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Messages - tyrannosaurus vex

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1
Thanks! The words are coming easier lately than they have in quite some time, and not just on politics, but I'm definitely motivated to punch the shittier elements of the human condition linguistically if not physically.

2
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It really is a testament to how successful society IS, that so many people seem to feel they can opt out without immediate dire risk to their survival.

Truth. Just like only a person lucky enough to be born into the most fabulously wealthy civilization in human history could somehow end up believing that poverty itself arises only from bad choices or moral weakness, or only a person born under the fairest laws in history could somehow think injustice is a only a delusion in the minds of its victims. In past ages, when the whole world was hostile and the state really was out for your blood, no one would deny that some people got the short end of the stick by chance of birth and deserved something better than they had the power to earn for themselves. It's a serious indictment of humanity that once presented with the tools to eradicate disease, poverty, and starvation, we choose instead to just stop seeing those things as problems.

3
Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: Yesterday at 08:25:30 pm »
Next on my plate: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, by John McWhorter. (Thanks to QGP for the recommendation). It's an audiobook because a) I only read audiobooks & idgaf, and b) in an etymology book it's helpful to actually hear the language. So far it's entertaining, even though the author likes to go on tirades against The Etymology Establishment and the grammar police. It's sort of adorable to hear someone have such strong feelings over a subject so thoroughly nerdy.

4
Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: Yesterday at 04:40:48 pm »
I haven't read much Campbell, but I loved the Power of Myth series. Your review makes me want to add him to my reading list!

I don't think you would go wrong to put him in your list. As a bonus, beyond the interesting subject matter, the writing itself is eloquent and even poetic, without being needlessly flowery or pretentious like some spoofs of "letters home from the Civil War". It's almost depressing because it presents a higher version of the English language that has been almost completely lost, even in the formal academic writing of today.

5
Which is interesting, in that there's a parallel argument that if welfare is abolished, charity groups (widely assumed to be religiously based) will step in to cover.

That is the argument. But I find that entirely unacceptable, because no one should have to rely on serendipitous chance for their survival. And the people who insist that private charity will fill the gap have ulterior motives beyond simply "saving taxpayer money" (which itself is a farce), in that these "private charities" are nearly universally religious groups and sometimes require the needy accept some measure of indoctrination in return for assistance.  The most frustrating thing to me is how widespread the disconnection is for so many people from the fundamental theories underpinning civilization itself. We have grown so accustomed to modern convenience that apparently it is now possible for whole groups of people to assume that civilization is a natural law we can take for granted, that society simply is, and thus they are free to abstain from participating in it as a member. Wiser generations used to say "no man is an island", but these people are immune to such nonsense, I guess.

6
Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: Yesterday at 03:00:05 am »
Disclaimer: wow, this turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would...

Finished The Hero with a Thousand Faces today. My first reaction is that I will have to give this another two or three reads before I catch most of it, because it's incredibly dense. Also, it's a few parsecs beyond my level of education in ancient cultures, myths, and psychology (even if it is outdated on the psychological front). That said, it's a decent introduction on its own to those concepts and for me anyway has been pretty enjoyable.

To my initial hesitation on the question of whether it was ridiculously male-centric, I am sure the case can be made that it is. The book is a deep dive into the history, purpose, and various forms of ancient mythology and how it relates to the human psyche and personal development. It is fixated on duality as the myths see it, the devolution from the divine One to the mundane 'everything else', so it treats gender as a fundamental pair of opposites for that reason. Although it goes to some length to insist on the necessary equality of the sexes, it still assumes there are fixed roles and attributes of each gender. To be honest, though, I'm not educated enough to know whether this stems from Campbell being some kind of chauvinist, or because the majority of mythologies around the world treat gender in that way. Do most mythologies and cosmologies assume such roles? (I'm not asking rhetorically -- I don't know).

I actually began reading the book because I read somewhere else that it has been a strong motivator for modern storytelling, especially in movies. Campbell's theory of "The Hero's Journey" is believed by some (now waning numbers of) people to describe a universal story formula that is followed by many of the most famous and influential stories from prehistory to the present. Allegedly, this has been boiled down to such a science by modern screenwriters that there are computer algorithms that can predict how successful a film will be based on how well its script adheres to this formula. So I was expecting a fairly straightforward description of that formula, with a bunch of examples for each station in the basic plot.

LUCKILY, the book's scope is much bigger than that. The Hero's Journey is certainly part of, and inseparable from, the soul of this book, but Campbell's aim isn't just to spill the beans on some formulaic method of writing stories. He is concerned with the genesis of myth itself and its effects on the human psyche through each stage of civilization's development. He follows a winding path through the stations of The Hero's Journey as a way of avoiding a long-winded treatise in historical order (I think). He ties many of the points to corresponding bits of psychology, which is where he gets into trouble with a few haphazard Freudisms.

The most succinct and useful part of the book (for me anyway) comes in the epilogue, after the end of all the tours through various creation myths. It was almost synchronicity for me because it hit the nail of my recent philosophical meandering right on the head as it described the loss of cosmic and mythological wonder through the maturation of organized religion and the rise of science and hard materialism to the top tier of modern thinking. The ultimate conclusion of the book is that the good purposes served by mythology and religion in the past -- to bind a people together in order to thrive in an often hostile world, first against nature, and then against competing tribes -- is no longer useful because we have now built a global community. Those old beliefs and superstitions now serve to divide us and keep us from recognizing the humanity in the Other. So what is needed, according to Campbell, is a new mythology and the plight of a new "Hero" that functions with respect to modern society, technology, and the self-centric way we now think of ourselves.

7
I really like this piece. I like how Sal is described as Ordinary. That actually gives me a little hope, if the average middle age insurance salesman out there really is dreaming of utopia. Like there's this benevolent potential in people, but it's being held back. Is it withheld by the grim realism of human nature? or is it merely something internal in Sal that makes him stay in the confines of everyday life?

What keeps Sal in stasis? Is it a feeling of helplessness? ie That Sal would be benevolent but he doesn't have the resources. That Sal would be benevolent but it wouldn't change anything.

If there is a message of hope in here somewhere it would be that the power to make a difference is within your grasp at just about any moment. It's just that it's so much easier not to, and easier by at least a little bit to make the wrong kind of difference. With the sheer immensity of problems on the scale of civilizations that we are confronted with thanks to the miracles of modern communication technology, good but small deeds seem impotent. There's really no excuse for it, but it seems like it's harder to give a shit about helping one person when there are seven billion in line.

Sort of the principle that it's easier to dream big and do nothing, than to take a small action that will mean something to a few people.

I guess maybe it's the "easier" part that's the problem. I keep telling my students, volunteer, volunteer, volunteer... but they say they don't have time, and they say "What's in it for me?", and they say maybe later.

I'm hearing a whole lot of this "what's in it for me/us?" lately. Why should we take in refugees. Why should we subsidize healthcare. Why should we feed hungry kids at lunch time. Why should we do anything. And yes those are bigger questions of public policy, but the reasoning behind not doing them an outgrowth of this "what's in it for me" thing that we all share to some degree. It's odd to hear this sentiment voiced so openly, because I could swear that as I was growing up, the very same Right-Wing Christians who raised me, but are now behaving abhorrently, used to tell me "a good deed is its own reward." What happened to that?

9
They would drive tanks and fly helicopters because historical accuracy is for nerds, dweeb.

10
I really like this piece. I like how Sal is described as Ordinary. That actually gives me a little hope, if the average middle age insurance salesman out there really is dreaming of utopia. Like there's this benevolent potential in people, but it's being held back. Is it withheld by the grim realism of human nature? or is it merely something internal in Sal that makes him stay in the confines of everyday life?

What keeps Sal in stasis? Is it a feeling of helplessness? ie That Sal would be benevolent but he doesn't have the resources. That Sal would be benevolent but it wouldn't change anything.

If there is a message of hope in here somewhere it would be that the power to make a difference is within your grasp at just about any moment. It's just that it's so much easier not to, and easier by at least a little bit to make the wrong kind of difference. With the sheer immensity of problems on the scale of civilizations that we are confronted with thanks to the miracles of modern communication technology, good but small deeds seem impotent. There's really no excuse for it, but it seems like it's harder to give a shit about helping one person when there are seven billion in line.

11
Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: March 22, 2017, 02:37:23 am »
I'm intrigued to probably an unhealthy degree by questions of the nature of consciousness, but I have no specific input at the moment. I'll be snorting this thread like crack (is crack snorted?) until I do, though.

12
"The elites themselves believe they are racing using human technology to take our best minds and build some type of breakaway civilization, where they're going to merge with machines, transcend, and break away from the failed species that is Man. Which is kinda like a false transmission, because they're thinking that What They Are is ugly and bad, kinda projecting it upon themselves, rather than believing that no, it's a human test about building us UP.

And so, google was set up 18 or 19 years ago --and this, I knew about this before it was declassified, I'm just saying, I have good sources-- that they wanted to build a giant artificial system, and google believes that the first artificial intelligence will be a supercomputer, based on the neuron activities of the hive mind of humanity, with billion of people wired into it, the internet of things, so all of our thoughts go into it, and we're actually building a computer that has real neurons in real time, that's also psychically connected to us, that are organic creatures, so that They will have current predication powers, future prediction powers, a true crystal ball - but the big secret is: that once you have a crystal ball and can know the future, you can add stimuli before hand which make decisions and control the future, so it's the end of free will and consciousness for individuals as we know, and a true 2.0 - in a very bad way - hive mind consciousness with an AI jacked into everyone, knowing our hopes and dreams, delivering it to us not in some P.K.D. wire-head system where we plug in and give up on consciousness because of unlimited pleasure, but because we were already wired-in and absorbed before we knew it by giving over our consciousness to this system in our daily decisions, and allowing it to control our every decision."


-Abraham Lincoln

I don't know what all the hubbub is about. What's so bad about having a hive mind and putting an end to individuality? What better way to get to know your neighbor than to be bombarded forever with the minutiae of their most offensive and impulsive thoughts?

13
I liked it, but now with Nigel's postscript I love it. May I use both?
you can use anything of mine since you're such a swell person.

14
Also, yeah, I wrote this mainly to kick myself out of Sal's position.

15
Nigel gets it. Sal is dismayed by the world being a news but feels overwhelmed and powerless. He has bought into the myth that small deeds can't add up in the face of such globalisery, and doesn't think he'll ever have the resources to really make a difference. In his mind the best use of his time is to dream up ways he could make a difference, if he had the money or the time or the skill. Which isn't inherently "bad", but it isn't very useful, either.

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