The war on meaning

The biggest hurdle neanderthals face in modern society is preselection. It doesn’t result in malicious exclusion so much as simple neglect, which is worse. In an advanced advertising society where resources are apportioned by attention, it’s far preferable to be hated than to be ignored. To be ignored is to starve. Can you imagine surviving in a city where everyone insistently pretends you don’t exist?

There is a paradox involved in this preselection. I’ll illustrate this with the symbolic inability of the archetypal engineer to dress himself.

Imagine a man dressed in the summer costume appropriate for his work. He’s wearing a short-sleeved white shirt (Dacron, largely), a necktie, dark trousers, and a nerd pack. He’s a middle-class or high-prole clerk in a hardware store. Now notice: all you have to do to turn him into an “engineer” is to add one or more belt hangdowns and pop a white hardhat onto his head. Thus the social-class problems of engineers, uncertain always where they fit, whether with boss or worker, management or labor, the world of headwork or the world of handwork. And actually, anything attached to the belt, even if it doesn’t ignominiously hang down, is a high-prole sign.

Paul Fussell
Class (pg. 64)

Now, the average person has two contradictory ideas here: 1) that dressing according to social expectations is easier than engineering and therefore may be treated as a preselection mechanism for entry into the profession, and 2) that it’s well-known that the personality best suited to engineering is so unconcerned with appearances as to be incapable of basic social behaviors like peacocking and self-deception. This wasn’t always such a large problem in the West, as engineering was not a particularly desirable occupation until the government decided to meme it into high status, along with physicians, academics, and other well-regarded nincompoops. This effort succeeded to such an extent that engineering is now a solidly upper-middle class profession and we have fashionable “geek chic” which attracts many young women in university, who nevertheless drop out when they find that calculus offers little in the way of glamour.

The result of this push has been to nearly eliminate the quintessential engineering personality from his historical occupation, pushing him into software development. This is more comfortably low-status for the neanderthal, as engineering once was, and reasonably secure financially so long as he continues to fail with women. The exclusion is primarily accomplished through the highly scientific method of judging each job applicant’s “fit” for the company’s “culture” by the way they dress and how they make the young HR representative feel (leaving aside her commitment to social justice, for the sake of scientodific reductionism). Such a method is perfect for selecting presentable, thin, swarthy young men from the cosmopolitan upper-middle class who smile confidently and wear cardigan sweaters to work meetings held at Starbucks.

The paradox then is not how the average person traverses this contradiction—in practice we see that he simply prefers not to. Rather, the paradox is how this archetypal figure exists within his psyche in the first place. To understand this, we must first realize that sapiens is a political ape. His purpose is to attain the highest possible status (for his identity groups and himself within the intersection of those groups) so as to obtain a greater share of the commonweal, and his only cognitive tool is magical thinking because perception shapes reality (even if the perception is delusional). Therefore, we expect his every thought to be consumed with observing caste markers and social signals, so as to create the appearance of the identity(s) for which he intends to pass, plausibly, henceforth securing the privileges of that position. Thus his insistence that appearances create reality—it is the appearance which is, for him, of primary importance. This strategic psychosis works reasonably well when one is trying to meme a rap career into existence via endless assertions that it already exists (and is quite successful!), but less well when one is trying to design a microchip or propagate a civilization.


About Aeoli Pera

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20 Responses to The war on meaning

  1. Koanic says:

    Monkey to hamburger in six paragraphs.

  2. Mycroft Jones says:

    Weeping into my whiskey. Dammit Aeoli, now I know I’m a Sapiens. A really poor one! :( Great article though ;)

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      From what I’ve seen, you’ve done an excellent job of kicking the habit on the outside. It’s just not quite internalized yet, but then you’re an old fart so these things take longer.

  3. Aeoli Pera says:

    >Do Thals have Status?

    At this point, I believe we are pegged as useful idiots at first glance by people with average social intelligence or better. People with high intelligence view us as a fun source of novelty and intellectual company (the smarter of us), and people with low social intelligence appreciate that we aren’t constantly fucking them over (except in those cases when we are, because ancap or something)..

    • Boneflour says:

      I originally was answering a different question:

      Can Thals have social status in society at large? Yes, but you might not like having it.

      From what I understand, “status” is how many people you own, and “class” is how comfortable you are with owning them, broadly speaking.

      Class and status markers always seem to boil down to those two factors. Super Classy people don’t have blenders and dishwashers… because why have noisy labor saving appliances when ‘the help’ can do those things quietly?

      Tex apparently makes a good amount of money, but has neither status nor class, just going from his anecdotes. (high paid consultant, but looked down on by the employees, and a nerd who dislikes melon culture)

      Another example: Trump is high status, like it or not. He owns people (businesses), he gets laid.

      But, Trump eats Big Macs. Worse, he LIKES Big Macs. Trump isn’t classy enough to have ‘the help’ cook him organic SWPL foods for every meal. He was on WrestleMania for crying out loud. I mean WTF? That’s Prole-Tier shit right there.

      Trump owns people, probably even comfortable with owning them (can function in high society), but because he enjoys low-class things, he’s “low-class” by default.

      Aeoli, if you want to tape these comments together as a blog update, take a day off, I can pretend this wasn’t rank procrastination. I keep writing too much for comment sections. Don’t mind either way though.

      • bicebicebice says:

        “From what I understand, “status” is how many people you own, and “class” is how comfortable you are with owning them, broadly speaking.”

        A Thal can rally the proles for a brief amount of time, look at wartime Churchill vs peacetime Churchill. This is why the Trump presidency will be so interesting, he could actually get hoisted for NOT going to war with Russia… This is the problem with libs such as Ron Paul, only “advanced” people will give two shits about “muh white intricate and semi-complex prosperous political and ideological systematic belief of governmental law and order”.

        Saps gonna sap.

        5 out of 5 Nobilids.

  4. Jdc says:

    Aeoli, watch the mindscape of Alan Moore if you want a good documentary on the Thal mindset.

  5. Boneflour says:

    Thals do have interpersonal status. It’s nerd cred, NOT geek cred.

    Had to think about this one to put it into words.

    Thals are the weirdo types that actually care about reality, as opposed to social status signifiers/”magical thinking”.

    Thal consultant: “This system won’t work as designed, due to fundamental flaws.”

    Manager: “…So what you’re saying is you want more money to make it work?”

    For whatever reason, Thals actually like smart, efficient, reliable solutions to problems. (and insight porn)

    Saps SAY they like these things to get hired… but actually just like checking Facebook without getting fired, and going home early. They’ll work if you whip them.

    Minor Melons SAY they create these things to justify management positions, but are more interested in owning slaves and being on top of the pyramid.

    Thals SAY they like these things, and then spend their time off mucking around with the architecture to save a few more milliseconds of response time.

    Custom toolchains are high status with Thals because it means you can manage complexity to produce higher quality output. This implies a combination of mental horsepower and disregard for social constraints on a given problem.

    I don’t actually know the difference between a Tesla and a Honda Civic… But I’d guess the Tesla is an expensive, finicky, wasteful, showoffy trophy car… and the Honda Civic has good gas mileage, reliable, is easy to get parts for, etc. Because Thal status.

  6. Jdc says:

    Another article on Neanderthal’s being selected against.

  7. So how does one who values truth remain sane in this society?

  8. Sometimes reading your posts I feel like an evil genius being thwarted by a superhero just impotently shaking his fist in the air. Because of course you’re right but but but feels

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