Thursday, September 22, 2016

Complexity, moral decline and the Left

It occurs to me that the fundamental project of all authoritarians--and variants of the Leftist pathology are recorded early on in Chinese history, where they had de facto Communo-fascists ( to be clear, the rulers are never equal to the people in any authoritarian system by definition, so a devout dictatorship is equal to the results Communists always achieve in reality, if not in rhetoric, which is to say propaganda)--is to decrease systemic complexity.  Reducing the number of people empowered as individual agents inherently makes the system less complex, less robust, less interesting.

Early on, all aspiring tyrants learn they have to pander to the people until they get the weapons of the government under their control, and directed at a disarmed populace (guns, it occurs, to me, add complexity as well: to the extent they are distributed evenly they equate in some respects to distributed physical power).

Socialists of course appeal directly to greed: everybody wants more of everything, with less work.  They appeal latently to people's sense of envy and resentment.  But of course this always fails.  Other peoples money runs out.  The promises can't be kept, even if an echo chamber can be created between the government, community "leaders", and the media, saying "everything is great, everything is wonderful."

But what can be enlisted in their service, which has no practical limit?  Self pity.  Grievance.  The sense that the world owes you something, and that this is a moral claim, and that you can and should feel righteous anger at everyone who is not like you.  This justifies failure. It justifies lack of effort.  It nurtures the latent narcissism in weak people, and grants them a sense of self esteem which feels like the real thing, but which hasn't been earned in any way.  It mobilizes anger, and makes it politically useful.  Because after all, the people proclaiming your victimhood MUST have your best interests at heart, right?  Right?

Of course not, jackasses.  Don't be so fucking stupid.

It seems as well to me that a primary spiritual goal in most religions is inner peace; finding tranquility in an unfair, often hostile, unreliable and difficult world.  We read most these days about "fulfillment" and "meaning", since these are needs, too, which seemingly are more important than peace, since for most of us life is, if anything, too easy, certainly in comparison with the lives of most of those 100 years ago and on back into prehistory.

But as far as peace, in what does it consist?  Systematically reducing the number of things which "trigger" you.  If someone offers you anger, offer them peace.  If someone wrongs you, deal with it without resentment.  Much of Christianity is about not being triggered, and using that as a path to deep, soul level relaxation.

So logically, if building inner peace consists in reducing your triggers, then the opposite would both be increasing the number of things that trigger you, and systematically seeking not to learn how to deal with it, but to change the outer world to reflect your inner disharmony and weakness.

Virtue, as I see it, is nothing but a reflection of psychological laws which exist at the level of instinct, body, and spiritual awareness.  It is not a set of rules for what you "must" do--I have in mind here both old notions of an ontologically rooted morality, and the more modern "angels on the head of a needle" versions of streetcars and quests for "perfect" moral decisions in complex perceptual environments--so much as rules of the game if you want to win at life.

Have a simple code.  Live by it.  Understand some failures are likely if not inevitable.

My own:

Reject self pity

Persevere

Be Curious.

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