Mental Grounding

It’s easy to get pushed around psychically by external influences, especially when they’re emotionally “loud”, or your tired, or distracted, or otherwise mentally distressed, and to have them influence your thinking in an automatic and reactive way, and thereby fall into fear and despair, so try to remember to ground yourself in that inner core of your being from which you are able to love (others and the good–truth, beauty, and virtue) and to perceive the ultimate benevolence behind the world.

When I manage to do this, I often become overwhelmed with gratitude for how good my life is, and I’m able to value even some horrific experiences.

The state is facing the biggest mass protest in a long time

The state is facing the biggest mass protest in a long time and, through the media outlets it controls and influences, is trying to discredit it by accusing its participants of the most heinous transgressions in state ideology. Of course, why wouldn’t it? It would be more surprising if it didn’t.

But they’re burning their floorboards to stay warm. People who are in the protest or supportive of it know what it’s about and are likely to feel strongly and confidently about it, so when they see state media reporting absurd nonsense it will backfire and they’ll instead end up discrediting themselves. This is significant because support for the protest is widespread, strong, and growing. There are a lot of people who will now stop believing the news/entertainment, and so it will become less effective as a social manipulation tool.

Pay attention to who clings to the narrative the longest

Pay attention to who clings to the narrative the longest, who’s still adhering to it even now. Not because you should be angry or resentful towards them, but because it’s important information about them, and very valuable when deciding the weight that you should give to their advice and opinions and analysis on other matters. You can dearly love someone who says 2 + 2 = 5, but you wouldn’t hire them to do your accounting.

The Shots Are a Loyalty Pledge

Some people took the shots because they decided it was a good idea for their health. Good for them, I’m glad they were able to get the treatment they wanted.

Separate from that, the way our governments are using the shots is as a loyalty pledge. In order to be considered a fully citizen in good standing, in order to be effectively “on their side”, people need to prove that they will do what they’re told. In this function, the risk of harm from the shots is a feature, not a bug, since taking a loyalty pledge that could be dangerous is a greater demonstration of loyalty.

No one should be in denial that by participating in a passport system or a mandate they are tacitly endorsing it, which means they are approving of the discrimination and social and financial attacks on those who don’t–at the very least, that’s how our governments will see it.

Everyone’s situation is unique; we have different vulnerabilities and different responsibilities. Some are less able to resist the coercive measures than others because they feel a stronger need for the things that would otherwise be withheld from them (entertainment, socialising, etc.). Some may be forced to participate in this system in order to feed their families.

But just as there may be situations where one needs to steal to feed one’s family, stealing remains wrong. If you allow the necessities of your situation to push you to believe the passport systems and mandates are good or OK, then the manipulations being done to you have succeeded in corrupting you, and you have lost your most important freedom and autonomy: your independent ability to determine for yourself what is good for you and what you ought to do. The most important place to be free is your mind.

Please take this in the way it is meant–as something for you to consider for yourself for your own benefit. I don’t want to try to change peoples’ behaviour by inducing a sense of guilt in them. Stoking peoples’ negative emotions (fear, anger, resentment, despair) in order to manipulate them isn’t the way I’d prefer to interact with people, my preference instead is to appeal to higher ideals and motivations than that (and in any case, my power to manipulate people in that way is massively dwarfed by the abilities on the other side, so it would be pointless to try even if I wanted to).

How to Listen to the Experts

The point of an expert is to give you some knowledge you don’t have, either because they’ve studied the topic more, or they have some experience you don’t have, or they’re better able to understand something complex, etc. It’s up to you to then decide what to do with that knowledge.

The point of an expert is not to tell you what to do. Listening to an expert does not mean simply doing what they say. Being an expert does not mean dictating motivations, values, interests, and fundamental assumptions about the word–these are things you choose for yourself (if you are free) and then use to interpret and assess the expert’s knowledge, and from this synthesis make a decision.

Are Social Media Owners Motivated by Greed?

The purpose of censorship on social media is sometimes said to be solely for maximising profit. The motivation is purely to keep people engaged so that they’re exposed to more ads, so that there is more ad revenue, and therefore opinions, ideas, and values that would scare away advertisers need to be blocked.

This misses the most valuable aspect of what a mass social medium (like Facebook or Twitter) offers. Especially now, when direct unmediated human interaction is rare, for a significant proportion of people, a significant proportion of their interaction and communication is through online media. Peoples’ understanding of what’s happening in the world, what the world is, what is good, and nearly everything else comes through these online media.

For most people, the biggest influence on what they believe is their peer group, or whatever person or group they hold in high esteem. It’s difficult to overstate the intensity of social instincts in humans–people tend to act from these without thinking, without being conscious of it. And fear of ostracization and isolation can overpower even fear of death, as demonstrated by people who kill themselves when something taboo about themselves is revealed (whether true or not), or when they believe that no one loves them.

The real value in controlling social media and online communication in general is the power that comes from being able to manipulate and fake peoples’ perceptions of what their peer group or esteemed group believes and thereby manipulate and alter their beliefs. If communicating some concept or expressing some value becomes forbidden and impossible then people won’t form beliefs based on them.

But even if it’s not fully suppressed, even labelling and categorising it as somehow not OK is enough to signal to peoples’ social instincts that it should be avoided. While this applies most to those who have respect for the institution that applies the label, even those who don’t will still be influenced, they still understand in a sub-conscious instinctual way that these concepts or values should be avoided. At the scale of these institutions, a large effect isn’t required on the individual level in order for there to be large effects on society.

Belief is the basis for power. Armies of men with guns are very powerful, but only if they believe in the legitimacy of the authority that directs them. If that belief goes, the authority can’t wield the power, and it goes too.

Remember, Twitter was able to censor the American president, who in popular imagination is (or was) considered the most powerful man on the planet.

If the people in control of a social medium were solely motivated by profit, and were somehow ignorant and unaware of the power they held, then they would be greatly undervaluing their asset, and because of this would likely sell it to someone who understands its true value and wants its power.

Without peering into the minds of those who actually control these institutions (whoever they are), we may not know for sure that they aren’t solely motivated by profit, but given what we know about the nature of these institutions (they are means to power), and given what we know about the richest and most powerful people (that they want more riches and power, and wouldn’t be hindered by moral considerations), it seems too unlikely, and a bad assumption to make.

All Along the Watchtower

There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late

Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower

In Watchmen, one of the superhero characters is a cynical mercenary named Comedian. He believes he sees past the facade, he knows what makes the world turn and it’s the base aspects of human nature–despite fancy words and performative altruism, people do what they do because of greed, lust, resentment, and so on–and he laughs at it, laughs with it.

This worldview is shattered when he learns of the machinations of the supervillain. The scope of the calculated horror and the scale of power enacting it makes him break down and weep.

It’s very popular now to entertain simulation theories about the world. The current global standard fundamental assumptions about the world are that everything is the result of mathematical forces operating on nearly featureless particles to make them bounce around or pop in and out of existence in ways that are either deterministic or random, and that it’s all ultimately transient and meaningless. The experience of thoughts and sensations is sometimes described as an illusion.

This puts an abstract model of the world, something that was only ever claimed to be a model, knowledge about the world derived through means that as an inherent part of the way it works looks only at a subset of the world (things that can be isolated, phenomena that can be reliably repeated, knowledge that can be described mathematically), ahead of thinking and sensation, ahead of what is most immediate and is what assesses all potential knowledge–including models.

What happens then is that all experiences are interpreted within the frame of that model, and since fundamental assumptions are the basis for what is believed to be possible, real, or existing, if something outside of this happens and is experienced, it is disbelieved by assumption, and is explained away as faulty memory, a hallucination, a mirage, or not real in some other way. So it’s possible to claim to be open to some possibilities if the evidence is there, but then to necessarily assess all evidence with a worldview that assumes they’re impossible, and so will in practice always be explained away and rejected.

Any line of thinking that concludes that thinking isn’t real or is an illusion should be viewed like a reductio ad absurdum, meaning that a false assumption was made.

The implications of replacing one set of fundamental assumptions with another extend far and deep. Some old beliefs that were derived from old assumptions and need re-evaluation may persist due to habit. There comes a time when taking this reassessment seriously becomes overdue.

Suffer the Consequences

People sometimes say things like “he had a choice, now he has to face the consequences” in response to people being arrested or fined or fired because they didn’t follow a “public health order”. This morning I was thinking about how that sounds like something a supervillain would say.

Then in the evening I heard a genuine take-over-the-world supervillain, Dr. Doom, say “you refuse? Very well, you shall suffer the consequences!”, sampled in Hero vs. Villain by MF DOOM.