Friday Night Fragments #30


First on the menu tonight, we have the above image (courtesy of iparallax) that shows the US population density in 1990 by representing population clusters as topography (more people per square mile means a bigger hill). Granted, it would be nice to see such a representation for more recent census data, but it does drive home some fairly salient points, especially with the right interpretation.

I personally find the most striking feature to be the massive spike that represents the New York – DC axis. That is a lot of people in a lot less space. Is it any wonder that such an area grew to view itself as different than the rest of the country? And as difference always breeds a sense of self-important superiority, is it any wonder that there is nothing less than a cultural clash between the powerful and the overpowered?

Like I said, I would be very keen on seeing this sort of map with today’s numbers.

Social Matter asks “Why not weaponize the expats?“, a question to which I loudly answer “YES!”

Well, weaponize is not quite the right word to describe what I mean, but it does hit at something essential. I do support the idea of allowing your more adventurous citizens to travel and work abroad and making their own fortunes while also engaging in national interests on behalf of their patron states. Once that was called “colonialism”. You even had softer versions of this with Letters of Marque and privateers and semi-national East India Companies.

Not all forms of this strategy are necessarily colonial in nature. However, even those that are offer interesting opportunities going forward, especially if there was an entity willing and able to co-ordinate some form of communication among the disparate enclaves being set up across the world.

What is nature of the web of relationships that exists among expats, private military contractors, the idea of gentrification, the rebalancing of the global world order, 4GW, and the revival of corporations like the East India Company of old?

There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve had sitting at the back of my mind that has been slowly coming together in recent days. More posts on this sort of subject are likely coming in the not-to-distant future.

Steve Sailor is consistently top-notch, but earlier this week he put out a piece that was at once savage and beautiful. In it, he discusses a recent college application essay in which the writer talks of how all her life she has been oppressed by “the Daves”. He never asks if it was ghostwritten by someone else, but he does imply it as a hypothetical scenario. It’s artfully done, and yet, completely brutal.

Do I think it’s plausible? Of course. However, I’m willing to be a tad more open to the idea that maybe, just maybe, this girl wrote the essay herself. College application essays have a tendency to come together fairly well in the end, especially given the numerous and copious revision they tend to go through. Even now, my essay from way back when is still one of the best things I’ve ever written (and I’ve become a far better writer in the years and years since I wrote it).

But of course, nothing good comes of being overly charitable, and the possibility is always out there that this essay, which so masterfully played the system, was indeed written by someone who makes their living playing the system.

One of the things that comes with the the territory of blogging is that the blog takes on an identity of its own after a while. It’s not quite “you” sitting out there in all the text, but a blog version of you. This dynamic comes into play even more when doing such things with a certain veneer of pseudonymity. The two different identities are very much two different things, and one of the only ways to keep things straight is to compartmentalize things. This is, obviously, going to be more or less difficult depending on how much the identities differ. Part of the process of compartmentalization involves the playing up of certain characteristics and the downplaying of others when switching between identities, a move that further reinforces the need for such compartmentalization. The system reinforces itself.

You don’t have to do this, of course, but it’s so easy to slip into the habit. When separating identities, it helps if they have at least some differences between them, after all.

You could, for instance, tell only the truth about yourself in your blog, regardless of how anonymous you wish to be. You could also mix lies in with truth. You could tell only lies, but claim it to be the truth. You could mix in truth with lies and let it slip that you are doing this, so none know what is truth and nine know what is illusion. There is no end to the madness that you can unleash when you decide what to do and what to say and what to make other people think of you.

Life at its most interesting is a wilderness of mirrors.

People are going to project themselves onto you anyway. Why not give them more to cling to? The honest ones will always see in you truth and the liars will always assume that honeyed words mask bitter realities and those who speak neither truth nor lies will always see only possibilities. It is tempting to encourage such beliefs and sing the siren song of imagination and illusion.

Ah, but that is not why we write now, is it? We do not write to make people feel, but to make them think. We mean to lay out new foundations for order and understanding, not to cast illusions to feed our egos or the egos of others. It is not for pleasure that we write, though it may give us pleasure indeed, but for something greater, something more, even if we do no know quite what it is.

So let us think. Is there order from illusion? What of illusion from order? What a tangled web indeed.

I don’t know the answer.

6 thoughts on “Friday Night Fragments #30

  1. Aeoli Pera 05/30/2015 / 10:05 AM

    Love the map, thanks for posting.

    >People are going to project themselves onto you anyway. Why not give them more to cling to? The honest ones will always see in you truth and the liars will always assume that honeyed words mask bitter realities and those who speak neither truth nor lies will always see only possibilities. It is tempting to encourage such beliefs and sing the siren song of imagination and illusion.

    I recently hypothesized that Gervais principle “power talk” works like this. A person says something verbally which is meant to trigger one or more associations, which in the end works out as a complex social signaling behavior.

    • Donovan Greene 05/30/2015 / 9:30 PM

      I’d say that hits at something essential. Very essential. True “power talk” can get to be far more complex than that, but that might very well be the building block from which all the other tricks and tactics emerge.

      Here’s something that might help your examination:

      It’s a case study in (among other things) power talk between two (fictional) alpha males. Great example of how power talk fits in with other factors such as political negotiations and holding frame. You might find it useful as you develop your interpretive paradigms.

      • Aeoli Pera 06/03/2015 / 10:25 AM

        So maybe I’ve just hit on the beginning stage of power talk. Sort of a pre-adolescent understanding.

        • Donovan Greene 06/03/2015 / 9:52 PM

          One way of looking at it. We’ll discuss this more Saturday.

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