How do you get what you want?

One day you hear a story about someone just like you, who did {blank}, and got exactly what you want. If the story is to be believed, then if you do {blank} in the same way, you are likely to get what you want.

You want the story to be true because it’s the only story you’ve heard that ends in you getting what you want. The alternative to this story being true is that you don’t have any clue how to get what you want. You wonder whether not following the story as closely as you could might be causing you to lose the thing you want. You resolve to believe in the story as much as you believe in the thing you want.

We all want to believe the story that ends in us getting what we want.

developing nation

because some nations are fully developed and need develop no more. the adult nations. the nations that know better.

the nations that oppress people. the nations that enslave people. the nations that kill people. the nations that war.

the nations that believe in human freedom, for their nation.

Nationalism is a kind of fascism that everyone still seems to believe in. and the powerful nations reeeally don’t see how it could be a bad thing. and of course we all have to listen to the powerful nations. they know better.

I think we can all keep developing.

trusting the government

I’m starting to suspect the people who complain that the government isn’t trustworthy are not actually the same people who keep voting for obviously untrustworthy politicians.

Is there such a thing as national therapy? We need that.

…let me try that again.

Okay so I see a spectrum of engagement with democracy. I see a group of people who notice that the government isn’t trustworthy. I see a group of people voting for untrustworthy politicians. How much are these the same people? Are there people who don’t understand that authorities can be untrustworthy? Are there people who believe that untrustworthy people are still qualified to run their society? Are there people who have lost faith in the idea of public trust and are following another value system like identity politics?

Mainly I see a lot of confusion about what exactly is happening in western democracies. Smart people are refusing to talk to each other because their identity politics puts them at odds.

If identity politics is the thing that people care about now I don’t see why more good people haven’t gotten on board with it yet. Seriously man, OPRAH. WE NEED OPRAH. I AM NOT EVEN FUCKING KIDDING HERE. OPRAH CAN LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Bad people

Dehumanisation doesn’t have to be conscious to be real.

It’s in the scary uncertain situations that our unconscious fear of the other causes us to shoot first and only figure out later whether the danger was real. From a pure survival standpoint it’s completely rational. But that doesn’t mean that our society shouldn’t aspire to be better than that.

No human is born bad. I fully believe that any person is capable of dehumanising others should the right emotional conditioning be applied.

The only way to figure out how to stop bad things from happening is to first understand how that conditioning works; to figure out what influences caused someone to conclude that the pain they’re going to cause is irrelevant compared to getting what they feel like they need.

It’s worth noting at this point: Empathy is not the same thing as agreement. I feel like there are far too many people who fail to see this distinction. I believe in universal empathy. I believe that there is no person who is beyond help. I know that no matter how many times I or anyone else gets hurt, punishing bad people wont fix anything.

Keeping people safe does not require us to dehumanise anyone.

A fresh callback to the current stagnation

I had forgotten about the infinite joke. I saw it last year in, let’s say, a dream.

There’s a direction, a slant, a…viewpoint you can take, that is funny forever. Or at least as far as I’ve chosen to look before the laughter became too much for me.

The same joke echoes endlessly through every direction at once, like a fractal, somehow amazingly each iteration is the perfect punchline to everything that came before it, every piece both perfectly contextualised and insanely contextualised by everything that came before it, and along with it, and after it, becoming exponentially more insane and more hilarious the longer it goes. It makes no sense. It’s impossible. But somehow it’s real.

Human trust

Does anyone else remember back when the internet started giving us advice on how to poop better? And of course the very smartest people felt compelled to point out how stupid it was that some people need to be told how to poop because of course they never needed help pooping! But then it turned out actually it was great advice that relatively few people knew about and so millions benefited from it.

A lot of things are like that.

Here is a simple test of human trust: the phrase “bringing issues to your attention”.

What does that phrase mean to you? If someone you didn’t know was committed to bringing issues to your attention (say, via TV broadcast), what would you assume about that person? How much would you need to trust someone before you would accept as real the issues being brought to your attention? What if that person was your partner? Your mother? Your spiritual leader?

What if the issue in question was something you didn’t want to know about? What if it was an advertisement? What if it was something that would improve your life dramatically? What if it was impossible to tell without first volunteering your attention? What if it was all of the above?

Recently I’ve started trying to see proprietary brands as people with personalities, goals, and consciences. Not “real” people of course because the brand itself is not alive, but brands are conscious by way of the collective of people that believe in them. If the brand enables people to act a certain way, this is a true expression of the brand.

I mean isn’t that why Harvey Weinstein got fired?

Robot overlords

First hot day of the summer. Turned the air conditioning on but it’s downstairs and my computer is upstairs. So.

What does it mean that Facebook knows me well enough to consistently predict and serve me with *useful* ads. I am both creeped out and… thankful? I mean isn’t that the goal of robots learning our behaviours? That they can help us (and the people who own them)?

It’s just… I mean isn’t human empathy basically an illusion anyway unless you believe in it? When am I safe to believe in Facebook’s love?

As I wrote this there was a knock on the door. A small frizzy-haired girl wearing a WWF lanyard offered me some patter but I shut her down before she could even clarify what her cause was because social anxiety says no.

So it seems like Facebook is the only way I can be reached these days. All hail.


Submission is as good as consent. Fuck! I’m tired of this universe. Everything makes sense, but everything is also terrifying. The lack of control we have over the things we rely on to survive is terrifying. I am literally terrified.

Consciousness is a universe created by thought. It exists within a (much, much) larger external universe, and this external universe contains billions of other consciousnesses, each one a thought-universe just like me, but no single one will understand the external universe the same way as me. The other consciousnesses can be known (loved) but only by way of a shared perception of the external universe. So to know other people we are forced to also know the universe, as it gives and as it takes away. Some people submit to the lack of control, others fight it and lose.

But consent is an outdated concept anyway. To this universe I will submit lovingly. Because this universe is also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. Shoulda senda poet… yadda yadda yadda… I was raped one time. My feelings are still very conflicted and I’m not comfortable talking about it yet, but I felt like it might be important to say, just to give a better context to all this talk about consent.

I think God is the name we give to the forces we don’t understand. You can love God or you can hate God. I choose love. I choose to always try to see beauty even through ugliness. I can’t always fix ugliness but I can always create beauty.

Make learning fun?

Games teach you how to learn.

Games create simulated worlds, either by showing them to you or through a set of abstract rules and/or physical props. They point you towards a specific goal and encourage you to learn the rules of the game world and skill yourself in the specific way the game requires. Then you use the newly acquired knowledge and skill sets to pass stages, score points, win matches, or otherwise gain a measure of your progression over time.

In other words, education and training.

That’s why games make you smarter. Games don’t just teach you skills, they teach you about the concept of transferable skills; how to recognise different styles of challenge and adapt your existing skill sets to the new situation. Plenty of groups are already creating games that train people in useful skills. The frigging US Army uses a video game to simultaneously attract and train potential recruits.

Games can be both very fun and very powerful tools. The trick I think is that the more we can make game tasks mirror real life tasks (without ruining the fun) the smarter those games will make us.