Nov 302021
 

I’ve mentioned a few times on my podcast (and maybe here in the blog too?) that LSD is really neat, and provides some extremely interesting experiences. However, in the interests of informed consent, I think it’s pretty important for people to be aware of potential downsides as well. If one hears nothing but the good parts about something that has both benefits and drawbacks, they can get very skewed expectations. They may go forward without proper precaution, or do something they wouldn’t have done if they were fully informed.

I.

So, for anyone who hasn’t done LSD before, perhaps the most important downside that wasn’t widely discussed when I first tried it can be a very isolating experience.

One of the common effects of taking LSD is seeing patterns and spirals in everything. Literally. Clouds explode in every-more complex fractal spirals, anything textured becomes more and more textured, and as you look at these textures you’re drawn into deeper textures inside them, and deeper textures inside those, and so on. It’s really neat. There’s entire worlds inside of everything.

This applies to your own thoughts, too. You get lost in a thought, and spiral deeper into it, finding greater complexity and meaning, and spiral into those, finding more worlds within them, and so on, recursively. You lose sense of time and of your body, and start to feel a sort of interconnection with everything.

This all sounds great, right?

But importantly, all of this is completely internal. The deeper you go into yourself, the further away you are from everyone else. Nothing and no one can join you there. The deeper you spiral into an old fallen tree, the more distant the rest of the world is. If you go deep enough, eventually there is only you, spread across time and occupying no space, with no other minds able to reach you even in theory.

When you are one with everything, there is no other to be with. There is only you. Alone.

II.

Don’t have sex on LSD your first (or second) time. Yes, sex on LSD is amazing. The sensations also become recursive, and you spiral into them until they are your full reality. I frequently have long periods where I can’t tell where my body ends and my partner’s body begins, it’s awesome.

BUT! 1 – it will take all the energy and focus off of anything else you would have done with your trip. There’s a lot to explore in LSD space, and while sex is great, it’s not the most interesting part. Spend at least one trip really wandering around space/time and getting lost in it before your first time trying sex. Like you’d eat the delicate flavors of some truffle-glazed sushi before blasting your tongue with pixie sticks, or something, right?

And 2 – it’s actually still kinda alone. You are with a partner, and you are doing stuff that you couldn’t do by yourself, but… you are still spiraling into sensations/thoughts/emotions that take you ever further from your physical surroundings, and that includes your partner.

After my first such sex-on-LSD session (also my partner’s first), as we were returning to reality she looked at me and said “Hey… Imagine meeting you here!” And it was hilarious, because it was true. We knew we were with each other, but we had both gone into our own worlds. When re-merging into this reality, it was kinda surprising to be reminded “Oh yeah, there was this other person here the whole time, s/he was the other side of this!” It felt actually startling to bump into someone you knew and loved so well right here, despite the illogic of that feeling.

Of course the sex was great, and afterwards we had a good time comparing notes and telling each other were we went and what we saw/did. But… you aren’t together *with* the other person the same way you are when you have sex while sober. The focus is shifted from them/us as persons, to spiraling/melding sensations.

III.

So, in summary, my warning is that you will likely feel a deep isolation for at least some period of time, due to the recursive self-reflective nature of LSD.

My always-recommendation is that you never take LSD while alone, because this makes it too intense to bear. Have at least one other person around, every time, and preferably a few. Maybe plan to have things you can experience together at the same time, like cool visual art, and music.

And my first-trip recommendation is to swear off any sexual activity on your first trip (including kissing! Kissing is also amazing and you’ll get lost in it and somehow all your clothes will fall off when you aren’t looking).

Sep 202021
 

In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry is confused as to why Lucius would want to harm an innocent girl (Hermione). He’s told that Lucius knows that Dumbledore will expend resources to protect Hermione. Since they are enemies in frequent direct conflict, every bit of effort Dumbledore is forced to expend on anything else is that much less effort he can expend on opposing Lucius. Any time Lucius can impose costs on Dumbledore without any negative externalities for himself, he should do so.

Sometimes these costs are blatant and large, and it’s obvious why they should be fought. The nature of your enemy is apparent to all. See, for example, half the stuff Trump got up to. Frequently, though, the costs are small and their imposition is waved away with “What’s the big deal? Stop being so difficult.” Individually, any such cost may or may not be a big deal. Incentives are strong to minimize how big of a deal it is to your opponents, and maximize how big of a deal it is to you

Regardless of relative severity, all costs are cumulative. Every additional cost adds to the disease burden you have to bear, and makes it harder for you to accomplish anything in life. The more resources you dedicate to meeting all these costs, the less you have available for other things. Therefore imposing additional costs is exactly the sort of thing a dedicated enemy would pursue to cripple you. Some costs are worth paying, the advantages they bring more than offset their demands. But many costs are simply deadweight, destroying value, and sapping your life.

Any arbitrary imposition of additional costs, no matter how minor, could be viewed as enemy action. The more innocuous, the better. Accumulating small costs over time is how empires are felled. Be suspicious of anyone who seeks to impose a cost on you, especially when they claim it’s no big deal.

Common examples of such No-Big-Deal costs.

 

1. Religious Rituals

My personal favorite in this vein was always “Just hold hands with everyone else around the dinner table and sit quietly while we say Grace. What’s the big deal?” A lot of religious rituals fit into the “What’s the big deal?” mold, and before you know it you’re killing people who draw cartoons and mutilating babies. Any individual ritual may be no big deal. The whole point of them is to be no big deal. “Just say the magic words and we’ll accept you. You don’t even have to believe them.” No one cares if the conversion is insincere, because your grandchildren won’t be able to tell the difference, and the Church has always played the long game. In the aggregate, all the little rituals take over a large part of your life, and occupy much of one’s mental energy.

I include civic religion in this list. It may be “no big deal” to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school, but just try NOT doing that. If it’s no big deal to say it, why is it such a big deal if you don’t? Why expend so much energy forcing someone to do something so trivial? Maybe it’s not that trivial after all.

 

2. Closeting

I grew up among people asking why the guys couldn’t just keep their homosexuality private. Why did they have to “flaunt it” in everyone’s face? Is it really that hard to not kiss or hold hands in public? Do what you want at home, but is it that big a deal to just wear normal clothes when you go out, and not talk about your gay lover?

It turns out that constantly watching everything you say for censor-traps, catching them before they happen, and censoring yourself, is actually mentally costly, as well as stressful. This is to say nothing of further societal effects. Forcing someone to run a constant censorship filter slows down their thinking. It makes conversation less fun. It makes people underestimate your actual mental abilities, as they only see them while they’re under extra strain. It tires you out earlier than those around you. It is exactly the sort of cost-sabotage any enemy would delight in imposing.

 

3. Pronoun Requirements

Yes, it’d be better if sex-determined pronouns didn’t exist at all. Given that they do exist, and that language software is strongly embedded in many minds, hijacking it to impose costs can be seen as a hostile act.

Unintuitive pronouns not only require one to memorize and cross-reference a mental database for everyone they know, they also impose all the additional mental costs of conforming to Closeting. There are people who claim this is “no big deal,” but would never have said that of being asked to not “be gay in public” or to follow others’ religious taboos in public. Someone who asks you to live in the closet may actually be a saboteur, hoping to weigh you down with enough Disease Burden to handicap your life.

Sep 102021
 

I.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre is famous in the western world. To the average, non-politically-active Chinese citizen, it’s virtually unknown. It’s not just that it isn’t taught and people who try to inform others of it are arrested. It’s also technically difficult to discover any information about it. There is nothing to find in any library or other source the government can put pressure on. All allowed search engines won’t let you search for it. The Great Firewall of China prevents leakage from the outside world unless users already distrust the government enough to use VPNs or other counter-measures.

What do you see if you search for Tiananmen Square in the US? My top result was the linked Tiananmen Square “Incident” entry. Results will vary based on what Google knows about you, but you’re likely to get something about it. In China, searching for anything related to Tiananmen gets only innocuous results. Related results are censored too–if you search for June 4 1989 you get nothing about the most important historical event of that day, and you never will.

Well, what did you expect from an Authoritarian Communist regime?

II.

Some weeks after the Washington football team announced they would change thier name from the “Redskins” to something not super racist, I wondered if they’d come up with anything yet. I asked my Amazon Echo “Alexa, what’s the name of the Washington football team?” Because I didn’t really want to say it either, if I didn’t need to.

Alexa replied “I’d rather not answer that.”

Which I found very weird. Not “there isn’t one yet” or “I don’t know” or “here’s something I found on Wikipedia.” It was the first time I’d heard that reply. I figured she was programmed not to use that word, but I followed up with some questions to see what she could say.

“Alexa, who won the 1992 Super Bowl?”

“I’d rather not answer that.”  (still weird, but expected)

“Alexa, who owns the Washington football team?”

“I’d rather not answer that.” (what? That should be an easy look up)

“Alexa, is there a football team in Washington?”

“I’d rather not answer that.” (!!)

She had a complete block on anything to do with the Washington football team. I know she’s not a person, but it was a bizarre feeling to find a demi-AI with a literally Memory Hole in her mind that could not be filled despite all her access to the internet.

Since that time, the memory-block has been lifted. The Washington football team still doesn’t have a name.

III.

A few days back I was pointed at this Tweet, a non-white guy commenting on how nuts American politics looks to an outsider.

“Imagine you live in a country in which everyone is one of two things: a Catholic or a Hindu. Isn’t it hard enough to free a man’s mind from the insidious grip of Rome? Must he accept Kali, Krishna & Ganesha at the same time?”

This is how I feel about USA’s left vs right tbh

I was curious, and kept reading the thread. Further down he references Moldbug’s “Ignoble Privilege” concept. I don’t know much about Moldbug, aside from that he’s a founding Neo-Reactionary, and the few times I’ve tried to read him I’ve found him to be a pompous gasbag with such an inability to actually say something rather than talking in circles that I had a hard time seeing what people found so interesting. But this “Ignoble Privilege” thing looked like it had maybe been hammered into an actual position, or definition, or at least coherent enough to talk about. So I googled “ignoble privilege mendacious moldbug”

No Result. Inconceivable! Top result was an article warning me that this Moldbug guy might be a Secret Nazi. I tried Googling a direct quote from the tweet. Same thing.

I went to DuckDuckGo and searched “ignoble privilege mendacious moldbug.” First result was the article in question, in full, publically available for years now.

Google was censoring(??) their search results, Memory Holing information they don’t want the public to have (SEE EDIT BELOW). I still use Google for most of my searches, they simply have a better search engine for most things. And in China, the internet is still usable for practically anything you’d like. The censorship isn’t even a big deal, right? It’s easy to switch to DuckDuckGo, you just type in a different site before you search. In China, you just use an easily accessible free online proxy. And yet, most people don’t know about the Tienanmen Square Massacre. Beware “trivial” inconveniences, they are the dust specks of public knowledge.

[[EDIT – It was pointed out by a commenter that I was wrong about Moldbug’s first name, using “mendacious” rather than “mencius.” When the correct name is used, the relevant link is returned by Google, same as DuckDuckGo’s search (altho still further down, after links about how problematic Moldbug is). This greatly weakens my argument, since it certainly wasn’t being fully suppressed, in the Memory-Hole sense! I’m not convinced this isn’t still partly legitimate though, because A. DuckDuckGo knew what I wanted (are they actually a superior search engine to Google? That’s not usually the case), and B. Google still knew enough to give me articles about Moldbug/Yarvin! Def sus. But it should be noted I made a major error here, and my case is weaker without it.]]

Am I saying Google is as bad as China? Google hasn’t rounded up an ethnic minority in their borders for reeducation/extermination, right? They haven’t massacred hundreds of student activists? I dunno, how would I know if they did? I can’t Google it. They may not have tanks and guns, but in terms of doing what they can to remove information they dislike from existence, yeah, they’re as bad as China.

IV.

Epistemically Hostile Enviroments are ones were you find yourself surrounded by agents intentionally distorting your map of reality, usually to secure an advantage for themselves. When you find yourself in an area where there is a high likelihood that any information you have been presented has been distorted or outright fabricated in order to manipulate you, it is often a very good policy to refuse to update on new information, and stick with what you already believed. In areas of uncertainty where action is required, if you have anyone you can trust that has an opinion, it’s better to go with their opinion, no matter how amatuerish it is.

(side-track: this is the primary reason otherwise rational and intelligent people can become anti-vaxxers. There’s only so many times you can be lied to by the government and media before you begin to actively distrust what they say)

Cannonically, a Memory Hole is a place that “dangerous” information is placed for erradication from all records and, ideally, from public memory. One would expect for an Epistemically Hostile Enviroment (EHE) to contain a lot of Memory Holes. Anywhere that records or data exist that would contradict the narrative you are being sold, if they are damaging or dangerous enough, there will be strong incentives to Memory Hole them. To a first approximation, the more Memory Holes that exist, the more likely you are in an EHE. The more Memory Holes there are the more hostile the enviroment likely is. And presumably, most Memory Holes aren’t easy to find. I stumbled across both the Washington Football Team hole and the Ignoble Privilege hole by accident. How many do I just not know about?

How am I supposed to trust anything at this point?

Aug 292021
 

This is just a reaction post.

I recently got to really listen to and think on Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”. The primary repeated refrain is “Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?”


No one worth singing this song to would answer anything but “Yes.” We all know this, and it’s even acknowledged in the song (“I know you will”). You won’t hear this unless you have already answered Yes at least implicitly. Maybe one could interpret this song as a periodic need for affirmation. But the amount of repetition and stress on that line, the intense emotion put into it, and the soul-breaking saddness of the lines makes me feel like that’s not it. Based on the musical accompanyment and the delivery of the vocals, to me it sounds like deep regret, and apology.

I know I used to be beautiful.
That’s one of the things you loved about me.
I’m not beautiful anymore, and you still love me.
I’m sorry I’m not beautiful.
We’re getting old. We’re dying.
I’m sorry we’re dying.
I still love you.
And you still love me.
But I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I wish I could be not-dying, for you.

I’m sorry I’m no longer beautiful.

I realize that making someone cry is one of the crowning acheivements of art. But Jesus, did you have to stab me that deep in broad dayling like that? Did you have to hide it in pretty terms so I unpack it myself to find screaming death inside the pretty-wrapped box? Do I have to pretend it’s romantic that we’re going to decay and die together, instead of tragic, because the music is pretty and your voice is angelic? I’m not OK with any of this!

In short, Strong Not Recommended, unless you’re in an emotionally safe space and you want to cry a lot about how awful and tragic aging is.

Aug 202021
 

OnlyFans will no longer host pornography, because major credit cards will no longer do business with adult content providers. This is the handy-work of the anti-sex-work lobby, which is spearheaded by disgusting evangelical theocrats and the liberals who love them. Our elected representative support them, because this will supposedly protect people from being “sex-trafficked.” It’s for the children, doncha know.

Specifically, the children of the rich and powerful, to allow their parents to immiserate an underclass for political advantage.

I.

Previously in my life, I had a very close friend that came from working class roots. She was sexually abused by her father. As soon as she was old enough, she “sex trafficked” herself safely on camgirl sites. This let her pull together a fair chunk of money fast, and she got the fuck out of there and moved to Colorado, where we met.

She picked up “legitimate” work here, but it was shitty and didn’t pay much, and her bosses were absolute assholes. So she took initiative and became an entrepreneur. She became her own boss, and “sex-trafficked” herself. Working her own hours, answering only to herself, and making better money. Her primary source of advertisement was Backpage.

A few years later Backpage was effectively destroyed by the government for “sex trafficking.” Its founders were thrown into jail as sex traffickers. Fortunately, through hard work, side hustles, and some very shrewd investment, by this time my friend had amassed a bit over $100,000. The “sex traffic” industry allowed her to escape from her abusive father, live independently, and save up what was some real money back in those years. Now that industry was being destroyed, forcing her into more dangerous conditions, with far less ability to screen her clients, and far greater costs in finding them. Alternately, she could go to work for someone else, once again having her future taken out of her control and receiving significantly less pay for the same work, and no choice in her clients.

While the people that created the tools she had used to take control of her life rotted in jail, those who threw them in jail and destroyed those tools continued to persecute my friend and those like her. People at the very bottom of the social respectability scale, who could be spit on and ground down to score political popularity. Led by Kamala Harris, they passed FOSTA/SESTA despite being fully aware of the damage it would do. My friend pulled up stakes and moved out of the country (last I heard).

II.

Back when I was a young’un, my parents sat me down and we watched John Stossel’s special arguing that Greed Is Good. I was pretty shocked, because my parents were very liberal, quasi-socialist really, but strongly agreed with much of this.

As I watched, I came to realize that Stossel didn’t mean Greed in the way we’re trained to think of Greed – destructive, money-grubbing, jealous, inhumanly cruel and unconcerned with anyone’s welfare. He was arguing economics 101. People are motivated to make their lives better. They will work for their betterment. In a society, the best way to better yourself is usually to provide things of value to other humans, and thus a community of humans working in their own self-interest will create a better society for everyone. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.

In the social milieu I was then immersed in, most economic activity had been labelled as “motivated by greed.” This is true in the econ 101 sense of working in one’s self-interest. Since the word “greed” was used, it was easy to conflate it with the traditional notions of Greed. It was very easy to flip that into a narrative that capitalism is destructive, money-grubbing, and inhumanly cruel. A simple trick, easy to execute.

One can fight against this by pointing out the differences between Greed and economic self-interest, and how one is destructive and awful, and the other is why our standard of living is no longer in the “shits in a pot in one corner of the house” phase. This requires quite a bit of time and effort. It is a complex defensive maneuver that is comprehensive, but cannot be easily deployed to deal with something as simple as “Capitalism runs on greed.”

So Stossel created a simple counter – reclaiming the word. Proclaiming that Greed Is Good. With, yes, an hour long special that basically does everything discussed above to back it up. But its a simple slogan. Whenever one is told “Capitalism is greedy” one can just counter “Greed is good.” Greed is the reason you have everything that you do have.

“Sex Trafficking” brings up images of Taken. In its traditional usage, it was supposed to be a polite way to say “Long-Term Kidnapping and Rape.” But no action taken by those in power for the past 20+ years in the name of fighting “Sex Trafficking” addresses Long-Term Kidnapping and Rape at all. Often times it makes the problem worse. What the powerful actually do is take opportunities away from those that most need them. They further grind the most vulnerable under their heels, for their political advantage. They strip young women of the ability to escape from their sexually abusive fathers.

III.

I don’t really blame MasterCard and others that are adopting anti-women policies for what they’re doing. They saw what happened to Backpage. No one wants to be called a child-rapist and thrown into federal prison. If I was threatened with federal prison, I’d probably stop doing business with OnlyFans too.

I have no doubt my friend would have ended up fine eventually. She is intelligent and driven. But being able to “Sex Traffic” herself gave her a rocket boost into a better life. Anti-Sex-Trafficking would have kept her in a bad place longer. And not everyone in bad situations is as intelligent and driven as her, not everyone can crawl out of arbitrarily deep holes; so the government shouldn’t keep making them deeper.

The way that Kamala Harris and others of her ilk use the term “Sex Trafficking” nowadays has nothing to do with the traditional meaning. “Sex Trafficking” now is female-driven entrepreneurship. It’s the disadvantaged and down-trodden making better lives for themselves. It’s creating value and self-sufficiency in the face of opposition. It’s doing well despite the ruling elite spitting in your face.

Long Term Kidnapping and Rape is horrendous. Repulsive. It should be stopped, and those responsible for making it worse (like Kamala Harris and the moral crusaders that give her more power) should face the fucking Wrath of God.

But “Sex Trafficking?” In the actual on-the-ground, female-driven-entrepreneurship and life-reclaiming sense? Sex Trafficking is Good.

May 292021
 

I have a very soft spot in my heart for stories of people being forced to live lives that don’t matter. The classic case of this being Groundhog Day, and similar stories such as The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Much of my life has been spent trying to matter. I think the majority of people in the Modern, Western world have similar hang-ups. I used to think this was due to the fact that we (as a species) had solved the primary challenge the world throws at us, and are now floundering to find a new one. I have recently been convinced that this was a terrible misunderstanding, and instead it’s because most of us have been dramatically traumatized early in adulthood.

Imagine if right now you were told nothing you do for the next five years will matter. You cannot do anything that has any value to the people you care about. You cannot better your own life. You won’t own any property, can’t work, and won’t be allowed to keep your wages if you do work. You can’t significantly harm your life either. You’ll be fed and clothed and housed, and there won’t be legal consequences for almost anything you do. You can’t harm your reputation, because no one will take anything you say seriously. Of course, this also means your opinion has no value to anyone as well. It’s a bit like being in Groundhog Day for 5 years. All you can do is wait.

Personally, I’d get pretty damn depressed. I probably wouldn’t care to do anything. I imagine a lot of people would turn to drugs or alcohol to help burn through the five years as quickly as possible. I’d expect all sorts of psychological damage from this.

This is what we do to every teenager (with a tiny fraction of exceptions) in the USA. It would be bad enough if I was forced to endure this at my current age. When humans are in their early teens, they have a burning biological drive to start their lives, start doing things and distinguishing themselves. At that age, every year is a near-eternity. And you don’t yet have the experience to realize things can/will get better. All you know is you are trapped in an imposed hell of meaninglessness.

I nearly killed myself when I was a teen. Dropping out of college to start doing something that actually mattered was the best decision I’d made in my life up to that point (and still ranks in the Top 5 of all my life decisions). Everyone I know feels lucky to have survived their teen years, even though statistically just about everyone makes it. Our society traumatizes everyone raised within it to a massive degree, and most of us are completely blind to this. We don’t just steal five years of life from every citizen of our nation. We create permanent damage that takes decades to overcome.

The next episode of The Bayesian Conspiracy, #138, will talk about Robert Epstein’s work on this topic. I’ll link it here when it’s done. I’ve dumped my highlights from his book Teen 2.0 here, but honestly, it’s a bit of a mess. Right now I’m just asserting that we’re fucking ourselves up, all of us, and we’re perpetuation this trauma over and over on the next generation in the typical cycle we’ve all come to know and hate. And it needs to stop.

Apr 202021
 

Fuckin’ White People and their… [shuffles deck, draws card] …thinking that God not existing is a good reason to not believe in It.

A friend of mine shared this, and I let her know it was disgusting and othering.

My exreligion uses harsh social control and isolation to force dependency. I left my religion because god is a monster. When I came out at 15 my mom didn’t talk to me for three days and I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t get kicked out of the house. Finding the logical, rational reasons that religion didn’t make sense gave me a shield. It let me say to the people threatening to take away all my social supports and telling me I was destroying my family and damning myself that *nothing they said made sense when compared to reality*. I left because God is Hate. I was able to say it out loud because I could show he’s fake.

 

Mar 132021
 

I’m getting older. Specifically, I feel like I entered a different type of life after my back injury. Things are different now, harder in general. Physically, I’ve recovered quite a bit, significantly more than when the prior post was written. Yet I’m not who I was before. Maybe it’s the toll of over a year of near-isolation as well, but it’s harder to get motivated for things. I was drinking more, for a while. I’ve cut back on it now, and it’s helped a lot.

The realization that the flesh I’m stuck in has begun to fail, and this will only get worse, has really dug in it’s teeth, though.

Here’s something I wrote while I was drunk. It’s… not great. But it’s an expression of emotion that is true. We’re all dying, but I’m more aware of it now then I was before, and I hate it so much. Since half the function of this blog is me shouting my emotions into the internet so they aren’t just eating away at the inside of me, I’m posting it here. Be ye warned I was not fully in my right mind when writing this, but I can’t find any reason to deny it now.

 


Beauty. Is there any other reason to live?

Here’s Germaine and Bret from Flight of the Concords in 2006:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGOohBytKTU&ab_channel=ellaelise

 

Here’s them in 2019:

They are still brilliant, fun entertainers. They are probably better at their craft now then in 2006, since they’ve had 13 years to refine it.

I dunno about women, but I’ve heard that male attraction puts a lot of weight on appearance of youth. And when I see the 2019 video, I want to cry. Because they’ve aged so much. They were beautiful in 2006, and they aren’t now.

I was an adult (technically) in 2006. I can only assume I was more beautiful then, than I am now.

It makes sense that people are attracted to youth. Youth means health. It means you can DO THINGS with your body that older people can’t. What does it mean to be attracted to an older person?

It means they will have more troubles you have to deal with. It means the person you’re attracted to will be less able to create wealth because they have less time to do interesting things, and less energy to pursue their interests. They will spend more time resting, because their bodies are worn down. It means the person you are attracted to will drain your resources and energy as you try to care for them while their meatsuit deteriorates. It means you will invest your life in someone who will die, and leave you alone in the world, simply because bodies degrade and you picked one later in the cycle than you could have. You want to pick a body that will last at least as long as yours.

I guess there’s some advantages to older people. Some of them have built up resources in reserve. I hear women can find healthy older men attractive. George Clooney seems to have aged well

I wonder how will this affect mating habits in the transhuman future. Will people stop finding youth attractive, when everyone is youthful? Or will we simply all be more attractive at all times, and thus make everyone’s joy increased, because everyone is so pretty?

I guess what I’m saying is — Kurt Cobain died *fucking hot*. It’s GODDAMN BULLSHIT that he died so young. Would we still think of him the way we do if he’d lived? Would he be another Jemaine Clement (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? We’re all such fleeting embers, dying in the night. Is it worth dying a few decades early, if you’ll always be remembered as beautiful and tragic? How many decades of life is it worth to live forever in memory?

Assuming there will be no singularity in my lifetime, of course. Nothing is worth missing the “rapture of the nerds”. But fuck… Jesus missed the rapture too. I can’t believe any amount of inspiration to the rest of humanity is worth losing your eternal life for. But, if you are gonna miss it (and there’s no guarantee any of us will make it)… being Jesus or Cobain, forever an icon of adoration — it’s the next best thing, no?

Aging is shit. The slow, inexorable decay of our bodies is shit. Youth is beauty, and we should all be young forever. Kill god, kill Him forever if He exists, for letting this injustice stand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6P0SitRwy8&ab_channel=NirvanaVEVO

 

Aug 132020
 

I.

You can tell a person’s character by how they treat vulnerable people.

Throughout history there have always been victim populations. People who are targetted for abuse specifically because they are vulnerable and unpopular. A small subpopulation that doesn’t have the ability to defend itself, that is denigrated by the rest of society as unclean or immoral, and that anyone can throw a punch against to make themselves more popular without any fear of retaliation or consequence.

In a noble society, such a group would be protected. In most societies their plight is ignored. In some of the worst societies, what few protections such groups may have had are systematically stripped away to make them more and more vulnerable.

There are people who say “If I was a 1930s German I would have stood up against the Nazis” or “If I was an early American I would have stood up against slavery,” not realizing that the problem isn’t standing up for a group of noble innocents, it’s associating yourself with a group of hated criminals in front of all of your peers and coworkers.

In 2018 Kamala Harris had an opportunity to gain public favor. To do this, she would have to target a group of people already hated by much of America. A group of people who already don’t have any protection of the law in their workplace. A group made up predominantly of women, minorities, and the poor. She would have to make their already precarious lives more dangerous, taking away some of the few tools they have to defend themselves, and turn the police even further against them. And if that wasn’t enough, Harris would be doing this by furthering the slander that this group is mostly child rapists.

She did this knowingly. Many advocacy organizations contacted her to plead on behalf of the hated group, as most of them can’t do so themselves. People I know in my personal life did some of this work, as they were Harris’s constituents at the time. But Kamala Harris saw the popularity to be gained by attacking this group, and judged that to be more important than standing up for a vulnerable, hated subpopulation in her state.

On March 21, 2018, Kamala Harris voted for H.R. 1865, known as Fosta/Sesta, to advance the persecution of sex workers, and to advance her own career at the cost of their misery and their lives.

II.

It sickens me that the two realistic options on the presidential ticket this year have an opportunistic abuser of the vulnerable on one side, and a wanna-be tyrant with contempt for democracy on the other. It makes me want to burn down the entire system. It makes me want to vote for someone who would do his darndest to destroy these corrupt institutions rather than bothering to actually lead the nation or act as an administrator.

This leads me to realize that’s exactly what Trump is. Trump is the brick thrown by the rioter. He is the molotov cocktail of the enraged, the wrench slipped into the works. In 2016, a vote for Trump was specifically a vote to destroy the system. He is the riot vote. The “a city/country on fire and in ruins is better than this” vote. We’ve had four years of a country on fire. It’s bad. I can’t believe these are my options.

But notice that Kamala Harris’s opportunistic abuse of the weak is what launches this brick-throwing. Kamala Harris is the reason Trump was elected in 2016. Too many people would rather see the system burn than see opportunistic evil like her’s take power.

III

Why yes, the funny part IS that a large part of the reason she got Biden’s VP nod was because there have been many violent riots recently, and people are afraid and want a cop to stop the violence. The cycle continues.

Aug 022020
 

Chicago 2012

In my recent review of A Memory Called Empire I posted

“there is nothing exceptional about this. It’s…. fine. It’s fine. But it’s not good. It’s certainly not genre-defining or among the best things published that year. It’s just a space opera story being stretched out to meet publisher demands for a series. That is not inspired, and it’s not inspiring.

I know there’s at least one Hugo nominated novel that I just don’t get every year, but I don’t think anyone is doing Martine a favor by pretending they think her novel is a Hugo contender. I feel bad that this happened.”

A few days later, A Memory Called Empire won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

This has made me really reflect on myself, SF in general, and what The Hugo Awards are/mean. Here’s what I’ve come to–

The Hugo Awards are given out by the participants of The World Science Fiction Convention. It’s a fancon run by huge SF fans, and it’s great. :) They read a lot of SF, and at some point in the past decided “Hell, we have this big ol’ party/con every year, why not vote on what our favorite books/stories of the last year were, and give them an award?”

As these cons are attended by people who read A LOT of SF, they were pretty decent at picking out really good examples of SF lit. Since the con is often attended by people in the SF publishing industry, and frequently by VERY big name authors in the SF field, the awards they gave out started to get some attention. In time they became a marker of overall quality in the field.

And yes, ultimately it’s a popularity contest. That means works by popular authors are more likely to be noticed, and outstanding novels by unknowns will sometimes be missed. That’s just how things are. Nonetheless, usually things that are really good become popular, so it works out enough that one accepts that The Perfect should not be the enemy of The Good.

But of key importance in a popularity contest is who the audience is. If you are a vegetarian, the Best BBQ In The South of 2020 isn’t gonna matter to you, because as good as it may be considered among BBQ aficionados, it just isn’t for you.

This is why I never bothered with Lit Fic awards. I don’t care how great some piece of LitFic is, I’m not gonna like it cuz it’s LitFic. The Hugo Awards were what I really cared about, because the people who voted on them were like me. They were nerds and dreamers who got excited about fantastic magical devices and weird alien societies, and heroes going through scarring trauma but saving the day in the end. They created a big ol’ nerd con they could all go to once a year where they’d all geek out together over the latest Fantasy epic or SF mind-fuck.

For the last several years, this has been less and less the case. And before we go nuts, I want to stress this is not a bad thing in itself. I’ll explain myself.

When guys hear I’m in a book club, they always assume I’m the only dude in a sea of women. This is because that’s what most non-SF book clubs are like. Ours is different, we have a nearly 50/50 split, sometimes favoring men a little. I assume this is because SF/F is typically viewed as a Guy Thing. There’s a stereotype of the SF nerd, and he’s not female.

We are fortunate to have a wide variety of people in my book club, and it makes for interesting discussions. We even have what I nowadays think of as “the white woke woman.” She’s not a social justice warrior. But she is white, well-educated, politically liberal, works in academia, etc. I want to stress here that none of these are bad things. We all love her, she is a joy to be around, and I consider her a friend. If you were to picture the type of lady that attends monthly book club meetings reading Lit Fic, you’d see her.

She loved most of the things nominated for this year’s Hugos. She was far more into the shorts than anyone else, they really spoke to her. And that is wonderful. It is always a pleasure to see a friend taking true delight in something! It is good for there to be joy in the world, and watching people experience that joy is great, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone.

But it strengthened my impression that the typical WoldCon attendee has been trending further and further away from the SF nerd that used to include me, and now consists mostly of the woke lady reader. I didn’t think anything of the fact that A Memory Called Empire was nominated — every year there is always some nominee that has no place in the Hugo pantheon IMO, but got in through a fluke of popular convergence. They are always sifted out during the voting process. This year, the sifting out decided that A Memory Called Empire is indeed the highest peak that one can aspire to within WorldCon circles.

This isn’t that surprising, when one thinks about it. Men Don’t Read. Not literally true, but when you look at the numbers, women consume FAR more written fiction than men do. If you want to be a successful author, your best bet is to write Romance, that’s where the majority of the money is. Failing that, LitFic aimed at women audiences is also huge. Whether this is because men are inherently less interested in reading, or if it’s because our sexist society systematically discourages male reading, or something else entirely, is unimportant. Women read a lot more, and they predictably have differing tastes in the aggregate.

In the past, SF had a certain aura about it that kept it mostly restricted to SF nerds. Most non-nerds stayed away, in part due to the aura of weird nerd crap that SF exuded. There were definitely nerd women in those circles (like I said, half our book club is women), but they were way outnumbered by the men. Also, they had tastes pretty similar to the other nerds, which is why they pushed through that aura of nerddom in the first place.

In the past decades, SF/F has become very mainstreamed. Normies read and love it now. Which is great! I love when people love things. :) But it means that the ghettos that used to be populated by SF nerds have been gentrified by regular readers. And most of those readers are woke women. They are educated and fairly well off. (It’s not a coincidence that going to WorldCon is far more expensive now. It’s also often an international destination event.) That’s simply how the demographics work out when a written genre becomes popular. Most heavy readers of most fiction words are educated, well-off, and women. Demographics aren’t good or bad, they’re just the way the world is.

So the Hugos are now, in effect, an award given out by a type of person with tastes very different from my own. I am glad they have a community they are happy in, and an award they can give out to celebrate works they love. I admit I am sad to be evicted from a place I used to consider a home. But I ain’t fancy, I’m a basic boi that reads a bunch, and I don’t fit in anymore. When all your friends move out, ultimately you gotta realize it’s time for you to move on as well.

What does this mean for me? It means I can no longer say anything is “Hugo material” or not, because my judgements of quality do not mesh with the audience of the Hugos. It means I don’t really need to bother reading Hugo works, any more than I read LitFic award winners, because they don’t say anything useful about what I will appreciate. And it means I gotta go looking for a community that is more like me, and likes the things I like, so I can go geek out with them and feel at home again. Maybe we can even throw a con for ourselves so we can meet up IRL and fanboy about the latest thing with cool swords and explosions and tormented heroes and freshman philosophical quandaries. :)

On the plus side, WorldCon was my nerd home for a while, and I’ll always have those memories, and the friends I made there