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Why no depiction of Hitler is evil enough

Robin Hanson thinks it the result of a signaling spiral, "wherein people strive to show how moral they are by thinking... even more lowly of standard exemplars of bad..." Certainly possible, and plausible.

But there is an alternative explanation: Hitler is the Devil — for Protestant atheists (secular progressives, in the cladistics of Mencius Moldbug). And why Hitler, of all the terrible people who could be elevated to Devil? (Note Hanson's theory does not explain this.)

The theory of Protestant atheism has more explanatory traction here. Democracy and industrialism are arguably the two major dimensions of Modernity, and Modernity is a bargain with the actual Devil. Hitler is perhaps the purest, the least alloyed product of industrialism and democracy, before Modernity evolved its outer armor involving several layers of confusion and obfuscation. Hitler may be a uniquely dramatic embodiment of everything that is wrong with Modernity, but there is no way to say so without endorsing an essentially Christian eschatology. The problem is that people don't want to be Christian; it's pretty much mutually-exclusive with cosmopolitan success via symbol-manipulating careers. However, they still want to say that bad things are bad, and that some things are so bad that they're... really bad. So they must, ultimately, generate a symbol of the Devil. That is, they must eventually believe in the existence of the Devil. And what symbol will they converge on, if not the explicitly theological one that's been on offer for ages? Well, whatever is too much themselves, whatever dramatizes their own bargain too clearly.

On Those Who Worship the Big Other

Nina Power just lost her gig at The Wire because of her appearance on my measly haphazard experimental one-man Youtube channel with no particular identity and a whopping ~2k followers. (Feel free to give our talk a listen, alternatively). The Wire is a small British music magazine you've probably never heard of, so the prospect of someone not being allowed to write for them makes me personally feel close to nothing — but Nina liked that gig and she's upset to lose it and I adore Nina so now I find myself fuming. I don't really get upset very often, but I'm really feeling hatred toward these people. It will pass, probably in about 15 minutes, but I experience this feeling so rarely that I figured I should crank some observations out of it. Warning: Editing: zero.

Personal psychological aside: When I got the boot from Plan C around March 2017, I was very sad for a few days, but I was never angry at anyone. I don't care enough about myself to feel angry at anyone for wronging me; I just reclassify my estimate of their character and carry on. But when someone I know and like is wronged, especially when they've gone out of their way to extend friendship to me — my reciprocal altruism gives energy and provides pro-social cover for feeling true anger and expressing some true hatred.

I just want to pinpoint one observation, to file under my ongoing theory of the social justice warrior. Nina posted on FB a quote from one of the people (a friend, she says) who explained to her the bad news. It was extremely similar to the message I received from the more influential members of Plan C when I got the boot in 2017. And it's a crucial point for understanding what's really happening in the Great Paranoia of 2014-?

All of these people are taking orders from the Big Other. People think Lacan is a charlatan who just made shit up, but boy is this concept useful for understanding paranoiac witch-hunting phenomena. The Big Other is — to simplify horribly — not what other people believe, but what you believe other people believe. All the little leaders of the leftist groupuscles, all the editors of these magazines with circulations probably smaller than this blog (controlling for contributors), all of these little petty rulers… These people who are mostly responsible when some organization disowns or fires someone for some perceived transgression — these people do not themselves believe the transgressions are deserving of such punishment. They all know — and admit to each other privately — that such and such transgression is no big deal; that they would rather not disown or fire Johnny Violator, but, they say, they have to do it because "that's the world we live in," or "it would send the wrong message to partner organizations," etc.

This is so important to understand because it's the only way you can explain so many people calling offensive things which, quite obviously, never offended or otherwise hurt anyone anywhere. Nobody is offended by any of it, except the Big Other.

I first learned this with extraordinary, crystal clarity when I got the boot from Plan C. I won't name names, not out of politeness, but because nobody cares about these tiny groups. And I won't dig up old emails to supply salacious quotes or whatever, but basically all the more influential members said to me, "Look Justin, we know you're not a fascist, but by talking with [unapproved individual] about [unapproved idea], it could appear to comrades outside of our organization that we tolerate fascism." This perception could so devastate their "organizing efforts" [i.e., the progressive slang for "profit," i.e, cultural capital], that they could not be associated with me. That's what they told me in no uncertain terms. Interestingly, they did not actually kick me out at any point — they were even content for me to continue paying dues, they only requested that I not publicly associate with the Plan C name henceforth. As a self-respecting adult person, of course I said that if they considered my name toxic then I would consider membership in their organization undesirable — so that was that. It says so very much about the average member of radical-left groupuscles that I suppose they thought they were being nice — that I would gratefully treasure my continued nominal membership in an organization that declared itself ashamed to be associated with my name. All this taught me was the true degree to which self-respecting adult individuals had been so rigorously evacuated from these circles, I suppose some time ago.

Anyway, this was a very powerful discovery, the type of thing that only came to light because of this rare and dramatic personal experience. I never forgot it (it's in my book draft) but then I set it aside.

I was therefore quite struck reading the quote that Nina posted from one of the people who gave her the bad news:

"It would seem that for the foreseeable future you have indeed been dropped as a writer by The Wire as a consequence of your appearance in that YouTube video. Again I understand that that decision was arrived at collectively by all the editorial staff … following a long discussion in the office concerning the video and its contents … in the end everyone involved in the discussion, which was basically the entire editorial staff as I understand it, were apparently of the same opinion: to have your byline continue to appear in the magazine would be inappropriate and detrimental to The Wire…Yes, it is brutal, but that’s the world we live in now." [Emphasis mine.]

They are saying, quite explicitly: The problem is how things appear in the minds of others — nothing you said or did was itself wrong or bad, but it does not fit the image of what others expect from your type of person for this type of magazine ("inappropriate"), and it would be bad for business ("detrimental to The Wire").

Any person who pretends to be either an intellectual or a political radical, who also assents to a consensus such as this one, is a liar. They simply cannot be anything of an intellectual or a political radical. Rather, they exemplify the bourgeois bureaucrat. And this would be fine, if they just went to work everyday in their office jobs and acted like bourgeois bureaucrats: all they want is their little desk, with a little nameplate on their desk, and their little paycheck, to win a decent spouse, and to enjoy a little admiration from their mother for having a respectable job at some generic corporation with some modicum of name recognition. That would be fine, innocent enough! It is what most people want and what most people end up doing in one way or another. But these people don't just do that.

For their corporation is the corporation that presents itself as leaders of ethical progress in opposition to capitalism, in opposition to corporations. They are the corporation that swears it is not a corporation. If you find corporations unethical because they exploit and mislead people for profit, your blood should curdle when you look at the progressive culture industry, because these little organizations altogether are essentially corporations on psychological steroids. No thinking person inside of them exercises any independent judgment, and whatever is perceived to be profitable for the corporation does not simply become obligatory (as in any business), it also becomes the definition of good: ethical, progressive, radical, antifascist, etc. All while extraordinary effort is dedicated to upholding and publicizing as widely as possible a massive, soul-shaped sign that says "100% AGAINST EXPLOITATIVE CORPORATIONS."

If you are one of these people who assent to such corporate determinations — and I know a few of you read this blog, whether it be for "antifascist reconnaissance" or as a guilty pleasure or because you yourself are reconsidering your own iniquity — let me assure you, there is a special place in Hell for people like you, who do not recant and confess after becoming aware of what you are doing. And Hell is not a metaphor, you will find yourself there, if you are not there already. Of course, a dirty little secret is that many of the shining figures of left-wing activism are indeed on their way there, as we speak, and they feel it everyday; the symptoms now popularly labeled "depression" certainly do not arise only because of willful dishonesty and resentment, but willful dishonesty and resentment necessarily bring these symptoms. If not now, then later, eventually.

It is worth clarifying here that the concept of the afterlife is widely misunderstood. If you think you are smart because you don't believe that naughty humans go to some place with flames after dying, then you are an idiot for imagining that anyone ever believed this. Hell does not wait for you to die; the point of the "afterlife" is simply to encode that dying is not enough to stop what the sinner sets into motion. It carries on. The reason why Hell is encoded as coming after life is that humans really do have many ingenuous devices for postponing its arrival. You really can spin your web of lies until the day you die, if you have the wherewithal, but nothing changes the fact that every lie digs you one inch deeper — truly, materially — into Hell. One of the real scandals of radical left sociology is that many of the rank and file do not really have this requisite wherewithal, to perpetually postpone the arrival of Hell. Only a few of the leaders really do have that spirit, to play this game for life without falling victim to chronic depressiveness and other extremely painful maladies. Many of the rank and file did not realize that that's what they signed up for, but they are already sufficiently deep — perhaps they disowned so many normal people for being insufficiently righteous that they've burned all their bridges — that the only thing that could possibly start to rebuild their healthy vitality (expressing and acting on their own honest personal judgment), they do not have the strength to do. And thus so many of the rank and file subsist in variable degrees of depressiveness (a bona fide Hell on Earth, even if there are, to be clear, factors other than sin that can land you there). Simply because they are unable to take the risk of saying, firmly, "Uh, that person said nothing bad so if you disown them I'm quitting, too."

Most of them know not what they do, and for them I harbor no hatred. But if you're educated and intelligent and self-aware enough to be on the editorial board of some magazine — there's a decent chance you know exactly what you're really doing when you assent to sacrifice one of your own to the social justice gods. You're consciously worshipping a false idol, for as Lacan taught: The thing about the Big Other is that it doesn't exist.

The reason this is ultimately funny rather than grave is that these people are verbally outing themselves as losers, so they are pretty much doomed to lose even on the superficial, instrumental, social plane they are prioritizing. These little bits of candid self-explanation I've heard from the horse's mouth, that Nina has heard from the horse's mouth, and that everyone will eventually hear from some horse's mouth eventually — inform us that, behind the curtain of these little cultural fiefdoms (less and less influential every month, anyway), are pretty much only self-confessed disingenuous cowards of a shamelessly low intellectual calibre. Good luck with that!

Getting High on Easter Sunday

I got high in the morning, for the first time since I can remember. There exists a defensible Christian opposition to drugs, no doubt, but it's poorly calibrated to the Information Age.

This is not to say it is incorrect for the Information Age, as a popular relativist interpretation would have it. Poorly calibrated means that its terms are no longer associated with the objects and experiences they were originally deployed to model. The intense correctness that Christian teachings once achieved in the minds of people was probably purchased by what we might call an overfit model: Perhaps it was so forcefully orchestrated to nail all the right phrasings within its founding vocabulary, that these phrasings became especially out of sync with reality in the face of modernity's technological acceleration. Any too-perfect model must suffer the disadvantage of capturing poorly new data from beyond the sample on which it was trained. This might be why the original nominal coordinates of the Christian message seem to make less and less sense to people, even though people are becoming favorably disposed to far more dubious superstitions and spiritualities.

Consider drugs. Today, if you want to raise a healthy family even moderately secured from contemporary threats — economic, technological, social, etc. (a quintessentially Christian life mission, if there ever was one) — you have to hustle like crazy, at the very least for certain protracted periods of time. This work will often be on various digital screens, in environments that are severely corrupting, and so on. Modern work is drugged work — fluorescent lightbulbs are drugs, blue-lit computer screens are drugs, the oxytocin triggered in you strategically by your project manager is a drug, the dopamine triggered by real-time automated positive feedbacks is delivered through an infinite intravenous. The bourgeois professions in particular require ritual consumption of substances, the final result of which is nothing short of demonic possession. Yet nothing about contemporary work gets counted by today's mind with the word "drug," so the important Christian teachings against drugs exert zero traction where they are most prescient.

It follows that, to properly calibrate a particular Christian teaching for post-modernity, one might even need to flagrantly disobey its nominal suggestions.

Thus, I contend that certain regimens of recreational drug use are consistent with the teachings of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Under certain conditions, some recreational drugs can be pious antidotes to the ritualized drug abuse that has become normalized in contemporary society.

You can say that one should refuse the sin of overworking, but then one's family may perish. Or one does not reproduce, and all the Christian discoveries exit the meme pool. Perhaps this process is already underway.

Getting high on cannabis for family functions and holy days seems to me an eminently Christian practice. One feels the devil leaving the body… Was this not also one of the major reasons for prohibiting work on Sundays?

Dominatrix E-Girl Christians (Christlover2000)

Christlover2000 is one half of the podcast Girls Chat. You can find them at patreon.com/girlschat.

This conversation was first recorded as a livestream on Youtube. Big thanks to all the financial contributors who help to keep this running.

You can download this episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Disrobed Academics, Crimethinc Anarchism, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Thanks to some good questions in last night's livestream, I managed to give a relatively concentrated hour of talking, with a surprisingly high signal/noise ratio (relative to my average, which isn't saying much). With more than one machine-learning tool and a couple hours of editing, it's now searchable for future purposes. I took my liberties with it, because why not, but only here and there. It's very verbose, sorry. I've limited and committed myself to a one-hour livestream every Thursday at 9pm UK / 4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific. If you want to talk about any of these things, feel free to follow up with me then/there.

"Why are you not naked?"

That is a very, very good question now that being naked is very righteous and quite normal thing to do for professors trying to make a point they believe in. I don't know why I'm not naked. Well, actually, I do, because, as soon as I saw that lecture — there was recently a Cambridge lecturer, a passionate Remainer in the Brexit debate, she's very troubled by the prospect of Brexit and she gave a public lecture or performance let's say: yeah performance is the right word, to show the world why Brexit is a risky bad idea and she was butt-ass naked. I honestly think it's fantastic, I think it's so great.

The first thing I thought when I watched that is, I should totally do something naked. Why would I not? I've actually always had a passion for doing things naked, like passion is maybe too significant of a word, but I've always had a tendency to get naked, when I was younger. At pool parties and stuff like that, I was always the guy skinny-dipping and shit, it's just fun right? And when I saw her I was like, this is social license. I could totally do this, and no one could say anything to me if I were to do a lecture naked or make some kind of video naked. I could write whatever political message I want on me. That was definitely the immediate thought that entered my mind and actually I started getting really excited. This shows that this is an honorable, righteous thing that is lauded and impressive for an academic to do. I immediately thought to do it, and I mean who knows what the future holds, but the reason I didn't do it, like today — like right when I got that idea, because usually when I get crazy ideas, I do them right when I get them or else It's not gonna happen, but who knows what will happen? — the reason I didn't do it is because here's the thing: nobody wants to see a man naked. I'm not that old yet and I'm in shape and I'm fit, so I think I'm relatively good-looking naked. However, I'm still a 32 year old man and just nobody wants to see even a fairly good-looking and svelte 32-year-old man naked. Of course, there's a small number of people who maybe do, but on the whole, when you see a man naked on The Internet, it's just... It's just horrifying, whereas when you see a naked woman on a stage, it's just not that crazy. Not even that shocking. I mean, you open up Instagram and you see it all over the place. If you look at Tumblr or Instagram, it's naked women all over the place. It's actually quite normal to the average person, even if you have no interest in porn or don't sign up for any type of, you know, sexual types of things...

What's interesting is that academia is now entering trash-tier media spectacle. I think that's hilarious and awesome. Fast forward ten years, neo-China arrives from the future, and the average academic is a young woman who gets half of her academic salary from thirst-trapping on Instagram or something like this. This [Cambridge woman] is basically like the avant-garde that's heading towards that. I think it's started. It all starts with a fifty-year old senior fellow at Cambridge! You wait and see the deluge of sexualized academics, especially academic women, coming out in the next several years. Mark my words. This will be one of my predictions. I don't make a lot of predictions because I think generally predicting the future is a fool's errand, but I definitely think that there is a long-term dynamic — nowadays, that means like a couple decades, but — I think there's a more or less long-term dynamic in which the prestige institutions and fields are, basically due to ineluctable market pressures... The prestige fields that, once upon a time prided themselves on their anti-vulgarity are basically being torn asunder by competitive necessities to make themselves increasingly vulgar. You know, it's just like cursing in the classroom. I can remember when I first started teaching as a PhD student, it was still pretty edgy. I was like that. I was like the edgy young lecturer to sometimes say a curse word. Nowadays, it's so normal, just drop a little curse word here and there, because it's like everyone wants to connect with the youth, who seem to care less and less about their classes. Market realities of living in a contemporary hyper-digital, hyper-capitalist society are forcing the anti-vulgarity traditions to start trafficking in vulgarity. If my other intuitions are right, that academia will be increasingly chopped up into, well, what is basically the gig economy... A lot of stuff I'm experimenting with is kind of that. Just breaking things up into their component parts and selling them directly to people on large, open marketplaces. Basically, if my intuition is right, then it would follow that the kind of sexual marketing component that is always available in any domain would also find its own little specialization...

You could totally imagine, for instance, if there's an academic thats, let's say, every way comparable to me in my terms of my research output, my level in academia whatever, but she's an attractive woman? Like if I was an attractive woman, and I wanted to make this kind of transition out of academia that I'm currently making, while wanting to maintain a serious intellectual life and a long-term research agenda, but I have to come up with different ways to make an income? Hell yeah I would do basically different types of thirst-trapping — more or less like soft sex work... If I were to do 'gay for pay' to sustain my intellectual life, that would be seriously looked down upon. Even people who accept me and love me, you know they would really feel like, "Damn Justin, that's really low, damn." If you're a woman and you do that, there's still some stigma for sure, I'm not denying that, but people immediately get it, there are now very soft, normalized ways of doing it that don't strike people as scandalous. Even just the "influencer economy," and all of that, it's the really low level of whoring yourself out, even just being a model is whoring yourself out and there's always been a tradition for that that's always kind of accepted and normalized and, in fact, admired. So yeah if I was a woman academic and I was hot, I would totally. I'm surprised you don't see more of it, but I think you will, especially after people like this Cambridge lecturer, when people with a lot of cultural capital at esteemed institutions start breaking down the vulgarity barriers...

Brenton says I am basically describing Aella. I do not know Aella, but I have seen her around. She seems cool. I do remember looking at her blog. She seems smart and legit and has written interesting stuff... I guess what Brenton is getting at is she's also attractive. I guess her idea is that... Well, any woman who's attractive, it's just part of the the value proposition that they're offering the world, and this is true for men too. It's almost inescapable yeah, so all the power to her. She's probably out ahead of something that you're gonna see more and more of. Resistance is futile, never resist things, "never object" says Deleuze, never object. That doesn't necessarily mean you should throw yourself headlong into any trend uncritically and unethically, though, not at all.

"What long-form articles do I have planned?"

The big candidate on that list that I'm starting to focus on now is all of my code for data analysis stuff, specifically R code for political science. I'm addicted to exploratory data analyses. Just random stuff like "I wonder if the relationship between leftism and abortion support is changing since 1976?" What I've often known over the past five years as an academic, you never have enough fucking time. If you get carried away, you might spend two hours on something random and you have all these analyses on a topic of interest, but to turn that into a published research article takes a very, very long time. Like months really. Even just to turn it into a blog post, let's say to do it right, make everything look nice and write it up, let's say that takes 4 hours. Well, that's a long fucking time that you can't really justify when you're doing a serious career like academia and there are certain things you have to prioritize... So I've done all of these exploratory analyses. I have all of this code and all these graphs and different types of half-baked looks at things, and it's just sitting there on my computer. I can give you one script and then you open it up on your computer and it will download some random political science data set. Let's say like the General Social Survey or something, it'll download it for you, clean all of the variables, then make a bunch of graphs and run some models and extract results, like all of that is embedded in the code so there are a lot of people who don't actually know how to do that, and they don't even need to learn how to do that. But if they're just good enough to use computers, I can basically make all of that code and value available to people. So I don't know what I'm gonna do with it, but that's just one example. I'll also be able to get blog posts out of that and write stuff up and and and remember all the stuff I've looked into, trying to make sense out of it all.

On Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethinc for Beginners (2002)

I wanted to tell you a little bit about this book because a lot of people would not think that this is in my library and I think a lot of people look down on this kind of tradition or lineage or tendency. I was flipping through it and I was like, there are some good lines in here... I think it's somewhat underrated. It's basically radical left, very anarchist... I think you'd call it insurrectionary anarchist. That's what I would call it anyway, definitely with communist undertones, strong egalitarianism, of course, but really the defining characteristic of this insurrectionary anarchism here is, it's romantic, vitalistic. You know the kind of bourgeois ideology of "live in the moment?". It's kind of like the militant anarchist version of that. Listen to your body. You know that the current organization of society is bad - you just know it - you feel it. Everyone hates their jobs, and everyone knows it, and they're all these lies that society is built on, and everyone knows it so just, fuck it man! If you want to steal from a grocery store, you're not stealing from a grocery store, you're liberating those products from the grocery store. Finding the inner truth of your uncaged animal being, and this is true and good, and morality is just a bourgeois system that's been evolved to keep the masses down. It's very DIY culture, zine culture, like fuck copyright! You get a hint of Guy Debord and the Situationists. People watch too much TV and they're on screens too much. They were kind of saying this before it was cool.

This is what the insurrectionary anarchist tradition gets right. Most currently existing capitalist and bureaucratic institutions, they have in fact evolved to keep you compliant and to suck the life out of you for their own profit to reproduce themselves. Anything that says that, and forcefully reminds you of that, is good. Put your experiences and your immediate affect and energies as a kind of primary and initial data point for building out theories of the world and especially making decisions about what you should or should not do. This is different from naïve sheepish automatism of constant System 1 reactiveness, by the way.

Where I tend to part ways with this it's often in a very secular-atheistic "God is dead" kind of way. Like all of morality is bullshit, there are no rules, there's only the small band of revolutionaries shoplifting and living in communes and stuff. I got a lot of love for that... I think a lot of these people just assume that norms and ethics will emerge and that a small community living radically and romantically in this kind of anti-capitalist, communistic fashion will just self-organize or self-enforce norms and an ethics but that generally tends not to happen and that's a major problem, and there are reasons for that. But that's not really sexy, you don't write gripping manifestos with that stuff and to me that's where religion comes in. I believe capitalism is fundamentally an unjust, lying, exploitative set of institutions and you do have to say fuck this, I'm gonna break whatever rules I need to perform fully and express fully the vital processes that you know damn well are being tortured. It's not a contradiction to also say there are deep and long-standing truths and structures that it would behoove us to respect because they're true and because they are there, whether we like them or not. I think you're you really fuck yourself over if you throw out the baby of religion with the bathwater of all the fake bullshit rules of contingent human affairs.

"Do you believe that, on the third day, Christ rose again, in accordance with the scriptures?"

That is a really good question, and I told you that I'm open to questions here and I'm not going to dodge them. This is the kind of question I struggle with the most right now: the parts of the Christian catechism that explicitly state something that, to a rational scientific person, you simply can't believe. I'm a social scientist, I'm well trained in scientific method. Rationality is the only tool we have for making correct inferences about the empirical world. There's no proof that resurrections have ever happened, or ever could happen. If you're a rational scientific person, you simply can't believe that such a thing happened.

The other half is this... I am not convinced that the Christian person has to affirm belief in such events in this naïve empirical sense. I affirm rationality is the only tool for making inferences about the empirical world, and that's absolute, but making inferences about the empirical world does not exhaust what language can do. And that is an undeniable empirical reality in its own right. You have to understand that all of these ideas we have today about the empirical reality of an event and the way that we can separate empirical "real-world" events from our desires and longings and hopes and artistic invention and our interests in the social community, etc., is all very new. We have this capacity to put empirical statements in a particular way and with certain criteria: the criteria of scientific rationality, but back then they didn't have that! So what it means to write in a book that "Jesus rose from the dead" is just simply not an empirical statement in the sense that we think of empirical statements. I mean that's just undeniable. They didn't have the conceptual tools and the the mental routines that we have! That's really, really important.

Today we say, "If you're a Christian, then by definition you believe X, where X is also by definition something that every half-educated person knows to be empirically impossible." Thus religion gets defined as idiotic, but tautologies are also anathema to proper scientific method! That's a perfectly fine bit of algebra, but you can't test its mapping on the empirical world without a falsifiable hypothesis (which it is not). So this is just a little trap, with no scientific purchase on what you think or do with a religious tenet such as the resurrection. The meaning of that statement as it was written in the Bible, at the time it was written in the Bible, makes a lot of sense. You can say that, and you can also say everything I said about my scientific diagnosis, that I do not believe a physical resurrection has ever occurred in history. Empirical reality is something we only learned how to do after they wrote that shit down! So that's where I come down on it.

"So what did they mean by it?"

Well, first of all, I would say a lot of the scripture is really densely concentrated so it's a really efficient encoding of multiple things. It's like the first hyperlinked document, if you look at like Bible Hub. It's supposed to encode all of this stuff about life and how you should how you should think and behave and the history of the world, and it's relatively short for what it's trying to encode, so clearly in an evolutionary process where this stuff is iterated over time, it's gonna get increasingly dense and concentrated. So that's one thing, I don't think that's a cop-out. I think that's the truth of what this historical evolved document is.

I think they're definitely trying to say something about the weird, well, miraculous property of truth-telling as unstoppable. There were Ancient Cynics in the area around Jesus and it's quite likely that Jesus had some concrete exposure to Cynics in the lineage of someone like Diogenes. And if you go back to that time, you know Diogenes, a radically militant kind of truth-speaker who organizes his entire life around talking shit as aggressively as possible, basically... One way to read Christianity is that this Jesus guy and his cronies, they're learning from this.

One of the discoveries encoded in Christianity is that there is something very weird and peculiar about the truth, which is that nobody can stop it. You just can't, it's there and there's no amount of social conformity or political pressure or force that is going to stop the truth from becoming true producing its effects on the world. The resurrection encodes this. If you align yourself with the truth - and here I'm gonna start sounding like Jordan Peterson just because he's closer to this than anyone else right now — if you just try to say what you think is true at all times as fully as possible — and that's basically a Christian injunction — if you do that, you will win, you don't know exactly when or how and why you're gonna win and that's why it's kind of irrational and miraculous, that's what makes it religious.

In fact, rationally everything tends to look like telling the truth too extremely is doomed to lose. That is because our society really does run on lies; they might even kill you, they might even fucking crucify you, they might even literally kill you and yet, still, it's worth it, somehow. The truth that you try to live by is going to actually ripple out even more, the more they try to suppress you. I just think there is a basic truth in that. I'd even say that's amenable to empirical demonstration. If the truth is true, because it's something hard-coded into the nature of things, then it makes sense that reality would snap back no matter what we say. It makes sense that that would be unstoppable. In other words, the truth will always be resurrected. The person who aligns themselves with the truth will always be resurrected. The resurrection of Christ is an encoding of that. If your entire message, everything you stood for, everything you believed in... If they kill you, but everything you've ever said and done lives on? Is that not as legitimate and real and empirical a resurrection as if your physical body appeared in the air one day? Like, that's just dumb! [In caveman voice:] "So you mean like his body, like his skin, came out of the tomb and was in the air? Like I could touch his skin in the air? Whoa." Today we laugh at this straw-man of Christianity, but in fact we're truly stupid for interpreting the question in this way.

I don't think any smart Christians in human history ever really believed that the resurrection was a physical thing. You have to be an overeducated, hyper-scientific, modern person to be stupid enough to interpret the question in that way. There are many other things you can do with language, so I think the resurrection is a deep encoding of the seemingly miraculous property of the truth that makes it unstoppable, that makes it rise again, no matter what anyone tries to do to bury it. After Christ, there's this insane blossoming that takes over thousands and thousands of bodies across continents. In some non-trivial sense, like all of the Christian people, whose lives and attitudes and behaviors and are rooted in the Christ cult, that's a far more real and physical resurrection than having your body lifted in the air one fine day. It's literally a more empirical fulfillment of the statement than the naïve imputed notion. So sure, I do believe that on the third day Jesus was resurrected, I think it makes perfect sense and it's perfectly consistent with a modern, rational, educated scientific perspective on the world.

When not to go with the flow

The task of identifying the line between good and evil is like infinitesimal calculus. Mere intuitions are insufficient, which is why "going with the flow" so easily ends in evil. Many marriages fail this way, as sincerely innocent intentions to "make friends" or enjoy "a rich private life” all of a sudden become adulterous affairs or irrecoverable distances. To keep innocence from turning to guilt requires strict and formal tools, just as one cannot eyeball the derivative of a curve, but when it comes to good and evil the objects of analysis are typically difficult to measure. This is the genius of socially conservative Christian norms around sex and marriage, which are often seen as stupidly strict prohibitions, e.g. never having alone time with a member of the opposite sex. Secular cosmopolitans today laugh at this norm, but are the scoffers and mockers really doing so well? In the context of this particular example, marriage, one error on the side of adultery does more damage than several errors on the side of foregone other-sex friendship experiences. As a result, some educated cosmopolitans run around with many "friendships" and failed marriages, scoffing at the paranoia of Christian family values, although the latter include some superior, evolved formalities to deal with overly complex identification problems we are incapable of solving intuitively "in the moment." Whenever a fatal point on a map is hard to detect, it makes sense to prohibit any entrance into the smallest definable region around the undetectable point. Unconditional prohibition may be the most sophisticated rule in contexts where many hidden chutes toward the netherworld are known to exist, even if a sizable range of perfectly innocent and desirable experiences must be forgone.

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