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EBASF3 - Some Bad Psychoanalysis
The most informal of a series of informal articles
So far I've been very careful about creating a character of myself. I don't like parasocial relationships, people have had them with me in the past and it just makes them unable to engage with me in an interesting way. But I think this part is going to be so ultimately alienating and unrelatable that it really isn't going to matter. Nonetheless, the warning is here. Honestly this probably still doesn't crack the top 10 most mentally ill things you've read this week (especially this week), which is unfortunate, but at least you know this one is genuine and not performative garbage put out by useless social climbers. You know this not just because of my work, but because I hope to make this basically as alienating and tilting as possible as a warning sign about my biases at the worst of times. You would think someone who is so adamant about not making decisions under the influence of emotionality wouldn't put something like this out but the point of this isnt to necessarily say that any of the ideas in this article are good (I might reflect on that later) but rather to give a clear example of what poasting under the influence looks like from me.
Most People are Lame in Real Life
"I'm stalling / In the good sets I spend myself / staying offstage / and in the bad sets I have to engage"
~Juan “Hungrybox Debiedma”, "Stalling"
There's a certain aesthetic that is universal in real life and also really frowned upon in video games. In video games it is called stalling, camping, or uninteractive and is characterized by trying the best to avoid interactions between players, either to gain a defensive advantage or to run out the timer while you have a lead. This is disliked for obvious reasons: in games, players and viewers like action, they want a game where whoever plays better wins at least most of the time, and dislike the faint of heart. This is what I think about real life, and it's what a lot of people tell themselves they think about real life but obviously dont change their actions to match.
Neuroticism and stalling are basically the same thing, there's nothing more uninteractive than passively working to complete the pre-established status symbols for pre-established hierarchies of social climbers. Basically, Yale college students are the jigglypuffs of real life and they should have crabs thrown at them. Actually, jigglypuff isn’t that bad and Juan gets a bad rap, so I apologize for comparing him to Yale students.
There's this anxiety study from Jean Twenge showing 60% of zoomers have symptoms which correspond to a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. To me this has deep ties to how zoomers are raised, with monthly rituals celebrating empathy, kindness, fairness, etc. which are all just neuroticism by any other name. You already know how much I hate both short attention span politics and policy by emotional manipulation so there's that. This is a very big statement that I will not prove until an actual article which is in the works.
It strikes me that in the modern era most times I have empathy have been bad for both me and the person involved. It meant trying very hard to get my ex girlfriend through subjects she couldn’t care less about, or helping my childhood friend maintain toxic family relationships, for example. Basically every nontrivial decision I've made empathetically has been bad. I think this is also true for most of my friends and it's definitely true for politics.
If you were a postliberal reactionary you might say this is because of modernity overriding our instincts. But reading classic novels and such I can't help but notice this is actually a common pattern if you would just simply just your nose out of the emotional cocaine for two seconds. Sometimes this is even explicit, like in othello or romeo and juliet or jane eyre even but honestly I get it. The empathy monkey is the strongest impulse monkey because even when people expose it for what it truly is it is painted as a good because it's the willingness to self sacrifice. Willingness to self sacrifice to do what exactly? Suicide bombers are willing to self sacrifice. Well, there's a valorization of that in some circles too but in general the potent witches' brew of emotional derangement, self sacrifice, and the envy delta seems to be a universal solvent that eats everything except a few internet people who are usually called autists or psychopaths. I love you guys by the way, especially the ones who have answered my messages or come on my podcast.
Porn and the Envy Delta
I mentioned a term called envy delta and I haven't defined it. I made it up while reading some reviews of Sadly, Porn by the last psychiatrist, namely ones from rob henderson, scott alexander, and zero hp lovecraft. He has this psychoanalytic idea that the appeal of porn is deprivation of pleasure from the other, that media in general is porn in the same sense and that this explains emotion and social norms and politics. This confirmed my biases so hard that I don't want to read the actual book anymore. But also why would anyone want to read that book?
A common belief is that people turn to porn because they can’t find sex or intimacy in real life.
Teach turns this logic on its head: people don’t want sex or intimacy in real life.
The idea is that while porn is usually thought of as a means to orgasm, this is actually a lie people tell themselves. Porn is in fact a means to deprive someone else of pleasure.
Teach writes from the perspective of a married man who uses porn rather than have sex with his wife:
“Why should she get the house and your income and also satisfaction from you? Is she satisfying you? Doesn't seem fair, the ledger is unbalanced. If some random woman wants to have sex with you, of course you'll try and satisfy her—that's a fair trade, tit for fat. But the women in your life—'you know what I mean’—scheme to get the ledger unbalanced in their favor. So the rage gets masked as a sexual fantasy and you imagine that she can only get full satisfaction with other people—which means, in real life she isn't satisfied. Ledger balanced. Her fantasy orgasms show you just how very much she is deprived of by staying with you in real life, and it makes you cum so hard.”
Anyways, envy delta. Before I define that let's define envy. Envy is the desire to deprive someone else of something you don't have, as opposed to jealousy which is simply wanting that thing for yourself, which is bad enough. Why does envy exist? Wouldn't it be better to just be jealous? No, because of a very specific set of impulses which imo belongs to terrible people, aka most of humanity.
Someone in our tribe likes to take down a big animal immediately. We all start mocking him and making fun of him. You know, teasing him for how he runs or how he dresses or you know ah making fun of how he laughs like basically they're trying to cut him down because he did this great Thing. He kills this big animal and helps to feed. The group but they don't want him to think too much of himself. They don't want him to grow arrogant and so immediately all the other men start trying to ensure that he lets him know that hey just because you did this great thing doesn't mean that you're so special. Okay. And I think that Urge is present in all of us and and so I think you know in the modern West It sort of expresses itself in these blank slates where we don't want to acknowledge that. But it's interesting, right? B Blank Slate isn't for everything. It's you know we don't say this for um, you know sense of Humor. Or I think even for things like work ethic. It seems like most of the blank slate stuff I think is primarily isolated to like intelligence and maybe a couple of other traits but not for not for everything.
This makes sense evolutionarily, since inferior people want a chance to pass their genes forward and can also kill superior people if they outnumber that group. Wait, wasn't that the self-stated motivational structure of the holocaust, holodomor, great leap forward, and completely coincidentally, social progressives and populism? Like I said, awful awful people. People are going to say "social progressives and populism don’t literally want to kill people" and those people are right, but the problem is that the emotional sentiment is deranging and awful and also when you’re deranged and have enough government power you probably kill people anyway.
The Envy Delta, For Real This Time
"amazon is becoming hated, not by normal people, but by the activists on twitter ... on both sides, just the worst people"
Anyways. The envy delta.
Jealousy is possible if you can remotely reasonably argue that you deserve something as much as someone else. If there is any overlap between your possible value and their possible value. When we really didn’t have good ways of measuring this, the variance was so big that you can put up an egalitarian façade. The more obvious it becomes that some people are better than others, the less often jealousy can be used. This sounds logical, but I think this comes intuitively too. "I should have what Elon has, I could do what he does" is not a sentence that will be believed coming from anyone outside of a tiny handful of people.
"freedom, inequality, and diversity all mean the same thing"
Part of the glory of a highly free society is that people who are better at something are able to contribute in ways that prove they are better at said thing. This is wonderful. A side effect is that what some people can accomplish when given freedom makes that kind of jealousy impossible. But this was possible before too. The best hunter on his worst day was still probably better than the worst hunter on a good day, depending on how hard it was to qualify to be a hunter in the first place. So, while more common, jealousy didn't cut it. What would you do if you really resented Elon musk but you couldn't hope to make any claim that you were as good as him. Well that's easy. It's not that I deserve what Elon has, it's that *no one* deserves what Elon has. That's the killer move. That's the real life equivalent of camping ledge and pound stalling offstage. It's repulsive, noninteractive and bad for everyone in the long run. Just kidding, jigglypuff is actually tolerable, social progressives and populists are way worse. Well, this might lead to a kind of libertarian ideology:
““We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.
We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.”
-AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged
Objection, Ms. Rand. If it were so easy to separate men of the mind from the rest I genuinely believe we would have done it already. The problem is that the line between social climber and builder runs between the heart of every man. There are tons of high-iq and highly agentic people who nonetheless fall for appeals to envy and the litany of other subroutines that optimize the propaganda function. I think I'm pretty good at generally not being a hypocrite but of course there are probably other emotional biases and impulses I fall for. But I would at least claim I am less bad at this by normally only crystallizing and publishing information that I've collated in a clear mind.
So what do I think about politics anyway? A poll of my followers found none of them know what I think on most actual political issues, which I think is about right. Maybe ill keep it that way but I do want to talk about how I make decisions about who to put into political power. Specifically I'll talk about progressivism and populism, which I think are awful, and also the IDW who are also somewhat awful for different reasons.
The Psychoanalysis Hits
“A lot of mediocre people love conformity, since it gives them something they can actually compete on”
In this analysis progressivism is the unbridled ideology of envy. It is the last gasp of the conformist midwits who refuse to accept their lying eyes, and also science, which tells them irrefutably that some people are better than others, and the best people are drastically better than the worst. This is a powerful political force because it is a self-updating, hyperconnected tribe that unites around an emotional sentiment; in fewer words it is a firehose of bullshit. It is a script for propaganda which is optimized for the legacy class or those who want to cover up some form of failure to live up to their inheritance. It is the last gasp of the Ceausescu types who have lost the ability to claim they are doing good for the people, or that they are even preferable to the alternative, but have to claim there is no way for things to be better at all. It is not that government can do what musk can anymore. It is not even that government can indirectly create more musks. It is that no one deserves to be musk, or bezos. It is an ideology of hate, which envy is by any other name, full stop, and I'm tired of pretending that it's anything else. There’s this parlor trick where social progressives pretend that people who don't want sex change surgeries to be legalized want to kill those people instead of just leaving them without sex change surgeries and they say some emotionally manipulative slogan like "they deny the existence of transgender people". This is what actually happens when you have envy though, once again different from jealousy, that people who feel so inferior to someone else has to deny that the superior person can exist at all.
Populism is a bit more complicated both because it is more diversified and more legitimate. There's old fashioned dislike of foreigners, warlike impulses and scapegoating, so in other words most of the awful people who we haven’t mentioned before. This is necessary because this ideology is for people who are not so out of touch with their basic impulses that they will support malicious envy to the point of destruction of people who have contributed greatly to their lives. The legitimate argument for populism is that people who call themselves elites are pretentious midwits who don’t even know when they are overstepping their limits and we would be better off ruled by dumber but more humble people. I think that steelman is correct for many issues, but I would say the tariff-increasing, wall-building, abortion-banning, monarchy-reinstating(???) side is not actually that humble either. Maybe the real populist move is electing someone so incompetent that they won't get anything meaningful done. Maybe the real populist position is to get someone like that on both party tickets and then make them squabble over who won even though it wasn't close, distracting the midwit class even more from doing more damage.
Well what ideologies DO I like? Well, the IDW isn't that bad is it? Have some more song lyrics, from an actual song this time:
"I hope that the weakness that keeps you thinking of me
Is still hurting you, even just a little
And I hope that you even start to find them inevitable
And be just as soaked in these emotions as me
I hope that the strength that keeps you thinking of me
Is still troubling you, even just a little
Saying the answer was a sacrifice, that it wounded
That it was inevitable, that it hurt
All sounds so cheerful doesn’t it"
This song is about a girl trapped as a side character in a bunch of video games. In other words, she has no power, never will have power of her own, and is completely subject to the whims of the "player". This is a good metaphor for the IDW or "intellectual dark web", which writes some pretty good studies and thinkpieces that use complicated arguments to prove obvious points that no low-quality person would believe anyway. YOUR PROBLEM IS THAT WE HAVE TO REMOVE LOW QUALITY PEOPLE FROM INSTITUTIONS NOT THAT YOU HAVENT WRITTEN ENOUGH THINKPIECES THAT ONLY PERMEATE THE SKULLS OF HIGH QUALITY PEOPLE.
It should be pointed out that while modern adherents of classical liberalism like bari weiss or greg lukainoff might not be blank slatist enough to deny basic sex differences or even individual variance in iq, that have not for a moment applied the implications of the latter to their ideology. Literally every classical liberal does something like: construct a human model of someone who occupies an institution, usually vastly overestimating their ability to think and/or avoid emotional manipulation, and then build the institutional rules around them. This makes no sense in real life, where institutions are populated by real life people of greatly differing quality. The decline of academia is the least surprising thing ever. You took a group tasked with solving abstract problems with extremely high average iq and diluted with people with far lower iq with equal or greater power. What the fuck did you think would happen? And the cope about postmodernism is even worse. You let midwits into your institution and they adopted a stupid conformist ideology. Many people have made the observation that liberalism is too ignorant of power but it doesn’t recognize that this stems from a dependency on blank slatism that hasn’t been acknowledged. Power matters because the people in power differ greatly in ability. Any analysis that misses this will fail completely. Hence the IDW relegating itself to the position of a video game side character begging the players to feel bad.
So what’s my actual theory of the case in this argument? Valorization of envy produces awful people and worse, puts them into power. It doesn’t matter which awful people are produced, but they’re the ones in power so they’re going to create some ideology as a post-hoc justification for their incompetence, whether it’s woke or MAGA. The way to prevent this is a long climb back up the mountain where we encourage explicit competition and accept that in almost everything worth doing, some people are better than others. We stigmatize envious impulses, not necessarily so that they will disappear completely, but so that the people who cannot control those impulses are kept out of power. We know this is possible because we do it in video games, sports, and in business sometimes.