the annals of old gods and demons from worldwide religions and myth, then selects those which he deems suit him best adding his favorites to his own personal shrine.  He invents his own rituals to these deities as he decides suits his purpose.
He sees the great gods of the masses as bastions of cold order and Lucifer, not as the devil, but the chaotic patron deity of the individual transcending collective whims.The internet has truly set free those free thinkers the Many would once have ground to dust for the sin of an aberrant thought.  Some of his sentiments echo mine, when I was not so far from his age.

As of now, I have added Aleph’s House of Chaos to my blogroll.

Lucifer, lord of chaos, curiosity, the individual, or defiance against the masses.

Lucifer, lord of chaos, curiosity, the individual, or defiance against the masses.

Mass Popularity Dilutes Quality

Let’s go back and read a novel from the 19th to early 20th century, or even a newspaper.  Then compare the writing style back then compared to now.
We quickly notice
-The use of vocabulary is far more varied and more sophisticated than we see today.
-Language use is more creative, less literal.  Figurative expression bordering on the poetic is common.
-Writers assume a much greater attention span in their readers, pacing much more slowly than we see today.
-Writers assume their typical reader has a classical education and is not afraid to quote in Latin and Greek or to make abundant references to Greek mythology and Roman literature.

What’s astonishing is the baseline of quality was higher when the world was far poorer, less educated, with a fraction of today’s population.
What happened?
My guess is the higher standard of quality existed because the audience was a more narrow, educated slice of the population.  The quality was high because unsophisticated people were not yet able to participate.  So the market actually catered to the best of the race rather than the most puerile.
At length, a universally educated public gradually exerted its overwhelming force on the market, enshrining the insipid and mediocre as Gods of the collective.
In a universal market, that which entertains the most and offends the fewest reigns supreme—that which inspires no deep passion but is merely neither too hot or cold.  But that which belongs to everyone, does not truly belong to anyone.  This is the fundamental problem of mass culture.

We can look at issues of Time magazine from just a couple decades ago and see a dramatic difference in the tone of articles and amazingly, even in the advertisements.  It was not unusual for advertisements have a whole paragraph in relatively small print.  It’s strange anymore to see much copywriting beyond the tagline.  Got Milk? or Absolut x.  That usually does the trick.  If they write several sentences, now, no one will ever read them.

80s advertisement with more copy writing

I randomly found this going through some pages of a 1984 issue of Time magazine. No one would actually read small print copy like this anymore.

For another example, we might observe computer gaming.  With limited graphics, what we now call the Adventure genre was a staple from text games like Zork and culminating in franchises like SpaceQuest or Quest for Glory.  Since owning personal computers was still restricted mostly to affluent geeky households, the content of these games was a lot more witty and cerebral, with more in-universe detail, demanding considerable patience and brains to solve puzzles.
Of course, having much less graphics to work with may have forced to developers to focus more on gameplay and content, but it can’t by itself explain why games increasingly came to rely first on flashy graphics, content later.
A good example might be to compare, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to ES IV: Oblivion.  Morrowind had a few orders of magnitude more content than Oblivion had to offer.  Anyone who’s enjoyed Morrowind will remember the incredible attention to detail with a whole world full of exotic native plants and animals that feature in the diets, clothing, and even the architecture of the local peoples.  Throughout the game world there’s seemingly endless books—popular literature, histories, and religious texts of a fictional people.  The game can be played by following quests only, but some of the game’s most rewarding experiences are stumbling on places you’d never find if you didn’t leave the beaten path.  Many quests involve finding a person or place based only on a crude description.
By the time Oblivion was developed, Elder Scrolls was no longer a niche franchise.  The sequel was naturally tailored to be more popularly received.
The setting was made as familiar as possible, pretty much a rip off of the Lord of the Rings movies that were at a zenith of popularity at the time, easily lumped in with similar clones like Dragon Age that even began the game with a Grima Wormtongue clone traitor and a battle at Helm’s Deep against Orcs ahem…uh “Hurlocks.”
Any setting of course can shine with good direction.  Starcraft borrows heavily from Warhammer 40k, which they originally wanted a license for anyway, but the derivative game universe succeeded in taking on a vivid life of its own.
Oblivion, though, had a scant fraction of the content that was in Morrowind, even mostly borrowing books from the previous game.  Quests were made as simple as possible by always having a marker on your map telling you exactly where to go with no navigation or puzzle solving required.  They made it impossible to kill people necessary to the main quest as one might make a toy impossible for wanton toddlers to break.
The emergence of Oblivion on the popular scene was a excellent case of what happens when one tries to adapt a niche element to everyone.  The result is watered down.

Observe political rhetoric.  Simply compare the original televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon, or the oratory of 18th-19th century politicians, to modern rhetoric.  Hell, compare a George W. Bush speech to those of Ancient Roman senators.  The comparison is truly pathetic.  Again, unregulated mass participation waters down an institution until it becomes a farce.

Finally, let’s look at the movies.  Hollywood is a great example how that which belongs to everyone belongs to no one.
For instance, they chose to have a Nazi fighter, Captain America, not fight Nazis because of their desire to please every country and every demographic.  What if Indiana Jones had fought random Nazi proxies?  Would that have been the same?
Hollywood avoids risks with most big movies now remakes or reboots of old franchises.
The result is tepid and predictable, but totally devoid of the potential to inspire great culture.

Not long ago, the scarcity of wealth and education acted as a crude form of quality control.  Since this basic quality control always came naturally in a world that was mostly impoverished with most people illiterate, it’s not a problem societies have yet learned to deal with.
If we actually stop to think about it though, it seems obvious that for high culture and innovation to exist, there has to be a way to insulate the high forms from the low.
Culture now exists as an open system, all currents mixing together into lukewarm nonsense.  Clearly, we need to separate culture into its proper organs so each may perform its rightful function.

See Also: Pop Music Is Folk Music Elevated Beyond Its Proper Place

Alienation is the Gateway to Anti-Nihilism

Why Trump Kept His Lead

Many high-brow conservatives watching Trump’s debate believed that he imploded on-air, and even went as far to dismiss all of the polls that show him with a clear lead over every other candidate. They believe that choosing a leader is a technocratic matter – find the man with the right set of policies, with the right stance on issues, let him govern and the output will be inherently positive. The man himself does not matter, merely the formula. I believe the reality of the situation is quite the opposite, geopolitics does not leave much room for maneuvering towards ideological positions. It depends instead on how the few options one has are executed, which in turn depends on the character, not the ideology, of the POTUS.

They were incensed that Trump did not elaborate on his positions, instead preferring to fire back at and deflect criticism thrown at him by the moderators. They miss the entire point of debates – they exist to test a candidates ability to handle themselves on live TV. It is a test of character, one that Trump won by a wide margin. Everytime a moderator hit him with a tough question and he didn’t back down, he won yet another battle. He ended up with more airtime in the debate than any other candidate and had double the time that Rand Paul had. If it seems bizarre to say that Trump won in a test of character, it’s only because the politicians that the system buys and sells are so lame and lukewarm. If tomorrow Jeb Bush’s advisors had a poll showing high heels and miniskirts to be indicative of winning Iowa and New Hampshire, then the next day Bush would be strutting around showing his legs off to voters.

Instead of apologizing or doubling back on giving money to Hillary, Trump doubles down and admits that he’s given money to nearly every other candidate there. His lenders lost money? Double down on his character as a real world businessman and contrast it to the moderators unrealistic view of the financial world. Unlike most candidates, Trump is able to project a realistic and believable character to people, which contrasts to the GOP’s current crop of boyscouts trying to one-up each other as Mr. Rogers. If these people are scared to debate a man like Trump, then how in the world are they going to go head-to-head against Assad, Putin or Suleimani? People calling on Trump to apologize miss the point entirely: If he backs down or starts apologizing for being himself he will destroy the thing that makes him so different from other candidates. Trump follows a President that made a famous remark about drawing a redline in the sand regarding Assad’s use of chemical weapons and followed up by doing nothing. He is a President who has become infamous for apologizing for America and it’s Christian majority, even when it was inappropriate to do so. Trump’s entire campaign leverages the humiliation the current POTUS has inflicted on America and wraps it into the simple slogan, “Make America Great Again”. Rather than crafting a strategy to reconnect to their base in the way an outsider like Trump did, they hold their own base in contempt using the same words and values that their bitter enemies normally use to lambast them.

The other, even lamer criticism is that Trump is being rude and insensitive and is therefore is not suitable Presidential material. In truth, this veneer of politeness has not been the norm for elections in most of US history. There is no tradition of civility in American politics. Andrew Jackson was a fountain of profanity and insults and his opposition replied likewise, famously calling his wife a prostitute. The feud between John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson is legendary.

“That bastard brat of a Scottish peddler! His ambition, his restlessness and all his grandiose schemes come, I’m convinced, from a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb!” — John Adams on Alexander Hamilton

Indeed, Trump’s politically incorrect dialogue has created an entertaining drama where viewers are left to wonder, how far will he go? No one denies that the strategy works, they just lament that their dorkier candidates won’t leverage it to their advantage. No one can out-Trump Trump, but it does show that excessive groveling is unfitting for a POTUS candidate.

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You know your optics are terrible when riding a motorcycle somehow makes you look dorkier than you normally do. The only other candidate who didn’t look like a floundering dork was Kasich, though he couldn’t beat the Donald in rhetoric. I’m not saying you should get excited about a malignant narcissist running for office, I’m just saying he’s better at it than most others who have tried.

All Trump has to do to lose his lead is start backing down from fights and start groveling when challenged. The debates aren’t about the issues, it’s a trial by fire to see if a candidate will crack under pressure. The issues are just a tool to bludgeon them with. How the candidate responds to personal attacks further reveal the character of a candidate, which is why enforcing an air of artificial civility becomes counter-productive if taken to an extreme.

The Purpose of All Social Relations

The motto of all social relations can be encapsulated in one short sentence:

“Don’t be that guy.”

Don’t be that guy who’s the first to step off the transports on D-day.
Don’t be that guy who gets laid off when they have to cut some jobs.
Don’t be that guy who has no connections in the food ministry when there’s a famine.
Don’t be that guy who gets caught when everyone is breaking the rules.
Don’t be that guy who never finds out he’s been cuckolded and raises another man’s seed.
Just don’t be that guy.  It doesn’t matter how we make it happen.  We must.  Those who can’t are exploited and weeded out.

This is the reason why humans developed big brains to begin with — an arms race against each other.
The rewards of having someone else take the big risks and misfortunes for you are enormous.
The consequences of being taken advantage of are disastrous and often fatal.

Even monkeys have hierarchies where those low in rank are forced to do the most dangerous jobs with greatest vulnerability to predators while those on top get all the best mates.  Humans are just slightly more clever monkeys.  Throughout life, other people work hard to give us the short end of the stick while trying to get better for themselves and their own.  So it goes from small time jobs to the highest levels of the state.

Proles are oblivious to this reality of life, believing instead in things like “hard work” and taking pride in sweat and drudgery.  They choose to believe in religions that explain away the obvious injustice in the world around them with promises of an afterlife.

A different world view sets the middle class utterly apart from the worker masses.  They understand the goal of social relations and spend their whole lives striving not to be that guy as they “network” and exchange business cards over “continental breakfast” at their hotel.  They’re ahead because they know the right game to play.  But they’re still mediocre.  Of those playing the right game, they’re the worst at it.
Deep down they know this and they spend decades trying to compensate for their insecurity and “get ahead” by reading self help books, listening to motivational speakers, obsessing about the latest trendy “management strategies”, buying leather bound day planners, and making sure their windsor knot is flawless in the mirror before attempting to comb over that bald spot.

Civilization is Natural

Why do we suppose a beehive is natural and a city unnatural?  The enlightenment idea that humans have somehow transcended nature by building “civilization” is absurd.

We are taught that civilization is a safe place with modern medicine and “progress” where everyone cares about each other.  Perhaps we believe in these myths for comfort and the illusion of power over the universe.

I have to try not to stare in disbelief when people spout these kinds of sentiments.  These are the same people who would be forced to sleep on the street if they couldn’t outcompete others to seize and keep a job!  Human societies are based on survival of the fittest, the city is no kinder than the jungle.
Civilization is a snow-capped wilderness, the precious wealth needed to live wrung from jagged stones. I never forget I traverse an icy landscape, one sub-zero night away from dying.  All my grievances in life are but whistling winds pleading against a granite face.

So-called civilization is run with no plan.  Every generation, some people show up and struggle to deal with the mess after the fact.  No one assesses how many mouths can be fed or what kinds of people will be needed most.  Civilization just throws shit against the wall to see what sticks, exactly the same as nature.  Why should we not say deer in the forest also have civilization or even dandelions that also throw all their seeds to the wind and hope for the best?
Are not ants or termites then far more civilized than humans?  The queen only has as many workers as she needs.  Each worker puts every ounce of its productive ability into sustaining its civilization.  Humans are an incompetent waste by comparison yet we suppose technology separates us from the natural world.
Is it not pathetic that the same creatures that can create spacecraft must labor most of their waking hours to pay rent—if they are lucky?

Though we know nature is harsh do we not perceive great beauty in it?  I suppose that is why I see the world as I do but am more or less happy.  As a little kid, I loved to watch nature documentaries.  I remember seeing one episode where tadpoles were racing to mature in temporary pools created by seasonal rains.  In their struggle to make it against the deadline, they seemed every bit as busy and purposeful as city dwellers.  When time ran out, the stragglers were unapologetically left flopping in the mud, getting cooked by the sun.
That we perceive such beauty in a process defined by the harshest sort of attrition tells us nature is as it should be.  There’s no problem of evil to be explained any more than we must explain evil things in the stars or planets.
I’ve been called an optimistic pessimist.  I think it’s because someone who believes in the myth of a protective, safe civilization is doomed to be disappointed.
I am not disappointed, the universe is exactly as I expect it to be and there is peace in that.

Perhaps a story will serve to illustrate:

I was recently in the Caribbean.  Swimming away from the beach to a rocky area, I found a bunch of black urchins that reminded of shadow vessels from Babylon 5.  The bigger ones had spikes nearly a foot long.  To my astonishment, they shook their spines at me vigorously when I got near.  I’d only ever seen tiny sluggish urchins barely capable of perceptible motion.  I singled out a big one that wasn’t embedded in a rocky crevice and by nudging it with a rock found it wasn’t attached to anything.  I could easily tilt it up with the rock and slip my hand underneath.  Hah!  I thought, I had outsmarted its defense systems.  I marveled at the writhing black spike ball sitting safely in my hand and began to move back towards shore where I intended to look at it out of the water and take pictures.
But suddenly I felt sharp pains in my hand and had to drop the creature.  I was going to go try to pick it up again, I like a challenge, but then I realized the tips of its spines had broken off and were actually embedded in my fingers and had an “Oh, shit” moment.  At the same time, I was amused and amazed.  The urchin had a truly perfect design.  Ages of trial and error easily anticipated anything a fool like me might try.  I recognized great beauty in that.  All that movement hadn’t been idle, it had actually been shifting its spines underneath itself.  Because of the black color, I could see the broken off tips under my skin.  I suppose they were a souvenir there to remind me for about a month after my return to the US.

The struggle between predator and prey, parasite and host are everywhere to be found among humans.  Societies are teeming reefs with many niches and ecosystems.  I take it to be self evident that my role is to be an effective organism—that urchin offered an inspiring example to follow.

The Fundamental Problem With Labor Movements

Beggars can’t be choosers.

Think of a homeless guy who washes car windows in traffic in hopes of getting paid.  That’s the position of the wage slave.

The tragedy of the modern labor force is that people are completely dependent on jobs.
Unless a laborer gets a better offer from another employer, he’s impotent at the bargaining table.  Because he eats by selling his labor, he can’t withhold his labor.  Because he can’t withhold, he is powerless, a slave in all but name—a slave to the necessity of survival as a subsistence farmer is slave to his fields.  Even if he chooses to go on strike and be hungry for awhile, it’s all too easy to replace him with someone else who does the same thing.  And when his strike doesn’t work, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to eat again, he may even be blacklisted, all but sentenced to death by exile into the wilderness.

As soon as we go looking for jobs, we’re limited in what we can demand.  A man who opens a business may need employees, but he didn’t ask our parents to give birth to us, nor does he naturally bear any duty to care for us.  He can’t be held responsible for the entire human race—keeping a business alive is hard enough.   He has his shop and maybe he hires a few guys if he needs them, and dismisses them when they’ve served their purpose.  Someone who lives only selling his labor must be one of those guys that gets hired and finds ways to stay employed or he’s faced with starvation.

Earning bare subsistence wages for backbreaking labor that makes some other guy rich sucks; I’ve had to do a decent amount of it to get by.
I’ve also played around with small operations to make some money on the side.  I found out it’s astonishingly difficult to pay yourself even $7.50 an hour.  I’ve tried selling sourdough bread, I’ve sold asian herbs over the internet.  Until you have an operation at critical mass.  You’re actually a lot better off working at McDonalds.  When you clock out at McDonald’s you can check out and not worry.  If you have your own thing, there’s not truly any such thing as a day off.  Until you’ve risked substantial capital to build up infrastructure of some kind, simply panhandling yields a competitive wage compared to most things you could do on your own.

The only way anyone gets a better deal in this life is by having leverage at the bargaining table.  Until hamburger flippers have better options, they won’t get 15 dollars an hour.  If they can’t work for 7.50, 5 dollars an hour, or even .50 cents an hour they’re even worse off!  So how do they expect to get a better deal?
I remember traveling around the UK learning how Welshmen went hungry when slate mining declined and the Cornish when the tin market crashed. When the one job in town went away, grinding poverty gave way to the threat of outright starvation. “Grinding” at least suggests a process that can be carried on from day to day, even if it’s unrelentingly miserable.

We live in a post-industrial world where only a few percent of the population is needed to do the truly essential work of providing food and infrastructure.  The rest is a desperate attempt to make human lives worthwhile.  Once the goods are produced, it’s absurd to suppose that the rest can all try to provide value by serving each other the goods.
People have always had to earn their keep.  Those who have been unwilling or unable to provide value to others have starved.  One brief thought experiment suffices: Do you want to buy food and housing for a mob of strangers?  Can you?

A few years ago I wrote about the Highland Clearances because it’s a definitive example of how the real world really works:  When sheep became more profitable than peasant tenants, the people were promptly evicted en masse to make way for sheep.  We can also observe countless other examples in the British Empire alone.  They exported food from Ireland during the Irish potato famine and from India during Indian famines.  Human life is cheap and wealth is dear.

If we consider that money is just a stand-in for wealth, and wealth itself is food, shelter, mates, luxuries for the human and the products of photosynthesis for the plant—every living thing in a sense is a business.
And in the course of nature, failed businesses perish from the earth.

I’ve wondered before if we can defy the experience of generations and truly assign human life an intrinsic value in practice.  New things happen after 10s of thousands or even millions of years all the time.  But by the pattern we know—that of an agricultural oligarchy, useful specimens are retained by those who control wealth—the rest discarded into the trash pile.

That said, even if no useful work is to be done, billions of unneeded specimens still have a very useful product to offer—they can be hired for the indispensable service of not looting, plundering, and causing mayhem—or at least you won’t have to pay the greater expense of hiring armies to slaughter them all.  Such has been the basis of social programs and welfare since ancient Egypt and Rome.
No man would be willing to earn 50,000, live on 10,000 himself and support 4 other strangers on 10k each.  But many a man might sacrifice 10,000 of his 50,000 a year to be left in peace.  On exactly this premise our current order continues to coast along on borrowed inertia from better times.

Strategic Chokepoints in Life: or Marcus Aurelius’ Error

If Marcus Aurelius’ only accomplishment in life were to choose a capable heir, it would have outweighed the almost 20 years he spent administering a massive Roman empire.
Rome never recovered from his choice of Commodus as his heir.  He wrote philosophy and went on campaigns but his legacy truly hinged on one thing: the succession.  In neglecting the succession all his virtues were in vain.  He could have spent 20 years lying around smoking pot and come out ahead if only he had chosen the right heir.  This is Marcus Aurelius’ error.
There are chokepoints in life.  All the stuff that happens in between is just filler while just a few things decide everything—whether we are successes or failures for all time.
I notice in most people I meet in America an utter disregard for the greater game of life.  They mindlessly attend parties and have legions of facebook friends but not one person they could call upon in a time of dire need.  Nor do they have a plan for family or progeny.  They just serve out their days like assembly line robots.  Yet the robots serve a pure purpose for which they were made.  The torment of modern Americans is the torment of constant busyness without purpose.
They grind away obediently at relentless jobs never seeming to care about the things that will actually matter.  On their death beds they invariably realize that maybe a fraction of 1% of their time alive went into anything meaningful.
Like Marcus Aurelius they were seduced away from the meaningful life by colorful distractions.

If we distance ourselves for a moment from the noise of our lives, we will see that only a few things will ever really matter.  If we can just get those few things right, the rest takes care of itself.

Smart Socialism

In the USA, the word ‘socialism’ has become a curse word, associated with handing the fruits of the productive over to the least productive, from grateful laborers to contemptuous malingerers.

The word might take on a new meaning though if we re-examine the role of a re-distributive government.
A quick look at the present and at history tells us at once that there are societies out there that compete for dominance.
So the main duty of a society’s rulers is to set up their society to win over its competitors.
Since rulership itself derives from control of resources, distribution of resources has always been one of the roles of the ruler.
Socialism however, has become known as a program where the rulers distribute resources to the least productive members of society.
These measures do serve a practical function.  Some form of welfare has existed since ancient Rome for good reason.  It’s simply cheaper to distribute free bread than it is to deal with the crimes of truly desperate men and to repair the damage done by chronic bread riots.  More than one regime has been toppled when there were simply too many empty stomachs.
So some form of redistribution to the poor is typical for rulers, whatever the form of government.

Obviously, any system that gives out free bread will be flooded with claims of hunger and privation from every quarter, every idle person trying to snatch the greatest share.  The most important part of a welfare system is the protection against abuse.
In America the word ‘socialism’ has become synonymous with a system that not only allows the most typical abuses but allows many unearned benefits to accrue for those who do not produce.  This system loses sight of the main purpose of redistribution to unproductive people: to do the minimum required to prevent the more costly problems caused by many empty stomachs.

Any investment in the poor beyond the bare minimum required to prevent unrest must be justified.  An ideal ruler spends every penny with the object of getting his state ahead of other states.  Every penny he spends on his own people is an investment in the society over which he rules.
Whenever the ruler spends money at a loss on the least productive people, it is a waste of wealth.
And wealth to the human or the human society is little different than sun to a plant.  The plant that can absorb sun more effectively than another will outproduce and outgrow its neighbor.

We can easily reason from these premises that society should invest in its most promising and intelligent people, not in the slowest, least capable, and lowest in character.  Thus, if we re-think socialism we might realize a welfare queen with 8 kids, a high iq, and demonstrable talent isn’t such a bad idea.
The real reason why redistribution programs meet with such opposition isn’t because of the principle of redistribution itself, but because of who the wealth is redistributed to.

If we look at European countries, socialism seems to work best in countries with highly homogeneous populations.  In such nations, the people find redistributive policies far more tolerable because their wealth is providing for those who share a common ethnicity, culture, and language.
In a heterogenous nation like the USA, however, redistribution ends up financing the spread of a thousand penniless ethnicities, with alien cultures, and foreign languages.  Naturally, no one tribe wants to pay for the expenses of another.  Asians don’t want to pay the hospital bills of blacks, blacks don’t want to buy free housing for Asians, Whites don’t want to send Mestizos to college…
In a vast, heterogenous nation, socialist policies that are easy to implement in smaller, more homogenous states are quickly found to be impossible.

The ruler is best off simply calculating what peoples and which people will most likely yield positive returns on investment.  What if all the money that is funneled into hopeless ghettos was instead used to give those on the cusp of making it an extra push?  Startup loans for small businesses?  Scholarships for those who want to study profitable disciplines?

What if instead of disability checks, the system was more concerned in dealing out ability checks.  If someone has a talent for drawing, music, or even for poetry, why not send them a monthly check simply for being what they are?  A disabled person collects checks on the same premise after all.  Why then do we not also recognize the abled, whose prosperity benefits everyone and rewards the best in us rather than the very worst?
If someone has good genes and superior intelligence why not send them a monthly check?  The extra wealth renders them better able to support children and to influence our world.
If someone has sound spending habits why not send them a check, just because it’s known they’ll save it up for something important?

Why shouldn’t society clamor to pay for multitudes of children from smart, educated women?  What sane ruler would finance the child-bearing of the most hopeless and despondent women?
Shouldn’t geniuses rather than gangsters be given free housing and endowed with food stamps?
If socialism was done the smart way, perhaps ‘the projects’ would be identified with shining beacons of humanity rather than cesspools of violence, stupidity, and despair.

Great Men Are Not Specialists

The Ancient Athenians who did about 2500 years worth of thinking for us, were a handful of people who lived over just a few generations.  They accomplished infinitely more than men across centuries who had far more resources and specialized learning.
In their own time: why was it war-like ancient Greeks who came up with these great ideas and not more civilized Egyptians and Babylonians who already had 1000 year old academic traditions?
The Greeks borrowed lots of knowledge from further east, but they did extraordinary things with what they learned.

There is a key difference I notice between Greek philosophers and Egyptian scribes.

The trained scribe or academic has always been an extreme specialist confined to a few tasks and isolated from the rest of society, a hothouse plant who’s never had to make his own way and face adversity.  In fact he prides himself on not having to fight battles or perform back-breaking labor.  The scribe and the academic are features of a mature civilization that’s settled into a rigid caste system where everyone performs one role as a replaceable part in a great machine.

The comparatively savage Greeks behind the most important thoughts in human history weren’t as sheltered from the travails of life, nor did they have the luxury of living in just one specialty their whole lives.
Socrates was a soldier and Plato a wrestler.  They were men of the mind, but unlike Egyptian or Babylonian scribes, they were not rote specialists.  They had to live in the physical world and test themselves against other men in the crudest way.  They were forced to understand the problems that ordinary people must face.  Their practical experience taught them what is empty sentiment and what works in real life.  They couldn’t hide; they had to face and conquer their fears first.  Then having experienced how the world works, they formulated their ideas about reality into philosophy.

The Ancient Greeks are one of the few peoples in history who believed that an excellent man is master of both mind and body.  They saw a perfect physique as the natural counterpart of a perfect mind.
Throughout history, their view has been unusual.  Almost every settled people has had a class of scribes rather than warrior poets and philosopher kings.

If we take one quick glance at the course of ages, we see that one warrior poet is worth legions of scribes and one lone renaissance man can produce a century worth of technology and culture.

A man who lives only in the physical is a brute and a thug.
A man who lives only in the mind is a vaporous weakling.
A man who can master and unite both has the potential to become a great man

Abraham Lincoln is a historically recent great man who the Ancient Greeks would have admired.
He was an able laborer and if need be, a warrior capable of defending himself with his own gnarled fists.  He grew up on a frontier where survival was on the line and sentimental bullshit quickly slapped down by harsh reality.
His deep understanding of the “short and simple annals of the poor”  combined with philosophy, poetry, literature, rhetoric, and logic made him one of those rare great men across thousands of years who avoids the trap of specialization and masters the entire human experience.
Lincoln coming out of a rural backwater managed to best Seward for the Republican nomination.  Seward was an extremely capable man who’d been both a governor and senator of New York state and lived his entire life at the highest levels of society, groomed by political bosses for the highest office in the land.  Yet despite his endless advantages, a powerful and brilliant man like Seward lost to one backwoods lawyer who was a Great Master in the style of the Ancient Greeks.

What’s even more extraordinary is these Ancient Greek philosophers understood what made them uniquely Great.  Plato’s ideal philosopher king was no rote specialist but a man of the world trained in every art.  Perhaps most telling is one of the final tests for philosopher king trainees: to go out in the world as a common man and make a living; and in so doing to become master of the entire human experience, finally fit to rule.

See Also:  The Pitfalls of Microspecialization in Mass Societies

Smart People are a Social Luxury

The basic human existence consists of food production and reproduction.  No one has time for science or literacy.

People who focus on skills that don’t directly contribute to their own breeding success are a social luxury.

Humans have a very limited number of cubic centimeters in their heads.  A woman’s birth canal can only be so wide and allow for efficient upright movement.  We have only to observe how difficult childbirth is for our species to see that we’re already pushing that limit.

With limited real estate to build on, a person who’s especially good at one thing must sacrifice in other ways.  It’s all too common for a great scientist to be socially awkward, because of the temperament required to excel and the time spent away from others pursuing his craft.

So a society that would have scientists must make cultural and biological provisions to allow a scientific breed of human to develop and persist.

Pretty much every culture today that produces lots of good scientists is at least traditionally a highly competitive culture of arranged marriages.
With the first priority of marriage to secure resources to support children, having sought after abilities became more important than having a natural instinct for dance.

In a free sexual market, the scientist who fails to devote all his resources to reproductive and social competition and who has the wrong temperament is crushed out of existence.
Without exception, instinct dominated societies have no science and most certainly no scientists.  The arrangement of evolutionary pressures ensures no such thing comes to pass.  Truth itself has no meaning if it does not further your aims. It does not matter for your purposes if the sun is some mythical god or a gaseous celestial body.  It does not affect the outcome of your own struggles in the grand scheme of nature and you haven’t the luxury to waste energy worrying about it anyway.

So if a technologically advanced society allows a sexual free market, we can predict it will swiftly, within a few generations, revert to the ancestral equilibrium that allows no place for specialists who fail to maximize their immediate individual payoff within the story of their species.
Ability for science, highly skilled arts, advanced craftsmanship, curiosity, self-reflection become handicaps to a human animal that must first be concerned with food production and reproduction.

The Future of Human Evolution

“Can we trust evolutionary development to take our species in broadly desirable directions?  Starting from primitive, unconscious life, biological evolution has led to the development of ever more advanced organisms, including creatures that have minds, consciousness, language, and reason…the big picture shows an overarching trend towards increasing levels of complexity, knowledge, consciousness, and organization, a trend which, not to put too fine a point on it, we may label “progress”

We shall explore a different set of existential risks in which the world would end more gradually, not with a bang but a whimper. Let us therefore suppose that no sudden cataclysm puts an end to life.  Let us also set aside scenarios in which evolution leads to the erosion of complexity.  We shall explore how, even if evolutionary development continues unabated in the direction of greater complexity, things could nevertheless take a wrong turn leading to the disappearance of all the things we value.

Scenario I: The Mindless Outsourcers

Technological progress continues to accelerate and at some point the technology of “mind uploading” becomes possible.  Some human individuals upload and make many copies of themselves.  Meanwhile, there is gradual progress in neuroscience and artificial intelligence, and eventually it becomes possible to isolate individual cognitive modules and connect them up to modules from other uploaded minds.  Possibly, modules would need to be trained before they can communicate with each other effectively.  Modules that conform to a common standard would be better able to communicate and cooperate with other modules and would therefore be economically more productive, creating a pressure for standardization.
Competitive uploads begin outsourcing increasing portions of their functionality: “Why do I need to know arithmetic when I can buy time on Arithmetic-Modules Inc. whenever I need to do my accounts?
Some uploads might prefer to retain most of their functionality and handle tasks themselves that could be more efficiently done by others.  They would be like hobbyists who enjoy growing their own vegetables or knitting their own cardigans; but they would be less efficient than some other uploads, and they would consequently be outcompeted over time…
There might be no niche for mental architectures of a human kind.
Would these complexes be worthwhile from our current point of view?  Do we, upon reflection, really favor a world in which such alien types of complexes have replaced human-type complexes?

We can thus imagine a technologically highly advanced society, containing many sorts of complex structures, some of which are much smarter and more intricate than anything that exists today, in which there would nevertheless be a complete absence of any type of being whose welfare has moral significance.  In a sense, this would be an uninhabited society.  All the kinds of being that we care even remotely about would have vanished.


Scenario II: All-Work-And-No-Fun

Even if we do not suppose that uploading and outsourcing will result in a widespread loss of consciousness, we can still entertain the possibility that intrinsically valuable activities and states of consciousness become rarer or disappear altogether.  Much of human life’s meaning arguably depends on the enjoyment, for its own sake.
Perhaps what will maximize fitness in the future will be nothing but non-stop high-intensity drudgery, work of a drab and repetitive nature, aimed at improving the eighth decimal of some economic output measure.  Even if the workers selected for in this scenario were conscious, the resulting world would still be radically impoverished in terms of the qualities that give value to life…”

This is just an excerpted version of the first part of the article, emphasis mine.

The full paper by Nick Bostrom, from Oxford University.

Here’s his bio on wiki

He goes on to discuss to discuss how the human activities we find enjoyable such as the arts are “flamboyant displays” like a peacock’s feathers that give a hard-to-fake demonstration desirable mate qualities.  He reasons that rational post-human beings might recognize these as baggage of our evolutionary past and see little value in them.  Not to mention, simply donating vials of sperm is a more efficient mating strategy for an advanced organism than is spending years learning an artistic talent.  Thus, many of the human enjoyments we value highly get weeded out.

He goes on to point out that conscious beings may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage against entities that focus their whole energies on the most effective means of replication, eliminating the unnecessary flamboyant display of consciousness.

Bostrom’s next step, is to ponder if these outcomes could be avoided by conscious beings aka. “eudaemonic agents” controlling the course of evolution and technology to preserve conscious existence for its own sake.
He concludes:
“To this problem there are only two possible solutions: preventing non-eudaemonic variants from arising in the first place, or modifying the fitness function so that eudaemonic traits become fitness-maximizing
Even if the eudaemonic agents could prevent dangerous mutants from arising, their efforts would be to no avail if the original population already contained some individuals with non-eudaemonic fitness-maximizing preferences, because these would then proliferate and eventually dominate.
Forestalling the dystopian evolutionary scenarios by preventing non-eudaemonic agents from arising is therefore a non-starter.  At most, this measure could serve an auxiliary role.”
He also finds it problematic to imagine an air-tight way any social structure or procedure could indefinitely stop an inherently superior approach from eventually taking over.

Bostrom tries to imagine a universe where conscious agents and the un-conscious simply inhabit different niches in the same ecosystem or are even joined together under one governing power.

He ends:

“Current evidence does not warrant any great confidence in the belief that the default course of future human evolution points in a desirable direction.  In particular, we have examined a couple of dystopian scenarios in which evolutionary competition leads to the extinction of the life forms we regard as valuable.  Intrinsically worthwhile experience could turn out not to be adaptive in the future.”

This article caught my attention because in my own inquiries asking what can have any intrinsic meaning in the grand scheme of this universe, itself possibly transient, the development of consciousness is one of the few things I can feel convinced has some kind of inherent value.
In which case the threats that affect its development are possibly the most important to anticipate and address before they become fatal problems.

If there’s one thing we can take away from this article, it’s to not take the existence of self-awareness for granted as the inevitable result of ‘progress.’
Consciousness is a great extravagance that can even cause us to self-destruct or “waste” our energies on enjoyment that accomplishes nothing, directly against the interests of the species.  Once we’ve decided awareness is valuable, it’s the clear mission of conscious agents to defend and develop the luxury of being.  Humans as we exist now are at best modestly self-aware, only slightly removed from other animals, but we have a mission if we should accept it to blow on the spark we have.

It seems clear that:
-first we have to improve ourselves within the bounds of natural selection
-second we must escape the trap of Darwinian selection
-third, we have to be smart enough to prevent synthetic forms of selection from destroying conscious agency.

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