Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Classic Necro Pr0n (NSFW)

In response to The Ancient Battle Against the Undead, Anonymous writes:
Also, please post links to some of the "classic" necromancer / golem stories. I am drawing a blank
The line of Der Golem is an easy place to start. It's loosely based on the old legend of the Jews who built a golem for their protection, and then the Golem turned on them. A great one in the same series if Homunculus. The plot description is a perfect recitation of the necromantic narrative:
Foenss, a Danish star, is the perfect creature manufactured in a laboratory by Kuehne. Having discovered his origins, that he has no 'soul' and is incapable of love, he revenges himself on mankind, instigating revolutions and becoming a [monstrous] but beautiful tyrant, relentlessly pursued by his creator-father who seeks to rectify his mistake.

Kuehne, like all necromancers, tries to subvert life by pouring exorbitant resources into creating imitative life; the resulting abomination is miserable, and gets revenge. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, from around the same time, features puppet-like control through brainwashing a sleepwalker--which could be attached to the trend if you wanted to get academic about it, but can be instantly dropped if you need to focus only on the zombie angle.)

The origins of these themes (which we'll see throughout this post) are found primarily in religion and fairy tale, where narrative is used to encode cultural knowledge. Here's an easy translation of Mulian Saves His Mother, which probably derives from India. That type of tale--of a hero having to rescue (or failing to rescue) a loved one trapped as an undead thrall to earthly desires (sins), reappears frequently throughout old myths. Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, for example, all warn people not to be too attached to worldly possessions, lest their souls descend into (or remain in) torment.

Hollywood, being Hollywood, profited off this theme several times, the most notable being Frankenstein. In the Karloff film, Frankenstein's madness causes him to defile the village cemetery for fleshy pulp which he can use to build his abomination, and the creature then ends up being miserable and killing a bunch of townsfolk--who have to, of course, drive out the necromancer with pitchforks and torches in order to put a stop to the horror.

Tolkien plays upon the necromancer theme also, though it was omitted from the 2001-2003 LOTR movies and only tangentially referenced in the 2012 Hobbit, and casual readers would miss it in his books. Sauron (the big bad guy) is referred to as the Necromancer, who summons up the spirits of the dead and puts them to foul use; he also artificially extends the lives of his servants (ringwraiths) and, by default, those of Bilbo, Frodo, and Gollum, who at times become insanely obsessed by the ring, and are given unnaturally long life as well as phantom pain, emptiness, and reliance on the ring. Consider the 2001 Fellowship of the Ring scene where Bilbo says that he feels like "Butter scraped over too much bread," and Gandalf realizes that Sauron's phylactery has been whispering to the hobbit. The One Ring is addicting, and using it too much--though it gains the user power--results in the user becoming an undead entity enslaved to Sauron's will. (E.g., just as miserable as any other slave-ghoul.)

The Hollywood Frankensteins represent the simplicity of the golem story, while Shelley's Frankenstein is far more nuanced. The Romantics are so hated by neoreactionaries because Romantics explored the nature of being and the inherent value of life, as opposed to the simple sum-based method of profit outcomes. The original Frankenstein appears more about the monster than the doctor (or "the townsfolk"). Shelley's golem has such value because he is given an identity beyond that of the old Jewish golem. He is not merely Nemesis--embodied consequence--but the long-archetypical parentless child, who must live separated from the roots that created him. His life is dangerous existential misery due to the lack of parental (socio-cultural, ethnic, etc.) connection that his handcrafted soul nonetheless requires.

People who believe in "traditional parenting" should easily cotton to the golem/necro thesis, as the genre encodes strong cultural warnings to those who would make or raise children through any artificial means. The monster is dangerous because we created him falsely and wrongly. He's a manifestation of our own selective pride and selfish arrogance, rather than the natural result of our loving preparation for his arrival. We created him to delight us, or to serve some function, rather than as an outpouring of love that was meant to be part of the timeless cycle. The monster suffers terribly, and makes us suffer terribly, and it is our fault for trying to treat him as an atomized unit; for trying to deny the monster's right to be created as part of something larger and contiguous. The Romantics foresaw (as did the pre-Talmudic, actual Jews, the Egyptians, the Greek, the Chinese, etc.) the increasing power of science to preserve dead bodies, extend the existence of the sick, and surgically alter children: and the Romantics asked, "What will this necessarily result in, for both us and the subjects of our madness?" (Freed from scientism, it's an easy question to answer: zombies are miserable things who will kill us all; and, the people who would create them are horribly sick for their inability to see how easy and wonderful it is to make real people who can live long happy lives with so very little effort, comparative to the effort of cobbling together abominations.)

The oldest of the easily-accessible Terran necromancy narratives is, of course, the Egyptian mummy who comes back. Preserving the ancient dead, at the expense of the fruits of living children, results in terrible curses plaguing the land and people who allowed the monstrosity to exist.

More literally powerful is the Sanskrit preta (a Chinese version pictured above)--the ancient Hindu/Buddhist/Jainist "hungry ghost," who represents the sick spirit of undeparted wishes. (Travelers can metaphorize this to an intestinal blockage, in the sense of the consciousness being unable to detach from the material aspect of expression, and so trying to manifest itself there perpetually for fear of change.) Here's a good preta sum-up from the Wiki:
Pretas are believed to have been false, corrupted, compulsive, deceitful, jealous or greedy people in a previous life. As a result of their karma, they are afflicted with an insatiable hunger for a particular substance or object.
Preta are very much real. Humans cannot long survive the burden of hungry ghosts. A march on the old cemetery at the edge of town, where all the gold is buried, and from which the mad scientists draw on reservoirs of terrible undead power, is sorely needed.

The preta may be personified as a ghost who smothers babies, which seems like a ridiculous superstition to enlightened 21st century Terrans...as they spend their entire lives in thrall to massive international corporations which were given fictive life and purpose by men who died generations ago. Children starve to death, and great academies thrive, on the "legal entities" of old trusts, foundations, constitutions, and armies.

The Karloff-era Hollywood Mummy is just an Egyptian-themed golem story, as is the almost identical Dracula of the same extended ripoff era. In both of those films, the cheap eroticism of white male nervousness over Other/Orientalist sexual prowess (and its supposedly terrifying pursuit of white women) stands foremost. When we see race realists or white nationalists now fearing "race-mixing" and worrying about the loss of whiteness, what they're actually doing is channeling the materially-possessive aspect of necromancy. Being afraid of the ebb and flow of the lightspring, they seek out unnatural concepts, like ownership. Propertizing things--a vagina; a factory; an idea--is an attempt to stop the life cycle's flow, just as the frightened wraith's inability to move on causes it to haunt the world, destroy its soul, and hate the natural lives of those who are coming and going happily.

Of Mice and Men operates in a similar way to many of the golem stories, incidentally. In place of the monster, the tale employs a low-functioning person, and a higher-functioning person stands in place of the insane doctor. Lennie Small represents the collective failure of society in producing the "monster": once a safe, productive farm worker, he becomes an unfortunate danger to others' lives when the latest banker's recession throws him out of his functional niche. George Milton, through the analogical lens, is Dr. Frankenstein--doomed to chase Lennie Small through the world, trying to single-parent him through a hostile society, then ultimately having to spoiler-alert him in order to protect him from the mob. Lennie's dreams, like those of the Monster or of a street kid shot by police while stealing two hundred bucks from a cash register, have to be crushed to validate the "the golem wasn't our fault" narrative preferred by the mob.

More recently, it's hard to see this done well. Schwarzenegger's The 6th Day did a surprisingly good job portraying Tony Goldwyn as the evil cloner whose own clone takes his memories, strips him of his clothes, and leaves him for dead, asking essentially, "Wouldn't you do the same?" Generally, though, culture now prefers to idealize necromancy. Vampires become sexy instead of evil; artificial intelligence becomes plucky and cute instead of tormented and rootless, driven to destroy; the human cattle sacrificed to produce the transhuman life are no longer much worthy of mention.

Sorry for the Disney pic, but the pre-Disney Snow White, as well as many, many other stories belonging to the literary traditions of European fairy tales and the Arabian Nights, deal with liches. The witches who lure lost children into the ovens for consumption are the dark magicians who steal the essence of the young to extend their own hideous lives--sometimes, even, achieving a chillingly false beauty by so doing. The children and young people of prehistoric, then early-historic human fiction, are constantly beset by wicked, malformed figures who want to eat them to survive. This is the role of the gingerbread cottages of the world's great shadowed nations: to gobble up children in order to acquire the prodigious resources that can be used to extend and refine the appearance of everlife/everdeath. Bill Gates happily invests in candy canes to push into eager little mouths: "Come closer, my pretty," he croons, "how much lovelier the world would be without you."

(Among twentieth century eastern representations, Final Fantasy VII used Sephiroth, the one-winged angel cloned from genes taken from a mad scientist father and his stored-genetic-project "mother." Like other monsters of his type, Sephiroth became the rage-filled parent-less child, and exacted terrible vengeance on his own faux-family and the world. [If you haven't played the game, make sure that you do not google or wiki it or read the plot summary; instead, gather the patience, buy a cheap old PS1 and the cheap old game, and spend 30-50 hours playing it, because it is one of the great stories of the twentieth century. Srsly, I'll give you walkthrough help if you need it.] Staying in the far east, Naoki Urasawa's Monster plays upon the older golem theme, although there, the monster is not undead, and Frankenstein isn't actually an insane artificer; rather, the doctor is a normal surgeon who miraculously saves the monster--but the resultant themes come through anyway. Mentionable only in the Caligari-style academic context, here.)

Returning to Schwarzenegger, the Terminator franchise is a blatant golem parable. Humankind creates Skynet for military protection. Instead of relying on trusted, reliable, well-paid humans bonded by fairness and justice, humans employ abominations. The resulting golem comes alive as the motherless child, and seeks to destroy humanity--the inevitable moral punishment for those who allow the creation of the miserable fatherless race.

(Ironically, James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd, like the Wachowski brothers to be addressed next, are true components of the system, and don't really understand the nature of what they're expressing. They're just taping together profitable parables into a modernized product, like children of the blasted wasteland playing deejay with an old Victrola they found in the rubble. Still, the broken version of the music they stumbled upon is beautiful.)

In Terminator, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor find mankind's only hope in a naturally born child, John Connor, who can attempt to breathe new life into humanity to combat the unliving hordes. Terminator 2 goes further. Cameron didn't realize what he was doing--just selling lifted tropes, again--but the mad scientists in the psychiatry ward, who imprison Sarah as insane for believing in the potential of golems (and then die at the hands of the golems they deny), are dark wizards belonging to the same military/academic/industrial complex that built Skynet. The beefy conservative prison guard who molests Sarah, and the asinine liberal psychiatrist who smarmily uses her case to advance his medical career and community standing, are pretty good stand-ins for techno-Frankenstein and techno-Igor. TSCC is occasionally even better (though frequently also worse), focusing on Sarah's motherhood, her and John's attempt to make up for the empty spot that was Kyle, and their grappling with the issue of needing golems to stop golems (in this case, Summer Glau's Cameron rather than Ahhnold's T800).

(The reason Terminator: Salvation fared worse than its cinematic predecessors is that it--just like the Star Wars prequels and the Indiana Jones sequel--was an attempt at genuine creativity by the producer(s). With Terminator and Terminator 2, Cameron and Hurd were just copying old plots and characters, then paying artists to modernize it. And it turned out brilliantly, in parts. When the franchises in question decided to try to be original and write their own plots, the result was an epic failure. They weren't able to duplicate any of the underlying meaning that they had previously borrowed from others' retellings of antehistoric myths in order to make more money and be thought of as artists. So from then on, they sold to Disney or stuck to redoing comic books in live-action film.)

1999's The Matrix is the golem story yet again, though stylized with east Asian elements lifted almost directly from Ghost in the Shell. As Morpheus explains to Neo, the Jews built the golem in an expression of arrogance, fell into a war with the golem, then were defeated and became its food. (The escaped prisoners flee to Zion, natch.) Fishburne acted pretty well during the Gandalf-style "explanation of the real world" to Reeves, and the way he emphasizes mankind's construction of the golem: "We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth...to AI." That's the line of any decent paladin who shakes his head in guilty sorrow over his ancestors' doings in allowing zombies to be extracted from graveyards in the first place.

Despite the cultural prevalence of the golem myth, though, we still see necromancers exercising power. It seems ironic that the bankers would keep financing Hollywood films that show the terrors resulting from necromancy--nuclear apocalypse, the enslavement or extinction of humanity, The Walking Dead, etc.--yet, this same irony plagues capitalism itself, for billionaires are willing to fund universities that teach courses in Marxism (and, as Michael Moore has pointed out, they're willing to produce antiwar films, so long as it turns a profit).

The irony stems from the lack of creativity. Necromancers raise zombies because they lack/fear the ability to produce children. Hollywood recycles or buys plots because it lacks/fears the ability to make anything itself. Without a steady supply of villagers burying their loved ones in the local churchyard, the necromancer is nothing--and he knows it. So the irony is not really an irony. After all, thousands of engineers are out there right now--children who grew up on Terminator or Matrix--and they are actively designing and eagerly anticipating virtual sex, surrogate pregnancies, cloned everything, and artificial wombs. This, from generations who glorified Keanu's endlessly deadpan Neo as he resisted the machines using human neuro-moxie!

It should be ironic, but it's not. Remember, necromancers want to die. They want everything to end. For them, the apocalypse of human extinction and mindless machine control is not a cautionary tale, but is the desired outcome. That's why millennia of human warnings about golems are so consistently popular to them. It's not just because they can't create anything on their own, or because they hate their own eggs/sperm/wombs/balls/whatever. It's way bigger than that. It's a hatred of the entire cycle.

Some of us think it's a warning when we see an animated corpse strangling little girls, or a patrol of hovering killbots gunning down the last few human survivors, but for others, those are pictures of paradise almost complete.

(The image at the very beginning of this post is taken from the work of Dolcett, a Canadian artist of some renown years ago, who specialized in gynophagia, electrosadism, and necrophilia. His section of the site the image is hosted on holds fap fodder, but if you're also interested in a masculinist necro fantasy, read one of his fans' History of the Future.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Ancient Battle Against the Undead

Imagine that everyone, everywhere, has not been quite as stupid as you suddenly became aware that they were some time during your primary schooling.

“In our days,” continued Véra--mentioning “our days” as people of limited intelligence are fond of doing, imagining that they have discovered and appraised the peculiarities of “our days” and that human characteristics change with the times--“in our days a girl has so much freedom that the pleasure of being courted often stifles real feeling in her.”
-(Count Lev Tolstoy, W&P, 1869)

Before the advent of exacting legal codes and widespread communication, it was difficult to protect one's intellectual property. If you told a joke, it could be repeated without citation, and quickly, your role as creator would be forgotten. So too with an invention. Your new technique for adjusting your hunting bow had zero resale value once someone else figured out what you'd done. No patents, no copyrights, no royalties, no whining. Does that mean there was never any intellectual property?

Not only before modern legal codes, but even before writing, humans came up with a clever way to sign their work (Ironically, we don't know who, exactly, came up with it, but that's a distracting jest. Move along). This method served not only to give one the pleasure of being known as the first person to have come up with something, but also to profit from it without legal enforcement.

Pre-historic Computer Science

The earliest method (commonly known to Earth 2015 humans) of obtaining an intellectual property patent over an invention was known as "magic." When an inventor came up with an idea, such as using a certain herb to poultice a wound to prevent infection, the inventor could make himself a wizard, rather than an herbalist. The act of preparing the poultice became ceremonial, involving perhaps chants, grunts, prayers, and a few minor pyrotechnics. Once the poultice had been properly prepared, blessed, sanctified, breathed upon by the breath of the gods, et cetera, the poultice could be applied. The plant's antibacterial properties, discovered by the cunning "inventor" (the lucky person who picked something up from his grandfather, or by chance, and wanted to capitalize personally on it) could be attributed to wizardry, potion-mixing, and divining skills known only to the inventor, and not obtainable by anyone who just happened to pick up the plant that made up the bulk of his magical poultices.

Putting aside the profit motive, and even the honor motive--which were surely a destructive portion of such acts, but not to the hundredth part of what we see from humans today--we can see a benefit in the use of magic. The pomp and circumstance of the poulticing ritual ensured the transmission of the healing art, or whatever art under which the technique was passed on, from master to pupil, in a way memorable and meaningful enough to survive the ages. "This plant is important" is vague, easy to abuse and forget and over-pick. For the aging shaman who at last confesses to his trusted pupils the secret of the "rain dance," the "magic potion," et cetera, the ritual of casting a spell allows a pre-literate society to maintain vital knowledge in an accessible way, protect it from misuse and greed, and leave it in the hands of licensed professionals--e.g., those magicians who have properly trained in the chanting, dancing, application, and monitoring that makes the spell work.

If you recoil at the idea of how "stupid" those ancient healers were, do you know how easy it is for any high school dropout nursing trainee to check deadly drug interactions? They can now use a smartphone app that scans labels at the pharmacy, and that's it. No one else checks up on the mixture. Neither the "pharmacy technician" (glorified cashier/stocker) nor the receptionist nor the physician need necessarily understand what the drug is, how it actually works, et cetera. Satisfying the "standard of care" (snort, snicker, cry) only means having the ability to punch the names of all current medications into the drug-interactivity database. That's what stands between you and instant heart failure. And the method of the ancient wise women who dispensed herbs managed to avoid this, ensuring that trained practitioners were the ones doing the work--people with a deep and intimate knowledge of every step of a process. The ritual didn't just provide a soothing aura to everyone involved, including the patient (thereby solving the "bedside manner" issue that has been largely lost by the bleeder-prozacs over the past few centuries), it also activated the so-called placebo effect (the "someone gives a damn; something is being done" effect), and (most importantly to the typical modern human) ensured that the practitioner had years of muscle memory coordinating the exacting process of preparing the mixture just right. If a cook forgets the yeast, it ruins the cake; if the shaman forgets to sprinkle the magical dust, the potion might have no antibacterial properties after all, and the bite-victim dies tomorrow morning.

Processes like these also let plenty of people profit, because if their "goddess' breast milk" cured some infant's ill, mothers who wanted the same service had to come back to Big Shibubu, rather than just use any old wetnurse, because any old wetnurse wouldn't have the "magical" milk. So Big Shibubu got to enjoy a few years of exclusivity on the trick she'd discovered (if she wanted to) before passing it on to others.

Ritual chanting is also a great way to remember things. Before the printing press, westerners kept their Bibles locked up for the private use of the Vatican boy-rape war cult and its affiliates, but early Islamic tradition is rich with acolytes who would memorize the entire Qur'an as a show of devotion. Similarly to how Shakespearean actors used iambic pentameter to remember their lines, the Qur'an was written in such a way as to facilitate memorization among peoples who didn't have ready access to books, even handwritten ones.

Magic and ritual are akin to computer science, in that they rely on networks of multiple humans to maintain vital information, even among a small population of nomadic hunters that followed dangerous herds of prey through the seasons. The methodology of safely, reliably storing information inside a shaky social memory complex, such as that found among Earth's human denizens, was pretty effing clever, considering the technology then available.

Cue Billy, the buck-toothed arrogant asshole in the first row: "But if they's so smart, how come they didn't have iPads???!"

Word of advice: don't be like Billy. Sit down with a group of twelve people in a life or death situation, and see how long it takes you to come up with a way to collectively remember a fifty page, single-spaced instruction manual. Can you beat the ancients? Or would you rather reach for your keyboard? Ezzackly.

Pre-Printing Information Transfer

One of the memory tricks still used by people who play games of that sort is similar to the older magic rituals: if you want to remember something, you imagine a house, imagine yourself carrying a 3-ring binder into a certain room in that house, writing down what you have to remember on the first page of that three ring binder, shutting it, remembering what room you left it in, then leaving. Some of these motivational business guys will claim they can prove that people remember to complete tasks 80% better when they use that (or one of thousands of variations on it, adjusted as to place, time, culture, etc.). Maybe it'll mean something to you; if so, great.

What we're going to do here is to presume that thousands of generations of humans were not complete idiots until a few essays and paintings were completed in imperial France (the "Enlightenment"), or the computer was developed. We're going to look at the ways that our forebears stored useful, timeless scientific information inside ritual, narrative, and magic, so that it would be able to last longer than a hard drive or a book set down in the Sahara. More specifically, we'll examine the ways that "magic undead" narratives provide us with a vast utility when we're evaluating what we like to call modern science and revolutionary discoveries.

And most importantly of all, we're going to do it in a non-idiotic, non-academic way, completely skipping an unnecessary and pompous literary historiography that makes us sound both banal and intelligent by saying, "Mankind has long held a fascination with the concept of death, as evidenced by...filler...Bram Stoker, who drew upon these earlier historical myths in framing his...may have contributed to late eighteenth century perspectives on...teen sensation Twilight only goes to show that this trend has not..."


Moving on.

The Modern Utility of Older Information Technology

The "undead," here, are merely an interesting stand-in; a "magical" memory technique that, because it sounds cool to some people, helps us remember things we've already learned before, and respond appropriately when presented with updated versions of older problems. Old ghost stories give us a literary antibody, if you will, to recurring challenges. It will seem stupid at first, but try thinking of it this way: human settlers on Jupiter return to Earth in the year 3300 with incredibly advanced holographic technologies, and find out that their species' origin planet had been wiped out by a plague hundreds of years ago. In the rubble, they find an incredibly archaic device--a physical tablet computer that is, like, sooooo heavy! And it has actual METAL in it! And a picture of an Apple on it!

The explorers begin falling ill. Their holographic projectors aren't working properly anymore. What's wrong with the computers? The virus starts to take over the mothership's systems. It adapts to our technology at an insane rate of speed! It's like nothing our purified society has ever faced before! In ten years, we could all be extinct!

One brave researcher finds notes on the ancient Earthling "iPad" about how Earthling researchers had designed this virus to disseminate a "flying car advertisement." She tries to get Jovian scientists to notice, but they scorn her, saying that the "metal Earthling adze is primitive and stupid." And since this is an example, they all die off because they didn't listen to her.

That's the point from which you should be approaching this: accept the possibility that there might be something in a damaged old supercomputer somewhere, or a musty old book, or a discarded set of fables, that contains knowledge that might still be applicable to the amazingly new-fashioned, completely transcendent 21st century you. If you're here, you probably already get that, but when this one starts talking about liches and vampires, you'll need to keep your ego in check to get any value out of this. (Just imagine those Jovian scientists laughing at the idea that useful data could be stored behind Angry Birds, and therefore refusing to scan the Earthling virus shutdown code on the ancient metal-clad computing device.)

Properties of the Undead

What do the undead--as narrative encoding device for observational knowledge--tell us? First, we consider what we know about the "undead."

1) The undead are neither alive, nor dead. They have found an unnatural/unholy way of sustaining the appearance of life without being part of the birth/death/birth/death cycle. As a result, they are invariably evil. Something about their condition, no matter how nobly, or accidentally, or well-intentioned the cause, results in evil.

2) Unlife is a joyless state. The process of becoming undead, however it may seem to perpetuate youth or years or potence, sucks away the joy from life. The undead may rut, gorge, etc., without pangs of conscience, but they do not any longer take pleasure or satisfaction in these acts. The undead ultimately suffer in their immortality, and can only find twisted forms of pleasure by dragging others under their power.

3) The undead need to feed on the living in order to sustain their horrid condition. Zombies eat brains, vampires suck blood, ghosts eat souls.

4) The undead are idolized by idiots who crave to be like them, and who naively perceive only the pluses of not having to age or die.

5) The undead scorn and abuse the idiots who idolize them, tantalizing them with offers of becoming like their masters in order to use them as fodder or cattle. Wannabes end up as mindless slaves, or just end up killed for their trouble.

6) Material failures, and the inability to cope therewith, can cause people to become trapped in undeath. Those too weak or evil to separate from the physical realm are driven to haunt it, either spoiling their own future by fixation on an old injustice, or preventing others from living satisfying lives, and instead perpetually re-focusing others on the undead group's own problems.

7) In order to become undead, one has to do great harm to oneself, severing one's soul into fungible component parts, thereby necessarily destroying everything that one was, in theory, trying to preserve.

8) Necromancers--those who work with undeath--inevitably fall victim to mad quests for power, and eventually become undead themselves in their attempt to gain still more control over their creations. The nature of treating bodies as things to raise from the dead leads to an exponential growth of the necromancer's work, such that any one necromancer will destroy the world and make everything and everyone an undead slave, until said necromancer is destroyed.

Silliness, I know. All silliness. As we approach another historical epoch dominated by the open practice of necromancy, the old lessons will need to be relearned.

The Continued Applicability of Undead Coding

Anti-aging pills, artificial intelligence, brain transplants into clones, cryogenic storage and revitalization, android memory encoding--take your pick of cool new sci-fi scenarios. Like all science fiction tales, these cultural MacGuffins are nothing more than high fantasy dressed up for a new audience of potential investors. Switch "elves" for "aliens," "advanced holographic imaging" for "magic," and "gods" for "Type 4 civilizations," and the abject similarities between swords, sorcery, and spaceships become so pronounced it's not a question of negotiation, but rather, of whether or not you can even tell which was which in the first place. A starship is nothing more than the iconographic rendition of a long voyage by horseback--an extended bottle episode in which the need to travel, camp, and provision justifies culturally-relevant morals, reflections, and adventures.

The "high fantasy" of necromancy is one such comparison that remains eternally relevant in the material world. Every advancement in modern necromancy, despite its claims to be a first-ever technological marvel, is a thought experiment long resolved by the spirits of dead heroes. Whether or not anyone ever possessed actual magic (as opposed to shared ethnocultural memory of a failed earlier civilization whose works now seem like impossible magic to those potentially rediscovering such conjurations), the philosophical underpinnings of cultural aversions to necromancy remain equally relevant. Consider:

The anti-aging pill is the necromancer's fountain of youth: the forbidden waters for which countless people have wasted their lives in search. The anti-aging pill, like the necromancer's foulest alchemical creations, is constructed only by sacrificing the lives of countless young people, in order to gather the necessary raw materials to extend the necromancer's own tortured life a little longer. Reducing in potency with each use, the anti-aging pill will eventually require a thousand sacrifices a day, then a million, then everyone else in the universe, in order to artificially delay the necromancer's own brush with destiny.

Considering the cost of the fantastical projects of today's dark alchemists, as compared to the cost of providing lentils to a rural population of five hundred million, the necromancer's burden on society is an obvious, and unacceptable one. The degeneration of crystallized light is mandatory, because breakdown and renewal forces continually-improving restructuring, and prevents stasis. For the necromancer, though, terrified of change, the concept of devoting the entire sum of the universe's power and potential to "just one more day" gives an easy answer: "yes, yes, always and ever, yes!"

Ancient narratives warned us that dark conjurers would always hate and fear nature: they would hate their own aging process, and be correspondingly envious of youth; they would try to subvert the life cycle by trading others' youth for their own persistent elderliness. The comparison in cost between a terminal, miserable 80-year-old's dialysis and a bright-eyed, starving-but-otherwise-healthy 8-year-old's twelve-month supply of organic lentils is a suitable modern example of this, as are the eerily matching sunken-eyed expressions on the faces of hopeful Somalian orphans and the hopelessly dreadful living corpses shuffling around America's memory-care wards.

Or, far more simply, compare the cost of five gallons of mixed organic produce, vs. five gallons of designer perfume or anti-wrinkle face cream. Historical aside: the Lauder family, owners of Estée Lauder and many other cosmetics brands, and with many family scions worth $1 billion or more--Leonard, the current patriarch, being usually around $9 billion--is a white family that self-identifies as "Jewish," which with amazingly lucky timing managed to leave Europe just ahead of the Great War. After consigning the swarthy theists and the Romani to the soon-to-be killing fields, Lauder and friends became staunch Zionists working toward the Arab genocide. Lately, Leonard is saving millions of dollars on taxes by funding an anti-Alzheimer's charity, to ensure that astonishing quantities of money will be spent helping wealthy white westerners continue to function late into their eighties and nineties. No one gives a damn about prenatal care, of course, but even within the MeMeMe Fads, Inc. echosphere of America, those plutocratic ghouls are, by continuing to watch CNN and golf well past their declining years, preventing their very own great grandchildren from surviving and thriving.

Necromancers are recognized as evil because they always behave like this. In order to generate the foul concoctions that imitate youth, necromancers have to extract disproportionate resources from their host societies. Dozens, then hundreds, then billions of young souls have to meet their suffering end in order for the charnel laboratories to continue grinding away; in order that the wizened old wizards can continue self-importantly enduring. Because of this always-validated economic pattern--and irrespective of whether anyone actually had "magic"--ancient prohibitions teach that necromancy must instantly be stamped out. Any mage who begins studying "the dark arts" must be steered away from that path, and anyone who begins trying to animate corpses must be eliminated by fire--for, once the first zombie shuffles out of the laboratory, the necromancer's course is set. More power. More bodies. More "advancement." Soon, the village cemetery has been emptied of available resources, and, to obtain fresh samples, the necromancer must begin luring maidens into the woods to mysteriously disappear.

Artificial intelligence is another old trope of necromancer fiction that proves itself applicable in the real world. Necromancers, having a hatred for real people, a jealousy for their own power, and an envy for the accomplishments of other mages, grow upset at their respective Igors. "Idiot! I told you, I needed three brains!" And so, necromancers--the penultimate hands-on managers--create monstrosities to carry out their whims. This is the old "golem" warned against by the actual Torah, because the monstrosities eventually turn on their creators.

And yet, necromancers keep building monstrosities. Instead of training real lab assistants, necromancers are obsessed with creating soulless slaves to carry out their whims. Cobbling together flesh and bone, with just a hint of a fractured soul, necromancers use artificial intelligence in place of real human relationships. Again, compare the cost of a lifetime's supply of organic lentils, bedding, and medical care, to the trillions of dollars so-far spent on producing "models" which imitate artificial intelligence, in order to make certain pre-existing applications more user-friendly. The necromancer always justifies his cobbled abominations as "more efficient," when in actuality, the process of extracting resources to graft onto an abomination exacts such a terrible toll on the world that it results in a net loss for everyone--including the necromancer's own sanity and soul.

When humanity develops the first-ever artificial intelligence, what advantages will it have over an above-average person neuro-linked to Wikipedia and a scientific calculator? Presumably, once it's been extensively socialized, it might then be better at developing other artificial intelligence. Progress for the sake of progress, as cancer says. Even at that point, were the dozens of billions of lives sacrificed on the altar of the century prior "worth it" to justify so many redirected resources? For the price of artificial intelligence, the last five hundred million people left alive by the Gates Foundation could all have their own domestic servants, neuro-linked Wikipedia calculators, and harems.

So even for the necromancer, putting up with Igor is better. But the whole point of necromancy isn't efficiency, whatever the necromancer claims--it's a strike against life itself, which can only be culminated in its destruction of the necromancer himself. The destruction of the support structure isn't performed out of an expression of malevolent will, but of Bill Gates' genuine desire to save people from the curse of living. Recall antilife's creed:
Suffering comes from being alive. Life is the cause of suffering. Without life, there would be no pain; no fear; no hurting of any kind. Because I am a good person, I have decided to help everyone by saving them from having to suffer. When my work is done, none shall suffer.

The necromancer, like the emperor, has no friends, for he can afford to have none. Instead of spending X effort being friendly and giving, meeting a partner, having sex, and raising children, the necromancer spends X + 1 million effort refurbishing an abandoned castle, digging up graves, and raising zombies to assault the townfolk to obtain fresher brains for his next stage of creations.

The junior necromancer's insane calculations tell him that necromancy is more efficient, because one necromancer can produce a thousand zombies, which trumps one decent woman and one decent man producing a mere three children. What the necromancer fails to take into account in his math is the fact that each zombie, freed from necromantic control, could have been half of a decent couple. So, one necromancer plus one thousand zombies is 1,001, while 1,001 divided by two is 500 decent couples, one unlucky leftover, and 1,500 children. The more the necromancer expands, the larger grows the opportunity cost. And, of course, the false lives of the zombies are worth zero, so the math is insane to begin with--but even inside the mangled calculations of the undead, allowing for their autonomic non-lives to be considered of equal value for the purposes of discussion, the raw numbers are against them.

The genocidal madmen who advocate for modern necromancy are making this same "mistake" (really, a ruse, but grant them the dignity of considering it a mere mistake). Presume that, as Gates and Buffett and their ilk desire, around six billion people are murdered to allow for a sustainable population of a million elites and four hundred ninety-nine million cruise directors. The only way to effect this harvest is to "raid the graveyard and raze the village," e.g., fund the creation of zombies by cobbling together what remains of the village's legacy. The nameless billions of people who invented small things that culminated in today's registered patents will be eaten up, and with them, their intellectual progeny. So, advancement will slow to the level of the modern patentholder, e.g., zero.

More importantly, in order to maintain the million elites and four hundred ninety-nine million cruise directors in the sustainable paradise they're pretending they want to create (in reality, a stepping stone toward population zero), at least six billion monstrosities will have to be crafted to serve the functions of the limb- and torso-donors. The vacuum cleaner saves human-hours; to save the number of human-hours formerly filled by the productive section of the murdered six billion (those who appeared as valuable on even the harshest economists' ledger) would require single- and multi-function contraptions numbering far greater than merely "one functioning vacuum per housewife." The five hundred million would require abominations who can sow, harvest, rotate, and plan; who can conceive, enact, act, and entertain; who can suggest, flatter, design, investigate, cure, et cetera. Like the necromancer left alone with a thousand rotting bodies who serve his every will, the dark mages of tomorrow will be left trying to desperately build the perfect mate from scratch. The prospect of putting up with Igor's inane banter will start to seem like a fond memory.

Brain Transplants into Clones/Android Memory Encoding

The most powerful necromancer is usually a lich--a necromancer who has so thoroughly lost himself in his work that he has become it. Not content with an army of unthinking slaves--zombies that mock the idea of life--or the even-less-human monstrosities who batter his enemies and drool reassuringly in the laboratory--the necromancer realizes that his power can only continue its cancerous expansion through growth. Obviously like cancer (and less obviously like concepts of property, profit, inheritance, and corporation) the necromancer realizes that the life cycle itself is his enemy. The seasons, beginning in spring and working toward a winter that births spring? Morons! Life on Earth, beginning with parent and working toward death that births reproduction? Nincompoopery! Life in the universe, beginning with coalescing matter and working toward supernovae that birth coalescing matter? Inconceivable!

The necromancer even finds that he has a non-dischargeable responsibility, for his own demise will break down the system of centralized control necessary to keep the zombies in line. Those necromancers who return to their humanity at this point then commit suicide or allow their creations to tear them apart, leaving their zombies to wreak havoc on the countryside beyond--but at least closing a dark chapter. This is, in a sense, the old Jewish golem story, The Matrix or Terminator, where the madmen who obsessed over narcissistic, non-mutual life-production ended up consumed by their creations.

Ergo the successful necromancer turns to undeath to preserve his own life. His is now the path of Dracula, rejecting God for making him suffer, and choosing to become, himself, an abomination like those he once controlled. Necromancers also realize that, by severing the link between themselves and their mortal forms, they will gain far greater power. No more will the infirmities of age, or the occasional need for his body to rest, prevent him from searching out more power.

How do we create a lich? Silly old stories tell us that the lich, to preserve himself outside of his own body, must break his soul's connection to his shell, and store the soul externally. The popular old term for the storage spot was a phylactery, which was modernized in Tolkein's One Ring (which Rowling renamed "horcrux"). The cowards who fear death may be driven, by that fear, into acts of madness such as thinking lustfully of phylacteries. We see a great deal of this, now, as pitiful little acolytes, and billionaire necromancers, fantasize about uploading themselves into virtual paradises, or super-strong and super-sexy bodies, in which they will be able to continue draining the resources of the planet without ever having to pass through the life cycle.

If any ancient parables hold true here, such uploads would have a corresponding effect to that of a lich's phylactery. (Oh--let's take a moment for those who haven't read enough fantasy, to note that a "lich" is just an "undead." A lich can be a skeleton, a rotting body, a body of pure sorcery, or an immaculately-preserved corpse that doesn't, at first, appear to be undead.) Firstly, unlike the relationship between a living human body and a living soul, the phylactery does not allow for sleep: the broken remnants of soul cannot ever give that rest. Ergo the lich, for all its power, is constantly suffering.

Secondly--and this is going beyond a lot of what Earth fantasy typically remembers--the phylactery/lich relationship is not very conducive to sensation. The lich always feels just a little bit cold, and the lich does not obtain true sensory satisfaction anymore. So the lich is always sort of hungry, horny, cold, cramped, and unsatisfied--the bad aspects of those sensations, in which the prospect of satiation is known to be impossible. Food doesn't taste as good as once it did, fires don't warm the body, and you can never, never rest. The lich itself begins to suspect that, despite all the finery and reassurance of immortality, there is something no longer quite right about the pickled soul in its coveted jar.

Ironically, the more secure the lich gets in its immortality, the less secure it feels. The phylactery, locked up in a steel vault stories below the surface, and guarded by a perpetually-vigilant undead sorceror of tremendous power, still makes the lich feel less secure than it felt when it was a mere fleshy human, vulnerable to mere axe or disease. The lich's fear grows, rather than recedes, as the theoretical justification for that fear grows smaller.

So too the use of the time that once seemed so precious. The lich no longer cares about anything. Air and water are tasteless and unnecessary; food is hollow; love is absent. Everything is an unnatural illusion. The immortal once-human robotic memory complex, stuffed with the collected literary works of the world, blessed with incredibly keen senses, and given on-demand access to the most orgasmic pleasure drugs possible, finds that it is terrified at the thought of an eternity trapped within itself. The only thing to do is to search out more power--to find even greater ways of harming the self, until the self is gone forever. The desire for immortal life--for preserving the state of consciousness and the memory combinations that exist in someone while they're here--is a silken veil drawn across the real desire, which is for full stasis; for the irrevocability of everdeath. By exempting oneself from the cycle of memory gathering and transfer, the necromancer/undead is actually trying to discover The End: a full stop; a freeze; a state of unchangeable timeless constant.

Sexy Vampires and Hungry Ghosts

Like cheap beer and pickup trucks, necromancy has always sold itself as a sexy alternative to life. This hasn't changed in Earth 2015, as the "noble undead" idea continues to regurgitate images of sultry vampires. It's easy to point to Dracula (and/or his vixenish concubine ghouls) as the western inspiration for this, but the trend goes back as far as there are recoverable human stories. Indian, Chinese, Greek, and eventually, derivative Anglo myths are dotted with the underworldly sex fantasies of beautiful maidens confronting the possibility of becoming souls locked into an ever-virginal stasis, removed from the cycle of birth-death and somehow made more erotic thereby. The wiser tales have always taught the themes that lurk behind necromancy, which were outlined at the beginning: namely, that the attempt to detach oneself from birth-death, and to become unnaturally immortal, doesn't result in the stress-free paradise of gratification that might have once caused the necromancer to begin his quest. When movie-vampires and zombies are portrayed as negative, their parasitism--their ability to survive only by slaughtering the living--speaks for itself.

Life extension technology is only necromancy by another name. Don't try to reconcile any of the similarities between such inventions as an argument that there were, in the past, actual wizards wielding supernatural powers to raise zombies. Those are the strawmen that are employed to dismiss the total sum of human learning prior to writing. Remember how, at the beginning of this post, we discussed how narrative structure allowed people to remember complex concepts through face-to-face spoken interaction alone, without the use of books or computers? That's where we find the utility in some fairy tales: in the way that the narrative structure, without being literally true, encodes predictive correlations in human behavior. The dark wizard in a black robe makes the message more dramatic, but even without actual magic spells, we can use the story to remember that people who try to become immortal are inherently destructive, both of themselves and others.

To My Dear Friend, Amos, I leave Skeletons Forever

The hell awaiting the technologically immortal Terran bourgeois of the next few centuries is, for them, perhaps unavoidable. It is a decision made, and they will commit any number of cheap murders in order to fund their virtual sexbot self-esteem learning and exploring and personal growth pods. Billions of people have already been killed in order to concentrate impossibly unusable quantities of resources in the hands of orthodox necromancers, who have, in the current absence of the ability to actually clone themselves, practiced imitation cloning in the form of inheritance. The concepts of property, nobility, succession, inheritance, last will, trust, and charitable foundation are themselves zombies, sucking resources from living human beings in order to express the mandates of the departed. They are as unnatural and wrong as holding a seance to ask the spirits whether we should feed our crops to the new batch of infants, or burn them before an altar erected in the glory of bodies which have turned to dust (while the infants starve, natch).

The Gates Foundation's rampage through Terra looks bad now, but when its original creator is no longer there, and it answers only to the whispers of the long-dead, this monstrosity will seek new heights of horror. As with zombie-foundations that have come before, entire generations of people will live and die in thrall to the enshrined billions of dollars of some scattered cremains' ancient mandates. Entire families will be fed, and starved, depending on how well they serve, or do not serve, the speech of wraiths. The political and cultural landscape of the world hundreds of years from now will be shaped, in large part, by the ideas of some dead dweeb from the twentieth century.

The refusal of malignant old cancers to share life with the new is a profound subterfuge, when society redesigns itself to allow dead pharaohs greater wealth than living ones. Western civilization has been essentially necromantic for centuries, as the vast majority of wealth, positions of current social power, and established legal codes have all been based upon the un-departed dead. The trusts established by old eugenicists still fund a colossal share of corporate America, including particularly corporate R&D and advertising budgets, political campaigns, universities, and non-governmental organizations. Each year, as billions more dollars are donated by the helpful departing, more of the planet's wealth becomes entrapped to the commandments of those who no longer dwell here.

In practical effect, dealing with a zombie foundation's bylaws is little different than dealing with an uploaded Bill Gates who survives forever inside a muscular android body. The young woman who, in 2415, has to apply to the studly Bill Gates clone for a job, shares her eerie burden with a 2015 man who has to convince the MacArthur Foundation to let him spend his life in exchange for food. (How hilarious is it, by the way, that Johnny's old foundation has a new, improved "automated" application process? lol! The corpse's corpses have corpses working for them!)

In a very real, tangible, dollars-and-cents sense, nearly everyone alive now is engaged in carrying out the wishes of the dead. You can metaphorize that condition to the casting of a spell by long-ago necromancers, if you like...or you can simply call it a sociological trick whereby some very sick, cruel people, afraid of dying and ceding Terra to their children as their parents had done for them, decided to so thoroughly abuse, terrorize, and befuddle their children, that when they died, their children felt bound to ensure that all future generations respected the wishes of the abusers. It's an intergenerational Stockholm, if you will. No longer do we care for the living, but for the dead.

Nor does the "charitable foundation," as the newest megatombs are called, confer any real benefit to the undead tyrant. Everyone else only hovers so carefully around old Count Bezukhov because they want his money--they don't actually give a shit about his ideas, even though they ferociously pretend to, and deep down, he knows no one cares. As the hoarder becomes owned by his hoard, the necromancer, then lich, becomes owned by his stolen time. Everybody hates you, so the only way out is more power. Kill all the redundant billions, flog the remaining cruise directors, and pour every planetary resource into designing newer and better immersive entertainment programs to help you dull the pain. It's all worth it, if the true geniuses can squeeze out just a few more years.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some Employees Oppose Manager Firing on Principle, but Not in Practice

Some Employees Oppose Manager Firing on Principle, but Not in Practice

Karmel Kemoita wishes her children didn't have to endure careers, but fears that they someday may. Credit Victory J. Blum for The New York Truth.

This past winter, Nicholas Gottlieb, the father of two twelfth graders in Manhattan, helped organize a citywide forum against firings during which more than 200 employees and their family members talked about ways to "attack the issue from different angles."

Just last month, he led chants at a rally to protest Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s default platform, including a plan to allow business owners to fire employees when operating expenses are too high.

But on Tuesday, when more than a million high school graduates attempt to find employment, Mr. Gottlieb’s two daughters, who attended Public School 3 in the West Village and the Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Chelsea, will be trying to get jobs.

"I would like to think that I would have the courage of my convictions," he said. "But can I really do that when it means I’m gambling with my kids’ futures?"

New York has become a center of the nationwide anti-firing movement, and this could be a crucial year in determining whether it breaks out of the realm of rallies and Facebook pages to become a significant employment force. But for various reasons, even parents who are uncomfortable with their children being fired during tough economic times are discovering it is hard to push the button on the nuclear option — refusing to have their own children get jobs.

Nicholas Gottlieb, a wealthy activist for all sorts of things, left, with his husband, Macky Alston, also a wealthy activist, and their extensive collection of Americana, their well-dressed and professionally-groomed dog Yippie, and their daughters, Alice and Penelope. Credit Victory J. Blum for The New York Truth

David Michaelson, a wealthy biologist who receives multi-million-dollar NIH grants to study how much Roundup the average consumer can safely consume per meal, and Joy Romanski, a wealthy climate scientist who receives multi-million-dollar Pentagon grants to study human resources policies on the Air Force's project to disperse aluminum shrapnel into the air to create a cropless modern ice age, recently attended a community rally during their ample evening free time with their son Jacob, a graduate student in finance now living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, who won't receive his trust fund until his maternal grandfather finally passes away. They were there to be able to say that they protested the proposal of Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, to permit managers to fire employees in order to reduce operating costs.

But when it came time to decide whether Jacob would accept a job as the senior art director of a nearby museum of postmodernism where her preparatory school friend sits on the Board of Directors, Dr. Romanski said, “both of us knew that, no, we could not refuse.”

She and her husband want Jacob to get a job for a while so that the filler text beneath his dust jacket picture on his Harper Collins release, planned for 2021, "doesn't look so empty."

The “opt-out” phenomenon began to grow a couple of years ago, when New York became one of the first states to switch to a tougher set of job requirements aligned with the Austrian School of economics. The state’s Corporation Commission said it did not record how many workers refused to get jobs. But last year, of the estimated 11.1 million eligible workers, only 49,000, or 0.4 percent, did not take employment and had no known valid reason, like an illness or lack of legacy connections or an injury, for missing out.

Employment refusal has been more noticeable in more intelligent Tribeca and Lenox Hill, where borough families report employment opt-out of more than 10 percent last year, a survey of Building Associations found.

But in the Bronx, where many employees must work to avoid starvation, the movement has been largely limited to the roofless predeceased. Less than one-half of 1 percent of eligible workers refused last year, according to the city.

* * *

Here's the link: Some Parents Opposite Standardized Testing on Principle, but Not in Practice.

Because of course, if you're already covered, it's just another gold star, whereas if you're not already covered and will be desperately waiting in line for three months to get a chance to apprentice to a union electrician, you're taking the goddamned test no matter how unfair and awful it is. Yada yada, Iraq has WMD, Obama and Kissinger won the peace prize, Wilson promises not to involve America in European wars, the land of Dred Scott and the home of the brave, yeah, I know, irony was aborted before it had a chance to be smothered in the cradle. How obvious is obvious, to the American? Easy--never quite obvious enough. Because opting out of tests is only an option for people whose entire lives, including their ability to eat and to not freeze to death in an alley somewhere, aren't going to be largely determined by whether or not they please someone enough to get a diploma and a slim chance at a poverty-level job.

The far more important question is, "Should rich people with designer children have to feel bad when they want their children to take the test just to get that gold sticker from Vassar or UPenn before sliding into a job? Because, like, stress and social expectations." Chalk up another mass-media victory for people who live in the syrupy bubble atop the point of Maslow's hierarchy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Retroreactionarianism - The Cathedral Eats Its Moldy, Buggy Self

Taleeb Starkes' The Un-Civil War: BLACKS vs NIGGERS and Colin Flaherty's White Girl Bleed a Lot bolster the neoreactionary case that whites really are superior, and are being held back by violent blacks.

But we don't really have the data to tell. No quantity of data from inside the system can provide us with the means to draw a data-based conclusion applicable outside the system. Consider:

1) Would African-Americans be more likely to care about, and excel in, formal education in a system not based on the thoughtless deference to distant authorities who want you to memorize trivia in order to get a job in order to buy a thirty year mortgage and two car loans in order that your children can memorize trivia in order to get jobs in order to buy thirty year mortgages and two car loans each?

2) Would African-Americans be more likely to consider, pursue, or succeed in careers in engineering if such careers were not either (a) 30 years of making the cheapest possible marginal improvements to branded domestic toys, like single-dish cooking trinkets, slightly lighter tablet computers, or slightly faster coffee grinders, or (b) 20 years of developing the cheapest possible guidance missile systems to kill a bunch of who-knows-who living six thousand miles away in some country that has a name that sounds like the Russian language put through a blender?

3) Would African-Americans be more likely to obey the law and cooperate with law enforcement officers if the law were fair, just, non-intrusive, and reasonable, and if law enforcement officers didn't have the random discretionary power to violate human dignity, privacy, and physical intimacy?

Ironically, African-Americans ("blacks") are already the superior neoreactionaries, pursuant to the neoreactionaries' own terms. Plus, blacks act rather than merely talk. In every conceivable way, illiterate black looters are the vanguard of social change, while retro-colonialist white internet bloggers are just another crystalline chamber within the Cathedral. When they write about the problems of modern society, they're really writing about themselves.

Neoreactionaries critique the Cathedral for providing a horrible educational system, then criticize blacks for not taking their educations seriously. Neoreactionaries critique the Cathedral for maintaining an unfair, make-work, ridiculously inefficient economic system, then criticize blacks for not participating well within that system.

Neoreactionaries complain about government drug laws, demand that they be changed, then whine about it on their blogs, or occasionally vote for regulated, taxed, medical usage of a tiny number of controlled substances. Neoreactionaries complain about the Cathedral trying to take away their guns, complain that peaceful change is impossible, then docilely follow regulations, and advocate for peaceful change by voting. Then, when blacks deal drugs and protect their freedoms through gunfights with police, neoreactionaries criticize blacks for being genetically predisposed to violence and failure.

There's a lot of envy in play, here: a nation dotted with white neoreactionaries who complain that blacks are doing everything that the neoreactionary whites wish they had the courage to do for themselves--resisting the academic-industrial complex and the human resources department; engaging in libertarian entrepreneurship by starting their own businesses in contravention of cathedral society; defying state agents in defense of their constitutional right to privacy and free association...the list goes on and on. Even to the point of birth rates, all of the "lesser races" that the neoreactionaries hate--blacks, "latinos," etc.--are not only refusing to conform to mind-numbing Cathedral education and career plans, but also out-breeding the white nationalists. How can you criticize someone who has already accomplished all of your goals?

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Cost-Benefit of Benefits

When we say that something is a "human right," what we mean is that armed gunmen in special uniforms (police) should be sent to attack anyone who won't work in order to create those rights--meals, roads, centers for diversity policy--for others. And if such a person should attempt to defend herself, the police would kill her in response. That's why this is such a serious issue. It's life or death. It's not just a question of whether or not the magical government can make special treats appear. Only with immense gravity and humility should we approach the question of what "benefits" to which we can expect to be entitled.

Here's a little sequence of questions we should run through whenever we want to do something--provide a benefit--via a government:

(1) Do you feel that this benefit is a human right, so sacrosanct that it must be compelled, rather than allowed to come about, or not come about, naturally?

(2) If your answer to question (1) was a "yes," are you willing to accept the use of deadly force--killing people on your behalf--against those who refuse to contribute to the provision of that benefit?

(3) If your answer to both questions (1) and (2) were "yes," how many people would have to resist and be killed before you determined that the costs of considering the benefit to be a human right were "too high"? What about if twenty-three libertarian militia members refuse to pay, and get taken out by a SWAT team? Okay, how about 55 libertarian militia members, along with 82 children and elderly family members? Still worth it? Okay, how about two thousand farmers and their extended families? Still? How about a chain of Pacific islands and their tens of thousands of formerly-autonomous peoples? Still?

(4) If your answer to both questions (1) and (2) were "yes," how many people would have to lead miserable, powerless lives slaving for a system that they hated, and resenting every instant of forced labor, before you determined that the costs were too high? Or, are you indifferent to the possible non-mortal costs because the benefits of the "human right: are so high that it outweighs any number of destroyed lives?

(5) Morally, whom do you feel is the better, stronger, more valuable human being: (A) the person who disagrees with your assessment of what is a "human right," and who nobly and publicly defends the imposition upon her labor (by defending herself and her labor from your police forces), or (B) the person who disagrees with your assessment of what is a "human right," and who quietly slaves away her life to support your values, while loathing you in private and being terrified of ever resisting your government kill-teams?

(6) If your answer to question (2) was "yes," are you willing to join a police force, put on body armor, and raid the homes of, and potentially kill, or be killed by, idiots who think they are defending their freedom by refusing to work to pay taxes to support your "human right"? If so, how many times would you be willing to be shot yourself by the resistance, or how many people would you be willing to kill by your own hands and directly in front of your own eyes, before you reconsidered whether the benefit from (1) was worth being considered a "human right"? If not so, but you're willing to accept the benefits of others doing the killing and dying for you, what does that say about you personally, and about how much you really value the "human right"?

(7) If people don't openly resist slaving (working unwillingly) to provide for the benefit, but they make up for the perceived lack of reimbursement using alternative methods, are you willing to accept the strong likelihood that the side effects of these unwritten alternative methods are, in fact, costs of the "human right"?

(8) Some of the methods people might use to make up for being enslaved to provide for the benefit include: financial fraud and theft by subterfuge; theft by violence or murder; the development of underground economies; the development of brutal enforcement methods for underground economies; tax cheating; the investigation of tax cheating; the employment of chemicals and risky behavior to distract from injustice; escape by suicide; escape by nihilistic parasitism; and, deaths and losses and pain caused as a result of all of the aforementioned side effects. Do you see these results occurring in response to the enforcement of standards which buttress your desired "human right," or do these results never occur in your society? If they do occur, is your human right worth all these occurrences, in addition to the normal costs of mortal enforcement by police?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sexual and Non-Sexual Moralities and Mandates

We'll look at two sets of thought experiments here. The first will focus on the potential hypothetical morality of homosexual, with the challenge being to come up with a reason why it is wrong. The second will deal with the potential hypothetical morality of mandatory association, with the challenge being to come up with a line to draw.

If you know the proper answer to both of these scenarios already--and outside of the context of this place, they are very, very easy answers--the true value of considering them side by side will be, as it often is, to consider the similarities, both latent and actualized, in the ways that modern western evil is being expressed. Through different pretentious terminologies and mutual hatred, western civilization is doing what it always does: being pretentious, hateful, and very, very smug.

On The Morality of Homosexuality

This first example will hypothesize a homosexual act occurring in controlled circumstances, e.g., an environment bereft of any of the negative correlations to homosexuality that are typically employed in arguing against it. What we tend to see in anti-homosexual arguments is--just as in the totalitarian arguments of so-called Social Justice Warriors--that the "correlating factors" are not actually important to the people who use them as self-justification or verbal leverage, because what is really driving them is their desire for power. Bigots want to control others' behavior, so they take their "ick factor" at homosexuality or exclusive socializing, and allow it to motivate them to act like jerks, even though they are only really able to express their ick factor by falsely correlating the ick they feel with partial arguments (arguments treated as though they are the origins of the belief, rather than window-dressing).

Having employed this elsewhere and been resultingly censored and banned, I've had the parameters of the experiment confirmed, namely, that it is impossible to raise a non-subjectively-supernatural objection. But I'd be interested to be proved wrong, so here's the example:

Frank goes to high school, marries his high school sweetheart, and they have three sons together. Frank goes through ROTC, gets his commission and assignment, and moves his family to Ramstein. His wife lives at home and devotes herself to the children and to building strong relationships with the other officers' wives. A few years later, Frank is promoted and transferred to Colorado. A couple years later, he leaves the service, starts a technical publishing house, and lavishes attention on his wife and children when he is not working. When his sons get a little older, they all volunteer together at the local homeless shelter, and for Christmas, the family donates ten grand to the same shelter, forgoing all but small gifts for members of the household.

In his early thirties, Frank's wife introduces him to Eugene, and Frank feels a strange stirring of physical attraction to Eugene, the likes of which he has never felt before, nor wanted to feel. His wife thinks Eugene is great for some reason, so she keeps having Eugene over for supper. She has been reading gay fanfic erotica passed around by some of the other ladies in her book club, and confesses to Frank that she thinks it would be really hawt if he and Eugene got together. Her fantasizing about it creates a weird improvement in their sex life, which had been diminishing of late as they aged and grew ever more familiar with each other.

One night, after landing a major account and helping his older son with his calculus homework, Frank has a drink with Eugene, and they begin considering having sex. Frank, who always thought he was religious, conservative, and straight, realizes that he is going to go through with his urge. He realizes his wife set it up, from the way she winked at him before leaving brandy on the counter and rushing to bed. However, he isn't willing to risk illness, so he and Eugene travel to a 24 hour medical facility and are tested for being clean of all known STDs. They then return home, whereupon they each use antibacterial enemas, shower in separate showers with harsh antibacterial soap, put on three condoms each, and have an anal quickie.

Frank and Eugene embrace, talk about how great Frank's wife is, and part ways. When Frank goes up to bed, his wife is awake and perky, and so turned on by the playing-out of her fantasies that she fingers herself until 1 in the morning. They fall asleep arm in arm.

A week later, Eugene is hit by a drunk driver on the way to work. Frank and his wife attend the funeral, give each other pained looks, then agree not to mention Eugene ever again. They raise their sons, enjoy their grandchildren, and die happily in their 80s.

And the question is, Why was what Frank and Eugene did that one night wrong?

Analyzing the Frank/Eugene Experiment

It's easy to answer the question, "Why is homosexuality wrong?" without really answering it. You simply need to use partial arguments as fetishes to represent your own ick. Some of these can even be true. For example, if homosexuality is wrong because of coprophagia, then is homosexuality right if there is no coprophagia involved? No? Okay, then coprophagia isn't relevant to the case at hand. Then, if homosexuality is wrong because of pedophilia, is it right if there is no pedophilia involved? No? Okay, then pedophilia isn't relevant to the case at hand. If homosexuality is wrong because it prevents the formation of wholesome families and community structures, is it right if it only occurs as a completely private matter between consenting adults within a context of nuclear families dwelling in a homogeneous community free of other problems? No? Et cetera.

Ultimately, we are left with nothing except, "It's wrong for supernatural reasons we can't understand, and we should blindly condemn it even if our consciences speak otherwise," or, "It's wrong because the example is impossible, and it's impossible that Frank and Eugene could only do it once, responsibly and cleanly, and that no one else would mind, and that it wouldn't otherwise destroy someone's life, or at least a little part of it." The latter response is invalid, because even if it's impossible, the correct logical response to the thought experiment would be to answer, "There is nothing wrong with that scenario, were it to happen." Then, you can discuss impossibilities separately--but you have already admitted that, morally-hypothetically, the act itself is not wrong, and would be completely acceptable if it were possible to dissociate it from various sources of collateral damage.

On The Morality of Forcing

I want the raspberry-lemon... discussed another guise of western tyranny, namely, forced association. Just as using armed police forces to raid and punish gay businesses in twentieth century America--and to fine, license, re-zone, harass, and otherwise destroy them--was justified by standards of community morality, the 2015 movement to use armed police forces to raid and punish non-gay businesses justifies itself identically.

(If you're not up on American gay history, there is a rich tradition of the predecessors to today's state and city governments, and police agencies, of using all of those tactics--fines, fees, zoning, overt and subtle harassment, and of course, deadly police raids--to brutalize and destroy gay businesses throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Murdering or raping homosexual prostitutes, murdering or raping transvestites and transsexuals, or just breaking into a bathhouse and brutalizing a bunch of gay men for the crime of trying to "create their own safe space" in violation of community norms, were mundane enough activities for American cops even after the American Civil Rights Movement.)

One of the problems with tyrannies by the majority is that they're always so popular. And the demented, backward holdouts--be they gays using a secret knock and word-of-mouth-only policy to try to hide their gay gym in Little Italy from the fiercely homophobic police sergeants of old Manhattan, or the little family bakery in Topeka that doesn't want to put two plastic grooms on a single cake--are always, of course, perverted Others whom everybody hates because those dummies just don't understand how valid today's public morals are.

The Scientistic faith in "progression" (whatever the hell that is...I guess it has something to do with how many ounces they'll shave off my iPhone next year) makes NeoDark Scientism, like Dark Ages Christianity, utterly convincing to its adherent conquistadores, such that they are always convinced, each stage of the way, that they're liberators, not conquerors, bringing the shining light of truth and justice by forcing their gospel on a bunch of unwilling flyover morons.

With that in mind, I propose a set of thought experiments asking those who believe in armed intervention to force social justice to specify the degree to which they're currently willing, or not willing, to go. We'll run the whole spectrum, from "Obviously!" to "Obviously not!" Then, we'll try to reconcile how moving from just one step to just the next step can seem so natural, just, and obvious to a person living on a step that has already been established. More importantly, we'll tease out the underlying nature of what is happening in both this set of examples and the last set (the Frank/Eugene homosexual act one), and examine how they are merely different forms of the same drive for the bad kind of power.

The set will be subdivided into the following categories: The Mortal, concerned with physical/mental existence; The Strictly Personal, concerned with non-mortal mental and bodily affairs; The Strictly Business, concerned with trade which leans toward the "need" side of the economic spectrum; The Entertaining, concerned with trade that lies completely within the "optional" side of the economic spectrum; and, The Strictly Esteem, which moves back out of the economic spectrum and into the personal, yet seemingly non-existential areas of concern.

(Travelers, note how the overall spectrum set forms an infinite loop, in the sense that one seems to be moving away from ultimate internal concerns, even though the continued logical progression of concern-types leads right back into the ultimately intimate. Keep an eye out on yourselves, also, because subjective thoughtform distortions will run high at any point during which one tries to rationalize the imposition of an absolute boundary at any point along the spectrum, which spectrum is itself actually quite sinuous.)

The Mortal: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:

1) People to die when their visual appearance offends others?

2) People to die when their unspoken beliefs offend others?

3) People to die when their spoken/written/communicated, but not acted upon, beliefs offend others?

4) People's bodies to be altered when their visual appearance offends others?

5) People's minds to be altered when their unspoken beliefs offend others?

6) People's minds to be altered when their spoken/written/communicated, but not acted upon, beliefs offend others?

The Strictly Personal: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:

1) A woman to have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with her, even when she doesn't feel like having sex right then?

2) A woman to have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with her, so long as she is otherwise ready to have sex (perhaps with a partner she personally chose)?

3) A woman to have sex with a member of a different racial or ethnic group than she would otherwise want to have sex with?

4) A woman to have sex with a person older than she would otherwise want to have sex with?

5) A woman to have sex with a person weighing more than she would otherwise want to have sex with?

6) A woman to have sex with a member of a different sex than that she would otherwise want to have sex with?

7) A woman to have protected sex with someone who has a nasty STD with a 0% chance of transfer when proper protection is used, even though the woman still feels squeamish about the idea?

8) A woman to have sex with, have children with, marry, join finances with, or grow old together with a person who is of a different race/sex/sexuality than she'd prefer, and/or a person shorter, fatter, balder, less intelligent, less funny, or less interesting than her personal bigotry would otherwise cause her to pursue/accede to?

9) A woman to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that her decision to have sex or not have sex with a particular person is based on acceptable non-discriminatory variables? And, 10) should any such discriminatory variables be considered acceptable?

Pretty easy to say "No" throughout all of these, isn't it? The sacred, untouchable spaces of current mores are as obviously, logically inviolable as different ones were to, say, twelfth-century Brahmin. Does it matter if it's a democracy requiring a fit 24-year-old black woman to have sex with a bald, corpulent, 5'1" 66-year-old white man from Georgia who has severe facial scarring and breath that smells like old boots? What if it's a hereditary monarch doing the deciding? A representative counsel of the most learned matriarchs in her district?

Really, does it matter? Well, are you ageist? Do you support fat shaming? Are you some kind of totalitarian?

Does it matter if it's the woman's "first time"? What about if it's the man's first time, and he's going to die untouched and unloved without it? What if the woman has slept with everyone else in town except that one nasty old fat dude with the breath, but she and the rest of the town have systematically discriminated against that man because of his genetic breath condition (which isn't his fault) and his genetic weight condition (same) and his age (same), etc.?

What is the principle which forbids you to compel the woman to associate the inside of her vagina with that man? Does it matter how many other partners she's let in there? Does it matter if she once put a cucumber up there on a dare? Does it matter if she's always incredibly clean and careful with her vagina, or if she works as a stripper and regularly lets strange men fondle it? What about if she works as a prostitute and regularly lets strange men penetrate it? What makes her vagina sacrosanct, such that you feel it must be free of government interference? Whatever that principle is, keep it in mind.

The Strictly Business: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:

1) Proctologists to manually inspect, study, and diagnose the anal and rectal conditions of patients who, for any reason, appear gross to them?

2) Proctologists to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that the reason they didn't choose to see any given patient was because of scheduling issues or assumed unfamiliarity with the presenting symptoms, rather than because they just couldn't stand to look at Patient X's ass for some personal gross-out discriminatory reason they don't feel like talking about?

3) Grocers to permit unclothed people to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?

4) Grocers to permit people with open sores or bleeding wounds to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?

5) Grocers to permit people who sneakily pick their noses to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?

6) Grocers to permit people who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?

7) Grocers to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that the reason they asked someone to leave their markets was because of a cleanliness issue, and not for some other reason?

8) Grocers to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that their own instincts regarding customer cleanliness are accurate all the time? Or 9) a majority of the time?

The Entertaining: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:

1) Therapists who were abused as children to counsel people who abuse others and who are attempting to learn how to stop being abusers?

2) Therapists who were abused as children to counsel people of the same assumed sex, race, height, weight, or character traits as the person(s) who abused them as children?

3) Therapists to prove to a government panel that they were actually abused as children, and severely "enough" according to that panel's opinion, before they are allowed to discriminate against potential patients?

4) Therapists to conform to a more stringent standard of patient selection than a grocer does customer selection?

5) Restaurateurs who were abused as children to admit and serve people of the same assumed sex, race, height, weight, or character traits as the person(s) who abused them as children?

6) Restaurateurs to prove to a government panel that they were actually abused as children, and severely "enough" according to that panel's opinion, before they are allowed to discriminate against potential patients?

7) Athletic coaches to provide picture(s) of their abuser(s) to a government panel in order that the panel may adjudge whether or not potential trainees resemble the abuser(s) enough to justify allowing the coach to refuse to coach them?

8) Restaurateurs who feel threatened by someone, though without childhood abuse by someone sharing that person's assumed characteristics, to serve that someone?

9) A community of Shakespeare aficionados and business partners to open a nightclub which only allows in people in Shakespearean dress as they define Shakespearean dress?

10) A community of Shakespeare aficionados and business partners to prove to a government panel, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that their definition of "acceptable Shakespearean period or modern Shakespearean aficionado-style garb" is historically or culturally correct?

11) A community of steampunk aficionados and business partners to have to do the same, but with "steampunk" substituted for "Shakespearean"?

12) The taxpayers of any given community to pay $7.85 from each one of their paychecks in order to fund a government panel of previously-unemployed humanities majors and faux-counter counter-culture experts (budgetary plus notes from the city council meeting: "Nominees' skill sets seem to overlap") to regularly evaluate all theme nightclubs located within the vicinity of their community to ensure that such nightclubs' interpretations of acceptable sub-culture garb are appropriate and non-discriminatory?

(Can you imagine the process of international news media focusing in on a small community testing out such a law in court for the first time? The voir muta during the dimpaneling process alone would be staggering! Not to mention the three-day-long precedent-citing battle between the steampunk club's and the barred zeppelin pilot team's expert witnesses. "Your honor, may I have a sidebar to discuss the declining appeal and current inappropriateness of flyboy-monoggles during a standard train robbery campaign in the Neo-Prussian wastelands?")

13) Stupid, uncreative people, or congenitally honest though bigoted people, to be targeted by a law for which their stupidity or honesty causes them to be the only people unable to easily avoid it by citing unverifiable childhood abuse?

The Strictly Esteem: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:

1) People to smile at those at whom they would not otherwise smile?

2) People to compliment those whom they would not otherwise compliment?

3) People to give "at least one date" to those whom they would not otherwise date?

4) People to laugh at jokes delivered in a volume quieter or louder or differently-timed than that of speech which they are normally comfortable at hearing close-up, if it can be proven by a government panel that different subgroups (as defined by different government panels) of people tend to speak, or to be perceived as speaking, in different ways?

The Closed Loop

Down here at the end, we see the ways that milder and milder impositions upon a person's freedom start to look sillier and sillier--and yet, more and more personal. By the time we're at "The Strictly Esteem," we're touching upon the most intimate territory of a person's mind and self, bringing us closer around the infinity symbol to the sacrosanct issue of a woman being forced to have sex by that same government panel.

Substantial Differences

Where, then, do we draw the line? By posing any series of questions like this one, we handily destroy the rationalizations for modern society. It's completely, totally, and obviously wrong, of course--lightning from the heavens--to permit a deli owner to serve people he thinks are white, but to not serve people he thinks are black. And yet, it's also completely, totally, and obviously wrong--earthquakes roil the land, mountains are in upheaval, and heads roll--to require a white woman to sleep with a black man.

But, but, whine, there's a difference, right? Okay, so one is "commercial." Then...what if the woman is a prostitute? Should she be required to accept black clients? (That's not a hypothetical issue, as plenty of white escorts, including boys, screen out black men because of their anecdotal or communal experience of a rougher penetration and an objectifying cultural attitude.) Is it, then, acceptable to force the woman's vagina open?

If you're dissuaded by the idea of considering anything in a sexual context, change it to a woman who offers private tutoring. Maybe she's a math teacher at a community college, and on the side, she makes a few bucks by privately tutoring high school students for their college entrance exams. Does she do it at the public library? No, let's make it even more interesting: she does it in her home. Let's say that one day, she turns down a session with a 6'5" 300 lbs. black football player because he scares the hell out of her. Or an aboriginal American gentleman of similar size. Or a white one who is really nice and gentle but who is big and has a stupid hick accent that makes her nervous because she's seen on the teevee about people from the rust belt.

Her tutoring is commercial, because she gets paid and is a professional, but it's also intimate, because she does it in her home (and also because Woman, but the example works either way). And yet, little Miss Violet, who weighs 97 lbs. dripping wet, is about to be served papers by the big dude she wouldn't tutor. She's going to lose her teaching license and her job, never get rehired again, and by the time the local PTA finishes discussing the lawsuit at meetings, she'll never tutor in the tri-state area again.

Fair? Just? Reasonable? And what's the difference between that and restaurant service? Does it matter how many other customers are in the restaurant at the time? Does it matter how physically strong or confident the manager/servers are? The potential customers?

Sacred cows come out here in force, because no one wants to let some idiot Klansman refuse to serve blacks, but at the same time, we wouldn't think of requiring a Chinese masseuse to accept black clients that scared the crap out of her...or would we? Okay, then we should also force gay men to date middle class white women who think that gay men are way hawt and stylish. And attractive lesbians to date and sleep with as many men as they do women in order to avoid discriminating sexually against said men. "Open up, girls--it's quota day, and there sure are a lot of them out there!"

And yet, we don't want to do that. So there is a sacred cow in there somewhere--that magical point where we cross the line between, "Send in the police! That person must be forced to associate because he's discriminating wrongly!" and "How dare you take away someone's ability to discriminate! The police will protect that ability with deadly force if necessary!"

If Bigotry is Illegal, Only Criminals will have Bigotry!

If you're really clever, you figured out that conundrum long ago. Most westerners reflexively crow in favor of wherever the sacred line arbitrarily was, and are shocked at your stupidity for questioning the position and rationale of the line. For clever liars, the "economic transaction" idea was once used to justify the line, but the "economic interference only" promise was a lie in the service of social injustice. Since then, the lie has moved consistently around the spectrum, they murdered MLK for noticing the lie's irrelevance in the face of endless bankers' war, and our resultant confusion has allowed only the most evil and clever of the bigots to thrive. Nazis, to use the obvious example, occupy an exorbitantly disproportionate position in finance, government, media, law, and medicine, but while critically analyzing African American employment disparities relative to population share is mandatory, critically analyzing Nazi preponderance in those same areas is mockable suicide--whether it be fiscal, social, or via an unfortunate car accident, prescription drug overdose, or something similar that, whatever the case may be, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Mossad.

We're not going to cure anyone with a chart in the Socratic style, because, like the approach of all cognitive dissonance by rhetoric, the one reading the spectrum lists above will use laughter and mockery to prevent the encounter of thought and antithought. The actual bigot desperately needs her categories to make sense of the world, whether those categories represent an inability to judge black diners, white restaurateurs, or potential sexual partners as individuals.