Categories
Culture

Day 1152 and Sunsetting The Boomers

The Fourth Turning has become something like accepted elite discourse canon for generational analysis and grand theories of history.

William Strauss and Neil Howe’s theory is probably familiar to you but I’ll cite it for my own edification.

The Strauss–Howe generational theory, devised by William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generationcycle in American history and Western history. According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate (mood) exists.

Neil Howe Generational Theory

I go in for this “generational horoscope” theory. But I go in for lots of other “deterministic and unfalsifiable” things too so weight that in your assessment. I’m a woman who has a deep respect for woo even though I do generally consider myself a rationalist. And like all rationalists I’m hypocritically predisposed to biasing own qualia. Nevertheless I believe the hard laws are physics not culture.

So it was with interest that I was this theory of elder millenials cross my feed. The oldest of the last generation to live without the internet may prove a further data point for The Fourth Turning fans.


My guess is that the most interesting political figures of the next 20 years will come from this cohort— 1981-1987.
-not digitally native, but digitally fluent.
-came of age during or just after September 11th.
-Started adulthood just before or during the Great Recession.
-the final bridge to the 20th century, but young enough to be grounded in the 21st.Katherine Boyle of a16z on Twitter

American dynamism is a patriotic posture of older Silicon Valley culture. And this group of proudly rationalist and engineering minded types is extremely frustrated with being made the enemy by the government. Obama era technocracy represented what looks like a detente between the Boomers and the millennials.

If we are in the middle of a generational changeover between Boomers and millennials it would seem as if the elder children might inherent. But you don’t see a lot of folks who remember a world before the internet. I think there is something in this narrative that will prove important as the moods shift.

Categories
Aesthetics Culture

Day 1151 and Waiting Line

Do you believe
In what you see
Motionless wheel
Nothing is real
Wasting my time
In the waiting line
Do you believe
In what you see

Waiting Line Zero 7 Sophie Barker

I like to do errands with noise canceling headphones on these days. The ambient noise of public life has become more grating as I get older. Cue up lo-fi chill hop beats you can study/relax to Bojack Horseman joke.

Or in my case, a down tempo bit on waiting in lines from some softer era when Garden State was all the rage. I have to admit I’ve never seen the movie.

It seems apt that the more alienated we become from the human component of public life that the more the waiting in line feels like an unreal unreal activity.

We run our little programs in our little lives. We accept being NPCs for a little convenience. You don’t want to slow up everyone’s business with any of your troubles.

Categories
Chronic Disease Medical

Day 1150 and Gut Biome

At the risk of being “TMI” (this is a gesture of self knowledge to readers not an actual concern of mine that I will ever include too much information), I did something stupid to my personal biome today.

I took an expired a probiotic. I fucked up my bacterial mix. In my defense, I didn’t know it was possible to have an expired Lactobacillus mix. Expired doesn’t seem to mean dead. It just is not doing what I’d hoped and I feel worse not better.

I honestly sort of believed that most probiotics on the self were bullshit. It’s hard to decide what’s medical woo anymore. But I acquired it from a German pharmacy last year and I guess GlaxoSmithKline supplies better shit in Frankfurt than it does in Bozeman.

I immediately nuked the new, supposedly friendly, bacteria from orbit with a one-two punch of doxycycline. I always carry some with me when I travel. Don’t tell my health insurance I’m so cavalier with my over-the -counter bacteria.

I’m joking, but only just. I’m sure artificial intelligence will be put out to nefarious purposes like denying health care coverage to random idiots who blog about their bodies any day now. I just doubt any lawyer will care what nonsense I got up to with yogurt when so many other forms of Medicare fraud are more accessible.

So in the spirit of my blogging forefathers and mothers, I’ve included you in the circle of trust as to the inner workings of my co-infections, symbionts, and other biological processes. Let’s hope, unlike in the case of Ripley, that nuking from orbit works. No need to be carrying aliens in my dark places.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1149 and Human Nature

I am experiencing a waning in my desire to be online. Not because I don’t wish to be in the thick of things, but because I simply don’t have as much I want to contribute when I am myself under stress. And it’s all stress now unless you simply stop caring. And I still care.

It’s human nature to be stressed at the available problems. I’ve got access to all kinds of problems now on my phone. So I am stressed.

I don’t have any reason to be participating in any stress but my own at the moment except that I see a lot of available problems because I am always watching.

I’d rather pay less attention. But paying attention is what pays the bills. Ted Goia says we’ve gone from art to commerce to attention to dopamine

An uncharitable view of people who sell art, commerce and informations or blame Athens, Jerusalem, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley if you must. In that order.

I suppose this view of information technology as unmitigated casinos of sin is true in a world of addicts. I don’t think we are all addicts. Nor do I think anyone who sells something addictive is a drug dealer.

I’m neither an addict nor a dealer but here I am selling and consuming information nevertheless. I’m not a Kardashian but I’m not a Buddha either. Maybe at best I’m Kim Kierkegaard. The sickness into death compels me to poast.

If we are all addicted to the constant influx of other people’s bullshit then I suppose the attention economy has moved to the addiction economy. We are addicted to the dramas of humanity and some of our dramas are more or less real than other.

A screen grab from a friend of the scariest thing in the world. An attention whore.

Except I don’t particularly want to be addicted to anyone’s bullshit right now. I’m not even all that interested in my own. I’m sick of my bullshit. Why should I pay attention to yours? At best I’ll pay attention to the bullshit on Netflix’s Love is Blind. I don’t mind if it’s packaged for sale. I actually prefer it. At least it wraps in an hour.

I’ve got a few basic principles that orient my life. I believe humans can make decisions for themselves. I believe most of us aren’t at all good at it because we are reactive impulsive animals with just the barest capacity for reasons.

But that capacity exists and it has separated us from the animals. We shall remained chained to the consequences of knowledge. I understand the impulse to blame that bitch Eve. But we’ve got the apple of the tree of knowledge so it’s time to accept paradise is lost.

Anyways, good luck surviving the churn and try not to fuck people over. Good faith is all we’ve got. Try to deliver value and not suck more resources than you deliver. Bow to the thermodynamic Gods and climb the Kardashev scale. Or keep up with the Cardassians. Are you sure you know how many lights there are? Better Google it to make sure.

Captain Picard getting Cardassian in the loop reinforcement learning. I mean torture. There are four lights.
Categories
Internet Culture

Day 1148 and ayyy lmao

Ayyy lmao

One of my Twitter mutuals Visa of Friendly Ambitious Nerd fame has a meme format he’s perfected with the Scylla and Charbrydis mythos that has become colloquially known as ayy lmao.

If one must sail between monsters representing inescapable and opposing existential threats (yes that’s a metaphor for life) then the only path through is to just sail on.

I see a lot of “fuck it, we ball” energy in the air now. It’s been emerging slowly but surely over the last two years or so. The inclination to say to hell with the odds represents a commitment to action. With Safetyism everywhere who wouldn’t simply want to say fuck it ayy lmao?

Categories
Community Startups

Day 1145 and Vitality

The most gratifying part of early stage startup investing is the vitality. When you are in the mindset of optimism, all things are possible.

I first met Isaiah Taylor about a year ago. We found each other on Twitter. I cold DM’s him with “you seem interesting.” We’d hop on the phone and go through what he was working on in long strategy talks.

I think in our first conversation we spent half an hour just discussing origin stories. We’d both had strongly American west families and we were neighbors in the upper Rocky Mountains. We shared a Christian faith. I liked his style.

Those early rambling sessions when a founder is discovering their market and their unique talents is a precious time. I knew I wanted to invest in him long before Valar Atomics had come into focus.

Ambition and vision are honed over time as you broaden your horizons. It’s the most fascinating tension. The bigger you dream the more you must see your path clearly and pursue it relentlessly. Vitality begins with knowing where to apply your will.

I feel the optimism that Isiah has brought. And I admire how he has taken it to a bigger community. Watching the El Segundo community self-mythologize in real time during this weekend hackathon has been an exercise in collective application of will. Like its cousin in techno-optimism e/acc , the American dynamism “new vitalism” egregore values building for the future.

@ADoricko and @isaiah_p_taylor opening up the Gundo Defense Tech Hackathon via Rasmus

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 1144 and Parsifal

I’m just going to ramble this one as the synthesis on it isn’t worth the energy to me tonight. I’ll work on that another day if I get around to it.

My mother’s interpretation of the legend of Parsifal is that we cannot succeed at our quest if we do not ask the right questions. I suspect it has something to do with the innocence of a pure heart asking the right questions but frankly this is a bit beyond my own experience of the Waldorf Steiner system.

Parsifal (or Sir Percival) was a Knight of King Arthur. His story is told by the troubadours of France and Germany, notably Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Parsifal story stands between the past age that looked for secrets of the spirit and the coming age that was going to search for the secrets of matter.

In this engaging retelling of the legend of Parsifal, Charles Kovacs’s critical commentary offers Steiner-Waldorf educators an unrivalled insight into teaching the story of Parsifal and will aid in lesson planning

Parsifal and the Search for The Grail

This feels relevant to me in the context of artificial intelligence making computer programming more accessible. Prompt engineering is simply asking the right question. Enabling more people to specify exactly what they want is terrifying because it might enable more people to ask the right questions and get an answer.

If you depend on people not being able to ask the right questions without your guidance you’d probably oppose it too. I believe that there is a religious aspect to our entire approach to artificial intelligence and we must grapple with it as surely as the Reformation shook the Catholic Church.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture Politics

Day 1142 and Come See The Violence Inherent in the System

While parked in gridlock caused by the American state department delegation snarling traffic in Tirana, I shared a classic British comedic sketch from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail with a friend who resides part time in the Balkans.

King Arthur is riding through his lands and is asked to contemplate anarcho-syndicalism and the constitutional arrangement most equitable to an offended peasant named Dennis.

Help! Help! I’m being repressed

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Feeling moderately repressed ourselves by the various bureaucrats, politicians, and general institutional disarrays that was in our way, the joke hit home. No matter your station in life, we are all a repressed in someone else’s system.

We can make jokes about staying above the API layer all we like, but the nudging organizational state is finding ways to reduce us to variables. Many of us have become spreadsheet brained. Will it be a gradient descent into the madness of a jackbooted local minima?

Perhaps it better to become the disassociating trader acted by Paul Bettany in Margin Call who simply can’t stomach that level of hypocrisy. He knows we want to play innocent about the violence hidden underneath the abstractions.

“Listen, if you really wanna do this with your life you have to believe you’re necessary and you are. People wanna live like this in their cars and big fuckin’ houses they can’t even pay for, then you’re necessary. The only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is cause we got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off and then the whole world gets really fuckin’ fair really fuckin’ quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don’t. They want what we have to give them but they also wanna, you know, play innocent and pretend they have no idea where it came from. Well, thats more hypocrisy than I’m willing to swallow, so fuck em. Fuck normal peopl

Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) Margin Call

We are all experiencing some level of abstraction from the base layers of reality. Some of us are more academic about it. Some of us are simply more or less unwilling to accept the hypocrisy of it. None of us can opt out completely. Plenty of professions let you get closer to the visceral base reality and then you too can see the violent inherent in the system.

And so we argued over resources and raw power. How abstract can we get? The paleoconomists say “go back to the gold standard” but we can’t. Can we go forward though?

Most of us see that entirely detaching the exchange value of goods from material items and their underlying value is a huge struggle for most people. We wouldn’t have endless discussions about the cost of groceries if it was clear to folks how the market priced physical goods.

Financial markets are fictions where we negotiate material needs like food, shelter, clean water, bodily integrity, and property ownership claims. All need to be priced in. It isn’t fun when the exchange value mechanism completely detaches from that reality. It makes us uneasy. Shrinkflation makes humans feel gaslit.

Humans are physical beings who abstracted our physical needs into an elaborate market system of exchange values. And like that Monty Python sketch, sure it’s a fun joke, a meme if you prefer, but that meme is a reminder to see the violence inherent in the system.

Anyways, I hope Antony Blinken enjoyed his time in Albania and that everyone has a productive weekend in Munich for the neutral ground security conference. Our diplomats have never needed a neutral ground weekend more amirite? The financial engineers will concede that reality. Maybe.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 1141 and Blind Optimism

The specifics of it aren’t important, the fact of the matter is that it’s been “one thing after another” for me. I bet you know the feeling.

I felt grateful be enjoying a lower friction global homo cosmopolitanism for the night. I need something be smooth brained for a little bit.

I got middle rent generic Mediterranean street food delivered through an intermediated mobile app for dinner. And then I turned on Netflix to settle in for the most middle brow content. There is another season of Love is Blind.

I am a sucker for this show. There is something so optimistic about a blind dating marriage reality show. If you had been doom and gloom for so long imagine opening up all post-pandemic with your shiny therapy emotional journeys.

It strikes me as a pop culture cousin to effective accelerationists. Nothing says accelerate quite like committing. Marriage markets would be very e/acc.

If I have to keep living I may as well do it with the hopeful optimism of someone who throws themselves into their future. All in. I really admire the optimism.

Categories
Travel

Day 1140 and Gridlock

I got myself stuck in downtown city gridlock today. Abs boy am I glad I rarely have to navigate the kind of bumper to bumper traffic of an overbuilt city without a grid. It is no picnic.

There is a category of city that has little in the way of urban planning. They may have legacy of a time with much fewer cars when only a small portion of the citizens could afford to drive.

As cosmopolitan creative classes become wealthier they too want to be able to drive in their city. The money pours in to invest in newer developments and more modern amenities get built. But they never really solve the lack of a grid or roads built for driving.

A lack of proper investment in public transportation only compounds the issue.

Attempting to criss-cross a mess of cars, motorbikes, scooters, and couriers all competing against each other with few clear routes is a slog. I hope I don’t have to repeat it again but I fear this is a permanent feature of some cities.