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Robin DiAngelo's "Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm."

I was not happy with DiAngelos' (re-)definition of racism to something other than the common sense of the term in "White Fragility." Nonetheless I feel validated after having read "Nice Racism," living in a city that is boisterously progressive and supposedly free from discrimination, racism, and stereotypical thinking. I have posted previously on progressives' "presumed moral superiority [...] [blinding] this kind of person from seeing how they themselves are guilty of the very things they stare down their noses and sneer at the 'others' for," and, well, Robin DiAngelo says very much the same thing:

But because they see themselves as progressive in terms of racism, they do not see anti-racism efforts as directed at them; they “already know all this” and are not part of the problem. Thus, they may not involve themselves in anti-racist efforts, but if they do, they can be rather self-righteous as they point out racism in everyone other than themselves.

Yet it is the white progressive who can cause the most daily harm to people of color. While I did not originate the idea that white progressives can be more harmful than explicit racists—as we saw, activists such as King and Baldwin were challenging white progressives as early as the 1950s—I have certainly observed it day in and out, and I stand by this claim in my work.

On calling out racism and micro-aggression in others, and your accusations falling on deaf ears because this is obviously a progressive culture, and therefore not racist by fiat, since progressives are against racism by definition, and therefore by identifying as a progressive you are not a racist:

Another example of the racial arrogance of white progressives surfaced in a recent interview for a European newspaper. The journalist conducting the interview shared that he is multiracial. He has a circle of white friends whom he has known for decades and who “definitely” identify as progressives. Yet across all those years, he has tried repeatedly to talk to them about the racism he experiences, and they refuse to listen.

This participant explained how exhausting it was when “well-intentioned, progressive [white] people who think they are lovers of justice” consistently policed his emotional responses to racism. Many activists of color felt that the racism coming from white activists compounded and made more painful, frustrating, and debilitating the racism of white people not necessarily identified as “allies.”

Consider a study of racial activist burnout, in which educational researchers Paul Gorski and Noura Erakat noticed a pattern.10 While both white activists and activists of color experienced burnout, the reasons varied. Of particular relevance, these researchers found that 82 percent of the activists of color they interviewed identified white racial justice activists as a major source of their burnout. The activists of color “attributed their burnout to the attitudes and behaviors—the racism—of white activists” (italics in original). Yes, even white people involved in racial justice activism—the far end of the progressive spectrum—perpetrate racism.

Similarly, with analogy to religious traditions of old, I have remarked on how "performing such rituals as making the sign of the cross is enough to imbue one with divine virtue," where performing actions or chanting the usual hymns and refrains of progressive thought is entirely sufficient to turn someone into an advocate for diversity, without needing to undertake the (spiritual, even) journey of self-reflection that is actually required to modify one's own mental models and stances on racism; "just because Christ preached a message of virtue doesn't mean that Christians who purportedly follow in his footsteps actually are virtuous," and "does flying a pride flag mean that one truly is a tolerant, accepting individual?"

Activists of color were forced to expend extra energy teaching these white “allies” about racism. They had to endure pushback from white activists who refused to engage in self-examination, viewing themselves as more racially conscious than they actually were. As one study participant stated, “I got burned from so-called white liberal progressive allies who were on board until it meant that they needed to do self-reflection, until it meant that they needed to learn about themselves and this wasn’t about learning about . . . the poor black kid from the Bronx . . .”

I am pleasantly surprised, as DiAngelo is, or was in my mind, one of the figures spearheading the new progressive movement, and here she is, calling out the iniquities of that very same movement.

She opens up her third chapter with a rather poignant analogy from Anika Nailah:

Being with white progressives is like being a driving instructor and having someone who does not know how to drive but thinks that they do get in the car with you. They’re at the wheel, but because of how they see themselves, they can’t hear you, and if they do hear you, they’re not really listening. And that makes them dangerous.

It's one thing to take an fMRI of someone dreaming, and another to understand the subjective experience itself, with all its ramifications into one's psychological structure.

an innovation of the Enlightenment's is a general rejection of mystery, and that seems about right. I do not believe there is meaningful knowledge beyond comprehension

What about exploring the structures and patterns of the mind? How does one comprehend the very faculty of comprehension, apprehension, and perception itself? Can this subjective phenomenon even be attacked from an objective, empirical point of view?

James DeKorne's Gnostic Book of Changes is good for reading the I Ching from a western esotericist point of view, including not only various translations of the Book of Changes but also additional gnostic and Jungian commentary thereon.

Part of this position appears contingent on the proposition that Peterson is "practicing" psychology when he is speaking in the public sphere.

Now the question is whether or not Peterson made these statements as a clinical psychologist, and whether or not his statements violated professional standards. Specifically:

34 Engaging in conduct or performing an act, in the course of practicing the profession, that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional.

It's worth noting that this regulation is made under the Psychology Act of 1991, which clearly defines the "Scope of practice":

Scope of practice

3 The practice of psychology is the assessment of behavioral and mental conditions, the diagnosis of neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions and psychotic, neurotic and personality disorders and dysfunctions and the prevention and treatment of behavioral and mental disorders and dysfunctions and the maintenance and enhancement of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and interpersonal functioning. 1991, c. 38, s. 3.

I find it hard to categorize any of Peterson's remarks on social media and outside of the clinic as falling under the scope of practice as defined above.

Since Peterson effectively stopped practicing in 2016, this was a position of contention by the ICRC. Peterson, in responding to concerns that he continued to publicly identify as a clinical psychologist stated:

"I remain a clinical psychologist and am functioning in the broad public space as both. Given that I am still licensed, and still practicing in that more diffuse and broader manner, I think it is appropriate for me to identify myself as a psychologist".

While Peterson may be using the words "functioning" and "practicing" in his response here, it would seem to me an act of equivocation to consider this the same sort of "practice" as precisely defined in the Psychology Act. There is a comment downthread regarding rule by law that is particularly pertinent here, and not applying biases nor judgments that are not contained in its words.

I reiterate a passage from the CBC article I discussed previously, in which the Canadian Civil Liberties Association remarks on "speech that is not directly connected to professional practice":

Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) Executive Director Noa Mendelsoh Aviv, meanwhile, said in a statement that the CCLA doesn't endorse Peterson's views, but still argued in court that professional regulatory bodies shouldn't be policing speech that is not directly connected to professional practice.

The study lost track of about 50% of its recruited population over a 6 12 month follow-up period, which roughly tracks with the figures I've given above. Note well the ~50% turnover in devices and phone numbers in a 3 month period, as well as the third who simply never even accessed the Internet at all.

EDIT: I will also note that I never used the word "overwhelming" in any of my posts upthread; that was your choice of vocabulary. It seems that you argue with yourself.

I suppose that PNAS then has utterly lost all ability to critique experimental design and question the results of papers in the peer review process? You can shout about the replication crisis all you like, but this critique of the paper precedes any attempt at replication and is targeted towards the very design of the study itself, as well as the conclusions drawn from its methodology.

Is there no opportunity to apply Occam's razor here? Or is PNAS indeed that intellectually bankrupt?

You really have no idea how some of these people live, do you? Why do you think so many homeless hang out at public libraries or cheap coffee shops that won't kick them out? Part of the reason is so that they can use their free wifi to get whatever business they need done and to get in contact with others.

Yes, carrying a mobile phone around until you have access to these hotspots is worth it.

I suspect you may have gotten the 95% upper bound from a study such as this, which notes:

The vast majority (94%) currently owned a cell phone, although there was considerable past 3-month turnover in phones (56%) and phone numbers (55%). More than half currently owned a smartphone, and 86% of those used Android operating systems. Most (85%) used a cell phone daily, 76% used text messaging, and 51% accessed the Internet on their cell phone. One-third reported no past 3-month Internet use.

You may have a mobile phone, but having stable access to Internet, cellular, and/or data is not a guarantee.

For all their talk of being "victims" of society, I have tested the progressive population in my own city of Toronto to see just how far they will go to abuse and demean others, despite their false pretense of being in favour of "inclusivity."

I am disappointed by the results. As such I have no faith that being mistreated leads one to sympathize with others who are mistreated, at all. Once you're at the top of the totem pole with your ideology's flag waving in the wind, it's simply your turn to start the bullying.

What a foolish rebuttal from a garbage sensational rag (the National Post).

The researchers are not "putting their thumb on the scale" when designing their study to address a certain subset of the homeless population that actually wants to leave their condition of homelessness by explicitly excluding the long-term homeless from its cohort (who presumably are more content with that lifestyle, having been in that situation for longer).

Further, it's very easy to lose contact with the homeless, who obviously will not have regular access to Internet or cellular connection, due to lack of affordability of a mobile plan, let alone a mobile phone.

I wouldn't put any stock in a journalist's ability to critique a scientific paper, particularly when that journalist has no formal training in the sciences themselves. It's precisely these kind of low-brow takes that throw the humanities into question, not reputable scientific researched published in (of all journals!) PNAS.

Sure. Many homeless will take the money and run off to buy drugs or spend it on other frivolities. When I was given my opportunity, I saved, studied, worked, and now own an $800,000 condo in Toronto, 9 years after being rendered homeless.

I highly recommend this book. Daniel Ingram has produced tables of correspondences mapping his model of the stages of insight to the Hermetic Qabalah as understood by Aleister Crowley.

EDIT: Daniel Ingram has posted at least once about his forays into Thelema and its rendition of the Tree of Life.

The Goldman paper is quite topical; what I've gotten from it thus far is the idea that one can have a belief formed from perceptual (or otherwise) data that is not at all causally connected with the thing they purport to have knowledge of. In particular, protracted chains of inference do not yield knowledge unless they can actually reconstruct the chain of causality.

It will take a while for me to parse the entire paper properly.

Well, as someone who has spent the entirety of my adult life in thoroughly progressive social spheres - everything from explicit socialist activist spaces in college

The three most egregious examples - the people who will be first against the wall if I’m ever magically granted dictatorial power - were, respectively, half-Filipino-half-black, fully black, and half-Puerto-Rican-half-white.

This reads like a real "mask off" moment.

Cheap shots aside, if you are unhappy with the consequences of the poorly designed social technology that progressives have wrought, perhaps you should do something about it and work to dismantle it instead of continuing to ally yourselves with a group that continues to uphold and maintain it. Progressives incessantly focus on race. Race, gender, identity. Race, gender, identity. Is it then any surprise that when progressives create an incentive structure that rewards dividing people based on their race, gender, or other identity, and penalizes those who refuse to play ball, that individuals and especially ethnic minorities who are granted "mercy and benefit of the doubt" follow those incentives and now play those very same identity politics cards against the progressives?

The cancellations will continue until the ideology is uprooted, and the social technology dismantled.

An Ontario court ruling against Jordan Peterson was previously brought up elsewhere here on the Motte, and I thought I would share some of my own thoughts on the matter.

Many influential, insightful thought leaders in history have been known for their incendiary personalities. As someone who rolled in the historically meritocratic, classically liberal, perhaps even libertarian technology space prior to its colonization by white progressives, Linus Torvalds is first to come to mind, notorious for his provocative comments on the Linux kernel mailing list, including a historic flame war against rival operating system engineer Andrew Tanenbaum, which culminated in a fashion similar to that of Dr. Peterson: an agreement to attend a re-education camp therapy to, indeed, adopt more "politically correct" (the predominant euphemism at the time preceding the emergence of the term "woke") language.

Why do I say that the technology space has been colonized? As one who grew up on IRC, which was widely understood at the time to not be real life, flame wars were in fact a prominent element of internet culture. Quoth the preceding Wikipedia article,

Flame wars can become intense and can include "death threats, ad hominem invective, and textual amplifiers,” but to some sociologists flame wars can actually bring people together. What is being said in a flame war should not be taken too seriously since the harsh words are a part of flaming.

I have posted elsewhere on the Motte regarding my thoughts on language and how, to again quote Frege, "If two persons picture the same thing, each still has his own idea." So too with flame wars; while they may be loaded with, to postmodern sensibilities, invective and perhaps even disturbing language, they were never meant to be taken seriously because [the internet's] not a real place. Yet, a progressive colonist, unfamiliar with the customs, norms, and practices of the culture they invade, might see those same words and bring into mind not the tongue-in-cheek, playful banter reminiscent of MTV's "Yo Momma," but will instead project their existing white progressive norms and worldview unto a foreign situation and read the most vile, utter hatred into what was just a bunch of transient, flippant remarks on a computer screen. They will read whatever meaning they want into those words, and in the present year it is most politically advantageous to read the utmost offense into every situation so as to gain moral leverage over everybody one meets, with the option of deploying cancellation against one's opponents at their own leisure.

The Internet was full of a bunch of socially awkward, socially shunned nerds, and the Internet offered them a venue not only to express themselves, but also vent their frustrations. Once Facebook arrived upon the scene, the Net was colonized by a bunch of privileged progressive whites who began imposing their cultural norms on geek culture - a form of colonization.

Linus Torvalds' soft-cancellation was hotly discussed on Hacker News, a long-standing forum for tech and tech-adjacent professionals, and the encroaching spectre of political correctness was distinctly palpable at that time. Linus himself notes that some of the most fervent advocates for "moderation" of his speech indeed had nothing constructive nor actually technical to say about Linux on, well, the Linux kernel mailing list:

"And even when there are disagreements, people in the end often have fairly clear and objective measures of what is better. Code that is faster, simpler, or handles more cases naturally is just objectively 'better', without people really having to argue too much about it.

"In contrast, the arguments about behaviour never seem to end up having a common goal. Except, in some sense, the argument itself.

"Have you read the Twitter feeds and other things by the people who seem to care more about the non-technical side?

I (alongside many, many others, here and elsewhere) have drawn comparisons between political correctness and religion in the past. Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, the startup accelerator that operates Hacker News, also remarked upon the differences between religious and technical discourse in his 2009 essay, "Keep Your Identity Small.":

What's different about religion is that people don't feel they need to have any particular expertise to have opinions about it. All they need is strongly held beliefs, and anyone can have those. No thread about Javascript will grow as fast as one about religion, because people feel they have to be over some threshold of expertise to post comments about that. But on religion everyone's an expert.

Instead of contributing anything actually technical to the technology space, progressives would prefer to "remove abuse enabling language" from community "Codes of Conduct" to engage in narcissistic moral grandstanding and proudly display just what good people they are. Note that the previous link does not include any actual changes to the Ruby programming language, but instead wastes countless hours of developer time bikeshedding (to make use of some developer jargon) over a bunch of words in a Markdown text file (not source code!) that have no actual technical consequence whatsoever. However, that's not to say that this sort of useless pearl clutching is always without consequence; indeed, it has caused damages, to which a dollar figure can be assigned, in other instances such as when a Reddit outage was caused by changing the name of a label from "master," which is obviously racist and abuse-enabling language. Truly, they have received their reward in full.

Now, what does all this have to do with Dr. Peterson? From the CBC article,

"Today's ruling that as a professional regulatory body, the College of Psychologists of Ontario has the mandate to regulate degrading and demeaning speech by its members [...]

Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) Executive Director Noa Mendelsoh Aviv, meanwhile, said in a statement that the CCLA doesn't endorse Peterson's views, but still argued in court that professional regulatory bodies shouldn't be policing speech that is not directly connected to professional practice.

Notice any parallels? The College of Psychologists of Ontario, as with the politically correct mob that colonized the technology sphere, has little to say regarding Peterson's actual clinical practice of psychology, but instead would prefer to engage in this same language policing game played by those who lambasted Linus on the kernel mailing list. Instead of discussing the technical points of their discipline, they would prefer to engage in religious arguments over which catechisms and dogma of political correctness were being violated, and administer the rite of penance to all the evil sinners who have strayed from the path of the righteous.

Here, the penance takes not the form of Hail Marys or Our Fathers, but social media training of the same sort that Linus went through before changing the language he used on the Linux kernel mailing list. As the preeminent software engineer that he is, Linus remarked on how this problem may be automated by way of technical solutions:

And yes, some of it might be "just" tooling. Maybe I can get an email filter in place so at when I send email with curse-words, they just won't go out. Because hey, I'm a big believer in tools, and at least some problems going forward might be improved with simple automation.

How prophetic. Instead of email filters, we now have predictive text, ChatGPT, and large language models that can fill in your own thoughts for you, and indeed puppeteer you to write just like the white progressives. I am reminded of how many Filipinos, often employed in call centers serving customers a 16 hour flight across the world in the Western Anglosphere (and often in Canada, home of the totally-not-racist progressives!), endeavour to eliminate their native accents so that the party on the other end of the line will not make judgments about their intelligence or capacity to actually solve their problem, even to the point of immediately requesting that they be escalated to a manager upon hearing a Pinoy accent over the phone. Speaking from my own experience in the corporate world I have experienced enormous cognitive load trying to pick and choose every single word I utter on the web, for fear of angering some white progressive who will deliberately misconstrue my words and read offense into even the most benign terminology, presumably to gain some sort of moral ammunition to volley in my direction when the opportunity presents itself, and can then return victoriously to the tribe for having felled another deplorable. The activation energy is at times so high that I'd prefer to simply not say anything at all.

What effects does needing to change the way you speak, your accent, the language(s) and vocabulary you use, have upon your own internal notions of self, the external representations of your identity to the world at large, and indeed, the way you think? Many thought leaders and intellectuals are respected not for their conformity to existing norms, practices, beliefs, and traditions, but for the way that they break free of the mould and escape whatever local minima in the cognitive landscape is inhabited by their peers, to come up with something truly novel and unprecedented. Yet how is it possible to explore other ways of thinking, other avenues of approach, when you are being told how to drive through the streets and lanes of the mind with ChatGPT as your navigator? Why bother exploring the back alleys of thinking, when all the directions, the apparently "fastest routes" are given to you by your GPS? Just get on the rails of mainstream opinion and ride them to the terminus; no need to tread off the beaten path and blaze your own trails. To pull out a little Crowley for dramatic effect, "I do not want to father a flock, to be the fetish of fools and fanatics, or the founder of a faith whose followers are content to echo my opinions. I want each man to cut his own way through the jungle."

Will it be possible to see the likes of Crowley, of Peterson, of Torvalds, or of other prickly and yet prescient thinkers once everybody is using ChatGPT to wordsmith their emails, their essays, and indeed their own thoughts? Where does your self end and the Borg begin, once we all begin speaking, writing, talking the same way? Julian Jaynes, in his landmark work, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind," goes so far as to assert that language generates consciousness, that we in fact narrate who we are to ourselves, to generate an "analog I," or a metaphor representative of who we are. To employ a little play on words here, what happens when that analog becomes digital, and our metaphors of ourselves become virtualized and projected out into cyberspace?

By this point it should have become clear that language is becoming increasingly policed on the Internet, and the Web in particular (which are different things!). If language generates consciousness, and our metaphors of ourselves, our "analog I's," are becoming digitized, and the entire infosphere is being subjected to tighter and tighter controls, aren't our entire self-concepts being policed too? For if one is afraid to express themselves for fear of cancellation, of violating some politically correct dogma, they may either shut up entirely, falling victim to the chilling effects of censorship, and become a digital vampire, without a reflection in the Black Mirror with which to be seen by people they will never encounter in the flesh; otherwise, they may instead opt to parrot all the usual party lines and acceptable opinions, rolling down the valleys of the cognitive landscape to occupy the same local minima as everyone else, their self becoming assimilated into the digital mass of the Internet. Or perhaps, instead of becoming a form of assimilation, it becomes a form of digital dissociative identity disorder, in which one extraverts only the opinions of orthodoxy, suppressing what they really think and feel, creating a deep schism within the psyche.

In short, actions of this sort undertaken by progressives impact one's right to affirm and express their own identity. The irony.

Indeed, I have benefited from, and owe my life to, a primarily privately funded nonprofit.

I appreciate your blunt honesty. I find it refreshing. It's far more human than the dispositions of progressives who claim to be for X virtuous cause while simultaneously doing nothing material to advance it.

I agree that this non-negligible subset of homeless people exists, and I also doubt the existence of a solution that covers all cases. Nonetheless I still hope (in vain?) that something can be achieved that minimizes suffering and waste for all parties in a resource efficient manner.

Wanting to cause problems for only myself is already a difficult enough goal to aspire to. Yes; it is a long and solitary road.

Having spent some time in a homeless shelter myself for vulnerable youth, I am dismayed at how often this particular subset of the "hidden homeless" population is overlooked. Many of those youth, myself included, came from abusive households. Several of them, myself included, were still students trying to keep up the appearance of living a normal life as a well-adjusted member of society while having to sneak away to a homeless shelter in the evenings. Many of them, myself included, concurrently with undergraduate education on a co-operative work term, were employed - one of them even owned their own construction company - and were struggling to make ends meet in a city with ever increasing costs of living.

Even these character archetypes of couchsurfers or people living in a van or with family don't exhaust the full spectrum of the "hidden homeless." Not all of them have family or friends to fall back on; that's how some of them end up in a homeless shelter (which I suppose is more important in northern latitudes than the balmy climes of California). Especially if you are coming from an abusive household, sometimes those bridges need to be burned.

Try telling your friends that you are homeless. I have done so; some will shake their heads in pity and offer a kind word, but to expect them to actually understand what that's like is a tall order. Even here there is already a palpable lack of comprehension about how one could possibly end up in this situation. Further, were they to extend a helping hand, (an opportunity I was fortunate enough to have presented to me), there is a certain sense of pride in not wanting to be dependent on another, especially if they are not of your blood. It is a situation I myself have fallen into, and an offer I was still prideful enough to decline. You're living in a beat up one-bedroom apartment up in the suburbs with your own family to take care of, and now out of the blue you need to take in yet another mouth to feed into your already cramped space? Fuck it, I'll hack my own way through this world.

That's the problem I have with reducing the homeless to tired old character archetypes of psychos or methed up drug addicts. While I've only skimmed the transcript of the Klein interview on the NYT, it seems guilty of the same thing; there is little focus on the humanity and individual lived experiences of the homeless, and while that may not be the focus or subject of the interview (and that's OK), I am, to recycle a tired old trope, tired of the "sonder" (there's a millenial word for you) of tragedy being reduced to a fucking statistic. Because many homeless fall through the gaps and don't fit neatly into your perfect, abstract buckets of reality. Nevertheless. I'm already used to not being properly understood, being on the margins, an edge case, having said archetypes projected upon me and being pigeonholed onto one of your overly simplistic little categories, especially by fucking white liberals progressives who claim to have been educated out of prejudice and stereotypical thinking and incessantly wave this falsehood in your face, so perhaps it's time to move on to what to do actually do about it all.

On the subject of real estate and cost of living, having spent a few days in San Diego myself for business in a country club with golf courses as far as the eye could see, I can't really help but recall Liam Kofi Bright's essay "White Psychodrama":

[...] the culture war is sustained by a material inequality that no one is seriously trying to fix. Repenters and Repressers are both responding to discontent generated by an ideology-reality mismatch, but neither of them wishes to either ideologically justify the material inequality or give away their property and superior opportunities.

It's incredibly tone deaf for Californians in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world to wave the banner of equity and redistribution of resources when they are sitting on acres and acres of open land that could be repurposed for high-density affordable housing. If California were really serious about "eating the rich" and "solving homelessness," demolishing those fucking golf courses ought to be pretty high on their list of priorities.

But this would anger the elites. It's much easier to hide behind empty words and simulacra of compassion and equity, than to actually give property to the homeless.

Appropriation of Terminology

Lately I have been pondering many examples of words that have been surreptitiously defined away from their original meanings. "Gender," "racism," and "liberal" all come to mind. In the past I have remarked on how etymology can illuminate the history and sense of a word, but I consider etymology tangential, and not essential to what I was trying to get at. I hope that this time I can better convey my thinking.

A while ago I was reading John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty," to try to equip myself with arguments in support of freedom of thought and discussion, which seems to have been rejected by the modern progressive (my choice of this term is quite particular as I hope to soon show) zeitgeist, citing the paradox of tolerance, not wanting to hurt other people's feelings, combating the spread of "misinformation," etc. This text is considered a cornerstone of the liberal tradition; how is it then that modern progressives continue to false flag as liberals, when they reject what Mill considers "as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government" - a principle so important as to merit inclusion as the first (non-introductory) chapter in his treatise? The use of this strategy allows one to undertake tyrannical actions while simultaneously hiding behind the banner of liberalism.

I don't mean to (but wouldn't mind) go over arguments in support of or against freedom of thought and discussion - I believe that the fact that we all participate on this forum lends tacit assent to this principle. What I am interested in is digging a little more deeply into this phenomenon of taking existing words, re-defining them through academic obscurantism (as in Robin DiAngelo's definition of "racism"), memetic warfare, or otherwise, to mean something quite different from their original sense, while still being able to reap the benefits of all the associations and attributes (the "paraphiers," to take a term from Jaynes' "Bicameral Mind") of the original sense of the term prior to its redefinition.

It forms a sort of linguistic motte-and-bailey, in which one can carelessly throw around terms like racism, invoking the paraphiers of prejudice and hatred, and then retreat to the academic definition as given by DiAngelo's paper "White Fragility." But at this point the damage has already been done at the bailey; the suggestion has been made by leveraging the common-sense associations and paraphiers of the term "racism," but when pressed to collapse the "linguistic superposition" one can retreat to the motte of "systemic racism," an academic notion quite different from the "common sense" of the term "racism."

At the risk of sounding trite and rehashing tired (and yet still topical) literature, this redefinition of terms seems vaguely Orwellian and Newspeakish; the Ministry of Diversity comes to mind, in which one clothes themselves with the language of virtue and positive paraphiers in order to garner good will and obscure one's own moral failings. I consider it a form of cultural appropriation, in which the terminology of one culture, tradition, or ideology is co-opted by another for political ends.

Definitions and the Tower of Babel

To steal an idea from Wittgenstein's Tractatus, 4.026: The meanings of the simple signs (the words) must be explained to us, if we are to understand them. It's through this careless use of language, in which one equivocates between different senses and definitions of terms, that I believe is at the root of many disagreements in the modern Culture War. We have arrived at a digital Tower of Babel, in which everyone is using the same words, and yet has completely different ideas in mind (Si duo idem faciunt, non est idem). Western progressive society cannot even agree on the meaning of gender any more, which I would venture is one of the most basic and fundamental concepts of human existence; how then can any productive discourse take place if interlocutors cannot even "come to terms" on what exactly they mean?

I lay blame at the feet of the structure of digital and social media; the Internet has adopted, prefers, short-form Tweets, TikToks, soundbytes, and Reddit shitposts that lazily throw around loaded language and weighty words, without bothering to expand out in what sense they are using those words. I was somewhat taken aback at Mill's flowery and verbose brand of Victorian English, but having witnessed the miscommunication and misunderstanding that arises from textual media that fails to fill out its ideas in sufficient detail, I now better understand why he expended so many words to clearly outline his thinking.

Otherwise, we are simply exchanging pure simulacra, with "no relation to any reality whatsoever." Words that purport to stand for an idea like "virtue" or "diversity," but are all bone and no flesh; Baudrillard goes so far as to say that "all Western faith and good faith became engaged in this wager on representation: that a sign could refer to the depth of meaning, that a sign could be exchanged for meaning and that something could guarantee this exchange." This is no longer the case given this careless use of language; words become hollow icons meant to evoke positive associations or paraphiers in the mind of their audience, without actually guaranteeing that the same meaning conveyed by the writer will be received by the reader.

Imagine your whole village, who are a great trad community

This precondition implies that there is already tacit cooperation and mutual good will within the community. Outside such a small village, would you feel comfortable staking your life on the presumed good will of others?

Goggins was always a jock

Sure, Goggins wasn't stellar academically, so I wouldn't classify him as a nerd. Yes, Goggins played varsity basketball and joined the Scouts; are these sufficient conditions to turn anyone into a jock? And if so, shouldn't Zuck or Fridman now be jocks based on their practice of martial arts? Or are you saying that it's now "too late" for them, and that once you've fallen into a particular bucket, there is no getting out?

Back then I was nineteen years old and weighed 175 pounds. By the time I was discharged four years later, I had ballooned to nearly 300 pounds and was on a different kind of patrol.

In my last days in the Air Force I weighed 255 pounds. After my discharge I continued to bulk up with both muscle and fat until I weighed nearly 300 pounds. I wanted to be big because being big hid David Goggins. I was able to tuck this 175-pound person into those 21-inch biceps and that flabby belly. I grew a burly mustache and was intimidating to everyone who saw me, but inside I knew I was a pussy, and that’s a haunting feeling.

My staple was a breakfast buffet for one, the likes of which few could put down in a single sitting. Think: eight Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, a half-dozen scrambled eggs, a half-pound of bacon, and two bowls of Fruity Pebbles. Don’t forget, I had just decimated a box of donuts and a chocolate shake.

Was Goggins still a jock during this period of time, having already been sorted into that category? If so, what does being a jock even mean, if not exhibiting a jocular lifestyle and behaviours, at present, commonly attributed to that label? Is it merely meant to indicate what one once was, and not who they are now, at present?

Aren't the years of "lived experience" of his post-discharge lifestyle also unchangeable?

What I'm trying to get at is that these labels are impermanent and bounded by a particular span of time.

In any case, I would venture that "lived experience" is a mental construct, and thus subject to internal reinterpretation or "transmutation" into something more constructive, meaningful, or altogether different. It is true that early life experiences set you on a trajectory, which can be difficult to alter or pivot; however, I would disagree that once a label is ascribed to someone it becomes solidified and immutable. After all - to what are you even assigning those labels?

Yes... what I was trying to relate with that poorly woven together collection of quotes in my other comment is the malleability of the mind, by producing known examples of those who have had their psyches radically altered due to willpower, life circumstances, trauma, spiritual experience, etc... and how such transformation of the inner world can lead to rather drastic alteration of one's outward character.

"Mind over matter," or, "as above, so below," as the Hermetists would put it.

I’ve never considered either side of the debate “hatred”.

I would go so far as to say that at least whites who are on the side of fat acceptance are in fact on the side of racism, and therefore hatred. Any white who is fat and calling themselves a victim is being incredibly tone deaf and ignorant of the fact that a dozen people die a minute from hunger and poverty in the third world.

Recalling Robin DiAngelo's definition of racism as actions and beliefs that perpetuate an unequal distribution of resources between whites and people of colour, this becomes immediately clear. People are literally starving to death because they don't have access to the obscene amount of caloric resources that are available in overabundance in the first world, and here you have whites who are obese crying about what victims they are, while continuing to hoard all this caloric wealth for themselves.

It is indeed "harmful to the larger society." The fat acceptance movement is a "social and cultural structure" that continues to uphold, perpetuate, and even celebrate this uneven distribution of resources, and therefore is supportive of racism, a form of hate, which is obviously deplorable.

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@2rafa's comment was made in reply to a question of "when LARP turns into reality," and presumably rejects that this is possible as there is something psychological, metaphysical, or otherwise that is "solidified" at some point in time.

If you change everything about your physical incarnation - your physique, mode of fashion, hairstyle, manner of speech and behaviour, interests and hobbies, lifestyle - what exactly is left to your "self?"

Yes, your mind, as both yourself and @sun have noted, and this is why I bring up Goggins as a living example of how malleable one's "self" (whatever that means - I question its existence in the same way some schools of Buddhist thought reject the existence of a self, and posit its absence as one of the three essential characteristics of existence) is, independent of philosophical navel-gazing regarding the matter.

The subtitle to his book "Can't Hurt Me" is "Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds," in which this kernel of wisdom is found:

Our minds are fucking strong, they are our most powerful weapon, but we have stopped using them. [...] If you want to be one of the few to defy those trends in our ever-softening society, you will have to be willing to go to war with yourself and create a whole new identity, which requires an open mind.

Robert Anton Wilson in his chapter "Mindwashing & Brain-Programming" from his book "Prometheus Rising" relates another example of one whose "identity" was stripped away and reformulated:

When Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army on February 4, 1974, she was a “normal” young heiress. She was attending a normal college, had a normal live-in boyfriend and smoked a normal amount of weed for a young heiress of that time. 57 days later, she had become a new person, with a new name — Tania — and was living in a new reality-tunnel.

Where Patty had been heterosexual, Tania was bisexual. Where Patty largely accepted the Hearst family tunnel-reality with only a few “liberal” modifications typical of her age group, Tania was a violent and fanatic revolutionary.

In some ways it is one of the oldest stories - the myth of the Hero's Journey, of departure, adventure, and radical self-transformation. Jonah and the whale come to mind. Aleister Crowley also notes discusses this archetype in Liber ABA:

But what of the origin of religions? How is it that unproved assertion has so frequently compelled the assent of all classes of mankind? Is not this a miracle? There is, however, one form of miracle which certainly happens, the influence of the genius.

What is there in common between Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed? Is there any one point upon which all three are in accord? No point of doctrine, no point of ethics, no theory of a "hereafter" do they share, and yet in the history of their lives we find one identity amid many diversities.

A nobody goes away, and comes back a somebody.

In my view, the proper lens under which religion should be regarded is psychological; perhaps Carl Jung's melding of psychology and mythology is closest to what I mean. Souls, gods, angels, demons, etc. are to be regarded as components of one's psyche; the great work of one's spiritual journey is the rearranging of internal narratives and models of the external world, "to do battle with one's demons," and to bring the physical world into closer accordance with what exists only in the mind. It is the process of individuation in Jung's terminology, or the journey of self-transformation. "As above, so below."

it's never the same as the girl who realized she was beautiful at 12. It just isn't.

Why not? I don't understand the distinction you're trying to draw here, other than that physiques change over time. Or do you posit the existence of some kind of enduring metaphysical "self" that is somehow set in stone and fixed immutably at some critical point in adolescence?

Have you heard of David Goggins?

That's true, but it's not necessary for said fictions to be theistic in order to motivate people to live out their chosen meaning together.

I will also add that, very often, hell is other people, and so it's questionable that wanting to live out a meaning together with anyone is desirable, especially as the size of the group increases.