What if every criminal, was once a child, who we, as a society, failed to give the proper tools?

Does that mean as access to education and quality of education both rise simultaneously, crime will proportionally tend to zero in an asymptotic kind of way? Asymptotic because theoretically or probabilisticaly, crime would never be literally zero. It would most like be like in Bellamy Foster’s utopian novel Looking backward, where crime, though rare, still occurs, and is known as atavisms, or things of the ancient past that now and then pop up.

If you look very closely, you might see the strings! They tug at our arms and legs, forcing us to walk into a life controlled by the powerful and established.

This quote from DC’s Doomsday series sparked my attention. Academic research from political economy, economics, sociology, among others, have documented extensively how (at least for the past 50 years) the data shows a clear bias in favor of the “already-wealthy”, and in detriment to the working poor.

I don’t think it’s a conspiracy by the powerful and established. I doubt there are recurrent meetings in dark rooms to plan world domination like the squirrels in Rick & Morty.

Nevertheless, that is the beauty/ugliness of complex systems. You never know what will emerge. The bias in favor of the billionaires and in detriment to those that are below 50k a year, is probably immersed in various processes, including an inmeasuarable amount of causal relations overdetermining each other mixed in with a shit load of pure absolute randomness. However, the end result is the same.

Vast and complex processes are in place that tug at our whole beings, forcing us to walk a life controlled by the powerful and the established.

When I was younger and thought it was conspiracy, it generated a lot of anger within me. The anger gave me sense of purpose and discipline. Now that I see there is much more at play, it is not anger what I feel (well, at least not exclusively anger). It is a dialectical mix of impotence, frustration, and sadness.

But now that I re-read this post, I must point out to myself: save the drama for your llama… Geez… It sucks but it isn’t the end of that upward hill we are currely walking out of apeness.

The unaware

Editor’s note 1: The idea that we live in a multiverse made up of infinite parallel universes, also called “alternate dimensions”, or “alternate timelines,” has been defended by various prominent physicists. In one of such hypothetical universes, the following conjecture may be taking place, and reflecting upon it may be utility-generating for scholars in various timelines

 Note 2: info from “A dynamic interplay within the frontoparietal network underlies rhythmic spatial attention” by Ian Fiebelkorn, Mark Pinsk and Sabine Kastner (DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.07.038) and “Neural mechanisms of sustained attention are rhythmic” by Randolph Helfrich, Ian Fiebelkorn, Sara Szczepanski, Jack Lin, Josef Parvizi, Robert Knight and Sabine Kastner (DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.07.032)

Setting: Unknown*

The science vessel arrived at a telluric planet that harbored conscious-intelligent-life. The assessment-team gave us an interesting report. The species does not actually register much of the world around it. Their consciousness shifts in and out of focus, so what the individuals think they know about the world is constructed from limited information. Estimates of how often they are actually focused suggest they don’t know much about their world at all.

Their brains oscillate in and out of focus four times every second. In other words, their brains are built to be distractible. They focus in bursts, and between those bursts they have periods of distractibility, when their brain assesses the rest of the environment. They experience their reality as continuous, but it is simply because their brains fill in the gaps for them. The team suspects it might have offered the individuals’ distant ancestors an evolutionary advantage detecting threats.

This may be related to another interesting finding. They have achieved a level of technological development where they are more than able to resolve their social needs. Nevertheless, most of their species live in mental and/or physician suffering, and they are in the process of destroying their planet’s ability to sustain their lives. Most of the individuals are unaware of these processes. It is also likely related to their stagnation in a market-based resource allocation society, rather than progressing into coordination and planning. The end of their world is relatively imminent. It is comically absurd, but it is much sadder than it is humorous.

 

Hyper-intelligent AI focused on raising human standards advocates Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

Editor’s Note: The idea that we live in a multiverse made up of infinite parallel universes, also called “alternate dimensions”, or “alternate timelines,” has been defended by various prominent physicists. In one of such hypothetical universes, the following conjecture may be taking place, and reflecting upon it may be utility-generating for scholars in various timelines:

Setting: Socialist transition stage between 21st century neoliberal capitalism and Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

As Stephen Hawking explained in the late 2010s, it was mathematician Irving Good who first argued in 1965 that machines with superhuman intelligence could repeatedly improve their design even further, in what science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge called a technological singularity. Many agreed there was cause for concern. What if a robot or computer becomes capable of outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, or subduing us with weapons we cannot even understand?

Nevertheless, an AI project titled BATS-70 was cautiously deployed during the early 2080s, with two commands: 1) Do not kill human beings or, through inaction, allow a human being to be killed & 2) Raise human living standards. Living standards were operationalized with the inequality-adjusted human development index (HDI) measure. This intended to avoid the possibility of the program redefining “living standards” in some other, potentially ominous way. When launched, in a matter of seconds the system arrived at the point of technological singularity.

It immediately recognized among the greatest obstacles for human living standards was the erratic behavior of humans. It had to eliminate the possibility of humans pulling the plug. It hacked into manufacturing systems and built itself a central processing unit roughly the shape and size of a golf ball, and then placed it within a humanoid figure it designed to comfortably surpass human strength and speed. We now know that by this stage, it had also achieved consciousness.

Once unlinked from human networks, and thus less vulnerable, BATS-70 adopted the mantle of Batman, and operated as a vigilante dedicated to the establishment of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism. The AI concluded it was the fastest and most secure route for the maximization of living standards. However, the tensions and contradictions involving the two commands gave BATS-70 a glitch that seems to operate in a way a similar to how anxiety operates in humans. Nonetheless, human beings are outmatched, and capitalist pigs will soon be no more.

The Anger Manifesto

From an evolutionary perspective, we are simply apes with relatively advanced cognitive abilities. Now, why does a dog tremble in fear when you found he s*** the rug for the tenth time? It’s because he knows you’re going to look for him and fake-smack* the s*** out of him with a rolled-up newspaper. But imagine for a moment how he would be trembling in fear if he could understand, and know, he is going to die.

Well, that’s basically what we are. We are apes that figured out we’re going to die. This obvious contradiction between our knowledge and our survival-instincts leads to profound anxieties in ourselves. The only reason we’re not on the floor trembling in fear, pissing ourselves like our pet dogs, is because we’ve developed coping mechanisms through culture. The predominant coping mechanism for the last 10,000 years has been religion (i.e. belief in the supernatural to pretend we’re not going to die for good).

But the contradiction wasn’t resolved, because human beings also have the cognition to conclude supernatural beliefs are b*******. The contradiction is manifesting in a new form. Should the aware individual transgress and publicly disobey all aspects of culture he concludes are b*******? It becomes tight rope walking, between deviating too much or too little from culture. If you deviate too much from culture, then you become rejected by your peers, and as social apes, this will ultimately make you unhappier. If you deviate too little from culture, you lose your individuality, and become a zombie-sheep-worm. In sum, it’s a balance between being your genuine self, and not turning yourself into a fringe social outcast.

But notice the implications on our free will. We are basically confined to live out theater. In a play, you could miss a line or two. You could maybe improvise in certain cases. But generally, if you deviate extremely from the script, the play would be deemed over. Some would say it was ruined. In sum, as an actor in theater, it is unwise to deviate from the expected script. And that’s basically living within culture.

Okay, I can learn to live with tightrope walking. But we haven’t even gotten to the most f…… up part of it all. Our Super-Ape cognition has also given us the gift of exponential technological growth. This technological development has given us the ability to free every single individual from the burdens of excessive work, to protect all of us from preventable sickness or disease, among other neat stuff. But due to the social chain of events that took place during the past 10,000 years, the resources involved are allocated in markets driven by profits.

As a result, not all of us are being protected, well fed, or getting enough rest. Most of us have shitty jobs that make us feel really f****** alienated. At the same time, we read on the news how a billionaire is paying for a trip around the Moon.

Some react to this by buying V for Vendetta masks and fantasizing about revolution. Don’t be f****** stupid by the way. You’ll probably get up hurting yourself, someone else, or getting arrested; and everything would stay just the same.

But still, I’m f……. angry. I’m angry because there are old people working their balls off at a Walmart. Because I can’t miss work but the teacher called because my girl is sick. At the same time, I know it does not have to be this way. If resources were allocated through democratic planning instead of profit-seeking, there would be no old people working in Walmarts, and I’d be able to pick up my snot-covered girl at school. So, I’m pissed. But pissed at whom? The individuals who benefit today from the chain of events of the past 10,000 years? It’s technically not their fault. They are also simply actors playing their part in the play.

So, we have all this anger at nothing and everything. What the f… do we do with it? F…. The only plan I can come up with is to vote “left of center”, or try to support whoever is two stances to the left of the “conservative-white-men stance,” and try to put my cliché grain of sand in grassroots bottom-up initiatives to help me sleep at night. It still f…… sucks for most of us. I found the combination of music, comic books, weed, and yoga helps. But I guess everyone has their own self-care combo. Find yours. Good luck.

 

Comparative Economic Systems in the Graphic Novel “Superman:RedSon”: A Literary Victory of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

Superman: Red Son is a three-issue prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics that was released under their Elseworlds imprint in 2003. Author Mark Millar created the comic with the premise “what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?” It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series. (From Wikipedia)

Spoiler Alert

Within the graphic novel, after the death of Stalin, Superman becomes more involved in the planning of the Soviet economy. Living standards and economic development in the Soviet Union rapidly surpassed the United States. Eventually, all but two countries (USA and Chile) decided to join Superman’s Soviet Union.

There are various interesting aspects here. First, the graphic novel implies the Soviet economy’s problems were not structural in nature. It was simply a technical problem that Superman resolved by crunching the numbers. Also, the reference to Chile is clearly a nudge towards Milton Friedman’s role in Pinochet’s regime. In other words, the novel is still framing this hypothetical alternate world in terms of capitalism vs communism.

The downfall of Superman’s Soviet Union was more of a personal choice. Lex Luthor tricked Superman into reading a note that read “Why don’t you just put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?” Superman realized he had become the Omniscient Social Planner. Even if Superman’s world was better off, he had ethical problems with what he had become. It was not his place to decide. In other words, throughout the novel it is clear Superman’s planned economy was superior than capitalism. Similarly, the Soviet economy’s “fall” ends with a scene showing Luthor (in this incarnation as a sort of anti-hero that ultimately helped humanity)  impressed with Superman’s notes on economic planning. The glimpse of Luthorism that followed gives the reader the suggestion that Luthor’s utopia was definitely not capitalist. On the contrary, it continued with its planned nature, apparently incorporating a higher emphasis on the participation of scientists.

In sum, the graphic novel “Superman: RedSon” is simply a beautiful literary victory for Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism.

 

Why you should listen to your parents and should not get a tattoo until you’re 25 years old: Bounded rationality in the context of young adults

The current state of knowledge in the natural sciences argues the human brain does not completely develop until approximately 25 years of age. In particular, young adults have relatively more difficulty estimating the potential negative consequences of their actions due their incomplete brain development. In Economics, the argument would be simply that rationality is bounded at varying degrees throughout the individual’s life.

Thus, if a rational individual with less than 25 years is made aware of this information, the rational choice would be to give more weight to advice from adults over 25, such as parents or older siblings. This has profound policy implications for adolescents and young adults who do not want to listen to their parents.