Posts Tagged ‘Reality’

Quote note (#305)

Vindicating Lombroso:

We study, for the first time, automated inference on criminality based solely on still face images. Via supervised machine learning, we build four classifiers (logistic regression, KNN, SVM, CNN) using facial images of 1856 real persons controlled for race, gender, age and facial expressions, nearly half of whom were convicted criminals, for discriminating between criminals and non-criminals. All four classifiers perform consistently well and produce evidence for the validity of automated face-induced inference on criminality, despite the historical controversy surrounding the topic …

November 19, 2016admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Cathedralism

Imagine, hypothetically, that you wanted the regime to succeed. Would you recommend Cathedralization? Cynically considered, the track record is, at least, not bad. Planetary dominion is not to be sniffed at. (Suggestions in this direction are not unknown, even in XS comment threads.)

The Cathedral, defined with this question in mind, is the subsumption of politics into propaganda. It tends — as it develops — to convert all administrative problems into public relations challenges. A solution — actual or prospective — is a successful management of perceptions.

For the mature Cathedral, a crisis takes the consistent form: This looks bad. It is not merely stupid. As Spandrell recently observes, in comments on power, “… power isn’t born out of the barrel of a gun. Power is born out of the ability to have people with guns do what you tell them.” (XS note.) The question of legitimacy is, in a real sense, fundamental, when politics sets the boundaries of the cosmos under consideration. (So Cathedralism is also the hypertrophy of politics, to the point where a reality outside it loses all credibility.)

Is your civilization decaying? Then you need to persuade people that it is not. If there still seems to be a mismatch between problem and solution here, Cathedralism has not entirely consumed your brain. To speculate (confidently) further — you’re not a senior power-broker in a modern Western state. You’re even, from a certain perspective, a fossil.

Cathedralism works, in its own terms, as long as there are no definite limits to the efficacy of propaganda. To pose the issue at a comparatively shallow level, if the political response to a crisis simply is the crisis, and that response can be effectively controlled (through propaganda, broadly conceived), then the Cathedral commands an indisputable practical wisdom. It would be sensible to go long on the thing.

If however (imagine this, if you still can) manipulation of the response to crisis is actually a suppression of the feedback required to really tackle the crisis, then an altogether different story is unfolding.

Is reality subordinated to the Cathedral because — and exactly so far as — ‘the people’ are? That is the question.

ADDED: Deeply relevant.

February 16, 2016admin 31 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Quote note (#214)

The intolerable clarity of Sailer at work:

… the concept of “Europeanism” upon which the EU was founded — that Europeans should be more neighborly to their fellow Europeans than to non-Europeans — is increasingly unmentionable in polite society because it’s seen as racist. For example, during the peak of adulation for Merkel before reality set in, she was widely praised for personifying European values by de-Europeanizing Europe.

How would one even begin to argue with anything said here? There’s a lot in this short passage, but nothing that isn’t obviously true, to everyone, which accounts — perhaps — for the fact that it is nevertheless almost unthinkably controversial.

It would be a relief to see Merkel awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to the ruin of Europe. If not honest — or anything close — it would at least attain meta-honesty, by defining ‘peace’ explicitly as the suppression of truth.

February 1, 2016admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Sentences (#37)

From The Big Short (2015):

The truth is like poetry.
And most people fucking hate poetry.

January 16, 2016admin 17 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#40)

December 21, 2015admin 3 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#33)

This is too perfect:

November 5, 2015admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Irony
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Reality Boxes

Acknowledgement of a conservation law is typically a reliable indication of realistic analysis. There’s a notable example here (embedded in an important article):

In the past, individuals could suffer death or disability due to small genetic defects, for example in their immune systems, for which modern medicine now routinely substitutes and which welfare cushions. But even modern medicine and welfare have their limits. W.D. Hamilton stated that when the misery resulting from mutations grows too great to bear — for medical, economic or humanitarian reasons — the load will be reduced, either naturally or artificially — painfully through elevated rates of mortality, or painlessly through eugenics.
[My emphasis]

The slogan It’s going to happen one way or the other is engraved upon the gateway to the Temple of Gnon.

May 13, 2015admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Suspense

In respect to the initial formulation of a question along the rough lines “How is suspension of consequences possible?” there are only three basic options:

(1) It’s not. All deferral of consequences is illusion. The reality is something akin to instant karma. (There’s something about this line of thinking I respect, but I’ve no idea how it could be coherently put together, and then knitted with explanatory plausibility to evident historical fact.)
(2) It’s complicated.
(3) That old problem is over. Haven’t you heard of the Death of Reality? Postmodernism, bitchez. (This is Derrida and Baudrillard — smart, terminally decadent, and radically inconsistent with NRx. It’s also the implicit principle of post-liberal macro-economics.)

Number Two is surely the only path here that is NRx-compatible. Its articulation remains almost entirely unachieved, although this is no great source of shame — the prior intellectual history of the world got nowhere with it, either. It might not be the deepest problem about time, but it is the one with the greatest immediate relevance to generally-acknowledged historical processes, and (perhaps) also the greatest direct practical application. What it explores is the potential for a realistic analysis of the provisionally-functional denial of reality. It crosses almost everything ‘we’ are talking about.

Charles Hugh-Smith writes:

By the time extend-and-pretend finally reaches its maximum limits, the resulting implosion is so large that the shock waves topple regimes, banks, currencies and entire nations.

If NRx seems predisposed to apocalypticism, it is because it concurs — both with the proposal that “maximum limits” exist, and the attendant thesis that some reality-suppressing tendency is reaching them. “Extend-and-pretend” — or radically finite reality denial — is an engine of catastrophe. It enables negative consequences to be accumulated through postponement, without prospect of final (‘postmodern’) absolution. Yes, the coagulated detritus does eventually collide ruinously with the unpleasantness purifier. The fact it hasn’t already done so, however, is a puzzle of extraordinary profundity.

ADDED: Scharlach responds.

February 19, 2015admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy
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