The Long Now, Pt. 4 – Snip!

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TheCoeus
Member
TheCoeus

Sign me up! I knew all of the long form notes were coalescing around a central idea. The ideas and examples that you highlight put what I have been seeing in the real world into perspective. It’s a good explanation, but unfortunately, it’s not a strong, moving narrative. Too many people need to think about what you have written and frankly, they have no framework to understand. We live in a world where a simple, easy to understand lie is the only useful tool. A complex, difficult to understand truth has no place in today’s world. In the widening gyre, nuance is lost and you cannot remain in the tribe if you deviate from the accepted catechism. There is no room for independent thought. Technology and the Internet were supposed to bring people together and allow for differing viewpoints to find homes. Instead it has turned into a tool to destroy difference, enforce uniformity, and allow the powerful to control the population. Yeats was right. The center cannot hold. The Enlightenment is dying. We are becoming less free to do as we wish and the powerful are becoming more able to harm us. The most disappointing part of all of this is we are allowing it to happen. Sometimes through direct action, but much more frequently through inaction. Humans are terrible at thinking about the future. We cannot say that we weren’t warned. Everyone has seen the signs, but it’s an exponential progression. It doesn’t look like much now, but… Read more »

mmalon05
Member
mmalon05

There are a lot of really important points in TheCoeus’ response: 1.) “It’s a good explanation, but unfortunately, it’s not a strong narrative. Too many people will need to think about what you have written and frankly, they have no framework to understand.” This is (sadly) very true. Thinking is hard. I might argue that it is more so that the many lack the motivation to understand, but at this point it would be semantics. Anything remotely abstract, no matter how essential, gets lost in the hyperbole of headlines. Which connects to the next point… 2.) “Technology and the Internet were supposed to bring people together, and allow for differing viewpoints to find homes. Instead it has turned into a tool to destroy difference, enforce uniformity, and allow the powerful to control the population.” There is no better example of this than Twitter. Lives have been upended because of the wrong opinion espoused in 140someodd characters. Instead of increasing diversity of opinions, technology has amplified the ability of those with tail end opinions to vilify anyone that may dare to think in nuances (remember thinking is hard), or worse, entertain an ‘unpopular’ opinion to the extent that doing so instantly becomes amoral, and therefore destructive to society. While Ben cites 1984, which I can certainly see as being appropriate, I think A Brave New World may be more spot on. This is because 3.) As TheCoeus says, “we are allowing it to happen” Whether through laziness, or atrophy or our… Read more »

EnochRoot
Member
EnochRoot

FYI pdf file download is not working right, wants me to upgrade to professional maybe? 🤷🏼‍♂️

Edit: works fine on desktop but not mobile.

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Hubert Horan
Member

Can you elaborate more on the type of help you are looking for at this point?
Most of what you’ve explicitly asked for to date is personal/attitudinal (e.g. clear eyes full hearts) which is important but doesn’t directly suggest specific next steps.
Your past mentions of “building the pack” has always vaguely implied “building a political movement”. (I’m using “political” here in the most general, non-pejorative sense). This seems reinforced by this note’s explicit mentions of future “actions” and “conferences” .
This and other recent posts also suggest a major tension between public action (openly fighting things like the bastardization of language, financialization central banking as a political utility, etc etc) and recognizing that the forces that created those problems are overwhelming and entrenched, and thus retreating to some version of the Planet Tatooine in order to gradually build up a Rebel Alliance.
I’m sure you don’t want to impose one specific view of this “movement” on everybody at this point, but without widely understood beliefs/objectives/boundaries (however flexible) there’s no movement. If you are just looking for emails with ideas, it would be helpful to have specific proposals/alternatives to react to. If you want people to invest time and effort into more substantive actions we need greater input as to what “helpful actions” would actually be helpful.

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Douglas Craig
Member

Yeah Ben, This is your best effort yet. I can feel myself drifting off with George. Truly inspirational!

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cartoox
Member
cartoox

“Self-doubt is a biologically terrifying condition for a social animal like humans, and that’s why you see more and more of us becoming rhinoceroses.” – this reminds me of The Bruce Lee quote:
“We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything that has its roots in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone; we are not alone when we imitate. It is thus with most of us! ”

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Rafa Mayer
Member
Rafa Mayer

In my youth I loved watching Bruce Lee’s moves, in my older years I am loving even more hearing his thoughts. Remarkably wise.

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Tanya Weiman
Member
Tanya Weiman

Another very profound note, a great read. I agree that there is no longer any correlation between taxation and spending (and hasn’t been for some time), it’s blindingly obvious that it just does not compute.

It feels very much the same as around 2005-2007, when real estate was going bezerk. I thought (and said) so many times back then that it was not sustainable. There was no way. But not owning any real estate myself, I thought I would be unaffected. Little did I know the real estate collapse would affect the economy (and the investments I did have) as a whole. Duh!! Then I read “When Genius Failed” about Long Term Capital Management and got very angry because 2008 was basically the same thing all over again.

I might have gotten a little off-topic there, but I am absolutely in service to the Pack. Email sent!

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Roy Blanchard
Member

You sound like John Galt urging Those Who Make to move to the Gulch to stop enriching Those Who Take. The kid’s gold tooth outta my paycheck. The Long Now.

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J Z
Member
J Z

I read this note on a zoo bench while my wife is watching my son playing. I don’t know under what psychology condition Ben wants to instill the loath and fear in readers during holidays. But, Yes, I got the fear and loath . What is the fear and loath exactly? The loath is NOT for the taxation decoupled from .gov spending. I think it is “falling feels like flying”, it is “they will take a piss on your back and tell you it rained”. It is after competing in work, after cleaning up my son’s diapers, I have to think whether I am falling or flying, whether I am being pissed at or whether it actually rained. That boat has sailed for 20 years and there is nothing we can do about it other than surviving the voyage. During holiday parties, I can feel people got a sense of the going is getting weird and they try to figure out whether there is a historical period that can somehow guide the voyage. I told them Ben said there is NO predicative closed form equation, and this is a 3 body problem. So don’t even try. They say “isn’t it true that there is nothing new about money under the sun? isn’t it true that history rhymes?” I told them Ben said no matter what you try, “they” will pick the winners and losers and we all will be the loser crumb catchers while “they” will benefit and the inequality… Read more »

Victor K
Member
Victor K

The secret to not vomiting and not losing your soul is to define winning and losing on your own terms and not theirs! This is so difficult in a Yea Capitalism, Yea Work Ethic, Yea Integrity, Yea Intelligence culture. Yea Progress!

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Johnsoad
Member
Johnsoad

Victor-Yes  This is not a “Team Elite” problem, this is an “Us” problem, and our problem is letting Caesar define success to be worldly things like status and the accumulation of stuff.  Try swapping out some of what Team Elite says to value for some new ones, maybe things like; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and self control.  But the fruit of the spirit is……… (all of those things)Galatians 5:22.   and Whomever abides in (christ) and (christ) in him, he bears much fruit.  John:15 This is not a new battle friends, this battle has been going on for centuries and the OG of revolutions already gave us the playbook.  The revolution is personal, its your own to win or lose and starts with discarding what you are TOLD success looks like.  JZ- in order to win you don’t have to lose your soul.  Winning…..is in fact the exact opposite, it is not losing your soul during your short stint on this rock.  It is recognizing in the moment and not 30 years too late that your son is only a child once and the time spent or not spent together today is time you’ll never get back.  Similarly, It’s forgiving your own parents for whatever mistakes they may have made as they tried their best to navigate this life.   Democracy, capitalism, the church are merely reflections of the individuals who make them up and all are deeply, deeply, flawed at the moment. In order to… Read more »

Victor K
Member
Victor K

Thanks and two thumbs up! (‘read more’ thumbs up button is still fluky)

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M P
Member
M P

Tell me what you are sacrificing/risking for your view otherwise as Fat Tony says it’s just “tawk”.

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Barry Rose
Member
Barry Rose

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~ George Orwell
And again, “Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” ~ Ron Paul
Re-read The Long Now – Part 4 til you get it. Live, speak & teach truth – the opposition & resistance to the truth will find you soon enough.

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ValueAddedFlannel
Member
ValueAddedFlannel

Ben, I think you’re ignoring the material origins of the demsoc position that rich people suck and should have less money and treating it as a purely moral/aesthetic argument.

For instance there is the material benefit of using a wealth tax to increase the public share of capital income, then directing that income towards workers whose real labor incomes have shrunken over time. If that redirection is done via public healthcare you have people living healthier lives. If it’s done via housing then you have more people living in stable and safe homes. If it’s done via cash transfers or basic income you have broader anti poverty effects.

All very broad back of the envelope stuff, but still the kind of thing you can prefer to launching cars into space and riding the Lolita Express on a solidly material basis. No perversion of the human spirit required (but I admit you would need to assume that human flourishing is a good thing for a society to protect.)

I’ve read and enjoyed your site for several years now, but I admit this series is one I’ve struggled with. You’ve compiled the pieces of an anti-capitalist argument and concluded that collective action against the ruling class is necessary, then wed that conclusion to a Libertarian framework. I’m afraid I don’t see how those fit together.

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John
Member
John

What you are asking pack members to do is become Socratic gadflies, heretics against the common knowledge. I agree with you that Doubt is the cornerstone of all learning, but that doesn’t lessen the ask.

Living in doubt is, as you say, far more difficult than living in Belief. If what we’re asking people to doubt is the long-presented, all-defining falsity (insert Plato’s Cave simile/Life of Socrates/Matrix here), then succeeding in this particular ask will come only at great personal cost. How great? “Educated” by Tara Westover gives a modern-day, visceral account of how painful it is to divorce oneself from ingrained orthodoxy in favor of Reason, even when the orthodoxy is violent, uncaring and lunatic and Reason is ready, free, and blissfully safe. In our case, no such promised land awaits our make/protect/teach pupils. Only the promise of harder work.

No sane person wants a revolution. Our grievances may be real, but they’re not on the level of those stipulated in the Declaration of Independence. Commenters ask what to do? How ‘bout, for starters, a few reforms like: overturning Citizens United, leveling the legal playing field between rich and poor, enforcing white-collar criminal laws, zealously guarding and improving public/civic works, infrastructure and education, and – more individually feasible – supporting independent investigative journalism and voting only for candidates who evince good governance.

Consider my hand raised.

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