writings on math, logic, philosophy and art

Shorts

Haskell

“Oh, in Haskell this app is just a one-liner!”

The one-liner:

app a b c d e= runMonadT <(@)> ( (LiftValue a b c) *!* stop) . \a -> d(a) $ e

The things you fear

The things you fear will happen are already happening (else there would be no way to fear them). The only way to stop them from happening is to stop fearing them

Plato's Republic and anarchy

The more I reread The Republic, the more I think that the guy who argued with Socrates at the beginning had a solid point — justice is whatever the rulers say. Incidentally, this argument leads straight to anarchy (the system which is taken to be bad, without any arguments).

Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of government differ; there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there are aristocracies?

Yes, I know.

And the government is the ruling power in each state?

Certainly.

And the different forms of government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the interest of the stronger.

Battling my ego

Battling my ego.

The stage is set.

I turn to it and say “It’s gonna hurt ME a lot more than it hurts YOU”.

Bash

I think that bash is so popular because it is so terrible language and hard to work with, that every time you make something work you feel like a wizard and your dopamine is to the roof

The concept of maturity as a means of societal control

If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after twenty-five, you have no head. – anonymous

I am young enough that there are still people telling me that they too were anarchists/artists/communists/optimists when they were my age, but then they “matured”. And when they do that, I always think about what does the word “maturity” mean. Traditionally, it obviously means responsibility, taking care for yourself and other people. But, apparently, in today’s society it also means conformism. The logic goes like this, I think: in order to take care of your family you need money and in order to obtain money you have to quit “fooling around”, a viewpoint that is captured well in the quote I began the text with. But implicit in this quote is that thoughts that differ from the status quo aren’t “serious”, that they are just “dreams”. What the quote actually says is something like: “since birth, you have a natural capacity to dream, and you need to learn how to suppress that capacity i.e. you need to lose faith” (that’s exactly what being a conservative means, if you think about it, it means, stop believing a better future is possible and instead focus on changing as little as possible).

So, this is how the concept of maturity is used a tool for political/societal control:

  1. The meaning of “mature” is shifted. It no longer means “being responsible”. Instead it means “being faithless”, for example, people who exhibit any quality that signifies they have any faith left, such as a sense of humor, practicing arts, sports, having rich social life, or even disinterested in material wealth, are perceived as “immature”, regardless of how good they are taking care of their responsibilities.

  2. At the same time, we have a cult of this so called maturity. Immaturity is no longer seen as a normal stage of life that everyone goes through, each at their own pace. Instead, the word “immature” is routinely used as an insult, even towards children, who are also constantly told to “Grow up!”, (the disappearance of childhood being a natural response to this). It’s like a best thing that a person can do is mature as much and as fast as possible (and that it’s better for a person to be bad, mean, stupid etc. than “immature”).

A couple of points on this:

  • People who use that quote that if you aren’t into communism as a youth you have no heart, but if you don’t later drop it when you get older you have no brain, seem like they are so desperate over the fact that they have lost their hearts that they made up the second part to soothe themselves.

  • I find all this ridiculous, and I don’t even know how those “mature” people even find the will to live such a life.

  • Obviously a better world is possible, it’s always possible to be better. And nobody has any grounds to say anything else.

  • Even if a better world wasn’t possible, I would continue living my life as if it’s possible, simply because there is no point in living any other way, there is no point in living as a pet and there is no point in raising children to live the same way

When I am done with art anarchism and optimism I won’t be old, I’d be dead, at least mentally.

On non-authoritarian organizations

People claim that that you cannot have an anarchist organization, as “anarchist organization” is an oxymoron, and anarchism by definition rejects any form of organization.

That’s not true — anarchism rejects authority. And you can have organizations without authority. You don’t have to have someone be the boss to have an organization.

An organization can be just a bunch of people who decide to do something together.

People set the agenda

A given non-authoritarian organizations exist because a given number of people decided to participate. And it is these people, who determine the agenda of the organization.

Hierarchy constantly changes

It is subtle, but you can also have non-authoritarian hierarchies as well — whenever there is some task at hand, the person most qualified to do it becomes the boss and the rest of the people follow them. Hierarchy changes constantly based on the project at hand e.g. when we are doing activity A, the person who is best at A is “the boss”, when we are doing “B” the same person might be at the bottom of the pyramid.

The cult of personality

In authoritarian organizations, the same people are in charge all the time. In order to make sense of that, to explain why is it the case to ourselves and to others, we portray these people as the ones who are best at everything. This is just a cult of personality. The belief that there are such people, that people are divided to leaders and non-leaders (a-la Ayn Rand) is probably the reason why authoritarian organizations exist in the first place. Dismantle this belief, this concept, and all that I said would make sense immediately.

Roles

At that moment I knew what the plebs were, much more clearly than when, years earlier, she had asked me. The plebs were us. The plebs were that fight for food and wine, that quarrel over who should be served first and better, that dirty floor on which the waiters clattered back and forth, those increasingly vulgar toasts. The plebs were my mother, who had drunk wine and now was leaning against my father’s shoulder, while he, serious, laughed, his mouth gaping, at the sexual allusions of the metal dealer. They were all laughing, even Lila, with the expression of one who has a role and will play it to the utmost. Elena Ferrante — My brilliant friend

I could have went with “The world is a stage…” as an opening quote, but this one by Elena Ferrante rises the question I want to ask here: What is so bad about playing your role in life?

Shakespeare was clearly on to something too: roles are a fiction. We just act out models that we have seen. A teenager acts in the way that they have seen other teenagers act, because they have no other way to act. An old person acts like an old person, just because that is the role that society assigns to them. Because a teenager that acts like an old person or an old person who acts like a teenager are just ridiculous, no matter how much they themselve believe in their role.

But then, how is playing your own role less ridiculous? It kinda isn’t, but at least you wouldn’t be confusing people over who you are. And what about refusing to play any role — now you are just playing the role of the person who refuses to play roles.

The most ridiculous thing is to take your role too serious. To think that the “you” people perceive is the real “you” and to cling to that “you”, even after it lost it’s purpose. Sometimes roles have purpose. When you are working with people at a common goal, it is good if each one knows his parts. That’s when roles work.

By playing your role right, with good timing and without extra pathos, you acknowledge that roles aren’t something serious.

So, be like Robert De Niro — choose your movies by the script, not by the character you have to play.

Unix and Lambda

Searching for a good way to say it, but basically, those who don’t understand Unix indeed are doomed to reinvent it. However, those who don’t understand Lambda are doomed to just always remain half-blind when it comes to programming, just roaming and not knowing what they are missing.

Timezones

“May you become an expert in time zones!” Ancient programmers curse

We love opensource

Companies’ pages:

“We love open source!”

Companies’ Github profiles:

“5 followers”

Good theories

Whenever I think about good physical theories, I immediately think of Boltzmann’s statistical mechanics (the theory of entropy, you can say), not because he basically discovered the science of atoms and molecules, but simply because every time I see an ice cube in a glass, I see the particles, the Brownian motion, the way the heat and coldness dissolve etc.

I don’t think about the number of grand important open issues that were solved by this theory, but I think about way the way that a person like me can use it in their thinking. Like for example that one time when my frined told me to leave the oven opened after using it, because they wanted for the heat in the oven to warm the room, and I explained to them that the heat from the oven will always warm the room, simply because it had nowhere else to go.

And I think of category theory in a similar way — not as a tool that delivers results I use to solve some important problems, that were otherwise unsolvable, but it is a tool that broadens my perception of the world, which is much more important and fruitful. I don’t care if all problems which are solved by category theory happen to also be solved by other mathematical theories, nor how many of them are actually solved this way, I care only about the categories and functors in my head.

Data

People like to be reminded:

“data never speak for themselves”

But of course it doesn’t, after all, the objects of the dataset, the phenomena being investigated etc. are all defined using some theory, never forget that i.e. you have the theories even before you have the data (how can it speak of itself then?)

Elon and capitalism

People who read the Economist seem to be the embodiment of middle classs folks, who see themselves as “temporary-challenged billionaires” who deserve to be rich because they are smarter than everyone else. Like, they believe than one day Elon will come and appoint them as CEO, like a 14-year old who learns to play a guitar and thinks they’ll be Jimmie Hendix.

By the way, the way Elon acts provides for me an irrefutable, proof that capitalism is dead — if the world’s richest person cannot just use their money to enjoy themselves and instead prefers to continually make a fool of themself and be ridiculed by the whole world on a daily basis, then what’s the point of it all?

Services

I talked about the service market being a scam. So why are services so popular. IMO it is not because people don’t have time to do things themselves, but because they lack mental capacity to do it e.g. people don’t order food because they don’t have time to prepare it themselves (we have better technology for preparing food than ever), they just don’t want to think about one more thing. Same for online services like Netflix and Spotify — it’s not that we don’t have time to download our music and movies any more (if you are using Netflix you have at least one spare hour each day), we just don’t want to be bothered, which is sad, as it is making us more and more dependent on these services.

People are increasingly incapable of doing anything other than their “job” and the jobs themselves are increasingly dumber, due to the fact that they would have to service clients who are getting increasingly dumber — “My job is to deal with idiots” rings truer and truer.

And this situation hurts our social life as well, I am old enough to remember when friends got together to do stuff together — we used to cook together, fix stuff together, hack stuff together, assemble furniture, or just carry some heavy crates from A to B. Before that we did farming and a gazzilion other fun activities Now it seems that we “outsourced” these in order to just do nothing.

Win and lose

One of the things I wrestle with in my spiritual practice is the idea that you will never be able to truly win and truly fail — all mistakes, weaknesses and missed opportunities do not matter, unless you want them to matter (no point in doing so). More importantly, the positive things you do don’t matter as well. Leaning on them is sends you back to square one.

There is something spiritual about this principle itself, it somehow defines spirituality.

Feedback loops

“Protest against trans people, cause they are insane.” “Lock people in prison, cause they commit more crimes.” “Ban burkas, cause islamic people are terrorist.”

Life would be much easier if more people understood feedback loops.

Deep work in digital setting

I arranged my desktops, inspired by the workspace organization method in “Deep Work”: to entryway, preparation area and core workspace.

The idea: have 3 virtual desktops, or three computers each of which corresponds to a level of focus in your work.

Desktop 1 - Entryway - can serve as an area for transitioning from the outside world to your work environment. Here we should store all distracting windows (social media, porn etc.), as well as administrative stuff, like issue trackers.

Desktop 2 - Preparation Area: Should be arranged to prepare your mind for deep work. It might include some relevant resources (books, specialized message boards, inspirational galleries), as well as some experimental projects.

Desktop 3 - Core Workspace: This space should be dedicated solely to deep work. It should be free from any potential distractions and have just the tools you use (consoles, IDE’s drawing Software, you know what you use)

The idea is to only go from one desktop to the one next to it, without fast context switches.

Old tech

Most people, after owning a laptop, or another piece of tech for more than 2 years:

“Yeah, this things is getting outdated, doesn’t support XYZ, I guess it’s time for a replacement…”

Me, after my 10-year laptop fails:

“THIS IS BULLSHIT!”

Why am I radical

People that know me from before are baffled as to why I have become so radical politically, but actually the reason is perfectly logical: when the current state of affairs is so bad, you start to be more and more tolerating towards alternatives.

Noone can convince me that today’s distopia can be turned to utopia with just a few small adjustments.

If you are so sick that you are about to die, you should be willing to try any medicine with some chance to get you better, no matter the side effects.

On going back to the office

Some CEO’s demand that workers go back to the office because they are more productive there. A couple of points from me.

  1. You can measure productivity in a precise way only in some mindless repetitive jobs e.g. are Twitter employees more productive now that they are in the office. How do you measure that (if you measure it in profits, app quality etc. I’d say that they are much less productive)

  2. Each person is different. I may be 10% more productive at home than in the office, and my coworker may be 20% less productive. Why do I have to be in the office because of some stupid statistic?

  3. Fine, let’s say people who work at home have lower productivity. But working from home enables you to hire people from all over the world as well as people who cannot go to the office for various other reasons. I’m not a big tech CEO, but somehow it seems to me that the best candidate in the world, working at 90% of their capacity will still perform better than the best candidate who happens to live in your city and is willing to travel.

  4. Working from home is also linked to a better well-being, which means less turnover, better working environment etc.

  5. Most importantly: the fucking planet is dying, because of carbon emissions and you want to just dismiss the obvious and already implemented solution for reducing those by letting people not travel to work, just because of some 10% profit increase.

Critical and non-critical functionalities

Engineering protip: Know the difference between critical and non-critical functionalities of your product, e. g. between why your product MUST do and why it SHOULD e.g. for cars engines are critical, stereos are non-critical.

Critical parts of the product should be designed to be simple and durable. Non-critical parts should be cheap and easy to replace and remove. The failure of non-critical stuff should never affect critical stuff.

Critical parts are your “core business”, as business people say — they give you competitive advantage.

Wealth and skill

Why are today’s leading spiritual teachers be billionaires? I know people who know more about how to live a happy and fulfilled life than e.g. Naval, and most of them are broke.

Money simply does not play a part in your spiritual enlightenment, there may be some folks who are both enlightened and rich, but statistically most of them would not be rich.

And that’s valid for all skills - if you are only learning from successful (rich) people you are missing out big time.

e.g. one of the best software developers I know is just a guy who works as a regular developer in a regular software firm. He cannot/does not want to manage anyone.

e.g. the best bike mechanic I know runs bike shop, that is only a moderately-popular (unfriendly location, and no marketing, except word-of-mouth)

e.g. just went to work out in the park, and started talking to an old guy who gave me some very good advice - turned out he was a former professional athlete.

On dependent types

Dependent types are super confusing, but at the same time they feel easier than normal ones.

I guess that makes sense for every advanced concept - as a concept wouldn’t exist if it isn’t making things easier when you finally get it.

I think that they are hard to learn because we consider them as something fancy, but they actually are the simpler thing, and it’s normal, first-order types that are weird.

With first-order types, you have two things — types and values, dependent types there is only one thing, type e.g. “Number” is a type of “Set” in the same way that 1 is a type of “Number”.

Mayday

  • Hey, Captain is it just me, or is the airplane headed straight to this huge volcanic crater, full of hot lava?
  • Yup, we will likely be all dead in a minute!
  • OK, so will you try to maybe, you know, alter our course?
  • I won’t, because that didn’t work out when the Russians tried doing it the 1940s.

The course leading to drowning in lava might not be a good course, but it is the best one out there!

Writer's block

Anxiety and writer’s block come when you attach so much significance to your work that you start to feel that you just wouldn’t do it justice if you work on it while not in your prime. This is a stupid idea - nobody will do your work, but you. Just do your best, you will delete it if it isn’t good.

If you do something and delete it, that is not the same as not doing anything, even if you don’t ever rewrite or publish i.

And more importantly, if you don’t want to work, then don’t: take a hour off, leave your work in front of you and start start reading some random book, or doing something else entirely, untill something in what you are reading/doing reminds you of your work.

On Godel's Second Incompleteness Theorem

I never understood what’s the deal with for Godel’s Second Incompleteness theorem in logic.

The consistency of a theory cannot be proved within the theory itself.

Duh! Did anyone thought that it could?

On the law of diminishing returns

Reading a book on simple living and thinking the following - what if diminishing returns just occur at a much smaller scale than economic textbooks tell us? What if working in teams of 1-6 people is the most optimal mode of production, (although huge corporations with marketing and PR departments are obviously capable of selling us more products). What would be the implications?

When I say “most optimal” I mean that it brings the most value to people. Unfortunately this cannot be measured and put in concrete terms as “value” is too abstract concept to be used as a metric. Profit, on the other hand is simple to measure, however, it is the wrong metric.

When you measure the value of a given transaction by profit, you only measure the effect it has on the people who actually acquire that profit. You don’t measure the effect on neither the workers (who aren’t shareholders), nor the consumers.

So, for example a corporation that manufactures a very low-quality product with slave-like labor would do very well, if you are only looking at the spreadsheets - low expenses, high worker productivity, massive profit etc. But if we try to measure the (negative) value that this company brings to the people who work for it - their health and financial situation or the negative value that it brings to the consumers, who get something manufactured by someone who doesn’t look after their interests.

If we take these groups into account, then a small business venture that is owned by the people who work in it brings much more value than a big corporation. Bonus points if they produce stuff for themselves. In this case instead of having three groups (shareholders, workers, consumers) and an organization that serves just one of these groups (not to mention it is often the smallest one), you have just one group that looks after it’s own interests, e.g. even if twitter makes more profit than mastodon (although twitter is losing and Mastodon has no profit cause it is not a corporation), I argue that the value that masto brings to its users (consisting of information free of ads and hates peech) as well as the value it brings to the people involved in its development is far greater than the value twitter brings to its users and employees.

Doing things poorly

One of the best pieces of advice that I got:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”

And conversely, everything that is not worth doing poorly is not worth doing at all.

On federated networks

If done right, a federated network like Mastodon would be much more reliable and cheap to run than a centralized one: when the scale is big, the network has to be federated under the hood anyways (i.e. you have to have several caches in different locations, several database nodes that copy data from one to the other, several moderation teams etc.) and so the network that is federated by design has many advantages over the one that pretends to be centralized.

Everything

“I have everything but I am still not happy.”

Well, that’s because you don’t have everything, you have just money (and things that you can buy with it)

You don’t have a job that satisfies you while letting you retain your piece of mind.

You don’t have quality relationships with people who will be there for you, even if you are broke.

You don’t have material objects that fulfill your needs without having maintenance costs that make you dependent on corporations that you don’t want to depend on.

Or maybe you understand that you need all these things, but you are thought that you need them in addition to being rich.

Or that you want to make money first and then concentrate on everything else.

Both of these are dead ends. Act now to attain what you want. Directly.

Why, cause “character is faith,” as Heraclitus says. The saying is more literal than it seems:

Pursuing your goals is not merely a prerequisite to getting the results you want. If you look at it from the grand scale, goals are themselves results - pursuing the goal to be good (“good” both as a person or good at some specific skill) is the same thing as being good.

By the same token, pursuing a goal as obtuse and meaningless as money makes you an obtuse and meaningless person.

e.g. a person who is sorry for whatever bad thing they have done and wants to be a good person already is a good person, better than a billionaire who donates 10% of this fortune to charity.

10-year-old-kid who has set their mind to become a great pianist is a great pianist, better than anyone who merely plays just for the money.

1 + 1 and programming paradigms

You can understand a log about different programming paradigms from the way in which they implement 1 + 1:

  • In imperative languages, such as C, it is just 1 + 1 - arithmetics is build in.
  • In object-oriented languages like Smalltalk and Ruby, it is 1.+(1) - plus is a method of the object 1.
  • In functional languages, like Haskell, it is actually +(1, 1) - plus is an inflix operator, which is actually a function. In Lisp you just cannot write (+ 1 1) directly.

Art under capitalism

When an artist stops experimenting and settles for a specific type of content and aesthetics, critics say that it is because they “matured” and “found their voice”, “developed a unique style” etc.

AFAIK, in most cases it’s because they lost their inspiration, became lazy, and decided to only do low effort remixes if the project that sells best.

And the reason why critics (both professional and self-proclaimed) and regular consumers like settled artists so much is because it make THEIR job easier - why get into a new thing every time and wonder how to react, when you could be just reading variations of the same old thing over and over again.

Art under capitalism is a commodity like everything else and so the most valuable pieces are most expensive, however, as value in art is relative, this principle works the other way around - the most expensive pieces are most valuable i.e. the rich determine the criteria for what’s beautiful and ugly.

This undermines art, reducing it to just another form of entertainment for the elite, and marginalizing all artists who want to be something different than that.

The best thing a creative person can hope for, is to be like Stephen King - be so famous that a capitalist would consider your opinion when making their (his) business strategy.

On being self-critical

My focus for the next year or so is to stop being so self-critical. No reason whatsoever to beat yourself for stupid shit, and it destroys your self-esteem, allowing you to be exploited by people who don’t even know what self-criticism means.

Hard things in computer science

Finally got the final list of the three hard things in computer science:

  1. Naming artifacts
  2. Concurrent
  3. Off by one errors. data processing

Sick

It is not so much that capitalism leads to an epidemic of mental illness, it is more that there are many conditions, many people that are so incompatible with capitalism that making them comply will cause the system to lose any human face. We are categorized as sick, because else the system would have to be categorized as such.

And it gets even worse if you try playing the game, and accept the system, as identifying yourself with your “success” and the idea that your worth derives only from what you produce causes so much stress, that it can break your psyche.

Not a psychologist, but I see this happening all the time:

  1. People start to derive their self-esteem from their job.
  2. They put so much effort into being better at it, as it is the only way for them to feel better that their burn out.
  3. Later, they start losing some of their capability (either from burning out or from just getting old), and their entire ego is broken, as a result.

Questions I ask myself before buying something

What’s the purpose of this item?

Do I really need for an item which serves that purpose? How would it benefit me?

Do I already own something that can be repurposed/fixed/made to serve the same purpose?

Can I borrow such thing from a friend who does not need it?

Who is selling this item and do I want to endorse them by buying it from them?

In what ways does the item make me dependent in therms of fixes, supplies, energy consumed etc. On whom?

Do I really need that item right now, or can I can buy it later so I have more time to consider the above?

Good theories

Whenever I think about good physical theories, I immediately think of Boltzmann’s statistical mechanics, not because he basically discovered the science of atoms and molecules, but simply because every time I see an ice cube in a glass, I see the particles, the Brownian motion, the way the heat and coldness dissolve etc.

And category theory is similar - it may not be a tool that I use to solve some important problems, that were otherwise unsolvable, but it is a tool that broadens my perception of the world, which is much more important and fruitful.

Capitalism and innovation

Hard to defend the thesis that capitalism promotes innovation, when the main social discourse surrounding any innovation is how to deal with the people who would lose their jobs because of it.

Realize how ridiculous this looks in the grand schema of things: someone comes up with marvelous new technology that solves all your issues and your first reaction as a society is “but what would the people who used to work on that issue do for a living?”

What is capitalism about

And to think that people are fooled that capitalism is all about, hard work, entrepreneurship etc. Capitalism is about capital, folks - it’s there in the name.

Occam's razor

The most popular formulation of the principle says that you just have to seek for the simplest explanation.

“We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” — Newton

But there is a deeper formulation, that concerns the very nature of explanations, hinted here in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus:

3.328 “If a sign is not necessary then it is meaningless. That is the meaning of Occam’s Razor.”

In a logically correct explanation of a phenomena, you are not allowed to invoke any entity without using some part of the phenomena as a justification for your claim.

E.g. if your apartment has been robbed, you are allowed to say stuff like:

1) “There is a rope hanging from my window, therefore the robber used it to enter”

or even less probable stuff like:

2) “They didn’t steel my shampoo, therefore they must be bald”

But not:

3) “The thief is probably a person of color”

The difference is that the claim 3) that the thief is a person of color, has no basis, whereas there is some basis, for claiming 2) that they are bald, (although not much.)

Statistically, 3) might be probable, more probable than 2), but still 3) is forbidden and 2) is allowed, cause when we make claim 2) we are thinking, whereas when we make claim 3) we are just repeating stuff that we heard before.

The scholastics (just like the Greeks) had faith that God left clues that would allow them to discover the truth about the world by themselves. This is the basis for Occam’s razor - faith in one’s own abilities. And this is what makes it important.

Also, one might consider the principle that is dual to Occam’s razor:

  • Occam’s razor (or Negative Occam’s razor, as I sometimes think about it): Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity i.e. when forming a theory, postulate no more than it is needed to explain the phenomena.

  • Dual Occam’s razor (or Positive Occam’s razor): Entities must not be removed beyond necessity i.e. if something is indeed needed to better explain the phenomena, it must be postulated.

David Deutsch uses this to makes a very compelling argument in “The fabric of reality”, regarding the Many-worlds hypothesis of quantum mechanics that goes roughly like this: “if the other universes don’t exist, then where does the computation of quantum computing algorithms, such as Shor’s alghorithm, takes place?”

Short history of modern philosophy

The biggest discovery of 19-th century philosophy was due to Kant, who discovered that you can have a framework that is entirely consistent with Plato, Aristotel, Leibniz et al, and at the same time consistent with empiric data, and with itself, provided that you accept that this framework is kinda subjective.

The biggest discovery of the 20-th century, due to Baudrillard, Barthes, et al (pardon my lack of French philosophy background), and at the same time by Wittgenstein, McLuhan and probably many other people, (actually, Hume was there all along) is that a framework that is subjective can actually be consistent with anything you want, as long as you don’t pose any specific criteria to what “subjective” is.

The biggest discovery of the 21-th century, is still due, I guess, but it would probably be some formalization of the idea of the subject, which would be a full circle towards the times before 19-th century.

Meanwhile in the realm of science:

Newton discovers a scientific framework that is entirely consistent with Plato et al, if only you have the concept of an absolute space, but the concept of absolute space doesn’t agree with observation.

Einstein discovers a framework that that doesn’t include the concept of absolute time (which he doesn’t admit is Kantian).

Quantum mechanics discover that a framework that does not rely on the concept of absolute time is inherently subjective (depends on observer).

Authority and christianity

I was thinking that Plato allegedly said that ignorance is the only sin and if it’s possible that he said that, since the concept of a sin came later in history and I suddenly realized that the concept of a sin is pure BS Like “There is this thing that you would really like to do but you should not do it because it is wrong (and God will punish you), so you should never ever do it and you should beat yourself (literary) when you go as far as to think about it.”

That’s like saying “you’re guilty until proven innocent, and you will never be innocent. All you can do is pray to us to relieve your pain.”

The doctrine of the world’s major religion is just totalitarian propaganda, thinly disguised as advice/prophecy.

Like, if you take the fable about Adam and Eve and the apple. What does the apple represent? Sex? Knowledge? Or most probably just opposition to authority. Not clear what was God’s purpose with putting the tree there. All we understand is that if we do wrong we will be punished and we already did wrong…

Early and late Wittgenstein

Hot philosophy take: The big difference between the early and late Wittgenstein is that the early Wittgenstein thought that a picture is supposed to have a single interpretation that can be communicated between interested parties, whereas the later Wittgenstein realized that this can never actually happen.

Servants

In society under capitalism nowadays, there is a third class between workers and the masters which is instrumental to keeping the regime working. It is the financially prospering, but emotionally and ideologically bankrupt middle class or servants, as we can also call them — people who have “succeeded” (managed to educate themselves and get a well-paid job) but have completely stripped themselves of their identity in order to do so, and are trapped by their fear to be thrown downwards and their inability to move upwards.

Servants cannot have solidarity for their masters, because they know even more than everyone what the masters are.

And they cannot have solidarity with the workers, out of vanity and out of fear that they will be punished for their opinions and thrown in the working class.

They even cannot have solidarity between themselves, as they realize their role as maintainers of the process that is keeping them in this crooked position.

Some brainwash themselves into thinking that they are actually part of the working class - you know, people who stay at the office all their life and glorify what they do. At the same time they are somehow always broke, although they make more than enough to subsist.

Or some brainwash themselves to think that they are the masters, or they will become masters any minute now. These are the people who glorify how good the system is, and how everyone can succeed (Elon Musk fanboys)

And some realize the pointlessness of their position and they just spend their life getting high, and trying to “cheat the system” to get more for less.

What unites all three groups is that they are morally broke and just frantically seeking for a way to justify what they do and what they are.

Social scientists say that a healthy society should have a “strong middle class”. But how can the middle class be strong? It cannot be strong financially because their earnings would always reach a glass ceiling and huge earnings drive you out of the middle class. It cannot be strong politically, because they have a lot to lose - a political stance would make you lose your spot in the middle class in the worse way). They can be numerous, but not strong.

Intelligence and freedom of thought

Intelligence is just the practice of thinking freely about something, (without accepting any kind of external dogma as a-priori true.) Nobody can ever teach you to be intelligent.

99 percent of being intelligent is realizing that all those fucktards who give you advice like “Don’t marry” or “Go study this and that” are just fucktards who don’t have anything better to do and are using you as a means to raise their self esteem m by having people listening to them.

Most people recognize some of these people as fucktards, but few recognize and are able to break free from all of them.

On luxury goods

You buy a car from the store - the price is 30 000 EUR, let’s say.

You want to sell it immediately afterwards - the price is 25 000 EUR.

A new facelift hits the market (so the same car but with a different headlight design) - the price is 20 000.

Where did that 10 000 go?

My response - almost all goods that exist today are some version of luxury goods — ones which you buy just for the experience of buying something expensive - non-luxury goods don’t lose their value after they are sold e.g. Ikea furniture is the same price second hand, a piece of expensive hand-made furniture also. But almost all other furniture is at the luxury class.

There are even classes of goods, such as cars, for which all models are luxury.

Kant's principle

Kant’s principle: If there is only one of it (and there cannot ever be more), then it’s probably imaginary e.g. time, space, god, self…

Corrolary: You only truly understand the things that you yourself made up. And so if you think you truly understand something, either you are wrong or you made that thing up.

The fairy tale and reality

The fairy tale: capitalism works because motivated by money and by money only and capitalism provides them with opportunities to make more of it.

The truth: capitalism “works” by enabling people in power to exploit the rest of them, but this is justified because they generate massive amounts of wealth, which is all that matters if you believe the fairy tale.

To break free from capitalism, you have to break free from the fairy tale. Is money really so important? Would you spend your days in toxic environment for money? Would you ignore your friends and family for money? Would you sacrifice your health for money? Or the health of the planet?

The fact is that many people do these things and this fact has been used as proof that money is indeed the most important thing for most people.

But that’s nonsense. People don’t do bad things for money because they are evil, or extremely materialistic by nature, they do them because they are hostages to the system, because the belief in the fairy tale made a society where money is equal to life itself.

Those are both poor and rich people that I am talking about. Both people who have no other options and people who do have them but don’t realize it. But they all have something in common - if they stop believing the fairy tale, they would be outcasts, they would have a hard time adapting to society, they (we) will not be sure what to do with their lives.

Statistics that indicate the well-being of people in a nation:

  • Life expectancy
  • Access to health care
  • Literacy
  • Percentage of people that own their own homes

Statistics that are most often displayed in the media:

  • GDP
  • GDP per capita
  • Economic growth

The fairy tale says that boosting the ones from below would inevitably result in boosting the ones from above. But is this really the case?

Kant's discovery

The main discovery of Kant is that we are not “blank sheets”, but are born predisposed to certain modes of perception. This thought had profound influence on almost every intellectual discipline.

I believe that Kant discovered that when thinking about the laws of Euclidean geometry (“Given two points, there is a straight line that joins them”). These are “facts” that are deeply embedded in our perception of the world, so much that we cannot imagine a world where they are not true, but at the same time they cannot be proved, they don’t follow from anything.

Therefore, he reasoned, there are laws/axioms/postulates that are “embedded” in our minds, that come before perception giving general direction about our perception of the world. They are “pure reason”.

Ruling countries and corporations

Most people agree that countries are ruled in a democratic fashion with the right to vote etc. but at the same time they think that corporations are better off as dictatorships where most people are depraved of any rights.

Science philosophy and mathematics

Science is just a subdiscipline of philosophy, the scientific method is an application to what philosophers call critical thinking.

Critical thinking is just asking yourself the question “What would be the consequence if a given thing that we accept as true is actually false?” over and over again.

The scientific method is the practice of applying this question to empirical observations.

Mathematics is another subdiscipline of philosophy that studies how far can you go once you accept a given set of postulates as true (while the rest of philosophy is mostly concerned with which things are true).

So science is mathematics + a little philosophy. This came because I learned that when writing “Principia Mathematica”, Newton was influenced by two books - “Principia Philosophiæ” by Rene Descartes, from which he took the subject matter (and the name) and “The Elements” by Euclid, from which he took the method of reasoning.

On nazism

Nazism is a delusion where (a part of) the establishment is made to believe that they are the minority and that all their problems are caused by some other group of people, which they deem as the new establishment. Bonus point if that group of people are actually very weak, small and vulnerable.

This delusion causes the establishment to expect to solve their problems by repressing this group, and to repress it even more when their problems are not solved, leading to a feedback loop.

Example: Hitler came to power by putting forward the conspiracy theory the Jews are solely responsible for all of Germany’s issues [1] and that repressing them would solve them. And so when repressions didn’t do lead to any improvement (jews were less than 1% of the population[2]) all he could do in order not to expose himself as a fraud was to repress them even more.

Now I am seeing the same thing with the so called attack on “wokeism” America, in particular with the attack of the trans community - Elon and co are getting deeper and deeper in their version of the same delusion/conspiracy theory according to which, one of the smallest and most vulnerable communities is actually in charge of everything e.g. they are able to “cancel” anyone that they don’t like, which is perceived as dangerous (when in reality cancelling someone is just expressing their opinion).

This definition of nazism clearly shows the contrast between nazism is from socialism/communism and shows why Hitler can never be deemed a socialist, even if nazism stands for “nationalsocialism” - socialism is all about helping repressed groups and empowering them, while nazism, on the contrary, is all about repressing such groups to the fullest.

It is no coincidence that in both instances which I mentioned in the prev post, the group that is deemed as evil has to do with the political left.

PS I don’t understand how this delusion justifies itself… i.e. all nazis and capitalists are so fucking scared of socialists? They deem them weak, unworthy, stupid, crazy etc. but at the same time they dedicate spare no resource in trying to destroy them in every way possible. How can a group that is so weak do so much damage

On Godel-related strong AI refutations

Penrose’s theory and all other Godel-related strong-AI refutations are stupid: “Human mind is different from a computer because humans are capable of detecting logically inconsistent theories and logical paradoxes and think outside the box in order to know that they are paradoxes.”

This is not true at all - our mind actually does nothing more than what a computer operating system would do if it sees a process that occupies a lot of memory and doesn’t produce a result - it would kill the process (or the thought that leads to paradox.) We aren’t able to escape an infinite cycle because we are more capable than computers - we are merely equipped with heuristics necessary to escape from a situation that does not benefit us in any way (sometimes).

On dishonesty

This morning I woke up with the following question in mind: What are the characteristics of the mental process that strips life from it’s dreamlike properties and makes it dull and monotonous?

My theory is has to do with dishonesty.

Dishonesty are the processes in which we purposefully create an interpretation of the facts that we know is not the most truthful interpretation.

So, when being dishonest, we have to maintain two separate interpretations - the true one (which would always exist), and the the one we want to believe and/or want others to believe.

the true interpretation is “alive” - it always updates, it always has something happening with it.

The false one, is less connected to reality, so it is static. Nothing happens in it, as we have to ignore the reality with which it is incompatible.

The principle of triviality

Jencel’s principle of triviality:

Any self-consistent body of knowledge can be reduced to a number of clear elementary postulates and everything else would follow from them. So, any body of knowledge for which it is not immediately clear what these postulates are, is not self-consistent.

Also, the number of those postulates is usually small.

Simply put: if you cannot explain the system using very elementary language and constructs, then there is probably inconsistency in it somewhere.

Example: most religious doctrines, astrology, cryptocurrenciesetc.

Popper's argument

The logical basis of Popper’s solution to the problem of induction - only with modus tollens we can make valid logical conclusions that proceed from specific to general, and we can make only negative such conclusions, e.g. “This swan is black, therefore not all swans are white.” Hence the only criteria for valid knowledge is fasifiability.

Instant gratification

Seeking instant gratification is not “living for the moment”, it’s a manifestation of our your fear of death (so kinda the opposite thing)

Antinomy

Word of the day: Antinomy — an undecidable conflict between two theses, none of which is true, simply because the question has no answer. (via Immanuel Kant)

On systematic learning

Systematic learning (especially of the institutionalized kind, the way it’s done at schools) doesn’t work - the principal method of learning is being exposed to some new info which you connect to what you already know in a creative way, educational institutions always try to do the creative work for you and that’s why the process is bound to fail. Learning is always spontaneous and almost always comes from unserious and unusual channels. That’s why a week of motivated research can get you to learn more than years at school.

Facts

I came to the world for the facts, but it turns out I can only have pictures of facts. This is some shit.

Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard's last words

Look how different philosophers are from one another:

Wittgenstein’s last words (upon hearing that friends are coming to visit him): “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life”

Kierkegaard’s were “My life is a great, to others unknown and incomprehensible suffering.”

Seems that Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard are the modern version of the laughing and the crying philosopher.

Kant vs Hume

I find it fascinating how similar it is to the Critique of Pure Reason, though the backgrounds of the two authors are so different.

Kant and Hume embody the religious and scientific schools in philosophy, Kant seeing belief as a transformative force and Hume seeing it as a peculiarly of the human character.

The ultimate conclusion that you can reach when comparing their viewpoints is that causality is not a law, nor a meta law, but a belief which every thinking being must hold to some extend.

Deepest chapter of Kant's Critique

At first I thought that the Transcendental Deduction was the heart of the matter of “The Critique of Pure Reason”, but upon rereading, it’s definitely not it. The deepest chapter is appropriately called “Systematic representation of All the Synthetic Principles of Pure Understanding” and is awesome. Especially the “Analogies of Experience” and the “Anticipation of Perception” are so deep that I did not understand a single word at first, but it all comes together with time.

Positive nihilism

Positive nihilism:

Nothing that you say or do matters in the grand scheme of things, and this is pathetic, but more pathetic is the refusal to accept that fact, instead of conforming to it and thus making it the only thing you conform to:

Your achievements don’t matter, so no point in being dishonest.

You failures don’t matter, so no point in giving up.

Your strive to perfection is vain, so no point in pressuring yourself.

The concept of the self

Re-reading “I am a strange loop” and finding much stuff that I missed originally. I like the author’s idea of an organism’s concept of self as the central concept in an organism’s system of thought, and the one that binds all other concepts together.

Like, a concept is considered true and real by us only if it relates to our concept of ourselves. Our concept of ourselves is the realest thing there exists for us (although it in actuality is completely objective).

On spirituality and society

It won’t be till we start fearing spiritual death more than we fear physical death, that our society will arrive at the next stage.

On the concept of myriad of things

Dogen’s concept of a “myriad of things” (or “the thousand things” as it is sometimes translated) is very similar to Kant’s concept of the “manifold of sensibility”, essentially both are trying to highlight the novel, flux-like aspect of reality, the fact that the concept of objects are subjective (no pun intended). It would be a really cool plot twist if it turned out that Kant had read Dogen (very highly unlikely in real life).

On the banality of evil

Hannah Arendt’s principle of the banality of evil is also valid in the other way around: not only that evil is banal, but all banal things are evil i.e. a thing is banal if and only if it is evil.

On productivity

Seems that all this obsession with productivity that we have is due to the fact that we don’t believe in the things we do and so we want to at least do more of them.

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