node created 2019/09/29
Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not using your talents and efforts in a striving toward an important goal.
The march away from language continues. Facial expressions may be a rich form of communication but the kinds of ideas you can communicate with them are severely restricted. Literacy was hard won and now it seems like we're letting it go.
Your neighbors may shit in their pool. They may not even be aware that they’re doing it. They might think shit is just a natural consequence of having a pool. They may hop the fence at night and shit in your pool, oblivious as they are to the difference between shit and not-shit. That doesn’t mean you give up and start shitting in your pool, too. You clean it up (even though it’s not your mess) and you go back to enjoying swimming in a nice sanitary place where poops don’t hit you in the face when you come up from underwater. You invite your friends over, because swimming in a nice clean pool is more fun for everyone, and it’s more fun for you if you’re not swimming alone. As a result, if your friends decide to dig pools in their backyards, they know shit and pools are not irrevocably linked and they work to keep theirs clean. Slowly, you all hope, everyone will see how much nicer that makes swimming.
The third world is not a reality, but an ideology.
You can't restart the internet. Trillions of dollars depend on a rickety cobweb of unofficial agreements and "good enough for now" code with comments like "TODO: FIX THIS IT'S A REALLY DANGEROUS HACK BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG" that were written ten years ago.

A Lady Thinks She Is Thirty

Miranda in Miranda's sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What's a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then —
How old is Spring, Miranda?
Utilitarianism aspires to be a benign philosophy but its proponents tend to overestimate their capacity for foresight and moral reasoning and end up creating deeply inhumane systems which are arguably worse than the problems they set out to solve.
When daily life requires turning a blind eye to the falsity of countless things we’re told, it weakens the power of language to sort truth from fiction.
It's also a really convenient place to get news, because since all news sources are government approved then there's no fake news to worry about.

Comments like this remind me that totalitarianism doesn't need to be forceful or hostile, implemented by a shadowy government from above. People themselves will often happily serve as salesmen for the regime - with a 0% commission, to boot.
What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?
My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It's essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know that they don't.
Some crimes can also be aided by whispered in-person conversation. Should we require all in-person conversation to be shouted near a government office?

The societal default used to be that substantially all conversations were inaccessible to the government except through testimony. Encryption does nothing to change the availability of information through testimony.

Previously, remote conspirators could collaborate through the post, and their conversations could only be accessed with a warrant specifically targeting those communicators. End-to-end encryption does little to change the availability of information in a targeted investigation; it just means it's a little more difficult to access the information than entering a phone number into XKeyscore. Investigators can install malware on the device, or microphones and video cameras in the suspect's home to hear or see what is being communicated.

Forbidding end-to-end encryption, in combination with our mass surveillance apparatus, changes the societal default to be that substantially all conversations are trivially and automatically accessible to the government.
They painted fascism with an American flag, and you ran it up the pole.
The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser. The gold-digger is the enemy of the honest laborer, whatever checks and compensations there may be. It is not enough to tell me that you worked hard to get your gold. So does the Devil work hard.
Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.
You must get your living by loving.
Generally, identifying as <political label> usually involves ignoring the parts of reality that go against the narrative. Each group has a story, which is a simplification of a selection of real life, optimized to be viral (otherwise they would never have become a large group).

If you realize this:

- first, your former allies will denouce you as a traitor;

- then your former enemies will offer you membership, because it seems to them like you want to switch sides;

- you refuse, now both your former allies and your former enemies are angry at you;

- you spend some time alone;

- then you find people who are not playing the game, and they become your new friends;

- finally you realize that people not playing the game are actually a majority of the population.
What you can't see from this picture is the room full of people staring at this with one hand on their chins and super serious expressions. One girl was even taking notes! Sometimes I wish I possessed the requisite attention span to absorb endless amounts of totally pointless bullshit.
Pride ruined the angels,
Their shame them restores;
Lurks the joy that is sweetest
In stings of remorse.
Why can't we state what we mean, what we think, what we're uncertain about, what questions we'd like to discuss in order to foster discussion instead of provoking it. Playing devil's advocate is fine when it's understood what's going on and why you're playing devil's advocate, but when there's ambiguity you play this game of "yes I said that I didn't mean it though" which ends up sounding weak as it does in those case. Devil's advocate is a great cognitive strategy for exploring an issue together, but it's a very poor conversational strategy.
To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.
People are like stained-glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn’t growing, it’s stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct its analysis of the situation is.
Emperor G built a beautiful walled city, inviting everyone in, encouraging them to paint their houses whatever color they like. A year later, Big G banned blue houses. If you didn't like the rules, you were more than welcome to build your house outside the city and paint it whatever color you like.

Only most people don't leave - blue is just one color and they weren't very interested in it anyway. Besides, the city is so beautiful and provides for their every need. In the coming years, people who want to paint their house blue badly enough to leave paradise are heavily scrutinized and eventually considered outcasts.

Over the years, more and more colors are slowly banned, one by one. People start to notice and complain once their favorite color is outlawed. But decades have passed since Emperor G's generous invitation. Entire generations have lived, died, and raised children inside the city. No one knows how to navigate the wilderness anymore. And even if they could, why would they want to? Thorns and weeds have overgrown the wasteland; it's much safer to stay inside the city walls. Besides, it's cozy and we have everything we need in here.
The push for electronic medical records has nothing to do with the delivery of quality health care….it has everything to do with control.
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.
They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life.
To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
Everyone has an internal eye. It always watching. It has been slowly constructed by society at large and by your friends and family, and it checks you for unacceptable behaviour. If you have had it around for long enough, you actually start to believe that the eye is you, and that you’re “being reasonable” or some other rationalization.

But the eye isn’t you at all. It is a prison, and you have justified its existence by obeying it. It’s strong because you let it be strong.

But the secret, the part that’s amazing, is that it can’t do anything to stop you, even if it wanted to. It’s an eye. It can only watch. The rest of you is free to act as you wish.
Why not just cut out the middleman and eat from a bag of sugar directly?
The fact that there is nothing but a spiritual world deprives us of hope and gives us certainty.
"Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way", #62