Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Physics Audit, Brightness Theorem: Solar Furnaces Hotter Than Sol

Today we audit mainstream physics and find it wanting. It is delicious. Some moron establishes the establishment view:
No, you idiot.

Spoiler: forget all the fancy stuff. Get a mirror to reflect sunlight onto the sun. Less energy is escaping, so it has to heat up. What temperature you optically 'see' is a red herring at best. Yes, you can absolutely use mirrors and lenses to make a solar furnace hotter than the sun.

Joules/area/second is (part of) the definition of heat. The above moron is simply contradicting themselves. This is probably why academics love academese so much - if you say something stupid in clear language, then the stupidity is clear. We all say stupid things sometimes, but some of us are more willing to admit it than others.

To think clearly enough to devalue experiment, it's necessary to consider all the factors. For collecting all the considerations, highly mistaken experts are perfectly adequate. I'm only disappointed that "brightness theorem" doesn't seem to have a Wikipedia page, so I can't determine if it's pre-war or post-war science. (I predict it's post-war, I don't think prewar scientists made such glaring mistakes.) For those who prefer optimism to cynicism, it's time to hope the theorem is confined to the lower-class physicists who must resort to writing textbooks, which is why it has no official entry.

1. Are optics really passive?
2. Is area a factor or a non-factor?
3. What's with joule-per-second rates?
4. Can you in fact build a perpetual motion machine with it?
5. The sun has finite size and is difficult to focus onto a small image.
6. Is there an effective temperature limit, which the optics 'see'?

As it turns out, the xkcd forum-goers lgw and Xanthir are correct. Area is a factor, and you can trade radiative intensity for radiative area. Minerva, Quaanol, elasto, Taas, are rationalizing beliefs handed down by sacred, unalterable authority. There's some other people, but they seem too confused to even reliably categorize as on-topic.

If we surround Sol with an ideal ellipsoid Dyson mirror with one focus at Sol and the other at Mercury, removing all the annoying debris, then all of Sol's light will be focused on Mercury, and vice-versa, and they'll reach thermal equilibrium. However, Mercury, necessarily, will be emitting more photons/area/second. Or, equivalently, higher-energy photons. The only way to do this is if Mercury is at a higher temperature. Seems we're done here, but let's try to destructively test it. Some mistaken lines of thought: what if I get it to emit more photons by having more higher-energy molecules, without going over? T is average kinetic energy, so that's a contradiction - I have posited it's hotter while staying cold. Maybe molecules stop absorbing photons, becoming reflective? First, they don't, second, reflection still involves a transfer of energy: Newton 3. One non-mistaken line of thought: if we have two Sol-equivalent lens targets and layer them over each other, the power must be higher, meaning the target has to dump more energy at equilibrium than a target hit by only one. 

It is true that both Sol and Mercury have finite size. It is possible that the inefficiency of the Dyson mirror at, say, Oort cloud-radius would somehow misplace enough photons from Sol to prevent Mercury from getting too hot. After all, it's focused at Sol's core, it can't be focused at all the various points of Sol's surface. But, it seems unlikely. While there's a finite size that Sol's image can be resolved down to, I've resolved such an image and it was smaller than Mercury. Nevertheless, to be certain, I'd have to do math, and I'm lazy. Let's put the mirror at infinity instead, so Sol appears to be a point source. Problem: solved. Sure I've now removed the entire universe as 'annoying debris' and cancelled the latest season of space expansion, but you can do that for cheap in gedankenland.

There are two ideal things preventing this from being a perpetual motion machine. First, to optically focus Mercury's higher-temperature light back onto Sol requires not simply an ideal lens, but a magic lens. No matter where it is, the lens will disrupt the mirror's focus. It would have to be a daemonic lens that dodges into hyperspace when it sees solar photons but comes back when it sees mercurial photons. Second, we can only heat objects smaller than Mercury to something that's hotter than Mercury. Maybe we could heat a small circle of Sol's surface with our daemon lenses, but then we'd have to heat an even smaller circle of Mercury with the resulting increased radiation. We cannot use Mercury to in turn heat Sol hotter than Sol.

That said, because we can so manipulate temperature, we don't need a full Dyson mirror. The temperature of the smaller objects will be a direct function of the angular coverage of the mirror and an inverse function of the area of the object, meaning if we have a smaller mirror or fewer lenses, to get superhot we only need to choose a smaller target. Half efficiency path, half area target. Though notably a half-Dyson-ellipsoid or half-silvered Dyson would be roughly quarter efficiency, since we lose half of the energy on the way in and then half again on the way back. Nevertheless, we're talking engineering here. It's most probably entirely feasible to make a +6000K solar furnace right now with real budgets and real materials.

There's two further non-idealisms. When we focus Sol onto Mercury, entropy must increase - we end up with more photons flying around in the space between them, each with an energy budget. To oversimplify, we're heating the vacuum. For bonus perspective, imagine a non-energy-generating heat blob, alone except surrounded by a perfect mirror. The system won't lose energy because mirror, but its equilibrium temperature will be lower than T0, since the blob has to fill the space between it and the mirror with photons. Even ideal optics aren't passive, they're an implicit heat pump. Non-ideal optics are even worse, since the mirror will heat up and radiate out the back, wasting energy that could be making Mercury hot. Lenses are no better - the idea lens has a thickness of zero atoms. Good luck building that. Even if I had worked out that we could focus light from Sol onto a target and then back at Sol to break things with ideal lenses, it would just mean that real lenses would scatter and absorb more light than we were supposed to be getting out.

Second, to get a perpetual motion machine, not only do we have to get useful work by using Mercury as a heat source and Sol as a sink, we have to get enough useful work out to fission an alpha particle back into four protons, two electrons, and negative two neutrinos. This would require Sol to emit energy while being an infinite-sized 0K heat sink. Slightly impossible. Unlike our passive heat blob, Sol would increase in temperature if surrounded by mirrors. Seeing the sun's surface is not like seeing the hot surface of a passive object, which may be confusing our hidebound expert physicists. If we have to model Sol as an optical 'temperature' to be 'seen,' then the correct quantity depends somehow on the fusion reaction, which is not only hotter than the surface, but hotter than the core. Sadly can't find the wag who noted that you can divide total fusion-to-iron energy in Sol by total system mass. Spoiler: you get a very large number, not 6000K. Thinking about trying to hook a Carnot engine between Sol and Mercury hurts my brain, I used a match as a model instead. As long as I got more work out than radiative energy the match puts in, I can ignore the convection, and declare perpetual motion. (That said the mirror may have to be slightly magic, to avoid soot.) However, I didn't get much work, it was simply a slightly less abstract version of the above. Further, any real engine will have friction losses on the piston.

Finally, there's some points to make about power.
In normal heat conduction, more conductive materials (copper?) will deliver more power. This doesn't mean the target gets hotter, it means it gets hot faster. This is what the brightness theorem imagines would happen with a solar furnace. Simply put, light is not heat. In those terms, a real shocker. Heat doesn't travel in waves. There's no mirror or lens for heat, since there's no wave to guide. There's no heat double-slit experiment. Heat cannot destructively interfere, whereas laser cooling is a thing. Even if you could lens heat, since it's essentially velocity with no net direction, it would fail to be net focused. It would chill in the lens, having a cold one.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Applied Left/Right Definition: Journalism and the Accuracy Impossibility Theorem

(Via @Outsideness)

Yes, it's inevitable.

A good theory makes the world make more sense. If left/right really does map to irresponsible/responsible, then it's immediately clear that bureaucracy is a natively leftist institution. The point of a bureaucracy is to cover your ass and launder judgment so ultimately nobody is held responsible. From this perspective, it immediately becomes clear that journalism is a variant of this responsibility-laundering system.

To write to inform is to write to change actions from what they would otherwise be, but the journalist can always say their readers didn't have to take their advice. How often has a journalist been prosecuted for the poor choices of their readers? Indeed it's hard to imagine modern journalism if they could in fact be sued for damages. As a result the natural state of journalism is to attract and retain the responsibility-shirking, which is to say those already biased toward leftism.

A few game theory dynamics makes it worse.

Skin in the game. A journalist is functionally a priest. However, the parish priest meets their flock face-to-face, which inevitably forms some sort of bond. Ideally a strong bond. If their parishioners suffer, so does the priest. They get direct, meaningful feedback if they give bad advice. The journalist, by contrast, has only narcissism. Someone might send them a nasty letter. (Suggests why narcissism is extra strong in journalists: journalism cannot fulfill non-narcissistic yearnings, meaning non-narcissists will find it unsatisfying, even actively frustrating.)

Similarly, given the face-to-face nature of priestly advice, they have a shot at seeing what isn't said. Hobbits are not good at articulating what's wrong or identifying what's important to report. The journalist only gets letters, lacking even body language.
We don’t want to give high status to tall, strong men with good dancing feet. That would make us feel inadequate. (Source)
Reporting accurately is difficult. Most readers are too gullible, etc to tell the difference anyway, so it's unrewarding. Sturgeon's law: 90% of everything is crud, meaning most reporters won't be able to report worth a damn even if they wanted to. Absent powerful external forces filtering out bad journalists - such as suing journalists for the actions of their readers - bad journalism will not only dominate, but drive out the good. Do you see journalists being filtered out much? (Ever?) Anyone looking for useful, reliable information will learn not to bother with anything a prole would call news.  (The internet disintermediating broadcast will hardly help with these core issues.)
By inspection, we instead get cheerleading. Whether a report is factual is nonlocal, and thus takes work to check. Whether a report is cheering is local and maps cleanly to something humans have done since the EEA. They're uplifting novels for those who think novels are childish - the game goes another level deeper, since their suspension of disbelief isn't strong enough to enjoy an honest novel. Bad cheerleaders do get filtered out, mainly by not being published in the first place.

If you are near the average, the way you can tell you're being educated is counter-intuitive: you feel confused. Same video notes that, shockingly, learning takes mental effort. It doesn't take a PhD market analyst to figure out that journalists that make their readers work, and then feel stupid, aren't going to win against those who don't. Except in the market of those buying information for profit. Worse, there's only a narrow area where information can be both unknown enough and reliable enough to profitably sell.

Democracy actively stokes the pride of the proletariat, because it makes them easier to manipulate and harder for them to change course once they're committed.

Freedom of the press don't real.
There's a market for news about the state. The state can trade access for editorial control. The journalist has no incentive to report accurately.
If it is ever politically possible to prevent stories that harm the state (the bureaucracy, in our case) from appearing, they will be prevented from appearing. Why would the state bother to allow them to exist? What are journalists going to do about it, and if anything, why would they bother?
This is probably the keystone reason you don't hear about what Foggy Bottom is doing. The hobbits might take it the wrong way, and there's plenty of theatre to report on instead.

I'm warming to this court of law angle; even "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?" isn't actionable at present.

On net, journalism is pollution. Freedom of the press is impossible; even if there was a eucivic function for the press, it cannot carry it out. As "Shams may cease" etc, attempting the impossible guarantees a dyscivic sham that will be captured by sociopaths, as sociopaths are the best at lying.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fisk the Stoic

Being a fan of the Athenian tradition, I respect Stoics. I'd like an opportunity to give them an opportunity to update the philosophy, to pay them back for the many good ideas they've given me.

Xenosystems has linked to someone calling themselves a Stoic. Let's fisk.

The Stoics focus on two things:
  1. How can we lead a fulfilling, happy life?
  2. How can we become better human beings?
A key to speaking as an Aristotlean Sage is to avoid contradicting known facts. Speaking colloquially is about being careful of your implications, such as implying that the Stoics differed from any Athenian school in this regard.

It’s important that we understand the obstacles that we face and not run from them; it’s vital that we learn to transmute them into fuel to feed our fire.
Poetic nonsense. It turns out this is predictive.

Without a philosophy to guide our work and life, we will relentlessly succumb to our excuses and distractions.
Ew, gross. Try to at least pretend to care about the truth more than your status.

This many errors, especially in quick succession, indicates a writer who barely knows anything. It takes more effort to remove the dross from this ore than it would to construct the truths from scratch. Since I've already decided to be fisking, we'll be testing this prediction. 

It is not outside forces that make us feel something, it is what we tell ourselves that create our feelings. A blank document, canvas, or unmarked to-do list is not inherently stressful—it’s your thoughts that are stressing you out.
Very confused. Look how long it takes me to address the confusions. It's an amazing feat of confabulation.

Snakes are inherently stressful. Therefore, some things are inherently stressful.

First, let's stop being confused about the chain of events.
1. A snake-associated pattern of photons is resolved by the eye.
2. The visual cortex recognizes a snake, based on instinct.
3. The limbic system recognizes a snake as dangerous, based on instinct.
4. A snake-image is reported to consciousness associated with an attention-arresting unpleasant emotion.

According to Jun, is the visual cortex an inside force, or an outside force? How about according to you? ProTip, it doesn't matter. What matters is whether you control your visual cortex or not. Are you capable of choosing not to see a snake image when a snake-shaped pattern of photons is resolved by your retina?

Now generalize.
What else can or can't you control?
What is the chain of events that starts with resolving a blank-canvas associated pattern of photons?

Why are the thoughts associated with the empty canvas unpleasant? Can, for example, you decide that missing your deadline and not being paid is not an unpleasant experience?

There is a question whether it is rational to look at an empty canvas and conclude the deadline is likely to be missed. Whether it is constructive to dwell on that possibility, as opposed to other possibilities, given you can dwell on a limited number of possibilities at one time.

Science has shown that, at least on average, dwelling on success marginally increases your odds of success. I've found this to be provisionally true for me. Dwelling on likely failure modes makes me much more likely to think of a solution, and I'm very likely to need a solution. Dwelling on unlikely failure feels like chewing on a pen lid, and diverts a small amount of resources away from applying myself to the task.

(See also: Stoicism was re-named by bureaucratic society as 'cognitive therapy.')

However, it may well be likely that you'll miss your deadline. Then it may well be rational to dwell on it. It is not rational to tell yourself that an unpleasant outcome is not unpleasant, it is a lie. In this case, Stoicism is false, no caveats. At least, before we steelman it.

The steelman is pain doesn't have to hurt. Scratch an itch; it is painful, but it doesn't hurt. It stings, but does not cause suffering. No damage was done. Now generalize.

While you've got your brain's guts open, might as well distinguish pleasure and joy, so you can distinguish hedonism and health.

Many of us want to place blame and responsibility on external objects because it’s easy to do, but the truth remains that all conflicts start internally, in our minds.
It is possible the thinker is not as unsophisticated as the writing indicates.
First, let's translate 'external' to something that matters - uncontrollable. Is it true that it's tempting to blame things I can't control for failures that I can control, and that this is an error. Indeed I used to often believe things I can control were beyond me - it is necessary to explicitly test all such assumptions. I've gone so far as to attempt to control meteorological phenomena by force of will. "But surely..." The point is I said that and was wrong. I had to start well beyond what's 'reasonable' to avoid starting well inside of what's reasonable.

Notably, this is not done by thinking, "I will now prove I can't control these clouds." If it is possible to 'prove' such a thing according to your standards, you will succeed, whether it is true or not. I found it necessary to method-act the belief that I could control my test subjects. At present, I think I'll avoid spoiling the surprising results. I think you'll enjoy finding out for yourself more. Also it's probably best not to contaminate the experiment.

It is of course true that 'conflict,' which I'll hold to mean 'unpleasant qualia,' starts in the brain, which most others would describe as 'inside' you. Empty space isn't stressed out by snakes. However, as the owner of that brain, you don't have the luxury of such coarse distinctions. To use your brain to its full potential, you must distinguish between the bits of your inside you do control and the bits you don't.

When we flee from reality—a deadline, an urgent email—we are doing nothing but harming ourselves and undermining our self-discipline.
Of course that is sometimes true. It is far from always true. tl;dr sometimes the subconscious parts of your brain, that you don't directly control but do directly control you, don't buy your plan. It is smarter than you; while you can use self-discipline to override it, it is painful, costly, and I've found it's almost always the wrong decision. E.g. I should have played hooky most school days. I feel something you'd call 'regret' for using my discipline to not play hooky - it was in fact doing so that undermined my discipline, not failing to do so.

I dunno, maybe your subconscious is different. I'd have to test it, like I tested my own.

There is no formula for determining the difference between cowardice and the subcon not buying my plan. Judgment must be used, and nobody but I can see the relevant parts of my own brain.

The next time you run into an obstacle and feel resistance, don’t look at what’s around you. Instead, look within.
Luckily, we all live under rocks and this is novel to us.

There are many kinds of resistance. They all mean slightly different things.

I associate resistance with excitement. I rarely get the chance to exert myself.
The 'resistance' Jun is probably thinking of I experience as a dull tidal flow. Or maybe like climbing a loose snowbank. There's no percentage there, so I go around.

When I first started my blog and called myself a writer, who could I look up to?
Looking up to people is for the weak.
By all means, if you find a technique or practice you admire, steal it. But, having stolen the technique, you may find it hard to look up to. However, I've found these techniques are distributed inconsistently. If you're capable of looking up to a specific person, it means you're god-awful. I mean, sure, steal all their good stuff. However, a reasonable rate of advance will swiftly carry the dedicated student beyond any specific example.

Looking up to a person sets up a psychological parent-child cascade. It reinforces the idea the child cannot measure up to the parent, and this belief will be a barrier, not a booster. Why put unnecessary barriers between you and excellence?

Know them by their fruits - this Jun idiot looked up to people. I most certainly do not look up to Jun.

Whatever you do—create apps, draw portraits, write books, or make animation films—there are individuals that you can learn from.
Jun said something unfalse. An oasis of relief.
Admittedly Jun probably doesn't know that one mainly learns by negative example. "This app is crap. Right, I'ma not do that." At least make novel errors.

What’s important to realize is that this isn’t an exercise of comparison. If you don’t get a book deal in eight months or if your product doesn’t hit #1 in the first week, like your role model, that doesn’t make you a failure.
Jun is very sure comparing yourself to others is low status.
However, if your goal was to be as good or better than your role model, then yeah, you were totally a failure.
However, it is worth noting they may have many hidden advantages. In my experience, a vast majority of advantages are hidden. This is another reason it's not worth looking up to anyone - even if you are fully capable of copying them, you can't, because their secret sauces are naturally hidden.

To take an absurd example, say you're in college, you spend lots of time on the internet, you've found the Dark Enlightenment and you decide this Alrenous person is on the ball. You try to steal my stuff. Sorry, too late. I started when I was about 12. By the time I was 15, almost every spare moment was spent philosophizing, and I didn't even know it wasn't normal. It's not work to me either, it literally comes more easily than breathing. You can catch up, but not anytime soon. Now, generalize. How many 'overnight' successes are the result of endless years of silent practice?

Also, Buffet may simply be cheating. His methods sound eminently copyable, and there's a financial incentive to copy them. Market logic dictates that if they ever worked, they should have stopped working. Hence, his stated methods are not his real methods.
Your idols tell untruths about how they achieved. Often they themselves honestly don't even know they don't know.

That said being a failure is reversible, even though being socially considered a failure generally isn't. In reality failure is the path to power. I learn little from success. "Seems I'm good at this, I guess I'll stay the same." I require failure the way plants require water.

 Everyone, no matter how successful they are, has heroes/mentors to look towards.
If you find someone who can mentor me, kindly tell me. As a bonus you'll get to watch my face fall off as my entire worldview is turned on its head. For years I assumed there would be someone. Eventually the empirical difficulty tuned the challenge rating up to infinity. I am unhappy about this.

I suspect various aspects of modernity are sharply discouraging productive mentorship. I offer free-ish mentorship, because I'd like to test these hypotheses.

To blog productively means resisting most short-term incentives. How many incentives must be resisted to mentor properly?

So remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Stating counter-intuitive things to impress your buddies and disgust the proles is not a new practice.
Succeeding without work is more profitable than succeeding at large cost. Profit is basically what we mean by 'fortune.'

There is of course the failure=water thing. I don't know about you, while Aurelius reminds me of this, I have to severely torture his actual words to get that literal meaning out of them.

The outcome was similar to having a baby and all the doctors laughing out loud, saying, “My goodness that is an ugly baby.”
There are indeed some associated strong unpleasant qualia.

1. Was it really honest? Was it you that was rejected, or was it your ego, your persona, your mask?

2. If it was you that was rejected, do they deserve your regard, or have they just proven their opinions are wrong?

3. If their opinion was right, does it matter? Are you in fact a bad person for making a baby ugly in this particular way?

On one hand, you presumably like your friends and don't want them to suffer, which implies hiding the uglier parts of yourself. On the other hand, if they are indeed friend to your virtues and not e.g. your money, then no matter how harshly they complain, they will still be your friend.

I'm presently sympathetic to the plan of accepting your friends' warts (by not unfriending them, not by pretending they're not warts) because in the long term you want less-stressed friends, which goal is strongly served by not demanding they filter themselves. Also, "Shams may cease," etc.

After the doctors are done laughing at your ugly baby, do they treat it with care and kindness, or do they brusquely dump it on your lap so they can get on with cooing at the pretty babies? Given you have to live with yourself, what kind of person would you rather live with?

Seems this plan generalizes to both arts and crafts without much alteration.

Caveat: not all warts are acceptable. I don't mean 'should not be accepted' or 'appropriate' I mean they mechanically cannot be accepted by anyone worth being accepted by. Having one of these mutations rules out having friends; in these cases feeling scared of vulnerability is strictly due to vulnerability being dangerous.
But recovering from that failure is a practice, a mindset—in fact, the lessons that I internalized from that experience is helping me do better work. The thinking goes: No failure, no growth.
Hopefully you already see why this is a path to weakness and pain. Plants do not recover from being watered. I will now ineptly try to be more plain.

The thing about failure that hurts is painful due to facts beyond my control. I cannot decide that being ostracized is fun times. I can, however, change my goals.

I found failure hurt because I was wrapping my ego up in my efforts, and then deciding my audience was competent to judge my ego. What in fact happens is audiences look just long enough to decide if 'good' or 'bad' is the high-status response, and then dismiss the work from their mind. They don't conceive of the person behind the work as person unless deliberately reminded. I therefore intellectualized the social risks, instead of letting the subcon handle it, which turned out to be curative. If I find the social risks acceptable, I take them. 'Failure' is merely annoying. If not, I don't.

I ignore those who talk past the sale, but I do think past the sale. What am I producing for? If I win, what do I win? If I lose, does it really low my odds of winning next time? Frequently, even a devastating 'failure' can cause no damage to my final cause, and as a result I do not fear it. Caveat: sometimes the social risks abut pre-rational instincts, which mean the unpleasantness of resisting this instinct has to go into the cost-benefit balance.

Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.
"Impress me."


 Reading books on marketing or business or creativity will supply endless dots that have potential for connection to develop a more in-depth awareness,
I've never found a single one. "Reading is high status, and I'm high status, so I say reading is good. You believe I'm high status, right?"

but what will ultimately make you effective at that craft is by applying it.
Thing is, as per Paul Fussel, status jockeying is almost always pointless. The momentary highs do not correspond to any kind of progress. When you read a book to impress your friends, even if your friends are impressed, you won't get anything as a result. What, are they going to help you move, but harder? Will they start letting you decide where the group goes? Can you imagine? "Well, Fregil read twelve books last week, let's all defer to Fregil." "Mmm, yeah."

I see lots of cost-benefit balances that work out to 'read that book' that would be fine if status was worth a damn, but it's not. The book has to make what-is-called-material improvements to your life. This can only be reliably assessed in hindsight...at which time I see a lot of hype over the next book, instead of reflecting on how reliable such hype was regarding the last one. That's a recipe for allowing people like me to lead you around by the nose.

Reading prepares your mind, even helps you avoid foolish mistakes, but at the end of it all there must be the result of some action: a failure, maybe a success, or a lesson.
Reading blah blah applause lights vagueness blah. After blah blah, a thing should thingy.
Reading self-help books will, in that moment, make you feel inspired for a change.
Indeed, don't confuse a pleasant feeling with a productive outcome. Caveat: momentary pleasure is a perfectly cromulent goal, as long as it's taken for what it is.

Some people boast about their failings: can you imagine someone who counts his faults as merits ever giving thought to their cure? So—to the best of your ability—demonstrate your own guilt, conduct inquiries of your own into all the evidence against yourself.  
Hiding faults sets off a psychological cascade that makes them seem unacceptable.
"I'm not a glutton!"
"Because a glutton deserves to be a hated outcast."
One can psychologically hide from this self-blame, but it's still around and its gravity will be felt. I can often pinpoint some of these within seconds of meeting someone: the voice moved out of consciousness shrieks out in action.

By contrast, by trying to resist the gluttony and failing, it is proven the gluttony is beyond control. Can't be blamed for things beyond control. Genuinely trying, mind, not "I'm going to prove I can't control this gluttony." You know that's bullshit. It's merely a sophisticated way of hiding from that voice saying you can.

The practice of self-awareness—to think about your thinking—in how you think, feel, and behave is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
As per Aristotle, all the virtues come down to habit.
Unless you have Asperger's, which saps habits of their momentum. They're more like suggestions, then.

“A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I found it worthwhile to reset entirely. Pay attention to approximately nothing. See what costs I in fact incurred. Then, start paying attention again only as necessary. This gave me an intuitive sense of when I was wasting my attention, as I had two standard bodies to compare to. It stopped being a reflective object and started reminding me directly, subjectively, emotionally, of things I had profited by ignoring.

The other day I was genuinely shocked at how much time I spent spectating on Instagram, watching other people live their lives and eat boats of sushi.
First time I witnessed this shock I was shocked. What, you don't keep your goals and priorities in mind at all times? How could you possibly not realize Instagram doesn't serve your goals?

Remind yourself: you weren’t meant to procrastinate.
Dear young versions of me: you were meant to procrastinate. Don't listen. They're scared of being low status and maybe have the vaguest connection to their inner selves. Also they're flagellating themselves over this so they can avoid flagellating themselves over their real faults, which they can't admit because they think it proves they deserve to be cast out

Ironically, this self-hating self-destruction causes them to deserve to be cast out. While this is reversible, it gets less reversible the longer it's true.

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company. Seneca, Letters From a Stoic
I don't know what this means. Are we talking about being able to sit down on a park bench, just because? Or what? If it is the park bench, then what happens when a thing-called-disordered mind tries it?

To me, a child in a restaurant playing a game on her iPad
The child is saying your company is worthless. This is because to you the child is a conduit for status, so you don't bother to provide value to her. That is, your company is worthless. Also most children can multitask. She doesn't appear to be paying attention to you because you have no empathy and have repressed what being a child is like.

When you’re working, be ruthlessly present.
I allow myself to be exactly as present as I feel like being. Some blog posts involve constant irrelevant distractions, and I do nothing to prevent them. My task at hand is always 'furthering my goals.' The distractions may or may not serve the post, the apparent object of my effort, but they further my goals. Being ruthlessly present hinders my goals.

Both scenarios are moments of connection (to the people around you, not through your screen), communication, and enjoyment. 
"Validate my status with attention."


Also, I imagine you'll have difficulty explaining how fluffing this idiot's ego is the same as being alone.

 To be present as well as learning to be alone is a habit. [...] Throughout your day find a moment, however fleeting, to just sit and be still.  
Persons who are in fact mindful notice non-sequiturs.

Sooner or later, you’ll realize how much of an asset this is to your creativity and overall quality of life. 
To me, this level of disconnection with the self is like having to remind someone to eat food instead of plastic. Food feels good to have eaten. Non-food doesn't. If something feels bad, consider the possibility it's bad for you. If you need to feel alone you will start feeling aversion to your phone or what have you, just as a little straight salt tastes great, and a little more tastes awful. Unless your self-empathy has been completely ravaged, I suppose, in which case I can't consider you a person anymore. Get out of the way for someone who can not-suffer.

“Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able be good.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Who is this patient? I mastered the logic of consciousness because I wanted to know it now. Whether I had endless time to do it was entirely irrelevant. I'm writing this blog post because I'm eager to see how it turns out. I'm failing to put it off only because I don't have to put it off.

Turns out my subconsciousness buys my plan. The fun part is I don't know why. Only way I'm going to find out is by executing and seeing what happens.

It provides a sense of urgency, to realize that you’ve lived a certain number of hours and the hours ahead of you are not guaranteed as the ones you have lived.
No, that's annoying. Every instant I'm thinking about that is an instant I'm not executing my next plan.

 Lastly, in the words of Seneca, “We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.”
Namely, almost none of them. If Jun had gone through his post and removed everything that couldn't be immediately applicable, it would be what, a few sentences? Also, he might have realized that vague generalities are impossible to execute on. Of logical necessity, plans must be concrete and detailed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Podvig Postscript

Regarding the nerd vs. jock thing at the bottom of the last post...

"The strong (Nazis) sinned. We, in our heart of hearts, know we are no better. If we are strong, we too will sin. The only way to prevent ourselves from sinning is to become weak, to become physically unable to sin. Thus, we will lionize the weak. (Meek?) We will lionize the victim."

Nobody can escape philosophy. Your actions flow from your beliefs, it is the nature of beliefs to do so. (Aliefs, strictly.)

We have already seen that this error brings tremendous calamity. If it is truly a heresy of Christianity, and not the original article, then it is only a slight heresy. I strongly doubt any true faith would be found in such close proximity to such a terrible error.

First of all, a just judge calibrates the guilt to the ability of the sinner. It doesn't matter how much you can sin in total, it matters mainly how much the potential was realized. The cripple sinning from the bottom of their heart must be worse than a saint who slips and causes great damage.

But mainly, it doesn't work. Only the virtuous are going to uphold the putative weakness virtue. The wicked will only celebrate. This philosophy brings calamity because it gives the wicked unopposed reign.

"But ideologues! Certainty!" The theocrat will never doubt himself. That option is not on the table. Which is better: only the theocrat is confident, or both the theocrat and his opponent is certain? It is not meet that only good men doubt themselves.

Given that it is so easy to show that this error empowers evil, one must suspect it is easy to discover it. It is hard to doubt it was spread on purpose.
And Christianity did not oppose it.

Christian Simulacra Postscript: Podvig and Flesh

Pretty sure this error needs a word. No idea what to call it though. This is a second example of the same fundamental error I tried to point at with my last post.

"He explains that the spirit hates sin, while the flesh dwells in it."
In short, the flesh is made of physics, and physics is sacred.

Physics was made by the creator. Physics is perfectly ordered. Physics has no free will and cannot sin. It is entirely impossible that the flesh per se is anything but sacred.

Further, considered in a generalized sense, the flesh is the manifestation. Without a manifestation, you cannot interact with anything. Without some form of body, being holy is as impossible as being unholy.

The Christian makes this error again when they claim thoughts can sin.

Certainly, some urges arise from the flesh which, if followed, are sin. But it is wrong to hold someone responsible for things they cannot control. The weather, the actions of their parents, and certain thoughts all belong in the same category, and there's no point in beating yourself up over it, because no choice you make can affect their existence or properties.

Indeed were I to try to take responsibility upstream of where it actually is, I would find myself not taking responsibility at the correct place, and thus failing to take physical control.
"I cannot understand my own behavior. I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate.... for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful things I do not want."
I dunno, maybe you're different. I have a finite amount of energy for controlling myself. If I exhaust myself trying to control my lustful appreciation of the opposite sex, then I will have no energy left over to stop myself from allowing them to flirt with me.

If I misidentify the locus of control, I may also decide I've failed when I haven't. If I attempt to control the lustful thoughts, I will fail. I will likely assume the lustful actions, which follow from them, I've already attempted to control, but failed to. (Admittedly the reverse can also occur - some actions become inevitable due to previous actions, and even if my odds of controlling the previous actions are slight, it's better than trying to control the subsequent ones.)
"All of these things oppose the body, and as we fulfill these ascetical practices, we do indeed find that they help us draw nearer to our Creator and Savior.   
 “all the saints accept the only true path to virtue to be pain and hard work... lightness and ease are a sign of a false path. Anyone who is not struggling, not in podvig, is in prelest”"
Sic et non.
Opposing the body for the sake of opposing the body is rank foolishness. It weakens you. Your courage and fortitude decrease, meaning you will be less able to perform a difficult action is prudence demands you do so.
Duh, you want doing the right thing to be easy, not hard.
It is however true that the path towards making-the-right-thing-easy is itself not easy. Game theory applies - if it is easy, you can set your sights higher and do an even more right thing, with some additional effort.

I believe a Christian should say God creates the body as he creates physics, as he creates all living things. To desecrate it is not holiness, no matter how difficult it might be, no matter how much it may signal some other virtue.

It's true the body gives you trials. Why that is...well, I certainly can't say. The competing theories seem reasonable. To make the body low status, to shun it, only closes you off to an aspect of Logos, namely, the things your body does, the things your body is telling you.

I'm also concerned this attitude may come from, lead to, or reinforce nerdish anti-jockism. When you see a healthy hobbit glorifying in their mighty body, are you happy for them or do you see a source of sin? It clearly can't be sin to maximize your God-given talents. Especially, as science as now shown, since a powerful body makes your mind more powerful. To simplify a little, as long as his glory is not "And therefore I"m holier than you," then his glory leads him closer to Logos, not farther away.

Your body is your house, in exactly the same way your house is your house. The only difference is your house can't tell you directly when your house is in order. Your body, by contrast, tells you in great detail how ordered it is. If you know enough to listen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Common Christian Error: Low-Status Simulacra & Evidence Appreciation

There's a philosophy-adjacent part of Christianity, where they identify god as Logos, meaning the true word or true speaking. Philosophy can hardly disagree with putting the true word in the highest possible place.

The problem is that simulacra are part of Logos.
"The closed media environments of the Mystical Body of anti-Christ, on the other hand, simulate the world, replacing the sacred with the simulacral and the incorporeal with the merely virtual."
While there's indeed an error very close to here, rightscholarship is only repeating it. This error is fatal - it makes it impossible to grasp Logos as it truly is. In the short term there are no symptoms, but the deeper the thinker tries to push their understanding, the more the cancer will spread.

Virtual per se don't real. Electronic images are themselves real things. 'Virtual' things are incorporated by normal physical processes. Simulacra are aspects of cosmos, of order, of truth. Even outright lies are, in and of themselves, sacred. (Though admittedly I'm not fully comfortable with calling a non-deception a 'lie,' I'm not sure what else to call it. Novels are a more fitting example but introduce complications.)

A doll is itself a real, physical object. It is true that it appears similar to a human. It is also true that it is made of clay. A 'virtual' world is a real image that really appears similar to a physical landscape, that reminds us so strongly of real or possible events that it can communicate a story.

"I flew to the mall today." It is true that I've stated such. There are further truths in the details - the portrayal has aerial aspects. To transmit it to you I must submit to the laws of physics.

The error in virtual-ness only appears in a relative, inside sense - inside the mind. The lie can only be harmful if you believe it. If you take the appearance relation as an identity relation.

Which is exactly what Christians do when they take the appearance of virtuality as actual virtuality. It is only in the lost Christian's mind that a world is 'simulated.' In reality, there are only images, only patterns of light or sound, the similar appearance of a world, fully embedded in, fully consistent with, and fully dependent on physics, on cosmos.

More specifically, the error is taking evidence as being more convincing than is warranted. The primary sinner when a lie is believed is the gullible 'victim.' If I told you about my mall flight absent a disclaimer, you still shouldn't believe me, because you could and should have known ahead of time that this class of utterances is unreliable. By demonstration, the mark's epistemology is flawed. The liar merely exploits the pre-existing sin. The difference between "I have seen a virtual world," and "I have seen an image which appeared to be a world," is the difference between sin and virtue.

Hopefully one of the ways I've said it has made it clear. I will not assume so, here's another: appreciate the difference between, "Alrenous flew to the mall today," and "I heard Alrenous say they flew to the mall today."

Using the latter, not the former, is critical to appreciating the world as it actually is.

That said it is possible to use 'virtual' to mean 'the appearance of, exactly as above. However, when you do, you realize 'virtual' and 'incorporeal' are not opposites, and this realization is obvious in the use of prose.

Instead of saying nothing is virtual, one can also say everything is virtual. I do not see a rock. I see the appearance of a rock, and infer the existence of the rock. I do not know that I did not fly today - I know I cannot remember being airborne at any point. Splitting evidence and inference is vital. With this split, it becomes automatic to make one's beliefs about the external world provisional. I believe a rock is there not 'because it's true' but because of that inference. Or rather, what I believe is now that I inferred a rock is there, not that a rock truly is there. Due to this shift, I cannot be mistaken.

Let me repeat those key words: cannot be mistaken. I have stopped holding beliefs that are falliable. Nonetheless, I am able to function normally. Though certainly I change my inferences from time to time.

I cannot be mistaken about what I think I've seen, by law of identity. I cannot be mistaken about what I think I've inferred, by same. I cannot be mistaken about what I think the outcome of my reaction was. And that's good enough.

I do drop all the qualifiers normally. They're cumbersome. However, it is vital to remember all the qualifiers in thought at all times. I can live as normal - make and drink delicious tea. Or rather, I can create the appearance of making tea, and I predict you would agree you have also witnessed this appearance. You might even enjoy a cup yourself, or rather, I might witness the appearance of you enjoying a cup.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Left/Right Really is Communist/Capitalist

A lot of the time, they were right the first time. Such as this time.
Notably, this means I was wrong, as I thought left/right was a myth proggies spread.

I read Anonymous Conservative's book via Molyneux video.

After removing what didn't hang together, what was left was a simple responsible/irresponsible diametric. However, left/right have to be opposites - the policies of one side must inherently harm the other side. So what part of politics maps to responsible/irresponsible and is inherently opposed? Communal responsibility vs. individual responsibility. So, communism and capitalism.

That said, leftists and rightists are themselves often wrong. For example, as per my last post, slavery and immigration are basically the same. (Which is one reason Mexican immigrants keep having to work for slave wages.) Yet, the polarities each endorse one but not the other. The real question is whether the slaves are owned by individuals or by 'society' or 'the state.' (Moldbug quote on request.)
Also, there is a lot of proggie mythmaking around anyway. Obviously they want to say all proggie things are left, and all non-proggie things are right. They're not, e.g. scholarly performance is still mainly individual.

This means left isn't inherently entropic, despite the assertions of certain alt-right Sophists. Admittedly there's a strong bias in that direction, but collective responsibility isn't always a bad idea. Otherwise ant hills would not exist.

Slavery Is Anethitropic Without Sterilization

Gnon approves of colonialism and condemns immigration. Slavery is a kind of immigration.

In immigration, an inferior society exports its components to a superior society. This will dilute the superior qualities of the superior society, and often decrease Malthusian pressure on the inferior society, delaying its eventual failure.

In colonialism, a superior society replaces an inferior society, hastening its failure and spreading the successful institutions of the superior society. A caveat: one should be careful to colonize in a way consonant with property rights.

Slaves are taken from an inferior society to a superior one. At best, components of the inferior society are preserved contingent on the superior society's continued existence. At worst, the slaves eventually join the gene pool. Athens, thy fool.

Taking sterilized slaves is therefore fine. There's a natural expiry.

Similarly, while there's nothing contrary to property rights in selling one's self into slavery, a wise society may none the less fail to insure such a trade, as it prolongs the inevitable failure. Better the would-be slave starves or kills themselves.

Friday, December 4, 2015

What Is the Status System?

There is a dominant society-wide status system. Its purpose is to reward those who uphold X, and punish those who oppose X.

What is X? Specifically, what is the highest-status description of X?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Some Applied Prudence/Property Morality

Roughly the rule is cooperate with cooperators.
For some years I've been discovering that there's no moral reason to treat defectors gently. Be as harsh as convenient.


"Since the protagonist of the story was from Jerusalem, the levite and the priest were geographically his neighbors, but, being no good, did not deserve to be treated as neighbors. The Samaritan was not geographically his neighbor, but did deserve to be treated as a neighbor."
Neighbours = cooperators.

However, there's rarely any reason to assume outsiders will cooperate. Unless you've agreed to be nice to them, the opportunity cost of belligerence is cooperating with them against a third party. Equivalently, them cooperating against you with a third party. Frequently these considerations are negligible.

The only reason for the West not to waltz into the middle east and take all the stuff is that other Westerners would get mad at the adventurers. Having their marginal cooperation is valuable, and their defection is sufficiently dangerous.

"Had he done so, and obtained the land in that fashion, then this would have created the dangerous precedent that some stronger party could take the land from him, undermining the high trust equilibrium that made the great achievements of his society, of which he was so proud,"
Jim has this backward. Provocation and needling are wrong, but simply declaring war out of greed is fine. Rather than setting a 'might makes right' precedent, it sets a 'might used on outsiders' precedent.

Common Law does not recognize provocation as valid. If they still have stuff you want, try trading for it. I suspect it will be cheaper than war, even on Indians and Muslims. If nothing else, it forestalls violence against soft targets in the open. Though, better idea: don't leave soft targets in the open. Apply security instead.

Provocation sets the precedent that non-cooperation shall be considered cooperation. "Shams may cease," etc. Much the way Foggy Bottom 'cooperates' with Putin.

Of course if they try to take your stuff via war anyway, it is prudent to destroy them. Lay waste and forget about the problem, minimizing mental transaction costs.

"The Dark Enlightenment emphasizes survival as a virtue, as indeed the root of all virtues."
DE per se can't believe things which not all adherents believe. It should be clear by inspection that survival must be a means, not an end. Infinite recursion is a trap. The root virtue must be an end, not a means.

I'm not sure if Jim intends it that way, but can be read as such and is more likely to decay on its own than improve.

All virtues spring from some transcendent goal.
All virtues spring from trying to survive.

The second is compatible with the original phrasing, but incorrect and degenerate. However, it is true that most values are best served by remaining alive and throwing energy at them, both individually and collectively.

"Altruism is seldom the game theoretic solution."
If you're sufficiently smart, 'altrusim' taken to mean cooperation is always the solution. 'Altruism' taken to mean giving stuff away for free is never a good idea; voluntary parasitism is still wasteful.
"High trust equilibria are rare and hard to maintain."

...for stupid populations. Achieving cooperation is easy. Offer a risk you can afford to eat. Ask them to reciprocate. If it works, use the proceeds to afford a bigger risk. Recurse. If they don't, kill them brutally. Or whatever happens to be convenient. Note Tit for Two Tats; noise makes limited forgiveness efficient. Not good to, by mistake, punish someone who tried to cooperate.

"Evil exists, so either God does not will the good, or he is not able, or he is messing with us on purpose. (Testing our resolve, making us suffer so we grow more resilient."

Point of order, this maps to 'not able.' Specifically, it's the claim God is unable to make us resilient, only Satan can do that.

"all thinking beings are fundamentally the same"
For kicks, modus tollens. Find someone who's not the same: they must be unthinking. Angels be racist, yo.