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Pain, Political Vibes, and Being a Bat

By Ben Hunt | 5 Comments

The core problem for Team Blue isn’t the candidate, it’s the team. Specifically, it’s the very online population of Team Blue journalists, academics and political operatives and their pseudo-religious, dogmatic urge to explain why aggregate economic statistics are more meaningful than lived experience.


Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.27.23

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger Narrative campaign.

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.20.23

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger Narrative campaign.

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.13.23

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger Narrative campaign.

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.06.23

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger Narrative campaign.

City of God / City of Man

An AI in the City of God

By Ben Hunt

The City of Man always wins.

The Visigoths always sack Rome. The Vandals always sack Hippo. Augustine always dies in the siege. Bad things always happen to good people … at scale.

Here’s how we use generative AI to flip the script.

Men of God in the City of Man, Part 1: Virus

By Rusty Guinn

This is a story about a virus and the gain-of-function research that produced it.

It’s not what you think.

Men of God in the City of Man, Part 2: Carriers

By Rusty Guinn

Every virus needs carriers to spread. Even a Narrative virus.

We can learn a lot from what they have in common.

Men of God in the City of Man, Part 3: Memetics

By Rusty Guinn

In the same way that genetics governs how physical viruses reproduce within a host, memetics governs how Narrative viruses reproduce within a culture.

And the memes which govern our narrative virus are powerful.

Men of God in the City of Man, Part 4: Epimemetics

By Rusty Guinn

Every Narrative is built on memes that have evolved and adapted to human culture over centuries.

But some environments change the way that those memes are expressed. The effects can be explosive.

Men of God in the City of Man, Pt. 5: Epidemic

By Rusty Guinn

Men of God prophesied as early as 2007 that God would make Donald Trump the President of the United States.

Our Narrative virus gave these predictions fertile ground to take root.

Men of God in the City of Man, Pt. 6: Pandemic

By Rusty Guinn

Surprising outcomes in reality world that seem to confirm a Narrative often produce explosive growth in its scale.

But also in its scope.

Men of God in the City of Man, Pt. 7: Mutation

By Rusty Guinn

Narrative viruses are not immune to events in reality world – especially when we have made those narratives part of our identity.

And when a Narrative becomes part of our identity, it changes what we need to be true.

Men of God in the City of Man, Part 8: Zoonosis

By Rusty Guinn

Physical viruses sometimes jump from one species to another.

Narrative viruses sometimes jump from one culture to another.

All it takes is the right virus and a susceptible host.

Men of God in the City of Man is a nine part series about a narrative virus that infected the charismatic and Pentecostal churches in the United States. It isn't a story about Christian Nationalism. It isn't a story about January 6th. It isn't a story about why people voted for Trump. It is a story about a story. It is a story about the language that created a self-sustaining movement defined by its unwavering belief in a fundamentally corrupt electoral system.

Recent Notes

Argentina Leaps

By Ben Hunt

The election of Javier Milei as Argentina’s president is a classic Great Unmooring event. Don’t get me wrong – I am totally rooting for the guy and I am not saying this is a Bad Thing TM. In fact, I think Milei is absolutely right to take a flamethrower to the Argentine central bank and entrenched public sector. But it is a profound unmooring all the same, not just for Argentina but for the world.

Breaking News #9: Hold My Beer

By Harper Hunt

With primary season getting into full swing, there is a lot going on in the political world. Candidates are taking things up a notch with their aggressive tweets and comments to try to stay relevant as a Trump vs. Biden election seems more likely every day. And Trump and Biden themselves seem happy to sit back and stay out of the fray while enjoying their leads in the polls. In this episode, we break down the current state of election 2024. We discuss whether the primaries matter anymore and how things are playing out in Narrative world. We also cover why inflation may not have been as low as it seemed in the most recent CPI report, whether Jack’s pivot on Jared Kushner is warranted and the benefits of keeping a personal archive.

Cursed Knowledge #24: Hollywood Accounting

By Harper Hunt

We know that Hollywood is a multibillion dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. So then why do so many studios report that their movies failed? Especially when most of these movies are incredibly popular and by all accounts should be financially successful. Well turns out Hollywood has some tricks up their sleeves and, as The Producers taught us, under the right circumstances you can make more money with a flop than a hit.

Breaking News #8: When Narrative Doesn’t Matter | The Israeli Strategy of Total War

By Harper Hunt

People traditionally look at war as something that is fought on a battlefield. And that is certainly true. But it is also fought in the world of Narrative. The stories that are told by both the combatants in a war and other parties outside the war with a vested interest in its outcome can play a major role in how it plays out. In this episode, we look at the current Israel Hamas war through a narrative lens and how that is impacting the conflict.

Cursed Knowledge #23: Mega Disasters

By Harper Hunt

Earthquakes, storms, volcanos, oh my. It seems the earth is always trying to kill us one way or another. These are dangerous powerful spectacles that can literally reshape the world. It’s understandable that we’re so fascinated by them. But why aren’t we afraid of them?

The Rick Rubin Of Advice: How To Have A Creative Second Act

By Matt Zeigler

The weirdest question I was ever asked, maybe in my entire life, was, “Can you make this sound more yellow?” The weirdest answer I’ve ever given to the weirdest question was, “Yes.” I replay that conversation in my head all of the time. There’s a perfectly good and teachable reason I was able to answer it. But to teach you that magic trick, we have to talk about Rick Rubin.

Why You Need A Personal Archive And How To Start One

By Matt Zeigler

A personal archive is a means for staying connected with the world and ourselves at the same time. It’s a simple yet life-changing way of seeing the world and your place in it.

Breaking News #7: When the Media Failed Us: The Changing Story of the Gaza Hospital Explosion

By Harper Hunt

There was an explosion in the vicinity of a hospital in Gaza. The media immediately began reporting on it. Major newspapers put out front page headlines. Television stations brought on experts to voice their opinions, But there was one major problem: much of the information that was reported as fact turned out to be wrong.

In this episode, we dig into the incident to try to understand what happened in the reporting of this story, why it happened, and what it tells us about the way the media operates in our world today.

Cursed Knowledge #22: The Narrative of Reality TV

By Harper Hunt

Reality TV is a constant and ever growing part of pop culture. Everyone has a guilty pleasure show that they watch every week. It’s created stars and scandals that have gained international attention. It’s dominated the small screen for almost 30 years and the line between tv and reality has never been thinner.

Fiat News in the Fog of War

By Rusty Guinn

The obligation of the news media when major events are unfolding should be to act with more discretion and care, not less.

They failed at this most critical task this week. Utterly.

Generative AI Images and how Microsoft Doesn’t Understand the Internet

By Desperate_Yuppie

A sample of what you’ll find on the Epsilon Theory Forum – a safe space for full-hearted people to voice their concerns and hopes and observations about today’s world without the emotional cudgel of cancellation or the emotional crutch of an echo chamber. You know … what social media should be!

And yes, it’s for paid subscribers only, which is how we keep the trolls at bay.

Lessons From Biking 245 Miles Across France

By Kyla Scanlon

ET contributor Kyla Scanlon was stuck. So she went biking with strangers who through the magic of talking became friends and confidants. And that’s how you get unstuck.

Breaking News #6: Maintaining Optimism in a Polarized Political World

By Harper Hunt

The political world is becoming more polarized by the day. In our previous episodes, we have looked at why this is occurring, and why it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

But that doesn’t mean we should give up. There are many things those of us who don’t want to give in to this polarization can do to better navigate this world and to find like minded people who also feel the same way.

One Less Vulnerability

By Brent Donnelly

Yes, this is a note about oil prices. But more importantly it’s a note about all the changes in correlation and transmission to FX that have happened over the past few years.

Cursed Knowledge #21: Invasive Species

By Harper Hunt

Invasive species are a known “bad thing”. An organism that’s introduced to an environment and ruins it. So why don’t we do anything about them? And is there even anything we can do?

Breaking News #5: Voldemort 2024! The Biden/Trump Rematch No One Wants

By Harper Hunt

Polls show that the majority of Americans are not happy about the choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump that we are likely to face in the next election. In this episode, we discuss how we got to this point. We look at the embedded problems in our political system that favor incumbents and how it has led us to where we are today. We also look at the political strategy used by incumbents and how they attempt to stave off upstart candidates by altering the system itself.

Cursed Knowledge #20: Airbnb

By Harper Hunt

Airbnb has reshaped how we travel and disrupted the hotel industry. But most of the stories from both guests and hosts reveal nothing but disasters. So what’s really going on? What’s the real story of Airbnb?

Breaking News #4: From Ross Perot to RFK Jr – The Evolving Narratives of Political Entrepreneurs

By Harper Hunt

In this episode, we take a deep dive into the tactics and tools used by upstart political entrepreneurs. Our political system is setup to heavily favor incumbents and candidates that are part of the political establishment. This presents an exceptionally difficult challenge for candidates who come from outside of that system. But social media and technology have given upstart candidates more tools at their disposal than they have ever had in history. And they are using them to both gain our votes and influence our opinions. We discuss how they do that and how all of us can maintain clear eyes and full hearts in the midst of their influence.

Inflation in the Twenty-First Century: A Circular Flow No Longer

By Kevin Coldiron

The flow of dollars between the US and China is no longer circular, and that has enormous implications for how the US finances its budget deficits.

New from ET contributor Kevin Coldiron!

Cursed Knowledge #19: The Snappiest Place on Earth

By Harper Hunt

We live in a very safe world. And we’ve worked hard to make it safe. But sometimes we take that safety for granted. And sometimes we think that safety applies even when it really really doesn’t.