When we watch TV or play video games, we form one-way friendships with the characters, called parasocial relationships. The same thing can happen on twitter, especially with the bigger accounts you follow.
You see someone in your feed and it feels like they are talking to you personally, and you feel you have established rapport, but the object of your parasocial relationship is not aware of you, and generally can't be, due to the asymmetry of the medium.
These parasocial characters fill up Dunbar slots and they feel like your real friends, so without thinking, you try to mirror them socially, in order to fit in. A popular show like Friends or The Office can do more to the overton window than every politician in America
People say we are in a cold civil war. This is wrong. We LOST a cold civil war, because we had sticks and our enemies had guns. The best plan any of us has is to retreat to the countryside, because that's what you do when you lose.
By now, every white collar in America has been through a woke struggle session. When a WOC tweets "white lives don't matter," she gets a promotion. The game we are playing does not have the rules that you think, because you don't understand power
If you are a "republican" or a "paleocon" who thinks there is some use to be salvaged from reasoned argument, appeals to the constitution, or to fairness, or anything you learned in school about American civics, you are the reason we lost
The quokka is a meme animal that lives on Bald Island on the SW coast of Australia, where it has no natural predators. If you visit this island, it will fearlessly walk up and try to hug you. Why am I telling you this? Because the eye of Sauron has fallen on the rationalists
There was a time in the past when I considered myself to be one of them. Rationalism arose out of a particular cultural moment, when new atheism made people realize that they actually wanted to believe in something strongly, even if that thing was phrased as a negative
This sounds like a paradox. New atheism became popular precisely because so many young people were lacking in any kind of creed or doctrine; it sold itself as a belief system, it had an obvious enemy, and it captured the free religious energy of many "post-christians"
@nicksdjohnson the problem with this is, the right has barely moved in its positions in the past 20 years, whereas the left has moved substantially. This is well-documented. No far-right radicalization has occurred. My views on, for example, gay marriage have not changed in 30 years.
@nicksdjohnson What you call "radicalization" I call "refusing to let the overton window drag me"
During the Korean War, captured American soldiers found themselves in POW camps run by Chinese Communists. The Chinese treated captives quite differently than their allies, the North Koreans, who favored savagery and harsh punishment to gain compliance
The Red Chinese engaged in what they called “lenient policy,” which was a sophisticated psychological assault on their captives. After the war, American psychologists questioned the returning prisoners intensively, because of the unsettling success of the Chinese program
The Chinese were very effective in getting Americans to inform on one another, in contrast to the behavior of American POWs in WWII. For this reason, escape plans were quickly uncovered and escape attempts themselves were rarely successful.
"Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live." Ezekiel 18:19
Was it in some liminal twilight that our forebears tweeted that same perennial argument in which we now find ourselves embroiled, doomed to repeat the same talking points, rehearsing arguments which others have also rehearsed on facebook, somethingawful, livejournal, AIM, usenet
The theory behind vaccination is that you expose the immune system to a small, benign dose of a disease in order to prime it against future exposures. And now you know why they made you read Orwell and Huxley in high school, to make you roll your eyes at these criticisms later
Basically everyone knows "amusing ourselves to death", but that book only has thesis, antithesis. The synthesis is: Brave New World becomes 1984 as its ponzi scheme economy becomes addicted to fast, meaningless liquidity and state-enforced doublethink becomes primary
Orwell's characters were shallow caricatures because although he understood psychlogy, psychological realism would have diluted the impact of his ideas. The critical clue that BNW and '84 are the same world is this passage:
The lockdowns will never end. Each deadly pandemic will be succeeded by a new one, until under-exposure to the environment raises our susceptibility to formerly benign viruses, and colds become lethal. We all hide indoors forever, isolated, wearing hazmats even to get the mail
It becomes impossible to know the true extent of the threat, as pandemic science has already become as politicized as climate science. Hazmat laws become mandatory. Anyone who questions the official narrative is labeled a denialist and made into a social media pariah
Stories about non-lockdown countries are suppressed in all official outlets. Even a single life lost to disease is now seen as unforgivably cruel. Face to face contact is viewed as a kind of maliciousness, on par with Jim Crow laws
@bensima@DanielleFong Not interested in your priestly pontificating. You types always do the same thing. You conflate the categories you construct with a prescription for how the world ought to work. Yes, there have always been some edge cases on what constitutes “man”, “woman”, “male”, “female”
@bensima@DanielleFong But until extremely recently we were quite happy to define these categories in terms of a binary, and ultimately, both are prescriptive. You cannot use “science” to make normative claims about this, it comes down to power
Alright, no, we're going to talk about psychedelics some more. Owen brings up a good point, which is that for the psychonaut, the use of psychedelics is an ideology, it has a religious character. Time for another case study in the architecture of religion
There are different sects of psych users who have their various allegiances to their own substance of choice, much like there are different sects of Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism
To recap, I have identified six major components of religious practice. This is my personal taxonomy, it's a work in progress, there are things I am likely to add in the future, all models are wrong, etc.
@2Improove@GreenhouseVHS We all have a lot of stupid and overly idealistic beliefs, especially when it comes to fairness, harm, and how society should be organized. The only thing that saves us from the colossal idiocy of these beliefs is that we are very bad at living up to them.
@2Improove@GreenhouseVHS We are very lucky to be hypocritical, because if we really acted in a way that was consistent with the moral image we try to project, the world would grind to a halt
I'm going to talk about psychedelics now. My qualifications: I am me, I have taken mushrooms and acid on a number of occasions. I have read quite a bit by Leary and McKenna. I have never had a bad trip. I don't recommend them to anyone.
The argument for them is that they open up vistas of phenomenological experience that you are unlikely to have experienced before, along with a sort of default assumption that having new experiences is usually good for you
Moreover, advocates of psychedelic use say that those experiences are usually fun, meaningful, and perhaps even transformative. Many people who use psychedelic drugs feel that they have had profound insights, that they have seen behind the curtain w/r/t the true nature of reality
If “freedom of religion” means anything, it means a market for religion. In our financialized world, we have seen that being subjected to market forces causes everything to lose its shape, and to be remolded, like plastic, into the shape of a commodity.
An object is a commodity when any one instance of the object is as good as anothoer; objects that are members of a commodity class are at least somewhat fungible.
Market pressures commodify objects because the actors who participate in a market must compete with each other, and because competitors copy successful strategies from their rivals.
Illusions endure because we all have a strong need for illusions, as strong as our material needs. And the conceit that your own beliefs are not illusory? This, too, is a necessary illusion
In youth, our ideals are plastic and most of all we seek strong emotions, objects of love and hatred. At this time, a book or a blog may chance into our field of view and determine the whole trend of our future intellectual life
@localmanblank Actually there was one more, all the way back in 2011, clearly about Xbox live arcade / wii, more insightful than the others, even. Most twitter edgelords are basically the protagonist in this episode