Deterministic World

Part 2. Society

4. Living in Society

Children are born not knowing what to do with their brain - how to train it, how to learn, what tasks are necessary for survival, or how to interact with others (beyond the most basic biological programming ie breastfeeding). As they are raised in society, a tremendous set of patterns/rules/guidelines is learned by the brain performing statistical inference continuously over many years, and by the time children reach maturity they are fully versed in how to successfully live in their society.

What is success? Our parents want us to be successful, and this seems like a positive feature to strive towards. Successful people are looked up to. They are the managers, leaders, decision-makers. Perversly, the people who work for the leaders/managers and contribute to their success are not themselves successful (?). Everyone is pushed to "be a leader" or "leader in the field", not a follower. Unsuccessful people take orders and hate their life, successful people give orders and enjoy their life. Success and power go together. But does any of this make sense? Society needs janitors and fast food workers in order to function as it does, yet they are the collective laughingstock and example of failure. The few "successful" individuals enjoy improved options in life because of the respect paid to them by the "unsuccessful" themselves. [f1] Society could probably do without a manager in a company making some obscure product, yet this is called success. Emperors and ruling classes of old, like these managers, were respected and given power because they were seen as important, and they were seen as important because they wielded power, and they wielded power because... their servants followed their orders? I suppose in old times the people in power fought their way up in one sense or another, but once they could convince enough others of their importance, the societal reverance of the throne/the state was self-perpetuating as parents taught their children that they should respect their leaders. This is not to say the leaders were not quick to reinforce their power with physical force (consider Napoleon's brutal 13 Vendemiaire attack) lest the government fall apart as the idea of the government as weak spreads among its citizens - the power of the government after all lies in the citizens' belief that the government is powerful, in a similar way that money is believed to have value. But why would the armies listen to their generals? It must have been due to the physical and mental conditioning of army recruits (with smaller expenditures of physical force, such as physical punishments for disobeying commands during drills), it is no coincidence all armies are rigid and hierarchical. Respect for the leaders holds into the present day: the CEOs/politicians may have through some circumstances and luck gotten to their position, after which they are respected just based on their title, and then watever they do becomes an example of "success" {as a sort of epistemological halo effect}. Elon Musk's hyperloop idea is cool and hip, but some odd college-dropout's tube train idea is weird and impractical (should have finished that college degree! [f2]). It is mostly arbitrary, but still with roots in real circumstances (and real physical power/brute force): the extent to which it can be disconnected from physical power is the extent to which our brains are capable of behavioral conditioning/learning. Our parents punish us if we say something insulting, so later on we will consider the act of saying the insulting phrase as inherently a bad thing and won't do it even when it realistically wouldn't lead to any punishment.

Still, a country cannot have only leaders, like a cohort cannot have all As even though everyone is pushed towards such. If they all had As then the concept of A becomes meaningless and not selective/indicative/useful in conveying information because A means "better than B" and this requires that someone has a B, or is then "worse than an A". We might even say more/less successful in this context. Does it makes sense to reward the As with greater social approval when in a real sense the Bs are what make the As possible? This is another blindspot of the "cult of I": should we force individuals to compete against each other when they are inherently affected by external circumstances? Consider a living organism; are its brain cells "better" than muscle cells? Not really, perhaps the brain cells have more influence on the organism's well-being and muscle cells are more expendable, but both are key to the organism's prosperity, and when the organism is well-off all its cells also benefit. Muscle cells don't try to compete to become brain cells; rather all cells cooperate towards an overall goal (as they were programmed to). I imagine society would benefit if the economic pressure for rabid and unending growth was instead replaced by a pressure towards prosperity for society as a whole through effective use of workers' skills. What this reflects about human nature is that without the pressure and stress of competition (being placed in this external environment) we do not seek societal definitions of "success". One could argue getting an A takes extra effort and thus should be rewarded better than getting a B, otherwise there would be no incentive for an individual to put in the extra effort. But the very idea of extra effort=good is under question here. Brains differ in their abilities, not in terms of dumb vs smart but in the way people do things 'naturally' [f3]. Some people are good at math and others at drawing because their brains have developed differently, so putting the same amount of effort to pass some academic test will yield very different results. There is clear empirical evidence of such differences in that worker specialization in our economy increases productivity and brings a net positive effect - if we really could do anything, like society always tells the impressionable children, specialization would not be necessary and would have no impact beyond administrative effort reduction. Introspectively, no matter how much effort I put in I will not be a rock star - I don't have a brain that composes music or controls voice finely enough for singing, but if being a rock star is successful then I guess I must be a failure. All this stems from the cult of I - as if people consciously decide how much effort to spend on productive vs unproductive affairs {just to be clear, such a view is contrary to determinism} (but are rock stars/football players really so productive to society's well-being?). Just like rewarding individual winners and punishing individual criminals, we reward the hard workers and punish the lazy bums (through monetary incentives), all instead of focusing on the larger systems and support networks which lead to given outcomes. And I suppose knowing this keeps people working on things valued by others, but it also keeps them in line, mentally blocked by their own inner policeman to keep the order and know their place within it, either as a success or as a failure. It also helps understand others' societal status, and this is perhaps necessary in a stable society {all later human societies developed jewelry and other items that serve to distinguish social classes}, just like the "pecking order" in monkey groups, which arises naturally and keeps the group stable despite differences in individual monkeys and internal conflicts (easily elevated to physical fighting) over food/resources.

It is not really the police that keeps me safe in society (ie others don't drive over me or beat me up) but rather a controlling voice inside each person around me telling them it's not OK to hurt someone randomly. This is then what society really is - it is a set of deeply held, mostly unquestioned and perhaps never even explicitly seen, beliefs and thoughts that get passed on from generation to generation not through any classroom but from how the people around a child always act. Similar with money - it has worth because we all agree that it has worth, this is a societal belief. This is powerful stuff - it is very difficult to change, as it is deep within all our actions and underlies peer pressure - I don't walk around naked because others don't - and we can see in governments where corruption reigns just how difficult it is to do something that should nominally benefit everyone and be a logical/rational decision. So beyond caring about physics of objects (ie typical 'physics'), one should care about physics of people - how society determines people's range of actions and what they will do or dream of or be interested in - perhaps all without realizing that it is all due to environment/surroundings, instead blindly believing that our personas develop "randomly" or are "divinely chosen" or are of "free will". And this societal action is real physics - an object like a ball follows simple physics like F=ma, while an object like a person in society follows complicated physics like reading a road sign while driving a car in order to change their driving in a specific manner and later on tell their friends about the experience - but both are ultimately describable by rigid laws. Society should be seen from a high vantage point as a system which enables certain self-reinforcing patterns to emerge and become stable while other patterns decay; whether the patterns made stable by our societal beliefs are in line with our proclaimed goals is questionable, and I think looking at these patterns in detail would fall outside the realm of "political correctness" - ie society tells us these things are to be described (and thus thought about) in vague unclear contradictory language ("differently abled", "a blessing") so we don't analyze the reality too much. As one case, in old societies single motherhood was an impossibility, because there were not enough physical resources to allow mothers to raise a baby without a husband. With modern laws and living standards this pattern is made stable, but the result is we let evolution run wild - men can impregnate multiple women and not actually participate in raising the children; is this really in line with societal goals? [f4] The irresponsible couples who don't plan for the future or worry about birth control are precisely the ones who will make more children and at a younger age than those who carefully prepare (and those children will in turn make more children and at a younger age relative to the careful planners, as their parents' culture gets passed on). Certain cultures are in line with what society claims as its goals and other cultures are not, different cultures (and people) are not equal, and claiming they are just means the most compassionate (those who believe others are equal/respect others) will be overruled by the ones less hesitant to manipulate their way to power. [f5] Again, inaction and "letting everyone do as they please"/"freedom and equality" is also a type of action in that it will lead to the evolutionary selection for whatever culture/mindset is best benefited by the current societal laws in place. [f6] Turning a blind eye to evolutionary forces does not stop evolution.

In today's society we do not compete for food, but we do compete for social status as well as money. I've avoided the issue until now because it is tough to state cleanly or prove, but there is a real sense in which success=money, or namely that money given to an individual (as paycheck) is an indicator of that individual's success, his valuation by society at large. [f7] The homeless begging on the street are minimally valued, the big failures of society. The high-payed CEOs are maximally valued, the big successes of society. But money itself, and its distribution, is arbitrary. When the gold standard was in place, money was a substitute for barter trade, a physical object that could be saved for later even if the barter goods could not. It would also allow mutually beneficial "barter chains" between more than 2 parties even when the complexity of organizing this by barter only would be too much/impractical. We still talk about saving money, like it were drops of water or nuggets of gold, something to be collected and stored under the bed for later. The bankers saw that while money can do the above barter simplification, it is also its own field [f8].

The point of today's money is not to save it, but to spend it. Money only has value when it is flowing - otherwise it is an idle concept. Thus rich people don't put money in a safe - instead they invest, letting their money flow to others with the expectation that sometime later more will flow back [f9]. The businesses they invest in, for their side, use the investment money to buy equipment and pay employees. In turn employees buy food/housing and the equipment manufacturers buy raw materials and pay employers. The cycle continues all the way and assuming everyone has to buy food/housing the money eventually flows to the food/housing employees and owners, who spend it somewhere else starting the cycle anew. [f10] Perhaps we can represent money flows as a simple cycle (for the case of a food-industry employee buying their company's food):


With this it is clear that such cycles will tend to split into different non-intersecting loops: a rich person's money cycle may never touch the above food-industry employee's cycle because the rich person buys luxury goods - then we can expect the emergence of specialized luxury businesses only utilized by the rich (which do exist), namely monetary stratification. But if the rich get richer (which they do) there must be some transfer of money from the 'poor cycles' to the 'rich cycles'. For this transfer to happen, it is a requirement that workers are (continuously) paid less than the value of the goods they produce, or pay more than the value of the goods they buy. So this includes: unequal salary, loan interest rates, insurance [f11], and inflation. The government ensures that it gets a share no matter what, through tax collection, including a property tax so even the self-sufficient farmer needs to pay. Because everyone has to eat and have shelter, all money eventually goes to farmers and landlords, but even here the price of the items is arbitrary - note how rent can quickly rise in big cities. It is surprising that food is relatively cheap compared to rent - I guess food is a more competitive market because foods are essentially identical ie all vegetables are same regardless of where a person buys them {food also expires if not used/sold} which is not true for housing. The government is (of course) a key player - it "double-dips" by charging (levying) tax on both income (money flow to individual) and spending (money flow from individual), so even if at the end of the work month the worker is in the same financial situation as at its start (having spent all earned money), the government has collected its share of money from the transactions that were involved. Another sense of arbitrariness here is the conversion between different currencies - on what I earn in USA, I could live much more comfortably in China. In other words, workers living in China will do the same work for fewer dollars while still meeting their basic needs, simply because of the currency conversion effect - not that they don't need as much food or such physical differences. Similarly in "humanitarian" international aid, for example where a US resident pays $2 to get a family in Africa a cow - the cow was already there (existing) and the $2 helped transfer it to a family while the seller makes a living wage - does this really make sense? Does a country have to rely on foreign money to survive? Or is it just a quick way to get money from those who don't know any better? Doesn't the charity-bought foreign food/shelter/animals also "price out" other residents who don't qualify for charity, because the seller can keep an artificially high price with foreign aid always coming in? Why should we think it is our responsibility or even our right to meddle in a developing country that may well have a different definition of success? [f12] These are all tough questions that point to the need to define exactly what money is - something I can only wander around at the moment. To me the use of money (setting prices, tax amounts, and interest rates, printing new currency) all seems arbitrary, yet given the actual stability of the global monetary system there must be other forces at play that I'm not yet aware of, no doubt forces that are thoroughly protected and overseen by governments.

Putting aside the difficult question of what money is, we can still make use of it in evaluating success - after all if people give me money I will assume I am a worthy member of society who is appreciated. By this metric, the adage of working hard to reach success falls apart. Hourly (or any time-based) pay workers can only increase their earnings in a human-limited linear fashion - a person can only work so many hours in a day, and each additional hour requires so much additional expenditure of effort. But those who invest money and make monetary decisions can increase their earnings in an effectively unbounded (no maximum money limit) and exponential fashion. The two cannot even compete as long as the latter has enough initial money to invest. People rich enough can make an investment on which the interest exceeds the hourly worker's wages, and by doing this they earn the same monetary amount but do no material work beyond simply shifting their monetary weight around. Not only that, but the interest rates insure that their returns automatically keep growing faster and faster, while the hourly worker may only hope for a raise sometime later on. The "work environment" is *not* a place for growth, it is a place for repetition and submission to overall company values (making money for the CEOs). There is a quip that even random stock picking (monkey throwing darts) does about the same as "investing experts", so as long as the economy is on the rise (the meaning of which is quite dense until we understand what money is) the investors will make tremendous profit, whether they "work hard" or not. Their money "works for them" - but really I suspect this means they're taking advantage of 'free' work done by those who are paid on an hourly basis - at the end of the day *someone* has to actually do the physical work, and they are the people who end up working and bringing the benefits of "money working" to the investors - even as they themselves get a paycheck at the end of the week (money working is just other people working). Assuming total money is more or less conserved in a given time frame, the investment profits have to come from somewhere - from someone else's account. This grand duping of the workforce is only possible because the nature of money and its flows is well hidden behind economic complexity (sometimes almost comically artificial, as in the latest 'designer stocks/bonds').

Our economy is based on consumption - an artificially high demand for some product means more people are put to work in manufacturing it, and those workers all get paid, and whatever they eventually buy with their money can eventually cycle back to those who will maintain this artificial demand. The high demand increases money flows, and this is the real "health" of the economy. But this is not always humanly or environmentally wise. On one hand it seems that this means the government can effectively just make up public service programs "out of thin air", to the benefit of all - consider the National Parks and Lunar Missions of the US as such 'artificial' demands that are typically considered worthwhile causes (in a public good sense). The government's lack of any such programs in recent years as well as pay freezes and other measures is troubling from this point of view - surely the government is big enough to create its own demand and support this demand with taxes, say for instance by mandating sidewalks on all US roads, or solar panels on all houses. That it does not indicates that (1) money is channeled into private rather than public contributions, such as salaries and benefits of individual employees (employing underqualified/inefficient workers, as well as more blatant corruption) [f13] and (2) such spending is already placing the economy at strain (limited by available manpower, for instance - perhaps combined with policies such as weekly hours limits/typical "standard of life" expected by workers - not that everyone works 24/7). Nonetheless the true explanation for why the government doesn't create more public welfare programs is hidden behind economic and political complexity and will require careful analysis of not only what money is but what the government can do to/with money, as the government is certainly in a position to change "the rules of the game".

So, to be successful, one shouldn't work hard - that will only help marginally with money and will instead take away valuable time from more impactful possibilities. One should instead take advantage of every chance to take more for himself and give less to others without getting caught, cheat and lie his way up the hierarchy. One should make connections with powerful people - the ones who (for whatever reason) make decisions and get things done - one of the big tasks of government is creating a clear sense of who can do what, of who is in charge - and in countries where the government is ineffective, a violence-based system will emerge (not to say that government isn't violent - at the end of the day it will punish and kill any threats - but government is the "only" boss in town so there is no need for constant territorial conflicts). One should exploit the system to get unfair amounts of money from others (not only quant stock traders using insider information and algorithms to take other investors' money (which is ultimately money not earned by the physical laborers), but also superstar performers getting paid on an artificial basis of how much they're worth/how many viewers they can attract - or basically how much others would pay them rather than any intrinsic/absolute amount). One should strive for positions which handle the flow of money - such as investors/CEOs - thus being able to benefit from more than personal assets' worth. The big irony is that the "honest" workers who actually do all the material work that makes the economy possible are not just paid disproportionately less than the decision makers with no way out - but that because money is tied to success, such workers are also seen by society as "subpar", looked down on and made fun of, insult to injury. [f14] Parents push their kids to become doctors and astronauts, but a world with only those will be quite poor indeed. We need cooks, janitors, plumbers, and factory line workers to make our everyday lives possible - yet we both pay them low money and treat them poorly in social interactions - once again [f15], just because we can (it is the decision makers, after all, who decide how much money they themselves should get - no wonder it's not quite a just division {and they cannot just take all the money, because if they do so then any people who helped them will start planning ways to take over power.}).

I am shaped by my experiences and my hopes/dreams for the future (if any) are based on my sense of self (what do I seek in life?) so in turn based on my experiences and environment. What of the children who want to become firefighters or doctors? If they're not just saying it because it is socially expected/elicits some reaction (do kids know enough about themselves and the jobs to really believe what they are saying?) such a statement represents a sense of the child's desire, relative of course to what the child has been told and has experienced (if taught that doctors are bad, the child wouldn't want to become a doctor). Over the next years of dredging through the systematic crushing of the "self" in grade school and college, the relation in which the child views his dreams are lost/changed - few kids actually become firemen. By the time to begin "adult" work, these kids have lost sight of their aspirations and are content spending their life at a subpar job, maybe even with the hope of a raise becoming an everyday coping strategy. The brain has, over the years, accepted that a 40-hour work week is OK, and even that the next promotion is what matters - ie what the person *actually* wants and lives for. Dreams are washed away by relativity and there is no reward at the end of the journey. In that sense, does society actually value lives? Just as an organism values its cells - to the extent they help it survive. Of course if asked directly whether they value life or not people will answer fervently in the affirmative but their everyday actions show the real answer. Like a repeat offender saying "sorry won't happen again", it is the physical actions and not words that must be taken as reality. I think the US society values money over lives. If you're poor, you fend for yourself - nobody will come and give you aid. If you're rich, you can pay others to do services of value to you. A company does not value an employee as a living being, but as a number in a formula where the result is a dollar amount. The church and family may have provided a sense of individual value in past times, but these increasingly are fading from today's society as atheism and divorce rates increase - in a real sense the next generation of children will have nothing but their friends to reaffirm their individual worth (and those friends will tend to be distracted by more exciting things on social media). Of course humans are resilient and will adapt such groups to be well suited to this purpose, but I believe nonetheless the near future will be less humane to its workers and employees as the drive for efficiency and profits is contrary to personal/emotional relationship needs.

In a sense, what a country does is harvest its people. The farm lands are spread out, they provide sustenance, schools provide education [f16] /indoctrination, then an army can draw off the recruits and send them to war. A company can take new generation workforce and use them to continue making profits. And it is not some terrible conspiracy by the bosses - in capitalism the whole company profits; while the 'top' owners profit more than the workers, even the workers end up better off than if they did not work. With the historical setting, company founders could expect it to grow because of a growing consumer base (population increase) and in turn a growing employee base. But without population growth, company growth (hiring of new employees) slows down as do sales. Companies which may have been stable with high growth (just about any company) will be unstable in stagnant times, so only the largest survive (happening now - a rise in big business). But in a downturn in population, the largest will get hurt and increasingly business may be done in barter-like settings (this I imagine will happen in the later future). All this is not a physical inevitability, it is predicated on the way our economic system is set up to reward unconstrained growth, and there could well be a better system that can lead to human welfare even amidst decreasing production and consumption - but it is questionable whether such a system will be evolutionarily stable (ie can someone benefit by being selfish). I increasingly see closed businesses, business units for lease, across small towns in the US. What are people raised for? What purpose does the country's new generation serve? The answer is somewhere between increased war ability to protect and continue the country's existence, and increased labor ability to protect and continue businesses' existence. We have become so productive that we barely need to spend any time on "real" work that is essential to survival (even ancient civilizations had this, as they indulged in creating fancy time-consuming works of art and luxury goods, but now with fossil fuels we are really productive way past survival needs), so there has been a trend towards "pseudo-jobs" (jobs which form an independent money flow loop which is based largely on employee status/standing and not so much on physical goods or services) and an associated push for people to enter higher and higher education institutions to get credentials to earn the pseudo-job. But a pseudo-job imbues no sense of ownership, or pride in one's work, which I would argue leads to psychological problems in the young workforce. There is a sense of ownership in running a family store, which is just not there when spending years in college to become an educator; ancient humans could expect to have a family and their own 'place' in life by their twenties, at which point they could feel empowered to make a meaningful impact {within the scope of their life, ie in control of their life/wellbeing} and secure in their life goals, however this ability is rapidly declining in the individualistic monetary competition of today's society. The real driver for the next generation's existence is parents' emotions, biological urges for sex, and family "traditions". Traditions are no more than a classical fallacy - doing something solely because "that's how it's always been done" - this is stupid even beyond the biological preference for familiarity because of safety - as some traditions are really not "familiar" or "safe". Now traditions are an excuse to party or see family. But, just like most trees in a forest are young and most memories in a brain are recent (because old trees and old memories all have a half-life while new ones are constantly generated), most of what goes on in traditions is "modern" and not indicative of the original long-lost ritual. So, we have cameras and DJs at weddings, we have bibles translated to modern english, we have "effigy burning" without any fire or harm, we have santa claus in chimney-less homes, we have birthdays without all the candles. So, traditions are pointless. Life for many people means working most of their living hours to make ends meet and watching TV/commuting/sleeping the rest of the time. Their children are kept on a separate track of school and activities so parents can be mostly freed of having to actually care for them, instead being able to do work. People are harvested to do work - most are even convinced of the need for themselves to aid in the harvesting. And vegetables and animals are harvested ever more cruelly to ensure the people harvest is doing well. And *that* is the meaning of living in society.

I think overall we have an ingrained optimistic outlook for the future, as a psychological defense mechanism (as outlined earlier under Evolution). In fact it is a highly optimistic outlook: imagine a person whose brain is such that he always feels happy, even exposed to serious pain and suffering, even if his world is hopelessly crashing down. What might he say? "Yes the condition is terribly painful but I am happy to be alive" "There's suffering in the world but I still count my blessings" "For me, the good outweighs the bad". But platitudes like this are entirely common in interpersonal discussions. Maybe we are not so different from this always-happy person. Because truly believing life will not get better, that you've passed your peak and already had the happiest day of your life, makes you question why life is worth living anymore. But the reality is we do have peaks, and we do pass our best days. When the future has nothing new+exciting in store how do we persist? We've been driven to explore the spatial realm: the earth and the planets around us. Now so much has been mapped, there is less and less to explore and uncover. We get by a bit through escapism into fantasy spaces/worlds which are designed to be fun to explore, this in itself driven by a dissatisfaction with the features of our real surrounding world. But our dominant faith is in exploring the ultimate unknown in the temporal realm: the future. With better science and ability for real physical predictions using detailed models, we now can largely map out the future as well, so eventually this too will be closed to exploration, and we will find ourselves in a deterministic bind, able to face reality but helpless to alter it. Then we really ought to ask ourselves why we are here. But so far we turn a blind eye to this map of time, preferring instead fanciful drawings of far-away riches (like old-world maps) to the potentially painful reality. And the reality is, we can only go so far in improving human life. At some point going further just means fabricating artificial desires, wanting something for the sake of wanting it. I think we are reaching this existential point in the "1st world" countries, even if most remain focused on the microcosm of their job/family and continue to bring new people into existence, making it harder for those very people to have a good future. When Moore's law says computing power doubles every x years, who will bother to ask what is the limit? There *is* one. At some point, we won't get better, it will be futile to try. What then? Economy grows with population but we can't extend population indefinitely. There *is* a limit to global population, whether we accept it or pretend it doesn't exist - at least physics is elegant in its exactness and indifference, in a sense comforting compared to the flawed societies taking over the earth now. But it is not fair: there are so many easy ways to hurt others, and so few easy ways to please others. Actions which have an indirect effect on others will tend to follow chaotic progression ie overall effect is neutral (so I support one thing/person but hurt all the potential competitors). Despite all this, how has society moved forward? Some actions must have had a net positive benefit rather than purely chaotic, at least short term (until we breed to overpopulation+crash), for example medicine and engineering, which helped people live without hurting other people as consequence (instead "hurting" non-human entities). But such society-positive actions also have a limit. At some point, our society doesn't get better, and at this point society will be fully in line with the physical laws (using energy optimally).

Like I compared turbulent eddies/swirls as energy dissipative mechanisms to the action of life as a whole in increasing entropy on earth, societies and governments also form physical structures guided by energy dissipation. I already argued for an evolutionary origin of stable societal customs, such as encouraging fertility and making life appear worthwhile through religion/work/family, carrying on 'rituals of certainty'. Now based on thoughts in [Waste Streams of Ignorance], I propose a view of organizations/society as living beings - also evolutionarily stable. Does viewing companies or governments as autonomous organisms have merit? It sounds rather far-fetched. Going about my daily life, I don't feel like a part of something bigger, my qualia and mental experience are not expanded or altered by being part of an organization, I just act for myself so how can the organization be its own conscious being? At the same time, I don't feel all the tremendous complicated chemical reactions and "decisions" that individual molecules of my brain make [f17].

I only feel the global decision-making experience that involves millions of cells in an interlinked network marked off by/surrounded by infinite couplings to the rest of the world; and I only write all this because this network happens to be complex enough to form memories and remember how to write and realize to write down a representation of its abstract state of "ideas". It wouldn't surprise me if most such decision-making networks in the world experience mute feelings with no memory or awareness, thus no way to make the feeling known to others. Animals, computers, even molecules, all things that increase entropy and purport to do some optimization, have feelings and are "conscious", though not likely self-aware to the extent humans are [f18]. But then it really isn't a stretch to call government/business a living organism, and a conscious one at that. I don't know or feel its qualia because I am separated from it by infinite couplings, just as my brain molecules don't feel my qualia even though they make up the brain (the individual molecules don't have enough complexity to experience my qualia anyway - only the full interlinked and active brain network has that). The organization organism doesn't know or feel any of its people's qualia either, just as I don't know my brain molecules' qualia or experience. The boundaries of the organism's consciousness can be found in infinite couplings (where internal optimization is subject to external constraints), making it logical to say that two governments are two separate organisms - both will allow only limited influence of the competing system on itself, forming effectively infinite couplings there. The analogy can be taken further: the organisms (governments) fight each other, take steps to destroy foreign effects on the self (immune system), and are resistant to breaking/splitting. Why? For the same reasons as us - evolution into stable forms, as unstable forms will die out while stable forms will persist, and if random arrangements are tried over and over eventually the stable one will rise and dominate. Early humans tried all sorts of different societies over thousands of years, some led to human death and thus society death, some led to OK survival, some led to growth (perhaps at expense of others) and over time those that lead to growth are expected to dominate and become the norm, just as reproducing organisms will readily outnumber the stationary ones. Until humans use all energy on earth for their own sustenance, evolution will use any excess to continually try out new forms of life that can be a potential competitor. This clearly demarkates all life as designed to optimally use energy, just like turbulence, being and becoming conscious at multiple scales and only existing in an abundance of energy use/"wasteful" environment (like the sun's energetic rays).

An example is aboriginal tribes, "ok survival" societies, being ravaged by advanced technological societies. Powerful societies protect their own people - just like my body protects its own cells - not out of compassion or care for the people/cells, but as an evolutionarily necessary mechanism for self-sustenance. So there is at least this benefit - societies don't win at the expense of the humans, it is more symbiotic (like my body creating specific molecules and keeping them safe from harmful external influences). Yet on the flip side society is very rigid in forcing its humans to work for it - if it's not the society dies and evolution tries again. Looking objectively, life in society has a clear purpose: to continue society, that is the purpose of life that 'rituals of certainty' provide. Breaking away from the safety and comfort of the rituals is traumatizing in revealing just how little we really know of the world, it goes counter to our evolutionary need for knowledge, so few people will seek this - I imagine it takes serious loneliness and alienation, for in social interactions our brain readily finds comfort and emotional satisfaction, inherently getting distracted from the void and re-affirming societal values (job/hobbies/goals/life purpose). Maybe it's not surprising monks take a vow of silence. Let's try to compare the lives of humans and farm animals in modern society.

A long time ago the elderly had a purpose of conveying wisdom and passing on historical knowledge and caring for children. Today's society has no need for the old who cannot work, so it lets them die slowly and out of view. Here we get a bit of irrationality, keeping the old alive forcefully, even after they should have been dead by natural causes and are no longer useful for work - decidedly a non-ideality but perhaps if we went this far the veil on that we really are living for work would be too exposed; this could then function as another psychological defense - death won't happen after ending work, it will happen later, don't concern yourself with death (the same reason families postpone visits to their elderly, as noted under Rationality). Keeping the elderly alive in modern society is then not really for the elderly, but for the psychological health of the working population. Instead of interpreting life as productive years leading to death, we interpret it as productive years leading to retirement years leading to death, and the insertion of these few years of retirement is enough to keep workers content with staying in the grinder. We don't have such reservations with the animals because they are dumb breeders, so we just kill them once they've reached a good size for profit. I think it is a very grim picture indeed - and as I imagine the horror of spending the next 50 years - twice what I have already lived - in the same day-to-day monotony of a 9-5 job, I can't help but give credit to the grimness as being something real. Every day a nearly identical copy of the previous one, like being stuck in a time loop...

Isn't it messed up that we give support (lip service) and drug up people who are "depressed", making it an onus on them to fix themselves and their living conditions which all resulted from society's treatment of them? Isn't it messed up how we lie to children that there's a santa claus, that they can be any job they want, that there are no worries in life and everyone is happy? That life is the best thing? Isn't it messed up how willingly we become dependent on "the system" (thus forming a symbiotic relationship with the government organism - give it work and it gives you certainty) and forget how to grow/preserve food, how to survive in the wild, fend for ourselves? Isn't it messed up how we find safety and confidence in leaders that say clear and simple commands full of conviction but never bother to check if any of it is actually true or correct or worthwhile? Isn't it messed up how we readily kill/torture/maim fellow humans both within and outside of our government organism, for any actions they take that upsets "the system"? Isn't it messed up just how arbitrary all this "work" is, and how we do it just to find meaning just to stay alive (it is a mental need, like food is a physical need)?

We observe atoms forming molecules, molecules forming cells, cells forming organisms. And these organisms (like myself) are conscious, and seek to protect their cells and create more like it. In life evolution, creation of the stable cell took a long time, and multicellular organisms built on this foundation relatively quickly. But the atoms never set out to make an organism, nor did the cells. They just do what is locally sensible given their surroundings, and in a slew of random actions some arrangements remain stable and actively resist change to their state, this criterion of survival is the physical metric for life. By being part of a cell, a molecule has a clear way in which to operate, a purpose, a protection against factors leading to its destruction. The molecule itself may well be devoured by the rest of the cell, but the fact that the cell is stable in time means the molecule will "continue to exist" as more copies of it are made. The larger organism, on the other hand, takes actions way beyond the abilities of a single cell or molecule - such as hunting for food and eating - to ensure that the molecule keeps getting regenerated. Surely though other molecules do not get devoured - instead they get to "live" inside the organism and this life is wholly protected against external influences that could otherwise readily destroy the molecule, and this protection takes place on a whole another scale - the organism avoids others that would eat it, eats others to get their nutrient stores, even fights off microscopic threats by an effective "army" of killer cells all supported by the food stores the organism can obtain by virtue of its millions of cells cooperating towards a common goal. But they do not cooperate because they realize the world picture [f20], they cooperate because doing so is their local optimum state. The highest-scale state of awareness of the world picture is within the brain, which has the most complex optimization networks, though this is not to say that other systems like the immune system are not aware of the many intricacies of the body's interactions with the world - the latter awareness is implicit and not directed in contrast to the nervous system. Evolution constrains the mechanisms and effects of cellular cooperation such that the result is a self-protecting and perpetuating organism, because all others die out. Millions of years of evolution have gotten us to the stage where we are conscious, with the well-connected brain designed to perform serious computations to help us find food and survive in the physical world, and the rest of the body working at a microscopic (and not very conscious) level to repair itself and destroy any attackers.

So why not go up a few scales? Humans form into groups, groups form into nations, and nations form into global structures. While the latter are a new emergence due to recent connectivity, and this connectivity is still relatively weak compared to within-nation connectivity (consider the UN), the groups and nations have all had thousands of years of evolutionary selection, including fighting/competing with other groups. And in groups and nations, us humans act to find our own local optimum - not with the intent of creating an evolutionarily stable system but because we seek to satisfy selfish urges based on our surroundings - like the atoms and cells, this is just a physical inevitability. The highest-awareness structures, societal 'brains', would be formed by human organizations that have the most intricate and accurate information sharing, and one can only hope that these complex optimization entities lead to motions that improve human welfare (as opposed to just survival). On the human group level, evolution has again selected interactions that increase group survival, and these are hard constraints on our individual-level actions (laws). If I start going around killing everyone, I will quickly be killed or otherwise restrained, maybe even punished/tortured for doing so. This is not because killing is wrong/bad (ask the soldiers) but because societies where killing fellow members is disallowed are evolutionarily stable. And these prohibitions are not just warning signs, they are backed by real physical power. At these levels, the laws of physics are the only true laws, and realpolitik is the only politics.

"Realpolitik", can this world really be so gruesome? Isn't there a thread of morality, human connection, any higher or more humane laws? But with the above view of life as organized structures the answer is a clear No. Nations as organisms live with each other in a world that only follows the laws of physics. I have to follow my nation's laws, but whose laws does the nation follow? Either more physically powerful nations that tell it what to do, or physics itself. So the mastery of physics by a nation means superiority in survival. One could well argue the same of the human brain - the brain evolved to intrinsically solve physics problems better than other animals (though other animals may well have faster reflexes, we have the ability to intuitively understand systems and structures, thus make predictions of complex behavior and control it in a way animals just cannot). Armed with this, we can kill an animal and there is no stopping us. There is a physical attack involved, sure, but we already know we will win because we know physics better than the animal and thus readily turn it to our advantage so the animal's escape is physically impossible. This isn't a literal cage (though it well could be), but even shooting with arrows, following on horseback, tracking and trapping. They don't stand a chance, because they can't help but follow the same laws of physics that we calculatedly use to kill them. So it is with nations. If there was doubt about realpolitik, consider the world wars and the ongoing middle east conflicts. Now the US uses drones and guided missiles to destroy places and people who have no chance to fight back. There is no physical way to stop or fight a physically superior enemy. The poor soldier on the ground and his ragged buddies, all raised in a highly superstitious and flawed religious system, have absolutely no way to stop the precision missile coming at them, guided by satellite from the other side of the earth. It is utterly cruel that we use these weapons and shows no concern for any sort of human purposes. It is the physically superior nation using another as its military playground, testing out its abilities without attacking others who might be able to retaliate, improving its understanding of warfare physics so it can ensure its own superiority in case of future conflict.

What of the 9/11 attackers? What of the school shooters? Why would a human or group of humans purposely decide to ends their lives, killing others and going out of their way to pick a highly visible method? It's easy to say they're crazy, brainwashed by religion, out for mad and senseless revenge. These are some more thought-stopping phrases, and the world is all neat and tidy if we stop here: they did horrible evil things because they were horrible evil people (and for that they were sent to hell). But we must not ignore that they were also human, they had (more or less) the same evolutionary survival instincts and emotional needs as other humans. All humans have a conscious experience which has evolved to choose optimal actions based on its local surroundings and history, a physical mechanism of tremendous processing power reacting to the world it is exposed to. Why fly into the twin towers? Multiple people agreed to this and took significant logistics steps to carry out the attack. What could drive a human to go well out of their way to do this? It's an act of desperation, like an ant biting a person who is destroying the colony. The US can send guided missiled anywhere in their country at a moment's notice and they don't have any means to stop it or defend themselves. Their attack was a desperate attempt to make a public statement about the US, and now with increased surveillance and TSA they won't have even this rudimentary way of fighting back {and if the US government did know to expect this attack, it would be entirely within realpolitik to not stop it}. If I was born there, I would have no chance of coming to the US, much less doing any serious damage to it. I would live knowing that a missile might show up at any moment and blow up everything, and there is nothing to fight - the enemy is distant and invisible, wholly unreachable. It would be a hellish life, which I would not even realize, having nothing to compare it to, so perhaps I would go out of my way to impregnate women so more humans could later find themselves in the same hellish conditions. And that's how realpolitik plays out.

With increased global connectivity, a "conscious" organism could well emerge, a global consciousness, one that directs its cells (humans) actions to its own benefits. At that scale, we are "competing" for resources with earth-scale organisms/structures like the climate and geology and ocean currents, and entire species of plants/animals. And here we are fucking up: nations have only had a few thousand years to evolve, so many of their actions are not yet optimal in an evolutionary sense; the global consciousness would only have had perhaps decades to evolve and is by most indicators no match for the million-year-stable earth-scale systems that it now finds itself competing with. Nations evolved in a setting where they could readily extract and throw away materials, letting the rest of the earth deal with the pollution/fallout/regenerating any chemicals like fossil fuels. Like a small cancer can live fine inside its host. But in expanding to the scale where we are competitors with the earth's big players, the very ones we have grown to expect to take care of our trash and provide our food (climate, atmosphere, energy flows, carbon cycle, water cycle, ocean ecosystems), we have not changed our ways, and these million-year-stable systems will have no problem indifferently wiping us out by the same realpolitik principles we use with small nations. We're placing our children's lives on a hope in future superiority to nature itself - no small feat.

But I suppose the distinctions are arbitrary. Perhaps we can draw boundaries around consciousness and organisms by analyzing the couplings, but the scales provide a relative and unambiguous comparison. In a deterministic world everything has to follow cause and effect, so there are always specific laws/rules that each particle has to follow, dependent on its larger system. The small particles work and only seek local optimum, not questioning their constraints. The larger particles collect/handle more information and set the constraints for the smaller particles. And this extends in both directions of spatial extent. If that's the case there is no universal "scale", physics is scale-independent. Entertaining this notion for a bit means all particles must always be under control of some larger system. The largest, most overarching system is heat/entropy, and everything anyone or anything does must follow its laws. But keep increasing the entropy dissipation rate and stable structures will arise {in an evolutionary manner: stable and growing systems will grow at the expense of others or will just outlive them} - turbulent eddies/whirls, life itself. These eddies now impose additional restrictions on their constituent particles such that these very restrictions keep perpetuating the eddies, a system kept stable by virtue of its stability in a sense [f21], and always in evolutionary competition with other nearby eddies seeking to sap their energy. Inside the eddies, sub-eddies develop creating additional rules for their particles, and so on down the line. The same way, fractal structures permeate our organic lives - trees, cells, lungs, brains, groups, nations. The earth is well decoupled from other planets, so the scales of life that can impose additional rules for us to follow stop there (the moon makes tides, so not wholly negligible). The only way rules can be imposed is by bidirectional interaction, and implemented by orthogonal interaction (infinite couplings). This brings the notion of "life" to all physics phenomena associated with energy dissipation, consciousness to those that cyclically interact. All dissipation = some sort of consciousness/life, faster dissipation = more consciousness/life on *all* scales, but the largest scales cannot exist at all without some minimum dissipation - note a parallel to allowed quantum 'vibration modes' as temperature increases. And just as turbulent eddies are bound in extent by overall available energy and will grow and compete with one another, the stable state is a competition, there is no "rest" - our biological lifeforms will compete with one another and with non-biological entities like wind [f22] to extract all of the sun's energy. In that sense, maybe our population explosion to a 'global consciousness' level could not have even been possible without the energy boost given by fossil fuels, and the end of fossil fuel use certainly doesn't look promising for this global consciousness survival. It is relentless, this mechanism of life.

[f1] this is an example of societal values being passed on, a way to view society as its own huge organism that programs its "cells" in this way: you are to strive for success but if you don't succeed you should honor/respect those who do while not expecting them to reciprocate. When in reality it is up to you to decide what to honor/value and why, society provides an evolutionarily-selected set of things to value (like hardworking/intelligent vs lazy/dumb) which most people will never question, and this ends up perpetuating society.

[f2] I found a tube train prototype, must have been from the 1980s, in a dusty and long-forgotten basement laboratory; the idea is certainly not new

[f3] this is based on some meditations which have allowed me a very brief and temporary glance at what my brain could do in theory but does not normally do

[f4] single mothers also have less concern with raising their children, and the children tend to be socially maladjusted. Just as happened in the Mouse Utopia experiment, leading up to population collapse. []

[f5] Unenforced rules create an "asshole filter" []: this is a mechanism where people who don't follow the rules or ignore them stand to evolutionarily benefit vs those who follow the rules - eventually the only remaining people will be 'assholes'.

[f6] consider how viruses evolved. they are inanimate molecules, but they exist because the necessary conditions for their perpetuation, the living organisms that can get infected, are in place. similarly, given specific societal laws and human behaviors, inanimate concepts like specific cultures and ideas will tend to prevail.

[f7] society is driven by money flows, money flows driven by human desires, human desires driven by evolutionary fitness (mental and physical survival - food and fun), evolutionary fitness driven by laws of physics.

[f8] perhaps it is no coincidence that the major religions prohibit interest collection on loans - since then the rich always get richer. But we fully accept this now as an economic fact and are OK with it - OK with giving *our* money to the rich, knowingly and willingly, with each interest payment. Why did the rich get richer? Because others paid them.

[f9] it is no coincidence that the highest return interest rate investments are systematically limited to the wealthiest individuals, because the only reason they can give high returns is that someone else is paying the bill - this someone else is the poor populace which cannot make such high interest rate investments and instead have to take on negative (money-losing) interest rate loans to pay for education/housing/cars/living expenses

[f10] The farmers/food producers must be the 'ultimate sink' of diffuse money streams similarly to how outer space is an 'ultimate sink' for diffuse heat energy from our planet. What are the 'stars' (highly concentrated money stream sources) in our economy?

[f11] how do insurance companies make money? By paying out less than they bring in, just like the lottery

[f12] this is like those charity expeditions that give LED lights to remote villages and then are surprised when these "essential" items are abandoned by the residents - who have been living just fine with their own customs built over the years and didn't ask for any LEDs

[f13] this could also be an effect of coarsening/big getting bigger at expense of small, where maybe the army/defense budget has taken up all others' funding

[f14] Similarly, "caring" businesses that (say) give discounts to people who ask, will be monetarily punished vs "rude" businesses that don't give discounts and in fact impose extra fees. Similarly, "nice" people that go out of their way to help others are socially punished vs "asshole" people that don't help others and in fact take advantage of others if they can. It is surprising then that people help each other at all; perhaps there is a biological/genetic level urge to "feel useful" that drives us to help others (but ultimately to satisfy this selfish urge) as such a thing would be evolutionarily preferred.

[f15] just as with animals in slaughterhouses, just as with future generations, just as with anyone who cannot fight back. On a bigger scale, the countless organisms/plants/animals that do the 'hard work' of converting solar energy into human-usable products, the things we depend on for our very lives, are treated wholly with indifference and pure exploitation by the humans: they're just chemical reactions, it's insane to consider there are any feelings involved, just use them and don't provide any recognition/respect for their usefulness - respect the wealthy people of society!

[f16] and not really textbook education ie algebra, but the more important education of how to approach problems by repeated logical steps and what is expected of children in society - children are not born knowing this and have to be taught over many years of repetition/reinforcement while their brains perform statistical analysis of the situations they encounter. For instance, young children who have the ability to comprehend and solve a problem, will usually not do so because the mental process itself is unnatural and long and frustrating, they will have to be guided step by step, over and over. It is an interesting insight on how much of our 'human nature' is actually due to social programming (all of which has evolutionary roots, and this evolution is fast and ongoing) - it takes many years of forcefully 'molding' the brain to get a child to a point of understanding and participating in society as well as using reasoning and logical judgements (this is why child caretakers have to be patient and consistent in their interactions - the children really don't know any better). For something like bugs their offspring just grow independently of any sort of societal structure - the newborns don't ever need to interact with parents. For humans, the vast majority of what we can call uniquely human, comes from the interaction with societal structure. I reason then that the bug's instincts guide it to individual survival while human instincts (primal urges) guide us towards actions that tend to form societies and communicate.

[f17] then again, maybe that is what I feel, maybe a chemical that makes me feel good is actually a chemical that by its own physical structure embodies good-feeling, but I think it is more likely that our feelings come from the fact of the connectivity of the brain structures and not from the chemicals themselves - we only feel the chemicals because they alter brain structure/operation (conscious boundaries/infinite couplings), we don't feel the chemicals themselves - if we did everyone should react the same way to the same chemicals

[f18] if this seems unlikely, consider how unlikely the reality of your own experience is! Why shouldn't other physical systems have feelings when all we can attest is that at least one certainly does? This is discussed more under Consciousness

[f19] this is just as cruel as forcing the mentally ill to stay alive, as I argued earlier; here a conscious and able-bodied person decided for themselves to die but society will *not* let them die, and will even restrain them and force them to stay alive, even if their life sucks - they will be kept alive not by improving their life to the point they want to live but by forcing sustenance/medication and removing opportunities for bodily harm and punishing/conditioning by corporal and mental means to not attempt suicide ever again.

[f20] the brain is the organ that does, and this makes it so important and able to support consciousness, but it is multi-cellular: the neural network has a world picture, the individual neurons do not

[f21] the same characteristic of qualia defined by IIT - differences that make a difference to the system itself - showing just what a societal-scale consciousness might be "feeling"

[f22] renewable energy is just energy that would have otherwise gone into one of the big planetary systems - wind energy comes from slowing down wind, solar energy from blocking the sun...

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