Socioeconomics and the Last Man

A conversation from a couple of weeks ago with minor edits. It’s basically an expansion of MM’s observation that overspecialization requires urbanization, urbanization requires oversocialization, and oversocialization requires narcissism (i.e. Jean Twenge’s “cultural boundedness of narcissism”). Compare…

…and you’ll basically understand everything about the modern world.

“Understanding of human motivation was as important in this victory as understanding of the physical terrain.”

Have you noticed everyone is finally starting to crack under the stress of isolation? I learned Thursday I’m not cut out for this level of autonomy. Granted, I’m trying to force myself to meet social expectations from people who wouldn’t miss me to do work that no one cares about without feedback or human connection. But if you had asked me whether I’d do that better with micromanagement or without, I would have said the latter. But now I’m watching my conscientiousness break down under isolation. I could be creating at an elevated rate right now but I just can’t bring myself to focus on my meaningless work and justify my job.

I skipped two days of working out in a row! With very little excuse! I never do that. I retreated to anime for stress twice. What stress?

It’s extremely hard to wrk without any kind of feedbkac
it’s extremely hard to work without seeing a reason, or especially any kind of impact
It’s very difficult to do all of these things when all structure is dead and the waves of chaos sweep away all the detritus scattered on the ebach

Yeah, but I figured it would be easier than the cognitive dissonance of unclear expectations and micromanagement. It gives me more sympathy for NEETs.

Well you’re relying on an internally-motivated personality to be the fuel for what is a set of circumstances predicated on extrinsic motivation

I thought I could hack the system. If the intrinsic motive depended on extrinsic inputs, then I thought the extrinsic could be coupled to the intrinsic drive.

I’ve definitely come to appreciate why every decent piece of advice for dealing with this sort of thing revolves around “create structures” instead of “power through with will”
“If the intrinsic motive depended on extrinsic inputs, then I thought the extrinsic could be coupled to the intrinsic drive.” that right there is why schools are terrible at motivating kids

Also companies, but yeah. The big difference here is that people these days don’t enter the institutions with internal drive. That was snuffed out year one. But the companies want to hook up to that drive and drain the juice out of it.


Exactly. PASSION….for static-resistant conveyors in packaging applications!

Corporate psychologists realized that internal motivation was always better than external. Lot of HR idiots honestly try to screen for it, but nobody has passion for the nonsense most places do
The most self-aware places I’ve heard of are the ones that admit they suck but offer benefits/certifications and don’t mind if you leave after a year
but those positions tend to be security guard positions and that sort of thing, from what i know
Anyway, there is no hope in corporate culture. it is a machine to destroy all innovation, creativity, and progress
not n original observation. nicking it from @benbraddock67. but it’s genius
105 IQ nitwits thinking they’re geniuses because they have degrees and follow trendy intagram accounts

Hope springs eternal, but corporate nonsense springs triple-eternal. Scientific management had one small moment in history when it was a good idea. Well, that and the stars were otherwise aligned for prosperity regardless. People remembered starving the day before.

Like all bad ideas, it can be pulled off with determined, capable, 140+ IQs in charge, at least for a time
by the time unhappy cat ladies take control you’re long past the point at which inertia is the only force keeping it afloat

My brother on Thursday:

“Watching our digital all employee meeting right now from last Friday. It’s always amazing how so many words can say so little. Gotta love the corporate world. I had the day off, so I’m watching the recording. To summarize, ‘things that happened have happened, things that are happening are happening, we don’t know what will happen.’ They have their function I suppose but it’s largely a waste of time and money. Send me an email with the bullet points… 5 min vs 60. They paid people to watch this. If you take the hourly rate of hundreds of employees we’re talking thousands. They furloughed people, and then we do this.”

Yeah, this whole thing has been a mess
Anyway, have been reading a bunch of disenchantedscholar lately
It must have been a few years
and she helped put the final piece in the puzzle for me as to the question “what is conservatism”

I nailed down the central conceit of American conservatism this week. American conservatism:

1) Elected leaders serve the electorate.
2) People who are less competent should be directed by people who are more competent.
3) We should elect the best people for the job of governance.

These are mutually exclusive. Since I’m on this track, here’s the one for modern libertarians:

1) People are motivated by the opportunity to improve their situation.
2) There is plenty of opportunity in the West.
3) Kids today aren’t motivated.

“The weekly Shukan Kinyobi discerns a “new fatalism” among young people. Meaning what? A feeling that effort reaps no rewards and so is not worth making; that the world is what it is and cannot be changed — at least not by me, even if I felt like changing it, which I don’t; that luck or inborn talent (which, being inborn, is just luck under another name) determines destiny, excluding most of us from the really good things in life — if they really are good, which they’re not, so to hell with them.

It sounds like despair but it is not. In fact, reports Shukan Kinyobi, young people have never been happier. A paradox indeed — one well worth exploring.”

freedom from expectation?
or something nefarious with how people judge “happiness”?
or one of a htousand other explanations?

I still call it libido decoupling.

so where’s the libinal energy going instead?

It’s like when a motor doesn’t have a load on it. Burnout. It spins up as fast as it can go for a while then burns out.

sounds like Japan
sounds like the US

What is it called when a type of person is only created by certain social structures? Is that what socially constructed means? I want to put this Japan article in my sidebar. So I want to be more precise. Something like “The Last Man is a rational response to living in a degenerate society.” But it would be nice to be more clinical if possible.

two ways of looking at it
the first is your phrasing (the rationalist lens), the second is something about how libidinal energy dissipated leads to lethargy/stagnation
i think it’s fine as is, really
you can leave it like that

I’ll go with “The deeply held conceits of the Last Man are a rational hedge against loss in a society where trust is deteriorating”

very encompassing

Thank you. I think “encompassing” is high praise for an aspiring plainstyle writer. The aim of plainstyle is the inverse pyramid-structured essay. First you encompass the idea, then you encompass the sections, then you encompass the subsections. It’s very neurotypical, being more concerned with the forest than “the reduction of parasite load in pine forest ecologies”, which is to say the trees. Plainstyle forces a holistic perspective, which makes it intuitive to read. Its very structure presumes that the reader is an acting force of agency who needs a holistic understanding to make decisions, particularly business decisions. A true Englishman, so to speak. And political decisions, of course, but a true Englishman sees no distinction. It is all within the realm of managing one’s affairs, to the proper end of individual distinction by growing the family estate. D’Anconia details this philosophy in Atlas Shrugged over about 20 pages, if I recall. Hmm, I feel a tinge of motivation in my chest. The idea that impressing family members with one’s material contributions to the family estate is a good and lofty goal feels very Social Competitor.

lean into that feeling

It makes sense that we’d associate this with Victorians. They were the greatest social competitors in recent history, excelling in both R and k-selected capacities with a staggeringly high average IQ of 115 (Ashkenazi verbal-only IQ of 112 absolutely BTFO). Leaning into this feeling makes the feeling of degeneration around me feel softer, as if we could call this the “twilight generation” rather than something so niggardly as “Z”. It’s the sense of genuinely feeling connected with your ancestors, I suppose.

The trouble is that, in practice rather than in theory, trying to impress family members who don’t share your values feels just as empty as before. Imagine saying “I bought back the family house” and getting a confused look and the comment “You should rent, it’s so much easier, hey check out this new mumble rap song ITS SO GOOD”. This only magnifies the loneliness and sense of alienation. This evopsych mismatch really is the root of the whole thing. K-selection makes people more sensitive to changes in social expectations, so k-selected people are more likely to be into mumble rap because that’s the way the wind is blowing. So it raises the question “where do people’s values come from, and how much can they be shifted by purposefully shaping their environments?”

Patrick has tried explaining this to me using the metaphor of non-Newtonian fluids. That is, there are substances that react like solids in response to sharp impacts and react like fluids in response to work applied slowly. And vice versa. He said the key to navigating institutions is to perceive which structures are which type, especially when they have incentives to masquerade as something else.

great top-level view, though not very actionable, admittedly

In short, I’d summarize the major institutions shaping a modern person’s values as “their workplace”, “mass culture”, “their hyper-reality”, and “their reality”. Where the last term is sort of a catch-all for non-shared adult environment. The workplace is probably the most important. I’ve talked to people whose sociosexual status and behavior changed one place or even two places just by changing jobs. Oh yeah, I should have mentioned “genetics” as one of the factors. Never good to let a dominant factor go unsaid in these situations. Tacit understandings are deadly to analysis.

Theoretically, people’s values are extremely flexible. You can take one of Calhoun’s beautiful ones out of mouse utopia and, if it doesn’t die, it will develop into a normal mouse. But people are enmeshed in these institutions, so attempts to make even small changes are “corrected” with excessive force. So the plasticity of our values actually works against change, since we will tend to have values which match our exact situations. And the idea of seeking out a situation which will produce the deeply held values you want is unthinkable. Aren’t you supposed to already have, deep down, the deeply held values you’re supposed to? There’s this strange idea that such mismatches are intractable. So I’d distinguish between understanding:

A) Objective morality
B) Your deep nature/motives/values
C) Your socially constructed, institutionally shifted motives/values, and
D) Your society’s motives/values.

For example:

A) Objectively, it’s moral to engage in a Christian community.
B) By temperament, I’m introverted.
C) Within my incentive structures, I’m shifted to see the value in many extraverted skills (e.g. PUA).
D) I’m still extremely mismatched with the overall American hatred for solitude and those who enjoy it, even after being shifted by incentives.

Corporate America being perhaps the worst offender in D. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how they react to the idea of learning about your job from a book.


I asked for a book suggestion from a trainer once and they directed me to redo the e-learning modules.

they didn’t get certified to recommend books

We actually have one e-learning module that is literally an upload of an entire book. That one is actually valuable! (Nobody has ever completed it. I mean, beyond flipping through the pages to show completion and then cheesing the test.) Always in training, but never studying. If anyone catches you studying, they tell you to get back to work or get in a training class. It’s freaking uncanny.

it’s almost as if a culture of cheating and studying for the test isn’t just a chinese thing
it’s shitty and insane when they do it but this country has a lot of room to improve too

It’s a response to the structural incentives of a high-GFP society.

i know
doesn;t make it nay les sobnoxious

Social competition without trust, k-selection without individual morality, the worst of all worlds.

at a certain point you actually have to know your shit
well, “you” isn’t broadly applicable, if we’re being honest
15% of people tops need to ave a clue?

15% is enough to automate an assembly line. Or run a small business.

oh well. forgive them for they know not what they do?

To build something that lasts, you need the maintenance trainers to know what they’re doing well enough that the engineers aren’t doing every job. I suspect you need 2/3 to be minimally competent in their niche to prosper indefinitely. Speaking of, Psycho Pass is about the social credit system via Minority Report. Great writing, and very accessible. There’s basically no allegory to untangle at all. That sounds like no fun until the characters start basically quoting the Unabomber. (Also my favorite villain from any anime ever.)

I think the only actionable thing from the analysis of value systems is to look for opportunities to influence each of the factors without overextending. You probably can’t afford to give NEETs jobs in a machining shop to bring them up to Delta (or else you’ll produce nothing for a while and go bankrupt). But you can push on all of the factors:

A) Remind people the Bible actually says the opposite of what they wish it said.
B) Show people what they deeply crave and how others have gotten it. By personal example if possible.
C) Push back on the social constructions and incentive structures. Look for opportunities to change people’s situations.
D) Meme a purpose-driven counterculture. Push people into alternative media.

I’m satisfied with that treatment for now, but it needs a list of examples. For each section. Actual, concrete things people should be doing. E.g. If someone is into conspiracy theories, push them one step further down the road. My brother’s gotten into libertarianism, so I’m trying to get him to read “The Creature from Jekyll Island” [Note: Heaviside points out this book is de facto controlled opposition, the better book is Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins]. That’s a great example. Push INTJs into Joseph Campbell. And the Jolly Heretic, for balance. (But Joseph Campbell is a better cure for INTJ horseblinders.)

Okay, most important addition to advice for isolation: Double protein, animal fat, and fiber intake. Eat veggies otherwise. Drink eggs for convenience or hard boil them for later. Cut carbs back.

lots of water. don’t forget lots of water

A brief postscript on argumentation ethics, for further autism.

Hoppe states that if argumentation praxeologically presupposes the norm that both the speaker and the listener are allowed to exercise exclusive control over their respective physical bodies in order to settle a disagreement or resolve a conflict over scarce resources, then it follows that propositions propounded during such argumentation cannot contradict this norm without falling into a (dialectical) performative contradiction between one’s actions and words. Thus Hoppe concludes that despite violations against self-ownership and private property being possible, it can not be argumentatively justified…Hoppe then also argues that since argumentation requires the active use of one’s body, all universal norms for resolving conflicts over the human body aside from self-ownership are inconsistent with argumentation, as they would not allow one to independently move. Hoppe then argues that since the resolution of conflicts over external resources must also be objectively justifiable, only the physical establishment of an objective link by original appropriation (i.e., homesteading) is a norm compatible with such a requirement. From these Hoppe concludes that only the private property ethic can be justified in an argument without contradiction.[5]

I.e. Putting chains on someone is a de facto recognition of their individual agency.) Counterargument: a doctor performing a “reflex test” on the knee controls another person’s body with his own agency. Thus it fails to prove is=ought (I’d call this the agency-locus problem, for lack of knowing what it’s actually called). But it’s a great argument for disproving moral pragmatism, and they’re too autistic to see it.

About Aeoli Pera

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6 Responses to Socioeconomics and the Last Man

  1. Heaviside says:

    >My brother’s gotten into libertarianism, so I’m trying to get him to read “The Creature from Jekyll Island”.

    “G. Edward Griffin is another JBS fixture, who claims to have been close friends with Robert Welch. His book Creature from Jekyll Island, is a plagiarism of Eustace Mullins’ Secrets of the Federal Reserve: The London Connection and has met with enormous commercial success in the United States, especially after receiving conservative talking-head Glenn Beck’s endorsement. Secrets was written after Eustace Mullins, a young protege of Ezra Pound, visited him at St. Elizabeth’s hospital, whereupon the distressed Pound instructed him to look through the Congressional Archives, looking for specific bits and pieces, and that he must write a book about the Federal Reserve. Mullins did so and his effort resulted in the definitive expose on the Rothschild-Rockefeller-Morgan-Warburg banking complex, its hold on America and how it instituted the Federal Reserve. The lesson from this book was how Americans needed to re-assert their sovereignty by reclaiming the power to issue their own money back from the banks, restoring it to its constitutionally delegated role in the state. Creature, on the other hand, takes all the research from Secrets and inserts its own convoluted free-market logic, indicting a global “Collectivist Conspiracy”. The main thrust of Creature is that the Federal Reserve is evil because it will allow for the quantity of money to be greatly increased, that this is an injustice to the people, and that their interests lie in the restoration of a gold standard.[8] This is idiotic for a number reasons, the first of which must appear to us: if the peoples’ interests are in the gold standard, then why did the combined Populist and Free Silver movement sweep the country in the 1880s and 1890s, demanding that Gold be dethroned? These people had personal material experience with a gold standard, would Griffin have us believe that they didn’t understand their own interests? Their whole gripe in the first place was that the quantity of money was insufficient, leading to exploitative interest rates. Griffin’s paper-thin rationalizations for monetary stagnation, that inflation is bad because it hurts savers, gloss over the fact that in order to collect interest on money one must first have money, which is the main problem for most working-class people. Furthermore, as Mullins’ book’s subtitle is The London Connection, it denotes the connection between the Rockefeller and Rothschild families, the latter of which is a Jewish banking family, the most powerful banking family on earth, the founding family of Israel, and runs the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), the British sister organization of its American sister, the CFR. What the Rockefellers were to the 20th century, the Rothschilds were to the 19th century. It is curious then that Griffins book glosses over the way the Rothschild family made their wealth. If he included that in his thesis, Griffin would have to contend with the fact of the Rothschild’s ascent to monopolistic control of the European bond market occurred under his beloved gold standard, which would spoil the whole project. What’s more remarkable is that Griffin notes that Cecil Rhodes, founder of the CFR/RIIA braintrust, had a monopoly on gold and diamonds in South Africa, but then later rejects the critique of the Gold Standard that metals can be controlled by monopolistic holders.[8] For more on Griffin and the Money Question see here: [link]”

  2. MM says:

    In the top 10 of your posts at least.

    The picture feels like it is getting close to being sufficiently understood… but its an all too familiar feeling.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >In the top 10 of your posts at least.

      Interesting, I was thinking of it as a throwaway post.

      >The picture feels like it is getting close to being sufficiently understood… but its an all too familiar feeling.

      That’s your brain noticing the addiction to noticing things is hitting diminishing returns.

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