Some thoughts on the notion of religious “meaning”:

So far as I can determine, the more I think about this, religion – in any form – amounts to a sort of cosmological puppet-show.  What I mean is: “God”/the “Gods” are presumed to possess agency, but humans are (implicitly) presumed to lack agency — except when “believers” feel the need to threaten their opponents with an eternity Of “hellfire”, or suchlike.

Fundie Christians are particularly prone to this:  they oscillate wildly between two mutually-contradictory premises, as their “theology” requires:

On the one hand, they make a huge deal about how (supposedly) “noone gets near to the Father, except he draws them to Him”.  (The purpose of this notion is to deprive their victims of even the possibility of taking “pride” in having “chosen” the “correct” religion. (IE: the one presumed to include a “get out of hell free” card.)

At the same time (and with total, blithe ignorance of the inconsistency) the more “honest” ones will straight-out state that Non-Christians deserve an eternity of Hellfire (merely for having been systematically brainwashed into a different system of culturally-sanctioned delusions, because they happen to have been born in an area where Christianity never managed to infest/destroy the other religions in the area) — a literal accident of birth.

Why do (especially Jews!) “deserve” it?

Because they “choose” a different religion, that’s why.

See, Christianity is a matter of “destiny” (IE: TULIP — “P stands for ‘Predestination’) – when you don’t want your “flock” to take “pride” in whatever delusions you’ve foisted on them.   However, it’s a “choice”, whenever you need to excuse your contempt/hatred for “unbelievers”/tacit – or overt – desire to watch ’em all burn!

Now, I’m incapable of the sort of “self-induced stupidity” involved in “believing” the above dichotomy:  Either/or, folks:  EITHER you do the Calvinist “predestination” thing, OR you admit that your “beliefs” necessarily imply that all the members of an isolated Amazonian tribe “deserve” an eternity of hellfire, merely because they happen to have never heard of some guy who might never have existed int he first place.

I don’t – can’t – derive “meaning” from that – other than the observation that: if Yahweh exists, “He” is a fucking psychopath, whose “wrath” amounts to the equivalent of a petulant child burning ant-hills with a magnifying glass, simply for the “fun” of it.

 

 

“Genres” piss me off:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microgenre

Quite frankly, I am so totally over the whole “genre”-thing, I can’t even be bothered.

I tried to give a shit, I really did:  I genuinely tried to take the (misbegotten and idiotic) notion of a unified aesthetic “scene” involving a narrowly-circumscribed sonic “palette”, ready-made “tropes”, and clothing/hair-styles seriously — but I just don’t seem to have whatever serious cognitive defect is involved in that level of herd-conformity/pretentiousness seriously..

Quite frankly, any of the above-mentioned bullshit indicates that you don’t actually “like” any of it – and are merely using it as a system of “subcultural shibboleths”.

I find such things ridiculous.  I simply cannot help it.

I don’t find herd-conformity (even to a “niche” subculture) to be at all ‘edgy” – let alone “rebellious”.  Likewise, I simply can’t make myself stupid enough to be able to do/enjoy things “ironically”.

What the hell does that even mean, exactly?  “Oops!  I just did something/expressed an opinion which conflicts with the particular STEREOTYPE I’m slavishly aping!  Gotta figure out some way to “distance” myself from that lapse!  I know…..maybe if I SMIRK AT IT, I can “bluff” my way out of having failed to be sufficiently conformist!”

Doing things “ironically” is tantamount to the attempt to spit in your own face.

TL;DR: shove your “microgenre” bullshit. 

Some (other) thoughts:

So, I (occasionally) still bother to talk to Karl (Ka3rcs).

Quite frankly, I do so because I find him amusing (in a “pathetic, human train-wreck” sort of way).  Pretty much every conversation is eventually all but guaranteed to involve him gibbering about something stupid — David Icke, the burned-out license plate thing, the fact that he (stupidly) added a vast amount of crap to his trailer-hoard (junk scavenged from a police department which he will never sell, reconfigure for Amateur radio use, or even meaningfully sort – despite claims to the contrary), etc.

Karl is just so amazingly pathetic, and his “lifestyle” is just so amazingly failure-ridden, that I end up feeling much better about myself, after the conversations: At least I’m not THAT stupid!

The real “rib-tickler” aspect of the whole thing is: Karl fancies himself to be some sort of genius-level intellect who has become “Enlightened” over the mere “sheeple” surrounding him.

This is one reason (among many) for his tendency to glom onto incredibly stupid paranormal/conspiracy/”Alternative”-medicine quackery, etc. — He fancies himself to be a “truth-seeker”, but is utterly lacking in the sort of “critical thinking” skills which would allow him to rationally evaluate any given truth-claim.  Throw in the pervasive paranoia (“Dude?  You mean you really believe the “official” story???  That’s just what THEY want you to think!!!”) – and you end up with that certain, seemingly-counterintuitive mix of arrogance, cynicism and gullibility which gives Karl that certain, special “charm”.

I am long past the point where I actually have any kind of “respect” for him: he’s a pathetic mess, all the way down.  He’s like some sort of extremely mediocre “savant” (IE: semi-competent with electronics/computers, barely even functional at anything else).

So….my concern is: is there something mean-spirited about continuing to interact with someone for whom you have no respect, simply because that individual’s psychological problems/personal failures/gullibility etc. happen to be funny as hell, on occasion?

 

Some thoughts:

 

The more I think about it, both Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard are really similar:

1. Both of them began as execrably-bad fiction-writers.
2. Neither of them were particularly “original’. (Rand’s specialty involves a sort of dumbed-down hash of Nietzsche and Aristotle. L. Ron Hubbard’s schtick involved a garbled hash of Freud, Bio-feedback, and the “pulp”-magazine level sci-fi.)
3. Both of them languished in (richly-deserved) obscurity for decades, before being catapulted to (entirely undeserved) fame,
4. Both of them built their respective “movements” around an inner-circle of gullible “true-believers” (most of whom ended up either being “excommunicate”/dropping out on their own.)
5. BOTH of them positioned themselves/their respective “movements” as attempts to ‘save” civilization.
6. Both of their respective “movements” have a ridiculously high rate of “turn-over”. (IE: there are vastly more “former” Scientologists/Objectivists than there are “active” participants in either “movement”.)
7. Both “movements” are (implicitly) nothing more than thinly-veiled marketing-ploys. In the case of Scientology, this takes the form of pressure-selling L. Ron Hubbard’s shitty novels, pseudo-intellectual “Dianetics” schlock, audio recordings of him rambing on about Xenu, etc.
In the case of Objectivism, it takes the form of pressure-selling Ayn Rand’s shitty novels, the 3 books Peikoff actually managed to complete, Peikoff’s tape-lectures,
8. Both “movements” have an “authorized” and “rebel” factions. With Scientology, this is the “church” of Scientology vs. the “Freezone”. With Objectivism, it is ARI vs. “Atlas Society”.
9. Both “movements” are dismal failures in terms of “saving” civilization.
10. Both organizations are seen by “outsiders” as pathetic jokes/scams/cults.

 

Am I missing something here?

Ayn Rand = worst “writer” ever

The following block-quote is from a rather dismal little story called The Husband I bought, from the Early Ayn Rand.  I am fully aware that English wasn’t Ayn Rand’s “native” language, but even so, this particular bit is just execrably bad:

I dressed myself slowly and carefully. I tried to be very attentive, very busy with my toilet, and to drown all thoughts in it.

Leonard Peikoff and ARI are a genuinely strange bunch:

On one hand, they are obsessed with Ayn Rand, and invest way too much effort in frantic “turd-polishing”, in an attempt to rehabilitate Ayn Rand’s “image” in the mass culture (IE: as the female version of L. Ron Hubbard.)

On the other hand, their obsession with their guru/goddess essentially requires them to keep rummaging in the “archives”, in an increasingly-desperate attempt to find more of her scribblings to publish.

This – more often than not – ends up shooting them in the foot.

For instance (via Journals of Ayn Rand), we learn about her two failed attempts to publish that “full book on Objectivism” she mentions so frequently in her published works.

In The Early Ayn Rand, we get to see exactly how little progress she actually made in terms of being fluent in English.

Ayn Rand was a hack “novelist”, and (absent the Brandens’ constant hand-holding during the NBI era), couldn’t “philosophize” her way out of a wet paper bag.

If anything, she was an abysmally bad spokesperson for a (vanishingly) few really good ideas – none of which she “originated”, in any meaningful sense of the term.

 

Gold-fetishists are stupid as shit:

The notion of “precious” metal as a “store of value” is self-refuting:

Here’s a thought-experiment:

(This thought experiment would probably cause Karl to have an aneurysm) 🙂

Assume some sort of “apocalyptic” chain of events — say, a pandemic, sufficiently virulent to rip through a significant proportion of the population too quickly for the CDC/”Big Pharma” to be of any use.
Now, here’s the thing:

The (purported) “value” of anything is *exclusively* determined by two factors:

SUPPLY and DEMAND.

Crudely put: “Scarcity” is a relative – not absolute – notion.

Now, let’s think about what would happen to the (supposedly ‘intrinsic’) value of (so-called) “precious” metals in the above scenario:

1. First, assuming the pandemic tended to result in a high rate of fatality, there would be a significant decrease in population. There would *also* be a significant up-surge in persons rendered – temporarily or permanently – unable to meaningfully engage in the “exchange of goods and services” (production/trade).

Now, here’s the thing: the two (purported) sources of “value” typically mentioned by gold-fetishists are: “ornamental” value (IE: jewelry, etc.), and “industrial” uses (IE: electrical conductor, etc.)

Now, here’s the problem with that:

In any genuine SHTF scenario, the SUPPLY of gold (as well as any other supposedly “precious” metal) will become drastically skewed in terms of DEMAND:

Exactly how “valuable” will (say) “ornamental” (mis)uses (rings/chains/pendants, etc.) continue to be, when they can simply be RETRIEVED FROM THE (EVER-INCREASING) PILES OF CORPSES created by the pandemic?

Same thing goes for the (slightly more rationally-justifiable) “industrial” uses of gold: the fact that gold HAPPENS TO BE a good electrical conductor will mean exactly DICK in the (all-too-likely) even that the “grid” goes down.

So, no: Gold-buggery is a superstitious delusion rooted in the fact that most people are too stupid to be able to look past the boundaries of their particular social/economic/cultural “box”.

Tl;DR: post-SHTF, that notionally “precious” Krugerrand? You won’t be able to exchange it for something of *genuine* value (food/seed/tools/weapons/knowledge, etc.) – and will likely end up becoming one of the (myriad) corpses nobody in their right mind would even bother looting for gold.
Your SHOES will be infinitely more valuable than that particular lump of metal.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: SOME hunks of metal will “still” be valuable: bullets, blades, tools, etc.

Not that many of those who happen to remain in possession of such things will be in any sort of hurry to “exchange” them. (Remember, “value”  – in the purely economic sense of the term – is merely the relationship between the “supply” of something, and the “demand” for that thing.)

Now, what gold-bugs usually mean when they prattle about gold being a ‘store of value” is: “I really, really, really, really HOPE that somebody, and some future point in time, will continue to be SUPERSTITIOUS enough to exchange something of GENUINE value/do something for me, in exchange for this just-barely-useful lump of metal.”

Ironically enough, even that “fiat” paper money gold-bugs waste some much time and energy denigrating as “worthless” will be INFINITELY MORE VALUABLE than your stupid little trinket of a Krugerrand:

Paper can serve a multitude of distinctly utilitarian purposes: fuel for cooking-fires, for one thing. Also, you can’t wipe your ass with “bling”.

So, no: the (purported) “value” of gold is a mix of superstition and magical thinking – neither of which are “intrinsic”, either to gold itself, or to humankind.

Richard Stallman is a pretentious ass-hat:

Don’t get me wrong:

the GPL/LGPL are slightly less horrible than 99% of other “licenses” (in that they explicitly “permit” things which you’d be able to do anyway, if the “public domain” wasn’t so damnably impoverished, due to obscenely long copy”right” terms.  (“life plus 70 years?  My ass.”)

No, the thing that pisses me off about Stallman is: the fact that his quixotic obsession with the “GNU Hurd” ended up hobbling the “GNU Project”, in many ways.

Let’s be clear about something:  Stallman’s tendency to get butthurt and throw tantrums when people refuse to pander to his idiotic “GNU/Linux” fetish is about one thing – and one thing only:  the fact that their oh-so-precious “Hurd” was vaporware for decades.

According to Thomas Bushnell, the initial Hurd architect, their early plan was to adapt the 4.4BSD-Lite kernel and, in hindsight, “It is now perfectly obvious to me that this would have succeeded splendidly and the world would be a very different place today”.[12]

Unfortunately for the world-at-large, “Saint IGNUcious” has a serious lapse of judgement – with predictable results:

In 1987 Richard Stallman proposed using the Mach microkernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Work on this was delayed for three years due to uncertainty over whether CMU would release the Mach code under a suitable license.[11]

With the release of the Linux kernel in 1991, the primary user of GNU’s userland components soon became operating systems based on the Linux kernel (Linux distributions), prompting the coining of the term GNU/Linux.

Development of the Hurd has proceeded slowly. Despite an optimistic announcement by Stallman in 2002 predicting a release of GNU/Hurd later that year,[13] the Hurd is still not considered suitable for production environments. Development in general has not met expectations, and there are still a significant number of bugs and missing features.[14] This has resulted in a poorer product than many (including Stallman) had expected.[15] In 2010, after twenty years under development, Stallman said that he was “not very optimistic about the GNU Hurd. It makes some progress, but to be really superior it would require solving a lot of deep problems”, but added that “finishing it is not crucial” for the GNU system because a free kernel already existed (Linux), and completing Hurd would not address the main remaining problem for a free operating system: device support.

In other words, after 20 years of utter failure, even RMS himself has (grudgingly) admitted that the “Hurd” is a total piece of shit.

There’s nothing “really superior”  about a mircokernal which is essentially Stallmam’s masturbatory fantasy.

This is the primary reason why I refuse to pander to his “GNU/Linux” bullshit delusions:  Linus Torvalds actually managed to COMPLETE the “GNU Project” – by means of the LINUX KERNEL.

Stallman is jealous, because a university student suceeded, where HE failed.

What was RMS doing for those 20 years of “active development?”  Whackin’ it to the EMACS documentation?

The great thing about relatively permissive (“Free”) licenses like the GPL is: They render any particular developer IRRELEVANT, in that, in the event that particular developer dies/goes insane/turns into a tyrannical knob-gobbler, anybody interested enough to do so can merely “fork” the project, and pick up from before everything went wrong.

(Of course, the same could be said for what would happen with a significantly more robust Public Domain – due to significantly shorter copy’right’ terms, but that’s another topic, for another time.)

TL;DR: even a crude approximation of “software freedom” is better than none.