I was just thinking of the Heroes TV series where one of the characters who can pass through time sees a future version of himself get killed (and that version knowing he’ll get killed).

And it really bugs me, that fatalism. Not just emotionally but in practical terms – you can see the future, you have information. But there’s this attitude of ‘Welp, that’s it, can’t do anything else’. A learned helplessness.

If everything is predetermine (never mind that you can’t know how all predeterminance works out until it’s been rendered/it happens), sure, it’s gunna happen.

But you don’t know how it turns out.

It’s just weird how the universe doesn’t know how things are gunna turn out – because I lied, we are going to look at how determinance doesn’t matter if you don’t know until the reality is rendered. The whole universe is kind of blind to what happens next. It’s funny how the psyche can echo that blindness – have that fatalism even when it can see the future (which can’t happen when things have not been rendered yet), you just gosh darn can’t do anything about it! It’s curious how psyche echoes that curve of the universe.

Dark Souls/Hypocritical Souls


It’s like a word that comes after a feeling that comes after who knows what. After a natural reflex – a natural responce to certain events. A natural reflex to tell someone off for doing something.

But from the same place in the same chiding individual comes…the urge to do all other things.

Visualize it as a tap – water pours forth. But some of the water that pours forth tries to block other taps from releasing their water.

But, you might argue, some of it is legitimate – who wants one taps pourings to be that it loots your home of your goods? Should not that pouring be blocked?

The thing is that is an intellectual argument – I don’t see an issue as much where someone can formulate things into discussable rules. Maybe they say they get to do X and Y, but you don’t get to do Z. How come they get to do X and Y? Well at least it gets talked about, not just done as if it’s just fine. Maybe there’s room for negotiation in that self reflection.

But without discussion, it’s taps flowing but their flow tries to block other taps. If we take the tap to be a kind of soul, does that make the human soul pretty hypocritical? It insists on flowing and feels of itself it is great in its flowings, even as its flow blocks other souls? Again, one might think of various attacks or thefts or assaults. But on the other hand it can be that someone simply walked a certain way or wore a certain items of clothing or ‘looked the wrong way’ or…so many others. Flows crushing flows. And it goes for any, really – we all pour pretty much the same.

So people act like you should just be the real you and pour yourself out – even as they will reflexively, right from the core, damn certain other behaviors. No thought about it, no discussion. Just the hypocritical soul. Reveling in its outpourings purity and wonderfulness even as those outpourings block the outpour of others.

Nihilistically I guess it makes sense – just animals clawing themselves to the top over/at the expense of other animals. But inside the moral bubble, can people really think of however they want to act as being as pretty as they keep treating it? Such self satisfied states?

Yeah, crushing an outpouring there myself (or attempting to – I’d be surprised if it was super effective). But at least talking about it.

Semantic Erosion/Post Truth/Semantic Apocalypse, Part 1

It’s funny – it’s a hard to introduce subject because it’s about subjects being hard to introduce. In Venn diagram terms, hard to find some overlap of circles on the subject of non overlapping circles. Who wants to listen on the subject about them not listening?

Fantasy Author R. Scott Bakker has had various posts on the idea of a ‘Semantic Apocalypse’. A recent one here, using a real life example to raise the hypothetical as possibly applying. It’s the Kavanaugh hearings, btw. Not your kind of thing? Well the subject is things that don’t overlap the interests of others, so that kind of fits you have to admit.

A crude way to put it is possibly just that political spin gets bigger and bigger. It’s probably got more nuance than that, but that idea is a circle that kind of reaches out. In addition we have a history where people of differing ideas had to work together to survive – now that’s not so much the case. People can have more and more extreme ideas and use search engines to find people who share those ideas. Rather than having to only be able to talk to a range of people with a range of views, most of which would tell them ‘That’s a bit extreme’. And so maybe take the extremism down a notch or two. Instead you get stuff like theredpill on reddit.

So you get spin and you get machinery/the internet that helps polarised people find polarised people and reaffirm their polarisation. Rather than have it turned down a notch or two by only seeing a range of people with a range of views.

I wanted to get onto some concerns Scott raised in a pair of comments

“I very much worry that warning of the semantic apocalypse will have the effect of contributing to it”

and the other comment

“Understanding the mechanics of human sociocognition enables evermore manipulation of human sociocognition means the eventual doom of human sociocognition.”

And who doesn’t love a bit of doom, eh?

But these I realise are circles inside of the first circle. And the first circle is hard enough to find some tasty gristle in to chew on. But if doom is a kind of tasty gristle, I assure you there’s something to chew on there! And I’ll leave this here as a sort of reasonably bite sized portion and move onto the other parts in future – having not actually reached the subjects I started writing for to begin with! What can I say, there was more gristle than I realised?

A faith pitch : The mind is hollow

Imagine it a bit like a Jehovah witness coming to the door, to sell faith. Though what faith undermines their own sell?

Or worse, imagine a philosopher coming to your clean door step?

But this is the very important thing about this idea – it involves the notion there is a black box you just can’t look into. Nor me. Unfortunately the extra part of it is that you being unable to see into the black box is also hidden – with an actual black box, you could hold it and see how it blocks you from seeing inside. But imagine some fool comes up and says you can’t see into a black box and that he can’t even show you the box. Maybe you ask why can’t he show it? And he says that’s part of it – you can’t see into the box and you can’t even see that there is a box. That’s how black it is!!

What tremendous rubbish! At least the Jehovah witnesses hand you a pamphlet with people frolicking in fields and sitting with lambs and stuff. That at least looks fun!

This guy goes on, because somehow the very forces of this example exclude slamming the door, and says there’s a lot of behavior that comes from the box – it has attachments for wires on the outside, and those wires send shocks of electricity about the place. From these behaviors a number of hypotheses can be formed about what is in the box – pretty good hypotheses as well, since in other material objects they’d prove right. But then again most people would still look at the very material object those hypotheses are about to confirm them. Say you saw water running down a channel into a container – you hypothesize there is water in the container. But you open it up to check, you don’t just have faith. Not unless you’re forced to for lack of time to open the container or some other such constraint on checking.

But this black box the fool is talking about? You can’t look in. Just can’t. Can’t even find the black box to see it as a box. I mean really! If you were forced by lack of time to not check the container from before for water, that’s one thing. That’s practical! But being told you can’t look! That’s just rubbish! That’s….that’s a demand of faith!

Thrilling build up there? What could this black box be a stand in for…ah crap, really the title kind of spoilered that, eh? What kind of weak sauce sell is this?

So the idea is that the human mind (as defined in many a way) is hollow. That hollow is the black box. Or so goes this line of faith – see, that’s the hard thing, it’d be nice to pitch this as ‘how it is, bro!’. But that contradicts the very idea.

But I’ll pitch is as if ‘that’s how it is, bro!’ anyway, for drama purposes. Hell, other people get pamphlets with lambs and frolicking – I get this!

What’s in your mind, while there can be many points of evidence about human behavior that suggest what is in that brain that is you, you cannot confirm any of those suggestions at all. Basically as simple as that. You lack inner access. Indeed, you lack the inner access to realise you lack the inner access.

No, it’s not a radical skepticism. Though in the skittering absence of self access, why not slip that way? But that’s the thing about this idea being a faith – when pitched as a fact, what would a being with a lack of inner access do in regards to that ‘fact’? They would not be able to confirm it because they don’t have inner access nor inner access that shows they don’t have inner access. The ‘fact’ would have to be rejected for sheer, absolute lack of evidence (most certainly it is a fact there is no evidence. Nor evidence of there being a lack of evidence!) – how it would be rejected doesn’t matter, it would be rejected and then the how determined afterward, rolling on a D&D chart of 100 random rejections. A skittering.

But a faith? A faith is like Gandalf – no one consigns Gandalf to the chart of 100 random rejections. And sometimes other faith stuff doesn’t get sent there straight away either.

So it’s a faith pitch. You can argue what is inside the mind from material effects and behaviors shown outside the mind. But how can you confirm it? Can you open the black box – or what you have about confirming it is merely a faith?

Can you really argue what is in the mind to anyone else, given they cannot confirm the argument? Wait, whoa – I just pitched that in a fact like way, didn’t I? Ditch that – What if a totes set of fantasy beings could not confirm what is in the mind, due to lack of inner access, but other beings of that race tried to argue to others of their kind what is in all their minds – as if it were a fact?

Would none of those argued to be able to confirm the statement, for having no inner access – there would be absolutely no evidence to go by. Without evidence the argument would HAVE to be wrong – how it’s wrong would just be just a matter of time to determine. That it is wrong would be the first step. Then rolling on the D&D chart of 100 random rejections for as to why it is wrong.

Essentially all of these fantasy beings would have hollow minds – the black box, the absence of absences, inside their mind. An empty space, lurking there.

Now here’s the fun bit – imagine you pitched to these fantasy beings the idea of the hollow mind NOT as a fact, but as a fantasy idea! Well, they might not rush to the chart of 100 quite so quickly, since they can humor a tall tale or two. If only for a chuckle.

So it might be quite possible to see them, sitting there, with this fantasy of them having hollow minds, when they freakin’ have hollow minds, and able to toss around that idea quite easily. They can handle the hard fact of this examples reality when it’s pitched as a fantasy – as a potential faith. When it’s just pitched as an example. But pitch the hollow mind as a fact to the hollow minded and [joker]everybody loses their minds![/joker]

What a freakin’ setting, huh? Well, maybe for philosophical readers – where the hell’s the action and adventure in that, eh? Blah! Needs work shopping to be really fun!

But to really indulge the philosophical and lack of action, imagine beings in the hollow mind example trying to argue others about the contents of their own minds. Imagine of another hollow being tried to say its a fact they can’t – the microphone feedback like effect of being A, who cannot confirm what is in their mind, saying to hollow being B they cannot argue to a group of hollow beings (group C) what is in their mind because group C cannot confirm it! It’d be like some kind of Rube Goldberg machine that is actually designed to fail at each stage!

Let’s go through the failures! Being B could not confirm that group C cannot confirm what is being argued is the contents of their mind. And being A could not inwardly confirm what the hell they were arguing to begin with – being B already thinks A cannot confirm this (and is actually right, but the reason for being right is not actually correct) and is hearing group C cannot confirm this from someone who cannot confirm it in themselves! Of course it can’t be right – it can’t be confirmed (by inner access)! And it’s definitely true that A cannot confirm this!

It’s kind of like a hot potato – in this example A cannot confirm what he is saying. If we go back in time before A showed up and there was just B trying to argue what is in the minds of themselves and group C, B has the hot potato because group C thinks B cannot confirm any of this. And they are right! Though again, for the wrong reason!

In such an example, the issue is there is a fallacy that confirmation is always possible. Whoever is doing the claiming of what is in the other hollow minds is always (correctly) suspected of not being able to confirm that inwardly. With that fallacy in place though, the reason for the lack of confirmation always ends up wrong – always ends up skittering across the chart of 100 random rejections. Falsely. For their minds lack inner access (and even lack inner access to that absence of inner access, like we lack access to where our sight runs out). The notion of facts, for these example beings, insists there is always a way to confirm something. Anything else is to be rejected (ala Russell’s teapot). And yet when they practice the fallacy they can always confirm (but in this example they can’t for lack of inner access), then they look for a way of rejecting and simply rationalize one, rolling on the chart of 100 rejections. Such is the strength of the fallacy.

What a wacky setting, amiright? What, wait? You hear the kettle boiling? You have to close the door now? Oh, right, well good day – I’m on to the next house on the street!

Though my mouth is dry.


What is your Major Determinism Malfunction?

There’s a kind of float – a sense people are detached from how you understand an idea, but what is that detachment, it’s left as a floating variable. A hovering question mark.

Plus on top of that, when someone comes out with something, you can’t be sure that’s what everyone thinks. But hey, someone made a video, so there’s enough commitment there to aim at.

Warning: This post dips into some semi industrial grade nihilism. It gets fairly caustic.

It’s at 215 seconds, if this thing isn’t embedding properly.

Responsibility and punishment don’t really make sense?

How were they supposed to make sense? What were they, just some sense of rising vengeance or something? Never mind what that rising emotion did, just let it rise and manifest physically?

“If we’re just a product of our past then we don’t really choose to do the things we do”

I honestly can’t get my head around this, really – not in one singular vein. Part of it I think is just hard wired excuse making. Got an idea for making an excuse? Express it! If it works, you get out of a lot of bad stuff. If it doesn’t work, the caloric effort of breathing a few words was very low. Low chance of working but low cost of making the effort to begin with Vs perhaps avoiding big bad stuff == making lame excuse.

Another angle I try to get it from is best described as there being like two words – one where we are creatures of positive and negative feedback – you touch the hot plate, you scald your fingers, you don’t touch it again. The other is the exact same world, but from the perspective of a creature that is unaware it is a creature of positive and negative feedback. So in this ‘world’ the creature just ‘does things’, to quote the Joker. They choose, they don’t come from a compilation of hotplates and sundaes. Imagine suddenly taking away the idea of ‘free choice’. What would such a creature navigate from then, in regards to a legal system? Nothing, of course. The legal system is to them an expression of vengeance (or something). And it’s for that purpose because…vengeance! ‘Choice’ is a product of the imaginary plane of existence not at all involving being a compilation of +/- feed backs.

The idea of a penal system that’s basically like repairing broken mechanisms, that’s just off the radar for people in this ‘world’. But fair enough, the penal system as of this present day doesn’t do that – in fact it breaks mechanisms worse than before. But that kind of speaks of a commitment far beyond this video.

But anyway, ‘Oh why would it make sense for anyone to suffer, oh! How can we be punished for something we didn’t choose?’.

It’s like saying you should only go through a treatment if you made a pact with the devil. No devil means no treatment, right? Once the devil – ie, choice – is gone, how can you be punished (/have your negative feedback systems stimulated (and be locked away from slightly more sane society))?

Well, I guess the devil is gone, but the deep blue sea that there is no compilation of negative and positive feedback, that’s still there in this second world. Things get pretty wonky when you remove only part of the supernatural ecology.

And completely butcher the idea of determinism. Putting it into major malfunction. Or at least how I understand the word.

Including completely butchering the idea of complexity in those negative and positive feedbacks. The many, many scales involved, each tipping onto other scales, which tip onto other scales and so on. Sometimes in a loop. A deep complexity so rich that made making up imaginary worlds where there are no scales at all both absurd and yet makes sense to operate from – you don’t know how your computer works, how the internet works. But that thin knowledge you have that gets you the images on screen that you want, you just focus on that – and ignore the greater complexity. And so mankind ignores the greater complexity of its own positive and negative feedback system. It’s a positive feedback to ignore ones own methods of positive feedback. Ignorance is bliss.

Which means, until sufficiently advanced technology is deployed, there may as well be hope. You don’t get determinism when thinking ‘oh, it’s all just an iteration of the past!’. Sure, determinism’s hope is like some sort of monstrous version of what you’d call hope – like Frank Castle is a monstrous form of justice. Behind the fantasy second world stands something real, but twisted, mutilated and spindled in comparison.

But while the deep blue sea remains, the devil soon enough rises yet again.



How is Artificial Meat more Humane?

If artificial meat is ‘more humane’, what does that mean? That for millions of years were were being inhumane?? But we just didn’t talk about it or something? Just kind of overlooked it – maybe just gave the impression it was actually okay to butcher animals for meat? But suddenly if you can produce artificial meat then you can be ‘more humane’? It’d be like saying new technology X can make you less of a criminal – and maybe you are like ‘I was doing anything criminal at all to begin with??’

Thoughts provoked by a recent SMBC comic:


Player Feedback and Inherent Meaning Worlds

Just a quick thought. Take it that some players have little to say on what they want to see in games. I wonder if it is because they are looking for an inherently meaningful world?

An inherently meaningful world would, if taking its behavior from intuition, have an inherent destiny that draws the character (which is to say, the players externalized expression of their desires) to what they want to happen.

Where as just saying they want X to happen might feel ‘cheap’ for it to happen. ‘As if it wasn’t real’

So then there’s this sort of silent optimism, as they wait for their shining special time to come. Whatever it actually is. I dunno, can you Vulcan mind read people?

I dunno, I always figured you could spit ball, throw out ideas and get feedback after doing a thing. But at this point, if what I’m describing is ever the case (hopefully I’m wrong and it’s not), then there is never feedback beyond disappointment. Of the million things they might like, you can only basically give one thing. So you have a one in a million chance. Pretty much waste of time odds.

All waiting for that shining star, ‘real’ destiny.



Witless Poem

It’s curious, the bent between…not actual signal to noise but instead signal to reception.

The billowing urgency, the message, the rising tide.


The pointlessness of the transmission. Dial a random phone number and speak into it without listening.

The same.

Grasp. Reach. Traction. Point. Morale. Effort. Institutionalized thieves, setting us against us and collecting the pittances into their own pocket.

(How many man hours are put into youtube? Yet who gains the profit?

But yet more people flock still.

They see glamour, when glamour is no longer attached to food and shelter.

They can’t see past their seeing. Which is the message.

And if you want to pass on a message, hand over your man hours to the thief)


And the silence in attempting to figure traction, when traction is all about not being silent.

Have I dialed your number?

Simulationism – gaming with the front of the brain turned off?

I was watching something on the brain by Susan Greenfield (she’s a baroness, lol!).

It was on a different subject, but she was describing how a three year old child, if asked what ‘Out, out, brief candle’ means, they’d say it means if you blow on a candle hard enough, it goes out.

There is no dimension of symbology and metaphor for them.

And then I happened to be thinking about simulationism and how people get uptight about ‘it’s not realistic!’ or such. I happened to be thinking that, because I had a dream where the landlord had put our house up for rent. Except the house in my dream wasn’t quite the same as the house I’m actually in. Yet that wasn’t the point, was it?

Except perhaps for gamers heavily inclined towards sim, as much as the three year old has no further dimension to the saying, a simulationist just imagines without any further dimension. Just literalist imagining. No metaphor, no symbology. Indeed Susan Greenfield says the frontal cortex is to do with metaphor and such – so simulationism? Gaming with the front part of your brain turned off?

Interestingly she also says the frontal cortex only starts to really switch on and light up at around age twenty.

Out, out, brief candle!

Emotional roots

There’s more than a few bits in the prince of nothing novels where he refers to something like men take the wreckage of what has become, then call it their own choice and declare that to be themselves.

I was idling through elfwood and saw this. One of the comments is ‘How did she die?’.

That’s the human mind – not asking why it grieves over a dead love to begin with, but asking how did she die. Just taking the wreckage of what has happened and going on from there, pursuing why she died, rather than pursuing why it was a concern at all that she died, to begin with. Your roots may as well determine your destination, but we ignore our emotional roots and simply act as extensions of them.