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Or Kill Me / Push the button already
« on: June 14, 2020, 10:52:12 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. 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.

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.

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.

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"?

Aneristic Illusions / Impotent Rant in F (for "futility") Minor
« on: April 08, 2020, 07:40:23 pm »
Donald Trump is not the problem.

He is an inevitable result of a society that overvalues profit and undervalues human lives. If Trump had never been born, we would have some other equally vile sack of excrement sitting in the Oval Office. He is symptomatic of our collective terror and ignorance around the pace of social change. Like God, if Trump did not exist, we would have to invent him.

In terms of the election this year, a vote against Trump is absolutely meaningless if it is also a vote *for* a return to the political and social status quo in which he arose. Any vote that is not essentially revolutionary will only serve to strengthen Trump's position -- specifically because it is the popular longing for a return to normalcy that created his presidency in the first place.

Voting for Biden is not a protest against Trump, it is a fear-based reactionary scramble for safety. As such, it is doomed from the start because all such scrambling only reinforces the political trajectory that has already culminated in Trump's election. Why would the country elect Biden, when we already have a president who embodies everything he stands for but without the cheap and frankly insulting veneer of faux civility?

Joe Biden opposes universal healthcare (he says everyone deserves "affordable" care, which is code for "healthcare should only exist as a side effect of making some asshole a billionaire"); he opposes network neutrality; he supports imperial wars; he supports propping up banana republics to secure resources; he opposes economic security for the working class (again, unless it makes a profit for someone). Personally he is a sex creep and he can barely string a sentence together better than Mango Mussolini can.

If you want to vote for Biden, please do it for the same reason I am doing it: so you can tell the useless liberals and centrists that you did play the game by their rules and we all still lost. Don't do it because you think there's any fundamental difference between Trump's outright fascism and the DNC's fascism-with-a-wink.

Apple Talk / a petition
« on: April 06, 2020, 04:21:49 pm »
the world is awful and nothing makes any sense anymore including questions of life and death, so i am requesting ideas for discordian chaos magic rituals that could resurrect TGRR because we need his guidance in this trying time.

does this belong in this forum or Aneristic Illusions? I do not know.

One thing this pandemic has shown us (in the US, particularly) is that labor practices and worker protections are abyssmal, and that they need to improve -- not just for the human sake of the workers and their families but because of the added unnecessary strain on the wider economy when an event like this forces people out of the workforce.

Maybe when this is over, assuming society survives in some form that more or less resembles its pre-pandemic form, businesses will realize that they could have been more resilient if workers/consumers were more resilient, and change their ways. I say "maybe" only because a 0.3 probability sounds like good news these days. We know it won't work out that way. There will be humanitarian carnage, and a lot of fancy euphemisms from HR, and the train will keep on rollin'.

The reasons for this inability for profit-centric economies to change are obvious and not worth exploring here. What I'm (vainly, to be sure) imagining as a way around this is a simple idea and at first glance seems to work out mathematically, given some appreciable stretch of time where things are more or less stable. As always the hurdles are of the human motivation and PR variety.

In 2019 there were about 132M filled full-time jobs and somewhere around 28M part-time jobs. For my purposes I count each filled position separately, even though many people have multiple jobs and some combination of full-time and part-time employment.

If we take a conservative estimate, we could say there are somewhere around 140 million positions at a given time in the US economy, not counting gig work and the like. Now, imagine some kind of organization that acts like a combination of union and insurance that collects dues from workers. Say, $30 per week for fulltime and $20 week for part-time employees. Given an average adoption rate of 50% across the workforce, such an organization would collect about $2.1B per week, or $110B per year.

These funds could be used as an independent unemployment fund to provide or supplement unemployment payments to displaced workers, and to drive adoption this would probably have to be a selling point, but I'm wondering if this kind of money is large enough to strongarm industries into taking better care of their workers. For example, here's what I'm imagining:

- this organization could negotiate its own separate medical insurance plans, like an employer would but with a vastly higher pool and therefore more negotiating power, and enrolling in one of its plans would insulate workers from loss of coverage due to being fired or laid off or whatever. that in itself would eliminate one of the chief means employers use to coerce workers into unfavorable conditions.

- given a long enough time without catastrophic economic failure, the organization could accumulate large enough stockpiles of cash to organize walkouts of workers while paying 100% of their salaries. these walkouts could target individual employers or whole industries, and because the strikers aren't losing income, the strikes would be far more dangerous to employers than traditional union protests.

- subscription to protection by the organization would rise as its members are able to demonstrate the economic security associated with membership.

- eventually, the organization could publish its own fundamental bill of workers' rights which every employment position must satisfy in order to be certified or something. though there would be no regulatory or law-enforcement power, there would be the economic power of simply directing workers to positions that do qualify and effectively blacklisting positions that don't.

Anyway, yes, this is very rainbow flavored unicorn farts and rose-colored glasses and everything, but it's fun to imagine while everything is on fire. I do think the basic concept is sound, but since nobody has ever tried it (that I know of), I'm probably wrong.

I'm just curious about what, if anything, you people think about life after death. Is it possible? Probable? What would the experience be like? I have some ideas, but they're vague and not very well thought out, maybe I'll try to organize them later.

Literate Chaotic / What Have They Done to the C-Store?
« on: January 23, 2020, 02:19:10 pm »
In many ways and for many reasons, the town where I grew up was like The Land that Time Forgot. In the first place, it was a mining town, so it never had a very compelling reason to exist at all, except for strictly utilitarian reasons. The small population (tiny, really, never breaking 1,500 the whole time I lived there) didn't produce many thinkers or dreamers. It wasn't located anywhere geographically, strategically, or economically interesting (except for the mine, of course). It didn't exist at any crossroads that attracted travelers; in fact it was the terminal end of a two-lane, badly maintained county highway that entered the place at one end, became Main Street for about three or four blocks, and then emptied itself directly in the open pit copper mine that was so big its gravity well anchored the town somewhere in the 1960s and permeated everything in a 5 mile radius with a slightly rancid whimsy.

Of course, I despised the place. It was too small, too remote, too boring. I knew everyone, everyone knew me, and I hated everyone, even my friends. It was the last place to get anything from a real grocery store to fast food to high speed internet. I would celebrate any minor encroachment of what I imagined The Real World to be into this insular little community of the incurably incurious. And I wanted out, for good. I swore I'd leave and never look back, like everyone does in a place like that before they realize just what it is that keeps people there. Eventually, I did, but that isn't the point of this story.

There were only a couple of places a high school kid could hang out. There was no mall, no movie theater (there had been but the imagination levels in this town were so low it couldn't even support its single-screen cinema), no nothing. So in the tender years between starting middle school and finding out about the miracle of drugs and alcohol, my friends and I spent a lot of time at the Shell gas station across the street from the football field. It sounds ridiculous, it was just an average convenience mart, but it did have the useful addition of a couple of bench tables from the 70s (you could tell by the color) next to the soda fountain. We were there before school, during lunch, after school, on weekends, and pretty much any other time we could be. We knew the place like the backs of our hands, we knew everyone who worked there and what their shifts were, we knew who would let us buy cigarettes, and everything was fine. We hated it, we hated the town, we hated existence itself, but the C-Store was some kind of refuge at least.

We got a lot of our calories from the donuts they brought over to the C-Store from the grocery store across the parking lot every morning. They were usually stale and there wasn't much variety, so they fit right into the whole scene. Pepsi and donuts. Donuts and Pepsi. The craving for sugar should have warned us about other white crystal-based fixations that would come later, but nobody said anything. We were young and full of shit. And full of donuts.

Anyway, like I said, eventually I did manage to escape. I was away for years and never went back for anything more important than Christmas or a funeral. On the few occasions I did swing back by, I usually never noticed much had changed. It was to be expected, the place really was stuck in a temporal anomaly. A new surface on a road here or there, a new coat of paint on some dumpy old company-sponsored building, that's about it. They never installed any traffic lights or built anything new. It was a place out of time, always the same awful, oppressive, stagnant pile of trash. And driving into it always filled me with the same angst and claustrophobia I'd had the day I left. Until it didn't.

On one trip, the last one I'll probably ever make, I stopped in to the old C-Store for some smokes and looked around. Same beige and orange stripes as always, same two scratched and pitted bench tables where I'd spend literally years of my life. And the same donut cabinet, except inside that cabinet weren't the misshapen, stale old garbage confections of my youth, oh no. There were just some boxes that said Krispy Kreme on them. What the fuck. There was no Krispy Kreme in this town, where did those come from? If I had been 14 I would have been amazed and delighted, but for some reason the emotion that struck me now was anger. And a slight twinge of panic, as if someone had just pulled the chair I was about to sit in a foot to the left. What, pray tell, was happening to this place? It was inconceivable. No word for it but unnatural. The donuts in that case were very likely far superior to anything I'd ever had, but it wasn't right. This was not the order of things.

Depending on the type of person I was, I might have grumbled and moved on, I might have complained to the clerk, I might have just asked someone where they were getting the premium donuts, or just backed out of the place slowly, whispering gibberish to myself. But really, I was too dumbfounded by my own reaction to do any of that. Why should this -- a clear improvement in things -- make me angry? And to whom was this anger directed? The clerk probably had nothing to do with it. The manager was just making life better for whatever band of miscreants were now doing the job of holding down those tables over there. The donuts themselves were just inanimate objects, doomed to be eaten. No, I wasn't angry at any of them, I was angry at... the whole world.

I was angry at the world for failing to deliver what I felt sure had been a promise of at least one eternal, unchanging foundation. One place that truly never died. Something in this miserable realm of death and uncertainty that I could always go back to, if the need arose, to remind myself that though I myself will pass away, some things never would. I was sure that was in the fine print somewhere, but no, these donuts had stolen that all away. If they could change, anything could change. There was no safe harbor in the world. No rock on which to build an identity. These were just donuts, but what if something bigger had changed? What if, god forbid, I had driven into town to find a Holiday Inn or something? It had always seemed impossible, but the second hand on the stopped clock of this backwoods hellscape of a town had crept forward a notch, and now nothing was sure.

Luckily, I managed to get my cigarettes without making too much of a scene and made my way back to the car. The whole episode seemed as ridiculous to me as it sounds now to you, I'm sure. But for one split second, the whole world had lost its cohesion. I found myself adrift in a tumultuous sea of unstoppable change and I was desperate -- at least for a moment -- to find something to replace the solidity and reliability of my expectations. I even had the thought that there ought to be a law -- against what, who knows? Against all change of any sort anywhere, I suppose. So for the shortest moment, I was basically a Republican. Over some donuts.

And if that can happen to me over some confections I wasn't even going to eat anyway, I can only imagine what goes through the minds of people whose whole identities are based on the supposed unchanging nature of civil society and culture. Many of those people are, I venture to guess, having the same sort of "oh god what have they done to my donuts" reaction every time they turn on the news. And without the benefit of years of self-doubt and heavy psychedelic use, maybe they're comfortable to swing their anger and blame around at anything that moves. Literally spitting into the winds of change. Unaware that they don't actually hate The Gays or The Liberals or The Poors, but that they're just stuck in an endlessly repeating cycle of assigning landmark status to social and cultural trends that are as prone to change and death as they are themselves. Sinking -- thrashing, but sinking -- in that sea of change when they should be swimming.

Or Kill Me / roger can't have ALL the fun
« on: July 28, 2019, 12:11:39 pm »
I have been to the mountain top. I saw everything there was to see up there, and believe me, it's a lot. I will presently be accepting requests for miracles, spiritual wisdom, and the like. First however, I feel I should warn you:

First of all, don't ask me about God because I can't tell you anything about that.

God is not up there on the mountain (he really isn't, go look for yourself if you don't believe me, I'll wait).

Since God wasn't up there, the only thing I got for all that effort was a caffeine headache and nicotine stains so deep in my teeth my great great grandfather just died of emphysema.

Secondly, while I will happily perform ACTUAL miracles on demand, I am not to be confused with some hocus-pocus magician. Some examples of legitimate miracles are: appreciating the natural grace of a kamikaze pilot; answering any riddle where the punchline is not about "life in general" or some such drollery; or expressing within a hair's breadth the entire point of it all only to be hopelessly misquoted.

As opposed to, say, ridiculous things like ending world poverty or peace in our time. Who would want to end all that anyway? Then what would we wring our hands about?

Thirdly, concerning all of the above: Yes I am serious. Except for the part about miracles, you can go make your own goddamned miracles.

« on: July 09, 2019, 05:57:41 am »
Despite my weirdly intense desire to believe in woo, metaphysics, government conspiracies, and to a much lesser extent UFOs, I am unable to do so with one exception: drugs. Specifically entheogens used by tons of indigenous cultures all over the world since forever to expand consciousness. My jury is still out on whether or not they actually do expand consciousness in any practical way, but given recent studies linking psychedelic hallucinogens like psilocybin to measurable improvement in chronic depression and suchlike, it seems reasonable to at least entertain the possibility that such substances and the experiences they induce have the potential to assist constructively in a person's serious attempts to rewire their personal grid.

So where my conspiracy thinking comes in is in the fact that these are mostly all Schedule I substances in the US and treated like heroin or something despite this science and in most cases despite the importance of these substances to cultural practices that far predate apple pie. Is it possible that there are people in charge of things somewhere who are genuinely aware of the effects these drugs have on consciousness and intentionally suppress and malign them in order to prevent people from waking up to a higher (by which I mean more compassionate and self-actualized) level of consciousness? Ancient Astronaut theorists say YES.

Apple Talk / ATTN: HOWL, ET. AL.
« on: July 07, 2019, 11:10:26 am »

I am asked to relay the message that EVERYTHING IS AWFUL and would you please reenter the atmosphere before we all die of smelling our own farts too much.

End transmission

PS it's okay if you booted RWHN again, we won't blame you

Apple Talk / in which I post my biannual thing on PD
« on: June 12, 2019, 05:25:29 am »
 I spend what is probably an unhealthy amount of time shitposting on Facebook. This is not news to anyone, but what is news to ME is that some person from Dallas who owns/operates some kind of artist workshop wants to pony up the dough to print and frame some of my awful photoshops and have an actual real life art show thing.

This is exciting news to me especially since basically everything else about my life is completely disintegrating before my eyes. I had assumed 2019 would be another boring ass year but apparently the universe has other plans

The reason I am posting about it here is to give you fair warning. Such a stroke of luck is sure to be met with calamity from The Mgmt, so we will probably all die in a nuclear war by September. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Aneristic Illusions / Looking for ideas
« on: July 12, 2018, 07:37:35 pm »
someone bought the domain and is looking for decent troll material beyond what's already there. any help would be appreciated. asking for a friend.

Apple Talk / My Extremist Beliefs
« on: April 08, 2018, 12:19:33 am »
Since the 21st Century insists on being an era wholly dedicated to the pursuit of increasingly extreme and inter-contradictory philosophies, I have decided to embrace my own extremism so as not to be left behind the bandwagon. To that end, I am going to put down in writing some of my more controversial beliefs, so that I can come back here periodically and ensure that I am making sufficient progress in evolving from these points farther and farther up my own asshole. So, here's where I'm starting from.

1. The morally offensive nature of environmentalism.
The general consensus, even among conservatives (if only nominally), is that it would be preferable, if possible, to preserve some or all of Earth's ecosystem. I find this notion distasteful. Our planet's purpose is not to wallow in its genetic diversity, but to provide a laboratory in which evolution can experiment. Once sentience arises, all other forms of biological life immediately become expendable, except insofar as they are necessary for the preservation of that sentience. For this reason, we should only preserve whatever portion of the natural ecosystem is required to ensure the continued survival of the human species, and treat everything else as raw materials for our own experiments and progress toward more communicable forms of sentience. If we have to burn down entire rain forests to achieve interstellar travel, for example, then that's a more than appropriate price to pay for such technological achievement. All natural environments, and all the creatures in those environments, exist solely to power our own endeavors and we should not limit our abilities or potential just out of deference to some silly assertion that they have a right to exist. If they really had a right to exist, they would have evolved thumbs and invented nukes before we did.

2. Democracy is a bad idea and should be avoided in most cases.
The belief that humans are capable of sanely managing our own affairs is flawed, even at an individual level. At the level of large societies, it's just an invitation to outright disaster. So-called "free" societies are powered by the transfer of labor and capital from those who have it to those who are taking it, and this is an inherently limited dynamic with a definite point at which the whole thing begins to break down. Once such a society reaches a point where lower classes can no longer satisfy the limitless appetites of the upper classes, the society inevitably decays as those appetites turn to their own infrastructure for sustenance. Eventually, you get places like Mississippi and Oklahoma where civilization is mostly running on habit. This happens everywhere humans are allowed to govern themselves, and also everywhere humans are allowed to govern others. I propose an alternative system where no one is in charge, but a strict regime of social order is enforced by artificial intelligence programmed to efficiently distribute social resources, and which has absolutely no tolerance for human deviation from prescribed patterns. It won't be fun, but it will be sustainable, and that's what matters. As an added benefit, this system would completely eradicate legal and political professions, which is practically a justification in and of itself. To this end, the focus of all human scientific research should be on the invention of machine intelligence and robotic automation sufficient to implement this system.

3. The Human ego is bad and should be removed.
Ultimately, most human suffering arises from the notion that we exist as individuals somehow separate from "other" individuals. This infectious illusion allows us to imagine that there is some such thing as "us" and "them". While great thinkers have popped up for thousands of years trying to dispel this myth, they have all met with similar ends. Usually, we kill them, then we worship them as a symbol that justifies our persecution of other groups. Clearly, this philosophical/spiritual approach to solving the ego problem has failed miserably. As a solution, I propose that either we implement a system of compulsory excision of the prefrontal cortex in new human offspring, or the we develop invasive brain probes which merge the sensory input and internal thought processes of all individuals into a single "consciousness". While the former is probably more realistic at our relatively primitive level of technological advancement, the latter is preferable for a number of reasons including the potential loss of intelligence required to invent the AI called for in point #2.

Apple Talk / Pack it in, humans.
« on: March 14, 2018, 04:47:49 am »
Stephen Hawking is dead, and with him any hope we ever had of devising a spaceship powerful enough to escape this horrible ball of horseshit we call a "planet".

Sure, there are other scientists, and sure, Hawking was mostly parity pooper who kept telling us why AI and alien contact would be bad. But he was was the last remaining face of REAL SCIENCE who was generally liked. Now, the only person standing between us and absolute idiocracy is that Neil DeGrass Tyson guy, and he runs out of brainpower halfway through buttoning up his shirt.

It is the end of an era, and the next one will be so defined by ignorance and woo that it'll be a miracle if we make it another 10 years without forgetting how to breathe. So if you're the kind of person who likes happy endings or, you know, hope in general, now would be a good time to drive off a cliff.

The list is getting pretty long, so I am going to start writing it down.

1. The problems society faces are complicated, nuanced, and typically have no obvious or satisfying solution that benefits everyone. Unfortunately, our ability to compromise is basically dead, and everything about modern communication centers around bite-sized ideas. We are at a rare point in human development where the tools we have developed are exactly the opposite of what we need to solve our problems.

2. Speaking of our tools, we have designed the Internet: a miraculous platform for communication that transcends all historical barriers to the flow of information and ideas. We have then done the eminently Human thing and used this platform to segregate ourselves morally, philosophically, and along every other fault line we can think of, creating new barriers to the flow of ideas. Now we find ourselves in disposable communities, surrounded by people we suspect of not belonging. It's not exactly a recipe for the unity required to take on large systems of oppression or violence.

3. We refuse to face real problems, because we're too busy being righter and louder than everyone else, and being honest about our problems introduces the risk that we might not be as correct as we think we are. We're subconsciously aware that we're full of shit, but are scared of admitting it.

4. The systems we have built to automate society have grown bigger and more powerful than us. They're more complex than our mental models of them, and they are just efficient enough to fool us into thinking we don't need to maintain them. They also rot from the inside out, so by the time we notice a problem, it's way too late to fix it.

5. The lies we used to tell our children about what made civilization work are now the fables grown-ass adults tell themselves they must abide by in order to keep it working. This is ... not advised.

6. We have convinced ourselves that the way things are is the way things must be. We are incapable of dreaming or thinking big about the things we need to change in order to survive as a species. It is absolutely outside the scope of most people's universes to even consider, for example, post-scarcity economics. This is despite the fact that we actually have the technology to make it work, or the fact that we need to make it work if we're to have any hope.

7. Everyone seems to have a collective sense of impending doom. This is not mass delusion, it's a finely-tuned evolutionary mechanism. The alarms are ringing, but we are just monkeys, so our solution is to screech louder than the alarms until they shut up. This is also a finely-tuned evolutionary mechanism. Nobody said natural selection had any particular preference for intelligence.

8. The kinds of progressives who are currently being laughed out of global politics because of their "crazy ideas"... are not nearly progressive enough to do any good, even if they got everything they asked for. Despite half of the planet being consumed with Hollywood blockbuster entertainment about superheroes and spaceships, it turns out nobody actually has any imagination.

Apple Talk / things I will do when I am emperor of the universe
« on: November 16, 2017, 04:57:32 am »
If 200+ years of "democracy" has taught us anything, it's that humans are awful at governing themselves. I've completely given up all hope of convincing people to improve, because even if they eventually do (which they won't), I'll be dead long before I see it. So instead of giving a shite about the state of human affairs, I will spend the rest of my life dreaming up new rules for You People to live by. Here are a few I'm working on at the moment.

1. No more music about feelings and relationships. "I have feelings and I will adjust my relationship status accordingly" has been expressed so many times there's no way there's anything left to say here. From now on, all songs will address dragons, space monsters, epic historical arcs, or something else that's completely unrelated to how you "feel", which no one cares to hear.

2. Driving slow in the fast lane will be a holy sacrament. There's no reason to be in a hurry to get anywhere people are expecting you. Life is too short, and besides, nobody really gives a fuck about you showing up on time unless you get there early and make them look bad by comparison. All the more reason to take your time.

3. Everyone will be required to spend at least 3 hours per day piling insults on anyone on the internet who tries to look cool by being "edgy". Being offensive isn't witty, it just drags conversations into chaos by short-circuiting the human instinct to be right about everything all the time.

4. No more songs that are written entirely in 4/4. Just knock it off. It's the 21st century, we shouldn't still need musical training wheels.

5. All scientists will be pulled from any projects and research currently underway and will be assigned tasks that contribute directly to the development of cold fusion, flying cars, and faster-than-light interstellar travel. They will not be allowed to visit their children until certain breakthroughs have been made. We live in the future, and it's time we started acting like it.

This list is not finished, so don't get comfortable.

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