Jim describes how proggies will betray anyone to the right of them, and will happily lay down to be betrayed by those to the left. Or equivalently, that the holier should rule - should rightly enslave, really - the less holy.
Sophistry is the art of using the tools of philosophy to gull those dumber than you into believing lies that empower you. This implies a clear linear hierarchy. Lesser sophists, dumber, more gullible, less sophisticated, are pwned by greater sophists. The lesser sophist's use of the framework essentially backdoors him; he cannot credibly say even to himself that that the greater sophist is objectionable without also condemning his own actions. (As opposed to e.g. a warrior hierarchy, where lesser warriors gain skills to better resist greater warriors, if necessary.)
Similarly, it is probably consistent with Jim's observation that elite leftists appear dumber. Those higher in the sophist hierarchy will tell a wider variety of more complicated lies. In other words, they'll be wrong more often.
Here's an interesting wrinkle about who rules whom: who gets to decide what's holy? Who gets to decide what is most leftward in Jim's left-right definition?
Monday, September 16, 2013
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Alrenous, many transhumanists have done quite as much as ask the following question, but they haven't actually asked it, or rather focused on it.
Why is life so close to neutral in mean value over time? We could think in hedonic, or eudaimonic terms, or both - I don't think it matters too much.
You're likely as not familiar with David Pearce, the negative hedonist philosopher, who points out that we could just as well be wired for 'severe' bliss at baseline - and yet still be motivated to do and eschew the same behaviors. I'm mainly thinking of fitness-enhancing ones such as eating, sex, and kin-care. Now, granted, certain 'wirings', such as shooting heroin all day, will indeed quash these drives, but others won't quash them at all. One could simply feel extremely great all the time, but slightly less great when perceiving danger to kin, and even better than normal when doing something beneficial for kin, or when eating nutritious food or having sex.
Similarly, life could be much lower in hedonic-eudaimonic value and yet one would still behave much the same (to a point).
For Pearce it is a moral imperative to use bioengineering to permanently abolish suffering, replacing it with engineered gradients of bliss for all animals -- or all plausibly-sentient animals, or whatever. The objections to this from Heraclitus and Nietzsche are quite interesting, but I have been even more engrossed by the paradox of the 'pearce utopia' seeming to be fitness-neutral relative to our world. Would you deny that some John Doe could be pearced-up -- probably in many different ways, all of which he would like quite a lot -- without any fitness decrement? Equally, couldn't we anti-pearce him in various ways he would really hate, again without fitness decrement, provided he is not demotivated about gradients of well-being, and provided things aren't so bad that he decides to give up on life?
...In the same way, we can pearce up a cat, so that it loves getting sprayed with a garden hose, but loves not being sprayed with one even more, and loves chasing string even more than that..... I think you get the idea.
Isn't the fitness-neutrality of pearce land just about the strangest thing about kosmos -- other than the 'paradox', or mere mystery, of simply having kosmos vs not having it at all? I consider myself an adept in darwinian logic, more or less top flight, but I get no purchase on the problem. If we set cosmic existence aside, to just take a look at organisms only, this is probably the single most baffling thing about them, arguably even more baffling than sentience itself.
I guess I haven't though about it much from an epiphenomenalist perspective, --but as you say, epiphenomenalism is an awfully uncomfortable fit with darwinism anyway.
Incidentally I don't particularly have an opinion on Pearce's 'interim' program of widespread chronic use of monoaminergic drugs ('antidepressants', etc). Personally any and all chronic use of any psychoactives I've ever done has been a waste, if not worse. Result (at best) is brain sooner or later says OK I'm just not going to react to this at all anymore, or else react undesirably. I've glanced at abstracts claiming the effects of medically-prescribed serotonergics are generally found durable (at least in depressives). Well, not for me, is all I can say. Some of them I find very, very active for weeks or even months, but no longer. If I could permanently, durably activate my serotonergic system . . . hard . . . I would, and in fact I would sacrifice very much for that.
But anyway the philosophical problem is more the thing I wanted to point out.
The whole thing almost leads me to seriously consider the 'edification theodicy' complex of ideas. To wit, that we are created by superhumans that wish for us to have some edifying experience in life.
--But of course this assumes we cannot be edified in the right way without suffering, which seems to be just some kind of vague intuition. I mean, suffering is arguably special, it gets our attention in a special way, basically a stronger way, but how do we know this is necessarily true rather than contingently true?
Also, wouldn't it be a little silly for the decently-apt fit or knit between pearce neutrality on the one hand, and edification theodicy on the other, to be the only sign of a suprahuman kosmos? Or is it not that silly after all? And are we 'supposed' to figure this out or notice it, or not, or does it just not matter?
Further problems are that an edification telos doesn't make much sense in some ways. Many suffer little, while others suffer excessively to put it mildly, so the program of edification does not seem very well designed, unless there are many incarnations. You also seem to need to stay alive permanently, or transcend time, or else the edification seems kind of pointless, whereas hedonia and eudaimonia do not seem pointless even if they are time-finite.
...So all in all I think Ockham is frowning pretty hard about edification theodicy by this point. I guess I would just stick with agnostic, a-theodicic mysticism, pearce paradox or no pearce paradox.
> Result (at best) is brain sooner or later says OK I'm just not going to react to this at all anymore, or else react undesirably
Worse results are certainly possible -- just now I'm dependent on GABAergics and may have worsened my intelligence slightly. It'll take a long time to get off these execrable, anti-vitalistic, anti-existential, fairly toxic drugs and see what's what, but that's life.
> The lesser sophist's use of the framework essentially backdoors him; he cannot credibly say even to himself that that the greater sophist is objectionable without also condemning his own actions. (As opposed to e.g. a warrior hierarchy, where lesser warriors gain skills to better resist greater warriors, if necessary.)
I don't see the difference.
The Hellenes practiced both suasion/morality (sophistry/philosophy), and force. Thucydides is always pointing out how they can never really decide just how much validity to give to the concept of justice, when they know might basically makes right in practice - or know, or sense, that nature always has to 'bend' this way in spite of justice.
He also points out how much they bitch and talk about injustice when they get their ass kicked, and think less about questions of justice in victory, -- which is more relevant to and more in contrast with what you write above. Maybe it's unphilosophical for them to speak and feel that way about war, but psychologically that is what they in fact say and experience. As a general tendency, anyway.
Isn't your claim just flat wrong in the first place? Plenty of people will lie to X person or institution with a gleaming-clean conscience. --Precisely because X is so good at lying, and precisely because lying is bad in abstracto. "But you have to fight fire with fire", they'll say. What sentiment, really, is more common than that?
(Although, once again, we must carefully distinguish between what is philosophically true and what people feel psychologically)
> Similarly, it is probably consistent with Jim's observation that elite leftists appear dumber. Those higher in the sophist hierarchy will tell a wider variety of more complicated lies. In other words, they'll be wrong more often.
Jim is brilliant but often a little black-n-white. I see a mixed picture. NYT op-ed people are mostly dumber than rocks. But is Soros dumber than rocks?
Is Jared Diamond dumber than rocks? I say no way, though Jensen is smarter and Flynn half-honest.
I think all of the above people are powerful, many are very stupid (or high-IQ naive), some are very canny. Nixon? Kissinger? Smarter than a breadbox, boyo. Cheney even - maybe. Foseti claims, contra Moldbug, that there is nobody 'up top' who would say to themselves hmmm alt currencies are possibly concerning. I say lol. My model is that they just didn't elect to tell Foseti about their thoughts.
IQ isn't everything of course, but Wolfowitz has a PhD in p-chem. I would be sore-pressed to get that PhD. I would have to work like an absolute devil, and maybe fail in the end even so. That said he does seem 'dumb' in practical affairs. (I sometimes do myself, though maybe less so.)
I would say there are two groups on the elite left. Group A is not smarter than a breadbox. B comprises very sharp people, most of whom are however seriously incomprehensive: they are largely missing the historical lens, or the philosophical lens, the cynical or the reverent lens, the paranoid lens -- or what may be even worse, are missing the noble bloom of trust.
As for the right, the rightist intellect, well, it's mostly just gotten browbeat I guess. So some good stuff remains but very little of it has anything like a meso or mass audience.
If you think I've skipped something I shouldn't have, feel free to repeat or revisit it. I should take the hint.
" who points out that we could just as well be wired for 'severe' bliss at baseline - and yet still be motivated to do and eschew the same behaviors."
Consciousness is its own thing and I doubt that it can be set up like that. E.g. what if acclimatization is primarily nonphysical?
It could also be feedback with civilization. Savages do clearly enjoy themselves a lot more than we do. Perhaps civilization taxes this enjoyment, but sees too much resistance at higher tax rates.
"Would you deny that some John Doe could be pearced-up"
As above, it might be unstable due to feedback.
"I consider myself an adept in darwinian logic, more or less top flight, but I get no purchase on the problem."
The kosmos problem is possibly the hardest possible problem, as you're trying to logic out how logic comes to exist. How truth comes to be true.
"Result (at best) is brain sooner or later says OK I'm just not going to react to this at all anymore, or else react undesirably."
Feedback manifest. My question is this due to relative neural signal tuning, or due to fundamental properties of consciousness?
"But of course this assumes we cannot be edified in the right way without suffering"
I think it is important to remember Pandora's Seed and various similar things. (I can dredge up a link if you want.) Being civilized kind of blows. Most of this suckage is having to fight your instincts, so despite the disease and lack of padded chairs and murderous mayhem and so on, living in the jungle with your clan seems to be a net win, hedonically.
If a superhuman created us for the purpose of teaching, did they forsee civilization, or could we have learned it just fine shambling across the Serengeti?
"Or is it not that silly after all?"
It's a remarkably difficult question, I think additionally working out what's silly is not going to help.
So hypothesis: world's purpose is learning. To test it, you have to work out what that means. How is such a world different from other kinds of worlds? How can we tell the difference from the inside?
What if we can't learn that thing if we know we're here to learn?
What if learning that thing is in fact the thing we're supposed to learn?
Hard, I think, but not impossible. It just has to be taken seriously.
"so the program of edification does not seem very well designed"
Don't assume God or Gnon is omnipotent. That's probably a monotheist mistake.
...quite the outlier, not representative of Hellenes as a whole.
He may be correct to point these things out, but if everyone believes justice should have power, then justice gains power.
The solution to might making its way is to bend might to serve right. Right should make might, is what I'm saying. And if everyone stopped giving up in the face of might, it would.
"Plenty of people will lie to X person or institution with a gleaming-clean conscience"
My claim is that sophists lie intentionally. There's a limit to what subconscious lies and hypocrisy can do.
"My model is that they just didn't elect to tell Foseti about their thoughts."
Is Jim the one doing the government-is-tribal thing I've been reading about recently? I'm a fan.
Recall my belief that the ruling elite stays out of the press. And they won't talk about their real thoughts except to others in the tribe.
"That said he does seem 'dumb' in practical affairs."
My upper year physics student colleagues were all quite capable of deep insight, but were diligent only in failing to apply it. I was startled by how complacent they were. Genius cows, for the milking.
Another way you can get dumb is by applying it only to proggie catechism, effectively consuming all spare cycles to keep up with the Joneses.
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