Trying a different format for my uptime, starting with ye dumpe.
The other day, I mentioned to one of the regular baristas that he seemed down, and had for a few weeks. He asked what I meant by “down” and I said something like “I mean ‘down’ in the way people usually mean when they say ‘down’.” He immediately perked up and explained that he was feeling great and always had been and, most curiously, he stayed that way at least until I’d left for the day a couple of hours later.
This is an interesting variation on a theme of the modern world I’ve noticed before: if you aren’t happy, then there’s something wrong with you and strangers will take it upon themselves to fix you. An interrogation and psychoanalysis follows. Unless we’re retharded, we learn early in our lives that the best thing is to lie to the effect that “I’m absolutely pleased in the present and perfectly confident that the future shall be infinitely better, such that I have ceased to engage in any form of human action as a rational economic actor.”
Now, the variation on this theme is that the barista was, by all appearances, actually feeling much better than he had been. By simulating happiness he actually achieved happiness temporarily for a longer period of time than I can chalk up to mere attention span.
Hate is an emotion felt by inferior people for superior people, whereas a mixture of pity and contempt is the typical reaction of superior people to inferior people. H/T John Derbyshire for that observation. But contempt necessarily requires an element of patient tolerance for the inferior, else the superior would use their greater objective power to destroy the inferior. In this case, perhaps because this tolerance was abused, the contempt turns to wrath.
What is the commonality between contempt and hate? They are merely the two monads of an asymmetric power dynamic. In both cases, A and B have assessed and concluded that A > B, and their emotion is influenced by viewing the inequality from either side.
They are also similar in that a feeling of anger may be involved. What is anger? It is frustration expressed toward a person who is perceived to have a mind, rather than the ordinary frustration expressed toward an unfeeling universe. If I were to mistakenly perceive that my computer is not fulfilling my desires due to incalcitrance, rather than the true cause (incapacity or user error), then I would be striking it out of anger. That is, frustration toward a mind.
Similarly, there is only the difference of a hair’s breadth between contempt and pity. What is this difference? I think it is a sense of moral responsibility, which if possible leads to charity. Responsibility itself implies material, objective power, which already exists in this thought experiment. Remove this feeling of responsibility from pity, and only contempt remains.
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
Along similar lines, I’ve been led to conclude that other minds exist and have material effects on the grounds that symbolic communication of novel ideas is possible, and I have personally observed it. This is the application of statistical intuition to an empirical observation, and not a metaphysical proof.
For example, I may or may not have eventually rediscovered the idea of comparative advantage. If this idea is represented by an archetypal configuration of atoms, then given sufficient time I may have discovered this arrangement for myself. Instead, Ricardo was able to communicate this arrangement to me by cleverly rearranging some symbols with meanings that we’d mutually agreed upon beforehand. What does “tree” mean? We both know it when we see it. The definition in the dictionary is a categorical formality.
Because this communication seems unlikely to have occurred according to natural laws, I conclude that some sort of supernatural, anti-entropic injection of energy was involved. I say this as someone who has spent a lot of words trying to describe my introspection on the material processes involved in inductive pattern-perception. It apparently is not the case that we, the conscious minds, are merely piggyback observers on biomachines running out of control on metabolized plant-matter. Rather, our decisions have real effects in the material world (albeit apparently small ones in the short term) because otherwise the symbolic communication between minds would not have occurred.