Saturday, October 25, 2008

History Is Written By Popular Memes


They say that the Norse explorers, far from being obsessed with fighting and drinking, were a largely-peaceful race who were even criticised for being too hygienic.

The university's department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic has published a guide revealing how much of the Vikings' history has been misrepresented.

"A medieval chronicler, John of Wallingford, talking about the eleventh century, complained that the Danes were too clean - they combed their hair every day, washed every Saturday, and changed their clothes regularly."

"Although Norse men and women may have sometimes liked fighting and drinking, and were sometimes buried with weapons, they also spent much of their time in peaceful activities such as farming, building, writing and illustrating."

The Telegraph


So our popular image and reality diverge quite a bit, don't they?

This happened because those who got dominated by the Norse complained loudest and longest. These complainers were dumber than the Norse, so at a disadvantage when they came into town and set up shop.

We see the same pattern in memology: an idea that appeals to people because it "sounds like" how things "should" be dominates over the more complex, or even simpler, historical truth.

Democracy is just the most recent step in this direction.

Who Are the Elites, Now?

Let's see: elites are those who rule and often manipulate systems to their advantage. They can be parasitic.

Most people who work in the media: liberals.

Most people who work in entertainment: liberals.

Most people who work in academia: liberals.

Most people who work for government: liberals.

Most people who work in the military: conservatives.

Most people who work in business leadership positions: conservatives.

Interesting.

Who are the elites, actually?

Brain Toxicity Is Not Routinely Tested in Pesticides

Something to think about when you eat tonight:


Many pesticides used in the European Union may damage brain growth in fetuses and young children, according to a study published on Friday.

The study urged the European Union to tighten restrictions.

"Toxicity to the brain is not routinely included in testing pesticides," Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark told Reuters.

"Because many of them are by design toxic to the brain of insects, it is very likely that they are also toxic to human brains," he said of a review of almost 200 scientific reports worldwide about the brain and pesticides.

Reuters


It's not profitable to test things accurately, so we avoid it and pretend there's no problem.

Economic Non-Advice Is Still Sensible

From the bloviation files:


It's no accident that China and Japan, for example, have been both producer-driven economies and nations of savers. We have to slowly shift back to being a producer-driven economy. It will be difficult and painful, but we have to spend less and produce more goods and services that other economies around the world want to buy.

Business Week


He's not saying end the consumer economy.

He's saying export so that consumers elsewhere become our buyers.

While this is short-term sense, the long-term problem is that the consumer economy worldwide is destructive.

What we need instead is a cooperative economy that's self-sustaining and not growth-based, as his suggestion above is.

Unfortunately, that means we cannot support useless people; cooperation requires that most people be productive (a small allowance for the elderly, the injured, a few retarded kids here and there).

And that's politically unacceptable. Maybe in addition to consumerism, we need to throw out politics -- the idea that what most people want is the best goal.

The Markets Don't Like Obama, But Economically Inexperienced Masses Do


one proposal to the next. But while the polls are reflecting Obama's steady hand, the markets haven't. In fact, they're getting worse by the day as Obama's lead widens.

Recently, Obama said he wants to expedite loans to small businesses, so he seems to have a clue that they produce much of the country's job growth. Yet his income-tax hike on upper brackets will hit vast numbers of small businesses - they'd face the highest rates they've seen in decades.

Overall, his plan includes some of the most lethal tax increases imaginable, including a jump in the capital-gains rate. He'd expand government spending massively, with everything from new public-works projects to increases in foreign aid to a surge in Afghanistan - plus hand out a token $500 welfare check that he calls a tax cut to everyone else.

From his days as a community activist, to his years in the Illinois Senate and now his brief time in the US Senate, he has shown little inclination to deviate from his party's tax-and-spend orthodoxy.

And if he governs like a liberal ideologue - with a belief that the government that works best is the one that's biggest and raises taxes the most - he won't even have to work hard to get his way.

NY Post


An excellent article very much worth reading. Add to that the 74% of CEOs who think Obama would be "disastrous" and you've got a solid difference here: those who manage our infrastructure think Obama is irrational. Those who work in it and make no decisions of importance -- 95% of our people -- really like him and have no idea of the underlying issues.

And then there's this -- Barack Obama speaking about how he and ACORN want to force loans to the impoverished:



That was responsible for the current crisis in the loans industry.

The Case Against Barack Obama

The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate by David Freddoso

I'm now reading this informative book. Unlike the material the mainstream media spoon feeds to the populist mob, this book focuses on actual facts and characterizations by people who are politically informed and close to Barack Obama.

There is no discussion about whether or not he's a Muslim, whether or not he was born in the USA, and other deviations from policy analysis. It's all about the ideas he espouses, the forces that shaped him, how he came to power and the events that show his character.

Highly recommended.

The Difference Between "Nationalism" and "Racism"

In the interest of fair debate, I offer some suggested definitions.


Nationalism: the knowledge that without a unifying culture composed of values, language, customs and heritage, a nation becomes unified by political policy and manipulated by the memes of advertising, politicians, marketers and so on. Nationalists recognize that pluralism and multiculturalism not only have failed historically, but inherently Do Not Work.

Racism: the belief that without a unifying culture, nations should be composed of mixed races, and that some should be dubbed superior and some inferior. In the racist view, nations can be unified by political belief, stocked with culture by marketers, and social rank can be determined by race and income. As a result, racists see it as necessary for people of each race to detest and manipulate each other in order to re-affirm social hierarchy.


So it seems to me.

Most people don't like the idea of social hierarchy. They love the idea that they can be anyone or anything they want, but we all know this is fantasy. No matter how hard I try, I will never be good at anything I want to be; I have some abilities that are innate that allow me to be good at certain things, perhaps even excellent at one or two. Would Beethoven have made a good politician or economist? No, but Alan Greenspan would have been a poor composer, also (I'm assuming Greenspan is a good economist).

Social hierarchy is perceived as most threatening when it deals with the inherent abilities of different people or groups.

The best solution, in the Nationalist view, is to stop the endless fighting and to separate into groups of similar people.

In the Racist view, separation is not the goal, but making sure that others know their place -- and clean the toilets of those dubbed superior -- seems to be the goal.

It's an interesting and under-discussed split.

You Can't Outrun Power: "Regulation" Means Leadership Is What is Actually Needed


The financial crisis even prompted the Republican Greenspan, a staunch believer in free markets, to propose that government consider tougher regulations, including requiring financial firms that package mortgages into securities to keep a portion as a check on quality.

He said other regulatory changes should be considered, too, in such areas as fraud.

ABC


So there's a lot of talk of "regulation," and the people who like the idea of no regulation like anarchists and libertarians complain. But what is regulation? It is rules that oversee a process.

If we think more closely, we realize that every process needs some kind of overseer, or some kind of leader, because any process can be exploited. Nothing manages itself like decay. Just like liberalism is at an advantage because it is deconstructive, or focused on small pieces and not big realities, decay is at an advantage because it's a simpler process than construction.

We like the idea of deferring authority to some governmental system, economic system, social system etc that "just runs itself" like an answering machine, but that is illusory. We need someone guiding the process everywhere; that someone should be smart. Of course underlying this is that none of us trust the electorate, because not only have we all seen how they pick The Other Goddamn Side half the time, but we've also all seen the even greater failures. And we see how the voters are more influenced by trends, media, social memes and propaganda than sound logic.

A smart civilization admits it can't outrun power. You either manage power, or it manages you. Right now that tail is wagging our dog here in the USA. Wonder if we'll figure it out before we collapse into third-world status?

Russians Are Rapists: Why The Lesser Always Hate the Greater


Relations between Russia and Germany have not been good since Vladimir Putin's nationalist sabre-rattling this summer, but they are about to get a whole lot worse.

A new film about to be released in Germany will force both countries to re-examine part of their recent history that each would much prefer to forget. Yet it is right that the ghastly truth should finally be acknowledged.

Marta was one of two million German women who were raped by soldiers of the Red Army - in her case, as in so many others, several times over.

In his fine new book, World War Two: Behind Closed Doors, the historian Laurence Rees points out that although rape was officially a crime in the Red Army, in fact, Stalin explicitly condoned it as a method of rewarding the soldiers and terrorising German civilians.

Daily Mail


The Germans were hopelessly outnumbered on the Russian front. Armed with American weaponry, the Russians slowly pushed them back. The Germans on paper never had a chance to win, but they came very close to winning, and it's possible that political instability between Hitler and his generals was the cause of their loss.

This pissed the Russians off. Russia has always been impoverished because its people are dumber than Germans, have killed off their aristocracy numerous times, have tried many systems of government and failed at them all, and have -- like all third world nations -- tried to kill any wise person who has risen up among them to tell them the truth; however, they don't mind following charlatans like Lenin and Stalin!

We keep hearing more and more bad things about Russians, just as our second cold war heats up, and most of them are toned down. If Roosevelt had any brains, he would've let the Germans take out the Russians before then invading the Germans, and saved us 60 -- well, looks more like it's going to be 120 -- years of Cold War.

People Seek Social-Cultural Spaces That Aren't Businesses


Next spring, Phoenix's Burton Barr Central Library will open its first coffee shop, the Open Book Cafe, joining several Valley libraries that offer coffee bars.

It's part of a national trend to turn libraries from quiet, solitary experiences into participatory community spots. The new look, sometimes coming with cutting-edge programming (such as Glendale Public Library's fall series on puberty and sex education), has coupled with the flagging economy to send circulation numbers soaring.

Library patrons today may be playing the video game Guitar Hero, sinking into comfy sofas to visit with a client or taking a yoga class. And they still drop by to use computers or even check out a book.

Arizona Central


Like churches, libraries are a social function. They can sell coffee without being "only" a business. (If something sells coffee, does it "=" a business? No, unless its function is dominated by sales.)

People like social-cultural spaces to hang out because they need places to go that aren't home where they can socialize or be alone, possibly get a few things done, but mostly have a place to hang out.

Churches also serve this function, which is why even if you hate religion, you should try to reform religion instead of dismissing it, because they are useful community spaces. "God" means the mysterious unifying force of the cosmos that produced everything and somehow invisible regulates it; interpret as you will! -- as an adult, I've come to realize that over half the people at churches are well-meaning atheists.

For students, schools with their student centers, cafes and libraries serve some of this function. For people out of school, we need more social-cultural spaces, because every other option is "shopping," disguised. Book stores. Restaurants. Bars.

If libraries help us discover this need, that's even better because there's a connection to the one activity that every person can do: thinking.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Immigrants Fleeing USA After Economic Downturn

Recessions occur in cycles like booms, and they last for a little while, and then go away. Yet to some people, they're reason to leave. Fair-weather friends? Fair enough: they're hear to make some bucks to send home, which is good for them -- but in the long term, bad for us.


Thousands of Latin American immigrants both legal and illegal are going back home as the economic crisis in the U.S. causes jobs to dry up in the construction, landscaping and restaurant industries.

The flow of immigrants back across the border tends to be cyclical, with many people going back home for the Christmas holidays. But some authorities say they are seeing a bigger-than-usual reverse-immigration effect this year.

The Border Patrol said it made 723,825 apprehensions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, down 18 percent from last year and down 39 percent from nearly 1.2 million in 2005.

Remittances by Mexicans living in the United States registered their biggest drop in August since record-keeping began 12 years ago. Mexico's central bank said they fell 12 percent from August 2007.

AP


What's interesting is the chaos theory applications of this model.

With the USA representing an attractor, or something to which movement occurs, it has an invisible effect on attractors within Mexico. When people leave, the remaining people fill ranks as best they can. For this reason, immigration causes a net population increase in both nations.

This, of course, is disastrous for the environment, and disastrous for Mexico, which loses citizens and becomes more dependent on another nation. So all hail the exodus!

The Green Movement Sacrifices Living For Illusory Goals


What other joys will the environmentally friendly try to dissuade average Americans from? It's certainly not green to have children or pets. It's not green to travel the world and learn about foreign cultures. It's not green to have an afternoon at a museum or a symphony. But eliminating these things from our lives would not be living at all. If the green movement wasn't so full of Debbie Downers, wouldn't more people jump on board?

US News


The problem is overpopulation; the green movement knows that to say that loses their good standing with the crowd.

So instead they focus on things that won't help, but are politically acceptable. Stop taking all these plane flights! Turn off appliances! etc

While these aren't bad ideas, they don't solve the problem, so are irrelevant in the long term.

Dealing With the Irrational Voter...errr... Patient


Half of all American doctors responding to a nationwide survey say they regularly prescribe placebos to patients. The results trouble medical ethicists, who say more research is needed to determine whether doctors must deceive patients in order for placebos to work.

The study involved 679 internists and rheumatologists chosen randomly from a national list of such doctors. In response to three questions included as part of the larger survey, about half reported recommending placebos regularly. Surveys in Denmark, Israel, Britain, Sweden and New Zealand have found similar results.

NYT


Someone comes in to you -- your job is to help them get well -- and they're sick but there's not much that can be done.

But you know that positive states of mind -- mantras, payers, positive thinking, and even placebos -- convince people that they can get well, so they do.


Researchers have been studying the placebo effect for decades. In 1955, researcher H.K. Beecher published his groundbreaking paper "The Powerful Placebo," in which he concluded that, across the 26 studies he analyzed, an average of 32 percent of patients responded to placebo. In the 1960s, breakthrough studies showed the potential physiological effects of dummy pills--they tended to speed up pulse rate, increase blood pressure, and improve reaction speeds, for example, when participants were told they had taken a stimulant, and had the opposite physiological effects when participants were told they had taken a sleep-producing drug.

FDA


It's no surprise many doctors prescribe placebos or incidental medications. Their patients will only feel better if they believe they've been given something to help, and then they manage it on their own.

The same is true of voters. They want something to believe in. Then they adapt to the reality, whatever it is. But since they need a placebo, they are probably not the right people to make the decision -- a wise doctor, even if a bit cynical, would be.

Americans Mobilize For Election Dissent


Law enforcement officials say the intense public interest and historic nature of the vote could lead to violent outbreaks if people are unhappy with the results, encounter problems casting their ballots or suspect voting irregularities.

Police departments say they cannot rule out disorder and are mobilising extra forces and putting SWAT teams on standby.

"This election is going to mark in history a change in the presidency: you're going to have a woman in the presidency or an African American as president. I think everybody around here is voting for Obama, so if he gets in the White House everybody's going to be happy.

He said Oakland was prepared to deal with unrest as Oakland Raiders fans rioted in 2003 following their Super Bowl loss.

The Telegraph


Let's look at the psychology here:

People who riot for sports games are going to riot for elections too.

That sounds a lot like the meagre power of the basically powerless, doesn't it? First, a riot is usually nothing but destroying your own neighborhood; next, it looks like people are upset because the team they're cheering for didn't win.

That means they're not thinking about politics as changing the future. They're voting to get back at the other guy and feel a little better about how things suck.

That's not a healthy psychology by which to pick leaders -- or indeed, to decide anything.

The Great Swedish Civil Rights Experiment Crumbles


According to the annual diversity barometer carried out by researchers at Uppsala University, the percentage of the Swedish population with extremely negative attitudes toward ethnic diversity has increased by 50 percent since 2005.

"It’s not only older, but also younger who are negative,” said Orlando Mella, a sociology professor.

Overall, 5.7 percent of the population in Sweden indicated they have extremely negative attitudes toward diversity, up from 3.8 percent in 2005.

Unexpectedly, however, the prevalence of negative attitudes toward ethnic diversity among Swedish women has nearly doubled from 2.3 percent to 4.1 percent.

The Local


Smarter populations have a hidden addiction.

They love anything that bonds logic to emotion and seems to explain the world.

So when you tell them that all they need is love, they apply it wholeheartedly, and only a generation later notice it's bad.

The love generations are only now hitting their sixties and having to re-assess their lives. They're ten years away from seeing reality.

In addition, science is shaking off its long slumber and starting to re-assert biological determinism after it got a bad name from the eugenics crowd. They, in turn, are getting a better name as people notice we're awash in humanity, and very little of it does anything.

5.7% of the population can be anything.

It can be the 5.7% that bags groceries, the 5.7% that makes bad art in its studio lofts and works as web content managers, or the 5.7% who start companies, lead initiatives, fix problems, etc.

My guess is it's the latter.

Diversity, civil rights, multiculturalism and other 1968-era programs are old now. They're so old we can hear them creak. The only reason we don't say that is so many old biddies are proud of their 1968 rebellion, and they scream when you call them old. But they're old. We all get old and die.

For some, it makes sense to rediscover the principle that Sweden is happiest when it's for Swedes -- culturally, linguistically, in value and in heritage.

You have fewer problems and a less divided society that way.

The Swedes love their logical-emotional links, and so they dove into liberalism faster than the rest of Europe -- and it has taken it longer to prove a train wreck, since Sweden has a natively high IQ, tidy society, almost no wars, and so on.

But now that the tide is turning on multiple fronts, they're re-thinking government entirely. The Richard Florida model of "creative" communities is crap. The liberal model of education is garbage. The liberal model of social "culture" turns ancient societies into pop-culture, tv-driven junk. They're rethinking all of that.

The Americans are just starting to learn too. With this election, they're seeing that their country is hopelessly divided between a small realistic elite and masses of people who want illusions: entitlements, revenge, mystical unspecified "Change," and so on. They're going to need two countries, one of which will be first world and one of which will descend into the third world.

History is showing us what the Greeks learned at the time of the Punic Wars: liberalism doesn't work. It's society based upon socialization, not reality. Liberalism pays attention to the individual and, because each individual is afraid, comforts that individual by creating absolute rights. Those in turn protect parasites. Society goes down in flames defending bad behavior along with good because it has fragmented into individual islands, isolated from one another in belief, customs, values and eventually, language and heritage. Everything just falls apart.

This isn't to say that political labels are as effective as some thing. Liberal thought can hide in conservatism. You need to recognize it: it takes a subset of reality, the social viewpoint, and uses it to replace reality itself. Anti-liberal views look at reality as a whole and ourselves as having a place within it; that's why reality-based thinkers are both conservative, in that they like functional societies based on is and not should be, and liberal, in that they support radical green reforms.

At first, the Swedes were OK with immigration; we are many, they are one -- we are the same, they are not, and it's good to have difference. Later on they saw that it didn't function as a program, and so would always be a parasite -- something you pay into and get no real benefits back from. Most Swedes of course ignored the issue until it showed up in their personal lives, and now they're starting to turn on it.

The same is happening in France, in the UK, in the USA, across the globe: people are seeing that pluralism, or the idea that you can have a society fragmented into many groups and divergent individual views, doesn't work. Not it should not work, like a moral argument, but it does not work as a scientist might exclaim emerging from the lab.

And that is the crux of the next revolution, the one that's just beginning to bury 1968 and its old, hidebound, obsolete, ignorant and unrealistic promises.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your World is Made of Ideas Passed on By Others

This article presents an interesting point: memes spread for themselves, not because they are true or relevant.

The spread results more from the construction of a meme -- like a virus -- than its relevance to life itself.


Finally, the meme-centered criteria represent selection on the level of the meme itself. They depend only on the internal structure of the meme, not on its "fit" to external selectors, such as subjects, objects, or groups. These criteria will typically select for "selfish" (cf. Heylighen, 1992) or "parasitic" (cf. Cullen, 1998) memes, whose only goal is to spread themselves, "infecting" a maximum of hosts without regard for their hosts' well-being. This does not imply that the same meme cannot satisfy both selfish and non-selfish criteria. Religions often have this mixture of parasitic and beneficial traits (cf. Cullen, 1998)

Self-justification, the degree to which the components of a meme mutually support each other, will facilitate understanding and acceptance. Self-reinforcement, the degree to which the meme stimulates its host to rehearse itself, e.g. by repetition, meditation, prayer, etc., will strengthen retention. Intolerance, the degree to which a meme excludes rival memes from being assimilated or retained, will also help the meme to retain a stable position in memory. Proselytism, the degree to which the meme urges its host to maximally spread the meme to other hosts, will increase the rates of expression and transmission.

Meme Selection Criteria

UN: Racial Inequality In America Will Lead to Revolution

The usual bloviation from the UN:


Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment.

"In western New York state nearly 40% of the black, Hispanic and mixed-race households earned less than $15,000 compared with 15% of white households. The life expectancy of African-Americans in the US is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the US is far richer than the other two countries," it said.

It documents the seemingly unstoppable move of people away from rural to urban areas. This year it is believed that the number of people living in urban areas exceeded those in the countryside for the first time ever, but the report says there is no sign of the trend slowing.

The Guardian


They're correct: racial inequity will divide the US, causes much of our crime, and contributes misery to rich and poor alike.

However, the question is what the cause of racial inequity is -- and I offer two realistic answers that you'll never hear in polite company, on the mainstream media or in church, because those people aren't into realism. They want to make you feel good, and truth be secondary if not damned.


  • People prefer to live and interact with people like them. This occurs on many levels, not just class (within ethnicity) and ethnicity, but on the level of national origin, type of belief system, sexual orientation and so on.

  • Ethnic groups evolved for different purposes and have different abilities. Race is not skin color, but a long history of adaptation with consequent effects on abilities. It's not socially acceptable to recognize this because most people see it as pejorative, but if you approach it as a scientist, it's not a moral judgment -- only a factor to consider.



Until we, the USA, fess up to these fundamental divisions, there will always be vast racial inequity and horror in our country.

Dumb It Down, Because The Nuclear Option Awaits


Two Chesapeake police organizations on Wednesday threatened to sue the city if it voids recent test results that would propel 30 men - none of them black - toward the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant.

"This test involved knowledge of policies and procedures necessary to become a supervisor," Imprevento said of the promotion exams. "The same policies and procedures are available for all to review as police officers.

"It is my belief that any invalidation of these results would be based strictly on race.... The test was race-neutral."

Hampton Roads


To create equality, you either act on a level of cause, and promote the people with the right levels of ability.

Either that, or you use equality as an excuse to dumb everything down.

Since you have the "nuclear option" of calling someone a racist if they don't comply, it's easy to force most police departments to dumb it down.

Luckily this department is not; they recognize that they're endangering the public by promoting incompetence for the sake of public appearance.

Even the most radical civil-rights-agenda individual needs to recognize that it is possible to have a weak batch of applicants, or a city where it's hard to find qualified minorities.

Barack Obama Sends His Kids to Private Schools

An uncommonly forthright article in several areas from New Geography:


Like many old, big industrial cities, Chicago peaked in the 1950 Census with a population of 3,620,962. In the 1950s over two percent of the entire U.S. population lived within Chicago city limits. Over a half century later, while America’s population doubled, Chicago’s population declined. The 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1990 Census numbers showed Chicago losing population.

The white flight out of Chicago continued with 150,000 non- Hispanic white people leaving Chicago from 1990 to 2,000...With Chicago’s 150,000 white population decline from 1990 to 2000: Chicago was only 31.3 percent non-Hispanic white....The entire Chicago Public School System is only 9 percent white. Not a single public high school has a population that is majority white.

Chicago’s political elite love to give speeches about the importance of public education, but not for their children. Mayor Daley sent his children to private schools. Deborah Lynch, the former head of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, sent her kids to private schools. America’s newest political superstar, Barack Obama, sends his kids to private schools. With the exodus of the rich from Chicago’s public schools, 69 percent of the children in the Chicago Public School system are poor.

The horrible public schools, high taxes, and crime have driven families out of Chicago. The city’s job base cannot compete with anti-union places like Houston and Phoenix.

New Geography


I'm always amused at the two-step. To be a politician, you must have humility and be a man/woman of the people. But unless you have a hole in your head, you're going to take advantage of wealth. Send those kids to private schools. Buy that second, third or eighth home as an investment. Use those business connections.

I'm also saddened to see the decline of Chicago.

I think this article captures only some of what's happening:

A wealth white/Asian elite, about 1/3 of the population, lives in really nice housing on the north shore or downtown lofts.

The rest labor for them and increasingly hate them.

At some point, the elites will be replaced, leaving a city with entirely third-world abilities.

74% of Job Creators Want McCain, not Obama


Chief Executive magazine’s most recent polling of 751 CEOs shows that GOP presidential candidate John McCain is the preferred choice for CEOs. According to the poll, which is featured on the cover of Chief Executive’s most recent issue, by a four-to-one margin, CEOs support Senator John McCain over Senator Barack Obama. Moreover, 74 percent of the executives say they fear that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for the country.

Chief Executive


Not surprising.

Conservatives make things function; they're guys and gals in overalls and suits who drive the machines, man the farms, work the desks, etc.

Liberals think about what ought to be. They're the opinion workers: the advice columnists, the entertainers, the administrative assistants, psychologists, etc.

CEOs are responsible for keeping their people safe. The best way to do that is to make infrastructure work. Obama wants to dicker with infrastructure for spacy ideological goals, without having a clear plan. CEOs think that is crazy talk.

Voters Swayed by Candidates Who Look Like Them


In three experiments, the researchers and their graduate students worked with cheap, easy-to-use computer software to morph pictures of about 600 test subjects with photos of politicians. And they kept coming up with the same results: For the would-be voters who weren't very familiar with the candidates or in perfect lockstep with their positions or political parties, the facial similarity was enough to clinch their votes.

One group was shown untainted pictures of both candidates. A second group had their photos morphed with a picture of Bush. And the third group had their photos spliced with a picture of Kerry. The doctored photos blended 40 percent of the test subjects' facial features with 60 percent of the candidates' natural looks—a ratio the researchers decided could change a photo enough without anyone consciously noticing.

Those who had their photos combined with Bush gave the Republican a 13-point victory, while those blended with Kerry gave the Democrat a 7-point advantage.

Stanford


We are all organisms.

We seek to establish ourselves in the world and reproduce, making ourselves better.

To this end, we feel familial loyalty to those genetically like us -- genetic similarity generally means similar appearance.

This explains the racial divide in the current election, and why multiculturalism has not provided a functional government throughout the examples we have of it in history.

Once a Warrior King by David Donovan

This book, which entirely changed my outlook on politics, is a memoir that describes the experience of a soldier who not only confronted the enemy at close quarters, but had an insight into the infrastructure of the war effort and how it was designed. His analysis of the war in this book, which is more about the theory of war and the psychology of winning, showed me how repeated failures come about: through repeated failures of method, which relate to failures of intent.

It's worth reading. So is the brand-new Interview with A Warrior King: David Donovan Speaks out, an interview with its author.

China Admits It's the Greenhouse Gas Giant


China's greenhouse gas pollution could double or more in two decades says a new Chinese state think-tank study that casts stark light on the industrial giant's role in stoking global warming.

Researchers abroad estimate that China's carbon dioxide emissions now easily outstrip that of the United States, long the biggest emitter.

By 2020, China's burning of fossil fuels could emit carbon dioxide equal in mass to 2.5 billion metric tonnes of pure carbon and up to 2.9 billion tonnes, depending on varying scenarios for development and technology.

That compares with global carbon emissions of about 8.5 billion tonnes in 2007. The U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimated that the United States emitted about 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon in 2007, compared to China's 1.8 billion tonnes.

ENN


Keep in mind: these are estimates.

That means some little guy with a clipboard goes around counting the number of factories and adding up their official output.

Real figures are probably much higher.

Real figures would include slash and burn agriculture, burning of waste, backyard smelters and stills, and other "unofficial" sources.

The truth is that the United States emits a fair amount of carbon, but the rest of the world -- especially the third world -- has surpassed us.

The only solution to global warming, carbon emissions, climate change, pollution, ecocide and all other environmental problems: reduce the human population.

Transcendental Christians Versus Symbolist Christians


Scanning around the web for death metal-related information (a favorite passtime) I found some Christian folks who seemed rather irate about death metal. Although I started life as a radical Christian hater, I now view Christianity as one means through which philosophies can be expressed. Specifically, if we express Romanticism -- transcendental naturalistic idealism with vir as its underlying heroic principle -- in any form, that form becomes Romanticism and becomes very useful for any society that wants to rise above being posted on FAILBLOG.

When I think of this kind of Christian, I see how these are the utter minority, like metalheads are in American society at least, and they usually get persecuted by the rest. Guys like Johannes Eckhart, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paul Woodruff and Arthur Schopenhauer come to mind. I would want to live in a society they ran; the other kind of Christian, the kind that treats "God" as a product-welfare-media-icon-sports-team, need to have zero political power -- they're unstable people in fear of death and looking for a schizoid, externalized, easy solution.

The good kind of Christian are "deists": basically atheists who believe that "God" is a handy way to describe nature, and that meditation on this God will free us from obsession with ourselves, with material comfort, with status and other things that do us no good (metalcore). They're inherently transcendentalists, which makes them very black metal, and they tended to -- like ancient Hindus -- disregard human life in favor of the accomplishment of ideals, which makes them very death metal.

DLA


This applies to pretty much any religion in the Western tradition.

After all, the European/Western religion is transcendental idealism; it can take any form.

So a transcendental idealist Christian is a positive step, and consequently, we don't see these people doing irrational things.

A symbolist Christian not only attempts to interpret the Bible literally, a big LOLFAIL because religions are not written literally but symbolologically, but also attempts to find meaning in symbolism over reality. Nuclear war is secondary to the question of whether we have been "saved" in our "souls." Troubling.

If there is a God, I believe he/she/it is an unconscious but brilliant force that shaped all of this, and that this God is motivated by an uncompromised, unending, fervent love for life and existence and all the beauties it offers. If this God has anything to say to us, it's "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" -- go for that beautiful idea, that wonderful possibility, that diligent and scrupulous vision, at whatever cost. Whoever dies. Whatever burns. Go for the (abstract) gold.

That's what I mean by "moral attention" -- that alertness to what is right in the world in a positive/creative sense, as in "I can make something better," not "I can remove this evil." You cannot remove evil from the world as it is necessary. But you can improve what does exist and it may out-proliferate evil, like dandelions have beaten their predators and diseases -- so far.

Symbolist Christians are opposed to this view. Transcendentalist Christians are not. Somehow I see the latter, if they understood death metal and its quest for the return of mythic imagination, recognizing death metal as part of a necessarily complex struggle that complements their beliefs, or at least shares a common ground in the pursuit of vir.

In Praise of Negotiations

Why is Dr. Israel Kastner demonized? He negotiated with the Nazis to get Jews out of Europe.


Kastner really did sell his soul, as Judge Benjamin Halevy said. He sold his soul to the Devil of negotiations, lobbying, and rescue at any price. He saved 1,600 Jews, more than any other Jew. Neither the partisans nor the Warsaw Ghetto rebels, neither the fighters nor the heroes matched this.

Haaretz


And why was that victory -- more Jews saved than anyone else -- a defeat?


His path did not suit young and belligerent Israel.
...
We wanted so badly then to see the new Jew, grenade in hand, like the statue of Warsaw Ghetto leader Mordechai Anilevitz at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, and to get rid of the old Jew, the elegant man in the top hat, who negotiated with the Devil - and to hell with the result, the main thing is the struggle.
...
Kastner left an important legacy behind him that, to this very day, we are trying to shake off: Yes to negotiations, with anyone. Do you want to know why? Ask the survivors of Kastner's train.


There's a general lesson here: Yes to negotiations, with anyone.

Even if they seem like Devils.

The Germans probably could have learned from this too. If your goal is to ethnically unify Europe, negotiating with The Other will help you do that -- "here are your people to take away to your homeland, and God bless you" -- after all, nature created us both so none of us is truly a Devil (unless we believe the Devil is a force of God?).

Today's race-baiters could learn from this too. If you want Confederate pride, you might consider a nod to Black Pride so each group can have its own pride. Both of you seem to want the same thing -- self-rule away from the other.

I think it might be time to give race-baiters, liberals and radical symbolist Christians the same option -- self-rule away from the others. But we must remember to negotiate with them.

Secrets of the Ancients Revealed


Scientists have discovered that high achievers such as company executives, Olympic athletes and even world leaders live on average up to four years longer than the general public.

Researchers believe that being both industrious and scrupulous at the same time appear to be the key to the extra longevity even though the individual's jobs may be more stressful than the average person.

The Telegraph


Makes sense to me. If you have a purpose in life, and know your own moral goals as well, you don't spend as much time on unproductive, exhausting activity.

We Couldn't Admit This Before the War


[T]he US government has come to accept it is never going to implant Jeffersonian democracy in Baghdad.

So goals have been adjusted, compromises made. The US forces know they have to be pragmatic if they are ever going to leave this place.

The sheikh told me - with the American officer next to him in full agreement - that 60% of his men were former insurgents.

The Americans have no illusions that they can end the violence in Iraq. They just hope to reduce it enough to hand the whole problem to the Iraqis.

BBC


For starters, I don't think anyone expected to end violence. Violence never ends, it only drops to manageable levels -- even in the USA.

Second, I find it funny how now we're saying Iraq is not ready for democracy. If we'd said that before the war, we would've been called racist Christian bigots.

Third, I find it funny that we assume democracy works for anyone. It seems to require cultural fragmentation to generate enough opposing opinions to keep itself going. And then it can't make the long-term decisions required.

Why would Iraq want democracy, with that in mind?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kraftwerk: Makers of Construction from Deconstruction



Like any who explore modern or postmodern ideas, the music implies a narrative "from below" by not being overtly serious, yet introduces with sleight of hand the interconnections within its topics to create context, which it then probes with music that evolves in layers like classical over the pulsing beat of techno and rock, fusing the ancient and the modern into one narrative that emerges instead of being explicitly stated in these simple -- yet on second look, complex -- works.

Kraftwerk

Osama bin Laden: Warrior Against Modernity

I don't agree with him attacking the USA, but I can see how from where he's standing we seem like the warriors OF modernity, bringing Coca-Cola, strip clubs, toxic waste pollution and mindless lifestyles to his homeland.


And Thomas got close enough to bin Laden to observe the al-Qaeda leader was polite and shy, didn't mind a hug, but wasn't so fond of kissing.

"He was definitely well loved," Thomas said of Bin laden in an interview with Australian TV network ABC which was played in court last week.

"(He) was very polite and humble and shy."

Thomas said bin Laden "seemed to float across the floor".

In the interview, the Muslim convert told Ms Neighbour that at the camp he felt "like a king, Robin Hood, as part of a band of merry men".

Stuff


This Thomas guy wanted to do what was right. Because he knows that there are good people in the West, held hostage by the inanity of democracy and mass media, he didn't like the 9-11 attacks. Neither do we. But we can see how bin Laden might be onto something.

Crowds Create Exponential Spread of Panic, Stupidity


Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday said things are going badly in the United States.

An equal portion of those polled said they are angry about the way things are going. Two-thirds of those questioned said they're scared about the way things are going and three in four said the current conditions in the country are stressing them out.

"Prior to 2008, we have seen that level of dissatisfaction only three times in the past four decades -- during Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis and the recession of 1992," Holland added.

CNN


Once you filter the chaff from this article, you can see what exactly is going on here: a distracted electorate gets upset anytime something goes wrong with government. Like phone lines and hospitals, government should "just work" and not require much intervention.

This is a fair request, since most people are (a) too busy (b) too disinterested in political logic and (c) not informed or mentally prepared to be involved in politics. They want people who have specialized in this area to make stuff work.

When recessions or big scandals or wars come, they freak out, and because their neighbors are freaking out too, they feedback off one another and create a giant freakout, which the media happily plays up because hey, it's new.

I have news for the freaky electorate:


  1. Recessions happen in cycles. We're reaping the harvest of the 1990s internet boom whirlwind. What can we do about it? Nothing. What caused it? Periodic cycles of boom and bust. Could it have been ameliorated? Sure, by some smart policies in the late Clinton and early Bush era, but they wouldn't have stopped the up-down cycle.

  2. Wars are never popular. However, we only find out how necessary they were fifty or one hundred years later. All discourse on Iraq/Afghanistan right now is just bloviation.

  3. Political scandals are small fry compared to the larger scandal, which is that our country is run by a distracted electorate manipulated by media advertising controlled by a small oligarchy of elites. What? That was difficult? Your TV will explain.



So when you see these figures, and everyone around you is freaking out, don't.

Instead, start buying undervalued stocks, make renovations to your house, strengthen your career -- do anything but freak out. Freaking out is for the silly and unrealistic.

Unfortunately, they also are the electorate, and so will perpetuate the cycle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Signs of Instability Mark Modern Societies

First, there's the elephant in the room:


The Earth is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of both plants and animals, with nearly 50 percent of all species disappearing, scientists say.

Because of the current crisis, biologists at UC Santa Barbara are working day and night to determine which species must be saved.

Cadotte explained that the buttercup is a very unique species, evolutionarily. Losing the buttercup, where it occurs in grasslands, would have a much bigger impact on the system than losing a daisy or a sunflower, for example.

UCSB


It's like Sophie's Choice, but worse: what do we save from a world we've wrecked? Noah on his ark must have felt similar angst.

But this issue doesn't make it into our economics or politics. It remains the elephant in the room that brings despair to us of ever trying to better ourselves, because we feel everything's screwed.

Yet it could be easily fixed, although it would require decisive action that would upset and disenfranchise some people. Either we do that or die -- but many would rather die than violate the sanctity of the individual to be as selfish as he or she desires.


Some 4.4million people - many of them non-criminals - are on a DNA database, CCTV cameras routinely film pedestrians and motorists and the Government continues to plan an ID card system.

Last week Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was accused of planning surveillance on a Big Brother scale when she announced moves to give police and security services access to all private electronic communications.

The Daily Mail


While problems pile up for our future, we are worried about enemies, because they are more tangible than our decay and ecocide.

We have enemies without and now, thanks to multiculturalism, we have infinite enemies within, and individuals can be trusted only to be selfish consumers who fight each other, so here comes tyranny -- because we've made it essential for the state to continue to exist at all.

And...


White people age 40 to 64 have "recently emerged as a new high-risk group for suicide," according to the study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Suicides increased between 1999 and 2005 by about 3 percent annually in white men and 4 percent in white women age 40 to 64, according to Susan Baker, M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and her colleagues. Suicide rates remained the same in Asians and Native Americans, and declined in blacks.

CNN


The supposed privileged, who see how the infrastructure works and so can predict more of the future of it, rise in depression and hopelessness. Wonder what they see.

Racial Profiling: Real or Illusion?

Let's think about cause-effect logic here:


A report by a civil liberties group has found that Los Angeles police officers are more likely to stop and search black and Hispanic residents than they are whites, even though whites are more often found carrying guns and contraband.

Even after researchers controlled for demographics and neighborhood crime rates, they found significantly higher stop rates for black and Latino residents. For every 10,000 residents, blacks were nearly three times more likely to be stopped than white and other "non-minority" residents, facing 3,400 more stops. Hispanics were stopped on 350 more occasions.
...
Tim Sands, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League union, strongly disputed the report's findings and pointed out that the department mirrors the racial demographics of Los Angeles, with more Hispanic officers than white officers.

"Dr. Ayres is trying to manipulate existing data to prove what 9,700 individual officers are thinking when they make traffic stops - which is an exercise that might work on a spreadsheet at Yale, but doesn't work on the streets of Los Angeles," Sands said.

AP


We are comparing effects, not causes.

Imagine if we looked at traffic stops and found that one-legged people were arrested more.

We would assume bias. Good logic, right? Not really, since we don't know what other factors are in play.

One-legged people could commit more crime.

One-legged people could be harder to describe than two-legged people, leading to many more stops of the wrong one-legged people.

One-legged people could live in impoverished, more criminal neighborhoods where more traffic stops are needed to pre-empt criminal behavior.

The "logic" used by this study is suspect.

Heliosphere Degradation Another Sign of Environmental Abyss Yawning Below Us


'New data has revealed that the heliosphere, the protective shield of energy that surrounds our solar system, has weakened by 25 per cent over the past decade and is now at it lowest level since the space race began 50 years ago.

Scientists are baffled at what could be causing the barrier to shrink in this way and are to launch mission to study the heliosphere.

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, will be launched from an aircraft on Sunday on a Pegasus rocket into an orbit 150,000 miles above the Earth where it will "listen" for the shock wave that forms as our solar system meets the interstellar radiation.

The Telegraph


In chaotic systems, once thresholds are reached, change speeds up rapidly.

That is why arithmetic variance -- linear motion -- can have radically different, geometrical or prismatic, consequences.

So humanity discovers this yet again, with another important part of the organic machine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing



Ontogeny recapitulated phylogeny in punk hardcore, deconstructive music that attempted to discover the starting point of music by reducing it to as few principles as possible, flourishing in Discharge with sonic leveling constructed from a few chords in a modal strip, rearranged around combatant opposite rhythms, defining an archetypal punk sound and through its independence from rhythm establishing the technique that would allow death metal and black metal bands to create interlocking riffs independent of percussion.

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing review and mp3 samples

Immigration Destroys Your Economy


Spain's new Plan of Voluntary Return, which goes into effect Monday, entitles legal immigrants who have lost their jobs to receive unemployment benefits as a lump sum payment - as long as they agree to leave the country. Participants must turn in their residence permits and work visas and promise not to return to Spain for three years. In exchange, they receive 40% of their total unemployment payouts before departing and the remaining 60% once they are home - an expected average of just over $40,000 in total.

The measure is one attempt to solve Spain's growing unemployment problem. With joblessness recently reaching a 15-year high of 11.3%, the country's 4 million documented immigrants are feeling the pinch acutely. Unemployment among them is up 67.1% on average over 2007. Between April and August of this year, the number of immigrants receiving unemployment jumped from 165,217 to 280,298.

Time


Simple economics: introduce cheap labor with fewer overhead costs, and prices go down, but so does the value of your currency. As a result, fewer jobs are retained except... those which are cheap immigrant labor.

We're seeing the same thing in the USA. Prices went down, so did the value of the dollar. I guess it always costs roughly the same to make the products we need, lol!

Sociobiological Truth Conflicts With Political Happy Faces


In 1965, America’s ruling class decided that the problems with the black minority were not enough. This almost-vanilla ice cream needed more Tabasco. A country that was the envy of the world in every material and political area and many cultural ones as well, began the wholesale importation of the Third World onto its shores at the rate of over 1 million per year, not counting illegals, refugees and asylees. So now the ice cream is 1/3 Tabasco, and in two decades it will be 50%.

One wonders whether the inspiration for this came from the great success stories of the multicultural late-Roman, Russian or Austro-Hungarian Empires. The enthusiasm did not abate despite the fate of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, Rwanda, Kashmir and Iraq. Conclusions were not drawn from the story of Belgium’s Flemish and Walloons — two peoples of the same race but of different languages, cultures and earning potentials, thrown together by historical fiat 170 years ago and still mutually loathing.

You deluge yourself with the population of banana republics, you will be a banana republic. You take in refugees from fufu dictatorships, you are tying the millstone of fufu dictatorship to your neck. You cannot bail yourself out of that one by printing dollar bills.

American schools are failing because they are full of sub-85-IQ imported children from unassimilable minorities. The schools cannot improve as long as they are controlled by cultural Marxists who believe that equality in ignorance is preferable to inequality in enlightenment. The added bonus is that if you produce generation after generation of ignorant malcontents full of self-esteem, you will succeed as well in staging the rest of the Gramscian scenario.

A nation that makes a relatively trivial logical fallacy and social pollutant such as racism into the ultimate capital crime cannot possibly survive. For where reality dwells, racism is down on the list and stupidity is at the top. In Robert Heinlein’s words, “Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and the execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

Unless he has been stung by a liberal encephalitis mosquito, anyone who has spent time among the nonwhites in the US or abroad knows that, in its obsession with white racism, the American society of 300 million is engaged in a collective act of moral masturbation the like of which may have no precedent in history, excepting China’s pre-1976 cult of Mao and the EU’s cult of Islam.

The brainwashing of 40 years has sent America’s founding stock to cower in its ever-diminishing corners. The non-white, non-East Asian minorities march in a lockstep phalanx, smashing everything in their way with cries of racism and baseless accusations of discrimination. Now a crypto-Marxist “community organizer” will be elected, based on an uncountable stream of fraudulent nonwhite votes...

Gates of Vienna via AR


Such a blunt and horrific truth, but here it is: we as a species are not equal. No amount of snowballing can make that happen.

The elites love to manipulate the clueless masses, who are of such short term attention span they can be convinced something is "good" and they lunge for it, oblivious to the consequences they will encounter down the line.

The area of immigration is one of many where sociobiology -- or understand that we are our biological capacities, and that many political viewpoints are motivated by this or the denial of it -- trumps political happy-face making, where we come up with some homily and pretend everything's OK.

I don't think we can blame the elites alone. I think we should blame democracy. The people I see who are excited about Obama are college-educated, have decent jobs but not great incomes, and are good people. But all their friends repeat the same dogma, and they would feel ignorant to step out of line with the crowd and NOT vote for Obama. As a result, they invent fabricated reasons, lying to themselves and others, and reach for the pat on the back offered by the elites -- they're morally good.

It's a small compensation for having your nation collapse, but it's all they have in most cases.

Education Doesn't Change People


Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and a half years later. That figure is from a study cited by Clifford Adelman, a former research analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and now a senior research associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Even worse, most of those college dropouts leave the campus having learned little of value, and with a mountain of debt and devastated self-esteem from their unsuccessful struggles. Perhaps worst of all, even those who do manage to graduate too rarely end up in careers that require a college education. So it's not surprising that when you hop into a cab or walk into a restaurant, you're likely to meet workers who spent years and their family's life savings on college, only to end up with a job they could have done as a high-school dropout.

Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading, and science.

Chronicle of Higher Education


Not everyone can do the education thing.

Our mythos of equality demands we insist they can.

So they stumble in, get sodomized by high cost and failure, and wander off in misery.

Good work!

Deep Ecology


If we are to achieve ecological sustainability, Nature can no longer be viewed only as a commodity; it must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.

We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities.

We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:

  • The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.


  • The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the drive to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological or biological sustainability on a finite Earth.


  • Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology and science have wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.


  • Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.


  • ...We believe that values other than market values must be recognized and given importance, and that Nature provides the ultimate measure by which to judge human endeavors.

    Deep Ecology Movement


    I find this one of the clearer, more inspiring statements to come from humanity.

    Its essential thought -- "We believe that values other than market values must be recognized and given importance" -- is the essence of traditionalism. Market values reflect popularity, popularity reflects the Pleasant Illusions of the masses rather than the sensible outlook that can be found through study, discipline, wisdom and experience. We can't trust popularity filters to get us the right answers, only popular ones.

    When you think about a motivation behind this blog, a deep ecology-like thought is its primary impulse: we rush around, desperate for the Next Big Thing, buying stuff and worrying about social status and who thinks what and blah blah blah it's all too tedious to mention, forgetting that society is a subset of reality.

    Read that again: society is a subset of reality. It represents, but does not enclose, life itself. It is an interpretation, a "knowing" in the Nietzschean sense that is not reality itself, but appears to our primate brains to supplant reality because, hey, we have to make a living selling these people stuff so what they think is real is right -- "the customer is always right."

    Deep ecology is an inherent part of traditionalism, and it's one of the few but vital areas where traditionalism diverges from conservatism. We believe in conservation because we recognize that we are a subset of nature, and that nature is inherently beautiful and spiritually important in its own right.

    Something for all four of my readers to think about as they go about their day-to-day lives.

    The Perennial Philosophy

    Quick quiz: What do Hinduism, transcendentalism, old-school conservatism, Traditionalism and Conservationism have in common?

    They all view themselves as groundwork philosophies, or descriptions of how reality works, with advice on how to adapt to that. They are what can be called "Perennial Philosophies," in that they do not address moral ought, as a replacement for nature, as much as reverently describe nature and the time-proven, eternal ways of adapting to it. In these philosophies, each recommended action or value corresponds directly to a mathematical, informational tendency to both reality and the process of thought alike (a type of philosophy called idealism).

    One good introduction to this is Aldous Huxley's cut-n-paste book, The Perennial Philosophy, in which he cites a wide variety of sources and explains their connection to this groundwork philosophy that manifests itself in every culture in some form -- and in rising cultures, becomes the dominant view.

    Much as Hinduism considers all other religions to be a subset of Hinduism, Perennial Philosophies consider themselves inherent to reality, and so they view all other philosophies as means of studying reality -- a sleight-of-hand way of pointing out that reality itself, and even more importantly predicting how it responds to our actions, is indescribable, and we have many competing descriptions of it that must ultimately be put to the test of practice.

    It's one of the more interesting books I have studied, because more than reading it, you go through each chapter and pick up its parable-like meanings and then review the citations offered, seeing how many connections from different ideas converge on each parable. For anyone who is frustrated with the modern division between liberalism and modern/liberalized conservatism, this is a breath of fresh air and a passage to hope for a realistic change.

    Is Obama's Popularity a Result of Hollywood Inverse Racism?


    The magical negro (sometimes called the mystical negro or magic negro) is a term generally used to describe a supporting, often mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protagonist get out of trouble. The word negro, now considered by many as archaic and offensive, is used intentionally to suggest that the archetype is a racist throwback, an update of the "Sambo" and "savage other" stereotypes.[1] Spike Lee popularized the term, deriding the archetype of the "super-duper magical negro" in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.

    Wikipedia


    I've noticed this about Hollywood films from the 1980s -- when people used not-racism to prove they were morally superior to the Soviets, or so they thought -- through the present day: if you need a wise character, or someone to give moral guidance, you trot out Morgan Freeman or another semi-stereotypical African-American.

    This role is both positive, because they are shown as intelligent, and negative, because they are portrayed as being the outsider who has wisdom but cannot participate. That's an updated racial stereotype -- Step N Fetchit, Ph.D.

    Since we know that most people get their knowledge of reality from television and movies, since their parents are probably divorced and working late each night anyway, we have to assume that they will sleepwalk into accepting this definition as part of reality. Interesting how hidden racial prejudice turns into ostentatious anti-bigotry stances.

    Peter Pan Complex

    As part of my ongoing political education, I'm looking into the sociobiological (hardware) and psychological (software) causes of the modern dilemma.

    Briefly, modern people are oblivious to reality, tend toward schizoid "religious" and symbolic thinking, are narcissistic and disorganized, look toward external solutions to internal problems, and yet are ceaselessly vociferous for their right to be so -- they always demand more freedoms, less responsibility, fewer shared moral obligations.

    In essence, they're brats made possible by society's success, and that's why society declines. It's like alcoholism or obesity, a problem caused by a success. When you win you lose. Or more accurately, every object and trend on earth has a Bell Curve life cycle: starts slowly, builds momentum, and as it peaks you realize it's about to drop, so it drops and then disintegrates slowly to full stop. Societies grow, empower illogical and unrealistic thinking, then hit their apex and decline into third world status on their way toward breeding their population down into chimpanzee status by valuing only the oblivious, narcissistic, etc.

    A Peter Pan Complex fits into this narcissism and withdrawl from reality by convincing an adult that "to stay young" is a good goal, even if biologically impossible, which then has that adult using that "staying young" as a justification for irresponsible behavior. Because it is contra-reality, Peter Pan Complex behavior eventually destroys the more delicate aspects of an adult's life -- family, friends, trust, hope, love, etc.

    Amazingly, Peter Pan Complex is hard to define. Carl Jung wrote about psychological archetypes, and one he noticed was the puer aeturnus, or eternal boy; the term entered pop culture with he Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, by Dr. Dan Kiley (1983). Absent those more elaborate definitions, we have the vernacular:


    Peter Pan complex - the psychological condition of an adult who refuses to adopt adult responsibilities


    I worded this one myself because the others were so vague. UrbanDictionary tells us that it refers to people who live with their parents. Wikipedia uses the condescending and inaccurate term "socially immature." I prefer to diagnose the actual symptom, which is a refusal to adopt the responsibilities of adult behavior, and to confuse lack of adulthood with eternal childhood.

    This psychology is quite interesting and anecdotally, increasing in prevalence in the West.

    Mantra of a New Age: The Revolution Won, Suffer Under It


    All Republicans are arrogant, all democrats are the people's choice(tm) and so are beyond reproach, even when they forge voter registrations, pal up with organized crime figures and endorse failed Soviet-style thinking.

    The crowd is always right.

    Whoever said "the truth is always unpopular" was a mean-spirited sociopath with no hope of being uplifting.

    US News blogs


    The revolution, approximately 1820-1968, was a triumph for The People -- as they styled themselves. The least competent at government made themselves big cheese, got reforms pushed through, and now the individual is not obligated to external moral principle at all.

    The crowd won, and got what it wanted, which may have not been what it needed.

    Just like consumerism -- buying mindlessly the stuff we think we want, but don't need, and later find out was the result of advertising or our stupid friends convincing us to join some soulless fad -- takes most people by surprise and they don't figure it out until they're 65, Crowdism is destructive and goes unnoticed by most until their final years. Like intestinal parasites and some tumors, it is a very patient leech.

    Now we have a prevailing dogma where everyone who makes television commercials, hippies, the homeless, minorities, the poor, the clueless urban Sex and the City people who are paid enough to think themselves rich but not enough to have the security of riches, the addicted, the disabled, basically everyone who serves no leadership purpose in society but hates their role as a Cog -- they all agree. Vote Obama. Everyone is Equal. Stop Racism. No Wars. We're All Fearless, Loving, Enlightened People -- and yet they're all neurotic, dysfunctional, etc.

    This is nothing new. Every human society has been 90% dysfunctional people who could easily improve their condition if they were able to impose self-discipline.

    But now we've empowered the clueless, instead of encouraging them to end their own dysfunction. They can now project their dysfunction onto us, and call it politics. We should owe them; they are innocent and Progressive; what are we, the functional? Gifted by God and undeserving of our fortune -- that's what the Crowd will say.

    OMG Did We Do That? We Are So Very Sorry

    The WWF is learning all about how non-linear systems work:


    WWF's report, Climate Change: Faster, stronger, sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC's forecasts.

    As an example it says the first 'tipping point' may have already been reached in the Arctic, where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years - something that hasn't occurred for a million years.

    The findings include:

    * Global sea level rise could more than double from the IPCC's estimate of 0.59m by the end of the century.

    * Natural carbon sinks, such as forests and oceans, are losing their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere faster than expected.

    The Telegraph


    Nature, and complex non-linear systems, work like the mouse you use on your desktop: the farther you move it, the faster it accelerates.

    This accomodates big changes in position without forcing you to move slooowly, constantly for too long, because that's less likely to happen.

    The downside is that the environment hippies of the 1970s were right -- we were screwing it up then and if we didn't stop, the problem was going to get out of hand. We're inheriting a past mess and since we haven't turned around in time, we now have at least another decade of making it worse before we get our act together.

    Of course, the environment hippies were wrong in that they thought "education" and some songs about peace strummed on acoustic guitars could convince people. That's not so. You need to force the average person to face reality, because they enjoy avoiding reality as much as possible.

    When you look at humanity from that view, you can see how persecuting drug users is a result of our hypocrisy. Our entire society is stoned on illusion. Let's go beat up some junkies.


    Sumgayit used to be the New Jersey of the Soviet Union—the town was the nation’s center of chemical and pesticide production. Today, it is still feeling the aftereffects of years of untreated, mercury-contaminated waste dumped directly into streams feeding the Caspian Sea. Cancer rates in the city of 275,000 are sky-high.

    PopSci


    Just for fun and seeing the human consequences of our oblivion, here's a link to a slide show about polluted cities. Check out the diversity, breadth and sheer mass of our pollution. We really are #1 in this area. Take that, fish!

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    The Unpopular Truth -- Promote This Blog, Paste Everywhere


    You want to be popular? You know the truth is never popular.

    You should probably not read this blog then, which is about the scientific, cultural and philosophical implications of a society which markets pleasant illusions to itself and ignores difficult realities.

    Penetrate the illusion: look at the truth we suppress and the underworld it reveals.

    http://penetrate.blogspot.com


    I use a title of "The Unpopular Truth." Any efforts of yours to slap this crap across the net and elsewhere are appreciated.

    Free Speech For the Dumb (Scientific Research Is Usually Wrong)


    With so many scientific papers chasing so few pages in the most prestigious journals, the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves—to trumpet dramatic or important results that later turn out to be false.
    ...
    Dr Ioannidis made a splash three years ago by arguing, quite convincingly, that most published scientific research is wrong.
    ...
    But Dr Ioannidis and his colleagues argue that the reputations of the journals are pumped up by an artificial scarcity of the kind that keeps diamonds expensive. And such a scarcity, they suggest, can make it more likely that the leading journals will publish dramatic, but what may ultimately turn out to be incorrect, research.

    The Economist


    Deciphering false complexity: what he's saying is that our need to market ideas to one another means that flashy but incorrect results are more valuable than being right.

    This parallels democracy, where Pleasant Illusions are much preferred to Difficult Realities.

    It also parallels advertising, where simple dramatic and unprovable claims trump an accurate description of products.

    Everyone you meet, with a few exceptions, will tell you to simply conform to this order and to find a way to market yourself.

    But like all cases of denial, they are thus inviting death in the door; it is better to thwart the marketing of partial truths and thus, false contextless truths, to each other than it is to usher our species into oblivion through lies.

    Applying Science to Politics: Avoiding The Moralistic Fallacy

    Really neat article on the Psychology today blogs:


    The naturalistic fallacy, which was coined by the English philosopher George Edward Moore in the early 20th century though first identified much earlier by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, is the leap from is to ought – that is, the tendency to believe that what is natural is good; that what is, ought to be. For example, one might commit the error of the naturalist fallacy and say, “Because people are genetically different and endowed with different innate abilities and talents, they ought to be treated differently.”


    Of course, what he doesn't mention is pure naturalism -- "we have no need to deal with ought because what is, is, and that design is better than what we have" -- which is a hair away from the so-called naturalistic fallacy. We can understand the naturalistic impulse as a disagreement with ought as a motivation entirely, which the author reaches toward the end of his article:


    The moralistic fallacy, coined by the Harvard microbiologist Bernard Davis in the 1970s, is the opposite of the naturalistic fallacy. It refers to the leap from ought to is, the claim that the way things should be is the way they are. This is the tendency to believe that what is good is natural; that what ought to be, is. For example, one might commit the error of the moralistic fallacy and say, “Because everybody ought to be treated equally, there are no innate genetic differences between people.”
    ...
    Since academics, and social scientists in particular, are overwhelmingly left-wing liberals, the moralistic fallacy has been a much greater problem in academic discussions of evolutionary psychology than the naturalistic fallacy.
    ...
    It is actually very easy to avoid both fallacies – both leaps of logic – by simply never talking about what ought to be at all and only talking about what is.
    ...
    If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem. If what I say offends you, it is your problem.

    Truth is the only guiding principle in science, and it is the most important thing for all scientists. In fact, it is the only important thing; nothing else matters in science besides the truth. However, I also believe that any solution to a social problem must start with the correct assessment of the problem itself and its possible causes. We can never devise a correct solution to a problem if we don’t know what its ultimate causes are.

    Psychology Today


    As he points out, we do quite well when we approach politics in a clinical way: find the root of the problem, analyze what is true, and only then consider what we should or ought to do. (The science of analyzing our motivations and goals is philosophy, and it has its own rigor regarding truth.)

    Of course, he has come around to the naturalistic viewpoint because by sidestepping the question of motivation/intent regarding whether ought ought to be considered in the first place, he is affirming the basics of naturalistic theory: what is works better, so deal with it as an underlying law to all interactions.

    Interesting to see such a daring and provocative article coming from the headshrinkers.

    Popularity Makes Money, But Does it Make Right?


    The Arizona senator has been limited to spending $84 million for the general election campaign after he accepted federal funds under a program created after the Watergate scandal. Obama initially indicated he would adhere to the same limit, but reversed course and became the first post-Watergate candidate to finance a general-election campaign with private funding.

    AP


    I don't like Britney Spears. I don't like the TV shows all the morons like. I don't like fast food. I don't like cheap beer.

    What's most popular is universally a dumbed-down, deceptive, environmentally destructive illusion that people buy because it's easier than thinking -- and possibly being wrong.

    Yet another reason to distrust Obama.

    Green Lifestyles are Impossible

    The Guardian tells us "Green idealists fail to make the grade," but they don't look further than the obvious:


    According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

    Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: "Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights."

    Questioned on their heavy use of flying, one respondent said: "I recycle 100% of what I can, there's not one piece of paper goes in my bin, so that makes me feel less guilty about flying as much as I do."

    He said: "The findings indicate that even those people who appear to be very committed to environmental action find it difficult to transfer these behaviours into more problematic contexts."

    The Guardian


    Mr. Barr really nails it when he points out that cognitive dissonance is at work here.

    I want to take a big fat plane flight, so I'll recycle used condoms, turn off appliances, buy green toilet paper made from recycled leaves, and cut down my personal methane emissions.

    What he's hinting at, whether he knows it or not, is that we can't transfer our "green" idealism to a regular context because our society is structured around gratification of the individual. If you can afford it, do it. So the most "green" people around us may be compensating for what they do that we don't see, with what we can see: lots of furious activity around recycling, voting for Obama, etc.

    Maybe a society based on consumption isn't a good idea.

    The same consumption mentality has been extended to the third world, with which its constant fires, pollution and reckless population growth, is an equal or greater environmental culprit (but don't say that -- you'll be picking on poor people). If you can feed your kids mangoes, have as many as you want. It's your right. Go ahead, breed and clear more forest. Your lives are equal too!

    Maybe both first world and third world are consumption-based, ecodeath societies.