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Messages - tyrannosaurus vex

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1
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 09:30:05 pm »
(do I have a home? do I have food? do I have a community that supports me? do I have to worry about assholes from the next kingdom over burning my town down next wee? will I catch the plague and die?)
Those concerns also apply, more or less, to the denizens of an ant colony.

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I thought that would be implied by the qualifier "fundamentally", as in, "does it mean something fundamentally different to be human in 2020 than it meant in 1320".
So, what, in your opinion, would qualify as a fundamental difference?

1. yes, ants are also alive. is this ... a revolutionary concept?

2. i think one fundamental change would be to refocus our attention from productivity and technological progress to efficiency and social progress - one of which can easily be learned from other cultures that we routinely regard as having nothing to show us because they don't live like we do, and the other which can be learned from each other simply by listening. merging what we have learned through science and technology with what others have learned through long experience and direct human contact might produce such a fundamental change.

2
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 09:20:28 pm »
One of the most insidious and dangerous assumptions we have is the silly idea that human history has a direction. That in some meaningful way, life in the 21st century is fundamentally different (even "better") than life in, say, the 14th century, or the 21st century BCE for that matter.

The second sentence in the above claims that not only has there been an improvement in the last 600 years, but that nothing much has changed.  There are literally hundreds of counterexamples, mostly technological, some social.

You move on to say that longer lifespans aren't intrinsically a good thing.

As for your specific example, clean water and sanitation are better if we take it for granted that longer lifespans and higher population density are better.
Sanitation is an improvement if you have one human involved.  You don't need a high population density.  And it's not just the length of the lifespan, it's also the part where you don't shit yourself to death from dysentery.

Here's another example:  improvements in agriculture and transportation mean we can amortize the effects of local crop failures.  That means the tribe that worships Enfen-Loqa of the sevenfold tongue, doesn't have as much of an incentive to kill the proselytes of Amur-Hoth, just to ensure their access to the food supply.

3. The final question about what we have gained, as might be evident if you remember that it is the last line in a larger piece and not just a singular lonesome question posed all by itself without context, is asking whether our technological progress has made a difference in the fundamental, innate feeling of being a human being or our chances of being fulfilled as a member of society.
Your chances of being fulfilled as a member of a society (whatever the hell that means) are somewhat lessened if you're dead.

Everyone dies. If I was as cynical as you, it wouldn't matter whether the life expectancy was 40 or 400, since death zeroes out your chances anyway, right? So we are arguing the same point: a modern, industrialized society with sanitation that extends the average lifespan to 70 years doesn't really accomplish much if you run out of time and die before coming to grips with who and what you are. I'm not saying I'd rather people die sooner, I'm saying I personally would rather have a shorter life feeling at peace and accepted by my peers than a longer life feeling isolated and constantly in fear for my survival.

3
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 09:11:25 pm »
ďTechnology is uselessĒ was implied by ďlife is fundamentally the same as it was in the 1300s.Ē Because thatís a damnable lie.

The rest isnít in the first post, sure: it came from your responses to being called on that really dumb statement about life being fundamentally the same as it was ~700 years ago.

This is because you think I'm inviting you to imagine yourself magically transported back 700 years. Obviously life is better for you in 2020 than it would be for you, a person from 2020 in the 1300s. Maybe I should have said the same sorts of pressures that people in the 14th century had to deal with (do I have a home? do I have food? do I have a community that supports me? do I have to worry about assholes from the next kingdom over burning my town down next wee? will I catch the plague and die?) are still faced by us today, only that we have the 21st century versions of those things. I thought that would be implied by the qualifier "fundamentally", as in, "does it mean something fundamentally different to be human in 2020 than it meant in 1320".

4
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 08:47:01 pm »
how to know what i meant, with the power of reading comprehension:

Quote from: me
One of the most insidious and dangerous assumptions we have is the silly idea that human history has a direction. That in some meaningful way, life in the 21st century is fundamentally different (even "better") than life in, say, the 14th century, or the 21st century BCE for that matter. That human events follow a more or less predictable (at least in hindsight) trajectory from "primitive" to "advanced", and that it does this because of some sort of natural law that governs all kinds of progress.

stating the assumptions I wish to question:

1 - that life as we know it in the 21st century is meaningfully superior to life as some schuck in the 14th century knew his life (note: not how we would think of living in the 14th century, because that's preposterous, but how they thought of it.)

2 - that human history invariably follows the path that we describe as "this history of western civilization". the fact that we have to supply the qualifier "of western civilization" should already tend to cast doubt on this presumption, but here we are.

3 - that the aforementioned progress happens regardless of our personal contribution toward or against it. that it is a natural law.

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This idea is pure bunk, and should be stamped out with extreme prejudice wherever you see it. It is the kernel at the center of the centrist's inaction in the face of injustice, the unfounded presupposition behind violent wars of "regime change" and "nation building", and the morally vacant justification for colonialist thinking. It is the reason we are taught that the evils of slavery and genocide are "in the past" while the forces that drive them simmer in communities around the world.

initial refutation:

1 - fairly typical call for the avoidance of the ideas noted above.

2 - a list of cases where the idea of unstoppable and inevitable "social progress" is routinely used to excuse bad behavior (note: this is more or less a standard postmodernist rebuke of modernism and similar lines can be found in literally every single place everywhere you might find words about how we fucked up the 20th century with our big ideas about the inevitable march of progress)

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History has no arc. It is not a story about a protagonist species who learn and grow. It has never been guaranteed that tomorrow will be more just for you than today, or that the next century will bring more opportunity for your descendants than the last one had for your ancestors. This should be plain to see as we watch the entire allegedly "free" world slip farther every day into the same patterns of mistakes and collapse that have recurred time and again since anyone bothered to remember anything.

additional words on the subject:

1 - "history has no arc. it is not a story about a protagonist species who learn and grow" > basically indistinguishable from 99.5% of anything Roger has ever said about human beings, and

2 - Repetition for effect: nothing guarantees tomorrow will be better than today or that today is better than yesterday. I mean, I'm pretty sure they teach this in preschool.

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Even when disaster is averted, for all our apparent progress we have never actually made a difference in what it means to be human. Sure, we have the power to blow up the planet, the power to fling ourselves uselessly into orbit, the power to talk to each other across insurmountable distances. But so what if we can do all this, but give up the ability to feed our children, or the time to appreciate a sunset once in a while, or the courage to speak to our own neighbors? What have we gained, exactly, and why do we imagine that to be "progress"?

Closing paragraph:

1. please note the phrase "a difference in what it means to be human" and how it differs from, for example, "a difference in what it means to own a refrigerator or drive a car."

2. a list of our fancy-pance accomplishments and claims to fame juxtaposed with common-as-actual-goddamn-dirt complaints about the side effects of modern society.

3. The final question about what we have gained, as might be evident if you remember that it is the last line in a larger piece and not just a singular lonesome question posed all by itself without context, is asking whether our technological progress has made a difference in the fundamental, innate feeling of being a human being or our chances of being fulfilled as a member of society.

Notice how in none of these lines were any of the following suggestions posed:

- "everything sucks! let's move back to the forest!"

- "modern medicine is garbage! let's get typhoid like grandma and grandpa used to get!"

- "Technology has not helped anyone ever in any context!"

If you found yourself imagining these suggestions were in fact there, you can see how this assumption arose from your own brain, and not from the text.

Anyway, thanks for playing.

5
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 08:19:36 pm »
Vex, I donít agree with most of Howlís response here, and I genuinely think there could be a better way of life than what we got, and I think there is not arrow of history (because all it takes is an autocratic Luddite taking control and suddenly itís feudal Europe again), but heís kind of right about the target audience part here. Itís everyone. Because it APPLIES to everyone, or to no one. Whatís good for the goose and all that.

No matter who the target audience is, Mein Kampf is an abhorrent text with abhorrent conclusions.

And yeah, I did just compare the shit youíre saying in defense of a viewpoint I agree with you on to Mein Kampf because the end result of both of them is a lot of people being fucking miserable and/or dead.

Sit with that and keep reading.

Maybe you read Mein Kampf, but I wrote, idk, See Spot Run, at best. Literally, standard-issue postmodernism. I am not responsible for the conclusions you draw from an overly defensive reading of my text.

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Do some soul searching while I call you a moron again, because youíre letting the facts that you are not very fucking smart right now and that your supporting arguments for your core point are DETESTABLE become an attack on your moral fiber.

But these things are only truly an attack on your moral fiber if you let them be, in the sense that while any human being could think this horrid shit up and most could rationalize it into sounding like a good idea, only a monster would refuse to engage critically with it when told that theyíre being an asshole.

Stop being defensive and seriously think why the fuck I would say this. Why a lot of people, practically the whole forum short of the resident peacekeeper Cramulus would say this.

If I am defensive it's because someone decided to cram a bunch of words into my mouth that I never said and then shout a bunch of profanity and insults at me like I'm the one who said the things they invented. :shrug:

6
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 08:13:05 pm »
V3x you're being an ass

I apologize. Western technological civilization really is the best we can do as a species and I take back everything I said about other cultures retaining their humanity.

Other cultures are just like us.  Some are even worse (ask an "untouchable" how their day went), but all have the exact same set of drives. The only actual difference between cultures is access to resources, and the ability to store enough resources to support an educated class.

There are no inherently noble cultures or classes.  All humans are assholes by default, although the occasional freak may rise above that.  Even our gestures at "noble purposes" are a statement of wealth.  "I can afford to worry about <insert cause>, because I will not starve to death by the end of the week."

The very culture we complain about is the culture that allows us to give a damn.

Ok but I never said anyone was better (or more noble, or whatever) than anyone else. It is true that no culture is more noble than ours, but by the same token ours is no more noble than theirs. We are different - full stop, no value judgment necessary. I said the way we do things isn't the only way to do them and the way we think about ourselves and the world isn't the only way to think, but mostly I said that we aren't going to get better just because we get older and the fact that we are "older" in our own terms than native people all over the world doesn't mean we are better than them, or that we have achieved some state of humanity that is qualitatively superior to theirs, either. I appreciate everyone's deeply abiding need to find an axe to grind and all, but please stop putting words in my mouth.

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The very culture we complain about is the culture that allows us to give a damn.


Thatís what I took altered to be saying when she mentioned something to the effect of ďall meat on the bones is racistĒ back in the Ďso about these riotsí thread, IIRC. The fact that some are using that privilege to address systemic oppression and abuse is in itself a thing of wonder, given that it COULD undermine the vantage that permits that expression. The moral ground wins over the ethical in this case, I think, there's BEAUTY and TRUTH in that.

Yeah, the thing about the arrow of history is that the rising tide may not lift all boats, but it lifts more and more boats.

It sucks if you're on a short anchor chain, though.

History evolves, but it doesn't necessarily evolve for the better, nor does the evolution of one people's history make them - even in net terms - better than another people. In all places and at all times, there have been people who succeed and people who fail, people who rule and people who are oppressed, people who live and people who die. For all our historical evolution, we have not made an appreciable difference in that fundamental dynamic of human culture. We may feed more people, but we kill more people doing it. We may listen to more people, but we ignore more people in the process. We may include more people, but we exclude as many more. We have achieved great things but our evolution is one of scale, not of kind.

7
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 07:21:22 pm »
V3x you're being an ass

I apologize. Western technological civilization really is the best we can do as a species and I take back everything I said about other cultures retaining their humanity.

8
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 16, 2020, 05:23:20 pm »
Finally, seeing as that was a good point to jump into this from...

If you really think that my response or seeing someone talking about how maybe we are more focused on long life than happiness and maybe thatís dumb when I am seeing an acquaintance in tears about her massively shortened lifespan due to racist inequality, while Iím seeing my OWN lifespan roll up toward my face at frightening speed, if you think my response to that should be civil? Get bent. Iím fucking broken. Iím lucky to be standing here, thereís hundreds of able bodied, neurotypical cishet people who would have brained themselves by now. And I fought this hard and this long, apparently, to have someone tell me that maybe massively shortened lifespans are a good trade off for happiness when itís well the fuck known that lifespan and happiness are literally DIRECTLY correlated.

Alternatively you could realize you're not the target audience and move on as if, wonder of wonders, not everything is meant to be taken or applied by you personally or even aimed in your general direction. At no point did I include you in the title or in an address at the header of this stupid spiel. You will note a conspicuous lack of a sentence that goes anything like "Here's what I think Altered should do", or, in fact, any sort "here's what I think we or literally anyone 'should do'", for that matter.

At no point did I present primitivism as a viable or preferable alternative to anything. Literally all I did was note that so-called "primitive" cultures are no less valid and no less human than ours, and that ours isn't an inevitable evolution of theirs and there's no reason to extrapolate from our present condition into assumptions that we will necessarily be better off in the future. There's nothing revolutionary here, and there's nothing about telling you personally to do absolutely anything.

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I will not be nice about it. Discordia is not nice at all to begin with, and words like that in the state Iím in are just a hair short of saying I need to suck it up and lay down and submit to irrelevance. The ďhair shortĒ part is only because Iím fairly sure that wasnít the INTENDED reading.

If the general preference is for me to be nice and pleasant in the face of a DEEP FUCKING INSULT, at a time that any person in my situation would be losing their goddamn mind about that exact damn point being made, then you can keep it, Iíll stay the hell out of threads I donít make in the future, because itís all downhill from here.

I'm sorry you're in the state you're in, I'm sorry you've experienced horrors and misery beyond what I myself may have been able to endure in your position. I'm not being facetious or sarcastic here. I'm genuinely angry that we live in a world where people can be so casually abused, neglected, and discarded. I'm sorry you lack the vital community and social infrastructure that we all need in order to thrive and be healthy. And I don't expect you to be "nice" about anything you perceive as an insult.

But, yeah, when you take something that is really just a run of the mill reminder that Modernism is bullshit and decide that means I am somehow telling you to give up what few lifelines you may have, you're the one who decided I said that.

9
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 08:14:58 pm »
I should say North America because the Aztecs were pretty horrible. I also think societies develop around the availability of resources: jungles aren't particularly hospitable to large Human populations, but the Great Plains are. People in Kansas 5 000 years ago didn't build fortresses and strip mine tge countryside because there was generally no reason to worry about whether or not everyone would get dinner. The most violent and top-heavy cultures evolved in areas where resources are scarce and there are lots of different tribes competing for them in a relatively confined area.

As we develop technology capable of expanding access to basic necessities, then, we shouod reconsider the reasons we have for accumulating resources. That is, we are biologically able to build a world where we have both the convenience and productivity of modern industry AND the ethical community-mindedness of hunter-gatherer societies. Such a world is neither preordained by benevolent destiny nor impossible because of some innate inability to achieve it. So my point is that we each have an obligation to contribute what we can in whatever measure we can toward that - it isn't futile and it isn't going to happen without us.

10
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 08:05:34 pm »
As much as I respect everyone in this thread, I'm going to cordially invite every person who feels like it's their job to put words in my mouth to go fuck themselves. At no point did I advocate for returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, nor did I ever dismiss the entire notion of technological progress as a myth or the tangible benefits to modern Western humans of modern Western civilization as a fantasy. I apologize if my implication that hunter-gatherers are not missing out on some fundamental aspect of human existence just because they don't have Skype seemed like a personal attack. It was not one.

I am honestly sitting here trying to puzzle out what you were saying, then.

I am in Western civilization.  I have stuff.  So do people in Thailand and Japan and Africa.  Some of them don't have as much stuff, but they are feverishly trying to get that stuff.  Not because they have been brainwashed by mean old Western Civilizationô, but because they are human and humans want stuff.

I imagine I should feel guilty for having stuff and wanting more stuff.  I find that to be absurd, considering that my job literally requires me to find ways to kill every living human as efficiently as possible, and I don't feel guilty about that.  Fuck the humans.  They aren't my goddamn people, and they can all SHUT UP and maybe DIE.

I am not quite as cynical as that. For 20,000+ years, people who were every bit as anatomically modern and cognitively able as we are lived a whole different way in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Obviously it wasn't some idyllic Eden where everyone was happy and nobody wept and there were no problems - there were wars, andd famines, and diseases, and assholes and murders (probably). But they operated under a whole different set of basic assumptions and didn't engage in the same sort of resource hoarding and environmentally catastrophic exploitation that we take as a given today. They lacked access to anything we would recognize as basic modern amenities and infrastructure, but they had no concept of those things so they were no less satisfied with their lives than we are with ours.

I'm /not/ painting some bullshit picture about how we should give up on civilization and return to that. Im just saying that human beings are not actually hardwired to destroy themselves and their environment, and that what we think of as civilization is neither inevitable nor "superior", or even "more advanced," except by our own standards that only apply subjectively to us. And the reason I bring it up isn't to say we ought to mimick hunter gatherers, but only to be aware of our prior when we think about what is and isn't human nature and whether we are either doomed to blown ourselves up or destined to overcome: neither of those outcomes is assured merely by virtue of our human DNA.


11
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 06:42:49 pm »
As much as I respect everyone in this thread, I'm going to cordially invite every person who feels like it's their job to put words in my mouth to go fuck themselves. At no point did I advocate for returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, nor did I ever dismiss the entire notion of technological progress as a myth or the tangible benefits to modern Western humans of modern Western civilization as a fantasy. I apologize if my implication that hunter-gatherers are not missing out on some fundamental aspect of human existence just because they don't have Skype seemed like a personal attack. It was not one.

12
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 04:19:52 am »
You're not hearing me at all. I will definitely grant you that's because I'm scatterbrained as fuck these days for my own reasons and bad at organizing anything I try to say, and that's why I put this here instead of shitting it out on Facebook or something. I am too apt to go off on some diatribe about anything.

That said, I'm not seeing anything from you that counters the actual thing I'm trying to say, which is the myth of the Long Arc of History being a crutch used by too many people to excuse their lack of activism, on the grounds that progress is somehow inevitable and therefore not incumbent upon them individually to put in any effort. Obviously this does not mean you or probably anyone on this board, it means [people]. Like, in general. I am only saying that history, contrary to popular conceit, has no inherent bias toward iustice.


13
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 03:29:52 am »

As for your specific example, clean water and sanitation are better if we take it for granted that longer lifespans and higher population density are better.

They are.  Cities exist as a means to gather resources.  You have an objectively higher chance of living to be old if you live in a modern city.

Who says living to be old, cursing the traffic and hating your job and dodging stray cop bullets the whole time, is objectively preferable to living off the land with a few other people for a shorter time? If modern city living is objectively better, why don't all those tribes in Africa or Brazil give up and move into apartments? Why do we complain about the conquest of the American West? We brought Civilization after all, so why did the natives resist?

But more to the point, will what we have built lead inexorably to Fully Automated Gay Space Communism just because it's easier to live to 60 now than it used to be yo live to 40? And is that trajectory guaranteed by no more than the fact that "so far, so good"?


14
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 02:15:05 am »
CNO, yeah I'm easily distracted and love my rabbit trails, this will probably never change

To boil my basic point down to the bones, it's only that too many people take progress (social, specifically) for granted and use that as an excuse to avoid engaging directly to make the world better. Society evolves, but there's no guarantee that it will evolve to something *better* just because it evolves. And the idea that modern Western culture is objectively superior to what we think of as "primitive" societies, just because it is the sort of thing that it is.

As for your specific example, clean water and sanitation are better if we take it for granted that longer lifespans and higher population density are better. That's one of the kinds of assumption I'm talking about in the other thread of my argument. Not all societies have decided those are necessarily superior goals, and yet the people in those societies are on average no worse off *by their own subjective standards* than we are (otherwise they too would have developed that technology).

To be clear - I'm not saying we should all join some anarcho-primitivist commune, only that we should be conscious of the standards we use to measure cultural achievement because the default one we are handed that says "people in modern America are automatically more civilized than people in the deep Amazon" can be used to justify horrors.

15
Or Kill Me / Re: Push the button already
« on: June 15, 2020, 12:44:04 am »
Yeah of course good things come from our advances. We solve tons of problems for tons of people  and I'm super happy you've been one of them. I'm not saying anything about that. I'm saying the problems we solve are problems we created for ourselves in the first place, and in solving them we generate more problems to solve later. It isn't about whether there is or isn't a grand design, it's about whether by virtue of being Homo Sapiens, we are predestined to build societies that advance socially and technologically toward some future where we finally solve all the problems (or even all the ones we are currently aware of).

Mental health and loving communities are absolutely necessities for human life. And no, happiness isn't all there is to it, though I think you're defining that word differently than I am. But you don't need the Internet to solve those problems until you've damaged billions of people with economic and religious and industrial exploitation to begin with. Now that we HAVE created those problems, then OF COURSE we are morally obligated to solve them. But that isn't to say that we are destined to continue solving them, or that our progress will continue just because it is progress.

My original point, if you read it, isn't even that we should abandon our progress - only that we shouldn't take it for granted, shouldn't assume that (for example) racial injustice will inevitably be rectified just because it seems for now that history is aimed in that direction.

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