Abstraction

Abstraction is the most important idea in computer science. Computer science is the American empire’s one great intellectual contribution, and I use its inception to mark the time between High Noon and the Age of Intellect in Glubb’s generation cycle. So if you love AMERICA—and everybody does—then you should understand how abstraction works.

I’ll be using a quote from a Curry-American book because that’s the one I know. I’ll quote at length because it’s an excellent book.

1.3 Two Recurring Themes

Two themes permeate this book that we have previously taken for granted, assuming that everyone recognized their value and regularly emphasized them to students of engineering and computer science. Lately, it has become clear to us that from the git-go, we need to make these points explicit. So, we state them here up front. The two themes are (a) the notion of abstraction and (b) the importance of not separating in your mind the notions of hardware and software. Their value to your development as an effective engineer or computer scientist goes well beyond your understanding of how a computer works and how to program it.

1.3.1 The Notion of Abstraction

The use of abstraction is all around us. When we get in a taxi and tell the driver, “Take me to the airport,” we are using abstraction. If we had to, we could probably direct the driver each step of the way: “Go down this street ten blocks, and make a left turn.” And, when he got there, “Now take this street five blocks and make a right turn.” And on and on. You know the details, but it is a lot quicker to just tell the driver to take you to the airport.

Even the statement “Go down this street ten blocks…” can be broken down further with instructions on using the accelerator, the steering wheel, watching out for other vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

Our ability to abstract is very much a productivity enhancer. It allows us to deal with a situation at a higher level, focusing on the essential aspects, while keeping the component ideas in the background. It allows us to be more efficient in our use of time and brain activity.

Yale N. Patt and Sanjay J. Patel
Introduction to Computing Systems

I’m going to interject for a moment here and note that many of us take for granted the ability to switch between motif and background. But as Paul Cooijmans points out, this is just one bullet point on the list of subtraits in associative horizon, and associative horizon exists on an extremely positive-skewed bell curve. I’ll return to this, but keep in mind the lack of this trait (the capability to work at the correct abstraction level) is a HUGE impediment to solving problems for most of humanity. This is because, when resources are abundant and social competition is fierce, there’s a huge opportunity cost to knowing how to build and maintain your own car. It’s a more efficient use of energy to pay or enslave someone to understand how your car works (or sharpen your spears to autistic perfection, I might add).

See Pseudorandom Bypasser’s comment below for a more detailed description.

…It allows us to not get bogged down in the detail when everything about the detail is working just fine.

There is an underlying assumption to this, however: “when everything about the detail is just fine.” What if everything about the detail is not just fine? Then, to be successful, our ability to abstract must be combined with our ability to un-abstract. Some people use the word deconstruct—the ability to go from the abstraction back to its component parts.

Some have vomit-inducing associations with the term deconstruction. Still, it’s a good word and we should take it.

Two stories come to mind.

The first involves a trip through Arizona the first author made a long time ago in the hottest part of the summer. At the time I was living in Palo Alto, California, where the temperature tends to be mild almost always. I knew enough to take the car to a mechanic before making the trip, and I told him to check the cooling system. That was the abstraction: cooling system. What I had not mastered was that the capability of a cooling system for Palo Alto, California is not the same as the capability of a cooling system for the summer deserts of Arizona. The result: two days in Deer Lodge, Arizona (population 3), waiting for a head gasket to be shipped in.

The second story (perhaps apocryphal) is supposed to have happened during the infancy of electric power generation. General Electric Co. was having trouble with one of its huge electric power generators and did not know what to do. On the front of the generator were lots of dials containing lots of information, and lots of screws that could be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise as the operator wished. Something on the other side of the wall of dials and screws was malfunctioning and no one knew what to do. So, as the story goes, they called in one of the early giants in the electric power industry. He looked at the dials and listened to the noises for a minute, then took a small pocket screwdriver out of his geek pack and rotated one screw 35 degrees counterclockwise. The problem immediately went away. He submitted a bill for $1,000 (a lot of money in those days) without any elaboration. The controller found the bill for two minutes’ work a little unsettling, and asked for further clarification. Back came the new bill:

Turning a screw 35 degrees counterclockwise: $0.75
Knowing which screw to turn and by how much: $999.25

BTFO m8.

In both stories the message is the same. It is more efficient to think of entities as abstractions. One does not want to get bogged down in details unecessarily. And as long as nothing untoward happens, we are OK. If I had never tried to make the trip to Arizona, the abstraction “cooling system” would have been sufficient. If the electric power generator never malfunctioned, there would have been no need for the power engineering guru’s deeper understanding.

If you can understand the principle of abstraction and the black pill, then you will understand why America’s healthcare and infrastructure is in such bad shape. If you can understand the Pyrrhic cycle, you will understand that this is the inevitable fate of empires.

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23 Responses to Abstraction

  1. Pseudorandom Bypasser says:

    Here it is described in more detail: http://paulcooijmans.com/genius/subgroups_of_traits_clarified.html

    “To be low in divergent and lateral abilities means to have a mind which is not very associative, and which is rigid, that is, can not well see things in different functions and switch therebetween, can not well switch between motif and background, can not see an object and note at the same time its outline defines an entirely different object (has a double function). It must be greatly stressed that “see” here is not restricted to visual matters but also refers to patterns of any other sensorial, linguistical, or abstract conceptual nature.

    For such a person it is hard to “step out of the system”, “think out of the box”, “jump over one’s own shadow”. The person can not fully understand self-reference but gets caught in it, and does not see the “extra” in a synergistic system where the whole is more than the sum of parts (sees only the whole or only the parts, but not both). The contrast is not between “wholists” and “reductionists”, but between who are only one of those (and are equally impaired) and who are both.

    These people too are perceived as “stupid”; this is the third kind of stupidity.”

  2. Edenist Whackjob says:

    I feel that Chomsky’s surface vs deep layer might be relevant here. Abstraction is just high powered use of the encapsulated deep-layer ö. But obviously the more juice you need to get out of the surface layer, the more tightly managed the deep-layer has to be.

  3. MM says:

    After 6+ months this post finally reminds me…
    “Human degeneracy redpill stages:
    1. Race realism, nationalism vs globalism, immigration, lie of equality, etc.
    2. Iq dropping even with all of 1 taken care of
    3. Technology changing society even with 2 taken care of
    4. Systemic problems with society even with 3 taken care of
    5. How to survive and accomplish long-term societal goals with 4 taken care of(billions of years scale)
    If all 5 solved society should theoretically be stable. The society that accomplishes this may be evil.
    Death may be preferable to absolute longevity. Or the societal outcome might be fine. IDK yet.”

    The conclusion was simple and expected: There is no way to create a stable, lasting, society.
    The closest you could get would be ONE supreme individual- forever. (Nice “society” right)
    Of course, that’s the same conclusion the satanic elites reached…

    • MM says:

      Thats something to GO OFF on, alright.
      My father went with me to the local meetup location despite the cancellation. There were 5 cop cars on the block and about 30 feminist protestors were in front of the meeting place.
      Was very enthusiastic about the idea. REAL LIFE MEETINGS!!!
      The fact the Roosh was surprised at all by the establishment reaction, and his subsequent cancellation, was a big wake up call.
      “All talk no action”.
      The man-child sphere.

      How many who have been awake YEARS longer than 20 yo me have LARPed and masturbated, instead of taking action. Ive put in the IRL work. Every spare dollar I’ve made has gone to preservation of self and family!!!
      Muh “altruism”
      Muh functional amygdela
      Muh high AH
      Muh theory not action
      The truu thals and internet alphas will be fucking CARRION!!!!
      Your body will be FUCKING PICKED CLEAN BY VULTURES!!!
      You will be WORM FOOD!!!
      Your entire family will fucking BLOAT AND ROT!!!!!
      WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      “When the shooting starts is when the fun begins”.
      You are too smart for that statement, Lazer. Don’t say something that stupid ever again.

      Im enraged because I CARE enough about all of you to not want you to DIE HORRIBLY!!
      We can all still bitch on the internet and circlejerk on useless theories.
      Just break the fucking trance of normalcy bias and do SOMETHING!!!
      TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Control yourself young’un. Everything is easy when you have support to lean on and everything is hard when you have no social support whatsoever. We’ve been surviving out in the cold for a long time, digging vaults in ice flows. You have considerably less standing to criticize us than you think.

        >Was very enthusiastic about the idea. REAL LIFE MEETINGS!!!
        The fact the Roosh was surprised at all by the establishment reaction, and his subsequent cancellation, was a big wake up call.
        “All talk no action”.
        The man-child sphere.

        You’re mistaken, Roosh’s only failure was in his planning and understanding before the event. His decisions amidst the chaos were the best he could have done given the circumstances. The upside of this is that our sphere has absorbed his experience (via his book) and it is a sort of institutional knowledge now.

        • MM says:

          I could be very harsh towards your first comment as I’ve been ’round here for several years. Alot has been said, much not to the various parties’ advantage! But I like you, and respect the others enough not to bring any of it up.
          ..
          >Roosh
          Institutional cowardice*. It will stop anyone from thinking that decentralized right wing cells can be formed for a long time.This is actually the right conclusion in regards to right wing VIOLENCE(absolutely can only be lone wolf or family groups. In <10 years when journalists start getting knocked off it will be by lw's who actually pull it off and don't get FBI'd)

          (**MM does not condone violence Mr. Strong handsome NSA pedophile, sir.)

    • bicebicebice says:

      The funny thing is there are laws for people who do not enforce the laws needed to run society. But if the first thing went out the window the other thing will not happen, now that is a pretty shitty “backup” if you ask me. Sooo good on paper tho…

      The next step is to oust these people, but that is a step from peace to violence 99.99% of society is not willing to make, so the decline begins slowly but surely.

      “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.” vs “Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”. Vice versa. The weak parasites are the strong men in the end times.

      It doesn’t make any sense but that is what happens, man.
      By virtue of parasitism, parasitsm works etc etc. There can only be a delousing if you like the vessel of the funny gas, some call it weaponized autism combined with The God-Emperor of Mankind, either way being an Autisté is one hell of a drug.

      • bicebicebice says:

        forgot muh context

        “The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the ‘agentur’ of the ‘Illuminati’ between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion”

        Not feeling very spiritually exhausted tbqh, nor physcially, morally or economically.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Written laws that no one reads are worth less than nothing. They are a waste of good paper.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >The closest you could get would be ONE supreme individual- forever. (Nice “society” right)
      Of course, that’s the same conclusion the satanic elites reached…

      And Satan himself, I imagine. But you’ll never meet a Satanist who doesn’t believe they’re masterful manipulators in it for themselves (until they meet the big guy himself).

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >If we just enforced the laws on the books it would be the push in the right direction.

      I disagree, there’s no point to having laws in a multicultural society. The point of having laws is to make the in-group stronger and richer so as to out-compete the other groups.

      >I hope Trump does not cuck and pulls sanctuary city funding.

      Demand = Desire * Purchasing power. I hope he doesn’t cuck and I hope he has the necessary political capital. Mexico can pay for the logistical implementation :-).

      >When the shooting starts is when the fun begins boys.

      As MM pointed out, this is incredibly naive.

      >Not only that do you really think the manosphere can get its shit together and bring these ideas off the internet. Look what happened to Roosh’s meetup. The odds of any of the nancy boy faggots holding their ground is slim at best.

      On the contrary, Roosh’s meetups failed because you need talent, training, and experience to succeed. These things will be acquired eventually because “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

  4. Gerald says:

    You have an incredible weblog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?

  5. Thanks for this insight! I feel the same way. I wrote a poem about polymorphism on my blog and I found abstraction similar to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave especially with the distinction between private and public member variables. I think a blog post purely dedicated to analyzing the implications of a c++ abstract base class (interface) could be interested too!

  6. Pingback: Why the singularity thing is retarded | Aeoli Pera

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