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
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
Aesthetics Media

Day 1111 and Angel Numbers

I like a little “woo” in my life. Anytime I hit a particularly interesting number in my daily writing I tend to do a bit of collective consciousness spelunking across the shared spaces of the internet.

Unsurprisingly, 1111 sparks quite a bit of interest across pop culture numerology depictions. The first search results were women’s interest magazines.

Women’s Health with the uplifting new beginnings represented by 1 before associating 11 as a doubling of 1’s energy as a “master number” with spiritual insight, enlightenment, and intuitive understanding.” Sure, I want an intuitive understanding of my life’s new beginnings. Good job magazine editors. Groundbreaking.

Cosmopolitan, that sexy staple of American feminine mysteries, went a bit further and called 1111 an Angel Number and curated an ecommerce shop of 1111 products including oud manifestations candles, bracelets and Etsy prints.

Cosmopolitan used the power of artificial intelligence to curate a shop for even the most random of number generators.

Because what good is hidden knowledge of divine intentions without an affiliate marketing link program with it? I’d love to know if search engine optimization on numerology combined with attractively curated e-commerce affiliate content hits the Cosmopolitan P&L in any meaningful way.

Crunchier new age websites were equally amusing. MindBodyGreen kept at the message of intuition and messages from your divine power. Synchronicity showed up on every internet tidbit from Wikipedia to good old WikiHow.

Glamor Magazine at least gently reminded readers that apophenia is an error of perception. Who knew Condé Nast was the publishing house for skeptics? Perhaps they need to be a trusted brand or nail salons won’t subscribe in bulk across the nation to their magazines.

But if you really want lean into your pattern recognition and the subtle schizophrenia of Internet apophenia, my original source Women’s Health helpfully leans into “service journalism” by sharing that Kabbalists 1111 is a sign from God or divinity itself.

This is because the ancient Hebrew name for God, Yahweh or YHWH, when written resembles four ones.

Women’s Health Numerologist’s Interpret 1111

I will caution readers that I don’t know if any of this is true. Obviously my goofy posting shouldn’t be seen as having the same rigor as a LessWrong epistemic status post. While I like a post-rationalist, I don’t know if any of the consumer friendly versions of ancient wisdom is true. I wouldn’t be taking my reading of the Talmud from magazines typically dedicated to recipes and workouts myself.

Women browsing random bits of pattern recognition at the grocery store or on their phone really is the stuff of fluff and the stuff of fear. Who knows what bits of knowledge might lead us astray.

Best case scenario you end up with a nice Oud candle that helped keep Cosmopolitan quiz writers paid. Worst case scenario, you might summon a malevolent algorithmic rabbit hole determined to fill your feeds with angels and demons.

Categories
Chronic Disease Medical

Day 1100 and New Symptoms

I am experiencing some ongoing nausea today alongside a number of odd side symptoms like body temperature disregulation. I am displeased with this development

It’s probably a cluster of symptoms related to a migraine. So I’ve taken an Imitrax. I had some sort of reaction to dinner last night (possibly allergic though to what I couldn’t say) that hasn’t quite subsided. I am in a dark room silent with an ice pack popping Zofran and praying.

I always hate when I have a new symptom as it’s scary. I don’t know if it’s a new problem or something a new spin on my existing autoimmune issues.

It’s easy for me to slip into fear as I run through a differential diagnosis. The idea that I might have a new dimension to deal with in my daily health routine triggers all my autonomic stress responses. I’ve got a handle on my existing health issues and I don’t have any desire for new ones.

There is a strange aspect of chronic disease where if you’ve reached any kind of stability or continuity you simply don’t want to mess with it. Adding in new treatments or medication is always a scary prospect. I’ve been doing bodywork that seems to have significant impact in a positive way but I’m terrified that as it improves things I’ll have down days as systems interact. I shall pray it improves soon.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1083 and Uncertainty

I feel as if I spend a lot of time reassuring people that nobody has a clue about what happens next and that’s fine.

Even the brightest humans are still basically dim witted simians barely managing our fragile wetware as our environment provides constant destabilization. That we even survive that set of circumstances seems a pleasant surprise. Humans are adaptable.

I have typical fears about muddling through life but my existential angst remains in check. If I’m in a simulated environment running a set of programs given to me by God or a random super intelligence what does it matter to me?

I’m here and I like it enough to continue being alive. Sure I’d love to find out the mystery of consciousness and the nature of reality but if don’t I am happy with my lot in life. Whoever programmed me did a fine job. Thanks Mom and the wider memetic cultural movements that made me.

Categories
Culture

Day 1078 and Centering Ourselves

You’re telling me the church that tortured Galileo for the dismantling of geocentrism is against the erosion of the anthropocentrism of intellig

Beff Jezos

Venkatesh Rao wrote earlier this year on Ribbonfarm that he thought artificial intelligence was a Copernican moment for what constitutes personhood. I found his argument particularly compelling. Now as we approach Christmas, Pope Francis has weighed in.

Pope Francis has called for a legally binding international treaty to regulate artificial intelligence, saying algorithms must not be allowed to replace human values and warning of a “technological dictatorship” threatening human existence.

Reuters

I have to say this is setting off all kinds of alarm bells in the pattern recognition hypophenia section of my mind. Who might be working to use artificial intelligence for institutional control? Why would the most powerful religious institution on earth have this position? Might this be a good time to reflect on how this institution responded to the advent of the printing press? Is the Catholic Church merely seeking the same power over science as it always has?

Who might benefit from this type of institutional pressure? Certainly at the national state level we have players like America, Europe and China. At the multinational corporate level we have Microsoft. Gatekeeping technological dominance through regulatory suppression is practically Microsoft’s metier.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of heretical books which were deemed immoral to Catholics. I bring this up because Johannes Kepler‘s Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae was one of them.

The heliocentric heresy era of the Inquisition is worth reviewing as we as a species must grapple with the possibility that science may continue to reveal our humble place in the cosmos.

Categories
Aesthetics Culture

Day 1053 and Revivalism

You’ve gotta have faith.

I am a little surprised to find myself discussing what appears to be a genuine revivalist movement from all walks of life.

“This particular corner of Twitter” is neo-Shakerism. The singularity is always coming is coming for the computer nerds. The rationalists are pitted against futurists. Steely realists admit to having woo sensibilities about the nature of reality.

But we are also being subjected to surprisingly archetypal forms of the hero’s journey in every single news story and social media narrative at alarmingly rapid rate. A rational man is going to want to wag the dog. We do a little kayfabe. The crowd cheers its hero.

But also mere men are elevated to strange statuses. You can believe in a cause but be unsure of the martyrs and mercenaries that fight for it. I feel like if you were really that horny for the Roman Empire you’d have more dates handy on Caesars and the savior and be a little less focused on the Gladiators and the bread and circus.

But we’ve got people who can conjure fire and this time it’s not priests but machine learning engineers who write fan fiction about British Boarding schools that are in charge. The biggest dork you know gets to summon God. It’s not that irrational to worry we’ve summoned elder gods isn’t the of the divine right? Folk stories have some meaning right?

And like sure Bayesian inferences says maybe you should worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster. I say watch out for those Babylon death culture memetics because we didn’t have the right inference field about the sun for most of history. The trickster god can be summoned as sure as the devil. Lets remember information hygiene was not good for most of history so it paid to have some prejudices.

Nevertheless the worship of men has gods has generally been iffy. And so, and I can’t entirely explain it as evidenced by the rambling writing in doing this weekend, but the hive mine of the Internet feels like a real team effort at controlling popular opinion about the arrival of the promised land.

And sure I have recency bias. While I was in Amsterdam for the Network State Conference I was missing a gathering of what amounts to Christian hippie revivalists. Another node of my network that m feels adjacent to both technology and culture was at a Catholic divinity school in Washington D.C. Meanwhile my feed makes whisper jokes of mystery cults and computational power. Worship is powerful. I’ve talked to all sorts of rationalists into new forms of woo and, magic. We speak of queens and divas and witches. Everyone is sure that something is coming and they feel the divine.

It’s within these networks of social organization and belief where I see clashes of power and organization. There are political theorists and economists contending with what a centralized higher authority might do make for more efficient resource allocation. Appeal to authority! We have any number of radical thinkers who are essentially rogue elements of human consensus who are if they seized with a little bit of “agreed on common good” we can revolutionize how we do resource allocation. Central planning is so scientific. Tith!

I feel a little bit like the drama of everyone having access to social media has made us all participate in elaborate fan fictions about who moves the world. I see all over my timeline Zoomers staning over Schopenhauer and Heidegger and Kant as if they were secret movers of history. And they are.

We’ve got a genre of signalling on the internet where if you find a theorist whose mother wrote a nasty letter to him for being socially awkward you’d get people discussing general trauma dumping. Did you understand that? I’m sorry to say you have brain worms and you’ve been trained on a steady diet of rebellion and empire. Be safe out there.

Categories
Medical

Day 1008 and Pesky Hormones

I’m enjoying a double header of hormones today. I’m in my luteal premenstrual phase which always leaves me tired and emotional. But I am also just letting go of the last bits of adrenaline and cortisol from my travels last week.

As the last bits of stress hormones drain away and my cyclical hormones flow in all I can feel is the weight of the world. I’m sure this dramatic phrasing is merely a function of the pounding hormonal migraine that always accompanies this time of my cycle.

If this all sounds a little foreign to you, Alisa Vitti’s life’s work has been to help women understand their hormonal cycles impact. I’m always looking for ways to hack my physical performance and health so I’ve been especially focused on pesky stress hormones.

Hopefully a little bit of salmon, some greens, and more rest will get me through it. And by next week I’ll be well on my way to peak creativity and energy. The lull will pass soon.

Categories
Biohacking Politics

Day 946 and Compounding Our Incentives

I don’t want to brag (that’s a lie for rhetorical flourish I am bragging), but I woke up with excellent biometrics today. My first instinct was that I should rush into a long “to do” list for the various priorities I have remaining in the month.

And I do have some priorities I’m very excited about this month. If you are in Montana I’m hosting a get together to celebrate the “Montana Miracle” of the housing reform we successfully passed. Would love to have anyone near enough to Gallatin to pop by and meet me, my husband and our friends in person.

If you aren’t based here, you might be interested in our successful campaign cut out California style regulations so we can build more housing.

We think we can be a model for other western states looking to reclaim rights for their citizens from the government. I believe in individuals pursuing their own freedom as a long term incentive for growth.

The focus on long term incentives is key to understanding both my stance on individual freedoms and how I spend my own time.

Because I’ve got to turn this blog post around to why I was tempted to run into my immediate to do list but held myself to my routine.

I was reminded that my biometrics are good because I’ve been focused on core activities and processes that make my own “system” of incentives tick for my physiology.

I have to sleep, eat, exercise and otherwise take care of my body. If I simply responded to every dopamine hit and desire I had I’d be sick as a dog. I can promise you this is true as I live with a chronic condition I manage with good habits and some better living through chemistry.

I’d prefer we manage as many problems through good compounding longer term incentives. From building for a future that’s arriving to quickly to keeping our bodies from imploding. So get enough fiber, lift heavy things and build more housing.