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joined 2023 March 07 08:09:31 UTC


User ID: 2241



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User ID: 2241

I agree with a lot of what you say. There's obviously a range of material from good to bad put out in any particular generation, a lot of it I'd suggest is pretty shit. But also gems.

Agreed also that most forms of art are molded by the societal norms of the time, as they act on the film makers/ producers and audience at large, and as those individuals interact/ react against those norms, while also being more or less aware of them.

These norms will include the politics of the time (the negotiation of norms), whether that be issues politics along tribal lines or political in the manner of 'the personal is political', which is a truism in the sense that a political act has to be done by an individual, who always acts 'personally'.

For example, an author may put specific political polemic into the mouth of their interlocutor, or they may seed their version of the norms in a more subtle but equally intentional way, therefore acting politically-- in addition to their other creative acts. Nothing precludes subconscious molding by social norms either, this is the sea we all swim in, but I'd argue this isn't the case for political acts, which seem to me to have a conscious intention by definition, operating at the level of polemical belief, in that politics involves a certain forcefulness, or righteousness.

I think it's this intentionality that gets at the root of why, beyond a certain threshold, it deteriorates the quality of the work down an exponential decay into the zone of 'forced', 'contrived', 'preachy' etc. While we can be a mindless milieu, we can also have a fine ear for being told what to do or think. This is most evidenced by the general reaction to most advice, which has an element of actual resentfulness.

This element of 'too much', or 'against the grain' will vary with each individual, so there does have to be a defense of why this should be more than just taste, pitching reactionary responses against early adopters of the political message or culture shift.

Or to frame it as another commenter, isn't this just the culturally new coming into being? With the usual railing against the wind kind of response?

This feels to me like a familiar relativistic slight of hand, along the lines of 'global warming is a hoax', temperature has always been changing. To find out if things are qualitatively different in the creative merit of a particular artistic work, or a trend in the production of them, we need to do some kind of analysis against some objective marker. An individual can have a sense of it, I would argue, but to prove it's not just taste, they have to demonstrate it somehow, with reference to the works themselves and a rubric.

But in this task we will quickly be flung into dealing with philosophical assumptions. If we were to adopt a relativistic stance, it would be quite hard to measure any differences over time, because there is no measure sufficiently privileged over its material, or it's own substrate, for it to be able to do the job. In contrast, if we adopt an aesthetic stance, we may be able to get somewhere, though it doesn't seem easy to bridge to the definitive answer on the matter.

I think, at the level of metaphysics, we come up against something like Judith Butler's problem. In her case, What is the space--that is Us--that allows for us to perform against the norms, despite being subject to them? Where does it come from and how does it resolve existentially?

If the performance is 'naturally adopted', then where then really was the subjection, or what is the extra element that allows for it? And if subjection rules, how is the reaction able to pass up and out and reconcile the existential split of being the subject and the performer against subjection? This is all just wank at this point- but I think it's something analogous to the current question of how we are molded by culture, which also arises from us as a collective, in this case problematizing the conception of 'right adopted' v 'wrong reactionary', or 'inevitable adoption' v 'railing against the wind', because there's some extra ingredient needed beyond just being washed over by culture, or reacting against? Is there the possibility we can definitely privilege a stance or are we stuck in an arbitrariness?

Yes, I largely agree with you. I know I am a tiny agent in a hugely complex network that periodically consolidates into swarms. I would say that because I can stand outside with perspective taking, I am not entirely the product of political media, though as you say that may make no difference as I'm replaced.

I've also sometimes fashioned an argument that media is qualitatively different in the level at which PR operates. I'm no scholar of it but my understanding of the 70s, 80s say was that foreign affairs/state Dept issues was entirely the realm of govt propaganda, distributed through the major media networks. But that there was still a mainstream concept, and application of, mainstream investigative journalism and a framing that understood the concept of balanced reporting. Obviously that may have been cynically applied at outlets for various political reasons. And the political things didn't extend as much into the personal domain as they do now. While it was perpetuating other myths, US exceptionalism etc, it also had a recognisable civic function. I'm not a US citizen so don't have as much a handle on it.

The problem that you allude to initially that culture is shaped as the zeitgeist of the times, is that it is question begging, or ambivalent about the problem of agency. I mean it's also manifest in the way that you say, but the question of whether we can influence it as individuals is high-stakes.

I may have misunderstood you though so just take it as a rant...

I think we are all prone to nostalgia bias as we age, and move out of the prime time as it were. But we also want to avoid philosophical relativism, the idea that there can be no privileging of anything because everyone has their own view.

I think there's always been a lot of crap, and pop culture has generic things that appeal to different generations. For youth, it's enough probably that it's their thing, and not their parents. That it's new.

But I still think you can make good arguments that politics and creativity usually don't go together. Because a lot of woke decisioning is political it's probably deteriorating the artistic product. Famous authors have been critiqued for introducing too much of a political slant in this or that novel and there's some consensus that these works are qualitatively 'less-good' as a result.

Great, Id be keen to hear one day- some of my comments probably could be a bit more nuanced. I mean there is a gender layer between sex, culture and psychology - I wouldn't reduce it away entirely from the inter-personal space but the underlying framework around it we have currently I find limiting.

I have no personal animos in this regard, I generally like and get on with people and try to be polite and accommodating, but I just don't get the pronoun thing, nor non-binary identity for that matter.

No-one has to identify with their sex (it is a mere fact) -your expression is entirely up to you, but getting me to do something to support your identity misses the point of what society is. I disagree entirely with the belief system that undergirds non-binary identity and resent even your compromise position of people not having to use certain words to describe you. I don't want the layer that this sits at to be important in my engagements with people - I don't want any baggage around identity to sit between our person to person engagement. You deciding on a special layer feels like a power-play to me, that you have the upper hand. And it denies the primacy of scientific facts, which don't require social proof. Sex labels are actually more freeing than locking into a particular gender identity. If this is what your non-binary identity means, not being locked into any particular style, presentation, then you still don't need the label. Just be it.

What would the world be like if everyone insisted on being referred to in a certain way, how cumbersome - none of us are deserving of that kind of special treatment.

Now language can change and certain languages have honorifics etc. You can make a case that gendered languages could bake in certain cultural assumptions. But English is not particularly gendered and male/female need not have any assumptions baked into them.

Sorry this has turned into a kind of rant/scold but I never get to say this in the open, which I think is the great bit about anonymous posts. In a workplace I would be forced to accommodate you and you wouldn't know how I felt about it.

Yes, I agree with the denial of self as a part of the new cohort- that makes sense. With the fetish I was actually talking about society generally, seems to be many people see it as the next cab off the rank as a lifestyle+ option...

I'm assuming we'll maintain a concept of medical ethics, and evidence-based medicine. And whatever we do, well still be faced with the same issues we have now around meaning and well-being.

Yes I've heard a lot of people are in favour of extending it out.

Changing sex is still impossible last time I looked, perhaps you mean sex characteristics?

To mark yourself as someone that is interested in 'the thing', rather than a particular agenda. The specifics of death count estimates are fine, pick your number and justify it with evidence but point out underestimates as well, point out that it's hard to retrospectively figure it out. Point out the work of established scholars and point out differences in methodology that are relevant so the person can make up their own mind. Find the common ground and then be fair minded about data gaps, not being able to track every individual doesn't definitely mean they weren't part of a camp execution does it? Do you expect every death to be recorded in camp records that have survived to this day.

Or, if your concern is about depictions of German's in media, focus on that. I probably agree with you about parts of this. I think people can become complacent when they view Nazis as an other. The next Nazis will not be called Nazis.

Or point out the Jewish network as controlling the world if you can do it in a new way without tropes.

But don't do it all together. Actually I haven't read enough of your posts to know much so feel free to ignore anything I say that's not relevant.

Well there's a lot of interesting things to do and see so I wouldn't rule out being persuaded for another chunk of 20 or so, and I admit there's a slippery slope there. But finitude has its own motivation - my knowledge of death encourages me to try and 'lay it on the line', notwithstanding my desires for comfort and ease.

As to assuaging moral confusion, isn't transhumanism just operating as some cosmic consequentialism? Don't worry about the petty ethical concerns of the day such as unnecessary surgeries, the utopia of the future will render them moot. Once we get bored by the ubiquity of sex change we will realise the futility of such an identity focus ...

It's also so open ended it raises questions around how meaning is possible.

I think you raise an important point about frontier spirit, which I consider one of the problems we are facing, that modern life in many ways is ill-fitted to our nature.

I think you might want to think a bit more carefully about what kind of people we send on missions though. I think modified humans that have been engineered for cooperative behaviour might be a safer bet than 'wild-west' types. I don't know if you are familiar with the mutiny on the bounty tale at all, though to their credit the colony survived even if everyone is now related to Christian Fletcher...

As to medical improvements, I'm for them- I could be persuaded of a reasonable amount in this domain. Cosmetic procedures I would endure if there's a good reason, an unsightly mole but not really anything at the next level. I'm in the norms of feature proportions as far as I can tell so haven't had the need. I seem to get uglier year on year but don't notice for large periods of time so it's no biggie. Full-body tattoos are good for Yakuza etc

My concern around the impulse for sex change in some people is part of it may be originating in cultural ideas. I contend it's better perhaps to change the cultural space rather than mainstream cosmetic surgery.

I can actually see the appeal in pushing out the age, it's one of those things where the desire to get more may creep up once you get closer to the time. As long as you have health but then that would presumably go hand in hand with the life-extending capability. I might be part of a minority - for me, knowing I'm going to die one day gives me great solace! And I like the idea of life stages, childhood - youth - middle age - old age and all the changes in perspective that go with it. I'd rather the 2-3 really good seasons and finish up, than the meandering season after season for the sake of it. But perhaps that's not a fair analogy.

I agree, the spiritual transcendence is acting here as a total macguffin! I'm still working on this admittedly but it's in the scientific frame I'm thinking of ...

I'm not sure on your last point. I assume it's around why would you withhold treatment if it works. While I don't rule out cosmetic sex change as being effective for some people my contention is that there might be something else that works and that so much is downstream of culture. These ideas are so new and therefore contingent. I don't see lifestyle diversity/identity optimisation as the holy grail as I think it's operating at a fairly superficial layer. It feels to me like one of the dead-ends of modern liberalism, a symptom of ennui.

Perhaps if you outlaid it in a way that gave reassurance and pointed to what you agree with. Maybe occasionally allude to the tragedy and antisemitism. It's always presented in a way that it feels like Part 1 of a series where ultimately I'm going to be led to believe nobody was gassed at all. Start with your conclusion and present evidence and counter-evidence.

The construction is too heavily in your favour currently, as if I'm being given a tour of a communist country by the regime. Go left here, point to this building on the right, talk to this baker, ...

Yes, I didn't touch on intelligence, cognitive enhancements but that seems a logical consequence. I would argue that there's some connection between the mindset of your stricter definition and my broader outlook, though I accept it may not be the target of current thinking. They share some of the same features as a cognitive displacement, and have the same problem of finite transcenders. If it were to happen, then what? How to other perennial problems disappear when a threshold of technology makes something possible, how does this solve energy problems, global warming? Is it just luxury, lifestyle practices akin to luxury beliefs?

I've been curious about the popular appeal of transhumanism. From my perspective it seems to operate as a low-effort utopian vision that allows people to bypass some real problem that exists by kicking it down the road.

It also reflects I think a search for transcendence which is latent in the Western world and in this aspect acts as a misplaced transference of genuine searching.

Now, I also have a lot of hope in technology - I would describe myself as techno-fix, and I've no interest in predicting against its potential, particularly over time scales that feel very long against the rapid pace of change we see now, say 100 or 200 years, but even so I find the transhumanist visions outlined unrealistic and fundamentally missing the point. Now my thoughts are likely based on very outdated knowledge and so I'm open to having them updated by the latest state of the art. Also I probably lack imagination, so feel free to tear me a new one as they say...

Moving to Mars, space

Now I think space frontiers should be explored, but we do run up against some pretty hard problems here. The most utopian visions, creating a fully viable atmosphere and water rich environment would seem to be somewhat fanciful. The second choice, some kind of resource-supported colony would seem to require inordinate resourcing and even then you've just got people living indoors, in a desert, not really much to inspire the human race with. Also what happens at this colony, who runs it, owns out- I don't think anyone thinks it would run any better than the systems we have already but I guess as a last resort to nuclear fallout and environmental catastrophe it bears thinking about. But again, not really very inspiring vision here.

More to the point, we already have a beautiful planet with an atmosphere, water and abundant resources - shouldn't the utopian impulse make us redouble our efforts for poor old Earth, instead of giving the glad eye to some ugly red rock? Of course both are possible but you do have to wonder about distracting focus.

Freezing our body, brain to come back later

The technical challenges of this are immense, as to how you maintain function while in the frozen state. It's not only the fracturing problem in freeze, thaw it's the lack of the electrical, chemical signalling on which neurones are formed and maintained. I'd go as far to say it's a modal confusion of what we are, which is a process more than a thing. But perhaps I'm not being sufficiently visionary in the technology.

Also, Im puzzled why people want more than the allotted 80 or so. Curiosity is one thing, but living in a different era, what sort of culture shock would that be like, how our if place would you be, and living forever would be equivalent to hell as far as I'm concerned, similar with Rice's vampires.

Changing sex

I'll admit changes are afoot in terms of biology. Gene editing is already being tested for rare diseases, organ creation could become trivial, re-enervation to treat spinal injuries etc. But I'll admit I'm still puzzled when people talk about changing sex, and even changing sex back and forth. What do people mean here? Obviously secondary sex characteristics can be changed and new tech could mean surgical techniques become straightforward and remove risk and provide function, so conceivably issues around numbing of sensation in a new nipple could be resolved, or an embryo could be implanted successfully in an implanted/engineered womb, uterus. But are we really calling this changing sex? How far will it be possible to engineer all the internal bits, eggs, fallopian tubes, etc while simultaneously atrophying the wrong bits. I'm struggling to see how you'd ever get ethical permission to establish such an insane idea, or why you would want to try. This says nothing about brain structures developed during puberty and the various complex hormonal interactions that influence structure, function and ultimately behaviour. This would seem to really get closer to some omniscient level of requisite knowledge of exactly what makes us up. Will we ever be able to change all of our cells?

I just don't see the appeal to this idea, and the fetish around changing sex or being something other than what you are already. It seems like a dystopia to be so focused on the surface aspects of Self when we could imagine a world where your sex is less relevant.

So to my mind, and possibly uninformed view this transhumanism is a utopian distraction from the issues of the day and a failure to think about true transcendence through a more spiritual realm. It is exactly the sort of mistaken thinking our late-stage secular materialist society would make when faced with the existential problems of today. And frankly it seems lazy, rather than explore philosophical questions around what it is to be a man/woman or what identity is, it acts as a catch-all macguffin type thing.

Fair enough. I suppose I never felt a personal connection, so while it was weird over that time, I wasn't disappointed with him or inclined to judge him particularly. He seems to be doing ok these days.

Well perhaps I took the wrong meaning from your text. I projected a shame aspect, as Jung or Jordan Peterson might say.

I like my text though and think it could apply generally.

Well thank him and move on with your life. This fetish around purity codes and whether people are 'good' or 'sinful' is very tiring. It must be latent Protestantism. Take what you like, for my mind he's been extraordinarily prescient in gender issues and wokism broadly, introduced elements of religion, myth and psychology to me and been burned up in the culture war, though seems to be quietly recovering.

The capacity to brainwash people is well documented, in one form you may call it culture, or mimesis. Then there's concepts like mass-formation psychosis, crowd hysteria, culture-bound syndromes, and plain old garden variety propaganda and myth making, which we swim in.

PS, I forgot manias, madness of the crowd.

PPS, cults.

I think you might be some distance from what I meant but I can't parse what you've said to know where we departed shared understanding. I don't understand what your saying and am not making any of the claims you are stating as far as I can tell.

I was referencing this research:


But there is a cascade from social transition that makes it much more likely they get puberty blockers and progress on to cross-sex hormones. Social transition is a powerful psychological intervention.

Again, why use the term 'truly transgender', and not trans identified due to body dysphoria, or autogynephilic if they fulfil that criteria. They can be known as trans people but why the metaphysical backstory of 'truly trans'?

But they so loved that time they want to bring it back.

Mindless drone, though updated with the latest algorithm to parrot the right ideas