Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Washout

If Stephen Blow has $500,000 in his retirement portfolio and Betsy Gatesbook has $50,000,000, a 90% market loss causes Blow to lose $450 thousand and Gates to lose $45 million. The cost to Betsy appears greater. Since lots of people feel that they're clever investors, assume for the purposes of this example that Blow and Gates are each retiring, facing health problems that leave "door greeter at local megamart" the only real fallback job option, and that their portfolios depend upon professional management at around 100 basis points (1% management fee).

Under these conditions, it first seems like Gatesbook has been hit harder than Blow. The true effects on the portfolios, though, are significantly different. Gatesbook's, upon which she doesn't need to rely anyway after the "market crash," has earnings sufficient to cover its costs, to reinvest itself and continue growing, and to provide for her needs all the while. By contrast, Blow's becomes almost cost-prohibitive, can't afford to reinvest, and has to shed principal for day-to-day survival. While Gatesbook lives off reduced income, Blow is forced to destroy his principal (slowed slightly if he does become a Walmart greeter). Gatesbook's five million maintains her lifestyle, while Blow's fifty grand is a tattered savings account. When the market later "corrects" itself upward, Blow has nothing left, while Gatesbook gets hers all back. The ability to weather cyclic storms stays with Gatesbook, regularly purging all the others. It's very cute to pretend that being a financial whiz can alleviate or eliminate these conditions, but for people never permitted to generate salaries sufficient to build above the washout point, or who get screwed in myriad other ways--including being old and needing to rely upon professional management even if you were a discriminating financial whiz before--the cycle achieves its desired effect, reducing the "middle class" by leaps and bounds.

We've briefly summarized the effects of cyclical raids on the middle class:
Now, consider the middle class family with, say, a million and a half in savings earned over two working lifetimes of scrimping. The stock market drops, and their $900K retirement fund goes down to $500K. The real estate market crashes, and their house goes from $600K to $350K. All of a sudden, their retirement just got a little less easy. Instead of passing on a large sum to their heirs, they use up most of what they have left. Maybe they keep working longer.

Or the family with $5 million, drops to $3. Suddenly, they can’t afford that extra property. They’re not starving, but there’s a world of difference in investment income and future planning. Their ascent toward the top has just been stopped. In a generation or two (or less), they’re off the radar. Their holdings have been dispersed, and are no longer large enough to grow to something meaningful.
The fallout from attacks delivered through financial markets go far beyond mere investment, spending, and inheritance issues. Businesses which compete with the mainstream are not started (e.g., Dad never starts that Greek restaurant), attempts to obtain significant voting blocs in smaller publicly-traded corporations are stymied, and so forth. More importantly, the washouts raise the prices of many commodities and consumer loans, so lower class transitions to middle class are forestalled at the same time as middle class transitions to upper class. What, to middle class people, is a portfolio drop, becomes the elimination of working savers, such that workers learn that it is unintelligent to save, and better instead to live by debt and employ bankruptcy when necessary. The supposed idiocy of the American consumer is based in large part upon the many washouts of savers over the course of generations, whereby it actually is more rational to waste money on a luxury cruise or a sports car than to buy stock--when you need savings to meet an emergency bill, the market tends to have drastically reduced the value of those savings, so you lose money by not having spent those savings on something frivolous before, then gone bankrupt in the E.R. when the medical emergency hits. The desire to trick working consumers into "saving" and "investing" keeps getting resisted by working consumers, who have to some extent built up an instinctive recognition of the ruse. It is not always their stupidity that causes them to buy a new truck instead of saving for college--inflation washes out FDIC accounts, and market games make securities too risky. Only if you have wealth sufficient to live off income during cyclical recessions are you (potentially, partially, if you're lucky) saved from these effects.

Compare brahmin attitudes toward lower-class "financial responsibility" habits with the same attitudes toward race. Poor blacks know why it is dangerous to have their neighborhood taken over by poor Hispanics, and vice versa, and poor whites know the same for both groups. The middle-class loves lecturing the poor about how happy they'll all be together, and how their racism is all the same, whereas people who've experienced those lives understand that kumbaya is different. Similarly, the brahmin love to plan budgets for the poor.

Genetic Homosexuality

Homosexuality, without germ or gene identified, yet seen as a competitive evolutionarily mandate for members of a group, may be better characterized as a genetic constant: as humans carry the coding for different sexes, with DNA ready to respond to environmental hormones as needed--such that you can shoot a man up with "HRT" drugs and produce predictable results--homosexuality may prove itself to be a similarly adaptable condition, whereby, like rage or bloodlust, it develops in response to environmental stimuli, not as a negative, but as a positive evolutionary response.

A common objection to such a theory would draw its primary proof from its ignorance of scale, whereby the assumption that things meant to be beneficial must conform to a scale of benefits which is severely limited; in this case, such a homosexuality must be individually or socially beneficial within 0-9,999 years. Beyond such a perspective, adaptability can be seen as a benefit.

Sheets and Beds

Bull sheets on a bull bed
Shoot for the moon but hit Mars instead
Mother found her life all twisted and red
God doesn't want you to ask

Kiss my assistant or just shake her hand
Jeans are the #1 pants in the land
Dam the river
Or let it flow
You'll only find silence
If you already know

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Raw Materials

Viewed from a different perspective than the local one, Earth is a reliable producer of only really one raw material: memories. Heavy metals, scattered "technologies," and ersatz moralities: all inadequate, unreliable, or even harmful at net; Terra is not the place to find these things, except in the form of memory components. Here the primary component is not the heavy elements in question which are themselves being contemplated, but the gravitation-like effects on memories which the said heavy elements exert. E.g., we gather a few billion tons of lead, and are not noteworthy as lead-stockpilers or -producers, but as the accumulated mass of memories pertaining to said lead, such as a million variations on "my cut of this deal'll finally pay for that condo" or "now she'll totally go for me." The details of what might be temporarily "made" from the lead become redundantly silly, compared to what is thought about the lead.

A substantial amount of the hesitation to consider memory a resource is similar to the phenomenon of pigs frolicking and mating near a large deposit of gold. The gold affects their lives, in the sense of forming the mountain around which they frolic and mate, but it doesn't do anything, it's just terra firma, everyone's got it, et cetera--a prospector, by contrast, may view the gold or potential gold in a much different way than the pigs can. "It's that glinty stuff you walk on" is a useful, descriptive thought, in a way, as are the prospector's thoughts about whom he might sell the gold to, as are the scientist's thoughts about in which communications products he might employ trace elements of the gold; granted more intellectual capability than the pig, we may think many thoughts about the gold which are, to the pig, non-thoughts, incapable of understanding, except perhaps as metaphors to something which is understood, such as "it's like a really rich food to them" or "it's like seven fertile sows begging for it all at once," et cetera.

Something of our challenge, here, should we choose to feel it, is to figure out why the accumulation and refinement of memories is of universal "value" in a sense which we can understand. Much as we may view it as random (inexplicable with the load capacity of current available thought processes, spiritually designated as "just happens" because we're not smart enough to figure out why) when heavy elements form, we see our exploitation or potential exploitation of them as not random, e.g., "of course we're going to use that tungsten when we find it," taking for granted our own functions. Our perception of randomness perhaps begins to break here, and we find ourselves in the Calvinistic quandary, wherein we may wonder if it is not foreordained that we should create, say, a reactor out of reactor-capable materials we find. Indeed, we may come to recognize all "our" history as a naturally occurring, non-random material coincidence, in which every decision is part of the preordained plan. Imagination, then, becomes a conduit for musts, as when a simian contemplates striking an enemy not with a fist but with a nearby rock, which would have been impossible without the existences of said nearby rocks. It is not, ergo, an unnatural act to exploit a resource-stuffed planet, refining memories into forms of misery, anymore than it is to cause combustion in dry wood to produce heat. This one would like the freedom to make different choices, but that desire is itself something which can only be produced in response to living within the trap; lighter elements predominate because they must, and without universes constantly expanding and perpetually filled with "lighter" elements, there shall be no "heavy" ones--and there shall, also, be no memories.

Reality appears not a vicious cycle from here, allowing for the ability of future iterations to, with incredible simplicity as we can even imagine it, recast impossibility into mundanity. (For example, a ten thousand year fulfillment-orgasm becomes boring.) Yet it is a burdensome duty to wait for stone to become a potential weapon, to become a potential surgical instrument, to become a potential child's toy, et cetera, whence we discover the duty of creation, and correspondingly the potential exploitation of that resource.

Which is to say, the diseased husk we now inhabit is irredeemable by every local standard we can identify. Its various complicities and stupidities adjudge it succeeded, or as we would now perceive it, failed. Even if some trans-Bajirin force produces a solar-traveling system of twenty-thousand-year colonizers, the fundamental existential conundrums of this place as they stand will still persist, ripe for Jenome and ready to be harvested. Duplicable in form, if not in minuteness, the undiscovered silicon, as it were, remains waiting for a shape. As we would characterize its journey. And that is a hopeful thought.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Finitude and Future

This one alluded, in Totality and Copyright, to the method by which reality is created, suggesting the link between creativity and creation (sic). Whether we prefer to assign a religious or spiritual meaning to "creation" as a term is irrelevant; we can substitute "reality" or something which makes a flippant, shameful ("older"?), or benignly ignorant ("younger"?) attempt at aphilosophical thinking if we wish.

Our false humility may be the great characteristic of the current era. We argue that life must terminate with the expiration of the physical form, stating rather loudly that our sensations as-lived are so profound that they cannot possibly be stored or contemplated via any other format. Even "review" is limited to those possessing the dubious honor of being here now, or here then, as the case may be. In essence, we look into the void, and declare, "The experience of being me is so complex that it can only be known by me incompletely while I am here, and approximated incorrectly by those who at least know of the experience of having been here in much the same way that I myself was." An arrogant presupposition to the void, to say the least.

Our firm realism seems founded on the embrace or recognition of the marvels of our current state, and our assurance of our own ignorance. Led by various official churches that have persisted to today (Terra 2018), the greatest ecstasies of the hereafter have flirted with designations of viewing the torments of the non-blessed, which are a visceral series of attempts of avoiding the problem of perpetual existence via vicarious surprise, where a hundred sinners daily greet afresh the soldering irons of a pained immortality for the first time. Ergo we rely not on our own pleasures for happiness, but a vicarious novelty delivered by the freely deserving cattle of suffering. It is, in a way, an easy dogma to critique, for be it a civilization that can transfer between bodies for dire reasons to one that can transfer between body offerings for reasons mockingly not so dire, all provide a window into which the locally dependent material pleasures can be identified, sourced, and found to be perhaps less universal than the stereotypical This Is The Only Planet and it is Flat.

The profundity of our experience has a large part to play in our estimation of future existence. We might have once believed in daily battle, valorous combat, and nightly feasts, and might dress it up with a chance for distinguishing actions, great stories every feast, virginal attendance in later sleeping quarters, and so forth. Yet whatever manifested or derivative immortalities might exist, we see a brighter hope, of sorts, not in the halls of warrior-feasts, but in the hypothetical post-Ragnarok times, where of course god would lie just a little bit about the heavenly pleasures of looking down on hellfire's consumption of flesh, since when he rebooted things there would be real, transcendent pleasures spurred by loftier, less material or temporal minds. Before then, until then, and after it all, our fantasies can be dated and understood. What a terror it is, to recognize those many reflections in the neuralgia that's not there being a prerequisite for participation in the daily battle, for it confines our future to the finitude of our expectation, where children with microscopes that can see nerves and labs that can build them at a farthing per dish of thousands can understand the wishful, incomplete nature of our prior hopes and dreams.

Yes, we can always pronounce transcendence, and lying for your (our?) own good, and save any terrible, terrestrial fantasy thereby. A history of conjoined deceit makes difficult any related embrace of possibility. We cannot take comfort in, say, Allah, given his urgent interests in local arabesques, thousands of years later, should a starfaring civilization be confronted with original texts. And so it is with all fantasies, whereby our current development will eventually provide different focuses, making clear that any divine voice is not particularly genuine, available as it is only through human vessels whose immediate concerns have colored a sizable chunk, if not the totality, of the description.

It remains, though, an act of similar arrogance to discount a potential "afterlife" for reasons that prove themselves to be of similar derivation. Dawkins always beats up the Jesus piƱata at his televised birthday party (local scion of one religion publicly degrading a predecessor) because it is an easy victory, not because it is an epistemological advancement. Our critiques of afterlives, whatever form they might take, are as similarly sourced as what we presume to be our original fantasies in such regard, for we base our denials and refutations on the very humanity that we tend to use to critique the thoughts.

By the same token, though, this occurrence should not validate some form of belief in a fantasy of its own. It is tempting, as a mortal, to witness a bad critique of an immortality, and conclude that, therefore, there is some immortality; whatever the bad critiques, or their majority acceptance by world thinkers, we are not given forever-life in compensation for perception of illogic, nor would we be in a random material stew which had happened to arrange such that it produced said critiques or those like them.

Like a blind fish in the deep waters loves the light, ignorance is the only flavor we know. Not knowing remains of vital importance. Not to confess truth, nor to command humble power, but as purely an observation as something observed, something observing can be, that in this aspect of life, we were designed and grown specifically for such a purpose. There in that place, or here in this one, we can foresee only our own destruction or wishful self-instruction, so incisively that such perception, like a painful end to a series of nightmares, offers severance by seeing--sever me, won't you please, from the idea that there is more after this.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Shell-hell

[S]omewhere in Tartary fifty generations of ever woolier and woolier sheep had recently ended abruptly in one hairless, five-legged, impotent little lamb...
Posit worlds where they can build new bodies to replace old ones, upgrades to replace deficiencies, looks to replace looks, et cetera. Now contemplate (or "imagine," if that's your thing) shell-hell, where it's an understood, usually so minor it's something you'd only say if you were being really informal or really formal, thing to have or mention probably having, or to politely guess someone might be having, when they're breaking a body in. Like, you go to a place, maybe they can get you in today, here's one some dude decided he didn't like, yes I said "dude," but it's only basically been in here, it's like new, it's thirty percent off, oh, what the hell, it's only $299 to start anyway, that includes the transfer if you've got insurance--that kind of thing. So you pick up your new body, get it verified as you, change your profile so everyone who cares knows, maaaaybe give the parents some direct contact, maybe not--that sort of thing.

So, shell-hell. Even if it's easy, there's usually a period of a few weeks/months, prob'ly worst in the first couple of days, where you get used to the thing. Oh, the knees feel so fat, why'd I get this one, lemme check the mirror again; is the neck supposed to twist like this; I dunno babe, the ass is sorta lopsided. Nothing is right, everything is wrong, and you sorta know you're going to accustom to it, and the nights are the worst because was it really meant to happen this way and I am so material and they didn't used to do this for every little--and I make light of it here, but it was really bad for some times, some places. The legs feel wrong, like alien-wrong, and it sounds like a joke unless you're really feeling it. Sure, it's as routine as, ohh, a broken limb or a heart procedure, everyone's done it at least once, but you still have those private times where it's not so cool. A touch of pain, a brush of death, and on it goes.

Yeah, big joke, she got a younger one so she's gonna be a little testy like that for a couple weeks, oh, didn't you hear about the accident? On it goes. What we can learn from it here is, at the least, a birth comparison, since really getting born is like a lesser form of shell-hell but you're less prepared for it. So, how much does metaphysical (sic) understanding of what is going to happen help? Hold on, there's a mosquito on your arm--which is to say, it doesn't help much, since you'd prefer not to be bitten. And we don't like to talk about it, how we're quite affected by these things we inhabit, changeable as they are, but with a new body, you can really tell. Yeah, the idiots adopt a new catch phrase, or they force saying something as a new habit based on a similar-appearing body they once saw in a movie or movie-equivalent, or whatever. But the smarter people are pretty much unnoticeable externally even though they can tell in different ways, more private ways usually, where they realize their thinking has changed in a slight way, only really noticeable to them, and you start to wonder, "Just how me is me, anyway?

There's sort of something retro, or retro-original, new-again, whatever, in doing this forced hell of a different variety here, where it's only (so far) one take. And there are certainly benefits to being able to plausibly argue, to feel, that matter doesn't affect you because [reason]. To me, that's the more important issue of shell-hell from this perspective, or any perspective; not the infancy anew that can take decades to worm/work its way through the system, but the technological realization that, along with showing how important matter isn't by being able to maintain some degree of coherency through faster transitions, we simultaneously learn how important matter is, and how we've never really understood ourselves until then. Which we didn't then and won't much later, by those same tools of perspective, but it's at least an advancement, a beginning. Even treating it as faraway bullshit, that-island-doesn't-have-inhabitants bullshit, shell-hell's instructive, inasmuch as we can vicariously relive our own infancies, our own right-after-waking moments, and learn from it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Saving Money at the Store

"If I buy this, I'll save money. It's, like, seventy percent off."

A simple ruse, yet like most of its kind, remarkably effective. What makes it most effective, sociologically speaking, is not actually the more direct expression of it, in the sense of convincing people to buy something they would not have otherwise bought. For example, we may be living a life, living a day, planning on hanging around the house (dialect for not going to a goods repository and trading currency for something as a form of amusement; although that gap has already mostly been bridged, the saying still has a trace of non-purchasing left), and not otherwise intending to buy anything. We can modify this behavior by making the purchase--literally subtracting from resource-acquisition capabilities--become a necessary, helpful, vital, resource-acquisitive act, by creating the illusion that the purchase is actually a necessary saving and/or acquisition of resources. Ergo the implication that by losing money, one is gaining money--sic.

We see the effectiveness of this technique magnified across history by the theft of credit for accomplishments during historical periods, wherein a prisoners' having acquired something is credited to the keeper. It's an easy trick, in the sense of assigning an anticipated value of zero to the time period in question, then crediting the desired authority with anything greater than zero. These assumptions made, the greatest bar to progress becomes the cause of progress. Whether mob-rule, cohort rule, or sales for things which wouldn't have otherwise been purchased, without the ability (or desire) to discern that the voyage might not have occurred, or something to have been done instead in the interlude, the liar's math is simple: any accomplishments must be the result of the act, even if the act itself was an act of subtraction. Socially, personally, we can pay witness to, if nothing else, media effectiveness, whereby one is saving money by spending it; where an act of self-harm becomes an act of self-aid by the illusory predicate of preexisting tech; by the exercise of body- or personality-conditions set long ago. Ergo the modern consumer actually does believe he is saving money by spending it.

We might liken the individual act in such a case to doublethink, except that doublethink implies a sophistication; an ability to believe both things, and thus to understand the truth of one while denying its truth. There is a similarity, for confronted clothing-savers would, at some level, understand the postponed schism between bank accounts and clothing, and thus, if forcibly educated with each purchase, would vocally admit an understanding that saving is not actually spending. Yet the true doublethinker simultaneously, completely understands, avows, and disavows, and therein lies his material genius. Two plus two actually is five, always, just as much as it can never be five, and there is never a moment of "breakdown" where a masterful doublethinker can perceive the contradiction. There is no contradiction, there never was one, and outrage at the implication that there might be such a contradiction is justified so thoroughly that, if you're not outraged, you're stupid.

The lesser stuff required of the masses, in the case of saving while spending, is less refined. We can buy things we wouldn't have bought, understanding the difference under cross-examination, yet putting it aside mentally for useful functioning. Obviously the end result of such behavior is trying, yet the historical variety is similar, but effects more because of our unfamiliarity with the passage of time. Ergo we may understand, vocally at least, that spending is not saving, yet when considering one millennia, rather than one afternoon or one lifetime, one's estimation of what would probably have been accomplished, compared to what was actually accomplished that we know of, controls the evaluation more than does one's evaluation of quality alone. During a period of dominance/ascension by a group, then, the prediction that achievement will be at zero, or near zero, controls one's evaluation of said group's effectiveness, more than does one's much-more-limited evaluation of the quality of the work alone. High expectations versus low expectations, perhaps. And in some sense, the girl with the new dress that potentially makes her look better than the last twenty-six will become upset, perhaps even good-naturedly, at the implication that the new dress was not needed, but if you set your baseline at "gonna spend at least $170 today" then shopping is saving.