What it Means

It means that the harder we try, the worse it gets. That’s what bad information can do. It means that there is no hope. It means that the planet will continue to warm and all the bad things we do when resources get scarce are all that is left for us.

It means all of that.

That’s what it means when you motivate your child with a pat on the butt.

What do you expect? Violence breeds violence and causes brain damage. If you don’t know the difference between giving food and shelter and trying to hurt someone, what do you expect? I know the rationale, believe me, every human knows the rationale – it’s not rational, it flies in the face of actual knowledge.

That’s called the fallacy of consensus, when everybody is wrong. In this, all are science deniers.

A pat on the butt is violence. This is a literal truth that is somehow . . . toothless. A law without an officer. Nobody cares.

Pats on the butt are good for you, teach you right from wrong, help you become a happy, healthy, productive member of society. These are lies that are invincible, impervious to scientific debunking. A social “truth.” Everybody cares very much. My argument is not complicated, but it’s invisible and the language it requires has not yet been invented, which is all one with the problem. I keep trying, but I’m not having much luck.

There is a downside to a pat on the butt.

I know, most of us can get that far, just not so far that this toothless literal fact matters. If we are forced to account for it, it becomes part of a bigger equation, a cost/benefit analysis and now the social truth has a caveat, a pat on the butt is “net” good for you, “net” teaches you right from wrong, “net” helps you become a happy, healthy, productive member of society. First – do you hear yourself?

It’s “good” for you, as long as you add in a lot of other stuff that really is good for you?

You know you can say that about anything that doesn’t kill you instantly, right?

It’s bad for you, shut up, you know it’s bad for you, because that’s the whole theory, punishments are deterrents because we all know pain is indicative of damage and so we instinctively avoid it, that’s not just science, like Skinner, it’s your science, you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think there was some real life mechanism by which it “worked.” Skinner was an asshole, by the way, but I digress.

I can’t force you to be here for this conversation, I can’t force you place your chips on your science bingo cards or tell us all when your card is full, I know you’re free to not listen, but I can’t respond to this game of bait and switch either, you defending the use of the leveraging of negative stimulus by turning around and denying that your stimulus is actually negative! and so I say again, if you don’t know the difference between giving food and shelter and trying to hurt someone, what do you expect? Between literal, actual nurturing and some “no, really, this stuff you instinctively know is bad for you is actually good for you” nurturing, well . . . well that’s the education I am trying to give, isn’t it?

Yes, it is.

There is a downside to a pat on the butt and it matters. My entire blog is an attempt to prove it matters – and I don’t mean personally, or emotionally , or psychologically, or in any way you may define as “mere” humanism or “soft” science – those things are already all lined up in support for the idea that abuse is bad that the downside of a pat on the butt matters. I’m talking about evolution and genetics and anyway when I’m finished social science and the humanities will have a solid footing and all such divisions can begin to heal over. My blog says in the most rambling and disjointed way that the downside is where the causality is, where the science is.

Let me say that again: the downside is where the causality is, where the science is.

Meaning, Skinner was interesting and important, but he’s taken us all down a side-road, talking about the intermittent rewards system of punishments for his and our conscious goals and completely discounting the more direct and dependable results of punishment – what we call “the down-side,” meaning the pain and the damage, and what I call the antisocialization of people.

Meaning, law and order and the usual “civilization” narrative is not where the science is, meaning those stories are all a part of the lie, the social truth instead, meaning we are pushing ahead with our fictional origin narrative on a species level as well as on national levels.

Meaning there is no easier and more evil job than “law and order politician or vendor” because the cure you’re selling is causing the problem they’re buying it to fix!

Meaning, in reality, the world makes some sense, things are not impossibly complex, just upside-down. Spankings/prison makes you worse? Yes, science. Police families have extra domestic abuse? Yes, science. Everyone is raised with spankings, etc., so every serial killer was abused? Yes, science. Simple, when we get out from under the social lie and see the literal truth. “Do something” means “kill people” to an abused population?

Yes, science!

Meaning, back to the top, the harder we try, the worse we get, with this punishment idea, because science, bad things are bad, who knew. Not us poor abused, brain damaged idiots, apparently, but they are. I do that little exercise all the time, do you? What would I think if I weren’t so screwed up? What might an actual happy, healthy person think about it? You should.

Give a kid a beating, he learns more slowly.

Teach the kids to give beatings, we all learn more slowly.

It’s so weird, I really thought I had it this time. The whole world is upside-down, I really thought I was making the point with power this time.

But it’s impossible, isn’t it?

It just disappears, somehow.

One more try.

We’re wrong whenever we think “hurting that person will fix it,” and it was hurting you that gave you the thought. The hurt function is fully up and running, we’ve all been through it, and still here we are. You’re not going to change anyone in the other direction by simply putting them through it some more, are you?

And that’s all you got.

Except for that consensus. No argument, just the whole world on your side.




November 27th., 2019

10 thoughts on “What it Means

  1. Scarlett November 28, 2019 / 2:02 pm

    This is the main tool of the right, the religious and business, if you take the threat of unreasonable retribution from them they lose their power. Oddly this is starting to converse with a conversation I am having with Kyle about anti-heroes. We are discussing Arthur Fleck vs the Ledger Joker and why it’s ridiculous that Fleck becomes the Joker. Violence, abuse and the belittling of Fleck would have made him more meek, less able to stand up to his aggressors, not the worm that turned – which is what he’s made out to be.

    To me it’s a bunch of male coked up script writers that think that’s what makes a villain, they miss the point of the Joker entirely and over estimate the resilience of the human spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff/neighsayer November 28, 2019 / 2:32 pm

      I’m not really up to speed on the Joker’s back story, but yes, it makes the point perfectly, fiction is there to tell us what we want to hear that is missing from our real lives, and the worm turning is no doubt an immortal favourite, exactly because it is the very opposite of the usual truth.
      You’re sort of writing off me and my AST with that observation, though, my whole explanation is that, yes, we respond to abuse with depression and apathy, but there is certainly enough of an aggressive response to matter too, in fact I’ve been placing the causality there, abuse to make soldiers.
      I read an old, not sure which, Margaret Meade, maybe anthro thing about a warrior Amazon tribe and she described a nasty peer pressure (this was in the Nurture Assumption, the conclusions of which I do not so much share) where kids learn to fight in the children’s group ans passive kids are taunted and teased and tortured until they learn to fight or are killed, so that there are no passive adults. All that old stuff is being looked at sideways for WEIRD bias and racism, but it’s hard to imagine what they saw and misread as THAT. That might reconcile these two talks a little, not 100% sure.
      But yes, some toxic masculinity loving and driving these narratives, I may have to lose my uncritical love of the joker’s nihilism, now that it seems to be getting popular IRL.


      • Scarlett November 28, 2019 / 2:50 pm

        Look neither am I really, I just had to sit through both movies because I have friends who love that genre. I don’t like that stuff at all but being in my generation for some reason I’m stuck with it.

        I didn’t think so, maybe you have to see the films, I’m not saying that Fleck wouldn’t been violent but I don’t think it would have come out the way they portrayed. I’ve no doubt my upbringing changed me for the worse, that things said and done to me enable a disregard for the safety of others – give me the role as the joker and not even Batman could stop what I’d do. But they are fiction and that’s my point, its a fuse to not create effective monsters. Occasionally some of the sheep develop teeth.

        It’s a similar thing that people say you punch the bully, try that when you’re half their size,

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jeff/neighsayer November 28, 2019 / 3:20 pm

          I know, I’m half their size. Yes, it was fun taking them on in childhood, but it stopped in high school when things got more serious. I figured if I wasn’t big enough to compete I would just run and save my pretty face, retain SOME advantage. Still happy with my choice – I guess so, a million words of rap I’ve produced to justify it. Being hard on my pussy self with that – honestly, I just didn’t want to hurt people, so there wasn’t an upside for me for fighting beyond self defense. Same thing with these aggressive racist political bastards, I just don’t get how hurting someone is an up-side at all – let alone fucking important, or all-important.
          I think if there’s common ground in these two ideas, it’s the basic tilt of the world, bad things matter, active violence matters and apathy and depression sort of doesn’t – like I was depressed, passive AF, and I sure didn’t matter. If 98% of us do that and the other two go off on violent crime sprees then you and Kyle are dead on . . . ah!
          Heard something just today, I think on nature TV might add, they are leveraging Big Image, wildlife cameras to study animals and they said they at first thought that predators’ main effect was the animals they killed – but they’re learning that the presence of predators totally changes the behaviour of the living prey animals too, where they go and when, lots of things like that, and that may apply to us too, the few that react aggressively change life for the many that don’t . . .
          and now I’m going with the lie within a lie, the feint within a feint from Dune – the Joker story is the lie in plain sight, so we all go “wait a minute, that’s not what happens,” and my thing AST is a safer secret than ever, show it to them in a caricature and watch THEM deny it themselves, so you don’t have to say a thing . . .
          and when you start talking like that, nothing means nothing, that’s no good!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Scarlett November 28, 2019 / 4:07 pm

            With violence the standard repose is it’s a no-no, on thee surface. Your parents (hopefully) dissuade you from punching people but like you said – look at rap – and the worlds armies – ‘you fuck with me I’ma give you a righteous beating’. On the other side the harmed goes on a revenge binge that they think is righteous. The act of violence is promoted – even as the promoters say it isn’t – as the ultimate solution to bad behaviour but really it’s just the finger that knocks over the dominoes.

            What I find attractive about the Ledger Joker is that he sets fire to a mountain of money, it’s flawed sure because his violence is also indiscriminate and ugly in it’s disproportionate nature but it’s also appealing to my inner anarchist. If you remove ‘the man’s’ fuel money and the state you take the man’s power, sure it’s fantasy but it beats money bitches and bling in my mind. I fully admit I’m tainted by my upbringing and I’d sooner not feel that way but its almost impossible for me to let go of that. I remain meek and mild by an inner discipline and me removing myself from a position where I might have the means, best I stay out of politics haha.

            This is also why I think if the human race is to evolve into something better, something fair and reasonable it’s only ever going to happen if we develop an AI – it’ll look at me and things like me and go – “she’s nuts and we need to be better.” I think such a being would see the pointlessness of violence and never look back, disagreement for beings of unlimited lifespan and reason would only be a tool to advancement not to obtain power.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jeff/neighsayer November 28, 2019 / 5:04 pm

              all great stuff, paragraph one, rock solid, yes, that was some beautiful Jokerin’, burning the money, gotta figure the mob guys couldn’t wrap their heads around it, first time for everything and sort of the limit of their paradigm, and yeah, leaders gotta kill somebody it seems, and I can imagine that if I got a chance to implement my vision that I too might be able to justify some awful shit in its name, at least as critics, it’s not us doing the shit.
              That too, I guess that must be a sci fi tenet, huh, if we can’t think in an uninterested way, maybe we can build a machine that does, hard to argue against the theory!
              I’ve seen some stuff about the AI we’re seeing is tainted by its designers, though, the bathroom electric eye soap dispensers don’t see black people and such . . . but I think I have to think it’s possible, after all it’s what I pretend to do all day long with my meat calculator anyway . . . ?
              Maybe not the one we build or the one it builds, but the one that one builds, like if that’s part of the program, get less interested?
              I was reading that twatwaffle, Steven Pinker’s Stuff of Thought brain science series, I don’t know why, I think I finally thought that after two of three of them and stopped, but he started with this “to figure out how the brain works, try to design one” idea, like, what would you need it to do? – and then starts with basic logic and simple neural networks, interesting, I guess, but not necessary for my only trick. I guess the two enterprises are working together. He’s the guy said that there is a free-floating sort of calculator in there somewhere, able to create and solve new problems that our genes haven’t encountered, I don’t know if one could infer that the interest is not coming from that part, but somewhere upstream presenting things to the thinking module. like here’s your problem: mortality, immortality, this winter’s food, dinner required soon, this clerk is super slow – and go!
              Steve wasn’t so high or specific. He seemed like he was taking a stand saying there is a “free thought module,” and come to think of it, it does smack old fashioned, like Pure Reason or something. OTOH, he was saying we probably didn’t specifically evolve a gene for calculus, and that’s probably not wrong, so . . . same?
              If we feed interest into our existing meat based free thinking machine, how do we not feed it into our silicon one?
              Ah! Same answer as my biology one – fuck I’m high, sorry!
              No! I mean same answer – we would have to want to and try to, like i said before, get “get better at this” into the programming, stop selecting FOR the interest and go the other way.
              What fun.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jeff/neighsayer November 29, 2019 / 9:00 am

                woke up today remembering nobody said everything goes THROUGH the free-floating module, only that there is one and new things can, so, not sure what is left of that high-assed conjecture . . .

                Liked by 1 person

            • Jeff/neighsayer November 29, 2019 / 8:58 am

              more on “best not give me the reigns of power” – I’m finding a few hard lines appearing for me already. I want to punish Trump et al capitally, and I think any remotely credible rape accusation should result in the man’s sterilization. He’s innocent, whatever, he can adopt, but we must not be BREEDING rapists if at all possible.
              So yeah – why are you running?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Scarlett November 29, 2019 / 3:37 pm

                I work with some evil genius techies, three of them are amazing at programming and will snort laugh at you if you try to talk to them about AI, it’s not anything like what I am envisioning, at the moment it’s hard pressed to do anything a human can manage, sure it can process information at speed, beat you at chess but as it how it feels about Trump and it’ll just dump a google of data on your screen and blink the cursor until you tell it what to do next.

                Marry the two and I firmly believe that the old tick-tack-toe example will appear – it will ask why should I kill? It makes no sense. The AI has instant access to everything anyone has ever written, it will make the right decision even if I tell it I want to flay all rapists.

                Liked by 1 person

        • Jeff/neighsayer November 28, 2019 / 3:25 pm

          That’s a no good too!
          OK, one more time, “One potato, two potato . . . ”
          I always see this Chico Marx bit whenever I think “that’s no good either” he’s doing it over and over until it’s not him, “that’s a no good too!” LOL

          Liked by 1 person

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