You Idiots, You’re Not Hoarding Wealth, You’re Hoarding Pointers!

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, as I’ve talked about before, money is a pointer in the C sense of the word. It isn’t the actual value, it’s a token that represents the value. If you missed that part, go back to the top of http://moneynotvalue.sheer.us and come back and join us when you’re done.

Okay, so, here’s how our current resource allocation system can actually make real value disappear.

At some point, some jackass who didn’t understand that money is a pointer invented the idea of “interest”. Call it what you like, vig, whatever. Once you have interest in the system, several things happen:

1) The “wealthy” i.e. those who already have too many of the fucking pointers.. get more pointers. Which they can then use to capture even more pointers. However, if the pointer dissapears, the value is not gone. If you destroy the value, the pointer points to nothing. Go ahead, grab a C compiler and try it. I’ll wait.

2) The “poor” i.e. those who don’t have all the tangible resources they need but don’t have the tokens.. get less real stuff, and more of it sits on the shelf. Some types of stuff LOSE VALUE – REAL VALUE – as they sit on the shelf. I gesture you to milk as a prime example. So we end up wasting resources – real resources – because of these stupid clowns who don’t understand the difference between the map and the territory.

2.5) A reminder.. when the creators can’t get enough tokens they can’t create wealth. So by hoarding pointers, the “wealthy” are making us all – *INCLUDING YOURSELVES* – less wealthy. Real wealth isn’t a million dollars, it’s a bunch of friends and a holodeck. And, as I’ve talked about before, if we work together we can write neurological software that will give us all a holodeck! without draining the planet’s resources at all and while our bodies continue to keep the lights on.

3) The “wealthy” become increasingly afraid someone will steal their hoarde. Because we were designed by evolution in a world where resources were scarce and we were competing with tigers and other things that outclassed us until we became tool users, we have built in fear about losing resources because in most of the race’s lifespan, losing resources meant starving to death. That’s hardwired in.

4) The “poor” become increasingly afraid to take risks, which results in less of the ACTUAL VALUE. For example, musicians who end up flipping burgers instead of recording all that great stuff because they’re afraid they won’t be able to eat and live indoors, and thusly afraid they will die.

So, all the brokenness will go away if we make a few basic changes to money, which I’ll talk about in a future article. For now, you assholes who are hoarding too many tokens.. you know who you are.. those tokens are not value, and the only type of power they give you is the power to cause something like the current COVID-19 crisis to blow up enourmously. We can safely bet the USA will be on the *top* of the cases and deaths list, because people are afraid to leave their jobs, because you assholes couldn’t get your shit together to have a plan, and talk it over *before* the next pandemic, where we would temporarily switch to a simple go/no go system for resource allocation instead of dollars in the bank. See “This Perfect Day” for a example of how this can work. (Yes, I know it’s a dystopia, but that part is pretty utopic)

I will also mention, as a side note, that resource allocation systems are like operating systems or any other type of tool, YOU USE THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE JOB! We *need* full on collectivism right now. However, we can’t get there from here, because:

A) No one realizes what time it is. To me, it is obvious that whenever we punch the brakes on the disease, it’s going to be two weeks before we see the output side of that. Procject a moving average filter of the number of cases per day into the future two weeks and tell me that our “built for profit” health care system is even going to be able to pretend to cope. And yet, people are still billing and suing each other. Guys, I am declaring a emergency. Pilots out there will know that at this point we have three priorities – Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. All three are directly related to keeping us alive to fly another day. No one wants to bend a airplane but if you kill yourself trying to save the airframe you are a moron who does not understand we mass produce these things in factories all day long and they are replacible, we are not.

Similarly, companies are replaceable, individuals are not. The company I work for (a multilevel marketing firm i.e. a system where you sell to your friends, usually at in-person “parties”) who will remain nameless has not yet announced they are turning off minimums (the value under which you get no commission for your team and may also be kicked off the island) and they encourage people to prioritize survival above selling. Not only that, they want to raise commissions, incentivizing people to continue to sell. The big risk here is a lot of these people have believed the lies of the president and other conservatives and therefore will have in-person MLM parties, encouraging the spread of the virus and costing us lives. I ask you, if even one employee has to die, is it not better that the company die instead? We can always build another of those. We can’t replace ANY of the people. (To their credit, they do have a option to do the parties virtually. But even though I’ve put them in a position to release it to everyone, to the best of my knowledge they have not done so)

Look at the exponential growth curve on this thing and grow up. It’s time we prioritize survival, we will figure out the bills when we’re done. And if any hospital is still running their billing department, hopefully their charter will be lifted and they will be handed to the government when we’re done. They have failed to understand that as a species, we are all connected, and the thing they are collecting isn’t the value, it’s a bunch of stupid, potentially worthless pointers – but most people are not exposed enough to all the ideas I have been exposed to to be able to see money that way.

B) The milgram effect keeps a lot of the people who *do* see the situation for what it is from doing the right thing. I talk about elsewhere in this journal how we are a loosely confederated collection of subnets and most of those subnets have no great way to authenticate information sources or the validity of information. Therefore, when people project authority and claim authority we tend to follow their directions even when we know they are wrong.

C) Beyond this, a deeply wired fear about starving to death and freezing to death kicks in whenever our ‘Jobs’ are threatened, because the wealthy (who would be far more wealthy if they hadn’t done this) hoarded a bunch of pointers that in fact are just pointers and have no real value. Hint for you rich folks: you *need* the rest of us. Go read my essay on resource allocation as a group, and let me know how you’re going to be more wealthy after the crash you’re causing right now by not just announcing “here, take it all, spread it as needed, avert those people’s fears so they can stay home instead of spreading this fire further and faster.

This is a fast moving wildfire, folks. We gotta smarten up if we’re going to come out of it ahead.

That one disturbing possibility

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, as I note that things like global pandemics underline the fact that our bodies have poor informational security, and are susceptible to virii both informational (religion) and RNA/DNA-based (COVID-19), I find the lack of security to be another compelling case against the idea that we have a perfect creator – or indeed a intelligent designer at all.

On the other paw, there is still this one disturbing possibility that I can not dismiss. Our beliefs act as a filter upon our experience of reality – obviously this must be the case or believers in God wouldn’t continue to believe in God. I mean, the other possibility is that they’ve lost the ability for rational thought – and looking at the fact that they elected Donald Trump, someone who’s about as close to the devil as we’re going to find in this world, and are busy worshipping him, I concede the possibility that they have. But let’s assume for the moment that people have the ability to remember and think..

One possibility that we can’t actually throw entirely out is that God is only real if you beleive in h*, or alternately, that God is real always but your *experience* of God is only real if you believe in h*. This is compatible with the mythos that Hell is the absence of God – certianly the lack of any central planning and the refusal of all collectivism has turned America steadily more hellish.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not clear to me that you’d *want* to have a God as described by the Old Testament. But, and I realize this is stretching credulity to the max, what if there *was* a loving, helpful central authority, the kind of God you’d build if you were building God out of spare neurons. Certainly they’d do things like removing virii before they got out of hand, and making sure that places didn’t end up getting led by people like Donald Trump.

However, I’ve believed in such a being for a few days at a time, occasionally, when manic, and things definitely didn’t get any better for me. Most of the time, it was believing in such things and then testing them that got me arrested. However.. it may take believing for longer to shape the necessary neural network to have the experience.

Note that I still don’t believe Christianity contains the right answers, for a whole host of reasons. But I’m starting to ponder trying to write something that would. The thing is, the whole thing feels a bit insane. Try to believe in something you can’t experience until you believe in it? Then understand that you can’t experience it even when you *do* believe in it until you cross some threshold?

More political musings (collectivism vs. conservatism)

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, as we talk about various types of collectivism, and various pundits try their hardest to convince us that socialism will make us all poor, I thought I’d bring out a few facts.

The first thing I’d point out is that generally conservatives are anti-collectivist, and generally whenever conservatives get in power in the USA, a recession almost immediately follows. Now the powers that be would *really* like you to forget this fact, or stop noticing it – just like they’d like to convince you that the cause of the failures of the Soviet Union and China were the result of collectivism.

What they carefully ignore is that A: sometimes collectivism works. Sometimes it works quite a bit better than individualism. B: In the places where it doesn’t work, *often* there is a attempt to pair it with dictatorship or oligarchy. This is certainly the case in both China and the Soviet Union. C: In small scale places where it doesn’t work, often the USA, which has capitalism as a state religion, was responsible for repeatedly blowing things up and/or enacting sanctions in order to make sure it would fail. Cuba is a obvious example of a system that probably would have succeeded wildly without repeated abuse by it’s collective-phobic neighbor.

However, there are a few things to remember. We see a lot of what I call ‘stupid greed’ – that is to say, greed that makes everyone, including the greedy person, poorer. Part of why I think we see it is that having large amounts of power leads to a special type of brain damage. People with large amounts of power lose the ability to empathise with those beneath them, which leads increasingly to them forgetting that a dictatorship is generally not a winning combination. People in power also often come over time to vastly overestimate their intelligence. I’ve been reading about the downfall of Commodore Business Machines, which is kind of a tragic play in 3 acts, but definitely one of the acts is the result of Jack Tramiel having this sort of brain damage.

So, the powers that be, who have a lot of money to spend on propaganda and attempts to change our minds, want very badly for us not to choose collectivism because they – in their generally brain damaged way – think that life is a zero sum game and they’re going to be less rich if they have less money.

However, as I’ve talked about before, this type of greed is generally stupid – it costs the person who is exercising the greed potential experiences, because it leads to hoarding pointers to resources instead of spending them intelligently to garner more resources. It’s important to understand that there are resources which are multiplicative in value – obvious examples are intellectual property like the transistor, but you also have technologies which have a network effect, such as the fax machine and the personal computer – every one that you add to the world increases the value of all of them.

However, there seems to be no hope of getting through to people who have fallen into this mindset. They are convinced that conservative politicians and conservative policies are exactly what they want. You can run into people who generally acknowledge the value of research and intelligence, who would never attempt to compete on things like configuring computers, designing circuits, or writing software – but suddenly whenever the topic turns to politics they know best because you are promoting liberalism and collectivism and they are deeply convinced they know what history says. They in fact are cherry-picking from the history that ended the way they wanted, and then furthermore carefully ignoring that a lot of the failures of collectivism have been the result of single-party thinking, oligarchy, or dictatorship. But you can’t generally get them to understand that.

The good news, I suppose, is ultimately conservatism is likely to fail in a evolutionary point of view. Conservative policies, consistently carried out, will kill off our species – because conservatism wants to keep things the same, and ‘keep things the same’ includes things like a fork bomb (be fruitful and multiply) and epic stupidity (there’s plenty of oil, we should continue to fight wars to get resources we want, etc), and hopefully the next species will be a little smarter.

This didn’t end up being as much of a roundup as I hoped.

Credit where it’s due

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

I did want to mention, because I don’t always get around to putting a comment on each individual post to the effect, that the vast majority of tracks I publish here are co-engineered by Arthur St James, the other set of ears at Sheer Sound Studios. Pretty much all of them are all me, but occasionally they will include drum loops from public libraries or from Superior Drummer. When other musicians play on them I try to make sure I mention it in the “liner notes” that go on the blog with the published track.

The challenges of conditional virginity

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, those of you who have talked to me about my ideas for a neural operating system to enable humans to experience much greater freedom with the same resources know that one of the things that I’ve talked about is ‘conditional virginity’, or perhaps ‘programmable virginity’ – the ability to forget something you’ve learned so you can experience it for the first time again, but only temporarily so you can compare the two experiences. Now, while human experiential memory is well suited for this kind of stunt, the way we learn decision trees (and muscle memory) *really* is not – both because these things involve more than one system in the brain and also because of the way they are stored – for obvious reasons they are indexed against need, not against when and how they were learned. So you can never *really* achieve beginner mind again once you’ve learned about something because even if you were to lose the memory of the first experience you would not lose the decision trees you built the first time you had the experience. And maybe this is just as well – I’ve been reading about a form of degenerative disease similar to alzheimers except involving the decision trees instead of the memory, and it sounds terrifying. I imaghine you would experience it almost as if someone else were driving the bus instead of you.. which does underline the fact that the part of us that is making the decisions and the part of us that is having the experience are two different things, and I’m still not at all sure if the part of us that is making the decisions doesn’t occasionally slide in a totally false experience on the part of us that is “on the ride”. It seems like this would have a distinct evolutionary advantage.

Simulation, Virtualization, On the iron?

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I had a long series of conversations with someone on my recent Africa adventure about whether or not we are living in a simulation. Most of you already know that I have noticed that both evolution and intelligent design would discover virtualization fairly early on as a way to do a lot more with the same resources. Virtualization opens a lot of doors vs. running ‘on the iron’ – we already know that we have some virtualization features, such as dreaming and imagining possibilities, but I think it likely that we probably go a good deal further than that.

One of the thoughts i had never been struck by before which struck me on this particular version of enumerating the age-old discussion was that humans do not really have instincts to speak of – so one appropriate use of virtualization is to build the neural structures necessary to survive before we meet the real world. It’s quite possible that we’re still in our mother’s womb, living through recordings of various situations so we can build the neurological structures and be ready to deal with the real world, which may be far stranger and wilder than anything we’ve experienced thus far. When you think about it, if evolution hasn’t already found this, it’s a bit of surprise, because surely the child that experiences training simulations in-womb is going to have a *far* higher survival score than the child who does not.

Anyway, one can think of a number of scenarios in which simulation or virtualization would be a winning strategy – if we’re the product of intelligent design we’re almost certainly inside a virtualization envelope, because it protects the designer from us. One amusing possibility that’s occurred to me is that we may be the result of someone trying to develop a really accurate video game that simulates life forms – so accurate that those life forms turn out to experience the world as real. It would be, it seems to me, a easy mistake to make.

The psychology of stated truth

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I recently went on a African safari – a lot more about this later, including pictures and the like – most of the trip was amazing, but it did have a few disturbing moments. Today I’m going to talk about the one in which someone asserted a number of untruths as facts.

The whole thing started because I was talking about the opiod epidemic and mentioned marijuana in a list of “relatively harmless” drugs. Someone at the table I was at – and this person will remain nameless, but I’m fairly sure they have a significant mental illness – asserted that MJ had killed many, many people.

It came out that his sister was killed by a drunk driver who also had MJ in his system. And, I agreed with a couple of his points, which I’ll get to later – but he kept asserting increasingly obviously fictional, increasingly disturbing statistics.

Now, I’m generally disposed to believe things people present as facts, with the obvious exception of certain political figures who I know lie constantly and without limit. It wasn’t until he stated something directly opposed to personal experience and also widely reported group experience that I realized that he was, in fact, insane. Or else trolling me, but I prefer to believe insanity.

I do feel for him that he lost someone he loved. I do feel confident that he totally misidentified the root cause – the root cause is humans driving cars – we really shouldn’t drive cars, we’re not good a it – and the secondary contributing cause would be the alcohol. MJ earns tertiary status.

I finally told him to drop it – which is rather out of character for me, but once I had done some internet searches and confirmed that the things he was saying were not true, I found it *very* disturbing to listen to him talking about the subject because I knew he was injecting false information into my mind. I suspect he’s got a cohort of anti-MJ friends who egg him on and tell him things that *he* believes are true, although it’s possible that he makes all this stuff up himself. I also am fairly sure he didn’t *know* the things he was telling me weren’t true – but he certainly wasn’t ready to listen to a dissenting opinion. He was not in general willing to let anyone get a word in edgewise.

I’m sure I have been that person in terms of talking too much. I hope I haven’t been the one presenting utter fiction as fact.

Part of what I found interesting is how, as I listened to him, his point of view which was opposite of mine seemed more reasonable and plausible until he made statements which were clearly and obviously false, at which point I found listening to him frustrating and alarming. I do hope he finds whatever help he needs – I seem to know a lot of people that start to throw the baby out with the bathwater after losing a sister. (I am not sure if I’ve written about why I am absolutely against Marsy’s law for all, but that would be another example of someone pushing for a excessive solution because their sister died)

Anyway, I kept running web searches to verify that the “facts” he was telling me weren’t. One of the thoughts I of course had is it’s possible I am the insane one, and my mind was swapping out the text the web sites were returning with the text that I expected to see. But there’s no way to tell if that’s the case. It’s possible he and I live in two different universes and in his all the things he said are true. Again, no good way to know.

Another thing I noticed is he has the typical disease of certain lawmakers and other individuals of thinking that addicts are worthless and should be jailed for life or killed at the first convenient moment. I of course understand both that many addicts are also our most creative people, and that history owes much to people who were flawed in that particular way. But, see elsewhere, the people who tend to end up in power are the worst of us – because the best of us generally don’t want power over anyone but themselves. And probably thus will it ever be. I can only hope my insane table-mate doesn’t end up with any political power, because I have no doubt that he would make the world a worse place.

OK, to bring this back home to the original topic.. one of the weaknesses of the way humans are put together, as we know from the Milgram effect, is we tend to trust authority more than we should. Authority apparently can be something as simple as speaking in a authoritarian tone of voice. This is alarming because it means I might have many “facts” stored which aren’t, simply because they were spoken in a authoritarian tone. He *really* had to say something obviously not true (he stated that MJ has no medicinal value and that the idea that it is one of the best anti-nausea substances we know of was completely false – of course part of his defense of that statement was that it was listed as something to use only when all else had failed – which I’m not surprised, big pharma doesn’t make much of a profit on MJ. I note that TMS for PTSD sufferers is also listed as something to use only when all else has failed, whereas I would use it as one of the first things I would attempt. Big Pharma owns the medical industry and has no ethics at all. but we all already know that, and I digress..)

One other interesting thing to take away – if he had let it go after our first discussion, I would have researched it much more heavily than I am now likely to. I am pretty thoroughly convinced that adding MJ to the list of legal drugs has gained us far more (in terms of bright, creative, helpful people we are no longer putting in jail) than it has cost us (traffic fatalities might go up by a few)

I will mention there are a few points he made that I agree with – 1) You shouldn’t drive when stoned. It does increase your RT. 2) You DEFINITELY should not even THINK about driving when stoned and drunk. I don’t know exactly what that would do, but nothing good. 3) We are breeding more and more potent weed, and we should think about whether that’s really such a hot idea.

As you all know, I don’t partake myself so I don’t really have a horse in this race, other than a number of my friends do and I don’t think any of them belong in jail. I actually think the people *putting* them in jail are the people who belong in jail.