Saturday, January 26, 2019

Is Moldbug a Shallow Thinker or are Postmodernists Literally The Most Evil Thing?

There were some comments made.
If these posts ( are "some of the most important contributions to reactionary theory" post-Moldbug (Adam was writing almost a decade before Moldbug, for that matter), then you reveal your own place in its hierarchy of research. To be clear, I'm not trying to be overly belligerent; I believe everyone should be given their due, but there's not much 'due' for simply repackaging the HLvM—it and its victimary spiral already having been written about decades ago—as 'bioleninism'. To call oneself a 'discoverer' of it is hilariously arrogant as it is cringeworthy. You guys should take stock of the intellectual tradition before you. Both Gans and Adam have written essay after essay about it, and in much greater depth.
Certainly, if a deeper thinker exists, I want to know about it! In my opinion, the job of a real philosopher is to accept that ad authoritam is a fallacy, and evaluate all arguments on their merits. As a result, one must, at the very least from time to time, take assertions like this seriously and evaluate them with the full suite of philosophical tools and with all the attention one can muster.

Of course there is also the competing theory.
The set of people who signal "bored with MM" is rather overlapped with two other sets: 1. People who didn't understand MM: and 2. People who disagree with MM but don't have cogent counter arguments to make. 
And certainly we must accept this as a possibility. But let's revel in responsibility. Let's actually check.

Parallax rewarded my inquiries with this, which starts with Eric Gans on Plato’s Botched Rescue of Sacrality. Thus we have the named Gans, on an indisputably important topic.

The members of Official Academia are not very useful, but they're not totally useless. They have noticed the lack of sacredness in modern life. Similarly, we can see several extremely cogent references to the topic in Taleb's public notebook. For a oversimplified summary of the issue as a whole: the opioid epidemic is in fact a profanity epidemic. They lack the sacred so much it's killing them.

If we can see how Plato botched the rescue, perhaps we can do better next time. So let's have a look at what Gans has produced.

For over a century, thought has attempted to free itself from metaphysics.[1]
You are an idiot. Ouch. Face first into a brick wall at sentence one.
I mean, technically it is true. However, it's actually the wrong question. The category of 'metaphysics' is basically not useful. There is no distinction worth making and worrying about it is time that could have instead been spent constructing something.
A certain philosophical postmodernity has declared this a vain endeavor
You realize this 'category' is something Aristotle put on the spine of a book as it happened to be convenient at the time? It's basically a stupid pun.
It suffices that we oppose to it a form of thought sufficiently powerful to be able to think both its beginning and its end.
Useless waffle. So you're going to firmly introduce a conflict and come down on the fence. Fuck off and quit wasting my time.
Primitive, egalitarian societies function by means of ritual distribution systems guaranteed by the symmetrical differentiations of mythical speech.
Aaaaaand we're into the postmodernsim. Which we reach by hard non-sequitur. "Symmetrical differentiations of mythical" yeah no.

By the way they're actually guaranteed mainly by the fact they'll stone you to death if you try to mess with them. This works because it's not quite as egalitarian as the evil heretics known as postmodernists predictably try to pretend. They had roles and jobs, some of which were more prestigious, just like we do now. Much less specialized yes, but not totally undifferentiated.

Since metaphysics isn't a useful idea I had already forgotten about it. But I reminded, having introduced a conflict, come down on the fence, but leaning a little bit against metaphysics, we are, very obviously, jumping with both feet into the-thing-postmodernists-call metaphysics. (As a non-useful category there is no thing which is actually metaphysics. Or not-metaphysics, for that matter.)

Mythical speech. Look, that's a academic circumlocution for 'magic.' As in spells. Enchantment, literally chanted. Again, fuck off.
With the appearance of social hierarchy, the mastery of ritual distribution becomes fixed in one place and refuses to circulate
The pretender confuses difficult-to-understand diction with difficult-to-understand ideas. Perhaps this is the 'word thinker' Scott Adams bangs on about sometimes. In any case, smart people are difficult to understand (at times) therefore if you're difficult to understand, you'll seem smart, right? The problem is you might encounter someone who is actually smart...

Are they claiming that spearhead distribution used to be more fluid, and becomes fixed? Are they claiming that the species that lived basically the same life everywhere on the planet for 100,000 years didn't have a fixed distribution system? Ha ha trick question, even Gans obviously doesn't know.
the new task of cultural language is to justify this disequilibrium
"Hey, do you have any milk?"
"Oh yeah there's some in the back." Clearly, we are engaged in the justification of disequilibrium. I mean, what else could we possibly be doing.
You may note that no disequilibrium has in fact been established, either. It's simply assumed. I use high-status (opaque) language, therefore my assertions are true.

Anyway, as the balance between his words and mine perhaps hint, there is more error than accuracy packed into each sentence. Layer upon layer of defiled ideas and profane hatred of truth. If I point them all out we'll both be here all week.

I could though. I could do that.

Following Socrates, Plato understands
For Callicles
Since reality is largely not what people think about it, it's a pointless distraction to linger lovingly on how specific individuals talked about it.
It's certainly an obvious political/status move, though. Completely divorced from anything resembling true scholarship.

I already mentioned that ad authoritam is a fallacy. Reality does not care who says what about it, unless we are specifically talking about the talking part of reality. There's that magic again, too. Gans is obsessed with which magician chanted what spell.

My eyes glaze over when trying to read this nonsense. As is exactly what is deserves. But let's give it a second chance. Imperius' commentary is mercifully brief. Perhaps by some miracle it alights on something of value.
The declarative, as a response to the physical absence of a demanded object, must invoke a different scene to linguistically still produce it: 
To understand a declarative sentence, one situates it on an “other scene” that is not a simple prolongation of the present scene but a mental scene inhabited by imaginary objects.
Did you know? If you talk about something that isn't there, you have to imagine it instead.


I'm going to run out my strategic sarcasm reserves if this keeps up.

Hey, something that some people apparently really don't know: saying a thing in fewer words is clearer and more efficient.
In this manner, he creates the no-man’s-land that metaphysics will inhabit for over twenty centuries—that it has not yet abandoned.
What if someone who wasn't a moron wanted to talk about this. That would be pretty great.

So there's this thing that's due to homo hypocritus. Humans lie. The lies conflict with evidence. But the lies uphold their behaviour - their friendships, their acceptance of their lot in life, occasionally their ability to do the actual mechanical steps of their job. So more lies must be generated, to explain the conflicts with physical reality. E.g. the idea of metaphysics.

These lies of course lead to new behaviour. Understanding the system of lies is explanatory and predictive.
However, science, natural philosophy, is progressively showing that the lie is never actually necessary. There is always a truth which can do the same job - but doesn't spawn this evolving system of lies which inevitably must collapse in on itself.

Certainly we can talk about how Plato hid from his duty to confront the lies.
In the face of this danger, Plato relocates the foundation of the human community outside of it, but this “outside” is no longer revealed in the localized history of religious revelation.
But it's only useful as part of learning about our own duty to confront the lies. (E.g. the lie that Gans has anything useful to say.) Or in short, Diogenes was a fucking hero. Get out of my sun.

The people of Athens were sunk so deep in their lies they couldn't even explain why Diogenes shouldn't masturbate in the fora.

You don't need to affirm the transcendence of the mythical utterances in their symmetric equilibrium to tell Diogenes to knock it off. Instead the simple fact we asked him to knock it off is almost a full justification in an of itself.
Cratylus’ solution to Plato’s problem preserves the declarative-ostensive distinction, but Plato settles into demanding the ostensive also be declared:
Yeah how about you fuck off.
Socrates finds “primitive words” too distant and obscure to reveal their object clearly.
By Gnon, that's almost true!

Which is a problem.

Gans literally has no contact or grounding in reality.

A good Progressive is actually grounded in reality, but is a liar. You can tell because their creed reliably deviates at least some minimum distance from reality at all times. They do not accidentally assert true things, as Gans has just done. Further, if they do, it is rapidly corrected.

(Specifically, the words of pre-technological tribes tend to be rather crude and imprecise, just like their physical tools. They rely heavily on context and shared history to have any specific denotation, and so on.)

Gans can't tell the difference between the postmodernist squid ink and true assertions grounded in concrete objects and events. One wonders how he ties his shoes and cooks his dinner. That's the wonder of compartmentalization I guess?
If names are given to things “insofar as they are borne and flowing and becoming” (411c), it is in order to permit us, since we are unable to immobilize this becoming, to observe it from a stable “Archimedian point.”
A point of practical philosophy: even if true ideas are hidden in drivel like this, it is faster and more efficient to come up with them on your own than trying to sieve through it.

Basically what he wanted to say is that things change and our words for them don't. More precisely that denotation is a lagging indicator. Given this discrepancy we should deal with via an 'Archimedian point' which is probably supposed to be a clever reference to the lever that moves the world.

Alternatively you could define your terms and simply throw the problem away. Reverse the procedure: I've made a name and run it through the logic grinder, and now we're going to see what, if anything, in reality it applies to. Rather than assuming pure Logos and finding discrepancies, we assume a theory and look for places it matches. Rather than being disappointed with imperfection we can celebrate the joy of finding new harmonies.

Of course a postmodernism will literally die and be dead if forced to define their terms. Anaphylactic shock, you know.

Also you may note I am self-consciously demonstrating the ability to write poetically as the postmodernists do without sacrificing concrete denotations.
The Heraclitean flux generates in the sign its own antithesis.
Autoparody. I snrked.
The Sophists are dangerous because their rhetoric restores to language its originary power of creating meaning
If you could even define 'meaning' well enough that the truth-value of this assertion could be reliably evaluated, the problem would already be over. A fact Gans is several epistemic ranks too low to even notice.

Does the fact he's immersed in lies bother me more, or the fact all this effort, which is clearly going toward a worthy cause, is utterly wasted?  He dimly perceives the important issues, but instead of having and building tools to grapple with it, he drowns in compounding insanity.

No wonder I'm having trouble distinguishing them: both are merely manifestations of the underlying horror.
By writing this drivel, Gans actively repels competent thinkers from analyzing it. He associates those who think about these critical issues with lies and bafflegab, and, of course, with stupidity and incompetence. It is not merely wasted effort, but poisoning the well.

Do you feel it? I feel it. I violently recoil. This is vandalizing the very factory of ideas. It attacks understanding per se. There is nothing more profane.