Utopian America

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The following is copy-pasted verbatim from: from http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/7x78v/what_do_modern_men_want_in_women/c07omtc?context=3

[–]ladytrompetista 24 points ago

What I don't understand is how these oft-mentioned women who systematically ruin lives have had multiple relationships, but there are nice and normal girls who never get asked out.

[–]Whisper 26 points ago

Because the ranks of the self-reported "nice and normal" girls include those systematic life-ruiners.

The problem is not that some have the inclination to, but that all of them have the power to.

[–]ladytrompetista 8 points ago

Men can ruin lives, too. It's a human trait. I don't see your point.

[–]Whisper 520 points ago*

Well, then, since it is not immediately obvious, allow me to explain.

Women have much more power in relationships than men do. Not just by social convention (which, believe me, is power enough), not just because others are more sympathetic to their side of any story (which, believe me, is also more than power enough), but via the full weight and majesty of the law.

Let us construct, in our heads, a hypothetical scenario. I shall use you and I as examples, just give some sense of the impact of these events on people's lives.

Let us suppose that we meet, by chance, in some gathering place in some city where, at some time in the future, we both reside. I am tall, handsome, muscular, well-dressed, and confident; you are pretty, intelligent, charming, and you get my jokes.

Nature takes its course.

About a year later, you decide that I am a good catch, the best of your available options, and you would like to be married. You drop hints, but I demur. I like you well enough, but you want children and I do not. Not to mention that I am still considering my options and am unready to enter into any sort of lifelong pact.

(This is the branch point. This is where we tell the story of what you could legally do, were you so inclined.)

You simply stop taking your birth control pills, without a word to me. This is not a crime, because legally, I have no right to know. They are your pills, and it is your body.

After a couple of attempts which I did not know were attempts, you become pregnant. You may have attempted with other men as well. Let's leave that matter unresolved for the moment.

You do not tell me until you start to show. This is also perfectly legal.

Once I figure things out, I offer to pay for half the termination procedure. You decline to undergo one. This, too, is legal. The law allows you the "right to choose". I, however, have no such right.

I do a little snooping, and discover unused quantities of birth control pills in the bathroom cabinet. Since they come in those neatly dated little wheel-things, I am easily able to deduce the exactly day you stopped. I terminate our sexual relationship post-haste.

You are angry and accuse me of putting you in this delicate situation and then abandoning you. I demur, arguing that you placed yourself in this situation. Negotiations deteriorate.

I demand a paternity test, not feeling very trusting at this point. You refuse. You can do that. You have the legal right, it's your body, I cannot force you to undergo amniocentesis.

You give birth to a daughter, and name her Zoe. I am named on the birth certificate as the father, simply because mine was the name you gave when they asked. I was not even there.

Now, I have refused to marry you. I still have that right, in most situations. (Look up "common-law" marriage, a law that allows a woman to force a man to marry her.)

So you legally demand that I provide you with the benefits of marriage anyway, to wit, a large portion of my income. You have the legal right to do this. It's called "child support".

In court, I demand a paternity test, but am denied one. You see, because I offered to pay for an abortion, I acknowledged the child as mine. And my name is on the certificate. And, most important of all, the very court that is ruling on the matter receives a cut of all child support payments. (Bet you didn't know that, did you?)

Legally, the money is for Zoe, but the checks come to you, in your name. You can spend them however you like, with no oversight whatsoever.

I'm not even sure Zoe is mine.

Now I'm in a bad situation. But the story does not end here.

The tanking economy causes budget cuts, and my cushy job as an engineer at a major defense contractor is lost. The only thing thing I can find to replace it is a job hawking cell-phones in one of those mall kiosks. This is not, however, grounds for reducing my child-support payments. The initial amount of them was determined by my income at the time, but legally, they are a right belonging to Zoe, and determined by Zoe's need, so my income is not a factor.

Now I cannot pay. I am a "deadbeat dad", according to society. And the newspaper my photo is published in. And the website my picture is posted on.

My failure to pay tanks my credit rating, too, with all its attendant woes.

The economy loosens up a bit, and I reapply to my old firm. They're keen to hire me, but they can't. With a record of delinquent child support payments, I cannot pass the background check. Now my career is blighted, too.

Many years have passed at this point, and I'm in deep trouble. Broke, no career prospects, poor credit, spotty criminal record (failure to pay child support is a misdemeanor in some jurisdictions), depressed, no means or confidence to attract another woman even if I could ever trust one again.

But the story doesn't end here.

Desperate, I manage to find some pretext to visit you, and I steal some of Zoe's hair from her hairbrush in the bathroom. I pay for a lab test out of my meager remaining resources.

Zoe isn't mine.

I take you to court, and lose. Yes, lose. Because I had already been paying child support, I am the publicly acknowledged father. (If you do not believe this could possibly happen, I sympathize. It's crazy. But google "joseph michael ocasio" and prepare to be shocked.)

Okay, end of scenario.

Look where we are. My life is indeed ruined. At no point did I have any power to stop it (except by remaining celibate my entire life). At every point, what you did, you had the legal right to do. You didn't have to "get away" with anything. You could write a book about it, and nothing would change, because it was all legal.

The only thing protecting most men from this fate is nothing but women's lack of inclination to do this. They are entirely in her power.

Would you accept being in an 1700's-style marriage, where your husband owned everything, and had the legal right to beat you, simply because he was a "nice guy and wouldn't do that"?

That is precisely what men are being asked, no, expected, to accept.

Is it any wonder we are distrustful and suspicious to the point of paranoia? It's our only defense. The law will not protect us. The law is against us, straight down the line.

Think about it. Try to imagine how that might feel.

tl;dr: When a man rapes a woman, it is against the law. When a woman rapes a man, the law is the instrument she uses.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

some stuff about guilt

You deserve to be loved, respected, admired, and even a little feared (but only by those with malice in their heart).

What you need to develop, if I might be so brash and prescriptive, is the habit of recognizing when someone is not treating you well, and the consistent discipline to respond to their treatment in kind, all the while communicating your policy. You hit me with a cruise missile I hit you with a cruise missile. You raise your voice at me I raise my voice at you. You open yourself to me, I open myself to you.

Trusting someone comes from comparing their stated intentions to their actions and seeing a consistently high overlap.

Abusers feel safe when they know they can trust the other person not to retaliate or break the connection.

If someone is sending you viruses it's time to cut the hard line. The first packet of malicious data should be evaluated against the total value of the data in your downloads folder. Trust can be built or eroded. No matter how long the account has been open, if the balance hits zero something is wrong and inaction will not be productive.

This is the hostile-environment policy for developing peace. In more friendly relations, the calculus does not need to have such high precision.

Refusing to accept data/input/interactions which are harmful/stressful/damaging/disparaging is a form of security.

Self-respect is the state of recognizing and fully believing that you are fully in the right to uphold such a firewall. "Fully in the right" means that by upholding such a policy you are NOT accruing guilt, neither societally-recognized guilt, nor psychologically-felt guilt.

Guilt builds up. You deserve none, but when others abuse you it is guilt which weakens your defenses. Unconscious pheremone-driven intermonkey justice-instinct guilt. Some of it comes from not defending yourself when you should have.

A zen master once told me "Luke, if somebody hits you, hit them back." I think what he meant was that was the absolute fastest way to cancel whatever karma was generated in the initial attack.

Zen and other spiritual/religious practices have among their intended outcomes an ongoing reduction of negative karma. Guilt, anger, resentment, mistrust, and relationships who use these as their glue, are all forms of negative karma.

Watching people's faces light up, and knowing you are responsible, is the unconscious monkey-pheremone way to cancel guilt.

Reading Ayn Rand is the conscious human-meme way to nullify guilt. I recommend (a) reading some Ayn Rand, and (b) going against everything Ayn Rand stood for and put in some time tutoring little kids or better yet handing food to hungry people at a homeless shelter.

Your psychological health is not something you should entrust to a field whose progress is rate-limited by technology's ability to form mathematical model/parameterization of a biological, memetic, social, chaotic system such as yourself.

If Sergei Brin had been forced to prove his model before he simply let his code loose on real-world data, Google would be a failed rough draft of a research paper instead of the world's newest nuclear power.

Something I said deserves clarification:
I said "Guilt builds up. You deserve none, but when others abuse you it is guilt which weakens your defenses."

I should have said:

Guilt builds up like cigarette tar in your being (body/mind/soul). Its presence weakens you and reduces your sense of entitlement. Chronic acceptance and generation of guilt leads to a large stock of guilt being contained in different manifestations in these vessels.

When a person attacks you, the energy with which you defend and retaliate will be inversely proportional to the amount of guilt you carry. For example, if you accrue enough guilt you will stoop and accept any beating without raising a finger.

Methods of reducing and eliminating guilt are varied in effectiveness and strategy. Manifestations of this thing called 'guilt' are different in different realms. Guilt does not always accrue or dissolve by the means you might think necessary.

For example, accepting an attack without retaliating is actually a means of accruing guilt. This is, I believe, explainable by the theory of cognitive dissonance. If two competing realities exist (a) "I am worth defending" and (b) "I just neglected to defend myself", cognitive dissonance theory predicts your next step is either to start defending yourself or to stop believing you are worth defending. Because of the heavy cultural conditioning we have to NOT defend ourselves when attacked (which actually manifests as our being convinced that it is the act of defense which accrues guilt), most often people will go with the other route and instead (subconsciously) believe they deserved it. In other words, instead of continuing to believe they let an injustice happen, they believe they disciplined themselves to not interfere with justice.

Justice is not merely a meme which originated in the fertile crescent. It is a biologically-supported instinctual behavior which tends to reduce the payoff of aggression and hence strengthen groups.

That's why when you hurt one of your friends as a child, the "free hit" you give them actually makes you feel better, even if your jaw hurts a little afterward. Your animal brain knows it no longer owes animal pain to the other animal, and it lets your animal pride keep flowing.

Other people stealing free hits on you, however, does not build up animal pride but, by cognitive dissonance, leads to ever-increasing subconscious self-schema as a "villain".

We're all villains to some degree or another, and as privacy slowly disappears we're all going to need to learn to accept ever-increasing awareness of others' sins.

Um, I think I totally forgot what I was trying to say originally. Hope this helps

Monday, May 3, 2010

beginner + mushrooms = go master

After playing go for about three years, I was beaten by a complete beginner who was tripping on mushrooms.

Go is not a game in which a beginner beats even someone of modest skill. Between two players of perhaps 2 or 3 kyu difference, the better player will win close to 100% of the time. In that system, I was at least ten kyu above this guy.

But he ate his mushrooms, waited about twenty minutes, sat down, learned the rules, and proceeded to mop the board with me.

While this is anecdotal to the max, it implies that mushrooms do not merely "distort" perception, but unlock powerful intelligence which is usually unaccessible to the human mind.

The best non-alien, non-god explanation I can think of for this is that the human brain is capable of feats of intelligence much greater than normal, but it is severely inhibited by a safety mechanism or something, and that mushrooms produce their "crazy ass" imagery by disabling these safety mechanisms.

Two questions:
1. Do mushrooms enhance performance?
2. If that's the case, then what? Should we practice our alien diplomacy protocols by speaking with people who are tripping (i.e. because they are intelligent beings who only loosely resemble normal humanity)? Should we use psychedelics to solve problems in science and engineering? Should we make psychedelics illegal because of the potential damage caused by activating superhuman intelligence?