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Messages - Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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The government certainly doesn't have a monopoly on power, but legitimate power's center of gravity is in government. The reservoirs of power outside the government are fractious and competitive. They seldom manage to consolidate into an effective counterweight to government power that can bark orders without going through official channels, at least not on a massive or widespread scale. They compete to capture that center of gravity into their own orbits. Bureaucracy in this metaphor would, I guess, be the stiff medium through which that mass must be pulled, and it acts sort of like a non-Newtonian fluid  in that it strongly resists abrupt movements, and attempts to break that barrier are either stopped more or less cold, or if they can act with sufficient force, cause the fabric of that bureaucracy to shear or shatter.

So I guess the question is whether Trump's admittedly intense efforts carry enough mass with them to do lasting damage to the bureaucratic order. So far, the resistance seems to be holding as various forces align in direct opposition to his efforts and a lot of the energy Trump is putting into the system is lost to friction and apparently aimless indecision, and much of his original "mass" of support evaporates. But Trump's administration and a large part of his support in the public form a core of fundamentally hostile actors who are very openly trying to undermine and destroy the bureaucratic order. So... we'll see.

It's been a long time since we've had such a stark reminder that order and disorder may be in a state of tension, but that the goal is to maintain a balance between the two, not to destroy order.

Bureaucracy maintains a status quo that often contains stifling and oppressive elements, so it is frustrating to try to chip away at those elements trying to get them to change. In those cases, Grayface seems like the enemy, rigidly clinging to protocols and channels and hierarchy. But Grayface clings to those protocols and channels and hierarchy when people try to change the status quo to make things MORE stifling and oppressive, as well.

Grayface is bureaucracy. Grayface is the court system. Grayface is the fair trial. Grayface is filling out paperwork. Grayface is going through the proper channels. Grayface is compromise. Grayface is ten years from proposing a bill to passing the modified version into law. Grayface is checks and balances.

This doesn't mean that those who prefer disorder have to work for Grayface. But it is a reminder to appreciate Grayface, because it is as necessary as the forces of Discord are for STRIFE, which is the interface between order and disorder.

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Talking to Nigel
« on: Yesterday at 04:43:38 am »
People don't realize how very much control we actually have over our social system. I think the problem is dispersal of responsibility, combined with a representative system; it gives the public the impression that laws are simply handed down from on high without influence from the public. This seems to be especially true among the every-four-year voters, who seem utterly baffled by where Presidential candidates come from.

It's like watching The Blue Lagoon.

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Talking to Nigel
« on: Yesterday at 04:33:43 am »
Accessibility of higher education is a huge deal, and I think it would stand a better chance of changing were academia not already so shrouded in mystery and a sense of elitism that many, if not most, working-class people tend to take the "Don't need no stinkin' free collidge" perspective. They are, after all, also the ones who vote down college funding bills.

When I say that most people are pretty fucking stupid, the thing I also try to remind myself of is that smart people aren't that much smarter than average people. That means that I'm not all that smart, either; I just am able to grasp some fairly simple interrelated concepts that elude most people.

I might be a smart human, but talk about damning with faint praise... humans aren't very smart. Smartest organism on the planet (maybe), but um, still pretty fucking stupid.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: Yesterday at 02:27:15 am »
Oh yeah, Vonnegut is not light entertainment reading. :lol: It's definitely pretty thinky. I recommend giving it a year or so, and then giving it another read-through; you'll be surprised at what you see the second time around. I don't usually read books more than once, but for Vonnegut I'll make an exception. Enjoy!

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Woman In Society
« on: Yesterday at 02:03:59 am »
Are you trying to get us to do your homework for you?


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And of course, the enduring pain in so-called "scientists" asses:



FUCKING BIRDS

WHAT ARE THEY?

WE JUST DON'T KNOW.

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Oh, and then there's Trump, who is neither. Sit back and enjoy the clusterfuck in action, because there are two generally predictable ways this can go; either our bureaucratic system works, and he becomes the lamest lame duck president since Jimmy Carter, or he manages to transcend bureaucracy, which will be a complete and utter shitshow.

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The higher up you get, the more surrounded and bogged down by bureaucracy you become, to the point where it becomes more and more difficult to effect change at lower levels. People who make it to the top in a democracy are usually masters of wrangling bureaucracy, having spent many years navigating the ropes of writing, proposing, revising, compromising on, and voting for legislation. That deep knowledge of the horrors of bureaucracy -- the system -- is what allows people like, say, Hillary Clinton to be a relatively effective politician, ie. a leader who moves policy in the direction her constituents want it to go in.

There is a way to get to be the eye in the pyramid; that's called "a dictatorship". It cuts through the bureaucracy, permitting the leader at the top of the pyramid to make unilateral decisions and effect rapid change. You can see how well that usually goes by looking at any dictatorship ever. Without the tangles of bureaucracy to slow things down, a dictator can be solely responsible for making decisions that effect sweeping changes, all alone at the top, which is also the position they will be in when the mobs come.

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Yeah. See the thing, as I see it, is that there's no actual "Illuminati" in control of everything, but there ARE folks so far up the pyramid that to suggest otherwise to them would be a rather silly thing to do. There may not actually be anybody driving the bus, but there are definitely folks fighting over the title of official bus driver. Some of them are more competitive about it than others.

I don't know how far the craziness actually goes, but it's really clear to me from events and persons that have been part of my life that more than one set of hidden hands is at work in our world and that certain kinds of power and knowledge are NOT to be shared openly with the "masses" if you know what's good for you.

KYFMS is a survival axiom. I got shitall else to say.

So you are proposing a level of government that transcends bureaucracy?

I doubt it. Bureaucracy is an inverse pyramid.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: Yesterday at 01:35:34 am »
Galapagos by Vonnegut. I'm not very far into it, and woefully ignorant of the author, but it's really awesome writing! He manages to be concise without sacrificing one bit of wit.

I'm also becoming painfully aware of how out of the habit of reading actual books I've fallen. I take it as a sign that I will have quite the challenge getting into school after so many years. I kind of just also realized that my problem with writing goes deeper than just discomfort. I'm in for quite the struggle to recondition my mind and body both. One step at a time I guess.

If you find you can't get back into the groove, find an easy page-turner that requires minimal brain effort to follow along. I read a pulpy short novel recently, and that seems to have been a good warm-up for reading things that require more conscious attention.

Also, Vonnegut's novels, in my experience, translate very well into audiobook format. Breakfast of Champions in particular was a delight to listen to.

Vonnegut's writing is beautiful. I was having a conversation about the difference between a competent and a good writer the other day, and Vonnegut was one of my examples of a good writer. Stephen King describes himself as a solid example of a competent one.

In this particular book he does a great job of messing with perspective on causation just by simply and clearly describing how certain characters came to be involved. I'm about 1/10th through by page number. He also has a certain taste for mindfuckery with equally simple description of the setting as "a million years ago in 1986" and the narrator's occasional asides leaving you unsure of where in that time range the story is being related from.

That and he illustrates the undue power opinion has over reality thanks to our over engineered "big brains". It feels at this point like he's leading up to something like Idiocracy, but entirely different in satiric style... we'll see. I have a nice quiet day today and a pot of coffee. Going to try getting to halfway without diverting to the Internet or other easy distractions.

If you haven't read Mother Night yet, I recommend it after you finish Galapagos.

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Talking to Nigel
« on: Yesterday at 01:26:11 am »
To illustrate my point about humans being not that much smarter than dogs, try having this conversation with some random members of the general public, and see how many respond with "I don't care about benefits to society, I care about me and mine".  They don't fail to make the connection between society and themselves because there's some mysterious disconnect, they're really just that fucking stupid. They can't even logic that far. Some might be able to if you held their hand, which is why education is so important, but a larger proportion, even with education, believe it because an authority figure told them to, not because they actually grasp the concept themselves.

This isn't  because people are bad, or wrong, or immoral. It's because the ape called homo sapiens is just not all that smart, on average. Luckily, we are usually smart enough to choose leaders who are smarter than we are. Clearly, though, that scheme is not foolproof.

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Talking to Nigel
« on: Yesterday at 01:16:00 am »
Annnnnnd this is why we need support and initiatives to get scientists into politics. It's alarming that so many politicians are making decisions about science funding from a position of near-total ignorance, and using public ignorance as a fulcrum point with which to launch attacks on reason and further superstitious ideologies.

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Talking to Nigel
« on: Yesterday at 12:58:08 am »
Accessibility is also a huge issue, and not just monetarily. The time commitment to become a top-tier scientist, starting in grad school, is out of reach for many people, especially those with families. I can only pull it off because Salty is phenomenally patient and supportive, and my kids are old enough to be OK with me working a minimum of 50 hours a week. If I was a single parent with kids under 13, it would not be possible at all.

That said, as it stands we are all competing for the same grants, and more researchers without more grant money would be a complete disaster.

I know most people can't get inspired by scientific research, which is why it's up to researchers to be inspired. Most people don't need to be inspired by science (although, we did go through a spectacular century of people being more or less in love with science - that ended around the time of Carl Sagan's death, coincidentally), but legislators should be smart enough and educated enough to realize that society benefits tremendously from scientific research. This should not be mysterious to anybody; the evidence literally surrounds us everywhere, every waking moment.

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The Secrets Forum / Re: What is Kek?
« on: February 25, 2017, 07:56:07 pm »
This really doesn't seem like his style, plus it's extra pathetic for a guy who has to be in his 40s by now. I doubt he'd still have the same IP, especially since I think last time I talked to him he was moving. Probably some other tool from the same area.

Still, it's no loss.

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