Recently, someone recommended I read The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang. Just finished it about an hour ago. I liked it a lot.
Loyalty artificially superimposed needs scaffolding made from talk.
Loyalty felt in the bones needs not make a sound.
Former drug abusers are often the most vocal speakers on the dangers of drugs. Similarly I think that’s why I’m so critical of the Alt Right: “dark enlightenment” thought is fun when you’re young and rebellious, and it can help dissolve some of the BS constructs you see all around you, but too much of it will stunt your growth, and as you mature you should realize some of those BS constructs are there for practical reasons.
It is as hard for most people to maintain a nuanced position between worship and hatred as it is to believe others are capable of the same.
Must one’s values always remain consistent even in extreme conditions? Must extreme conditions be considered in order to legitimately form values?
Reality often accommodates contradictory beliefs and frequently even provides evidence that supports all of them. Thus intelligent, informed people can hold opposing beliefs on basically everything.
Now put yourself in the shoes of one of those intelligent, informed people whose beliefs contradict most of those underpinning our modern/liberal/global/egalitarian/democratic Western society. What are your practical options to get through life? Or would you take no practical option and just “cope”?
What annoys me lately is when those people’s goals suggest they should seriously pursue practical options, but their actions are pure coping instead.
Most of what happens to us is decoration on the fabric of our reality. But some of our experience impresses wrinkles and folds into that fabric, hiding certain truths and bringing others into greater visibility. With enough intellect and ability to compartmentalize we can tease these folds apart and iron the wrinkles flat a bit, peeking at what was hidden and reassessing what was foregrounded. But instinctively we are fold- and wrinkle-loving creatures; we need them to make sense of our lives, and even while we are making a show of laying the fabric flat we are secretly pressing folds and wrinkles back into it.
There’s a big difference between pretending a problem doesn’t exist and deciding it doesn’t rule you. Many people seem incapable of making this distinction both for their own problems and for those of others.
Instead of blaming people in the past for the conditions of the present, eliminate reasons people in the future might complain about you.
It seems like the direction of change in our society is at least partially, in some cases, determined by the way we believe it is going to change.
For instance, there seems to be this consensus that future humans are going to use a lot of sophisticated AI and live in space or on other celestial bodies. It started as a vision by a few influential sci-fi writers (as in Asimov’s “The Last Question”, or Star Trek), became a vision shared by lots of sci-fi writers, and may be becoming a kind of assumption among people in general.
If there was a popular genre of sci-fi in which future societies always lived under the ocean, and government agencies and cutting-edge private companies who developed the means to live under the ocean received a lot of media attention, then advances toward living under the ocean would be highlighted. Kids would get excited to some day contribute to that effort. And at some point in the future, that is indeed what we would end up doing.
TL;DR: narratives are self-fulfilling.