Posts Tagged ‘Entropy’


Multi-channel clamor recently, consisting of people telling me the XS comment ecology has turned into a sewer. This claim is beyond all serious question true. Laissez-faire has failed here. Some kind of ruthless torching-out process is likely in the near future.

If anyone has practical suggestions for restoring some basic level of comment quality, please pass it on. In the absence of anything neater, I’ll probably just start brutally culling comments that seem to lower the tone — from what it was a year or two back (it’s scarcely possible to lower the tone of what it’s become).

Any response that doesn’t begin from realistic acceptance of how badly things have gone to shit will be laughed at, then ignored. Please be my guest and try it though, just for the entertainment value.

No plans to make the purge retrospective. The current dismal state of commentary will be preserved as a monument to the workings of entropy, and a lesson to anyone extravagantly confident about the working of spontaneous order in micro-scale cultural institutions.

Yes, there’s been plenty of entropy on the posting side too. (That strikes me as an at least partially-separable issue.)

Currently, I’ve merely ceased to salvage anything from the spam queue unless it adds quality. Don’t bother complaining about missing comments. That’s scarcely started.

July 22, 2017admin 276 Comments »

Order and Value

A piece of machinery that reduces (local) disorder has value. It might be a functional police force, a catallactic economic arrangement, or a sociopolitical mechanism implementing dynamic geography (or Patchwork, 1, 2, 3, 4). Others might be listed. Any complex adaptive system works like this (until it ceases working). Since Schrödinger, it has been taken as an abstract definition of life. In certain strands of philosophy, it has also been taken as the complete, rigorous meaning of a machine (as counterposed to a ‘gadget’ – which works only within a larger machinic assemblage). Only by exporting entropy does anything of even minimal complexity get to continue its existence. The production of order is functionality in its most elevated, teleological sense.

A piece of rhetoric which merely celebrates order, as something nice to have, is worth nothing in itself. “We want order” is the “give us free stuff” slogan of intellectually degenerated reaction. When examined closely, it is indistinguishable from political pan-handling. (Democracy has taught everyone how to beg.) It is unlikely that even the most radically degraded libertarian would be shameless enough to consider “wealth is good, poverty is bad” anything more than an expression of sub-comic emotional incontinence. “Order is good, chaos is bad” is a slogan of exactly equivalent merit. “We want order” is just “we want money” at a superior level of generality. Monkeys want peanuts, but we are reluctant to dignify their hungry hooting with the label ‘political philosophy’.

Entropy dissipation is a problem. It might quite reasonably be considered the problem. Any serious social theory is respected insofar as it elicits the question: So how is entropy dissipated? The main current of Anglophone intellectual culture focuses tightly upon it, in a broad lineage from Newtonian mechanics, the Scottish Enlightenment, the science of heat, classical economics, and Darwinian naturalism, into theories of complexity, distributed systems, dynamic networks, and productive multiplicities. Spontaneous order is the consistent topic. ‘Spontaneous’ means only: Does not presuppose that which it is tasked with explaining. If the genesis of order is not being theorized, order is merely being assumed, and then consumed. The difference is between a supply side problematic (“how is order practically produced?”) and an empty demand (“we want more order”). The former is industrial, the latter simply tyrannical, when it is anything at all beside vacuous noise.

Unless a pol-econ. theory can contribute to an explanation of the production of order (dissipation of entropy), it is wasting everyone’s time. “But I really want order” is just silliness. It’s astounding that it could ever be thought otherwise.

March 7, 2016admin 48 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote note (#195)

Urbit on entropy dissipation:

Bringing people together is an easy problem for any social network. The hard problem is keeping them apart. In other words, the hard problem is filtering. Society is filtering.

A society without filters is a whirling, beige mess of atoms in a blender. Beigeworld is an inhuman antisociety. A digital republic is a garden; not only does a garden smell good, but every flower smells good. An unfiltered network is a sewer. All sewers have exactly the same smell.

October 29, 2015admin 9 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

Sentences (#27)

Malcolm Pollack capitalizes upon a commentator’s insight:

Our commenter’s observation is spot-on: if we (correctly) understand political Leftism as a movement toward increasing disorder (in evidence of which we can present, for example, the Left’s relentless campaign to flatten and ‘equalize’ human societies, and to obliterate all of the social organism’s essential distinctions and discriminations), then Conquest’s Second Law is just a special case of the more general Second Law. (XS emphasis.)

October 22, 2015admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Sentences

Quote note (#151)

Fernandez on civilization versus entropy:

You are watching entropy at work, witnessing the destruction of information and seeing disorder take over the world.

To understand this more clearly, open the case of your computer and consider the arrangement of the jumper wires (assuming you still have jumper wires). There are only a few ways the jumper wires can be correctly connected but millions of ways they can be wrongly attached. Order (in the sense of a functioning arrangement) is that small percentage of outcomes that work. Entropy is all the ways it won’t work. Order is statistically hard to achieve. Disorder is relatively easy to create.

It took an ancient craftsman years to produce those statues preserved in the Mosul Museum, but it took a thug only a few minutes to pound it into rubble and dust.

Since order and knowledge are expensive, what we call civilization essentially advances by remembering which wires go where. The innovation of political correctness however, holds that since all jumper connections are equally valid, anything goes and one can even rearrange older wiring to suit aesthetic impulses. By declaring all cultures equal we open the doors to entropy. We may not notice the effect at first, because — to continue the computer example — there is still enough residual functionality in your machine to carry on.

By and by we disable the CD drive, the USB ports, then some of the keys in the keyboard. Then one day we pull out a really important jumper and the hard disk stops. But by then we cannot acknowledge the damage we’ve done since according to our progressive thinking we ought to have improved things. And this thought will still be in our minds as the blade of the machete slices off the hand we put out to ward the blow.

February 28, 2015admin 14 Comments »
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Patri Friedman’s Cuddly Alt-NRx project seems to be coming together nicely. Aesthetics aside, there’s very little to object to. A few hard stompings from Leviathan and the nastiness should re-import itself automatically.

(His critique of Caplan is basically indistinguishable from mine, except that it’s vastly more polite.)

February 23, 2015admin 12 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Mandatory Mixes

On the Outer Right, where questions of order and disorder are undergoing incremental rigorization, the theme of entropy is becoming ever more insistent. It is already approaching the status of a micro-cultural tic (and this is a positive sign). On the Left, in contrast, and utterly predictably, entropy is a zealous cause. If spontaneous social sorting reduces disorder, then the progressive mind immediately concludes it has to be stopped:

… we should promote ever greater diversity. But the magic of the melting pot wasn’t simply the fact of its jumble; it was that various groups were compelled to interact, share ideas, discuss their differences and learn from their disagreements. […] … America’s social architecture was uniquely adept at incubating a range of collaboration. The fact that we couldn’t get away from one another fueled the nation’s dynamism. […] That’s no longer true. The principle of “live and let live” has led us to look away when coming across someone unfamiliar. We should undoubtedly celebrate victories in the fight for individual rights. But if tolerance is driving balkanization, we need to recognize that the American experience has changed at its root.

The fact that such things are now being said, with some panic-driven directness, strongly suggests that the progressive homogenization hoped for isn’t advancing through social automatism. If elective differences are to be suppressed, they will have to be deliberately crushed. It could get rough.

The preferred social solution of this blog is free association — to mix with discrimination, spontaneously, and variously. Selective hybridity is not homogeneity, or anything close to it. Sadly, and grimly, however, in the titanic clash between an anti-discriminatory (universalist) Left and an indiscriminate (ethno-segregative) ‘Right’, such sensible procedures of dynamic social differentiation are increasingly derided as incomprehensible subtleties, and drowned out.

Order is not uniformity (but non-random difference). As cries for mandatory homogenization are raised everywhere, discriminatory variation will need places to escape, to defend, and to hide.

September 9, 2014admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

On Chaos

Turbulence is nonlinear dynamism, so remarking upon it very quickly becomes reflexive. In any conflict, an emergent meta-conflict divides those who embrace and reject the conflict as such, and ‘meta’ is in reality reflexivity, partially apprehended. So ignore the sides of the war, momentarily. What about war?

Moldbug really doesn’t like it. The closest he ever comes to a wholly-arbitrary axiom — comparable, at least superficially, to the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle — is exhibited in this context. Following some preliminary remarks, his first exposition of the formalist ideology begins: “The basic idea of formalism is just that the main problem in human affairs is violence.” As with Hobbes, the horror of war is the foundation of political philosophy.

Continue Reading

April 25, 2014admin 54 Comments »
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