altruism

This video’s message sounds great, but it is painfully naive/foolish

I’ll mostly write my Youtube comment here. It is important to not happily stumble into more of the same folly, and that video bothers me a lot. It’s like a bullshit indoctrination commercial for more of the same insanity. I guess that it was basically funded by Bill Gates speaks for itself.

0:59 Everything changed with the industrial revolution? LOL! Zero sum/positive sum is all in the mind and it never changed because the people with power were and are still craving more, more, MORE as always. And it’s still zero sum if there’s just a temporary growth, if the sum cannot grow indefinitely and sustainably. This is exactly the mind’s folly that keeps perpetuating the problems. The solution is not “positive sum”, but ‘doesnmattersum’. Transcending the thinking that creates the problem.
1:50 More of this BS, claiming the growth of prosperity is continuing today when we see violent conquest and mass theft of all kinds as a way of life for certain countries. (Also, I guess once someone dies, they fall out of the statistic of how many things people own, hah.)
3:03 And there we see that what’s called “positive sum world” is just a choice of what speed of change to label as such and what not. Again, it’s an attitude and perception thing. With the speed of change came more pressure by the limited ‘confines’ of this planet and more total power of greed, so guess what the bottom line is: same. No change to society if it’s all external. But back then we had the same problems, and since there were less people living on the planet, it was just as foolish and sick. Or did we forget the rule of monarchs in their lavish castles and the miserable poverty among the People? Without that crap you could go and call those times a positive sum world. But since we still have that crap today, I don’t see a distinction as valid.
Videos like this emerge from minds too enamoured by science and technology and not enough by spirituality. (And I don’t mean the label, the mass culture, I mean the looking inwards, the very personal, the part where you actually discover your own bullshit.)
4:30 Oh yeah of course, now the cancer cure clichée. – Billions of dollars have been flowing and are still flowing into developing new lucrative treatments while dodging the cures. Raising people’s financial power against cancer doesn’t drive cures, but treatments, unless the People stop being tools, which I don’t see happening because the masses are way too emotionally convenient and are sometimes rather willing to die than to give up a convenient belief that makes them sick.

Gist of the video: ‘We need more money for the existing system! More money for everybody will solve everything!’ – so frickin’ naive and insane. In part because it is imagining a reality that cannot even come to pass because of the very system that is being glorified in the video.

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Law of nature my ass

Sacrifices have been made over the course of millions of years. Our species has competitively extinguished life in order to get to where it is now. I would say it is time to afford ourselves some luxury of being more than just followers of survival-of-the-fittest.
Nature isn’t the end of all wisdom. Nature is a harsh mistress. Nature is boot camp. While it can be wise to learn from nature, nature works based on energy-conservation, and that is part of survival-of-the-fittest. It is base-materialism. Anything not following that pattern is of higher origin (one might say of divine origin). That is where the journey is going. Humankind has more and better means to move in either direction. We should not disgrace and dishonor all the efforts being made by our evolutionary ancestors and the lives having been traded for our own benefit by still acting as if all that hadn’t happened. Because otherwise all that passed time would be meaningless. Meaning enriches life. By giving meaning, we are using and nourishing our divine side, which has the power of not being purely reactionary and materialist and treating life like a zero-sum game, but creating something out of nothing; bringing new into this world.

Sadly, people of great influence who live lower modes of life can shape the world in a way that makes it harder for others to ascend to higher modes, and while responsibility rests with everybody, there are quantifiable differences. Just as with humankind’s evolutionary advantage over other species, those who attained great sustenance and means within our species should realize that and afford the luxury of acting more based on our divine gifts. Acting based on fear can either bring about a state where you don’t have to be afraid anymore, or it becomes a self-purpose, when you are weak and lose control, and become more and more afraid the more you try to bring about that state where you shouldn’t need to be afraid anymore.

Information flow and the grievances lobby

One would think that people who stand up for something right and good are strong in character, brave, and to be commended for that.

But what has crystallized after my observations, experiences and pondering is that in such cases, you can distinguish between those doing it for strong selfish motives and those who actually do it regardless of whether they are personally involved. The latter seems quite rare, and they might elude attention due to the many who are motivated to do right for the wrong reasons.

The recent case of Drawponies (a.k.a. Traceponies) making money by selling traced MLP show art caused an impressive degree of attention, or you could say, publicity. Because what I see is that in such cases, there is a lobby. There are people who invested financially by buying ‘his’ material. There are people who are artists themselves, following proper rules, and thus being upset about someone else breaking them to gain an advantage. On another level, there can be emotional investment, which is still connected to time spent and to the bad feeling of being deceived. All this is still personal though.
Add to that the legal ramifications. Legal means business. Serious stuff. Connected to money again.

People who you’d never expect to take up any noble cause can suddenly morph into bloody revolutionaries if their personal material interests are under attack.

But the true test of character is whether someone would do the same in the interest of others. This is the crucial indicator of whether the motivation is egoistical or altruistic. When you have a big group of people all following a shared egoistical goal, it can easily be mistaken for mutual caring. (I blogged about this point before.)

I know from personal experience how decisive it can be whether an issue has this kind of lobby or not. If, like in the case of Drawponies, interest groups like Equestria Daily start sweating because they have been unknowingly supporting art theft and because they have a large following of other artists that they might piss off if they don’t react strongly and decisively, you thus have a major content distributor with a self-interest of publicating the issue.
If, on the other hand, someone does something rotten while such interest groups don’t see their own interests under attack, it can continue without interference. And when you witness enough of such things, you cannot just forget and deny, even if you want to. You then see the shadowy side of people and the many deceptions they practice towards themselves and others.

If Drawponies had not sold his material, but merely claimed it as his own, thus lying to others for personal admiration, just as he has done anyway, this incident would have had a wholly different character and far less public attention. Especially since then it would only have been Hasbro who’d have material grievances. If he had noncommecially stolen art from other fans, the lobby would have been stronger, since then material concerns of fans would have been involved. It would still have caused a more forgiving reaction though, especially by Equestria Daily and such, but also since many people aren’t that much of warriors for justice if it’s not about their own money.

Remember when animators used the leaked Flash puppets, not just for internal practice purposes, but in their publicated work, making no mention that they didn’t create the puppets themselves and silently accepted any praise based on that misconception? That was willful deception, but (potential) material grievances were only on Hasbro’s side. (And fan works and leaked production assets are two different things, so this is not the same as using show material where it’s totally apparent and goes without saying that it’s not original material.) So here, too, artists gained an unfair advantage through deception, and for them this strategy worked. To this day they’re still benefitting from the fruits of that deception. And just like Drawponies, they didn’t come forward until someone else called them out.

If the ‘brony community’ was as noble in principle as they’d like to see themselves, then those animators would have received as much flame as Drawponies now did.
And if they applied the same standards to Drawponies that they applied to others, then Equestria Daily would continue publishing Drawponies’ material, but only his original works. … Sounds unthinkable? Unacceptable? That’s because money.

Start caring for others not because you have a vested interest to do so, but because it is right.

Proud Christians

On Youtube someone commented:

“I am a Christian and I am damn proud of it.”

This was such an obvious setup for a concise response:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride
“In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others.””

Add to that the fact that he even added “damn” to it, thus rightfully bringing damnation into the mix, while unaware of how much this damnation had slipped into his mind.

His response, as could have been expected, based on avoidance of cognitive dissonance:

“That’s not the pride I’m talking about. There is both good and bad pride.”

After which I replied:

“That’s what Satan whispered in people’s ears.
It is troubling, yet natural, that Christians would so casually use the name of a deadly sin without humble self-reflection.”

I did that reflection. I wanted to find out whether I live pride. I read about the modern, supposedly different, positive definition of pride, and realized that I am not living that either. I can do what I do without the need to be proud of it. I look at my actions/accomplishments, reflect on their effects on the world and my life, draw conclusions and move on. Any form of pride is self-gratification of the ego. It doesn’t matter what outcome it produces. And it shouldn’t, because what is a beneficial outcome for one person, thus being defined as “good pride” by them, can be someone else’s suffering.
For example, altruism is good, but when you are proud of your altruism, you lose sight. It becomes a self-deception, a fake.
Very common.

In sheep’s clothes is how the wolf gains power over those who pride themselves with being smart enough to know what a wolf looks like.

– UPDATE –
The convo continues:

“If I was boasting, that would be a sin. Simply stating I am happy to be one isn’t a sin.”

See the rhetorical haggling? Simply. Innocently. Happiness. Is that the vibe you get from his initial statement?
Thus, my response:

“You keep deluding yourself. You talked about pride, not happiness. What you said was very much boasting. Even if there might be even clearer rhetorics for how to do that, what’s really relevant is the driving mindset behind saying such things. Thought shapes words and words shape thought.
The devil has his foot in your mind’s door. Tendendies can begin moderate and grow slowly, thus remaining undetected until it is too late.
It’s the same problem as when a Christian commits murder but then claims it’s not a sin because they didn’t kill a human being (just a negro, terrorist, infidel, criminal, etc.)
Trying to trick God with fine print and semantics is maybe the greatest of all heresies.”

One example of the ego’s control games

The following thread in the World of Warcraft forums is several years old, but it is valuable as exposition of the frequent mind games that happen especially on internet forums when ‘help’ is involved, when people fuel their desire for control by exploiting those in need, since their intentions aren’t really altruistic and they try to derive relevance for their own existence that way. It’s all due to a lack of empathy, and the mechanisms that lead to it would be complex to explain here, but if you’re interested in psychology and have heard of things like Milgram experiment or Asch comformity test, it’s quite likely you will grasp what’s going on.
This severe egotism, among various other mental disturbances, is one of the major things that put me off while playing the game. Just because it’s MMO doesn’t mean it’s social. It very much encourages what I described in a previous blog entry: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/alliance-of-convenience-vs-working-together-for-the-result/

Alright, no further introduction necessary, since the thread itself is quite self-explanatory.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3312962096

The Mutual Fools Game

I’ve read an article about Malcolm X and realized how similar my experience/perception is to his.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/malcolm_x_was_right_about_america_20150201

The article mentioned that he talked about a game of “You fool me and I fool you”. I tend to refer to this as the wearing of masks, but in more detail, I recently gained an even stronger awareness of how this game works. (I understood long ago; I’m just talking about renewed awareness here.)

‘Weak’ people have emotional attachments – they strive for comfort and convenience; they shun discomfort. Others know how to exploit that for their own gain. It’s basically some egoists exploiting other egoists as well as altruists. And the game ‘works’ with those that decide to join it. It’s a deadly game, but within its parameters it works. The real threat is when someone doesn’t play along. You attack one node and others will compensate.

One good example of this mutual fooling is censorship of vulgarity on TV – the bleeping. By now everybody knows the word that is being bleeped, they probably even hear it in their head when they hear a bleep, yet they keep this idiocy up, because acting realistically would cause too much discomfort in a lot of egocentric TV viewers and thus in the entertainment businesses, too.

Oh wow, I just realized a perfect, classical analogy for this problem: The Emperor’s New Clothes.
You might think these days everybody would point out he is not wearing clothes, but that would be foolish, too. The Emperor is an authority figure. Today there are similar situations, often similarly ridiculous, and the number of people willing to point out the obvious truth is small. Naturally, in the story, it is a child’s untainted perception that does it. It hasn’t learned about the things it is supposed to be afraid of yet. A free mind. Sometimes people accept this in children because they secretly envy their purity, but when problems are growing as they are now, they start to become afraid of their children and try to corrupt them as soon as possible to prevent them from being an uncomfortable reminder of what is healthy.

Another good exemplary case is Obama. Hyped by a psychologically optimized marketing campaign as the champion of black people, the giver of hope. (The word “hope” is really starting to bother me, because it is often a tool for personal disempowerment and rejection of responsibility.) Rock star Obama. This created such a powerful emotional attachment, people projecting their personal ideas of what he supposedly embodies, that you now, still, have many millions of people in a severe state of denial, busy finding excuses and justifications for the things Obama does that don’t fit into their ideas. They are trying to avoid mental-emotional discomfort, which is a very selfish motivation, and based in fear.

Then there’s the related case of Obama having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – in advance! Which is ludicrous. They said that they hope this will give an impulse/incentive/inspiration for him to actually live up to it. This is extreme denial based on an equally extreme attachment. With this, the Nobel prize committee is serving their own egoistical desires of avoiding discomfort. They, too, are signaling Obama that he got them in his pocket. His mental slaves. Enslaved by the mere fear of some discomfort. So much for fighting the enslavement of the black people, hah. You say “Who’d have thought a black man would become president one day?”. I say: “Who’d have thought a black man would become a mass enslaver one day?” … Well, I’d have. Because why not? I don’t delude myself. I don’t fuel the bitter irony of judging by skin color.

There are so many other cases of the same control games. Sometimes it can seem difficult to find an oasis of health in that environment. Especially if people are put to the test, once the mutual fools game of telling each other and yourself lies is broken and actions drown out words.

I tell you, it’s not at all a pleasant feeling to repeatedly see your cynicism being confirmed as realism. But this is a discomfort I prefer over sacrificing the truth. No matter how bad the situation is, you gotta act based on it, and if you don’t, it will only get worse.
Sadly, when things go down that road, it’s usually the knowing ones who become the first victims. Because at that point, people will be so much in the grasp of fear that they will passionately feed their inner demons.

Those who kick downwards in the power structure are the problem. Those who punch upwards are the solution.
People are deluding themselves into believing they found a comfortable way of being courageous.

They are fools.

Courage is – by definition – uncomfortable.

Like Malcolm X, I want to be remembered as sincere.
(Although – and this SHOULD go without saying – more important to me than being remembered as sincere is to actually be sincere.)

UPDATE:
Another important thing to point out is that this popular system of wearing masks is also what makes it possible for sociopaths to succeed. They’re merely gaming the system. When you cannot or don’t want to see past a mask, then you cannot know what’s under it, if anything at all.

Alliance of convenience vs. working together for the result

Apparently there is a common confusion, sometimes self-deception, about this difference. When people are working together, look at what it is that made them do it. Explore their motivations. They can vary a lot.

For example, when you look at a game like World of Warcraft, it’s one of the best examples for the worst kind of cooperation: Coerced by a ruleset, coercing loot-crazed egoists to participate in group activities because that’s the way to achieve their personal goals.
This kind of thing masks the real character of a person, and only when put to the test will it reveal itself.
Another type is like the above, but people putting up an act of altruism because they were subject to certain healthy social norms and don’t feel comfortable with themselves being an egoist unless they tell a better story of themselves.
This could lead to another phase where this self-lying is believed by the person themselves. (There’s a nice hint to that in Far Cry 2, or it’s literary source Heart of Darkness.) It’s like NLP, or self-indoctrination.
Then there are people who are not kidding themselves about their true egoistical motives and are OK with them. This is actually a step in the right direction. (Explaining why would require a lot more time. I’ll leave it for you to meditate on.)

All this will be very alienating to someone who is capable of real altruism, is doing sincere introspection habitually, is not just caring for themselves or for others only when it fits into their agenda, and is actually looking forward to enjoy seeing something accomplished, regardless of what’s in it for themselves.
Because it is a bit like this:

There is a game of everybody lying to themselves. It works as long as they all agree to keep playing by the rules. Only if someone introduces actual altruism into the game and the others realize it’s for real, they will fear that their game of deception might have to end. It’s like an insult to them, sometimes even the mere presence, because someone ‘thinks they’re better’ (They actually don’t, but the players ‘know’ (=believe) they’re worse and don’t like to be reminded of that). It’s an insecurity issue. Even if the altruist is understanding enough to not try and ruin their silly little game, it’s the nature of fear to always try to preserve itself.

That’s why it’s so important to sincerely hunt your fears, identify them, and then overcome them. One step at a time. Baby steps is much better than actively giving in to them out of convenience. The more people allow themselves that convenience, the more this burden will fall onto the very few who are too well-spirited to just stop caring and succumb. But, everybody has their breaking point, and they might eventually get majorly pissed and start gunning people down. And then, more than ever, having realized what the world has become, nobody wants to take responsibility, but instead revels in the dramatic rhetorical question “WHY?!” and their self-imposed convenient powerlessness. And those who do understand, but are naive enough to judge those people based on themselves and take it as a sincere question, will get demonized, making everything even worse.
And sometimes it seems things aren’t getting worse quick enough for people to get their shit together.

P.S.:
Someone whose personal aims are beneficial to yours is an ally.
A friend is someone who cares about you regardless of that.
Profound difference.

Real empathy

Just in case you are confused about what empathy and altruism actually are. I will expand on this topic soon, because apparently there really is widespread confusion of egoistic intentions for a shared goal with the goal itself as intention. (UPDATE: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/alliance-of-convenience-vs-working-together-for-the-result/)

Thus, first, an anecdote about empathy and doing the right thing.

I used to work for a year or so in the IT department of a non-IT company. It was a crappy job. Way too much to do, so stuff had to be left undone, or done in a way that defeated the intention of saving money that caused the whole massive work load.

When my contract was about to expire and my successor arrived (likely selected because he has family and can more easily be pressured and exploited due to that), I wanted to make sure that he gets proper instruction on how to do the daily business. I had worked out some basic procedures and documentation to get some order into the mess and speed up paperwork.

Naturally, he, although an extra during the transition phase, was quite busy, too. But I had to keep mentioning that we still need to do the briefing on how to do those things. I was not instructed to do it; The boss wouldn’t even have cared or known. I could have just said: I’m outta here soon, see you, suckers. That would have been the easy way for me. Why should I care about them if I never see them again?
But I did care. Imagining how my successor, a good-spirited man, would have to handle the same mess that I did; it pained me. So I actively pushed and urged him several times, and eventually I said: Now or never. Come, look, we’re doing this now.
He commended and thanked me for caring so much. I said it’s the right thing to do. He said he had experienced very different things with people before.

Yeah, I have, too. Plenty. But I am not like those people. I cannot. Better be sickened by them than be sickened by myself.
Those other people choose the fool’s way, the easy one: They are being egoists and convince themselves they are not. And then you have to keep figuring out whether someone you meet is for real or playing pretend. (Finding that out is beginning to become second nature to me.)