NRx @ LW

Matthew Opitz has put up an insightful post at Less Wrong, attempting to make sense of Neoreaction through contrast with Progressivism. Given the great internal diversity of NRx, combined with its embryonic stage of self-formulation (in many respects), the lucidity Opitz brings to the topic is no slight achievement. His post is among the most impressive Ideological Turing Test performances I have yet seen.

The core paragraph (among much else of great interest):

Neoreaction says, “There is objective value in the principle of “perpetuating biological and/or civilizational complexity” itself*; the best way to perpetuate biological and/or civilizational complexity is to “serve Gnon” (i.e. devote our efforts to fulfilling nature’s pre-requisites for perpetuating our biologial and/or civilizational complexity); our subjective values are spandrels manufactured by natural selection/Gnon; insofar as our subjective values motivate us to serve Gnon and thereby ensure the perpetuation of biological and/or civilizational complexity, our subjective values are useful. (For example, natural selection makes sex a subjective value by making it pleasurable, which then motivates us to perpetuate our biological complexity). But, insofar as our subjective values mislead us from serving Gnon (such as by making non-procreative sex still feel good) and jeopardize our biological/civilizational perpetuation, we must sacrifice our subjective values for the objective good of perpetuating our biological/civilizational complexity” (such as by buckling down and having procreative sex even if one would personally rather not enjoy raising kids).

*Note that different NRx thinkers might have different definitions about what counts as biological or civilizational “complexity” worthy of perpetuating … it could be “Western Civilization,” “the White Race,” “Homo sapiens,” “one’s own genetic material,” “intelligence, whether encoded in human brains or silicon AI,” “human complexity/Godshatter,” etc. This has led to the so-called “neoreactionary trichotomy”—3 wings of the neoreactionary movement: Christian traditionalists, ethno-nationalists, and techno-commercialists.

Most LessWrongers probably agree with neoreactionaries on this fundamental normative assumption, with the typical objective good of LessWrongers being “human complexity/Godshatter,” and thus the “techno-commercialist” wing of neoreaction being the one that typically finds the most interest among LessWrongers.

Opitz’s ‘Godshatter’ reference link.

XoS will do its best to follow this discussion as it goes forward.

This attractively odd thing might be found at least vaguely relevant.

September 6, 2014admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction


16 Responses to this entry

  • Leon Says:

    Thought this might be relevant:


    admin Reply:

    Thanks. Caught that and headed the latest Chaos Patch with it.


    Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 6:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    If this portends an influx of Lesswrongian immigrants, we may want to think about raising rents.


    Max Reply:

    Pour la canaille, il faut la mitraille.


    admin Reply:

    They’re model migrants in my book. As long as no one is half-witted enough to give them a vote, they’ll push up real estate values.


    Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 7:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    I’m not on board with Opitz’ description of Neoreaction at all. The differences are not that we make different assumptions and then rationally, correctly derive different conclusions. It would be more accurate to say that each side accuses the other of huge amounts of motivated reasoning. To paraphrase Yudkowsky, my faith in the sanity of the people around me has been shattered. I don’t know what to do about it.


    Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Re: Godshatter link.

    Or you can just take consciousness seriously.

    NRx is particular, with respect for religion and experience with anti-racism, is in a position to understand what’s going wrong. These kinds of mental gymnastics are exactly what you see in anti-racists attempting to explain Detroit or the Putnam results or the persistent crime-race link. While mental gymnastics aren’t inherently a fallacy, it’s the way to bet.

    But the blind idiot god isn’t that smart.

    You get to insult Azathoth’s intelligence when I see your GATTACA code compile. Has Yudkowsky even coded a silicon utility function that can handle real-world complexity and variance? Debugging Azathoth’s design is like debugging a game’s design document. You can’t play a design document. Code it up.


    Alrenous Reply:

    “NRx is particular,” Err, in particular.


    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Liked it better the other way.


    admin Reply:

    @ Alrenous — I agree with most of that (although your confidence in what can be achieved with the concept of consciousness remains in my ‘under consideration’ drawer for now).


    Alrenous Reply:

    If consciousness is a real thing, it will have innate properties, like physics has entropy. Attempting to simulate physics in consciousness while ignoring entropy is as dumb as attempting to simulate consciousness in physics while ignoring…whatever it is consciousness has. The fact we don’t particularly know is my point, really.


    Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 8:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Wireheading. Good Gnon.

    Under a subjective value system, if you anti-value wireheading, then you’re done. There’s nothing to ‘accept.’ It’s bad for you because you think it’s bad for you. This is why proggie morality is nihilistic; it doesn’t even accept its own supposed premises, as a result of having to campaign against everyone elses’.

    Some rationalist. Amusingly, I just now found many articles mentioning recursion on LW, but didn’t find any specific mention of recursing models like this. I guess I’ll be explicit.

    Is it objectively true that only subjective values matter? Is it objectively good to feel subjectively good?
    Calling the value system ‘subjective’ is misleading. Rather, it’s answering Euthyphro by saying it’s pious because the gods like it. What the gods like may be more fickle than gravity…or not. Either way it’s no more up to you than gravity.

    Are you values up to you? If not, the system is not subjective. If so, then it’s up to you whether wireheading is rational or not. Either way, Opitz is deluded.

    Or: let’s just say I have no fear about competing with someone who wants to wirehead…

    Or: if you had to be mistaken, would you prefer to think your kith and kin are happy, or would you prefer to think they’re unhappy?

    And: there’s a semi-rational root for the confusion. They’re neglecting that humans frequently trade strong limbic responses for weak ones. I think it’s done by using the system that blocks impulses in favour of long-term goals. More generally, a weak spiritual satisfaction usually overrides a strong physical pleasure. Unless someone’s being fed proggie nihilism, saying they should discount the satisfaction in favour of the pleasure, so they can ‘rationally’ accept wireheading.

    There seems to be a lot of uncanny valley stuff here. Getting it right enough to [look epistemically competent enough] to know better.

    NormDis#1: lies, even noble ones, are unstable. But it doesn’t matter, as fixing the wirehead delusion, as above, shows us that wanting civilization makes civilization the best thing. This kind of assertion is self-justifying, if it is believed.

    DesAss#1: false dichotomy. Proggies do seem to see natural mastery in black and white. NRx merely points out it’s not black and white. I’m shocked, shocked, when the proggie sees this as claiming it’s black instead of white.

    DesAss#2: the continued failure to teach dire apes to be farsighted doesn’t dissuade the Progressive. By contrast, I’d like to think 333 would change its mind given a proof of concept. I would have to break with 333 if it didn’t.
    At least this one’s accurate as far as it goes.

    DesAss#3: False dichotomy. Obviously culture and technology are imperfectly interrelated. Apparently Opitz hasn’t actually thought about the Amish. Material conditions aren’t driving their culture.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I also take the middle ground on historical determinism. When Luther or Hitler arose, they filled a Luther or Hitler shaped hole in the world, but the hole was soft, which means wiser heads could have filled them instead. They just didn’t. Luther did not have to air the church’s dirty laundry in public. Or, conversely, he did not have to accept the church’s legitimacy at all. Instead he aired it, saying “I’ll accept you if,” yet he knew or should have known they would never do it.

    DesAss#4: was doing so well, then said John Michael Greer was ’embraced.’ Again I don’t know about the rest of you, but I just like people who aren’t wrong all the time, regardless of how often they’re wrong.
    Or put it this way: JMG doesn’t call himself a rationalist, so I don’t hold him to the same standards I hold myself to. I try to tweeze out his standards and hold them to those, then I check whether his standards make him waste my time or not.

    DesAss#5: Since I disagree with both positions, I’m not in a position to fairly critique either. In technological civilization overshoot isn’t a real problem and neither, by itself, is shrinking population.

    DesAss#6: If you think overshoot is a problem, you shouldn’t be trying to keep populations ‘topped off.’ It’s almost as if proggie positions are chosen for political expediency rather than from consistent basic principles. Or rather, the principles are power and appeal to the masses, especially the emotionally immature.


    admin Reply:

    It would be great if the most dangerous enemies we were to end up with were wire-headers. On those grounds alone, they should be tactically supported in their take-over of the Cathedral cogni-core.


    Alrenous Reply:

    Good point. #AAAs for wireheading.


    Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 9:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chuck Says:

    Opitz (and most of his LW commentators) failed to recognize the (primary) integrative/disintigrative antithesis. For NRx, the “will of Gnon” comes in at the policy level, for those interested in non-degenerative/salvatory policies for their particular community/region. NRx doesn’t consider the “will of Gnon” to be an objective value, but rather an objective force. And, so long as they are over there and not running things here, NRx policy analysts don’t particularly care if people take head of it.


    Posted on September 7th, 2014 at 1:49 am Reply | Quote
  • nyan_sandwich Says:

    I almost wonder if a contingent of NRx trolls should invade LW and do the intellectual equivalent of gore and swastikas.


    Posted on September 8th, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply | Quote

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