It's odd to think that a large percentage of people alive today weren't even born when 9/11/01 occurred. Nonetheless, for the people who were alive and watched 9/11 and its aftermath unfold in real-time, the event still conjures up various emotions--some of which are not forgiving. If you want to go back and revisit the pre-9/11/01 atmosphere of America as a forgiveness exercise, check out the pilot episode of "The Lone Gunmen." The pilot episode of the short-lived X-Files spin-off show "The Lone Gunmen," which originally aired March 4, 2001, predicted 9/11 quite accurately; it's worth watching if you've never seen it. All ten episodes of "The Lone Gunmen" are on YouTube. If you ever decide to watch the series, the last episode is "All About Yves." And since the show was not renewed for a second season, the conclusion to that last episode was covered in the X-Files episode "Jump the Shark."
Thursday, September 10, 2020
You’ve probably heard things like, language is violence, science is sexist, practicing yoga is cultural appropriation, racism is systemic, silence is violence, the language of A Course in Miracles is sexist—and heard terms like, micro-aggressions, rape culture, fat shaming, safe spaces, white privilege, colonial violence, and body positivity. All such things come from the religion of Woke Identitarianism.
The history of Woke Identitarianism is complex. To understand it you first need to understand postmodernism and its relationship to other movements like modernism. You need to have a familiarity with people like Foucault, Derrida, and Marcuse. And you have to understand the unholy trinity of identitarianism, critical race theory, and intersectionality. However, you don’t have to understand the religion to practice it. To practice the religion just requires acceptance of the church’s basic mythology. (You can read the basic mythology at the end of this blog post.)
As someone who is pro “Age of Enlightenment Liberalism” and also pro A Course in Miracles, I completely reject Woke Identitarianism; it’s a religion of destruction … of Western civilization. Woke Identitarianism is anti science, anti reason, anti evidence, and anti forgiveness. Furthermore, Woke Identitarianism is very pro specialness, pro special victims, pro special victimizers, and it makes the special body very real. As a straight, white male, I am a devil incarnate in the religion of Woke Identitarianism. I’m not judged by the content of my character but by my superficial group traits. All that is offered by Woke Identitarianism to a person like me is a dead end of self-flagellation and endless restitution (slavery). I’d have to be a total moron to ever get suckered into such nonsense. As a white, straight male, there is nothing I can do that won’t continue to make me guilty by categorical association.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of people being suckered in by Woke Identitarianism, including A Course in Miracles people. Woke Identitarianism is a very political religion, so political affiliation has been a big factor that has helped sucker a lot of people into the religion. The religion has great bullying tactics and has been infiltrating institutions for decades, such as governments, academia, sports, news media, and Hollywood. To give a full breakdown of Woke Identitarianism would require a whole book. And I’m not interested in taking on that task. But fortunately, there is someone who has been doing a great job at explaining Woke Identitarianism, James Lindsay. Check out his website: https://newdiscourses.com … I especially like the book length essay he wrote recently called “A First-Amendment Case for Freedom from the Woke Religion.” (Note that just because I agree with Lindsay on this subject doesn't mean I agree with him on everything he has to say. For instance, he's big on atheism while I'm only a dualistic God atheist.)
This is a very academic subject, but if you want to be part of the informed group you have to do some homework. So, let James Lindsay show you the way. He also has plenty of videos you can seek out if you’d rather not read. Once you understand Woke Identitarianism, you’ll see how it is a rigged game, how it pushes equity not equality, how it is inherently discriminatory in its formulation of anti-discrimination, how its objectives are inherently destructive rather than constructive, and why it seeks to deconstruct everything but itself.
I’ll save you a little work by pulling out some good paragraphs from “A First-Amendment Case for Freedom from the Woke Religion.”
The creation myth: “Systemic power, an evil of the same sort as sin, entered the world when certain human beings in a certain geographical and historical context identified rationality and empiricism, then individualism and universal humanity, as founding principles for a new system of thought and governance. That is, the Enlightenment was the Fall, and the Garden-like pre-Enlightenment world is as remote and inscrutable as the Garden of Eden in Genesis. The introduction of Enlightenment rationalism and all the rest led to long-justified conquests, colonizations, enslavement, genocides, and other horrors that asserted “Eurocentric” dominance in all spheres of life in the world, even just by changing how people think about the world and relate to one another with, say, scientific inquiry and certain among so-called Western values. Whiteness and Eurocentrism, together in lesser effect with maleness, masculinity, heteronormativity, and so on—that is, the markers of privileges—are the Marks of Cain that indicate having adopted complicity with the sin of systemic power for selfish gain. That which has been conquered, colonized, and enslaved are, against it, Abel, who was killed with a rock and left lying in the field.” Read the full creation myth below or go to: https://newdiscourses.com/2020/09/woke-creation-myth/
“Critical Social Justice quite plainly has a God-concept, and it might be called (following but extending from Marx) “the Eye at the End of History,” which is something of a metaphor for that which looks back upon all of history from its end with the capacity to judge that which was on the right side of history and that which wasn’t. The Eye at the End of History will be able to tell the abolitionists from the slavers, the colonized and decolonizers from the colonizers, and the oppressed from the oppressors. As with the ideas of Ibram Kendi’s formulation of “racism” and “anti-racism” in “policy,” which is to be known after the fact by its effects, righteousness and evil will be determinable by the omniscient Eye that can look back on all of History and see what bent its arc toward liberation and what bent it toward the maintenance of oppression.
Adherents of Critical Social Justice do not believe in such an entity literally, as do most religionists in faiths like Christianity, nor do they posit that such a supernatural omniscience exists at all. They merely act as though such a scorekeeper on the legacy of all their actions must, in some sense, be. As with deities more generally, it is something like a real idea that has been kicked out beyond “the infinity point” that defines the limits of human comprehension. That real idea is the judgment of an increasingly seeing and judgmental society, especially as it creeps ever close to a social media Panopticon. Just as the Woke judge past generations by this standard, they imagine themselves judged by future generations and their standards. Taking this idea “to infinity” results in the Eye at the End of History—the great and omniscient judge to which one is constantly morally accountable. That imaginary judge of History, all the way at its long end, sets the context, relevance, and ontological stability of the moral law of liberationism via deconstruction of all unjust powers.”
“…the view that systemic racism (and other bigotries, we should assume) “is entrenched in every aspect of life” is a totalizing mythological view of the issue that springs from a clear commitment to a prevailing moral law. From it, clear duties of conscience are outlined. These duties are described as people’s “everyday commitments,” which are held against an exalted standard such that “every action taken … is not enough.” No evidence for any of these claims or mandated actions is even offered; the community being spoken to must do better by faith.”
“I think this does a thorough job of summarizing the case that Critical Social Justice, as an ideological worldview, is very similar to religion in most of the relevant ways. It forms a moral community that is designed to meet the same psychosocial needs as religions are, though it is decentralized and disorganized (I have previously called it “disorganized religion,” though “decentralized” might be nearer the mark). It provides a mythology, metaphysics, and moral law that binds the community and enables “divinity”-based psychosocial valuation of adherents and others, and this gives rise to clear “critical” duties of conscience in everyone the system can touch. It ontologically grounds its moral commandments against the long view from the End of History, as a kind of legacy-based moral lawgiver and adjudicator. It possesses its own epistemological framework as well—one rooted in the critical mythology of problematization and postmodern mythology of lived experience and discursive production. Since it proceeds from a mythology with its own creation myth, metaphysics, and moral law, this view is totalizing to those who adhere to it, as is typical of religious belief. This system of belief is, in fact, constructed along the same lines as how Augustine organized Christianity and Aquinas “proved” the existence of God. Finally, it gives way to fundamentalism of both types and manifests in puritanical form, which is something that, while it is not limited to religion, is very common within sects or cults that arise within religious movements and worldviews.”
THE GENESIS OF INJUSTICE
1. IN THE BEGINNING there was Justice in the world. 2. The world was like a garden, and it was full of people who were warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires. This was Just because they were as equals, none with power over any other. Any power they could acquire was not systemic and could not last long, for each was as ignorant as every other. This was the Garden of Even, where all had the same amount of power.
3. Everyone in the world was at peace, amidst their warring, and all the rest, as their cultures rose, interacted, and fell, and the many diverse peoples of the world were happy. The Garden of Even, they saw, was inclusive and full of Justice, and they were content. 4. Their contentment included many strifes and conflicts, and every manner of woe and misery, but each culture saw each other as they were: equal and, most importantly, not oppressed. 5. The diverse cultures of the world in the Garden of Even were happy and content amidst their raping, their killing, and their enslaving because oppression they knew not. 6. “The world is difficult, and our neighbors want to take our lives and rape our women, but we are content! We are not oppressed!” they cried unto a Heaven they still believed in.
7. Among the diverse cultures of the world within the Garden of Even, there was one as prone to warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires as all the rest, and this culture had remained mostly an unnoticed people in a northern clime just east of the sea they believed divided the world in two. 8. This culture, and its people, called themselves the Europeans, and due to the earliest injustices of history, they believed themselves mostly Christian. 9. Much like the others, their culture saw spreading their culture—Christendom—as the justification for their warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires, and they were, in that way, at home in the Garden of Even.
10. The Europeans were not as were the other cultures in the Garden of Even, however, for they were curious. Their curiosity was so great that they looked back into history, and, idolizing the cultures in which their Christianity had been established, looked to recover the ancient knowledges they had previously burned. 11. It was in this way that the memory of the Greek culture, one great but laid low by the ravages of history under the rule of Justice, was revived for the Europeans, and it came upon them like a tempting serpent, whispering to them from within the branches of the Tree of the Renaissance, telling them a story from their own distant past. 12. “Do you not know that ye are free? Dost thou not realize the message of thy Magna Carta? Have thee forgotten there is a power called knowledge is in the world, which has been hidden from thee,” it said unto them. “Look to this world and use your freedom and reason, and you will remember much that has been forgotten.”
13. Tempted by this whisper, the Europeans looked, and they saw much that had been forgotten. “Yea,” said they, “this is good. We are remembering much that has been forgotten and more that has been withheld from us.” 14. “Yes, that is so,” said the serpent of the Renaissance, “for this knowledge was thy birthright and was taken from thee by others and, in their downfall, has been rescued by thee. It is thus for thee. Study it, learn from it, and ye shall grow more powerful than any other culture.” 15. And the Europeans took this fruit of knowledge from the Tree of the Renaissance and gathered the seeds of methodological rigor from it, and in that moment disobeyed Justice, for they would not long remain as ignorant as the other diverse cultures of the world.
1. The Europeans, looking upon the temptations of the serpent in the Tree of the Renaissance, were moved, and they were tempted to pursue this knowledge that had been at one time self-removed from themselves, and they were intrigued. At that time, questions they had believed unaskable began to be asked, people were being set to flame for asking them for the sin of hegemony had already entered unto their people, and many true knowledges were being discovered in the despite. 2. From this pride, new social constructions destined to become hegemonic entered the world, and new strife arose among the European people as their culture grew. For the first time since the Beginning, there was injustice in the world, and Europeans could no longer remain in the Garden. All, at that time, was no longer Even.
3. The Europeans, in learning about the world, grew discontented with the Justice of the world and, in their pride and lust for power-knowledge, forsook the Garden, disclaiming it as barbarous and without culture. From that moment forward, they alone had culture, and culture became that which was reserved for the most important amongst them and no others. Injustice for the first time entered the world. 4. Thus, in their knowledge and their pride, they brought hegemony into the world, and they left the Garden of Even of their own accord and yet sought to make its entire expanse their own. 5. They had forgotten Justice, and sought to rule the world and render its diverse cultures like unto themselves, for the wages of hegemonic power are cultural fragility.
6. “With this knowledge we can acquire,” they nevertheless said unto themselves, “we can advance our arts of warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires. We shall wage war unlike any upon this Earth and enslave the rest. We will rape and conquer lands and their women, and we shall murder and kill any who oppose us. Genocides we shall commit, and empires we shall rule!” 7. Such was their pride that this was their declaration, and so began the European project of colonialism, the first systemic oppression to enter unto the world. 8. “All of the Garden shall thus be ours, and our culture shall be The Culture! Under our rule, we can do better than Even!” they declared as they set about establishing their dominance. “We will civilize all the rest of the world with our culture, the culture of our aristocracy,” they declared as they marched forth in roughly the same kind of war that the diverse cultures of the world always had before.
9. In this way as Cain did become the European nations, and as Abel the remainder of Even and all the diversity of the world, and with their ships and their steel, their fire and their cannons, and their stolen wealth and their wretched disease did the Europeans set to subjugating the Earth to “civilize” it with their culture, which they just called “culture,” forgetting the diversity of the world in their pride. And, as was their wont, just as Cain did slay Abel in the field with a stone, the European empires grew and subjugated the world. 10. In this way, systemic oppression spread throughout the world at the point of their swords and by their infected blankets, and the diverse cultures of the world for the first time knew subjugation, which no other culture before had ever been competent enough to make systemic. 11. For this evil and by it the Europeans were themselves also afflicted, for as they wrought upon others, they wrought upon themselves, and poverty and lack, hatred and malice, racism and misogyny followed them in their wake, and the Europeans could not themselves escape them, for all their culture and their growing knowledge.
12. Time in this way wore on, and the domination of the Europeans was unmatched by any culture of the world. This is because they had taken upon themselves the mantle of systemic power, called knowledge, and with it they could lay low any who opposed them with the power it granted them. For them, the world was less mysterious, and this was a great injustice. 13. So it came to pass that at this time, their warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires became systemic, and none could oppose them. This change, however, did nothing to temper their lust for knowledge and the power it provided them. In their depravity, they wanted to know ever more, and so they continued to study.
1. As they grew in knowledge, the Europeans forsook the many other knowledges of the world, including much of what they had called their own, and they decried it as ignorant and bereft of culture. “We alone have knowledge, and we alone have culture,” they declared, and in their pride, they believed it. “Culture is what we aspire to and reserve for our most elite,” they spake unto themselves, and they believed this also. 2. “We must bring our culture and our knowledge to the world, for we are the bearers of philosophy and of science,” they declared. With this philosophy and this science, they knew themselves as one culture that was no longer ignorant, and Justice was forced to flee and fall before them wherever they went. 3. The Garden of Even was nearly subdued as they went forth, destroying all those in the world who warred and enslaved, raped and conquered, murdered and killed, and committed genocides and ruled over empires in relative ignorance and Just contentedness until that time. With their philosophy and their science, the Europeans became colonizers and by taking slaves they became masters, and so the world was subdued by disease, by force, and by the curse of understanding physical laws.
4. In this way, injustice spread for the first time fully throughout the world. Some lands were conquered and stolen, and injustice so entered unto them. At other times lands were colonized and corrupted with European law and its mocking imitation of Justice, and so injustice so entered them. In some times lands were left untouched except for the seduction of the knowledge of the Europeans, and so injustice also entered even these. 5. The mark of knowledge became the color white upon the skin, the virility of great men and their turgid white penises, and the very name “Western,” which the world learned to covet as the West slowly spread its depravity from one culture to another. 6. “We alone are cultured, and you are uncultured, so it is for your own good,” they said to all those they conquered, whether by death, by force, or by the subtle seduction of knowing what they were talking about and getting results. 7. Systemic oppression thus became the norm of the world, replacing the warring and enslaving, raping and conquering, murdering and killing, and committing of genocides and ruling of empires that previously was Just, and its mark was ever after to be that of the white, Western man.
8. In their great pride, the white, Western man arose alone amongst the many diverse peoples of the world and declared himself the default man. “It is natural that we rule you all, you primitive screwheads,” they declared unto all the world, “for we alone are cultured, and you are uncultured; we alone have knowledge, and you are all ignorant; we carry boomsticks, and you have naught that can resist them; and it is in the greatness of our whiteness and our very masculine penises that we rule over you for your own good. Your women we will not honor, but they will we also not deny, for they are hot enough for the needs of our loins, and we do not even honor our own women,” and so misogyny and rape culture, and racism and misogynoir became the hegemonic standards of the world. 9. “It is for your own good that you all bow to our superiority,” they declared, and in so doing, they established the white, Western male as the one right and proper dominant power of the world and so oppressed everyone else with their knowledge, of which they were proud, and their rapacious virility, which they only pretended to suppress in their claim to a higher and more noble culture. 10. In this way, and through his judgments, the systemic oppressions of racism, sexism, misogyny, ableism, and Eurocentrism dominated the world and gained hegemony through the high culture of white, Western men, and Justice retreated and was lost to the Fall for what seemed to be for-ever.
11. And in his pride and in his arrogance, the white, Western male did declare his own superiority natural and thus did conceal it from himself. 12. “Look at all I know,” he spake unto himself, echoing the voice of the serpent, “of course it is because I am superior. It is because I alone have remembered what was forgotten, that there be truth in the world and men can be free to find it.” And so his vanity grew, and he used this claim upon his own superiority to make law and to call it just, to claim lands as his own and to call this just, to declare what is and is not so about the world and to call this “truth,” so that he might name reliance upon his own knowledge, and no other, just. 13. And so Justice was completely deposed from the world and replaced with the hegemonies of white, Western man, which are but an idol called “justice” in the vanity of domination. Then, with his Rule of Law and objective standards did he remove Justice from the world except in its most remote, least touched corners, where he could not yet conquer. 14. This, the white, Western man did look upon and call just and right, noble and cultured, reasonable and sensible, and rooted in the best science of the day, and he forwent his ability to believe that he might be wrong because that might cost him his power. His own dominance, he did then internalize, and with it he conquered and enslaved the world. 15. Justice, he believed to his own satisfaction, was not to be found in the world again, for it had been, under his domination, “civilized.”
Friday, August 28, 2020
Rather than dwell on specifics and try to sort out the guilty from the innocent like a spiritual hack would, just think what would happen if people just forgave? Do forgiving people march down the streets bullying people with mindless chants of group conformity? Do forgiving people advocate violating the Golden Rule? Do forgiving people destroy and steal people’s private property? Do forgiving people consciously put themselves into situations where they might get attacked by an angry mob and put in a kill or be killed position? Do forgiving people scold the bad behavior of the other side but resist addressing their own side? Do forgiving people insist other people conform to their subjective view of the world? Do forgiving people lust for control of the force of government to impose their will on others? Obviously, forgiving people don’t do that stuff. But most people don’t forgive much including the ones that claim to.
Regardless, how do you forgive when the war shows up to you instead of you showing up to the war? It’s easy to pontificate and act all holier than thou from afar. But if the war shows up in front of your face what do you do? Do you join the unhinged mob so as to not get hurt? Do you let the mob destroy your property and even yourself in the name of nonviolence? Do you fight back as the only recourse to preserve life and property and risk prison over self defense? On one level it’d be nice to think that such a thing could never happen to a dedicated Course student. But still, it’s nice to be prepared. If we were already free of all our unconscious guilt, we wouldn’t seemingly be here. So I don’t know what the answer is for you. You’ll have to figure it out yourself by consulting Spirit. I have.
War is inherently suicidal. When you hate your abstracted opponent so much that you are willing to destroy your opponent, you are also willing to be destroyed yourself. War violates the Golden Rule and so it is suicidal. War comes in many forms, not all forms are bloody but all forms are inherently suicidal. For example, professional athletes (war actors) have been trying to commit career suicide by not playing games. They can’t quite articulate the solution to what they are upset about but they are nonetheless willing to threaten to destroy themselves unless they get what they don’t even quite know what they want. Pretty dumb, especially since plenty of their fans don’t share in their subjective perception of things and would be willing to return fire by tuning out from their trivial games. This is the year 2020 after all; entertainment choices are not limited like they used to be. For example, in 1995 this free blog didn't exist.
If people really wanted to reduce death by cop right now, they’d be teaching people to start any interaction with cops with the question, “How can we stay safe today officer?” and to then comply with what the cops say. If you are up against a grizzly bear, it is best to just do what won't get you killed unless suicide by bear is the objective. Would changes with cops be useful? Of course, but it will never be enough just as it already hasn’t. Because really it’s not about that; it’s really just a typical mammalian pissing contest where one side has power the other side wants. If you don’t want government cops then it’s time to get some philosophy and become a voluntaryist like me. Otherwise, you want government cops because you want government force when it works in your or your special group's favor. Just remember, all government laws are just words on paper without people in special uniforms willing to use guns or other lethal force to enforce them.
Play stupid games and win stupid prizes.
Friday, August 21, 2020
After seeing Biden once again repeat the debunked fine people hoax (debunked for those not living in a total TDS bubble) in his democratic presidential candidate acceptance speech, I just had to post this humorous infographic by the Babylon Bee. Just think, how did you feel about the news and about certain politicians when you found out the truth about the fine people hoax by simply watching the unedited video? And Fox news has been just as much a worthless fake news propaganda operation about the fine people hoax as the propagandists at places like media matters. Furthermore, how do you feel now when you see Biden still spreading the hoax? It says to me he's either a race-baiting liar or totally clueless (and surrounded by race-baiting liars or the clueless), neither are at all acceptable. And to think, some people wonder how it could possibly be way too beneath my dignity to vote lol. It is extra beneath my dignity to vote seeing that in the year 2020 there still isn't online voting. Instead, people are talking about the postal service with a straight face. What a joke. I'm a relative idiot when it comes to programming and even I could make a clone of Bitcoin tweaked for voting that would be transparent (distributed ledger and open-source code), reliable (social security numbers tied to a private key), cheat-proof (one vote per valid social security number and the vote could be double checked on the public ledger), and provide instant results.
Friday, June 12, 2020
My preferred term for this current trend of internet-fueled mob ostracization is the Woke Inquisition. Cancel culture is another term used to describe the phenomenon. But I like the term Woke Inquisition. In the era of the Woke Inquisition, if you don’t tread carefully you can easily be deemed a heretic by the mob. Critical and nuanced thinking is not allowed. Given that the mob has literally broken down the gates and started ransacking cities and destroying heretical art, I’ve decided to mostly stop using social media; I never used it much to begin with, but until things change I’m going to just use it to do simple things like announce new books. In other words, I’m going to be forgiving the mob by taking the practical step of avoiding the mob, instead of putting myself in the position of fighting or joining the mob. The thing about mobs is that if people ignore them instead of fuel and encourage them they lose their power and go away.
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
COVID19 is still a story in progress. COVID19's story started out vague and it is still rather vague. For that reason, COVID19 has been quite a Rorschach test; people see in it whatever they want to see. And when it is all said and done (whenever that will be) most people will still see in it whatever they want to see.
When something is vague and unknown, the conscientious turn to the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle means assuming the worst until sufficient evidence presents a contrary picture. But not everyone likes being cautious and pessimistic, so many people instead turn to optimism bias. Optimism bias has advantages. But the disadvantage of optimism is that all it takes is being wrong one time and the optimist is history. Conversely, the cautious pessimist can be wrong many times and still be fine.
Reacting to risk requires sound thinking. Even precautions aren't necessarily without their own costs. With COVID19, it has been difficult trying to balance not spreading the virus, not ruining the economy, and buying time to develop treatments or preventative measures. Most places around the world failed on the most simple and cheap line of defense: everyone wear a mask. In fact, many authorities, like the WHO and many journalists, dismissed masks with mentally deficient arguments like, "masks can give a false sense of security, and aren't 100% effective." All you have to do is apply those same arguments to seat belts, airbags, helmets, door locks, condoms, circuit breakers, parachutes, bulletproof vests, fire alarms, and so on to see just how faulty such thinking is. The U.S. government has already spent trillions of dollars related to COVID19, including on lots of anti-free-market corporatist bailouts. Yet, every person in the U.S. could have been provided with several good masks for no more than 500 million. That's the beauty of being prepared. Totally suspending international travel to stop superspreaders would have also helped, but that would have been more top down than bottom up.
Sometimes, all solutions to a problem lead to the same undesirable place. And that has been the case with COVID19. Many people don't like how the restrictions to slow the spread of COVID19 have devastated the economy. Unfortunately, very few if any of those people were advocating everyone start wearing masks back in January of 2020. It's not like the idea of a deadly pandemic is something no one has ever thought of as being a possibility. Without everyone wearing masks, the result was lock downs. Yet, even if governments did nothing, the economy still would have been devastated since many people would have quarantined themselves by greatly limiting if not eliminating many economic activities. As the spread grew and so did the death, voluntary quarantining would have inevitably happened anyway.
Interestingly, COVID19 is a kind of fast-forward version of the global warming subject. Both are lose lose exponential problems that threaten the economy no matter what action is taken pro or con. Just about everyone knows global warming is a threat, at least in theory, just as everyone knows deadly communicable diseases are a threat, at least in theory. But different people assess threats differently. Some assess threats as a hoax to grab power. Some assess threats as extinction level problems. Since some humans take action when faced with a threat even while others do nothing, most threats are tamed in due time. The taming of threats usually leaves enough room for everyone to claim they were right about the threat. The people who thought the threat was overblown, incorrect, or even a fake conspiracy can pretend they were right. And the people who took action and took the threat seriously can pretend they were right ... even though their actions made what would have happened without action an unknown. Realistically, some things take care of themselves in due time, making action ultimately pointless; there are always unknown variables.
So that is the story of the COVID19 Rorschach test so far. Take the threat of COVID19 as seriously or non-seriously as you want. I personally follow the precautionary principle. But that is just because I'm high in trait conscientiousness, which means I'm usually prepared for risk, and I'm an introvert, which means I social distance all the time anyway. It's not realistic to expect people low in trait conscientiousness and who are extroverted to do the same. We are robots that follow our programming. And that programming determines what we see in the Rorschach test we call the external world. There are already many people dead because the external world disagreed with their assessment of COVID19. There will be more. Yet, there will also be plenty of people who will never get close enough to COVID19 for it to seem much worse than the common cold or for it to even seem like more than just a hoax. That's the nature of the dream; it leaves plenty of room for subjectivity because only oneness is truly objective.
I'll leave you with this recent short interview with mathematician Nassim Taleb: the master of dealing with risk. Out of all the people I follow in many realms, Taleb has by far done the best job of looking at the COVID19 threat realistically from the very beginning. There are many people I follow who have gone so far off into cognitive dissonance over COVID19 in both directions that I'm not sure I'll be able to pay attention to them anymore lol. Out of all the people I follow, many of which are economics related, Nassim Taleb and Chris Martenson did the best job on this one so far.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
As Michael Crichton once explained:
"Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story—and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia."
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- 46% for Trump voters
- 43% for males
- 41% for 35 to 64 year olds
- 38% for 65+ year olds
- 37% for 18 to 34 year olds
- 36% for females
- 32% for Democrat voters
Thursday, November 21, 2019
1. Don’t engage in mind reading. It
isn’t a human skill. (Mind reading is assuming you know what other people’s thoughts/intentions are.)
2. Think of your ego as a tool, not your identity. Track your predictions to build up some useful humility about your worldview. Put yourself in embarrassing situations regularly to teach yourself there is no lasting pain.
3. The past no longer exists. Don’t let your attachment to the past influence your decisions today.
4. If you haven’t mentioned the next best alternative to your proposed plan, you haven’t said anything at all, and smart people would be wise to ignore you.
5. If you are arguing over the definition of a word instead of the best way forward, you are not part of the productive world.
6. If you are sure one variable is all you need to grasp a complicated topic, the problem is probably on your end. (If everything remains equal, climate change will kill us all! Everything won’t remain equal, technology and circumstances will change that few people can predict.)
7. Occam’s razor (the idea that the simplest explanation is usually correct) is utter nonsense in the way it is commonly employed. We all think our opinions are the simplest explanations.
8. Fairness cannot be obtained in most cases because of its subjective nature. The closest you can get is equal application of the law. If your argument depends on that one time something happened, you do not have an argument. You have a story.
9. If your argument depends entirely on the so-called slippery slope, you don’t have much of an argument. Everything changes until there’s a reason for it to stop. Mowing your lawn is not a slippery slope to shaving your cat.
10. Coincidences usually mean nothing. And they are the fuel of confirmation bias. If your argument depends entirely on not knowing how else to explain coincidences, you have a poor imagination, not an argument. Coincidences might tell you where to look first for confirmation of a theory, but that is as far as they can go.
11. Avoid "halfpinions" that ignore either the costs or the benefits of a plan.
Halfpinion: the act of ignoring one half of a topic (either the costs or the benefits).
12. Don’t use analogies to predict. Look to causes and effects.
13. Don’t judge a group by its worst 5 percent. If you do, you’re probably in the worst 5 percent of your own group.
14. Understand the limits of expert advice, and be skeptical of experts who have financial incentives to mislead.