My theodicy, such as it is

I think pain is our primary connection to the real world, i.e. the difference between dreaming and being awake (or “woke” ;D). One of the consequences of this is that pain produces fear, fear produces reflection, anticipation, and forethought, these produce causal thinking, and causal thinking produces wisdom…leading inevitably to my pre-existing heuristic that wisdom = pain * IQ. That is, pain is the reason we ask “why” questions.

In a Christian theological context, pain would be our capacity to “hear” messages from God. We could also hear other messages, but we would have this capacity because pain is our reality antenna. So if we presume that God designed life to feel pain (I’m agnostic on this), then this implies that pain exists because God wants to talk to us using objective reality as a medium. I.e. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

I believe philosophy is a behavioral response to existential terror. That terror comes from the understanding that reality is much bigger and more powerful than we are, as artistically expressed by Lovecraft. Now, this calls back to something commonsensical: all creators and artists have a sort of “artistic fingerprint” that exists in all of their work. (In my head I call the common element in a class of objects the “essence” of that class.) If God created reality then everything real would include this common element. So the fear of reality is also the fear of the creator. If we define God as the “aboutness” of existence, then philosophy follows from the pain of existing.

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Prometheus dream (somebody else’s)

An interesting dream a guy told me follows. The guy himself is an interesting specimen. ENTJ, IQ approximately 125-130, plays those engineering-type video games for fun, kitchen manager at my pizza place, somewhere between Delta and Beta in SSMV terms. Significant thal admixture but far from 100% pure, fully accredited ubermensch like yours truly.

Paraphrasing from memory: “I took a bunch of DMT and had an extremely vivid vision. I was running through a forest as fast as I could, thinking I needed to get somewhere. It felt like it was taking forever but the actual time was probably more like a 5-20 minutes. When I got out of the forest there was a medieval castle in front of me. I went inside and it was very dark until I got to the other side. There was a torch hanging in a sconce on the wall. This was extremely vivid, I could see charred bits falling away and I felt that I could reach out and burn myself. I took the torch and turned to leave the castle. That’s when the vision ended. I immediately knew afterward with perfect clarity that my job in life is to guide other people in their journeys to greater enlightenment.”

So what’s obviously happening here is the DMT is pulling the trickster/lightbringer archetype out from his unconscious mind, expressing it symbolically with what I now call a “naive literalistic imagination” (described here re: “my ears are burning”), and now he’s emulating this type as his self-identity.

I figure this means the trickster archetype is either A) in his meaty physical brain already, B) implanted by culture, C) something he pulled out of Platonic idea space, or D) something he pulled from somebody else’s mind. Being a degenerate materialist by nature, I favor interpretation A. However, the paranoid Christian in me favors D. The sensible part of me says it’s all of the above, like everything else, and just how requires unpacking. I don’t feel that anymore analysis can be done at this point, with the information I have to hand.

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On normies

Over the weekend I took a little hike to a family event on my dad’s side. I’m not close to any of my extended family relatives because there are way too many of them. Hell, I don’t even know how many cousins I have or what all of their names are, but at last count it was around 50. Of course, that’s without counting boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, and the babies they’re popping out immoderately. It’s a very “salt of the earth” type of operation on an industrial scale; the alt-whiters who can suppress their autism would love it.

I said hi to one of my aunts, with whom I’ve exchanged perhaps ten words in my life. She congratulated me on having “matured”. Presumably this was because she’d heard I graduated college and got a job that could pass for middle class if you aren’t looking very closely. Now, I’m obviously not a fan of normies, but I’m not writing this post in a spirit of anger either. It’s important to model why they think and act the way they do. Onward then, to the archetypal normie.

The purpose of a normie is to be a low-effort voter. Their function in society is to show up with a sense of entitlement and espouse political opinions that are as moderate as their cognitive abilities will allow. Imagine that every human face you encounter on a regular basis can be weighted according to how emotionally close they feel, and how strongly they hold their opinions. Then imagine they were placed on a right-to-left political spectrum according to their opinions. Normies do this all the time, and constantly adjust their political position to stay in the exact center of mass. This is how they form their opinions, and why only the opinions of political extremists really matter, provided the normies’ sense of entitlement is sated. (If resources become scarce, watch out!) This is the purpose of those late-night talk shows and comedy shows. They aren’t all that funny because that’s not the point. The point is to tell the TV audience what everybody else thinks about, and what they think about it, so that they can adjust themselves to the center of mass. That is, they’re Framing public opinion through misrepresenting what it is currently.

Showing up with a sense of entitlement explains the normie’s approach to working life and dating. The SlutHate guys did an excellent job of defining this as the “Normalfag theory” of dating:

normalfag theory
The average everyday boring person’s dating strategy, which is dating people who are just good enough for sex from their small pool of prospects and this selection takes place when their level of sexual frustration exceeds their fear of rejection.

In the world of work, normies can be described as the Clueless types who show up most of the time, spend most of their working hours socializing (erm, I mean “networking”) and refuse to do any real work before 10, after lunch, or on Fridays. When I entered the corporate world I was taken aback by how seriously people take the proscription against work on Fridays- you’d think it was an order from the Pope, except more serious than that whole meat thing. Because normies are magical thinkers, they don’t understand how work gets done, but because they were physically present (most of the time) while it was being done, they are 100% confident that they deserve an even share of the profits and a promotion.

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Introductory books for Christianity

Collected advice from Charles Murray, Vox Day, and myself.

My advice is to start with the New Testament if you’re genuinely interested. It’s more important than the Old Testament and significantly shorter, so the payoff in understanding is immediate and much greater. For the same reason, I recommend easy-to-read translations like the NIV over the King James, even if there’s a possibility that Satan wrote them, because you’ll still get 99% of the idea. Leave absolute theological precision to the autists. The Old Testament provides context, but if you’ll pardon the analogy it’s more like the Silmarillion than it is like The Hobbit (as these pertain to The Lord of the Rings).

If you’re not genuinely interested, but consider religion one of those things you ought to get around to someday, I’d second Charles Murray’s recommendations here for intelligent folks. These books are more intellectually engaging and less intimidating than the Bible itself.

The more you are around people who are seriously religious, the harder it is to think there’s nothing to it.

I say this mostly out of my wife’s testimony, because she has been around some impressive examples, but to some extent from my own experience. You will encounter people whose intelligence, judgment, and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends — and who also possess a disquietingly serene confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas. They have learned to reconcile faith and reason, yes, but beyond that, they persuasively convey that there are ways of knowing that transcend intellectual understanding. They exhibit in their own personae a kind of wisdom that goes beyond just having intelligence and good judgment.

If any of these propositions has intrigued you enough to start taking religion seriously, here’s a short reading list for Christianity (if you’re Jewish, a sympathetic rabbi can get you started). My favorite entry point is Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. The book is a compilation of radio lectures on the BBC during World War II. It is effortless to read, is charming, radiates intelligence, and will get you thinking. Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain is a classic account of a spiritual journey from youth to maturity. If you want an example of a book that will show you how much more there is to the Gospels than you realized, read The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault.

-Charles Murray
The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead (Excerpt)

Murray also recommends continually rewatching the movie Groundhog’s Day as an easy way to learn and understand Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

Vox’s recommendations are better if you fall into his UHIQ category of “brilliant” thinkers, as opposed to very smart thinkers.

First of all, remember not to get too caught up in the theological extrapolations. No matter what you end up reading, it is always worthwhile to periodically circle back to the original source. Don’t neglect reading the Bible in favor of various men’s interpretations of what the Bible says. In the end, theology is nothing more than philosophy derived from the Bible and it is no more intrinsically reliable than any other logical derivation.

I would start at the beginning. If your understanding is limited, begin with The Chronicles of Narnia. As we saw in the debate with Luke of Common Sense Atheism, the average grasp of Christian concepts don’t even rise to the level of Narnia. Then read The Tower of Geburah by John White. Once you’ve read the children’s fiction, move onto simple theology like Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. As a general rule, it’s hard to go too far afield on a foundation of Lewis and Chesterton. I would also recommend the very short, very simple, but intriguing A Defense of the Revelation by Leonhard Euler, who happens to be one of the most legendary mathematicians in history. And my friend Greg Boyd’s Letters to a Skeptic is also recommended.
Once you have a grasp of the theological basics, you may be ready to read up on the actual history of Christianity and some of its leading thinkers. The first volume of the Cambridge Medieval History series, The Christian Empire, is tremendously informative and the epub is freely available for download online. St. Augustine’s Confessions are worth reading for their influence on Western thinking and a good summary of Thomas Aquinas is a necessity as well. I haven’t read it yet, but I have heard very good things about Edward Feser’s Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide and I intend to review it as soon as I finish the Cantillon.

-Vox Day
Mailvox: studying Christianity

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The “brainpower” model of IQ

Brainpower is analogous to horsepower, which is a measure of work done over time. I claim that intelligence has two primary subfactors, comparable to:

  • Current and Voltage in electronics
  • Flow and Pressure in pneumatics and hydraulics
  • Clock Rate and Instructions Per Clock in central processing units

This will be a purely formal description of the model, so it isn’t necessary to know what the physical units of measure are at this point. The idea is that we can already begin to explain some of the high-level phenomena by analogy to other types of flow systems.

I’ll refer to the two intelligence subfactors as mental speed (S) and mental caliber (C). Mental speed refers to the quality possessed by people who can solve problems very quickly, whereas mental caliber refers to the quality possessed by people who can solve very difficult problems. You can imagine measuring these two subfactors as being analogous to measuring the explosive power of a football player by multiplying his 40-yard dash speed by his weight class. It is absolutely essential to understand that I chose these terms for colloquial impact, and not by extension of the physics analogies above. I did this so that people who’ve never even heard of this obscure blog can have a pretty good idea what you’re talking about just from the terms alone, even if they don’t have a precise definition to hand. However, this may be confusing for you in the short run: just remember that every other physics term in this series of posts will be used according to its precise, established definition (e.g. weight, friction, work, power, etc.), except for the terms “mental speed” and “mental caliber” which are just placeholders like X or Y.

Recall, intelligence is a person’s capacity to solve problems, where I define problems as non-material obstacles to objects of desire. S = problems/second, whereas C = difficulty/problem. To wit, g = S * C = brainpower.

Please compare this with my anthropological brain matter theory. That’s the connection I’m intending to make eventually. I believe that overall gray matter mass predicts a person’s mental speed whereas overall white matter mass predicts a person’s mental caliber. Think of these as being comparable to the specifications for the amp and volt capacities for an electronic system.

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Training, experience, flow state, and OODA

Previously, superego is worldview.

I had a realization a couple of days ago that a mental “flow” state is a shortcut in the OODA loop, where Observe->Orient->Decide->Act is reduced to Observe->Act.

One of the things people report about this state is a feeling of disassociation, as if they are merely watching themselves act. This is the feeling of removing the “Decide” step after years of training until mastery is reached. A person’s conscious mind merely observes because the id is no longer necessary to make decisions for the task—all choices are too obvious to a master to even bother. There’s a saying that goes “An amateur practises until he can do a thing right, a professional until he can’t do it wrong.” The purpose of training is to repeat a skill until it becomes automatic. It is then a habitual behavior rather than an action, and the definition of a habit is that it takes more mental energy/willpower to resist the behavior than to perform it.

Another important trait of a master is that he understands, within the confines of his discipline, that there is nothing new under the sun. Situations and problems that seem novel to others are trivial variations of things he’s seen many times. This is the element of experience (which breaks down further into quantity, mental engagement, and diversity). Experience yields the ability to quickly and effortlessly perceive an entire situation in terms of existing mental categories. For example, a beginner to Judo is caught up in a whirlwind of novel stimuli like the smell of the training mats, the personalities of new acquaintances, and the pain of crushing his balls in a lazy breakfall. Accumulating enough experiences that nothing is new is where the “Orient” (superego) step drops out of the OODA loop.

An expert in a skill may have a master’s level of training and experience, but what characterizes a master is the seamless integration of training and experience. Consistent access of the mental flow state, Observe->Act->Observe->Act->etc., is the proof and trademark of mastery.

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“Noble lie” is a fancy way of saying gaslight

Here’s cuckservatism in a nutshell.

Sure, it’s retarded to charge a machine gun and lose the war. But did you hear that triumphant music? It’s like a beautiful surrender, except cuckier. I hear they cut the scene where the imperial army marches over the dead samurai corpses and rapes their entire village.

The entire movie is about trying to relive the glory days of fighting WWII feudal militias as if katanas were the relevant part of the samurai’s fighting spirit. As a rule of thumb, if you find yourself charging a machine gun like it’s a good idea you should reconsider your premises.

This is the only thing I can think of where I disagree with C.S. Lewis, who puts it like this:

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

The Silver Chair

Basically, the idea is that you should delude yourself and others for good reasons. Begging your pardon Mr. Lewis, but that’s horseshit and you should be ashamed.

Here’s a hypothetical for any Christians out there who think this is a good idea. Do you think we should teach people to worship the sun? I mean, praising the Son as the one who gives life to earth is such an abstract idea that maybe we should employ a more concrete metaphor so the unwashed masses can keep up.

It all comes out the same, right? I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t mind if we worship him by proxy. Or even better, let’s just worship “light” in general, maybe the sun as a lightbringer of sorts. Yeah, that’s got a ring to it.

Now, most Christians are going to react to this hypothetical correctly: with revulsion. That’s because I cut out all the complexity so you had to choose between the Truth and a socially useful lie. So I ask you, why would you think it’s better if you make it more complex? Do you think God won’t blame you just because you picked a lie complex enough that you only kinda understood? Don’t kid yourself bro, you ain’t smart enough to trick this guy.

I’m not even gonna get into the esoteric psychology of why people do this, just don’t fucking lie. You can’t make it work. You aren’t smart, you’re actually pretty retarded. Just fucking stop. Or you know, just ignore me and charge that machine gun. It’ll work this time because this time is different.

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