FORWARD BASE B

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Tag Archives: rational

Rational People Are Inimical To Social Cohesion

Functional societies so far require people to have weak powers of reason and to adopt starkly irrational beliefs.  Groups that can trick their members into acting against their individual best interests are those that thrive.

A typical man’s biological interests are best served by impregnating as many women as possible and providing as few resources as he can to each so long as the offspring survive, so he can continue to search for more.
The tradition of marriage harnesses his sexual energies into productive tasks that harm his own immediate interests but help the society.
Going to war is completely inimical to his interests.  As far as he’s concerned he loses all if he dies.  His death may preserve his society, but that serves him little solace if he is no longer alive.
Or take voting in elections, walking into stores without stealing, or any other activity inspired by moral imperatives.  If he thinks completely rationally, he understands that his life does infinitesimally little to win a war or his vote to win an election.  It is irrational for him to participate in these affairs.
His fear comes from moral imperatives—that if he doesn’t fight the invaders millions of other men will also stay home and everyone loses.  However, if he sees millions of other men willingly go to war it pays handsomely to defect and dodge the draft, ready to snatch up all the widows when the war is over.  The motto of all social relations is “Don’t be that guy.”
In the American Civil War, there were professional draft dodgers who made a living by snatching up money incentives to join then disappearing and doing the same thing again under another assumed identity.
In a strictly rational sense these guys were the winners.  The guys who cooperated and went to die or become cripples were losers.
Of course, war is a gentleman’s gamble, the survivors return bedecked with honors to a land less competitive than before.
But no one who takes those odds seems at first to think they’ll be the ones to lose the bet.
At the end of every war there’s cities erected for honorable men built grandly with marble whiter than bone and the door of every abode adorned with plaques emblazoned with soothing platitudes in all caps.  All to disguise the ugly fact that within lies a teenager who was torn to shreds by a landmine, sent to take the risks pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the dominant older men.  It speaks loudly that across the ages, we have to try so hard to make ourselves believe.  But if social norms are strong enough and everyone imbued with dogma from birth, most people gladly subsume their inner dissonance to fit in.

The trouble is that this trickery becomes much harder in a world where most people are literate and access to the internet is widespread.  People are pretty well bred for obedience to social norms, but given enough sources, a vocal minority begins to question and deviate, undermining the unity of the rest.
I have encountered inquisitive minds on the internet that perceive many of the same problems I do in modern societies.  But the proposed solution I most often hear is to bring back old religions or at least adapt them somehow to modern conditions.  I do not see how this can be so except by fundamentalist peoples demographically displacing technocrats over time.  And then the problem is not solved.  Either their society stays in the safety of stagnation or at length the new theocratic rulers are likewise corrupted as they advance and the cycle repeats as their creed too is unable to cope with the needs of an inquisitive and informed populace.  I see many merits in the arguments to bring back old creeds as a deliberate social strategy, but the need for people to be ignorant of their best interests for these systems to work suggests to me we must formulate an altogether new sort of system that makes use of game theory and takes informed, discerning people into account.

Animals Are Rational

“How can non-injurious aggressive behaviors — especially displays — induce one opponent to give up and relinquish a valuable resource?”

Animals have clear set survival strategies. They don’t make mistakes or try the martingale like humans are wont to do. Based on their programmed strategy they invariably stick to the course that is most highly probable to result in survival and reproduction according to the house odds experienced by the previous generation.
They are truly survival machines that operate with industrial grade efficiency.

In many territorial disputes in the wild, the intruder will almost always back down. However great the defender’s disadvantage, they have nothing to lose and will fight to the death. The stronger intruder will win, but at a net loss.
Unlike a typical spiteful and neurotic human, the strong intruder in the animal kingdom backs down.

Humans then, are clearly survival machines removed from their original circumstances.
Truly, our congruency with the ‘natural state’ is equal to the degree which our behaviors are biologically rational.

hawks and doves

The Logic of North Korea

Assuming that North Korea is insane and illogical is a counter-productive approach. Once one has given in to such a sentiment, there can be no reasoning, no progress, and no predictions of what will happen next.

Famine conditions serve a purpose:
-The state concentrates its resources in and around the capital.
-The state keeps its most valuable and loyal citizens in the capital
-The less loyal and less valuable you are, the further away you have to live from the capital.
-The further away from the capital you are, the less state resources you receive, the poorer the farmland and farming equipment becomes.
-Thus the less loyal and valuable you are to the state, the less likely you or your progeny will survive.
-Thus the state all but breeds its citizens for obedience and productivity.

Insane or chillingly rational?”

*Kim Jong Il was alive when this article was written but the principles of the North Korean state are unchanged.*

Truly nothing is permanent, the site I posted this article was posted on was deleted by yahoo over a year ago. And perhaps all of wordpress is deleted 10 years from now or less?  I remember working in an archives once, their worship of paper documents that cannot be changed or deleted except by fire or decay:

Here’s the original text updated 11/28/2015:

Confused with the state of North Korea, many foreigners dismiss the country, its Dear leader, and everything in its borders as ‘insane.’

Assuming that North Korea is insane and illogical is a counter-productive approach. Once one has given in to such a sentiment, there can be no reasoning, no progress, and no predictions of what will happen next.
There is in fact a method to the ‘madness’ and assuming insanity constitutes a refusal to analyze or understand a potentially dangerous government and its policies.

* Firstly, the North Korean government very much has a purpose in mind when it menaces its neighbors with weapons tests and undertakes nuclear development.

The DPRK:

-Wishes to give the impression of erratic, frightening behavior so it can be more intimidating.

-Wishes to be more intimidating so it can get what it wants through threats.

-Wishes to make threats because:
It is a relatively easy way to increase the resources, income, and political clout of the regime.
Intimidation is a deterrent to invasion.
It Is a way for a nation perpetually on the brink of famine to feed itself.

* Even a state with a weak centrally planned economy is not implemented irrationally. Famine conditions serve a purpose:
-The state concentrates its resources in and around the capital.
-The state keeps its most valuable and loyal citizens in the capital
-The less loyal and less valuable you are, the further away you have to live from the capital.
-The further away from the capital you are, the less state resources you receive, the poorer the farmland and farming equipment becomes.
-Thus the less loyal and valuable you are to the state, the less likely you or your progeny will survive.
-Thus the state all but breeds its citizens for obedience and productivity.

Insane or chillingly rational?

* The cult surrounding Kim Jong Il and his family is not insanity, but rather a continuation of tradition.

-Extravagant stories of a ruler’s birth were common in historical East Asian monarchies.
-The Kim family is essentially a modern day Korean dynasty. Korea was traditionally the most Neo-Confucian state on earth. In this system, the common people owed obedience to their ruler just as a child did to its father. This relationship of ‘filial piety’ was regarded as the foundation of society. Exceptional obedience of the populace was not insanity but the proper order.
-‘The great Juche idea’ is in part a modern continuation of the philosophies behind traditional Korean monarchies.

* Much of the North Korean approach is determined from the perspective of Korean history:

-Korea was historically caught in between larger neighbors and periodically suffered devastating invasions. This fostered an attitude of fear towards the outside world. Korea, even more than other East Asian nations has been known as a ‘hermit kingdom.’ This tendency towards xenophobia and isolation continues in both modern day Koreas. It is only much more pronounced in the North.

-The twentieth century was incredibly traumatizing for Korea. Resistance groups under Kim Il Sung spent years fighting the Japanese in both Korea and in China. In the Korean war, conflict surged repeatedly up and down the peninsula. By the end Korean civilization, was in ruins. The North especially had been bombed back into the stone age by the Americans, mostly with lots and lots of napalm. Millions of civilians were killed during the war. The bitter resentment caused by this death and destruction endures to the present day.

— Korean pursuit of nuclear weapons is in part a reaction to precedent set by the Americans:
-Macarthur requested about thirty nukes with the intention of turning the entire border region of North Korea into a radioactive no man’s land through which no Chinese or Russian troops could possibly pass.
-Truman kept the possibility of nukes open even after he fired Macarthur.
-North Korea is loathe to stop its nuclear program when it has already come so close to being nuked.

* Playing the role of North Korea satisfies the needs of its most important client. There is market demand for a North Korea.
-The last thing China wants is to share a border with a staunch US ally that hosts a large garrison of US troops. North Korea is a friendly socialist government that serves as a buffer zone.
-The collapse of North Korea would result in millions of refugees flooding into China.
-The recalcitrance of North Korea serves as a distraction and ties down US troops.
-The ability of North Korea to brazenly stand up to US demands makes the US lose face. The US loses clout when it makes ultimatum after empty ultimatum.
-North Korea is a litmus test that allows the Chinese to see how far the Americans can be pushed. Brinksmanship is risky, it is grand to have someone who’s willing to do it for you.

So long as North Korea serves Chinese interests (it serves as a buffer zone just by existing), it will continue to receive plenty of energy and food aid from China. China might publicly scold the DPRK and even briefly place sanctions, but it will just be for show.

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