Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: psychology

Human culture in a nutshell

I published this article some time ago on my pal slittyeye´s blog  I'm quite proud of it so I'll cross post it over here. 

 

There’s this question I’ve wondered about forever. We are all told humans are individuals who think independently and are totally creative and unique.

But I grew up and read, travelled, went to museums. And I thought: if all humans are individuals with individual souls and fully capable or whatever,

Why are cultures so uniform? And why do they vary so much? Why do Egyptians cut clitorises? Why do Chinese worship money? Why do Indians worship bullcrap? Why do Moroccans drink mint-tea? Etc.

The answer to cultural diversity between cultures, uniformity inside them; and to the world’s utter dysfunction in the postmodern age is,

Most people are stupid. As individuals, most people are pretty dumb. I won’t show the Bell curves here. But it’s pretty well known. Or it should.

Well dumb people can’t do anything by themselves. They have to be taught. Repeatedly. Drilled mercilessly on their brains until they reach basic competence.

And that’s what most cultures do: the same fucking thing over and over again for generations. Attach some mystical value to the whole thing (some God fucked a sheep and its son invented the technique), some ancestor worship (they came up with doing that on the first place), and over time y...

The Creative Destruction of Anglo-Saxon culture

Jim tell us how books are being burned all over the Anglosphere. He links to an article on Cracked about some guy who tells how libraries all over hire him to dispose of books, because the library has to make space for new books, doesn't have the money to expand, actually doesn't even have the money to give them away. So the books are burned. They have a business to run, you know.

Oh, come on, you must be thinking, this can't be happening. We are spending trillions in bank bailouts, while public libraries have to burn 18th century books to balance their budgets? Well, I'm surprised too. Jim focuses on the fact that the whole process is done in secret, without weeding out which books might be worth something and which can be burned without harm to humanity's knowledge. Nah, they just get junior stuff (I'm imagining a group of illiterate Mexicans carrying big plastic bags) and they burned the stuff.

Jim says its a conspiracy. Well I think he's exaggerating, although I also noticed that Google is quite evil indeed. By the way the Internet Archive should have like a huge torrent circulating with their whole stuf, updated monthly. You never know with this things.

While it might not be a conspiracy of the Cathedral professors to erase the pre-progressive past, if you read the...

Babies like stuff, researchers shocked

The 60 minutes show on the Yale University Baby Lab has been doing the rounds on the internet, and it has caused quite a stir. And rightly so. It's important that people are putting the resources to try to test nature vs nurture. And it's important that they are ready to admit that nature exists too.

And admit they do, but it's very funny how bewildered they are when nature shows herself. Shocked, shocked! I tell you. Babies can tell friend from foe! Well no shit. One of the best things of having been to Moldbug's is you get to identify the American elite as the Puritans they descend from. So I imagine those peasant protestant fanatics of the 17th century, and they look a lot like these people on 60 minutes.

BREAKING: Do babies have a sense of morality? (self-important voice tone)

I can find a thousand ways of framing psychological experiments on babies. Baby cognition is a fascinating subject. But of course our priestly elite doesn't care about cognition. They care about morality. That's all that matters in the whole damn world. Are you good? Are you holy? Are you holier than me? No, I'm holier than thou. See how in the end all they talk is about applying the findings to "eradicate racism". That's all they care about. Ivy League researches will develop fusion power, grapheme mass-production and genetic load curing, but it will only be used if it can help "eradicate racism". Oh God...

Psychologies of scale

As addicted as I am to the internet, there's always stuff you miss. A commenter in Mangan's posted this awesome clip:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GA8z7f7a2Pk#]

This is some video. It's hilarious, yet sad. Disturbing. They should use this video in psychology classes. It's a short feature video on the human psyche.

There's this alpha (for lack of a better word) doing his stuff, not giving a shit about anyone. Then some other smart beta kid senses the coolness and wants in. During a long while it's just them 2 dancing, while everyone else looks indifferently from a distance. I'm sure the second kid was starting to get nervous. Then, bam, a big group joins in, and once there's a critical mass of dumb dancers, EVERYONE jumps in. Just look at the sheer numbers of young fat sheep clumsily running towards the action, desperate to share a piece of cool. I wonder how long it lasted.

Now, my first reaction to the video was "teenagers really are stupid". But then I saw this posted on Chalupas'. Some funny resume by a web designer. Big deal. Well look at his fucking twitter feed. The lame resume has "gone viral", meaning that everybody inane website in the world has made a news article on "the best resume ever". Best ever, mind you. Well now the resume, which is as good as the above video's dance (quite cool actually), is everywhere. He'll probabl...

Badges

One of the most solid and enlightening findings from modern psychology is the extent to which people are tribal. It does seem that 80% of human behavior is used for social signalling. Most of what we do and say has little rational content, and is mostly intended to signal belonging to a tribe or some subset of it. Even most linguistic behavior, and languages themselves, are little more than badges of tribal membership.

Not to say that's a bad thing; you can't make bricks without clay, evolution works with what's available, and human brains were selected for sociability for a reason. But we happen to live in the post-Enlightenment, and the general assumption is that people are rational. Of course if people were rational they would agree in most issues, yet they don't. That's a priori very hard to understand. The typical answer to the paradox is that some people are evil. Which does explain some of it, but doesn't really solve the problem, in fact it makes it worse by exacerbating conflict.

Everything makes much more sense when you understand that 99% of disagreement is due to people's brains being tribal. The basic model is that people are hard-wired to choose a team, stick in it, and defend it no matter what. In the same way as there is a critical period for language learning (a vast majority of people are physically incapable of properly learning a foreign language after infancy), there probably is also a critical period for tribe-choosing. If you are a lef...

Unseemly

I think people are not getting the point of my last post.

Everyone is putting forward their ideas for the "moron problem" as Jim Donald puts it.

Honestly I don't think that's rocket science. We know what to do. We do what we have been doing for centuries. Ask Gregory Clark for details.

But that's not the thing. Nobody gives a shit about the long term sustainability of society. What people care about is feeling good about themselves.

Now imagine there's a choice between:

1-Being part of a tribe/thede/country in which the low-skilled are put to work in coal mines and worked to death without leaving descendants.

2-Being part of a tribe/thede/country which is so fucking awesome that poverty doesn't exist because we take care of everyone!

Well obviously 2 is a superior choice. And that's because people don't want to see poor people around. They don't want to be reminded of the existence of poverty. Lest their become poor themselves.

What's the point of being rich if there are poor people around in the same country? What's this, India? Not even Indians like India.

And that's why everyone likes the minimum wage.

Game

Years ago I used to read a blog by an obscure linguist (he's still around, but the old archives disappeared), and remember him saying once: Language is everywhere, I don't understand why people can not be fascinated about it. I feel the same way, and the strange quirks of everyday language bug me to no end. A fascinating issue is meaning. People seem to accept that words have different meaning without giving much thought to the issue, but how does that work? Originally all words had one meaning and one only, for obvious efficiency purposes. Then time passes and thins get messy, but a word doesn't get new meanings just like that, there must be some logical connection that makes people brains accept a new usage for the word. See for example the word "game".  A game is a rule based competition done for amusement. Take the article away, and it's a set of principle useful to have sex with women. Add 'theory' to it, and it's a science that studies the strategy of conflict.

I don't write much about Game, nor preoccupy myself with feminism or other issues. That's not because I'm not interested or think it doesn't work. I discovered Roissy 5 years ago and it changed my life forever. I just don't see the benefit in spreading Game to the wider society. While Game has helped me attract more women, have sex with them, and more generally just to deal with women more effectively, that's all there is to it. My knowing game hasn't benefited the gi...

Clausewitz, Lenin, Robin Dunbar

Power is fascinating. It shouldn't be though. Nothing good comes from the fascination towards power, especially for those who don't have it. But we can't help it. We are a political animal. Which means we share a common descent with these fellas down here:

.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TufiAgq--FU]

.

We being monkeys, we aren't really fascinated with power, in abstract. After all it's quite hard to even define what 'power' is. What does it really mean to have power? What does power do? How does it work? One of the first signs a word/concept is too vague is that it doesn't translate well. In Chinese 'power' generally translates as 力量, but political power is translated as 權力.  It doesn't help that 權 generally translates as 'right'. As in 人權, human rights. And that's a recent coining, borrowed from Western political science jargon. You'd think Chinese would have their own ideas about power after 2300 years of centralized empire, but they don't have a clue.

So most people don't have a good understanding of what power is. What we do know is powerful people. Those are everywhere, and God are we obsessed with them. Fascinated. They're everywhere, and everybody's talking about them. We are fascinated with the powerful. How did they get it? What do they want it for? And how do they use it?

And oftentimes, rather than fascination, we are more like mystified. Bemused. Stupefied. What the hell are they doing? I guess that is the commo...

Shibboleth Threat

Evo-psych has quite a bad reputation, as it has produced a lot of just-so stories with little in the way of falsifiability. Well that might be true, but so what? Evolutionary psychology might not be amenable to the bureaucratic scientific procedures set by modern academia, but that doesn't mean it has no value. It has produced a lot of very reasonable theories on phenomena that modern science has no clue about and mostly refuses to study. I don't know how many times I've explained to people around me the theory that women like shopping because they were in charge of fruit gathering in the ancestral environment, and a shopping mall unconsciously reminds them of a lush forest full of fruit, which back then must have been an orgasmic experience. Same with men being good at directions (gotta find your way around when hunting), and women being good at remembering where stuff is around the house. Compared to the common narrative these days, that every talent that follows a population pattern is the work of (evil) social conditioning, evo-psych makes for way better stories.

And I'd like to share a just-so evo-pysho story I just came up with. Watching Game of Thrones the other day, there is this tension filled clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5a_7BCqejE

The downtrodden defenseless man, asking for help, but not knowing if the strangers would be willing to. If they had been enemies, he would have died a painful death. That must've been scary.

It sort ...

Ought / is

T. Greer linked to this (long) article by Adam Elkus about the relation between academia and politics. Academia and politics are quite different institutions, made up by very different people with often antagonistic tempers. But they also have a lot in common, both claiming to have authority, and in most states they have tend to be integrated into the power structure. They make two of the three big pillars of the Cathedral.

Or so we tend to think of them, as a common tenet of neoreaction takes elite academics as perhaps the shadow power behind the Cathedral. Academics control the education system, and thus the brainwashing of common people. And they are also the "experts" that every media organ or politician cites when he wants to make a point. It would seem that academics are the ones setting the (evil) agenda of the Cathedral. Somebody on twitter recently asked if journal editors aren't the most powerful people in the world, given that they decide what gets published in science journals, i.e. they get to decide what is officially true.

Yet when you think about it, it doesn't make much sense. For one there are way too many academics, and being numerous is not a characteristic of a powerful class. Also modern academics are often compared with medieval priests, which also were in charge of sett...

Groupthink

Nydwracu linked to this Tweet over here, which I found quite amusing.

Often the decline of Western Civilization is linked to the increasing numbers of foreigners in our midst, and often there is a tacit assumption that the decline is linear: the more NAMs the worse the decline. Well that doesn't explain why Whitopias like Vermont or New Hampshire were so overrepresented in this last example of retarded celebrity worship.

For some reason this table reminded me of this video on bloggingheads.tv:

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/1345?in=31:56&out=47:06

I saw this clip years ago, and always wanted to write about it (there's a draft lost somewhere in my wordpress dashboard with the title: The Enemy), but it always pisses me off so much that I just can't come with any coherent writing, besides calling the guy a revolting douchebag (tell me those "yeahs" don't remind me you of Bill Lumbergh) and the woman a vapid whore.

Special ...

Groupthink vs whips

I started my blogging career with what I still consider one of my best posts, where I said that human history is very easily explained if you take into account the fact that (most)  humans are just plain dumb. Learning is hard, really hard. And it should, animals don't learn if they can avoid to. It takes domestication and industrial amounts of drilling to make an animal learn some behavior. It follows that it takes domestication and quite large amounts of drilling to make people learn some behavior.

While this sinking ship called neoreaction is, if only etymologically, an anti-modernist, declinist crowd, the very fact that I'm here writing a blog instead of just copying and pasting quotes from old books, means I regard myself as having some new insight that wasn't available to my forebearers. As I said earlier, cognitive science is full of true and powerful insights on how people think and why they do so. We now know not only of cognitive "biases", often constructed as surmountable errors, but the very architecture of cognition. Reading through Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind should be a good replacement for years and years of degrees on ethics and moral philosophy, which I now visualize as an industrial sweatshop of rationalization hamsters run by an evil medieval bishop.

While I very much admire the aesthetic sense of traditional societies, the fact is pre-mode...

Craziness

There's two sorts of people. The optimists who periodically get enthusiastic about something and feel how everything is going to turn out great, and they're gonna be part of it personally. Then there are the adults who come by and tell you to calm down. It's not gonna turn out great and you aren't gonna be part of it anyway.

The Internet has brought the inner optimist in a lot of people. Bitcoin is a recent example most will know about. But there's also the more general principle, that the Internet has dramatically lowered the ease of access to publishing. Anyone can run a website or a blog, and tell truths that the establishment doesn't want in the official media. So the truth will be published, so that everyone can read it, and so the truth will prevail, and the people set free!

Instead we see the people organizing online campaigns to get Brendan Eich fired. Actually this is a pretty old threat in the blogosphere. Is the Internet a good thing? Will it help dissenters get together, to spread and refine their views? Or will the Cathedral simply colonize the Internet and use its technology to run a massive surveillance and brainwashing operation, also making it easy to subvert foreign countries? Well it probably has done both. But it's also obvious which has more important consequences.

Yet... that doesn't mean the Internet is bad. Far from it. For one, it has given us great websites such as Real History. And now s...

Just Wrong

Robin Hanson writes a lot about how we should not fall into spurious fads, in a hopeless attempt to gain some status. He also cautions us that that's precisely what humans evolved to do, so we must be doubly vigilant about our innate biases.

See his latest post:

We have a strong tendency to believe what we were taught to believe. This is a serious problem when we were taught different things. How can we rationally have much confidence in the beliefs we were taught, if we know that others were taught to believe other things? In order to overcome this bias, we either need to find a way to later question our initial teachings so well that we eliminate this correlation between our beliefs and our early teachings, or we need to find strong arguments for why one should expect more accurate beliefs to come from the source of our personal teaching, arguments that should persuade people regardless of their teaching. These are both hard standards to meet.

We also have strong tendencies to acquire tastes. Many of the things we like we didn’t like initially, but came to like after a time. In foods, kids don’t initially like spice or bitterness, or meat, especially raw. Kids don’t initially like jogging or structured exercise, or cold showers, or fist fights, but many claim later to love such things. People find they love the kinds of music they grew up with more than other ...

Emotion

One of the things that strike when reading Chinese history is how everybody cries a lot. Not women; prime ministers, army generals, high officials are crying all the time. This is often used in historical shows to add dramatic flare.

[embed]https://youtu.be/MzqlOGuZQGs?t=24m58s[/embed]

When you ask people why is everybody crying, the answer tends to be "oh, they got emotional". Emotion. What does that mean? It always struck me how this outbursts of emotion always happen when it's convenient. See how all those Mandarins cry in front of the Emperor. Well that's all they can do to express their will if the Emperor isn't buying their arguments.

Think of a typical interaction. Emperor wants X, Mandarin doesn't want X for whatever reason. Maybe he thinks it's insane, and will bring disorder; or he think it will affect him personally and he doesn't like that.

So:

Emperor: I want X.

Mandarin: X is not a wise idea your majesty.

E: Shut up, I want X.

M: But your majesty, Confucius said blablablablanonXblablabla

E: Fuck that, I want X.

M: I brought 20 famous ministers to say that X is bad.

E: OK I'm getting pissed now, X or else.

What do you do now? Well you can accept defeat. Or you can cry. Fall to the ground and cry your eyes out.

M: Your majesty!! For the sake of the Sages of old, of the rules of your ancestors!! Please!!!

Now the point of crying, or "emotion" in general, is that it's an involu...

Male culture

So I'm reading the Water Margin (Shui Hu Zhuan 水滸傳). Written in the 15th century, it's the most famous vernacular novel in Chinese history, together with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Well, I'm not actually reading it (it's long). I'm watching the 2011 TV show. Which is long too, but very neat. The Water Margin is the story of 108 men. Good men, strong, noble, virile men who are wrongly abused by the governmenet, and thus rescind their loyalty to the state, and run to the hills to form bands of bandits to fight for their manly honor. The story is based on the Song Dynasty, particularly the reign of the infamous Huizong (1082-1135), who was so fucking awful he deserves a post for himself. The novel is fiction, often very, very wild fiction; but it is loosely based in actual events on the era. There's an earlier novel about evil bandits in the mountains doing evil things. The Water Margin tripled the characters, and made them into good, noble men. It also sold like crazy, becoming the second most famous novel in the world, while it's more truthful predecessor was forgotten for 900 years.

The Song Dynasty gets a lot of good publicity for being wealthy, commercial and urbane. Indeed the Chinese economy boomed like it never would until well into the 19th century. The Song state also solved the problem of military warlords running petty kingdoms in their domains; the exam system became the only path into officialdom, and the strengt...

The Social Module

It's common now among scientists of the brain to propose that the brain is made out of separate modules, which receive input, process it, and produce an output, often in the form of behavior. If you've read any Haidt or Pinker you know what I'm talking about.

Letting aside the question of whether the brain actually works like that, even if we understand the idea of "module" as metaphorical, it does seem to be a productive framework.

Imagine that human beings all have a number floating above their heads. Like the HP floats above a character on a RPG or a strategy videogame. Let's say it's a three-figure number. That's your Status Points. It's more of an ordinal system; 001 means you're awesome, 999 means you're some omega piece of shit.

Now, we can't actually see that number (maybe we could in the lost ancient Golden Age of Magic); but we have a pretty good feeling for it. For all purposes a big chunk of a brain is dedicated to perceiving this number in oneself and in others. Some people are better, some are worse, there's a bell curve of SP perception. But all humans are pretty good at that.

The number isn't quite fixed. It hovers around a certain range, depending on the social circle you are at on a given moment. We all know people who are alpha at work and beta at home, people who are bullied at school but high status with a different group of friends. The SP number hovering around your head changes in these circumstances, and everybody else is...

The Relentless Pursuit of Advantage

Let's see if I can expand SP theory.

Early October is the anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic of China, and the people there get a one week vacation. As a result a billion people start moving in one direction or the other. Tourist spots in China become hell on earth, the closest thing to an ant colony. Those who can afford it choose to travel abroad, where there's bound to be less people. The yen being quite cheap these days, Japan is one of the top destinations for Chinese tourism.

You gotta give it to them, that the Japanese bureaucracy can really pull stuff off when it puts itself to work. 5 years ago I started to hear how one of the "growth strategies" of Japan was to be tourism, and the Japanese government was starting to move in order to achieve that. I thought it was madness; have they looked at a map? Japan is far away. There's not that much to see to be honest, most old cities having been burnt by Curtis LeMay, and replaced with quite uninspiring jungles of concrete. Japanese hotels are also old, small and expensive. And nobody speaks foreign languages. It can't work.

Well, 5 years later Japan has more than doubled the number of visiting tourists. From 8 to what might well reach 20 million this year. That has a lot to do with Chinese tourists. The yen being quite cheap right now, Chinese tourists find Japan to be quite cheap. It's also quite close. So a zillion Chinese came to Japa...

Facts are useless

My post on the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Mao's mangoes still gets a lot of traffic, which is nice. I do feel like the title wasn't very elegant, but I wanted to make the point about ideology as "currency". Unfortunately it didn't get through. Let's see if I can explain myself better.

An inspiration for that metaphor was a post by Nick Szabo (who apparently isn't the inventor of Bitcoin. I hope at least he did become an early adopter and is now filthy rich), about the origins of currency. He talks about how humans have been collecting and making completely useless stuff such as shells or beads since way before agriculture. Money often was not only useless, it was completely harmful, like the Chinese toy swords and plows. Metal is useful. You make weapons and farming tools with them. You don't fucking waste precious copper in making toy knives. But they did. Of course they did.

Szabo's point is that the point of money is to be a cognitive aid for remembering favors. I did something for you, if I am not to be a sucker I'll want to get something back from you eventually. So grab me that shiny shell you use as a wristband, so I can remember. David Graeber made a similar point on his famous book about Debt, which is pretty good if you get the fact that Graeber is a lame c...

Men doing their own thing

Basically means doing steroids and denying that those have any bad effect.

You'll remember a post I did a while ago on the Chinese classical novel, the Water Margin. That's a 14th century novel, thought to be based on the peasant rebellions that overthrew the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China in the 1350s. So that's 665 years ago. The novel is a historical novel of a previous rebellion in the 1110s. Rebellions are of course stories of men, and the Water Margin is an epic story of 108 men who are forced to leave society by evil men, and thus go up the mountain to do their own thing. To this day, when a man says "fuck it" and leaves polite society to do his own thing, in Chinese you say he is "forced to climb to mount Liang", which is the hideout of the rebels in the Water Margin.

So what did these great bros do up at Liangshan? Bully each other into a signaling spiral of binge drinking, binge eating, pointless fighting and destruction of normal family life. And completely disregard for women. The only women in the novel are bros too, women fighers who can beat 100 men while handling huge spears on horseback. Those are cool. Other women are hoes, and hoes are not cool. The sheer nonsense and sometimes pure evil that the novel describes as being the honorable and manly thing to do is just amazing. One of the stories that amazed me the most was how 秦明 Qin Ming joined the gang.

Oh sorry, I forgot that Chinese names just don...

Self-Deceptive Status Filters

People call me cynical because I say ideology is crap. It's just stuff people say to look good to their peers. Signaling, that is. And I support this claim by pointing out that people just don't know shit. David Hume proved that. We don't even "know" the laws of nature with any certainty. Yes, we're used to some things happening after certain things. There's chains of events that strongly hint at causality. But you can never know for sure.

Of course that kind of fuzzy knowledge is good enough for human purposes; people do get by in their lives, do things expecting consequences to occur, and they almost invariably do. But the strength of that knowledge depends on the frequency of their repetition. So people only really know what they're very familiar with. Their job, generally. This maps to Conquest's Second Law: everybody is conservative about what they know best. People are not conservative (i.e. they are leftist) on the things they don't know. Why would they be? They don't know much about it. And yet they have an opinion about it. They talk about it. Why would you talk about something you don't know about? Signaling, of course.

Signaling doesn't exactly equate leftism, but it kinda does. Signaling is about gaining status. That's why you signal, that's what living in society is about. If you were a tiger you'd be in the jungle eating animals and looking for females to rape; as it happens humans are social primates, and we need to get along with other humans...

How to Figure out Gnon's Will

A basic idea of this blog is that people don't choose ideas according to the merits or the logical value of those ideas. People have different personalities, different status-seeking dispositions, so to speak. Some people desire a lot, some people are content with less, some people are willing to go further in order to attain it, others don't. Given that basic foundation of personality, people then choose the ideas that think can better aid their status-seeking plans. Ideas spread or don't spread according to how well they fit the wider aggregate status-seeking dispositions of the population. Which of course is affected by the current idea landscape of the culture.

This is why rabid leftists become rabid rightists, or viceversa, while seldom becoming apolitical. They're just into politics, period, so they get behind whatever is fashionable or suits their background better. Understand this point and you'll understand much better how the ideological landscape in the West is going to change in the next few decades. For instance, take a look at this:

A tale of two white British brothers who took VERY different paths: One supports right-wing EDL - while the other has converted to Islam

How can they be so different? Well it's quite obvious. The guys just aren't into mainstream crap. They're edgy, as brothers they share those edgy genes, they j...

The Journalistic Mind

Yesterday I wrote that the leftist media (i.e. all of it) can't shut up about the alt-right because they're fascinated for finally having a worthy rival. They see the appeal.

Another possibility is that journalists basically spend all their lives in Twitter, and our Frog-Twitter friends are trolling them so hard that their Dunbar brains are just saturated with alt-right people. And so they react. And react, way beyond the real world importance of them. It's like high-school kids talking all the time about their classmates. Of course they do, it's where they spend their whole lives. But it's all absolutely trivial in hindsight.

Here's some evidence of how journalists work, and why they're brains are basically on drugs with Twitter. This is a passage from David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest, a 1972 book detailing how the Cathedral back then, the media and the bureaucracy, botched the Vietnam War because they couldn't stop sucking each others' dicks. Basically because everybody wanted to suck JKF's dick.

David Halberstam was a fairly successful journalist, who took a long leave of several years in order to write a book. He writes how hard it was to quit his usual routine as a journalist for the lonely job of writing a book who would only be complete after years of work.

The hardest thing I had to do at the start was to take leave of my byline for the next four years. Ours is a profession built upon the immediacy of rew...

The Money is in Religion

Haven't posted in a while, but everything's ok. Just been busy. Worry not, my dear readers, this blog isn't going anywhere. I might be lazy but I'm quite resilient. And I like my blog very much, so you can expect this blog to last for as long as I have fingers to type. If I go offline I'm either dead or in some hidden CIA prison for thought criminals. I expect to have good company if either of that happens.

Speaking of crimethinkers, Anatoly Karlin had a good review of the alt-internet at his blog. The conclusion is quite clear: the old far-right is quite healthy. The alt-right, defined as Kek-worship and assorted Spencerites is very small. And NrX* is just tiny. Like really tiny.

*I'll just stop fighting the, in my opinion, lame branding and just surrender to the fact that everybody categorizes me as NrX so I might as well own it.

I've said it before, and others have said it before and better than I have. But that's how it is: there is no great media revolution. Most people still get their news from TV. To the extent people get their news from the Internet, they like their mainstream stuff first, and to the extent they like edgy stuff, they like the edgy stuff that has always been around. Stormfront is still big, fellas. Or it was until a few months ago. Think about that.

This shouldn't be something to worry about, and it should surprise anyone. For one thing, the popu...

Black Swans of Common Knowledge

As I write this, the news are coming out that the 12 boys trapped in 4km inside a cave in northern Thailand have been rescued, after having trapped in a cold, damp and pitch black cave for 10 long days until they were discovered, and another tense week when nobody really knew how to get them out. The rescue operation has been smooth, amazingly so.

The whole thing has been like a perfect movie. The setting is completely absurd. What were the boys doing there? Apparently the coach (apparently it's a soccer team) had a habit of taking the early teen boys hiking and exploring and doing boy-scouts kind of stuff. Which is fine; but why on earth did he get into 4 damn kilometres into an unexplored cave in the beginning of the raining season? What was he thinking? In some other place or time the coach would have been left to rot inside, and his whole family beat to death. In Japan today he would probably have to kill himself after he and his whole family are completely ostracized. The Japanese are quite amazed at how nice the Thais have been in general.

But again, like in a movie, the setting is not important. The drama afterward is, and this cave-rescue story has had all the necessary elements. The long search, eventually finding the kids. The kids being in good health, because their mysterious coach has taught them meditation (to 13 year old boys? come on). The international teams coming in, all rushing to find a solution. Discussing for several days what to do, ...