There is a sick value inversion between the image of the capitalist ruthlessly seeking profits and the benevolent politician working for the betterment of society.
*The capitalist succeeds only to the extent that he can produce more consumer value than the resources he consumes.
*The politician succeeds only to the extent that he can steal from productive workers and redistribute the wealth to his power base.
*The capitalist is empowered by consumers voting directly with their dollars and receiving immediate rewards for their votes.
*The politician sells promises to votes, but is actually owned by the pressure groups who pay for his campaigns.
*The capitalist is the ultimate humanitarian, working tirelessly to create wealth and maximize consume value.
*The politician is the ultimate parasite, existing solely on wealth he steals from the productive and redistributes to those who offer the largest bribe or protection money.
There are two ways to measure life expectancy: objective (wall clock) time and subjective time: life as we experience and remember it.
A long boring life is subjectively shorter than a short, exciting life that is full of memories. The boring, repetitive parts (commuting to work, sitting in a cubicle, watching television) get compressed while the exciting and novel parts stay fresh. The best way to live longer may be to maximize the quantity of memorable life experiences. We have more control over our experiences than our biological timeline.
What are you doing to optimize your subjective life expectancy?
As I grow older, I wonder if I am becoming more wise or senile. When I was younger, my worldview changed radically every day, but my position at any given time always seemed clear and binary. Now, I rarely discard any idea entirely, but gradually layer my worldview with more layers of complexity and nuance. Looking back, my essays are full of certainty and nonsense. Lately, I’m not sure if I make sense or have real insights at all. I think I am learning to appreciate the complexity of reality, but then I am not really sure. My only benchmark is that I’m happier than I used to be.
It is far easier to express oneself than to communicate. You can express yourself to a rock just as well as to a human being. But to communicate, you must understand how your words will be processed by another mind. You must estimate their level of knowledge, their potential for misunderstanding, their emotional response to your ideas, their capacity for new ideas, and their willingness to listen.
As social animals, we evolved to optimize our communication by relying on non verbal feedback in one on one interactions. When communicating in writing, the challenge is doubled, and doubled again when ongoing feedback is not provided. No wonder then that so few people learn how to be effective writers.
There is no such thing as “chance” or “randomness” in nature. Chance is just what we say when we don’t know why. There is only causality.
I wrote a One Minute Case Against the Cosmological Argument in 2007, but looking back, I would put it simply as:
Infinities do not actually exist. Each specific set of entities is discrete. But the causal chain itself is not an existent. It is the set of all entities that have ever existed. That is a theoretical construct (like infinity or a singularity in mathematics) rather than a discrete set of entities that we can point to. If I walk from one side of the room to the other, my body exists in an infinite number of locations along that path during the time it takes me to do so. But it only exists in one location at any specific time.
The popular notion that sexual acts should be performed in the dark and under the sheets is derived from the Judeo-Christian dogma that human beings and thus human sexuality are fundamentally corrupt, shameful, and evil. Because this dogma is still widespread throughout secularized Western societies and in secularized equivalents of original sin, it is now infecting and corrupting non-Western societies along with the positive elements on Western civilization.
It’s unfortunate that this is not widely recognized in those societies, but it’s no coincidence – the intellectuals and politicians of those states have found Western notions about the base nature of human beings very useful for furthering certain social/political goals. Much more deserves to be written about this…
… In economic matters, most people, including most politicians, mainstream economists, and investors unconsciously follow Dewey’s philosophical principles: reality is ultimately driven by social consensus, and the success or failure of markets depends only on the optimism or pessimism of consumers and investors. This is more than the belief that wishes and prayers affect reality – this is a belief that one’s wishes are reality – if only enough people share the delusion.
(From What you need to know about the economic “crisis”)
Two more examples:
“As long as no one knows about it, the counterfeit money we print doesn’t really exist:”
“The Bank of England will be able to print extra money without having legally to declare it under new plans which will heighten fears that the Government will secretly pump extra cash into the economy.”
“As long as we ignore the problems in your economy, they won’t really affect us:”
“South Korea set a rare and controversial example over the weekend by arresting a popular blogger who was accused of undermining the financial markets [by correctly predicting economic downturns] but worshipped by many Koreans as an online guru.”
Despite an “impartial” and “transparent” process, it turns out that there is a high correlation between Congressional power and science grants. Must be a “a case of correlation but not causation” one commentator writes. There’s no way that politics could corrupt the scientific process (as long as Democrats are in power, at least.)