4 thoughts on “The Rudderless World

  1. indeed no grand machines/machinations at work behind the scenes, there are just too many of us with too many tools for anyone to really grasp let alone organize, part of the attraction of imagined cyber gods like the IoT or smart cities…

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    • He hit the nail on the head when he said in an age of secular atheism people need the comfort of conspiracy because it’s the last refuge of meaning in a meaningless world. And, of course, the point of paranoia is the notion that meaning is everywhere; a world so packed with meaning and connections that one keeps seeking for someone behind the scenes that has his fat finger on the chaos button of the thermospasm. It’s in this sense that conspiracy is a secular religion, a way of coping with the overpowering powerlessness one feels in a cosmos where Chthullu (H.P. Lovecraft) could suddenly rise out of one’s worst nightmares. 🙂 Madness ensues…

      But, yeah, all these Singularity buffs like Kurzweil are in that same boat: seeking a secular religion of transcendence rather than the old style Christian one of immortality as a gift of God. Instead the transhumanists like Faust or the Hermetic alchemists seek a homunculus of Golem: a technological monstrousity of pattern recognition and mind uploading immortalism rather than some eternal heaven of Platonic Ideas or Christian Angels. People can’t accept that death is final, that there is no reprieve, no transcendence, no escape; we’re animals, and like all other animals we’ll return to the dust and fragmentation of the universal decay and entropy. Instead these religious types of transhumanism want to literalize the Christian mythos and mystery of resurrection and create a way of living forever not is some high heaven of promise, but now in some technological wonderland of hard-drives and software.

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  2. Hello, I am of the same school of thought as Alan Moore. I wrote this a while ago on a now-defunct board:

    Regarding conspiracies, I’m of Machiavelli’s school of thought presented in Discourses. The reason why most conspiracies fail is if there are too many conspirators, news will inevitably leak out. And if there are too few conspirators, the odds of success becomes too monumental. Therefore, the claim that 9/11 was an inside job is exceedingly improbable, if not impossible.

    I’m not ruling out the possibility that Cheney had secret meetings about oil in Iraq. That is highly likely. But the true motivation behind the invasion of Iraq was Bush’s desire to rearrange Middle East politics as a feather in his hat. Bush Sr already knew that getting rid of Saddam would be the worst way to gain access to Iraqi oil, because chaos thrives in a power vaccum, not a potential ally.

    Conspiracy theorists, armed with the dark side of reasoning, always insist upon the existence of a malicious culprit, be it some secretive cabal, communism, the Defense Department, the Mafia, int’l bankers, Jews, Arabs, capitalism, the patriarchy, CIA, etc.

    For the CT, there is no such thing as “circumstantial,” never mind the post hoc, ergo propter hoc. The blame is always readily available, and must belong to the current target for suspicion, who may possess the motive to pull it off. CTs are folks with overactive imagination but limited philosophical sensibilities. They are of the conviction that everything that happens must happen for a reason, and that reason is inherently malevolent, one that evokes fear, loathing, and hatred.

    However, this assumes things never just happen. We have an aversion from recognizing tragedy, which is the disagreeable fact that life is tragic: nobody and nothing is responsible. We would much rather claim that someone must pay for this, for someone must’ve been behind it all. In American culture, the popular n legal ideology upholds the notion that there are no accidents, and there’s always someone to blame. Tort cases indicate a recent trend.

    Another aspect of this denial of tragedy is the phenomenon of entitlement. The irony is that while we are quick to blame others for general misfortune, we are just as quick to reject our own responsibility, for both our misfortunes and those we inflict upon others. If I’m suffering, its not my fault! Therefore, I’m entitled to compensation. The assumption is that we are owed a good life, a happy, healthy n comfortable one. If happiness is not present, then someone’s at fault. Get my lawyer on the phone.

    The mythology of Horatio Alger is a classical example that in america, life must be fair, so the good will prosper, or that those who prosper must be good. Hollywood happy endings nurture this dogma, and such movie plotlines are expected in real life. But we live in an indifferent universe, where nobody is to blame, and even the “acts of god” aren’t truly acts of God.

    Funny thing about a recent program on PBS that totally demolished the conspiracy notion that the moon landings were fake was the dogmatic stance of the skeptics. Even when ironclad evidence was demonstrated to these conspiracy theorists that their convictions were in error, it had little effect on their beliefs. Lesson? Rational thought is not as persuasive as emotionalism, entertainment, alluring sound bites and sensationalism. There’s no point in ever debating conspiracy theorists. Such people have a perverse desire to be deceived.

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