Edenist Whackjob’s Syncretism, followed by more econ blather

Yeah. The ultimate limits are put on a system by matter and energy, the realistic limits by information, and the practical limits by social codes. Engineers build the car, finance types figure out how to convert your 9-to-5 job to access to that car so the system can keep running, and you buy the car to impress the neighbors.

Edenist Whackjob

That is the most impressively concise description of a complex system that I’ve seen in a long time. I dub thee EW’s Syncretism, and this proverb shall be taught even unto the seventh generation if in fact any of us end up procreating.

And now our first application of the new economics. It’s okay to feel a little aroused, that’s totally normal.

What the industrial revolution did is boost the matter and energy signal via technology, which early capitalism (information layer) more or less preserved, which was then gobbled up by a social system geared toward raising survival value (people who grew up dirt poor on a farm).

The memories and remnants of this age explain why capitalism is seen as a form of traditionalism in the West even though it’s relatively recent. Hence also why it is on the far right end of the Overton window at present, and possibly on its way out. It’s not like anyone has any practical experience with free markets- in most neighborhoods it is strictly illegal to operate a lemonade stand, kids escape prosecution because it’s seen as a traditional cultural rite of sorts. (Every now and then a cop will enforce the written law and get pilloried for it. Cute kids are a protected class, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It just indicates bad legislation.)

All of this makes more sense if we think of predisposition to anxiety as something you can pass on genetically. This becomes maladaptive if the conditions that originally caused the anxiety are suddenly lifted, as in a long-term resource glut. There will probably be a followup second law to account for the fact that naturally anxious people go completely bonkers in the absence of good environmental reasons to have anxiety problems. They invent reasons to feel fear and this causes all sorts of problems.

It bears mentioning that this predisposition to invent reasons to be afraid goes much deeper than conscious thought (see: hypnopompic hallucinations), and we do it as a consequence of the way our perceptual faculties are built. We can’t stop doing it simply by training or by trying really hard, we can only recognize when it’s happening and account for it.

And now a bit of politics, followed by some preaching.

All of this so that someone can be at the top of the pyramid and look down.

Well it’s not like they misled anyone about it. People always want a king, even when God Almighty tells them it’s a stupid idea. 1 Samuel 8 contains everything you need to know about government in a few paragraphs.

4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

1 Samuel 8 (NIV)
Bible Gateway

This is already too long, but I’d recommend the rest of this post for more applications.

About Aeoli Pera

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18 Responses to Edenist Whackjob’s Syncretism, followed by more econ blather

  1. Heaviside says:

    Finance types are just parasites. Even though I been around some very affluent parts of LA, I never saw as many shiny new luxury cars as I did in Kitakyushu. Is it just a coincidence that intelligent physics/mathematics students don’t have the option of becoming quants in Japan? Is it just a coincidence that all of the banks are controlled by the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of implementing a coordinated industrial policy? You would think that if all these bankers were capable of contributing anything to society, it would at least be creditor nation status, but they have failed spectacularly at that. The solution is simple, and the one that the plutocrats don’t want you to find: nationalize the banks!

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      Finance should be like plumbing, computer networks, or memory allocation algorithms. Solving a complex problem of inputs and outputs in a heuristically efficient way (with prices as a pretty good distributed “intelligence” for determining this, in lieu of AIs that can determine the optimal allocation).

      Instead, finance has become its own raison d’etre.

      It’s because we attach so much libidinous power to money in society. Instead of giving people what they actually want, which is feelz (status, romance, comfort, and so on), we give people piles of money when they do well. Isn’t that odd? It’s like saying “there is a shortage of engineers, so we’re gonna give every engineer who pops up a double ration of food and housing to make it really motivating for him”. When what he really wants is something else (wimminz).

      Why should a doctor have a huge pile of resources for doing his job? Sure, for corporations, prices are the mechanism of motivation, but it’s not really the case for humans, or at least it shouldn’t be (because greed bad). People should not go into their professions to earn huge piles of resources, unless their calling is to be entrepreneurs (which I find to be valid, but hardly the norm). Because, people != corporations.

      The Japanese figured this out apparently, which is why software engineers don’t make a lot of money there, but instead get awarded social status as they advance in the ranks.

      (Now, me personally, I do want to become wealthy. But I also want to do all kinds of crazy things, so I’m hardly motivated like a normal human. I need the resouces for my eccentric hobbies.)

  2. Edenist whackjob says:

    The essence/gestalt/elementals/wishes/whatever of each layer:

    Tech/manufacturing: The Sun, The Big Bang, A Dyson Sphere. Pure Potential. Substance. Power.
    Information/allocation: Paper-clip-maximizing AI, Maxwell’s Demon, Negentropy. Pure choice. Connection. Love.
    Social/psychological: Virtual Reality, Dreamland. Pure Meaning. Higher forms. Truth.

    If tech is the strong layer pulled by a social layer attractor that just wants stuff, intermediated by an alloc layer that just passes stuff through, we get early capitalism.

    If tech is strong but social is just meh wishes, then alloc becomes its own attractor, and we get today. No one knows what they want, stuff just gets manufactured, the system is geared around getting to be the allocator.

    What if we optimized for social/psychology, though? We could have a trillion consciousnesses living inside a minimum amount of atom substrate, just grooving out to their own Meaning.

  3. Edenist whackjob says:

    For the record, there was another whackjob here who mentioned something about information theory being a rate limiter in economics, or somesuch. Probably where I got it from.

  4. Heaviside says:

    I have serious doubts that such a mythical creature as “the free market” is responsible for most of the wealth we have today. I bet you will find that most successful industrial enterprises are deeply intertwined with the tsate. Look at I.G. Farben, the British East India Company, or the Union Pacific Railroad.

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      One would think that the most effective way to extract wealth is to just enslave someone or go and kill them and take their stuff. Kind of worked for the Ancients.

      I always wondered “why did the British bother to go and force Indians to buy their stuff, why not just take their stuff directly?” It’s because trade is a social thing, and as such you can get people to deliver at a much higher rate of value because you subvert their psychology. It’s seduction vs conquest. You don’t need huge armies on the ground, you just need signals.

      I get what you mean, though, My point is just that if you want to extract wealth efficiently, you need to trade with people. Otherwise you get stuck at some kind of local maximum like Ancient Rome or the Antebellum South.

      Draka novels say I’m wrong, but I dunno.

      Maybe this will change in the near future when 1) we don’t need to extract wealth from other humans at all anymore or 2) the cost of military rapine becomes lower than the cost of enslaving people with signals to consume.

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      I just realized I’m not really making a different point than you. D’oh.

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      So I guess we can say:

      The Mythical Free Market is all about efficiency and fair exchange.

      The real “free market” is all about extracting wealth from people in a more efficient way. And here State power obviously helps.

  5. Edenist whackjob says:

    Random: I am fascinated by crackpot geniuses who just throw themselves into a field and manage to come up with a lot of groundbreaking stuff in short order. Kind of like how we spend months at work coding something that could be done in a few weeks by a ninja team.


    Seth Roberts


    Walter Bishop (fictional, Fringe)


    More examples? I’m really inspired by these kinds of scientists. Something about the mage archetype that appeals to me.

  6. Edenist whackjob says:

    For the record, that future smartphone I saw looked like this:

    A shiny silver rectangle, same size as our smartphones. Some kind of semi-hologram display that was very colorful, hard to explain. The metal was the display, there were no gaps in the phone’s materials, everything was just silvery metal.

    I dunno if this is actually worthwhile to recount, but it DID feel like peeking into another timeframe, which was cool at the time.

  7. Edenist whackjob says:

    I noticed you talking about Depersonalization on Altrugenics? Is awareness spreading now thanks to me, or am I just giving myself too much credit?

    Finding a cure for the kind of modernity-trauma-induced dissociation that I’m pretty sure a lot of us whackjobs suffer from, would be a great boon. We should put our whacky science skulls together and try to figure it out.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I think it is no different from any other extreme end of a trait that goes over an inflection point. E.g. Genius is the high end of creativity, sadism is the high end of people-watching, depression is the high end of frustration, etc. In this case depersonalization is the high end of anxiety.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        Possibly. But I’m not anxious ALL the time, but I am disassociated all of the time, either actively so (trying to be present but failing to do so) or passively (the normal trance that everyone goes into when working or being absorbed in thoughts). I think DP also has a lot to do with right brain activity. Most of the time I get no affect from the environment (except fear, obviously). I also think there are things going on with the NDMA receptors, or the kappa-opioid system or somesuch. Just saying that sitch is a bit more complex than just dat anxiety.

        Btw, taking an elegant explanation (like yours above) and pulling it apart with concrete things (right brain, affect, NDMA receptors) and thus making everything is a very thal thing, I think. Melons dislike such messiness. Am I right?

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          I think they just don’t see the point of doing so without external motivation. The most OCD mathematicians of all time were melons (Cauchy, instance), but they simply treated math like it was a branch of law.

          Generally yes, they tend strongly to neatness, but they will get messy if the situation requires it and there is nobody around they can convince to do it for them.

          The right brain thing is, I think, more a result of depersonalization than a cause.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “Possibly. But I’m not anxious ALL the time, but I am disassociated all of the time, either actively so (trying to be present but failing to do so) or passively (the normal trance that everyone goes into when working or being absorbed in thoughts).”

        I sometimes think my DP/DR is just being dissatisfied with normal human experience of reality. It’s like I’m grasping for more, but my nervous system won’t allow it. I do have less affect from the environment and more anxiety than normal, though, but I’m not sure those things in and of themselves explain my sensation of constant disassociation.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        *thus making everything more messy

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “You are a little outside of the bell curve in a lot of ways.”

        Heh. That’s a nice backhanded compliment :) (The bell curve goes both ways).

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