Thursday, October 19, 2017

Friendship (Kamran K): Lessons from Doggie-ship

(1) Man's best friend has many lessons to teach man himself with regard to friendship and general sociability.

(2) A trip to any dog park will confirm these truths with only slight attention to the details of the animal's behaviors.

(3) Unless the dog is somehow mentally off or unsocialized, he will enter the dog park with puppy enthusiasm, eager and excited to greet old friends and potentially make new ones. Granted one can never know what canines actually think but their outward behavior, barks, tail wagging, and overall "jumpiness" to enter the dog park are the best evidence we have as to their psychology.

(4) Once inside, most canines immediately begin making the rounds and greeting old friends and keeping an eye out for potential new ones. They do this without regard to time. Time is not a concern at all and so long as enough dogs are around dogs will usually wish to spend many hours at the dog park interacting with their fellow species members.

(5) The predominant objective of any dog in the dog park is to enjoyably interact with the other dogs and, to a lesser extent, the human owners of those dogs. There is no ulterior motive involved.

(6) Dogs typically do not discriminate on the basis of any exterior characteristic of another dog. Small dogs play with big dogs, brown dogs play with black dogs, males play with females, and vice versa. What does cause a dog to discriminate against another dog is usually only some display of violent or dangerous aggression displayed by one dog toward any other dog in the park.

(7) The actual content and conduct of dog interaction does not seem to follow any predictable script. While generally dogs chase each other around or simply run in packs, the actual specifics of the chasing, rolling around, barking, or running appears to be rather different every time.

(8) While certain dogs tend to predictably have favorite pals, they usually do not spend ALL of their time so engaged. They do make the effort to branch out from their favorites and see if there is more variety of dogship they can find and appreciate.

Politics (Kamran K): Moving toward Least Possible Complexity

"Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control." TK 1995

"Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent visa-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and physical coercion..."  TK 1995

(1) Across all major aspects of human life, modernity's woes are now increasingly on display for all fair-minded persons to observe and evaluate. The balance of the evidence points to these woes becoming still worse over the coming decades. While the coming catastrophes unfold in real time, it's worth asking: where did modernity MOST go wrong? What was/is/will be the most catastrophic error of modern man?

(2) We answer the question immediately: man erred by violating the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. Meaning, man made his life and all of his tools more complex than they needed to be. And then man multiplied this error many thousand even million times over by failing to take corrective measures to simplify the complexity and/or created yet more complexity to deal with the already existing needless complexity.

The focus here is on needless complexity that is not only unnecessary but also harmful and damaging. Some types of complexity- for example that found in music or a movie or one's dietary choices- may have no negative consequences (or trivial ones) and greatly enhance and benefit the music/movie/diet by adding variety to it. This is not the type of complexity that is ERROR and is not addressed below.

(3) Although it seemed rather different to primitive man because of his fundamental ignorance of science, Nature itself as a perfect system does NOT violate the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. Nature is usually no more complex than it needs to be to satisfy its functions and workings. All of Nature operates through the application of some very basic principles and forces which- when combined together- seem complex only because of the vast size and scale of the Universe.

(4) In charge of a puny amount of space as compared to Nature's entire domain, modern man has repeatedly displayed a fondness for NEEDLESS complexity and a habitual tendency to violate the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. As one example, man has made his diet incredibly more complicated than needed through the introduction of a whole series of processed factory-made foods (candy bars and sodas). Yet the scientific evidence establishes the ideal human diet to be largely free of these foods and consisting predominately of "whole organic" foods Nature provides to man in its simple condition (water, rice, chicken, oats, fruits, veggies, eggs).

This is but the first of literally thousands of examples one could collate:
  • Business relations governed by written contracts hundreds of pages long, written in such complexity that only a few highly paid lawyers understand what the contract actually requires. 
  • Employment rules governed by employee handbooks and procedures that no one carefully reads or understands because the effort to do so is immense and not rewarded by the employer.
  • Tax and legal codes of such length and complexity that (again) only a few highly paid lawyers understand what the codes actually require.
  • An educational system that teaches students all manner of arcane subjects but largely ignores teaching subjects of the highest importance and most frequent use in everyday life (simple logic, ethics, communication, common sense, basic human psychology and drives, personal finance, health and nutrition).
  • Dating and mating selection criteria that are so complicated and vague ("chemistry") that they either offer no concrete guidance on specific persons or exclude almost all persons from consideration. 
  • An economic system in developed countries that is flooded with so much complex debt that the entire financial system would buckle at any time if parties needed to collect the debt in a short amount of time. 
  • Layer after layer of overlapping political, regulatory, and bureacreatic bodies that all have similar subject matter jurisdiction and which, therefore, are guaranteed not to speak with one clear unified voice. 
(5) If political systems worldwide can achieve anything in the coming decades, they should make it their goal to achieve this: a no-holds bar elimination of needless complexity.

(6) Given that political systems worldwide are broken beyond repair, it will be up to individual citizens to impose on their own behavior and choices the rule of Least Possible Complexity and reap the rewards of this fundamentally correct orientation on reality. At every turn, the individual must ask him or herself: what is my goal here? how can I best achieve my goal with the least amount of complexity? if complexity is presented to me, is there some significant benefit available that makes incurring the complexity acceptable?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Play (Kamran K): All-Star Food Couplings

We submit the following combinations of foods should be immortally paired in the Food Hall of Fame:

(1) Cucumber-onions-salt-italian dressing-hot sauce
(2) Peanut butter-jelly
(3) Peanut butter-red bull
(4) White rice-chicken-guacamole
(5) Chicken-guacamole-hot sauce
(6) Pizza-Coke-salad with italian dressing
(7) Chocolate milk-blueberry-peanut butter-whey protein smoothie
(8) Eggs-guacamole-ketchup-hot sauce
(9) Oatmeal-Coke
(10) French bread-butter-coke
(11) Bagel-butter-cream cheese
(12) Salmon-garden salad-asparagus
(13) Mango-water
(14) Carne Asada-guacamole-salad-italian dressing
(15) Beer-tortilla chips-guacamole
(16) Cucumbers-gouda cheese-hot sauce-Coke
(17) Fruit strips-water
(18) Pasta-tomato sauce-crushed red peppers-grated parmesan cheese
(19) White rice-chicken kebab-grilled tomato-onions-butter
(20) Pistachios-red bull

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Silence and Stillness (Kamran K): Putting the BIG CHILL on BIG TECH

“Oh!' say the technophiles, 'Science is going to fix all that! We will conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody healthy and happy!' Yeah, sure. That’s what they said 200 years ago. The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different." TK 1995

(1) While causing irreversible destruction of Earth's precious ecosystem and biosphere, modern capitalism seems hell-bent on bringing the tech-addicted masses a yearly procession of shiny new "revolutionary" products, mostly tech gadget or another. The coming decades are predicted to bring "revolutionary" tech innovations in the form of self-driving cars, ever sharper and more brilliant HD televisions, faster and fancier computers, smartphones, smartwatches, and speakers, robots of one form or another, homes containing innovations in materials used and appliances that perform tasks at dizzying speeds and power, and so on.

It can be predicted that these products will be purchased not only for their intrinsic value but also as symbolic signifiers of one's social status, economic might, and overall professional and career success.

(2) Although the exact list of innovations and their release date is unknown, these generalizations should prove true with regard to most or all of them:
  • Upon immediate release, the innovations will be extremely expensive, well beyond the abilities of the common man to comfortably purchase. 
  • Upon release, the innovations will be self-advertised and self-touted as revolutionary, with a long list of purported benefits that only this product can deliver and provide. The typical move of modern advertising is to suggest some important overall "spiritual" betterment of one's life and psyche simply from purchasing a new product or service. 
  • Upon release, the innovations will be advertised and touted as essential, that somehow one's life will be subpar, bland, and mediocre in an important sense without the innovation.
  • Shortly after release, it will be discovered that the innovations have various bugs and don't quite provide all of the purported benefits they were advertised to deliver. 
  • Shortly after release, the experience of most people with the innovation will be that the innovation perhaps does help them in some form or another but is far from being revolutionary or even essential to the success of their daily life.
  • After mature reflection, the experience of most people with the innovation will be that it was too expensive and not in any way necessary for the successful and happy living of their everyday life.
  • After mature reflection and the passage of sufficient time, the academic community will conduct some study on the product and find some significant unknown and unexpected negative side-effect of the product that was never disclosed to or known by the general population using the product.
(3) Given the above, the intelligent approach to ALL upcoming "revolutionary" technologies will be an INITIAL presumption that they are ALL overpriced, filled with bugs, hyped-up, and completely non-essential. As such, ALL of these products- every last one of them- will be shunned and ignored by the intelligent citizen in the short run. 

That said, one or more of these products could be an exception to the general rule. How would this be determined? The best indication would be IF many years of experience with the product resulted in a general consensus among the people that the product is fairly priced, free of bugs, essential, performs as expected, and there are no negative side-effects worthy of stressing over. Only then would we include this product in our lives.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Justice (Kamran K): The Argument for a Universal Basic Income

"Sometimes the demand is made for equality in the division of the soil of the earth, and even of other kinds of wealth. Such a claim is superficial, because differences of wealth are due not only to the accidents of external nature but also to the infinite variety and difference of mind and character....It is in part a moral desire that all men should have sufficient income for their wants, and when the wish is left in this indefinite form it is well-meant, although it, like everything merely well-meant, has no counterpart in reality." Hegel, Philosophy of Right

"In this idea well-being has value, not independently as the realization of the separate particular will, but only as universal well-being, as universal, that is, in its essence, intrinsically or in accordance with freedom. Hence, well-being is not a good, if separated from right; nor is right a good, if separated from well-being....The good, carrying a necessity to be actualized by the particular will, and comprising the vital essence of such a will, has absolute right over the mere abstract right of property and the particular ends of well-being." Hegel, Philosophy of Right

(1) Arguments for economic justice and equality have been made by political parties (primarily left-leaning) for decades on end. Despite all manner of political speeches and bills introduced to effect this end, the world's economic resources continue to be divided more and more unequally. More and more WORKING persons are left without the economic resources to live even a minimally comfortable existence with their basic needs provided. Our politics is broken, driven by sound-bites, and ultimately totally futile in effecting social change: "We may speak in a lofty strain of duty, and this way of speaking elevates mankind, and widens the heart. Yet if nothing definite comes of it, it at last grows tedious. Spirit demands and is entitled to a particular content." (Hegel)

(2) Nevertheless, philosophical consideration of the right to a universal basic income is warranted. If justice is to mean anything in a society, one of it's primary meanings would hinge on the resolution of this issue. If the right to a universal basic income is warranted upon purely philosophical grounds, then societies that provide this income to their citizens are light-years ahead of others in deserving designation as just societies. So, onward to the resolution of this most important issue.

(3) The most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that life is INVOLUNTARY and requires a continuous stream of money to buy a continuous stream of food energy, shelter from the elements, and medical care. At no point in the life cycle of a person does one choose this reality or have the power to suspend its operation on one's life.

Further, no one chose to be born and, once born, no one chooses the minimum requirements that life imposes for its continuance. These are not matters of choice for anyone. The argument that one can always commit suicide and therefore one's life is voluntary is trivial and not worthy of serious consideration. In many places, suicide is not even a choice because it is either illegal or unethical in imposing huge suffering on one's immediate family and friends. The only choice in the matter was the parents' decision to have a child, and one obviously cannot hold infant children responsible for the decisions of their grown parents.

(4) The second most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that able-bodied, conscientious, and eager to work persons may not always be able to secure enough income within a capitalist economy to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, transportation, and medical care. As more "entry-level" jobs become automated or off-shored, this truth will become depressingly obvious. Persons looking to work, willing to work, but unable to secure employment are morally innocent in their inability to support themselves. They should not be punished in any manner for the harsh economic reality they face.

(5) The third most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that the capitalist system disproportionately rewards its winners. It is by now obvious that capitalism predictably can make someone a billionaire simply for being in the right place at the right time or simply having the perfect genetics. Yes, this person usually worked hard or had some novel insight into the goods and services people in the society desired. Still, the amount of reward received by this person is usually multiplied by many fold for having the blind luck of being at the right place with the right time with his or her business idea or his or her perfect genetics (Lebron James). This excess profit does not strictly belong to the person but belongs to the overall conditions of the society which created the ideal environment for the business to flourish. As such, much of this excess profit can and should be taxed and returned to society and its members as a collective.

(6) Provided the tax revenue base of the state is sufficient, a very basic meager income- known as universal basic income- should be guaranteed to all. Any income one makes or is expected to make reduces the income one receives as universal basic income (e.g. if the universal basic income is $15k and one makes $5k then one receives only $10k). One receives no universal basic income whatsoever if one is not always ready on a stand-by basis to begin working if the state or a private party has some work that needs to be done and which one can perform. If it is fall and the city calls and asks whether you can help rake the leaves in the city's public spaces, you must agree to do so if you wish to receive the universal basic income. The universal basic income, like all other forms of income, must be EARNED. In most cases, however, it will be exceedingly simple to earn the universal basic income.

(7) The universal basic income must be truly basic such that it does not interfere with normal human motivation to work, make a living, and so on. Someone earning the universal basic income will usually be forced to live in an unspectacular part of an unspectacular city and eating a bland no-frills predominantly groceries diet. There will be enough income to provide for occasional recreational activities that are otherwise promotive of health and low-cost (e.g. income for basic running shoes and a bike). Internet, free medical care, and free access to a city's bus and transportation systems will also be provided. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Work (Kamran K): The Robots are Coming? Praise Be!

(1) It is forecast that many, perhaps most, jobs will soon be automated and performed by robots. As of today's date, companies worldwide are working on robots to replace cashiers, handymen, waiters, food preparers, taxi and bus drivers, and so on.

(2) No doubt the motivation for this trend is to substantially reduce labor costs which is the largest cost category for most businesses. Quite obviously, corporations intent on maximzing their profits can't be blamed for seeking to reduce costs. This is what corporations do; it is the function of a good corporation within the capitalism paradigm to seek to grow profits through a combination of revenue growth and cost cutting. Corporations that don't take this responsibility seriously don't survive.

(3) Given that this coming automation of jobs is so inevitable and so unlikely to be meaningfully thwarted, the only interesting question remaining is will all of this automation be a net-positive for society?  What benefits will society receive from large-scale automation of jobs?

(4)  Much of the discussion on this issue has so far been alarmist and keen to point out the negatives resulting from job displacement. This is one important aspect of the issue but it should not dominate the discussion as much as it has.

(5) The discussion on this issue will become more truthful when one considers the quality and reliability and integrity of many human being workers. The commonplace expression "good help is hard to find" speaks volumes.

Indeed, a sober assessment reveals humans occupying the jobs that are likely to be automated have a very very long track record of undesirable conduct while "on the job." This includes:
  • Theft- petty and more serious in nature- of the property of third parties.
  • Goofing off, idling, and half-hearted effort for a majority of the time one is purportedly working. In the age of smartphones, this has become an absolute epidemic. People now work only when nothing interesting grabs their attention on their phones.
  • Deception perpetrated on customers to maximize fees.
  • Errors of all sorts primarily caused by failure to fully and directly concentrate on the job at hand.
  • Short-cut taking whenever possible, whenever one is safe in the belief "no one is watching."
  • All sorts of unexpected rescheduling and cancellations caused by all manner of accidents "under the sun." Usually, these sorts of things could have been avoided with a little planning and foresight.
  • Costly and burdensome litigation which tends to be frivolous in nature and strictly pursued for its settlement value.
(6) The next generation may be free of all of the problems discussed above, as robots perform many jobs with less error, more reliability, and more efficiently than smartphone-checking humans.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Moderation (Kamran K): Perfection in weekly time expenditure.

Hours in a week = 168. This can't be altered (duh)

Hours of sleep required in a week = 56. This can't be altered safely (duh)

Waking hours in a week = 112

Meaning, 112 hours maximum can be devoted toward the five arenas of human perfection: physicality, mentality, aesthetic, emotional, and interpersonal. As a general rule, more time should be devoted toward the realms of mentality, physicality, and interpersonality and slightly less time toward emotionality and aesthetics. The actual time allocations can and should change over time but not significantly. Obviously, crises and other one-time situations (death of a family member) require the suspension of the ideal time allocation and a reorientation toward the exigencies of the moment. When the exigency has passed, the ideal time allocation can be picked up again where one left off.

The blog author below sketches his current allocation suiting his individual present life circumstances. This is obviously not one-size fits all for everyone.

Physicality Time Allocations (38 Total Hours)
  • Earning money, 17
  • Hours cooking and eating appropriately nutritious and balanced meals per week, 10
  • Hours weightlifting, 3
  • Aerobic exercise including walking, 6
  • Sexual activities and pursuits, 4
  • Tend to matters of finance and bills, 3
  • House cleaning and tending, 2
Mentality (24 Total Hours)
  • Reading and evaluating works of highest intellect, 10
  • Writing philosophy and other intellectual compositions, 10
  • Current events and news review, 2
  • Reflection on potential behavior modifications, attitude adjustments, and life reorientation based on reading and writing of the week, 2
Aesthetics (14 Total Hours )
  • Discovering new and excellent music, 3
  • Enjoying previously discovered excellent music, 3
  • Discovering new and excellent fine arts compositions, 3
  • Gardening, 3
  • Home design enhancement, 2
Emotionality (12 total hours)

Gambling and other frivolities, 5
Movies of the highest quality, 4
Mindfulness meditation, 3

Interpersonal (23 Total hours)
  • Dog park and dog play, 9
  • Face-to-face time with local friends, 8
  • Telephone time with distant friends, 3
  • Family time, 3

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Politics (Kamran K): The Duty to DIRECTLY protect Bodily Integrity

(1) The human being exists as a rather FRAGILE creature within spacetime. Its fragility is most obvious from the fact that it perishes of natural causes within some 60-80 years, a span of time rather unimpressive compared to the longevity of other living creatures and almost all non-living ones.

Its fragility is also a result of its rather feeble non-robust system of organs, bones, and connective tissue. As anyone involved in any significant traumatic accident quickly realizes, the body's natural protective mechanisms usually are no match against external physical forces of any significance.

(2) It is a startling realization to realize that modernity has done NOTHING to change this brute fact. In nearly every area of life, modernity has brought technological "advancement" which has made prior generations' ways of doing things seem remarkably antiquated, slow, and inefficient. The examples are too numerous to list but include things like cars, refrigerators, air conditioning systems, washer/dryers, microwaves, etc.

(3) Yet the physical integrity and security of the body has seen no advancement whatsoever since ancient times or even since the very beginning of man. People still walk around in public completely exposed and totally vulnerable to hundreds of types of traumas and attacks that could wipe them out in a second.

(4) In Las Vegas and elsewhere, terrorists have taken advantage of this fact and have killed hundreds of innocent and UNPROTECTED victims. Every time this occurs, there are renewed calls for gun control which (1) never get enacted because our political system is hopelessly dysfunctional and broken and (2) even if enacted, would never stop the worst of extremely motivated criminals from committing the worst of atrocities. Motivated criminals will always take advantage of a loop-hole in a gun control law or escape detection and totally violate its requirements.

(5) For decades, this issue has been mishandled in politics and other public spaces. The debate has only focused on the gun issue, on the problem of dangerous guns in the hands of bad persons. This is ONE side of the issue. The OTHER side of this issue is securing the physical integrity of persons in their bodies through the use of security precautions AND all other reasonable means.

(6) Police, metal detectors, other reasonable gun control regulations, and other security checks do help secure the physical integrity of persons. They have been somewhat successful in reducing the total number of gun fatalities. But each of these solutions has limitations and inefficiencies. Each can be circumvented if the would-be terrorists/criminals are intelligent and motivated enough. There is one solution that can't be circumvented under any scenario: the bulletproof vest. There is no reason whatsoever not to add this solution to the already existing ones.

(7) Governments can and should immediately fund research and development into affordable, comfortable to wear, and mass-producible bulletproof vests or other gear. Appropriately motivated and funded, some US company will no doubt be able to produce a bulletproof tshirt that is totally impenetrable for a small fee using alternative technologies and materials. These should be made available to all citizens for free as a return on their tax dollars. All mass sporting events and concerts should have a small security fee added so that any customers wishing to wear vests during the event can do so.

(8) In this ideologically fractured age, the simplest most non-controversial solutions (such as free bulletproof vests) should always be pursued over far more controversial morally and emotionally laced ones. Pursuing these solutions brings action and change; pursuing changes on the moral/emotional planes of one's rights and culture etc. brings only endless anger and, the end result, paralysis.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Humility (Kamran K): The Rules.

 "the content of the appetites still belongs to unformed will and natural perception, and is not developed to an ethical order..." George Hegel

Article to consider:

This post details surprisingly obvious truths touching upon human sexuality that any reasonably mature adult would appreciate by the time he or she has reached 30 or 35 years old. Still, these truths are far from obvious for many, causing them to wander in the sexual wasteland of depression and despair for years and decades without (seeming end).

The rules are listed below:

(1) Most men- particularly most "chubby" non-athletic men- are viewed by most women as physically unattractive. There is indeed something terribly unattractive with a man with significant body fat wobbling all over his body, no visible muscle mass, and with hair growing from all sides of his body. Women can and often do become attracted to these men for reasons OTHER than their bodies and physical appearance (primarily their social reputation, economic resources, and overall personality).

(2) A small circle of men who are tall, usually white, muscular yet still lean, relatively young, and relatively handsome are viewed by most women as unusually physically attractive. This group represents no more than the top 2% of the male population. Most women will want to sleep with these men whether or not they have other good qualities. All other men will not sexually arouse women in such a direct straightforward manner.

(3) Most men are subject to body-image delusions and believe they are in this top 2% category of men:  "the mind should be armed against sallies of caprice, rout and overcome them, in order that rational thought may have free course." (Hegel)  They are foolishly misguided in thinking so and their poor track record with women proves their foolishness. To repeat the point made above: most women find most men physically UNattractive.

(4) Most women present themselves publicly with significant artificial cosmetic enhancements including plastic surgery, hair dying, makeup, hair shaving, and revealing outfits that accentuate their best features. Online, all of this artificiality is further multiplied through the use of deceptive filters and other photo-shopping. The end result is most women look far worse than their public presentations.

Men present themselves publicly exactly as they are. Their is no "bait and switch" involved with men's public appearances. The combined result is that men end up pursuing and, often begging, women of equal or lower attractiveness to spend time and sleep with them.

(5) Most men primarily want one thing from the women they are pursuing: limitless sex. This reality is not one for which men should be blamed, morally or otherwise. It is a simple fact of male biology driven by DNA and the operation of male sex hormones, primarily testosterone. Men did not CHOOSE to have this desire to have limitless sex with women.

(6) Worse still, men's sexual appetites are usually about 8-12 TIMES that of their female sexual partner (this is objectively proveable by science). Most men will want sex all the time and at any time; most women will want sex only if the mood is "perfect" and all the "stars are aligned" and no menstrual cycle is active. In this respect, women and men are not a "match made in heaven." To put it more starkly, men and women are spectacularly unsuited for one another, beginning with this spectacular sexual appetite incompatibility. The coupling of men and women is comparable to the intellectual appetite coupling of an Ivy League philosophy professor with a member of a Watts street gang.

(7) Men generally must pay DEARLY for sex in one form or another. Even if they are in a relationship, they will end up paying for sex through the increased expenditures that the relationship entails. Women receive as much sex as they want for free; many young attractive women receive sex with the additional bonus of making a profit from their association with the man.

(8) Combining the last two points, most men will incur huge expenditures merely to have extremely intermittent sporadic sexual access to a woman. Most men will end up paying more for sex than they pay for anything else.

(9) Most men wish to have sex with a small minority of unusually attractive women representing no more than 5% of the female population. In the current digital environment where it is very easy for a man to contact a woman, these women will have thousands maybe even tens of thousands of men to choose from.

(10) Unless the woman is of unusual intelligence and moral character, she will weed through the thousands of candidates by emphasizing the traditional selection criteria of wealth, physical attractiveness, social reputation and standing, and manliness. Men that meet ALL of these criteria (think Tom Brady) will usually win out in the "race" for the most attractive women. All other men are typically wasting their time in pursuing such women.

(11) Most men should quickly resign themselves to the reality that the most attractive women in the society have no desire to sleep with them. They should accept the reality that they must compete with many other men for women of only average attractiveness. Men increasingly must fight over the female breadcrumbs.

(12) Men and women in a relationship spend a very small fraction of that time engaging in sex (perhaps two hours max out of the 144 hours in a week). This is true even in the case of couples with active sexual relationships.

(13) Men and women in a relationship will spend 97-98% of their time engaged in non-sexual activities which require the active exercise of non-sexual virtues, such as wisdom, moderation, justice, fairness, intelligence, work, exercise, etc.

(14) Primarily men and some women therefore FIXATE on sex to an unreasonable extent in making relationship decisions. They focus on an aspect of the relationship which is too minor and, even at its best, unlikely to determine the overall nature and quality of the relationship: "a man often looks upon integrity both for himself and others as secondary and unessential." (Hegel)

(15) Men generally age more slowly than women. Even attractive women lose most of their sexual appeal by 40; by 50 it would be an unusual women that still maintains some significant ability to arouse a large category of men.

(16) In the digital age of smartphones and text, women can disguise their intellectual abilities and conversational qualities by hiding behind the smartphone where they have many minutes and sometimes hours to respond to simple comments or questions.

(17) Men that are unwilling to play the new smartphone games of endless texting, online dating apps, and social media posting and liking will have very few opportunities with younger women in their 20s and 30s.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Moderation (Kamran K): Cycling between mature depression and childlike frivolities (Part 1)

 "Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them drugs to take away their unhappiness." TK 1995

(1) What psychological mindset today does MOST justice to the totality of human reality? What psychological mindset would a decent human being- consciously and empathetcially aware of what is going on in his community and nation- maintain today? And what alterations are required to this mindset to preserve one's sanity and overall psychological well-being over many decades of life?

(2) It should be no secret to anyone that the blog author has taken a deeply pessimistic view of much of modernity, including much of the supposed "technological advances" modernity has "blessed us" with today. The blog author believes- and believes he has made a compelling rational demonstration- of the regression of modernity in almost every sphere of human life. Modernity's failings have not been few or isolated; they have been continuous and all-encompassing. These failings are now generating a momentum that appears totally unstoppable.

(3) This morning or the next, a mature semi-intelligent semi-informed American citizen will wake up at 8 or 9 am and "look out" at the nation he inhabits. What will he see or find? At least 47 depressing realities:
  • An insane clown incapable of serious thought, introspection, empathy, or compromise as President of the United States. 
  • Two "do-nothing" political parties strictly interested in winning battles against the other, unable to speak a common language, clueless how to compromise and solve the most pressing political problems of the day. 
  • The vast majority of workers playing a negative sum game, unable to earn enough wages that give them "half a chance" against the avalanche of necessary expenses they must incur just to "maintain" themselves to keep on working.
  • The likely automation of millions of jobs that will leave millions under or unemployed.
  • Long oppressive lines and waits at groceries, auto shops, airports, banks, and the like caused by staff shortages driven by corporate cost-cutting.
  • A crumbling system of roads, bridges, and highways and oppressive traffic in all of the nation's busiest cities. 
  • An overwhelmingly obese and overweight population whose main idea of "fun" always involves large dosses of alcohol and junk food soaked with high-fructose corn syrup and saturated fat. 
  • A population that has lost the ability to communicate face-to-face and prefers to stare incessantly at their mobile phones like an addict that has no hope for recovery.
  • A female population that has developed an addictive love of makeup, filtered photos, cosmetic enhancements, and all the rest, all designed to conceal one's true appearance.  
  • A male population that is addicted to porn and is willing to make all sorts of weak and banal compromises to one's identity, values, and lifestyles just to get some (very) occasional pussy.
  • A social life that is crumbling wherever one looks. With everyone staying at home staring at their gadgets, public social spaces are occupied primarily by male drunkards walking aimlessly through various bars hoping to find the totally impossible and ultra-rare commodity known as a women interested in immediate sex with a then horny man.
  • A news and media complex that knows how to do one thing only: breaking news involving either terrorism, some natural catastrophe, or any other event involving the death of many persons. 
  • The nation's educational elite eager to ring the register as much as they can and "cash in" on their degrees maximally, without the least concern or consideration at all of how they could use their intelligence to maximize the public good rather than their personal bank accounts. 
  • The televising of professional sports involving athletes who make many millions just to play a simple game, and where the same few teams win year after year.
  • The blaring at full volume of bad cheesy music in nearly all public spaces nationwide.
  • The innundation of public spaces with deceptive and downright false advertising, appealing mainly to the lowest common denominators of sex and the saving of money.
  • A retail space where consumers eagerly devour "cheap" products made in the sweatshops of South America and Asia by children, teens, and others who will work for several dollars a day in dangerous working conditions.
  • A health care system that is as incompetent and dangerous as it is exorbinantly and needlessly expensive. According to a 2014 survey of 11 rich nations by the Commonwealth Fund, the United States ranked dead last in overall health care performance, in metrics such as equity of care, efficiency and "healthy lives." Worse still, the US ranked first in health care expenditure per capita. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Benevolence (Kamran K): Maximizing personal profit in an otherwise wholly unprofitable world.

"You'd need a lot stronger word than dysfunctional to describe a family where a few people get to eat at the table while the rest lick up the drippings from the floor; psychotic would be closer to the mark."
Barbara Ehrenreich, On Not Getting by in America

(1) From the standpoint of human freedom, persons should be free to value and pursue money to whatever extent they so desire. So long as no laws are violated in the process, the person's money-making pursuits should be permitted.

(2) Permitted, yes, but neither encouraged, admired, or praised IN THE LEAST. All sorts of activities should be permitted in the society; very few - or much fewer- behaviors deserve admiration or praise.

(3) One could imagine a reality on some planet other than Earth in which everyone lived a moderately comfortable existence with all basic needs secured as far as the eye could see. Out of boredom, some members of this society would feel the itch to make more money and could not be blamed for doing so because no one in that society was currently suffering by virtue of economic need. Let's do something and make some money- why not?

(4) This planet's economic system bears no resemblance whatsoever to such an imagined community. The economic reality of this planet is captured almost perfectly by Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickle and Dimed. We draw your attention below to many of Ms. Ehrenreich's astute observations:

I grew up hearing over and over, to the point of tedium, that 'hard work' was the secret of success; 'Work hard and you'll get ahead' or 'It's hard work that got us where we are.' No one ever said that you could work hard- harder even than you ever thought possible- and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt.

What is harder for the nonpoor to see is poverty as acute distress: the lunch that consists of Doritos or hot dog rolls, leading to faintness before the end of the shift. The 'home' that is also a car or a van. The illness or injury that must be worked through, with gritted teeth, because there's no sick pay or health insurance and the loss of one's day pay will mean no groceries for the next. These experiences are not part of a sustainable lifestyle....they are...emergency situations. 

When you enter the low-wage check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of the shift...We can hardly pride ourselves on being the world's preeminent democracy, after all, if large numbers of citizens spend half their waking hours in what amounts, in plain terms, to a dictatorship.

Something is wrong, very wrong when a single person in good health, a person who in addition possesses a working car, can barely support herself by the sweat of her brow. You don't need a degree in economics to see that wages are too low and rents too high.

(5) The economic reality for 90% of the planet is as Ehrenreich describes, with only trivial variations on the same theme. Yes, some jobs pay slightly more than what she describes but those benefits come with greater duties and responsibilities, greater hours, locations with much higher cost of living, and so on. The reality for 90% of the planet is a wage that is not sufficient to cover the continuous stream of inflationary expenses- large, medium, and small- that pour down predictably, day after day, month after month, year after year, with no end in sight. As a brief aside, the onslaught of this stream is so relentless that it makes one not wish to gather one's mail or even turn on one's computer or phone. One knows that most of the mail or e-mail or calls one receives is yet person seeking to extract more money from one in some way shape or form. So rare and few are the interactions today which are not motivated by this money-gathering instinct.

Consider the numbers below:


One's meager wage of $15-$25 per hour or
approximately $35,000 a year pre-tax, $30,000 after tax.

DEBITS (all of the below assumes a highly austere no-bling lifestyle)

Rent or mortgage @$1,200 monthly and $14,400 annually.
Health insurance @$200 monthly and $2,400 annually.
Transportation (gas and car payment including insurance) @$600 monthly and $7,200 annually.
Food and other household cleaning necessaries @$500 monthly and $6,000 annually.
Home internet, TV, and cellphone expenses @ $150 monthly and $1,800 annually.

At this point, the credit and debits are already negative by nearly $2,000! And the likelihood within an entire YEAR of their being additional debits is virtually certain; the only question is how much will a person sink further into debt. 

These additional debits could include: (a) unexpected car repair and maintenance (e.g. new tires for $500); (b) unexpected health care expense ($3000 deductible payment); (c) property tax payments; (d) vacations or concerts or amusement parks; (e) necessary furniture purchases; (f) dating or relationship expenses; (g) gym or other exercise expenditures; (h) unexpected home improvement and/or appliance repair/purchase; (i) nightlife expenses including bars and nightclubs.

(6) Given that increasing debt while working is the economic reality for most of the planet, what judgment could one make of those remaining persons who wake up every day eager to maximize their personal economic profit? Such persons are in the positive every year but seek to increase their buffer and savings even further. They do so HEEDLESS and generally unconcerned of the plight of their fellow man and women that is as described above. They may feign concern or even empathy with the plight of such persons; but this doesn't alter their behavior in the least as they continue to seek ever more profits.

(7) The judgment that could be made of such persons is, quite simply, that they are not morally good or benevolent persons. They may be good in a number of other qualities, possessing a great sense of humor, intelligence, sexuality and physical attractiveness, and so on. But this last quality- that of being a morally decent morally benevolent person must be withdrawn from them for their intentional willful blindness of the world they live and the INNOCENT sufferings of their fellow men and women.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Work (Kamran K): GOOD choices nowhere to be found.

"On those who are employed, ever-increasing demands will be placed: They will need more and more training, more and more ability, and will have to be ever more reliable, conforming and docile, because they will be more and more like cells of a giant organism. Their tasks will be increasingly specialized, so that their work will be, in a sense, out of touch with the real world, being concentrated on one tiny slice of reality." TK, 1995

(1) No matter how many "cool" and fancy TVs and smartphones are made under sweatshop conditions in CHINA and then sold in the US for "affordable prices," the current worldwide economic system is increasingly and obviously bankrupt at its core. It surely is not in furtherance of either human happiness or human well-being.

(2) For all but the caviar class that owns the assets that are really and truly valuable, the current economic system offers everyone else three UNAPPEALING choices:
  • Manual and service-oriented labor not requiring college or any other advanced degrees. In this realm, pay is usually around minimum wage, benefits are non-existent, work is more or less mindless albeit must be performed rapidly, opportunity to advance in society from these jobs is basically zero. Examples: fast food workers, rideshare and taxi drivers, maids, most restaurant staff, etc. These truly are jobs that in every sense of the term are "BACK BREAKING."
  • Professional white-collar workers requiring college and/often additional advanced degrees which are obtained almost always by going into significant debt to the tune of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pay is respectable (usually 60-130k) but by no means enough for a lavish lifestyle or to allow for sufficient savings (meaning one must continue doing this work for many years). Work must often be performed sitting immobile in an office behind a desk for many many consecutive hours of the day. The hours are long, the clients are demanding, the stress is high, the boredom is always in the air because the work has become so hyper-specialized, and so on.
  • Illegal activities that are dangerous but lucrative if one takes the risks. The examples here would be the obvious ones of drug dealing, illicit sex, and so on. 
(3) If paragraph 2 is correct- or mostly so- no further condemnation is needed of the world's current economic system. This ITSELF is condemnation enough and further argument and statistics on this point are purely "icing on the cake." 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Humility (Kamran K): Laughing at your Former Self

(1) Men and women are generally error-prone. On decisions that matter- that are not routine, that involve the weighing of various options all of which seem compelling in some form or another- men and women are generally error-prone in the sense that their decisions are 2 or 3 times as likely to be erroneous as correct or optimal. Men and women's decisions on choices that matter (the choice of whether to eat an apple or banana does not matter in this sense) do not stand equi-divided between error and correct. The scale is vastly weighed in favor of error. It has for generations. It still does so now. It will continue to do so in the future barring a fundamental transformation and enlightenment of humanity EN MASSE.

(2) One of the main factors causing man to error so frequently is that men and women generally believe their choices are correct. They don't take seriously that their choices may be routinely erroneous or suboptimal, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, all life long.  And, of course, while one is living in the NOW one has really no choice but to believe one's decisions are correct on a moment-to-moment basis. Who would make a decision in the NOW, in present time believing that it is not the best one possible? One's circumstances may be- and often are- limited to a bunch of mundane choices. But still almost everyone tries to make the best of their mundanity, believing that the choices they make among a series of mundane options are as good as can be.

(3) Literally the sole method of developing some humility and fully grasping one's error-prone tendencies in all their particularity (which does benefit one's development tremendously for reasons to be explained later) is to periodically reflect back upon one's former behaviors and ideas and LAUGH at them. Laugh heartily for as long as you can with as much enthusiasm as you can mount. Laugh at the stupidities and follies and ideas that you held most dear and coveted which now appear to be the product of a whollishy deluded, simplistic, narcissistic mind.

(4) One often need only go back six months to a year to find a whole series of behaviors, thoughts, and ideas that even the short-term passage of time has rendered comic. If one were to turn the clock back a year, several years or perhaps even a decade, one would be literally surrounded by comic behaviors and ideas about the world that- at one time- literally defined one's identity.

Moderation (Kamran K): Developing within a framework of LIMITATIONS

 "I as a person am conscious of freedom. I can abstract myself from everything, since nothing is before me except pure personality. Notwithstanding all this I am as a particular person completely limited. I am of a certain age, height, in this space, and so on. Thus a person is at one and the same time so exalted and so lowly a thing. In him is the unity of infinite and finite, of limit and unlimited." 
Hegel, Philosophy of Right

(1) Despite what much of the pop-culture "feel good" psych. mantras of the present day would have us believe, human growth and development occurs within a framework of fairly well-defined, fairly unchangeable, and fairly rigid and constraining LIMITATIONS.

(2) It is the failure to grasp this point- and grasp it fully within all of its particular dimensions and ramifications- that is the cause of much human misery. The fastest road to unhappiness today remains that of unrealistic expectations fueled by the failure to appreciate various limitations.

(3) For many decades and even centuries, the recognition of the truths in paragraph 1 were unbelievably common. This was an obvious truth that even the illiterate knew well from intimate experience. These were dogma truths in any land one went. Unless they were kings or popes, people did not dream of escaping their limitations and reaching their "limitless" and spectacularly glorious

(4) And, indeed, human potential is the ability of a person to develop him or herself and approach as near as he or she can to their absolute maximum limitation point which always exists for each person at some particular un-determinate point. Beyond that point, the person can by definition never travel no matter how badly they want to nor matter how hard they try to.

(5) The limitations that a person faces within reality are numerous and significant. There are limitations physical. There are limitations mental. There are limitations psychological. There are limitations social. There are limitations economical. There are limitations related to one's gender and age. There are limitations familial. There are limitations national. There are limitations cultural. There are limitations institutional and corporate. There are limitations bureacratic. There are limitations legal. The list could still go on from here but it is worth pausing here to consider how significant these limitations are. For most of the planet, limitations related to their economic situation literally cripples and stunts their ability to achieve nearly anything they desire. Even "well-to-do" citizens of the developed world face a whole host of limitations that venture beyond money. Consider, for example, that one of the richest persons in the world became US President but has been effectively unable to get anything done since taking office BECAUSE of the various limitations internal to his psychology ad personality as well as those external pressure he faces from the media, opposing parties, the courts,  

(6) WITHIN the framework of all of these limitations, a person can decide to achieve what they can subject to these limitations. Once in a while, someone like Mozart comes along and he is blessed- for a few years, not "forever"- to have very few limitations surrounding his area of work. But even Mozart- genius that he was- ultimately succumbed to the limitations he faced, including limitations seemingly financial and psychological.

(7) From the standpoint of human well-being and happiness, it is optimal (though rather uncommon) for someone to first grasp the limitations impinging upon then and ONLY AFTERWARD create some reasonably attainable goals to develop and progress toward.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Moderation (Kamran): Arrested in Addiction

(1) Most anyone in the world would, if asked, categorize an addiction to anything as "bad." The person would not even have to be literate or educated to make this categorization.

(2) But how many of these persons could give a coherent answer as to WHAT makes an addiction bad? Some would, no doubt, give the example of gambling or drugs and answer that addictions can kill you, financially and even, yes, literally.

(3) But the world is today populated with billions of people that are addicted to things that are not drugs nor gambling. Their addictions are neither financially ruinous nor lethal. So what- precisely- is so bad about these types of addictions? Aren't they harmless and not worth taking seriously?

(4) The bad of ANY addiction- including the most serious addictions- is that they ARREST the full and free and complex development of human personality. Who has the greatest chance of reaching the fullest human perfection? The person with zero addictions or someone with only the most harmless trivial addictions (these must ACTUALLY be trivial objectively considered, and not just by the subjective evaluation of the person him or herself). Most people are loathe to consider themselves addicted to anything when in fact they are simulatenously POWERFULLY addicted to many different things which are by no means trivial or harmless.

(5) Addictions ARREST and keep persons riveted to the object of their addiction. Opportunities for self-betterment and self-development in other areas are routinely ignored, rejected, or not even evaluated because the addiction is keeping one fixed in place, immobile.

Often, what appear to be activites in totally unrelated areas are often simply pursued in furtherance of the addiction. Men's addiction to sex and particularly sex with "beautiful women" are prime examples of this phenomenon. Men pursue all sorts of activities in order to boost their "chances" in the domain of their addiction.

(6) Corporations worldwide understand that the best consumers are addicted consumers. They have and will do whatever they can to keep and increase the number of addicts worldwide. Similarly, one's social circle of friends is increasingly likely to consist of people that are addicted to the same things you are addicted to. Given these realities, the only way out of addiction is for someone to TRULY value above all else the full and free and complex development of his multi-dimensional personality. This must be one's deepest commitment. It is only from the strength of this commitment can one sail beyond the land of addictions.

Moderation (Kamran ): A NEW Plutonic path to greatness.

(1) Division of labor and excessive niche specialization has made much of the globe very very good at doing/knowing very very few things. Our ancestors may have speculated that as life got longer, people would be blessed with the time to master more things of value. This has not happened.

(2) Regardless of the causes, ONE-DIMENSIONALITY is the reality for most people today. The rice farmer in China is in this way no different than the Manhattan banker who is in turn no different than Beverly Hills' best personal trainer. ALL are very good at doing very few things. Each may convince him/herself that their "area" is vastly more important than all other areas; these are fictions, not realities, created for narcissistic sustenance. Through their specialization- different though it may be- each of these persons may reach perfection in their crafts. This will bring them some form of achievement, success, and pride for hard work over decades. They are entitled to these feelings because of their achievements, limited though these achievements may be to one small "slice" of reality.

(3) Emerging for the first time is another path to greatness and rightful pride, self-esteem, and self-congratulation. This path is not one that follows the road of niche specialization; in fact, it explicitly rejects this road for something different. This path is one of reaching sub-elite though still impressive mastery in as MANY domains as one realistically can over 7 to 8 decades of life. Let us name PLUTO as a person interested in this notion of greatness and discuss in more detail Pluto's varied achievements.

(4) The important concepts here are "sub-elite" "impressive" "many" and "realistically." Each qualification is vital to understanding this notion of Plutonic greatness. The achievements of PLUTO are likely to be sub-elite simply because he has not devoted his entire life to any of these areas. Today, almost any elite achievement in any realm is made by someone that has devoted their entire life to the realm.

However, Pluto's achievements in any realm must still be impressive. They must be of a nature that the vast majority of persons to ever step into this realm never reach. Think a half-marathon time of 1:30 or less; a bench press of 250 or more; a book publication by a respectable publisher.

Pluto's achievements must also be many and varied. If they are not, he is just another person doing niche specialization. It is hard to put a number on how many realms Pluto's achievements may span; but, at minimum, it will be more than 15. Realistically, Pluto can expect to achieve this as he would have some 3-4 so years to master 15 realms over the course of a 55 year adult life (ages 0-20 are for most a washout with puberty, schooling, and lack of freedom preventing any serious achievements in any area).

(5) Moderation is critical to Pluto's quest for this type of greatness. It needs to be practiced constantly. Pluto must continually exit realms where he has already achieved sub-elite mastery; he cannot become addicted or enthralled with any realm which itself requires a large serving of the virtue of moderation.

Humor (Kamran K): Toward a Renaming of America!

(1) The United States is not at all united. For some time, one could perhaps claim that the love of money united everyone in the US. But that, too, is changing and a large minority of the population is giving up the pursuit of riches on ethical, spiritual, and even practical grounds (recognizing how futile chasing the American Dream has become).

(2) Now, therefore, we propose the following names for the US, names which reflect the reality of this land we so cherish and love:
  • Sugar Heaven
  • The IWant2TalkAboutMe Republic
  • The United Smiles of America
  • DogsRUS
  • The Republic of Incoherence
  • The Indebeted States of America
  • The United Cell Phone Addicts of America
  • America, Inc.
  • Alcoholus Americanus Republica
  • The Land of Chubby People