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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I’m thirty-three and I’m just now getting into Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Obviously I think it’s genius. What I saw was a dissection of conservative America from the point of view of a zealously hedonistic man-who-became-god who really overdoes it in the drama queen department when faced with his own reality. In other words I saw myself.
The internet is making shame obsolete. This same revolutionary communication tool that has predictably now been harnessed for evil by the Nazis has also brought together juggalos, bronies, gamers, furries… people who love things that that society (rightly or otherwise) has deemed shameful are today able to band together and publicly celebrate something they believe in.
I think we should probably do something about the Nazis.
Is a reassuring illusion better than the truth?
I see people over and over choose the illusion despite knowing better, which makes me feel less guilty about barely living in reality myself.
The illusion is you. You imagine what someone once told you was there, back when you were too stupid to question them, and now you’ve forgotten to question why it should exist in the first place. Blaming reality for not conforming to your expectations is a terrible excuse for not trying to improve your own understanding.
It’s easy to notice how many people are told they’re great, despite doing terrible things. You could conclude that our society is so superficial that it would be more effective to impose your point of view on people than to try and teach them to understand for themselves.
The reality is that diversity is always a strength. I don’t know any simpler way of understanding it. People who have the same background will tend towards the same style of thinking over and over until intellectual inbreeding sets in and diverse opinions become foreign and scary.
Individualism isn’t going to be punished by the universe itself– at least not directly. It provides its own punishment in teaching you to devalue the life experience and knowledge of people who are not you.
Remember April 2017, when the youth officially turned on Pepsi. We will not be marketed to any more, they said. You misrepresent our culture and we do not approve.
Good for them. It’s a great story if it’s true. (You can google “pepsi ad 2017” if you want a better sense of the media narrative.)
I’ve found a lot of use for this sentiment recently; to say that something is a great story if it’s true. I said it about @RoguePOTUSStaff. I said it about Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp”.
It’s getting hard to know anything for sure. It’s like our society has learned how to doubt things, but not to resolve enough of them to be able to sleep at night.
The world will keep turning. Every day people learn new things, and we will eventually figure out new solutions to the things that keep us up at night.
We will learn that there are better things to believe in than lizard conspiracies and UFO abduction reports and corporate narratives and “authority”.