Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

The Endgame

Nick Land has finished his long series, Dark Enlightment. It was fascinating to find in an obscure chinese expat site a middle aged Philosophy lecturer writing what effectively was a summary of Moldbug’s blog, with a slight touch of cyberpunk.

Of course the most interesting part in this series is that it has an ending. Which means it reaches a conclusion. In the last post before this one, his 4e, he advances how he sees the future unfolding. He basically sees three possibilities:

  • Utter collapse (Postmodernism)
  • Chinese takeover (Modernity 2.0)
  • A miracle (Western Renaissance)

His bet is on a Chinese takeover (and he walks the walk living in Shanghai), because a Western renaissance is really unlikely. Not that it is hard, in fact one can easily come up with a handful of policies that would make any Western polity become earthly paradise. As he puts it:

(1) Replacement of representational democracy by constitutional republicanism (or still more extreme anti-political governmental mechanisms).

(2) Massive downsizing of government and its rigorous confinement to core functions (at most).

(3) Restoration of hard money (precious metal coins and bullion deposit notes) and abolition of central banking.

(4) Dismantling of state monetary and fiscal discretion, thus abolishing practical macroeconomics and liberating the autonomous (or ‘catallactic’) economy. (This point is redundant, since it follows rigorously from 2 & 3 above, but it’s the real prize, so worth emphasizing.)

But it’s not going to happen. Politics has its own dynamics and people don’t suddenly renounce rent seeking and agree on becoming more cooperative and focus on the long term. So no Western renaissance.

But if we can’t go forward, can’t we at least go back? Democracy is bad, but not so long ago we had functioning societies without democracy. So let’s go back there and start again. That’s the implicit idea behind what we call reactionaries. Surprisingly Land had some words for us.

Democracy’s relentless trend to degeneration presents an implicit case for reaction. Since every major threshold of socio-political ‘progress’ has ratcheted Western civilization towards comprehensive ruin, a retracing of its steps suggests a reversion from the society of pillage to an older order of self-reliance, honest industry and exchange, pre-propagandistic learning, and civic self-organization. The attractions of this reactionary vision are evidenced by the vogue for 18th century attire, symbols, and constitutional documents among the substantial (Tea Party) minority who clearly see the disastrous course of American political history.

But he quickly dismisses it, because the past has a big, huge, gargantuan taboo. Race. In the past there was racism. Ergo we can’t return to the past. He succinctly summarises the progressive’s sense of mission with this sentence: “The alternative to more government, doing ever more, was to stand there, negligently, whilst they lynched another Negro”. That’s how progressives saw themselves, and how they see themselves now. Being reactionary means you have to deny that blacks deserved freedom and civil rights. And that claim requires HBD, which is a tough sell, and a greasy slippery slope.

So Nick Land analysis of the political situation ended with him declaring that reaction is dead, and ergo Western Civilisation is dead, because of racism. So what does he propose in his last article? He proposes the only way of transcending race. Transcending humanity. Bionics.

It turns out that Nick Land has long been focused on cybernetics, and in his younger days actually flirted with leftist agitators such as the Situational movement. All this is forgivable given his age, it was really hard to be non leftist in the 70s. Still the man was intelligent and his flirt with leftism surely left hi with a profound sense of despair in the ability of humanity to pull itself together by its own means. Hence cybernetics. He probably came up with cybernetics as the ultimate conclusion of the leftist critique of modern crony-capitalism. See Organisation is suppression, and he seems to have liked the Deleuze-Guattari critique of modern capitalism as sapping human creativity and crushing happiness and whatnot.

It seems like on reading Moldbug’s blog, he felt inspired to reinterpretate cybernetics as not only the endgame of 68-ish leftism, but also of reactionary HBD thought. The Cathedral holds HNU as dogma, race can’t be discussed. So if we can’t say that blacks are backward we will make ALL races backward by creating a new bionic man, who will leave all the old political bullshit behind.

Singularitarianism is popular among the dissenter crowd. Candide and I agreed in this foseti’s thread that Singularity is popular mainly because it gives some hope of preventing the Collapse of civilisation. There are two opposite dynamics today, which might decide our future. Either dysgenics continues, accelerates, and civilisation collapses under the weight of rent seeking elderly leeching resources of the deprived and deluded young, who die outbred by the NAM and prole hordes ushering in a new Middle Ages where all modern technology is forgotten. Or we reach the Singularity first, so technology grows by itself and supersedes politics.

I blogged before about the two competing Singularities, the computing Singularity (a kickass AI), or the biological Singularity (we discover how to make people smarter, feeding a positive loop). As I said then, genetic engineering seems more achievable than superhuman AIs. It is also more exciting. A self-teaching AI is an alien organism, fundamentally different from any human. It makes us wary, whether by the rational fear of Skynet, or by the mere eeriness we feel against the non-kin.

But bionics is exciting. It’s just us become more awesome. Who wouldn’t like that? Nick Land is very insightful in connecting Bionics with racism and modern orthodoxy. I have been recently feeling very wary on the consequences of HBD becoming widely accepted. There are thousands of reasons why no political society can survive if people knew that genes come in various classes, some better, some worse, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Old society worked through the hope of heaven, but Modern society works through the great fiction of Upward Mobility. HBD effectively kills that.

My first intuition was that we need a new religion. But perhaps Nick Land is right and the Bionic Singularity is at hand. Funny thing is that his article was published not after Greg Cochran’s latest speculations at his blog, where he argues that blacks have a larger mutational load, which might explain their backwardness. The corollary of this is that he not so long ago argued that mutational load in the genome could in the near future be “spell-checked”, i.e. fixed, ushering in smarter and healthier people. If low IQ is caused by mutational load, and this is fixed, the “gap” is fixable! Not exactly the same as Nick Land’s vision of a small group of elite bionically enhanced humans who bored with the petty divisions of humanity decide to evolve by themselves, but similar in that it implies that engineering could solve the Race issue without old fashioned ethnic cleansing war.

Nick Land quotes almost half his article from this writing by John H. Campbell. It certainly is an inspiring piece.

What has the future in store for humanity? Will our descendants succumb to pollution, the population explosion, exhausted resources or grinding poverty? Might they arrive at permanent prosperity or enter the golden age of leisure? Each vision has its advocates and ethical implications. I predict that human destiny is to elevate itself to the status of a god and beyond. We will transform ourselves by evolution, the same creative process which raised our branch of life to the level of Homo sapiens. This advancement is hard upon us. In a dozen generations people well may advance as far above our contemporary form as we surpass the apes. Descendants of another dozen generations may regard our mental capacities as we do the mind of a mole. When they have progressed as far beyond us as you and I have over a mushroom surely our descendants will match more closely our images of minor gods, if not Jupiter Himself, than humans.

I’m sorta tired of bitching about high taxes and Big Corporations and fags and NAMs and feminists and joos and the UN. Damn I also want to inspire people talking about becoming God in twelve generations.

But perhaps we bloggers are also giving a hand for the evolution of mankind. After all if we didn’t complain, if we didn’t raise awareness, if there was no pressure against the Cathedral program, in 12 generations there would be nothing left but Reducciones of nice white ladies controlling NAM villages praying to the goddess. Let’s fight the boring political attrition war until we figure bionics out.


23 responses to “The Endgame

  1. Leonard July 20, 2012 at 14:09

    If you can “spell-check” the genome, then it’s very likely you can simply replace problematic genes with better ones. So, either way the “gap” is fixable.

    Personally, though, I think the likelihood of machine AI is much higher than you seem to, and also, that it is much likelier than the ability to edit our DNA. AI just requires organization, and there are many ways to get organization. The tech all exists. Gene editing requires tech we don’t have. (Not to mention the ethical problems of testing such tech on innocent pre-existing humans, which is a large political problem in a progressive society.)

    • spandrell July 20, 2012 at 14:27

      I’m struggling with common OCR software at my office, and you tell me that a self-editing AI is possible?
      I don’t know, but anyway. Even if we get Skynet we would probably use it to fix the genetic gap.

      If you marketed gene therapy as a way of closing the black or the female gap, it would be approved in nanoseconds.

      • ntk July 23, 2012 at 22:44

        Approving it would essentially amount to admitting that the reactionaries were right about NAMs, women, the role of IQ, evo psych, etc. So they’d first have to find some cathedral-compliant cover story or excuse under which it can be approved.

        But any old bullshit will do, as the global warming hoax shows; the cathedral is great at getting science made to order.

  2. _B_ July 20, 2012 at 19:57

    I have a suspicion about the biological Singularity, which is that it mirrors solar power; on paper it looks good, but when you try to implement it, you realize that you can’t do better than nature (plants, in the case of solar.)

    For instance, if you believe Cochran and Harpending, the Ashkenazim have spent the last 1400 years (give or take) engaged in an unintentional selective breeding program for high intelligence, the ability to manipulate abstract concepts combined with a down-to-earth approach (Torah study generally requires the ability to grasp everyday reality along with abstraction-Aspies don’t do well.) Perhaps this started even earlier, say, 3KYA. The setup is perfect-you have a mostly endogamous population with a steady trickle of converts bringing new genes for assortative mating. And all that has gotten is an average IQ of 115 or so. Granted, on the far right of the bell curve that translates into a lot of Feynmans, but the average Jew is not too mentally impressive.

    Why is the average IQ not that much higher than that of neighboring populations which did not undergo such drastic pressures? I think that there are probably some serious hidden factors pulling in the other direction which will come to light in any large scale synthetic intelligence improvement program.

    • spandrell July 21, 2012 at 01:06

      The idea is that the modern Ashkenazim environment starts with Ashkenazi Talmudism, which is at most 1.2k years old. A certain amount of mixing with relatively high IQ northern europeans also helped the mix; Mizrahim being quite average.
      And the keyword here is “unintentional”. If Jews had consciously sought to mate the smartest of them and consciously starved the dumbest you would probably have got higher gains. 15 points in 1000 years of unintentional selection is still quite impressive. Damn, Ashkenazis are a negligible part of humankind numberwise, yet look at you. You’re fucking everywhere, for good and bad.

      This is not denying that genetic manipulation might result more complex than it seems now. I’m open to the idea of God coming down and chastening us for messing with his creation.

      But the idea of harnessing a technology which enables us to directly manipulate the genome is potentially several orders of magnitude more effective than medieval selective breeding. We already can choose sex before implanting.

      • Matthew July 21, 2012 at 07:58

        How do we know that the Ashkenazic 15 isn’t merely the result of the massive population winnowing that took place in the first half of the 20th century? The descendants of the stupid, typhus-bearing peasants from eastern Europe aren’t around to shift the mean to the left.

        Honest question. I haven’t ever come across any information suggesting that anyone is taking the sudden and large-scale selection of the more intelligent Jewish population into account when considering the relative intelligencese of the races.

        • RS July 21, 2012 at 17:44

          You’re referring to WWII? Cause there was another M scale murder of Jews in the 20th, namely in the Russian civil war.

          The preeminence of Jewry in Germany in the 1930s in stuff like medicine is well-documented. Not just medicine but other professions. Not a bad question though, took me a second to think up what might answer it.

          Additional evidence would be the extreme excellence of Jewish physicists by WWII. Also pretty sure they were a good fraction of English millionaires by 1900, and same for Germany I’m sure.

        • spandrell July 21, 2012 at 17:45

          Jews weren’t peasants, they weren’t allowed to own land, nor did they want to till it when allowed to.
          And they were already outperforming gentiles in the early 19th century. Hey Marx fooled half mankind in the 1840s.

        • _B_ July 22, 2012 at 20:07

          I’ll refrain from speculating on your ancestry, but I happen to be descended from those “stupid, typhus-bearing peasants.” So are pretty much all of the prominent Ashkenazim in 20th century America (not counting the Yekke minority.) So, for instance, Richard Feynman, whose father was a taylor.

          The Holocaust did not select by intelligence; if anything, your chances of survival went up if you were a peasant Jew or an urban criminal-see the Belsky’s. The major Jewish populations of Eastern Europe were urban, and were mostly liquidated en masse by the einsatzgruppen-they would herd the population of a ghetto to the outskirts of town to a big ditch and light them up. See Babiy Yar for an typical instance, or the Vilnius ghetto. No real selection process.

      • _B_ July 22, 2012 at 20:18

        Talmudic study as the predominant theme of Jewish society goes back before there were Ashkenazim, to the second temple period when the rabbis displaced the priests as the nation’s leaders. In the first centuries of the common era, though there was an exilarch, the Reish Galuta, the rabbis seem to have held the whip hand even over him when push came to shove. The Ashkenazim were not revolutionaries in this regard, by any means.

        Mizrahim are not average compared to their surrounding populations; Baghdad used to be predominantly Jewish, for instance, and the Baghdadis produced people like the Sassoons (for instance-,) the Kadooris (including Elie Kedoorie, whose book I can’t recommend enough,) etc. The Sephardim produced Maimonides, to whose ideas we probably owe natural science. Etc.

        Of course 15 points in the middle means ever-increasing disparity as you move to the extremes. But why not 50 points in the middle? Why not 100? There must be some sort of serious costs that come with increased intelligence-probably the process is not linear.

        Sex is a binary state, but intelligence probably involves the unpredictable and synergetic interaction of many genes and their expressed proteins. It is entirely possible that a holistic, intuitive approach (smart people marrying) will work better than an analytic, engineering-oriented one. I don’t see major moves happening until computing and molecular bio make serious leaps.

        • spandrell July 22, 2012 at 20:27

          Well indeed there are costs. Tay-Sachs for one.
          The natural approach of assortative mating isn’t disease free either.

          Though I agree it isn’t happening in this generation.

  3. asdf July 21, 2012 at 15:16

    All of his four points aren’t true about China. I’m not sure where the Chinese hysteria comes from. Shouldn’t we expect them to follow the Japs and all the other Asian tigers in stagnation once modern until proven otherwise.

    I get how hard they study is impressive, but China is loaded with problems. Maybe I’ve been around too many Asians to buy into that narrative.

    • spandrell July 21, 2012 at 17:47

      They idea is they will prevail by being the only ones left, i.e. they are not replacing themselves by NAMs. Doesn’t mean the result would be a superior civilisation. China has this habit of collapsing every 300 years. But it’s still there.

      • asdf July 22, 2012 at 16:06

        Yes, on the scale centuries they are defiantly better at preserving the gene pool. I guess I was thinking more in my lifetime for “Endgame.”

  4. asdf July 22, 2012 at 16:37

    The thing with singularities is:

    1) You don’t know when they are coming (even within lifetime).

    2) You don’t really understand all the implications of their happening.

    3) And perhaps most importantly, you can’t do anything about them. Thus they become some unactionable unpredictable “hope”. It doesn’t really help you change your own life in any way.

    • spandrell July 22, 2012 at 20:32

      Well we gotta work on 2) then.
      if there’s anything you can do about it, you might as well stop fighting it.

      • asdf July 22, 2012 at 22:54

        Personally I’m going to plead limits of human knowledge on #2. When it happens, I think it will make our predictions look laughable.

  5. RS July 25, 2012 at 15:13

    speaking of ‘the end’

    they were up to 7.75 today but are down to 7.4 at the moment

  6. vauung July 26, 2012 at 02:02

    Hiya — are you still in SH (and up for that drink)?
    Tried to contact you through the comments at my bog, but it doesn’t seem to have reached you.
    Let me know — and thanks for the excellent summary.
    My work email:

  7. Harold July 30, 2012 at 06:00

    Jews, and indeed any diaspora people, can be thought of as a nation with direct borders to many other countries. Now border skirmishes are part and parcel of struggle for existence throughout nature so it is only natural to expect the Jewish nation to experience a high rate of conflict.

    Since Jews are a multi-territorial nation, sporadic outbursts of anti-Semitism cause small selective pressures to be successively applied to the Jewish population in each ensuing emigration event:

    – By preferentially attacking the least wealthy segments of the Jewish community, anti-Semitism selects for mercantile skills.
    – By preferentially attacking the less mobile Jews, anti-Semitism selects for hostility toward the territorial boundaries of other nations.
    – By preferentially attacking the most locally-dependent Jews, anti-Semitism selects for stronger Jewish identity.
    – All of the above select for higher intelligence.

    Jewish “chutzpah” instinctively generates anti-Semitism in order to impose the prior evolutionary advantages.

    The mechanisms by which instinctive generation of host-population anti-Semitism arose within the Jewish gene pool include the fact that:

    – Naked “chutzpah” infuriates members of the host population thereby reducing their intelligence and making them emote. This renders them more exploitable even as it elicits anti-Semitism.
    – Defection against a host population is immediately beneficial — acquiring resources at the expense of the host nation — and tends to elicit anti-Semitism as a natural by-product.

  8. David February 27, 2013 at 04:41

    Situationist. Unless there is a “Situational” movement contemporaneous with the Situationists that is unknown to history but which you’d like to fill us in on.

    • spandrell February 27, 2013 at 07:26

      Lol, ok. Seeing that you feel so strongly about the Situationists perhaps you can summarise what the movement was all about. I admit having trouble sorting it out.

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