Showing posts from March, 2019

Alienation and Art

I use the term “alienation” to mean emotional detachment from reality. Alienation is a growing problem in late modernity, for three reasons: Material abundance: Our brains evolved to solve problems of survival. Modern civilization has eliminated most problems of survival. Almost everyone has adequate food, shelter, comfort, health care and personal security. This is a good situation to be in, but it is also a strange situation for a life form. Our brains are not adapted to this condition. Sexual liberation : Birth control has “liberated” us from the natural consequence of sex: children. Changes to laws and norms have “liberated” us from the lifetime commitment of marriage. Women have been “liberated” from their dependence on men by the state and the market. These liberations have created an environment to which our sexual emotions are not adapted. If you “follow your heart” you will probably end up lonely. Information abundance: In late modernity, we not only have mater

Christchurch and Clown World

This is about the Christchurch shooting event and how it relates to bigger issues. I won't bother to go over the details of the shooting, because either you already know about it, or you can look it up for yourself. The killer was Brenton Tarrant, an Australian living in New Zealand. At last count, he killed 50 people. I found out about the shooting on Twitter, shortly after it happened, so I was able to see the shooter's head-cam video and read his manifesto before they were scrubbed from the internet. When I watched the video, I immediately thought "This is performance art". The whole thing was carefully (you might say autistically) scripted. It was designed to deliver a memetic payload. Tarrant had three different messages, aimed at different targets. As he exited his vehicle, he said "Remember lads, subscribe to pewdiepie". That was a little in-joke, directed at his perceived in-group: the dissident memers of the far right. He had other little joke

Neetbux are the Opium of the Masses

Many alt-righters are jumping off the Trump train and jumping on the Yang train at the offer of $1000 crisp neetbux a month, fresh from the magic money machine. To be fair, some are ironic and some are accelerationist, but I think many are sincerely on board. I have no problem with jumping off the Trump train, given his dismal record so far, but the Yang train isn’t going anywhere good. Yang’s campaign proposal for a $1000/month universal basic income (UBI) is a terrible idea, and Yang’s other policy proposals are just as bad. See What is UBI? . Some people on the alt-right say that “Yang cares about white people”. This is retarded nonsense. He is a politician. He cares about votes and money. To understand what is going on politically, you have to first understand that the democratic candidates are all just reacting to Trump in different ways. Politicians have no creativity, and almost never propose new ideas, because of course people generally hate new ideas (they make you think to

Newcomb's Paradox

In this essay, I will give my version of Newcomb’s paradox, and then explain it. Suppose that there is a brilliant but eccentric scientist. We’ll just call him “the professor”. The professor has invented a device that scans brain waves and generates a model of the way the brain makes decisions. The models generated by this device are highly accurate. The professor invites you to take part in an experiment for a payment of $100. Let’s assume that you fully trust the professor. His reputation is impeccable. You agree to the experiment. It goes like this. You sit at a table in his laboratory, with a computer screen in front of you. The professor puts the brain wave scanner on your head. He assures you that it has no negative effects. It doesn’t use radiation or anything harmful. It just picks up brain waves. He tells you that the computer will present you with multiple choice problems. You are supposed to solve each problem to the best of your ability. While you are solving each p