Archive for September, 2014

Quote note (#113)

Elon Musk (in conversation with Ross Andersen) ponders upon the Fermi Paradox:

We might think of ourselves as nature’s pinnacle, the inevitable endpoint of evolution, but beings like us could be too rare to ever encounter one another. Or we could be the ultimate cosmic outliers, lone minds in a Universe that stretches to infinity.

Musk has a more sinister theory. ‘The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation,’ he told me. ‘Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish.’ Musk flipped through a few more possibilities, each packing a deeper existential chill than the last, until finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’

September 30, 2014admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos
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The Inhumanity

NIO found something fascinating. It’s called a Civil Rights CAPTCHA. The idea is to filter spam-bots by posing an ideological question that functions as a test of humanity. The implications are truly immense.

The fecundity of Alan Turing’s Imitation Game thought-experiment has already been remarkable. It has an even more extraordinary future. The Civil Rights CAPTCHA (henceforth ‘CRC’) adds an innovative twist. Rather than defining the ‘human’ as a natural kind, about which subsequent political questions can arise, it is now tacitly identified with an ideological stance. Reciprocally, the inhuman is tacitly conceived as an engine of incorrect opinion.

Even the narrow technical issues are suggestive. Firstly, the role of the spam-bot as primary Turing test-subject is an unanticipated development meriting minute attention. It points to the marginality of formal AI programs, relative to spontaneously emergent techno-commercial processes (whose drivers are entirely contingent in respect to the goals of theoretical machine-intelligence research). Due to evolving spam-onslaught, many billions — perhaps already trillions? — of imitation games are played out every day.

Spam is a type of dynamically-adaptive infection, locked in an arms race with digital immune systems. Its goals are classically memetic. It ‘seeks’ only to spread (while replicating effective strategies in consequence). Clearly, the bulwarks of visual pattern-recognition competence are already crumbling. As a technical solution to the spam problem, CRC makes the bet that tactical retreat into the redoubt of higher-level (attitudinal-emotional) psychology offers superior defensive prospects. Robots are expected to find humane opinion hard.

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September 30, 2014admin 21 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Hyper-Racism

While this blog generally seeks to spread dismay whenever the opportunity arises, it cannot pretend to a huge obsession with what might be described as ordinary racism. When perusing the thought-crimes of the mainstream racist community, it is continually afflicted by a sense of overwhelming unreality. This is not (of course), because races do not exist, or do not differ significantly, or … whatever. The most politically incorrect cognitive position on almost every point of this kind is reliably closer to reality than its more socially-convenient and comforting alternatives.

The problem with ordinary racism is its utter incomprehension of the near future. Not only will capabilities for genomic manipulation dissolve biological identity into techno-commercial processes of yet-incomprehensible radicality, but also … other things.

First, a sketch of the existing racism-antiracism contention in its commonplace or dominant form. The antiracist, or universal humanist position — when extracted from its most idiotic social-constructivist and hypocritical alt-racist expressions — amounts to a program for global genetic pooling. Cultural barriers to the Utopian vision of a unitary ‘human’ gene pool, stirred with increasing ardor into homogeneous intermixture, are deplored as atavistic obstructions to the realization of a true, common humanity. Races will not exist once they are reduced, by practical politics and libidinal indiscriminacy, into relics of contingent historical partition. In contrast, racial identitarianism envisages a conservation of (comparative) genetic isolation, generally determined by boundaries corresponding to conspicuous phenotypic variation. It is race realist, in that it admits to seeing what everyone does in fact see — which is to say consistent patterns of striking, correlated, multi-dimensional variety between human populations (or sub-species). Its unrealism lies in its projections.

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September 29, 2014admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Chaos Patch (#29)

(Weekly open thread, and stuff)

The Hong Kong situation is a nightmare. This tweet gets it right:

Soap Jackal is putting together a Cameralism reading list, so far (that I’ve seen) it includes:
(1) Mercantilism Re-Imagined (essay collection)
(2) The Cameralists: The Pioneers of German Social Polity (Albion W Small)
(3)Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Murray N. Rothbard)

Neoreaction @ 8chan, and 8chan @ the Encyclopedia Dramatica. (XS is still reeling from the sudden intelligence is explosion the seems to have taken place in the reactopunk net.) The fact it all seem to have followed upon a black op. makes the situation especially exquisite. Predictable response: More beatings necessary. (Free Northener is on it. NIO urges moderation. Anarcho-Papist tries to stay out, fails.)

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September 28, 2014admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Open Secret

NRx has been accused, by its friends more than its enemies, of talking about itself too much. Here XS is, doing that again, not only stuck in ‘meta’ but determinedly pushing ever deeper in. There are some easily communicable reasons for that — an attachment to methodical nonlinearity perhaps foremost among them — and then there are cryptic drivers or attachments, unsuited to immediate publicization. These latter are many (even Legion). It is the firm assertion of this blog that Neoreaction is intrinsically arcane.

We do not talk very much about Leo Strauss. Once again, there are some obvious reasons for this, but also others.

Steve Sailer’s recent Takimag article on Strauss makes for a convenient introduction, because — despite its light touch — it moves a number of issues into place. The constellation of voices is complex from the start. There is the (now notorious) ‘Neo-Conservatism’ of Strauss and his disciples, or manipulators, and the other conservatism of Sailer, each working to manage, openly and in secret, its own peculiar mix of public statement and discretion. Out beyond them — because even the shadowiest figures have further shadows — are more alien, scarcely perceptible shapes.

Sailer’s article is typically smart, but also deliberately crude. It glosses the Straussian idea of esoteric writing as “talking out of both sides of your mouth” — as if hermetic traditionalism were reducible to a lucid political strategy, or simple conspiracy — to ‘Illuminism’, politically conceived. In the wake of its Neo-Con trauma, conservatism has little patience for “secret decoder rings”. Yet, despite his aversion to the recent workings of inner-circle ‘conservative’ sophisticates, Sailer does not let his distaste lure him into stupidity:

We haven’t heard much about Straussianism lately due to the unfortunate series of events in Iraq that befell the best-laid plans of the sages. But that doesn’t mean that Strauss was necessarily wrong about the ancients. And that has interesting implications for how we should read current works.

As the approaching 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve reminds us, the best minds of our age have reasons for being less than wholly frank.

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September 27, 2014admin 42 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane
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Quote note (#112)

Some Horror Night samples from the Old Master:

The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his Fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now falling into Hell described here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos …
— PL I The Argument

… who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt …

— PL II 404-9

Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven
.
— PL IV 75-8

And on Milton’s blindness, a key unlocking the gates to abysmal depths of visionary accomplishment:

… Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature’s works to me expung’d and ras’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

— PL III 40-55

September 26, 2014admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror
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Trike Lines

Michael Anissimov has been conducting an online poll of NRx affinities. While questions of principle and method might have delayed this experiment, such procrastination would have been a mistake. The results have already contributed significant information. Most obviously (as already widely noted) the pattern of primary allegiance to the the different trike-tendencies is far more evenly balanced than many had expected. As an intellectual theme — and now as a demonstrated distribution — the ‘Spandrellian Trichotomy’ shows a remarkably resilient stability. The integral pluralism of NRx is becoming impossible to sideline.

Nyan Sandwich has posted a Trike-theory response at More Right. While ultimately skeptical about the pluralist interpretation of the Trichotomy, the order of his argument respects it as a primary phenomenon. Nyan is among those who expect NRx to incline to a concentrated synthesis, or compact unity — superseding its distribution.

Thus it doesn’t really make sense to ask what branch of NRx one identifies with. It’s like asking a physicist whether they think quantum mechanics or general relativity is more true. The point is that the truth is a synthesis of the component theories, not a disjunction.

The natural counter-position to this would be a defense of irreducibly plural integrity, or operational disunity. The lines of controversy released here do not correspond to Trike ‘branches’ but cut across them, and through a number of critical topics, certainly including:

(1) The existence of irreducible triangular schemas within all of the world’s great civilizations, represented within the Christian West by trinitarian theology. How is the relation between the triad and the monad to be conceived? Does this relation vary fundamentally between world cultures? (These decidedly pre-NRx remarks seem very old now, but they remain at least suggestively relevant.) This is the principal Hindu articulation.

(2) To what extent is NRx inherently critical of structurally (rather than demotically) divided powers? (Among the ironies of any consensual NRx commitment to absolute monarchy would be its radical anti-feudalism, or proto-modernism.)

(3) The techno-rationalist aspiration to a super-intelligent ‘Singleton‘ clearly assumes suppression of sovereign plurality. This fully suffices to graft the NRx controversy into the moral-political and theoretical debates over (Right) Singularity.

As a matter of fact, there is scarcely anything NRx agrees upon more consistently than the structure of its disagreements. There are three basic (dyadic) conflicts implicit within the Trichotomy, of which only one has — to this point — been seriously initiated. (Our ‘Theonomists’ have yet to get scrappy.) Much turmoil still lies ahead.

September 25, 2014admin 68 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Politics

Following a typical HBD Bibliography twitter intervention (paraphrased: “educate yourself”), a professor of Global Liberal Studies turned up to engage in activity that can be technically described as “hooting”. The pattern of symbolic behavior that then manifested cannot, of course, be reduced to the expectations of primatology. If it seems like an entirely predictable assertion of dominance, as found among all the great apes, something is surely being missed. That at least is the claim now being made (decorated by a little immediate status signaling):

The error of mistaking this expert hooting for the first step in an argument was too tempting to resist. After all, if a professor of Global Liberal Studies deigns to teach you about the limits of possible biological understanding, it is only polite to listen attentively. Unfortunately, certain monkey juices were triggered by the chest-thumping of GLS-prof., and I descended quickly into obstreperousness:

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September 24, 2014admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Humor
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Cannon Fodder

The War Nerd instigates a mutiny against Justine Tunney. That has to be worth a few minutes of your time, surely?

Chaos is raised to some indescribable higher power.

CannonFodder

September 24, 2014admin 21 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn
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Radish does Irreligion

The Moldbuggian sublime — a crushing immensity that releases intelligence into awe-stricken ecstasy — has settled in at Radish quite decisively. The latest installment, which embeds the phenomenon of ‘New Atheism’ within the deep historical tide of revolutionary rationalist irreligion, is a masterpiece of the genre (and in its own right). After several thousand words of relentless contextualization, it is impossible to read the confused stammerings of contemporary ‘reason’ without hearing the clattering leftist ruin-ratchet beneath. “[Skeptic magazine editor-in-chief and executive director of the Skeptics Society Michael] Shermer is surprised, like Lavoisier and Condorcet before him, to find his own head upon the chopping block of Moral Progress, but no lessons are learned (2013) …”

By the time Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are led, dazed and indignant, to the scaffold of revolutionary disbelief, the entire process has an almost hypnotic inevitability. Wasn’t the cause supposed to be intellectual liberty? If, after reading this piece, such derangement doesn’t elicit morbid amusement, you’re probably going to need to read it again.

ADDED: Has Richard Dawkins lost the Mandate of Heaven?

September 23, 2014admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History
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