Thursday, May 28, 2020

Riots and Looting


            What are riots? Are they the mental discontent of the masses manifesting in the physical? Is looting a violent and destructive display of lawlessness? This is what most individuals will argue, with a surface level analysis that leads to surface level solutions that sound good but don’t really address root causes. The negative externalities of riots and looting are not the causes of riots and looting, but rather the symptoms of what are causing the rioting and looting.


            To understand rioting and looting, you have to understand what they really are, which is not found in the people doing the rioting and looting, but rather found in the people who fail to prevent the rioting and looting. The breakdown of law and descent into chaos is not the fault of those behaving “poorly” – it is the fault of the people who are responsible for maintaining control and perpetuating order.

            Riots and looting are a reflection on the ruling class, not the masses engaged in the behavior. It is the duty and responsibility of the business owners, politicians, and police to ensure their safety, and when safety is no longer existent, the blame completely at their feet. To blame the stupid and undisciplined masses is like a parent blaming a wild animal for biting a child rather than admitting the wild animal should have never been in the position to bite the child in the first place.

            If you are responsible for capital such as storefronts and the merchandise in them, you are responsible for protecting those items. If you fail in this, it is your fault. If you build your business in an area where you are not reasonably able to your business, then you are negligent and stupid and you should not expect pity or empathy when you inevitable suffer the consequences of your poor choices.

If you are a politician that creates an underclass of individuals who cannot reach a decent standard of living due to their natural limitations as well as environmental conditions, you are courting disaster and should not be surprised when this underclass begins to cause problems for those more suited for success. It is your fault for not enabling the success of your underclass or completely eliminating them. If there are riots and looting while you are in charge, then you do not understand how to do your job and are clearly not worthy of the responsibility that you have agreed to take on in exchange for some power and prestige.

What are riots and looting? They are reflections of the incompetence of the ruling class. They are the consequences of poor decisions over years and decades, not some spontaneous fluke that couldn’t have been predicted or prevented. A successful society that treats its unfortunate in a genuinely humane manner doesn’t need to worry about riots, and it doesn’t allow for conditions which breed criminals in large enough number to pose a threat to the rest of the population. Looting and riots are the fault of those who are not rioting, those who run society.

How can riots and looting be dealt with? In this age of feminine emotional hyper-sensitivity, they can’t be dealt with. The ruling class is soft and weak and doesn’t have the emotional fortitude for disciplinary measures such as mass lethal force. As such, riots and looting are allowed to continue until they burn themselves out, the underlying problems never addressed or even acknowledged.

The politicians and corporations that have influence in communities that riot and loot are so detached from reality that they do not even understand or care what is causing the riots and looting. They may face some temporary embarrassment and public shaming when the reality of how they have mismanaged their responsibility comes to light, but that has no real impact on them. They can allow disorder and destruction to spread, because nobody will ever hold them accountable for their abysmal incompetence.

Who suffers from riots and looting? Not the people who caused the riots and looting, the politicians and corporations that worked in concert to create the conditions that precede this sort of behavior, but rather the innocent people caught up in negative externalities: the poor, weak, and stupid who cannot escape the chaos of destruction that surrounds them. These people may not desire to harm others and may do their best to live life in a pro-social manner, but eventually – if they wish to survive -- they will have to decide to join the mob and become predators tearing apart the society in which they live.

It’s easy to place blame on the animalistic proles destroying their local businesses and economy, but that is a counter-productive impulse. This is not to excuse their actions and claim they are saints, they’re clearly not, but rather to say that the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of those with real influence, the people who will happily migrate to other centers of control and influence once they have mismanaged their current center of control and influence to the point of chaotic disaster.

It’s hard to point to a time where the people with influence and power have been more stupid and irresponsible. Outside of cloistered sheltered communities, the majority of America is in a state of decay. Instead of doing the intelligent thing, which is to either fix the decay or isolate and destroy the decay before it spreads, the parasites we call our leaders engage in self-enrichment and greed that is embarrassing and gaudy. The “elite” do not have class or taste, they are lowly idiots who have schemed their way into power structures, and do not have any idea about what they’re doing. Because of this, riots and looting occur.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Psychotic Breaks, Psychedelics, and Consciousness


Something that psychotic breaks teach is that you are never really yourself, even when you’re sane. Before you have a psychotic break, you consider yourself a rational creature with free will that is making decisions based on some process you control. After the psychotic break, you realize just how little autonomy you ever had.

You can see this sense of self in very explicit form by individuals who worship “science” or “logic”. These people see themselves as capable of discerning objective truths better than the people who disagree with them, and in the self-appraisal is the assumption of complete internal rationality. To people who think they have free will and are not merely a product of their genes and experiences and environment, there is a sort of foolish pride that causes closed-mindedness to the possibility of irrationality or madness that blends in with those that appear to be “self-conscious”.

When you have a psychotic break, all the illusion of free will gets stripped away once your psychotic break ends. You realize that you are merely the sum of a lot of variables being processed by various internal processes, and when those internal processes become screwed up in some way, you are still the same physical person that was “rational” and “sane”, but you are not rational and sane anymore. You start seeing the world in a way that only makes sense while you are in the midst of a psychotic break, and the completely insane way in which you are seeing it seems perfectly sane to you. In fact, you start viewing everybody else who has a more functional internal process as the people with the problem, not you.

Although your personality changes as well as your behavior and thought process, your external body remains as it was before your psychotic break unless you cause it some permanent damage via self-mutilation or dangerous behavior that results in serious injury. The thing that changes during your mental problem is whatever is piloting your physical form, and that thing – your brain – changes in a way that is beyond “your” control.

After the psychotic break is over and you have recovered “control” of your faculties, an awareness of your lack of control begins to dawn on you in ways that people who have not gone insane and recovered can really appreciate. You are not outside of the system of life; you are not really any different than an animal that does not ask philosophical questions, you just have the illusion of self-awareness rather than any self-awareness. This revelation may seem like its own self-awareness, but this too is beyond your control and is simply the result of your experiences, genes, and environment leading you to this conclusion.

While this realization of a lack of fundamental control and understanding of the lack of true free will may seem like a negative thing, it is really not. Through this shift in consciousness, an individual becomes much more aware of their own fragility, and this causes them to become much more deliberate in how they conduct and situate themselves environmentally. Through the understanding of lack of control, an individual can gain more control over how they involuntarily react by ordering external variables in a manner in which is vastly superior to those who do not have this understanding. While most normal mediocre people imagine themselves to be protagonists in some movie, individuals who understand the myth of the self are able to understand that we are no different than mold that follows strict input->process internally->output rules.

To the vast majority of humans who experience shame and remorse, a psychotic break is no-doubt a humiliating experience. While insane, you do things that make you look foolish and say things to people that are ridiculous, but you only realize this after the fact. Because of this shame and remorse, it is not surprising to me that people who go through psychotic breaks can often end up broken and depressed when they recover, as they are constantly under attack by their own instincts which tell them that what they did was something they should feel bad about. As such, it makes sense why lots of people who have had a psychotic break never examine their experience in the manner in which this essay does, and thus never arrive at these conclusions.

For those who manage to get over the embarrassment of temporary insanity and can actually understand what happened, the whole experience is quite liberating. There is an ability to disconnect actions from your “self” as well as the “self” of others. In addition, you begin to realize that the impressive things you have done are not worth taking pride in, but the embarrassing things you have done are also not worth feeling bad about. There is a sort of humility that comes from having your agency and pseudo-rational consciousness (that everybody thinks is rationality) violently stripped away from you without your consent, and this humility is not really something you can buy or learn without the violent and unpleasant violation of your sense of self.

Some people who read this essay will undoubtedly insist that what I have described can be learned through the usage of psychedelics such as LSD, Mushrooms or even more intense drugs like DMT. This is not really the case. If you look at when psychedelics were most prevalent, the 1960s and the “summer of love”, you will not see any real awareness that resulted from it. The majority of people who engaged in widespread psychedelics either ended up as mentally stunted hippies or disgustingly self-entitled boomers who essentially ruined whatever country they were in and fomented generational animosity that is the unhealthy result of solipsistic pride and the lack of understanding of generational responsibilities. Some of the most pretentious and idiotic people are those who take psychedelics, as they push psychedelics on people in a tone-deaf and functionally retarded manner that indicates they have not been made smarter for their experience, but rather turned into mystical idiots who have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

While it’s self-evidently true that psychedelics provide a unique perspective, this unique perspective does not teach reality in the way a psychotic break can. The sense of self and ego seems to be reinforced rather than broken down, and people go from fairly normal unaccomplished individuals to egotistical unaccomplished individuals who now think they have access to some “spiritual truth” that the world is all about love or empathy or some fundamentally human delusion that stems from the misunderstanding that humans have genuine free will and thus a special mission from God, a delusion that is forcefully ripped away in the process of a psychotic break and then revealed after the psychotic break has concluded if the individual who suffered the lapse in sanity is able to examine the whole experience in enough depth.

Psychedelics are a red herring towards enlightenment, and this makes sense once you realize that most people who take psychedelics enjoy what they experience. The process of self-improvement and self-awareness is not a euphoric one that makes you feel good and happy, it is a constant struggle filled with pain that you learn to enjoy for its results rather than the phenomena in the process. Physical exercise is an unpleasant process, and even though some learn to enjoy the unpleasant process (because they correctly link the unpleasant process to the pleasant results), there is no reason to assume that mental or spiritual improvement is any different.

As stated before, the fruits of the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s have been a bunch of entitled and moronic old people who ruined their societies in a constant game of shallow pleasure-seeking. Psychedelics did not expand consciousness then, and it is idiotic to assume that they will expand consciousness now. Sure, they may help with people who are experiencing depression or anxiety, but most likely that is because they fundamentally break parts of the brain that are causing the depression or anxiety for logical reasons. If your car has a bunch of warning lights on, the solution isn’t to break the dashboard and pretend the problems are fixed, but rather to fix the problems that are causing the warning lights to warn you. If you’re depressed or anxious, you should start changing your life habits (what you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping, what media you consume, what people you are around, where you live, your job) rather than modifying your brain to stop warning you that what you’re doing is harming you and making you miserable.

Psychotic breaks are not fun or healthy -- and they can cause serious legal and social problems for you. They are unpleasant and painful in ways that really can’t be understood unless you have experienced them. Still, it is hard to not see them as fundamentally transformative in the manner that psychedelic pushers claim their drugs to be. Having a disturbed psychotic break is not going to make you a more loving or peaceful person on a fundamental level, because those things are ego related and na├»vely stupid, but it will shift how you perceive things in a manner closer to how reality functions, which is that humanity is a type of mold that imagines itself not to be mold because our brains are overdeveloped.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Structural Safety Paradox

(This essay is from It Is The Secret, available at book.paul.town)

There is a pattern that tends to happen with regards to well defined structures. The
pattern, where a structure or institution becomes well defined then its definition is used to take
advantage of people who know that structure or institution for its definition by behaving in a way
that is different than how it behaved in its past. This incongruence between what was in the past
and what is now has a certain amount of lag time before observers catch on to the changes and
update the definition/reputation of the structure or institution accordingly. This lag time can be a
good thing or a bad thing, depending on what the change is and from who’s point of view (from
inside or outside the institution or structure) you’re seeing things.

To make this pattern more clear, I will use a usually emotionally charged topic but not in
a disrespectful or glib manner. I will also be saying these things in neither an accusatory or
dismissive manner but rather a more analytical case study manner. The pattern in mind is
organized religion and how it interacts with local communities. If a community is in a bad shape
and a church/temple/center/etc gets built in that community and ends up helping the community,
the church/temple/center/etc will gain a positive reputation over time. That reputation will filter
down to the people running or helping the church/temple/center/etc to varying degrees. All that
is healthy, and over time as the positive reputation grows and the community begins to trust
people running that church/temple/center/etc and rely on them, then the church/temple/center/etc
all gain influence (justifiably) over people that trust and look up to them.

Now that the reputation has been built up, the church/temple/center/etc becomes a target
for people who don’t have a reputation and don’t want to benefit the community but rather take
advantage of the lag time between a reputation accurately reflecting behavior. This is the reason
why child abuse seems so common in lots of different religious sects/denominations: the good
people built up an organization that benefited the most vulnerable, the vulnerable learned to trust
the organization made up of good people, then bad people who want to take advantage of
vulnerable people managed to trick or corrupt good people into giving them influence in the
organization. As such, a paradox of sorts is observed: the longer an organization is good, the
more incentives bad actors have of taking over an organization.

The key to this pattern seems to be linked to people attributing human elements such as
personal character or warmheartedness or honor to whatever structure/organization that the
people with those human elements is involved in. This misplaced trust/mistrust then causes them
to react to the shell of the structure even if the contents of it have changed and different people
are now involved. People don’t ever change who they really are, but structures/organizations can
change the people who make them up or manage them, which means that structures/
organizations are generally lagging representations of changes within that structure or
organization, and external peoples’ opinion/views on that structure or organization is a lagging
representation of a combination between their interactions with the people making up the
structure or organization as well as their current opinion of the structure or organization and how
those two differ, which means another layer of lag is added.

There is an upside to this in that things with negative reputations can be utilized and
move with less attention for quite some time more than an objective blank slate appraisal would
entail if utilized properly. This aspect of reputational lag is a discussion for another time and falls
outside of the scope of this essay, but it does exist.

(This essay is from It Is The Secret, available at book.paul.town)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

A review of "TFW No GF" by Alex Lee Moyer

Disclaimer: Even though I will do my best to be impartial with my review and thoughts on TFW No GF, I have known all the subjects in the documentary for a few years and have genuine sympathy for them and wish them the best, so there is undoubtedly a positive bias in the way I see this project.

TFW No GF (available on Amazon prime streaming as well as illegal streaming sites that do not require a subscription of Amazon prime) is a documentary that takes a glimpse into five isolated and outsider white males in their late teens and twenties.


Documentary subjects:

The five individuals highlighted in this film are Sean(@zephfyrus), Kyle(@covid19fatality), Kantbot(@KANTBOT20K), Viddy(@viddymalchick), and Charels(@relscd).

Sean is a well put together young adult, whose most obvious distaste with the world around him seems to stem from a lack of meaningful purpose. When the film starts, he is living with his parents and getting into weight-lifting and reading books that Kantbot has recommended to him. While frustrated, he does not seem to be particularly nihilistic or self-destructive, which is a different sort of energy than the other characters in the film.

Kyle is a young Texan who struggles with his isolation and lack of hope with cigarettes and alcohol. He is not shown in a sympathetic or non-sympathetic light, the film choosing to display him in a "take it or leave it" manner which allows him to talk about how he views the world as barren, dirty, and depressing, as well as his cautious optimism for the future. How much of this is the result of internal drives as opposed to his depressing surroundings is not made clear, but this is

Kantbot is the oldest of the group and has a degree in economics, as well as being the most "well-known" of the bunch, running a popular twitter account which had ~20k followers at the time of the filming (2017) and now has ~40k followers and climbing rapidly. Despite the name and purported theme of the film, Kantbot, based in NYC, is not somebody who seems to struggle all that much with an inability to find a girlfriend, but rather talks about philosophy and general ideas in a humorous manner on both his twitter account and his podcast (available on patreon here.)

Viddy and Charels are brothers who reside together in Washington. The children of alcoholics, this film seems to show them more in depth than either Kantbot or Kyle, interspersing shots of home videos which show them as hopeful and energetic kids alongside shots of them currently, where they are living in a dilapidated apartment and spend their free time browsing the internet and taking isolated walks outside.


General format of the film:

While most documentaries set out to prove a point or push an agenda, TFW No GF does not go this route. Alex Lee Moyer does not interject herself into the film at all, there is no non-character narration, and no real questions seem to be asked. Instead of a message, the approximately hour and a half long documentary, cuts between the characters and shows what they are doing on various days, and allows them to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about, which tends to be existential angst or generally negative outlooks.

This is not a film that is trying to cast its subjects as heroes or villains. This is a project that is simply showing these people for who they are, which is generally normal people who just tend to see the world in ways that causes them to be isolated or lonely. Whether their ideas regarding the world are positive or negative, honest or dishonest, delusional or realistic, is up to the viewer to decide.


A general review of the film:

Advertised and marketed as a film about 4chan and its "wojak" meme, the final product is not very honest. None of the characters highlighted are avid 4chan users, but rather are active on twitter. They may post the wojak meme to express themselves, but there is no real reason (outside of generating consumer interest) to associate the film's contents with 4chan or "wojak". Still, this is not a very damning criticism of the movie, as it doesn't insult what is inside the movie but rather criticizes the packaging, which was most likely needed in order to get many people to watch it at all. As anybody who has made anything creative knows, a bit of tactical hype is oftentimes needed. As such, I can't really fault Moyer for hijacking the energy around chans currently seen as "exotic" and "dangerous" by people not familiar with them. The people in chan communities might dislike this film -- which is a fair reaction to being misrepresented and used for attention in a manner which can be fairly described as parasitic, although it is ultimately parasitic in a non-malicious and non-harmful manner.

With that minimally negative critique out of the way, the actual film was not bad at all. While it was not shocking or earth-shattering, it was a fair and honest (albeit fairly shallow) portrayal of individuals I have known for a decent amount of time. The individuals profiled are humanized through the lack of scare-tactics so often used to paint isolated and lonely young men as sex-deprived lunatics, but they are also not shown in a manner which suggests they are harmless weak victims who need to be babied or pitied. Agency is not removed from the characters being filmed, but it is also not heaped upon them in a way that it is dishonest.

This is a "coming of age" film that doesn't show a coming of age or any real character development, but also doesn't show any defeat or collapse. It is more of a snapshot than a story, which might be criticized by others but I personally found refreshing in the era of highly-politicized faux-art which is trying to change the world in some obnoxiously gaudy manner. The ability to pull punches as well as leave things hanging is in short supply with creative works, and Moyer does this well. Whether this was the desired effect of the film is irrelevant, the effect is still there.

Is this film particularly haunting or impactful? Not really. There are no scenes in it which I have found myself coming back to, no quotes which stuck with me and made me think about the world in some new light, and that's kind of the point. The people in this film are too young to have much truly profound perspective, they have not had experiences which are intense enough to force some evolutionary shift in how they proceed about their life. These are normal individuals who are working through problems to varying degrees of success and going on very different life paths. These people are not monsters or freaks or revolutionaries, and that's what makes this an enjoyable viewing.

Besides the immediately edifying aspects of the film, of which there are many if you are thoughtful about what you are watching, I expect this project to age well. All of the individuals involved are still quite young and it remains to be seen where they will end up. In ten to twenty years, when their roles in society are more defined and their accomplishments (or lack of accomplishments) are set in stone, it will be an interesting experience to see their outlook on the world once again, then take the contrast of what we saw in the film. Will Kantbot succeed in his media and creative endeavors? Will Sean be successful in whatever career he ends up choosing? Will Kyle still be heavily drinking and smoking or will he be putting his energy into other avenues? Will Charels and Viddy be sharing an apartment or will they be married and have kids? All this remains to be seen, and for better or worse it will be seen.

Overall, this was an honest portrayal of the individuals in the film, even though the film might have been more compelling on an emotional level if there were less people on screen and more time for personal details that pertained to hopes, dreams, and personal struggles. With all this said, it is nice to see people I know and am fond of get some form of recognition that does not try to demonize them or lionize them for ultimately meaningless political reasons, and that is the main reason I would recommend people curious about "incels" or "internet subcultures" watch TFW No GF.