Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

How to Figure out Gnon’s Will

A basic idea of this blog is that people don’t choose ideas according to the merits or the logical value of those ideas. People have different personalities, different status-seeking dispositions, so to speak. Some people desire a lot, some people are content with less, some people are willing to go further in order to attain it, others don’t. Given that basic foundation of personality, people then choose the ideas that think can better aid their status-seeking plans. Ideas spread or don’t spread according to how well they fit the wider aggregate status-seeking dispositions of the population. Which of course is affected by the current idea landscape of the culture.

This is why rabid leftists become rabid rightists, or viceversa, while seldom becoming apolitical. They’re just into politics, period, so they get behind whatever is fashionable or suits their background better. Understand this point and you’ll understand much better how the ideological landscape in the West is going to change in the next few decades. For instance, take a look at this:

A tale of two white British brothers who took VERY different paths: One supports right-wing EDL – while the other has converted to Islam

How can they be so different? Well it’s quite obvious. The guys just aren’t into mainstream crap. They’re edgy, as brothers they share those edgy genes, they just happen to stumble into different edges.

But of course ideas have consequences. Not ideas themselves; but different ideas help different groups get together, and social circles have big consequences. Social circles are everything, really.

Another point of this blog, of course, is to look at human behavior from a biological perspective. Richard Dawkins was able to write his masterpiece The Selfish Gene, because he was a zoologist. Everybody should be a zoologist. Everything makes much more sense when you look at stuff like that. Gnon is a zoologist. He really is. Now let’s look at the British brothers as zoologists. One looks happy, has two children, an obedient wife. The other has… his pub mates. Doesn’t look very content, does he?

Now I could start with that and start with the sociological consequences of that… but you already get it, don’t you? Again, I’m no apologist. I completely agree with this post by Jim. This is the solution we don’t want. But I’m not sure Gnon cares about what we want.

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35 responses to “How to Figure out Gnon’s Will

  1. Pingback: How to Figure out Gnon’s Will | @the_arv

  2. Howard J. Harrison March 17, 2017 at 01:10

    You have returned to this interesting theme repeatedly. Today you state the theme explicitly, so I’ll bite.

    Was Plato wrong? If so, how?

    Okay, that’s much too big a question for a blog. I couldn’t answer it, either. However, suppose that you illuminated just one angle of the question—an ontological angle, an epistemological angle or a teleological angle. You choose. For example, if you said, “Teleology is bunk,” I would disagree, but those three words would still help to clarify your position to me. Then you have truth, beauty and right, where Jordan Peterson (whom you have recently introduced; thanks, he is most interesting, and my wife who does not even read your blog then watched his videos for hours) seems to say that truth does not really exist, and even if it did, you and I aren’t evolved to recognize it; whereas Peterson seems pretty deeply concerned with right. But today I do not ask what Peterson thinks. I ask what Spandrell thinks.

    Is there a circularity in your philosophy? A because B because C because A? Or is it A because B because C because Q, where Q is a mystery? Or is it A because B because C because Z, where Z is a logically coherent unmoved mover? I can’t quite trace your circle, but neither can I identify your Q or Z, so this is why I ask.

    Of course, it may be that you represent the Q, in which case you will not answer my question at all. That’s as may be.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Howard J. Harrison March 17, 2017 at 01:18

      Or is the very point of the concept of Gnon this: that it is unprofitable to try to answer questions like the ones I have just asked?

      That’s what Peterson seemed to be saying. To me, that was the single weakest point of his otherwise enthralling presentation, but perhaps you have another view.

    • spandrell March 17, 2017 at 01:29

      I’m glad you and your wife liked Peterson.

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking me here, though. Yes, Plato was wrong. There’s no good reason to think there’s a “world of ideas” beyond the real world. There is a real world. We can perceive it. Other living things can perceive them (according to their perceptual apparatus). But that’s all there is. “Ideas” are just hearsay.

      I disagree with Peterson on truth, and I made that point on my earlier articles on him. Of course truth doesn’t exist in the same way an apple exist. It’s not a physical object. Truth is a mental tool that we use to track our memories (and other people’s memories as deduced from their statements) and compare them with the real world. If it fits, it’s true. If it isn’t, it’s false. It’s a very, very useful mental mechanism to have. I’m sure even animals have that. Say a cat faintly sees a rat running towards a hole. He didn’t see it very well so he isn’t quite sure, but he goes check it out. Once he does find the rat there, the confirmation of his hunch is an experience of truth.

      Of course social animals have a much more developed truth mechanism because we can get information from others, and there’s always the potential for deceit.

      So again, things like truth, beauty or justice do not exist in the same way that physical things exist. They are abstractions. Truth does not exist, but true statements exist. Beauty does not exist, but beautiful things do. It is indeed not very accurate to talk about abstractions using the same language patterns that we use to refer to physical objects; but language is about getting by, not about philosophical accuracy.

      As you see it’s very hard to write philosophical arguments in a way that makes sense, given the way the language works. Which is why most philosophers just end up playing politics with their arguments. That pays better too.

      • Howard J. Harrison March 17, 2017 at 12:37

        No, that quite clarifies, thanks. All your points are well taken, especially your point regarding language patterns. I won’t say that I yet see it quite as you do (for, so far, Edward Feser has rather persuaded me), but it’s an interesting vein that you are mining, nevertheless. Keep at it.

        One appreciates your story about the brothers. I too have a brother who, I had thought, had followed a much different path than I in life; but not that different!

      • rcglinski March 17, 2017 at 17:19

        Can I play Devil’s Advocate?

        Plato and Aristotle, the philosophy of ideas and the philosophy of particulars, are not contradictory, they are complimentary. We all subjectively experience both the ideas and the particulars. Your insistence that Gnon made the particulars but not the ideas is radical materialism philosophically. And religiously the insistence that man made the ideas, not gnon, is the deadly sin of pride.

        I don’t know how much I really agree with all that, I’m more just trying to exercise my metaphysics muscles.

        • spandrell March 17, 2017 at 17:55

          Platonist ideas come up all the time in different cultures. They obviously serve a purpose in social life. Or at least in political life. But I’m trying to call a spade a bloody shovel here and I just don’t see it. I’m quite happy to be called a radical materialist.

          Or at the very least I refuse to talk about non-material things. I don’t deny their existence, I deny my (and your) ability to know about them. I’m a metaphysical agnostic, by which I mean I firmly assert that metaphysics is nonsense but I’m quite ready to accept any metaphysical system if you can prove that it’s on my interest to do so. Just don’t expect me to write about it, I’m just not very good at it.

          • rcglinski March 17, 2017 at 19:34

            You are the Platonic idea of a pragmatist;)

          • Seth Largo (@SethLargo) March 18, 2017 at 21:22

            Any ideological Schelling point that’s going to rally enough people to its cause, it must be Platonic. It has to peddle ultimate ideals and universal Goods of some sort. That’s why leftism works so well: it gives people a Platonic vision of The Good toward which to strive, just as Christianity does (and, of course, leftism is just Christianity minus the sexual morals). The Truth of Universal Equality . . . all that stands in our way is our own ignorance! We must educate ourselves and all the ignorant fools who disbelieve in Equality! We must extricate ourselves from the Cave and turn toward the light of Equality. Mankind can be perfected and attain The Good!

            I’d die for that ultimate truth. Or, at least, I’d go protest for it.

            You’re right that it’s idiotic to search earnestly for Platonic truths; however, it’s a great idea to create Platonic truths for other people to search and strive for. That’s how you start a movement, gain power, and get chicks.

          • Ludwig von Neetgenstein March 22, 2017 at 00:19

            Gnon keeps Platonism around for a more fundamental reason than social functions.

            Platonism is a discount on the cost of mental computation. It drastically reduces the cost of ‘knowledge’. Instead of having to construct testimonies that meticulously correspond to an ordered list of actions with specified limits, you get to waive the memory, time, energy cost of having to account for, and do due diligence on your epistemic claims. You come up with a heuristic that works quite well in some contexts, then you don’t specify the scope and limits of that heuristic. Instead, you claim that this heuristic corresponds to the actual ideal object, and hand wave away the fact that this heuristic doesn’t completely correspond to an observable or actionable thing in reality, by blaming reality for being imperfect, illusory, a shadow of the actual thing. Quite ingenious tbh: hiding blue pills under red wrappings.

            Since everything that exists is finite, all computers, all minds, desire to get a discount on the cost of computation. So Platonism is the default bias of the human mind, until Aristotle comes and points out that it’s just wishful thinking; that there’s no shortcut to knowledge.

            Also, I suspect there’s an intellectual capacity cutoff line, under which it becomes rational for the mind to buy into Platonism, since it physically lacks the means of acquiring information necessary to adjudicate the validity of Platonism contra operationalism.

  3. Pingback: How to Figure out Gnon’s Will | Reaction Times

  4. danielchieh March 17, 2017 at 04:30

    I completely assent; I’ve seen Alt-right individuals and honest fascists join Islam as well. There’s clearly a personality that is opposed to liberalism, and will find any avenue to express it. How it is expressed can be quite varied.

  5. lalit March 17, 2017 at 12:30

    Let’s see what the Brits did in India. In 18th Century India, the Hindus led by the Marathas were finally counter-attacking successfully and it looked like Muslims would finally be displaced from power all over India and finally dispatched to beyond Afghanistan. It looked like a 1100 year Hindu-Muslim Struggle was finally coming to an end with a Hindu victory. What happens then? Oh Yes! the friendly neighborhood fresh-faced Brits defeat the exhausted Marathas, conquer India and start favoring the Muslims as they have favored them all over the world from Cyprus to Bosnia to Crimea to Burma and what have you? A Bloody partition of India follows and the current Indian Muslim population stands at 15%, double of what it was in 1948. I’d say the Brits gave us a gift that keeps on giving.

    Can’t say I feel sorry for the Brits. Thought you Limeys could ride the Tiger forever, didn’tja? Suck it up, you Bastards!

    • luke sampson March 17, 2017 at 17:40

      France had no role in India? US had no role in promoting the break up of the GB empire and pressuring the UK to deal with Muslims in India? US deal with the Saud family in 1942? Which country with its anti-imperialism imperialism has engendered anti Western feeling across the world.Septics have it coming, and I cannot wait.

    • spandrell March 17, 2017 at 18:01

      It’s only natural that the Brits found the Muslims more congenial than Hindus. Abrahamic religion and that. I recall reading Richard Francis Burton and man, he really didn’t like you guys.

      That said, the Muslim population in India since 1948 is completely your problem, not Britain’s. If you wanna show the world how to deal with the Muslim problem, you are most welcome to do so. The Chinese are doing a decent job at that.

      • lalit March 21, 2017 at 11:59

        None of the Brits liked the Hindus. Rudyard Kipling even called Islam a comprehensible civilization as opposed to the Hindus who were incomprehensible. Just saying that the Brits have had this coming. Can’t think of anyone who deserves this more.

        My conclusion. The Hindus can’t deal with the Muslims any more than the Europeans can. They are both pretty much fucked. Spengler’s thesis on the exhaustion of a culture/civilization holds true here. The final battle looks like Hans Vs Muslims.

  6. Cavalier March 17, 2017 at 18:12

    Oh look, http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/03/15/16/3E4DCD8E00000578-0-image-a-32_1489594362419.jpg, a fate worse than death. Chomp on that carrot, destroyed-bloodline-man of the incompetent sons.

    Let me know when the elite converts to Islam. Spoiler alert: never. The purpose of the Moslem immivasion is to carrot and stick the lower classes into submission, pun intended. Divide et impera. Oldest trick in the book.

    Also, newsflash: shriveled-up childless woman lawyers in the grinding gears of the Washington bureaucracy aren’t the elite.

    • R. March 19, 2017 at 15:19

      IIRC, Pakistanis don’t have genotypic low IQs, the real problem for them is inbreeding.

      Might be wrong about this.

  7. iFruit March 19, 2017 at 12:56

    I’d’ve been glad not to see the blog of somebody with serious mental issues (related to women, and not only) not be linked to, but hey, one can not be made glad all the time.

    “There is a real world. We can perceive it. Other living things can perceive them (according to their perceptual apparatus). But that’s all there is.”

    There is no way you, or I, can say what “there is”. Plato’s ideas were a product of his mind, like the idea that those were a product of his mind is a product of your mind (and my mind). But so is the “real world”, and surely so is what we perceive.

    “Given that basic foundation of personality, people then choose the ideas that think can better aid their status-seeking plans. Ideas spread or don’t spread according to how well they fit the wider aggregate status-seeking dispositions of the population.”

    Fully agree with the first sentence if “normal” is put beside “people”. Many geniuses, plus all who should honestly be called philosophers and scientists, only care about their truth (ie: perceptions).
    We could say that we are so in love with ourselves that we resign social rewards in order to keep our self-love story pure?

    Society demands you to conform. To leave whatever different is in you than the (exhibited) average outside the club house before stepping in. The more independent your mind is, the more you have to resign. The more in love with yourself you are, the less disposed to resign yourself and wear a costume you are.
    Let’s not forget that you’ll succeed at the ball inside the club house only if you are good at self-deception (deception goes without saying), so the resignation is a radical act. You really have to forget yourself. It’s not like once you leave the club house you’ll find your natural dress there where you left it, waiting for you. You find nothing in its place. A gift box is now in your hands: inside lies a note, signed by The Group, saying “[thanks for yielding, now] you are someone” (my integration in square brackets).

    On the second sentence. No, ideas are spread by the elite, and they spread according to how well they assist the elite in the enlargement of their dominance and control (don’t ask me “of what?”, the answer is obvious; of everything available).
    The operations and ideas of any group, over a reasonable span of time, will take the shape that best helps the elite’s wants and interests.
    That human vanity will keep each cog proudly confident that what they sing ‘n recite is “their ideas” and “everyone is unique” is a monument of nature’s irony, or its ability to make social species hold together if you will.

    • iFruit March 19, 2017 at 13:10

      And I wonder why one should wish or wishfully foresee a shift to Islam instead of Judaism, provided he doesn’t suffer from particular mental affections concerning women.

      You want a cohesive, well ordered, stable 2,5th world civil. in place of what most advanced is there? Why would you?
      Somebody wrote Beauty would save the world. Another that Shame would.
      Literacy, and a neurotic ever knowledge-hungry mind has saved the Jews for the centuries.
      I’d go with their way instead of nurturing nostalgia of pre-advanced settings.
      If the only reaction to the age of technology and its challenges (including that women can no longer be a target for frustrated cavemen’s need to have somebody beneath their heel. Jewish women aren’t, and that’s no coincidence. You don’t need to bully women to keep a culture in great shape; you need to bully women when you are an hominid under the need to bully someone, who can’t bully other males)) the West finds will be going backwards, the Light unto the nations will be the only light left.

      Sorry if this comment is oversized, I didn’t know how to make it less long.

      • spandrell March 19, 2017 at 14:52

        Well when there are 20 millions Jews in Europe out breeding the natives perhaps the forecast will change.

        • Jefferson March 19, 2017 at 16:08

          I actually found Jim’s explanation of the trinity compelling. There’s a similar concept in Judaism, but less explicit.

          In defense of my thede over Islam, I will say that Islam doesn’t seem to have found a way to negotiate modern technology and keep fertility rates up. High TFR exists in third world Muslim hellholes (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), but much lower in places with civilization (Persia, Saudi, etc.). The Jewish setler types live a fairly modern lifestyle, and have very healthy TFR. Other more modern orthodox groups have lower TFR, but always above replacement. To my knowledge, the only other thede at or around replacement is the Danes (not sure if they still are, though).

  8. Jefferson March 19, 2017 at 16:30

    This is basically why I started looking into orthodox Judaism. Moldbug made it clear that the cathedral had lost the mandate of heaven, so I figured it might make sense to see who still claims it. The Rabbis probably lost it With Bar Kochba, but here we are 2000 years later. If it didn’t confer some fitness, we probably wouldn’t have lasted.

    The basic truth, if there is any, is that we don’t really have a memetic scheme optimized for the postmodern economy. Nukes diminish the need for massive armies, which should weaken universalist inclinations, which should, at least theoretically favor smaller thedes (the city state had a good run, and may yet again). We’re in largely uncharted waters now, though. The basic point of communication is to learn from someone else’s experience, but we can’t do that in the face of a social Singularity. That’s why a new religion is necessary. None of the old ones are likely to work without some degree of overhaul.

  9. random observer March 19, 2017 at 21:18

    I quite sympathize with the idea that Islam is the solution we don’t want. But I’ve been among those toying with it as the long term future of the West ever since Houellebecq, or around then.

    The alternative New Religion seems to be something coalescing around Goddess-worship that goes beyond the harmless Wiccan kind. More like some convergence of the Goddess, Gaia, fixation on the human and especially the female body, fixation on whatever exactly “Queer Theory” is, and so on. I anticipate that transgender people will become figures of veneration, our culture’s equivalent of saints, shamans, or both. And ceremonies will be carried on before golden vagina idols.

    Perhaps you think I jest. Maybe. But I recently, and very accidentally, stumbled on the work of Australian feminist/queer/ecology philosopher Astrida Neimanis. Her work seems to apply ‘phenomenology’ [I know it’s a thing in ‘real’ philosophy but I have no idea what that is] to the intersection of all the aforementioned ideas with the environment and particularly water. Some common perspective uniting queer theory, feminism, ecology worship and the earth’s water cycle is the result. It’s like a union of Dworkin/MacKinnon era 3rd wave feminism with the queer ideology they actually hated, and married [heh] to Gaian environmentalism, with Eve Ensler as it’s prophetess.

    All you need is a cult of priestesses and a temple and you’re off to the races. And I suspect the priestesses won’t be selling their services.

    Given this alternative, Islam doesn’t sound quite as bad.

  10. random observer March 19, 2017 at 21:21

    Separately, a semi-serious theoretical question to your theory about motivations.

    Does the desire to impose one’s will on the future count as ‘status-seeking’? It’s a peculiar form of status that doesn’t intrinsically care to be widely known or revered. Or to get some as a result of one’s views. It’s still self-interested, or at least self-impulse driven, though, so I could see it captured by a broad definition of ‘status’.

    • spandrell March 19, 2017 at 21:46

      Well the ability to impose one’s will is pretty much the definition of power, and power and status are fairly similar if not the same thing. But I’d rather not discuss so abstractly. Any concrete example in mind?

      • unquoted quoter March 20, 2017 at 15:38

        Yes. The mad need of the born-to-serve not to know they are doing exactly what they were born for.

        In so far as the born-to-serve are concerned, the below is needed to make them, at once, perform their functions and still be able to feel decently proud making and uttering thoughts where the subject, “I” or “us”, is present. If that’s not the primal form of status seeking, I don’t know what would be.

        Tell a hen-house populace about the strict pecking-order in place, and you’ll see roosters annoyed, but not remotely as much as the hens.

        “Ideologies, however, generally claim to be philosophical or scientific in nature and to provide true explanations of reality, while, at the same time, they offer justifications or rationalizations for courses of action and behavior that accrue to the advantage of the group that has adopted them. There is therefore a sense in which ideologies are always fraudulent or deceptive, for their real purpose is to benefit the group that adheres to them; and the explanation of reality that they claim to offer is one that is calculated to promote the interests of the group. “And yet,” writes Mosca, “that does not mean that political formulas are mere quackeries aptly invented to trick the masses into obedience.”
        The truth is that they answer a real need in man’s social nature; and this need, so universally felt, of governing and knowing that one is governed not on the basis of mere material or intellectual force, but on the basis of a moral principle, has beyond any doubt a practical and a real importance. The members of elites (excluding cynics and dissidents) generally believe in their own ideologies and try to behave consistently with their implications, and the intellectual foundations of an ideology, whether scientific, religious, ethical, or philosophical in character, must be both reasonably sophisticated in argumentation and reasonably honest and complete in the selection of evidence. An ideology fails if its ostensible purpose of explaining reality becomes transparently deceptive and the real purpose is exposed, so that if it is not to fail, it must preserve the ostensible purpose by its credibility and intellectual sophistication in order to appeal to persons outside the elite who have no special interests served by it.”

        As for becoming transparently deceptive, let’s not forget the hens pay the best of their efforts to embrace deception and self-deceive. Transparency will never override this will of theirs.
        They’ll wake up to a “deception” only when it will be needed to move over to new masters, and lies. Not a moment earlier.

        Despite genuine efforts by the members of an elite to adhere consistently to their ideology, their overriding need with respect to it is the ability of the ideology to reflect and rationalize their interests. When the elite finds itself in circumstances in which the ideology does not serve its needs and interests, it may alter the ideology or it may simply ignore it. The elite will therefore occasionally violate its professed ideology, and it will seldom display much attraction for a highly formalized set of ideas that cannot be applied to changing circumstances and interests. The ideologies that serve the interests of elites therefore often tend to be rather vague and to cover their evasion of philosophical and scientific problems with rhetoric or specious logic, although such ideologies may draw on systems of ideas that are far more rigorous and serious in their effort to correspond to reality. It is therefore often impossible to describe the ideology of an elite in a logically rigorous way.
        The managerial elite in the mass organizations of state, economy, and culture of 20th-century society, like any other elite, possesses an ideology, which it uses to rationalize, identify, and communicate its interests and to integrate mass society under its power. In the managerial regimes of the Western world, in which mass consumption and mass political participation have developed, the dominant ideology of the managerial elite may in general be called “managerial humanism,” though it is known under various labels in the different developed states of the West. Managerial humanism is not usually a systematically articulated or formally explicit set of ideas, and it often exists in the minds of the managerial elites and their mass following as an unrecognized or unarticulated assumption or set of assumptions that is regarded as axiomatic by its adherents.
        Explicit challenges to or dissension from the ideas of managerial humanism will therefore often encounter moral or emotional outrage, the expression of doubts about the intelligence, good will, or sanity of those who challenge them, or simple perplexity. […] In its looseness, informality, and lack of system, managerial humanism lends itself to adaptations to the practical needs and interests of the managerial elite, and in its axiomatic and unspoken character and the reactions that challenges to it frequently meet […] it resembles the ideologies of elites of the past and provides a useful service to the managerial elite by becoming virtually impervious to intellectual or verbal refutation.

        Among the young, a name often used is “troll”. By it, the hens mean you dare disturb them while the cocks are giving them pleasure.

        • unquoted quoter March 20, 2017 at 15:44

          [Any truth you dare point out] will therefore often encounter moral or emotional outrage, the expression of doubts about the intelligence, good will, or sanity of those who challenge them, or simple perplexity.

          That’s my favorite part.

          Little dating advice: it applies to every human relationship. Have it and forget truth, or have truth and forget having the relationship.

      • random observer March 21, 2017 at 16:14

        Not “concrete” exactly.

        A blogger/tweeter, or indeed anonymous writer of any kind, who would derive great satisfaction from turning the world to his/her way of thinking, whether or not they ever know who or what he/she is. The satisfaction is the result, not fame, or even wealth or any more solid form of power. I would see this kind of impact on the world, and the pursuit of making such an impact, to be a form of “power”. Not necessarily the kind that one can monetize or convert into the ability to order others to do one’s will, but arguably a great form of power if it actually shapes some aspect of the world of others. But if it’s pursued anonymously, and for the change only rather than for more concrete forms of power, is it also “status”? One is not seeking recognition, fame, wealth, etc. Arguably, one is trying to avoid them. Is not “status” comparable to “honour”, in that it cannot be anonymous but demands recognition by a peer group?

        I was thinking of my own fantasies here, for the record. Not anyone else in particular. Moving the needle would be enough.

        Alternatively, if “status” in one’s own mind is included in the definition, then never mind. Even my #1 is status-seeking by that standard. That’s worth a chuckle of self-recognition.

        Call it “autostatus”.

        • random observer March 21, 2017 at 16:26

          Sorry- editing failure. The reference to “#1” is superfluous and the passage should read “Even my scenario is status-seeking by that standard”.

        • spandrell March 21, 2017 at 16:32

          That is a good point. You’ll grant me its fairly rare, but it does happen. I actually had a discussion with Dividualist about this, and yes I do think autostatus ought to be included. But I hadn’t thought of naming it. Autostatus is pretty good.

          • random observer March 24, 2017 at 16:13

            There you go. Needle moved one femtometer. I’ll have a nice glass of whisky tonight to celebrate. I considered that autostatus is a species of mere vanity, but in a topic like this vanity isn’t a specific enough term.

        • Alrenous March 21, 2017 at 23:38

          If you had Impact once it implies you could have Impact again, and thus you have power, anonymous or not.

  11. Alrenous March 21, 2017 at 23:36

    My mother was a feminist. Pretty hardcore: opened the local battered women’s shelter. My father voted green from reading too much about global warming.

  12. iFruit March 26, 2017 at 16:12

    (from a post on an excellent blog)

    in 2017, cognitive scientists know how to reprogram a human brain fairly effectively. They have weaponized what hypnotists have been doing for decades.

    As luck would have it (sort of) we can test persuasion ideas at Guantanamo Bay without any cruelty whatsoever. There would be no hardcore “brainwashing,” just a series of pleasant experiences engineered to get a certain outcome.

    The key to making all of this work is what businesses call A/B testing. The idea is that you rapidly test one approach after another until you get the best result.

    I believe that current facial recognition technology can tell us how a subject is responding to a suggestion. When one approach works well, we don’t stop – we keep testing until we find the one that works best. And different approaches would work with different personality types. So we need a number of persuasion approaches. The A/B testing would be perpetual by design, so our results would improve over time. Once we can reliably reprogram the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, we take that weaponized persuasion to ISIS.

    Regular readers of this blog have seen me discuss lots of examples of persuasion at work. But you haven’t seen anything yet. Your opinion of free will will evaporate in the next few years. I had that experience when I trained to be a hypnotist. Once you see a subject’s brain get reprogrammed in real time, you never believe in free will again. That’ll happen to you within five years – you will see examples of brains being reprogrammed right in front of you. The science on how to do it is super strong now. It will be everywhere. And it is totally legal. We used to call it “marketing” when it didn’t work that well. This new stuff is something else. It works so well it makes your ethical alarms go off.

    Made me think what new name should be used for who has a non-programmability quotient above 140.
    I am a little tired of antisocial, insane, sick, weirdo and misfit.
    Couldn’t hominids come up with something gentler?

    BTW, would be fun to have NPQ tests.

    Question 1): When did you last read the Mainstream Press without feeling to vomit?

    2) People from Saudi A. organized the 9 11 Attack. Why did no retaliation hit Saudi A.?

    3) Write five synonyms for “NGO”

    4) Add five for “Nonprofit organization”

    5) Last 10 (well, maybe 20) couples whose wedding party you went to were deeply in love with one another that day: true or not true?

    6) Do you know there a lot of very rich and intelligent people living in a city called “Washington” who spend their lives worrying about how to make all places in the world more democratic?
    Shouldn’t they all be made saints? You just can’t count how many sanctity notches above traditional saints these people are, can you?

    It would be a funny game, I think, to make a long questionnaire for measurement of NPQ.

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