Non-serious political philosophy
This is a great text. One of your most important ones, I think.
After some serious engagement within the political space for the past 6 years I am also now convinced that the only available frontier for meaningful political change is outside of it. You ca neither create a "safe space" for yourself from a corrupt system, nor change it for the better by becoming a node within it. You have to disengage completely, create or enter a different game. A political game as totalitarian as that of today will always be interested in you, but there are ways to escape it. Why are you not playing them?
Blockchain is the only way. Somehow the Regime failed to destroy it when it had the chance. And now it is starting to eat the regime itself. Finance will be the first to be "gamified" in its unique crypto-digital style. It's too late to stop it now. That this development was overlooked really does speak to the level of short-sightedness that the regime suffers from nowadays. Attempts to control it will be made, but this is a fundamentally different game, with fundamentally different rules. Central banks will make digital currencies to compete with bitcoin? If you are trying to compete with it, you are playing by its rules. If you are playing by its rules, you will lose. Nay, you have probably already lost. Just as your rules are designed so that it doesn't exist, its rules are designed so that you don't exist. You can't win a game rigged against you. How ironic that the regime would forget that.
The point about non-seriousness is also spot-on. Any serious political message, in fact, any serious intellectual discourse at all, has to be shrouded in irony. This is how I read any text nowadays. If the tone is serious, then the content is surely nonsensical. Either for purposes of expanding the author's power or bootlicking so that he is not crushed by someone else's power. Serious texts always play by the rules (of the game), therefore they have nothing interesting to say. Ironic texts on the other hand...
Society has not only reached late-stage Eastern European communist totalitarianism, but surpassed it in its contemporary insanity. The similarities are truly striking, especially for someone coming from such a country. The regime is so insecure in its power that it has to comprehensively ban all kinds of true speech. Not just political statements. So the only way to speak (anything of value at all) is ironically. This was already apparent in the meme campaign of 2016. Now even ironic (true) speech is starting to get banned en masse in the public space (social media).
So what happens? More and more people start to exit the public space and into cryptographically-secured private channels. First to centrally-governed consumer-targeted applications for cryptographically secure private communications (Telegram), then to decentralized proprietary servers for direct peer-to-peer communication such as Urbit. And this is only the beginning. Insofar as the application of blockchain in this sphere is concerned, we have barely scratched the surface. As the scalability issue is being resolved, after finance, next will come communications. We are witnessing the beginning of emergent privatization (in the sense of disintegration into private channels) of public (political) space.
Very based! Time to get on Urbit, folx!
Nice mapping of the social domination game this was, but gotta make some comment on the fact that your view of games is almost cute in its old-fashionedness when seen from the perspective of modern digital gaming.
"Secondly, they have an implicit meta-rule that strictly prohibits changing the rules. To change the rules is to invent a new game, which cannot be done during play. Different games, with different rules, coexist simultaneously, rather than replacing each other successively.
Thirdly, rule sets permit outcomes, without ever dictating them. Rules and strategies are mutually independent. Strategies compete within the rules, rather than over them. Strategic modification of rules, or the adaptation of rules to strategy, is essentially corrupt."
These two priniciples are simply false when looking at modern gaming, where part of the whole game is to discover rulebreaking exploits, which may get patched depending on the game in question (mostly a different between competitive and solo-gaming). In sologaming the whole of speedrunning is based on methodically exploiting and breaking the rules of the game, up to and including rewriting the code of the game from inside the game itself to achieve a better time. That this has to be done from inside the game is of course an important (almost invariant) rule of the game of speedrunning. Still even in speedrunning its rules are continually rewritten depending on the new exploits found.
Now for competitive gaming I take Dota 2, as one of the most important esports, as an example. Here the name of the game is playing with an reinventing 'the meta', which is the tacit leaderboard of viable strategies that -importantly- get changed every patch. As there is a knowledge that every meta is imperfect and every meta can get stale, the rules of the game are periodically rewritten to allow for the emergence of new strategies and new meta's. Here we see a continual 'armsrace' between the rules and the strategies, where dominant strategies get phased out, which then create new opportunities to exploit the rules for different strategies. While some patches are of course better than others, it is farcical to suppose that 'the first patch' can be called the best one.
These principles may work for an ossified game like chess, but in this day and age most games just don't work like that anymore, exactly because the internet allows for way more complex rulesets that can be updated on the fly.
Lifecycle: game is invented or discovered which enriches all participants by increasing the complexity of the metagameboard which enables more fun subgames, this game thereby gradually out-competes other games in the game of best game to the delight of all players, however over time the winning game's capacity to transform the metagameboard reaches practical limits shifting the dynamic for players from positive-sum to zero-sum to negative-sum as the game now favours boring cannibalization strategies which reduces the complexity of the metagameboard, which opens up the possibility of new, better games that enrich all participants, siphoning players from the dominant negative-sum game and beginning the cycle anew.
it's hard to take you seriously non-seriously when you spend so much time non-seriously seriously complaining about the rules of other people's games.
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
Nicely ties in with niche construction sci-hub.se/10.1007/s10682-015-9802-7
“The technological platforms for it are almost in place. Begin to use them, and they’ll arrive faster.” Any specific suggestions on this front?
Nick can do better—his Cold Anarchy piece, for example. But exiting into cryptographically secure private channels as a rebel rallying point (granted, a reader’s riff, not Nick’s)? If so, hold my coat, if you would, while I self-defenestrate. I mean, if bad guy power is that daunting, why curl up in a bowl of bits and bytes with Urbit sprinkle? Just die—or down a case of absinthe, sell your parts to the Red Cross, and then die. Instead, you game—you geek—you undermine rules—you choose a discourse. All this machine blab.
You all sound like the World Dessicate you claim to want dead.
How bad is this?—it’s almost as bad as Yarvin, the chickenshit Pontiff who, like our Nick on a Bad Day, believes the Regime is all powerful when it’s really just a cripple. Get up and brush your teeth is my first command. And then everyone ditch the fright wigs and stop scaring each other.
This is a text brilliantly (and extremely lucidly) putting forward a political stance, although I wonder - if cheating is so ubiquitous in the game of Social Dominance, then how is it even cheating? It sounds like the trying to apply the four-point definition of a well-constructed game onto Social Dominance doesn't work. If we look at computer games: if they permit cheating, and they mostly do, there is code in them (the closest they have to a physical law, I guess), which literally allows the player to cheat. That doesn't sound like real cheating though, because the game permits it... or maybe it is? I think cheating in Social Dominance is something like this, and so I don't quite know what to make of how messy this above "simulation" of how rules work in games and society becomes a a result...
The consequent of a game's ruleset is the payoff, which in the case of Social Domination is irresistible to any well-socialized individual.
Nonetheless, as the distortion of the existing ruleset becomes ever more violent and arbitrary in the hands of the dominant players, the expected payoff for the weaker players tends toward zero.
As the default response from the weaker players correspondingly tends toward indifference, the significance of the meta-game increases. The dominant players are forced into the more difficult position of punishing indifference rather than denying access to the original payoff.
That is to say, emulation of the payoff structue of Social Domination would be unnecessary, even if it were possible. A newly hatched game need only offer payoff on the magnitude of indifference. The otaku phenomenon you mention is one such example of an indifference-parity game. Of course, better alternatives are emerging.
The dominants need not be beaten at Social Domination if the game's pot simply evaporates.
Why not have serious political philosophy since life is too short to have non-serious political philosophy?
What are the rules of this game?
Can't believe nobody's shilling defi games/coins in the thread - seems appropriate lol. Are you coming out as a degen? $BADGER $ONDO $LIX to the moon
“ You really want to know how to stay alive? You get people to like you. Oh. Not what you were expecting? Well, when you're in the middle of The Games and you're starving or freezing, some water, a knife, or even some matches can mean the difference between life and death. And those things only come from sponsors. And to get sponsors, you have to make people like you. And right now, sweetheart, you're not off to a real good start.”
Brilliant in a Wittgensteinian-cum-Benjaminian way. And very epistemically focused, or rather presents a very convincing geometrization of the nature and, more to the point, fraudulencies of the present episteme qua episteme. It's an emperor-has-no-clothes situation at this point (no mystique) as far as the functioning of the American imperial regime, captured and sequestered as it reciprocally is by financialized oligarchism, then ideologically obfuscated by that part of the so-called intelligentsia that interfaces with the middle classes, i.e. the MSM. The function of this latter being to confect capitalist dominative ideology on the basis of constant epistemic contradiction, best exemplified by the insuperable contradictions of trans ideology, where this latter can basically function, by a reverse reading inherent within itself, as metonymy for the basic sophistic methodology of the entire anti-logical oligarchic "war game" as a whole. Install a regime of quite incessant and minutiose anti-logic as defence against class consciousness-based response against a financial oligarchic regime that desperately wishes to believe it has secured for itself a permanent oligarchic "utopia" that makes it automatically and infinitely accumulative of wealth by a sort of scientific/technological (computational full spectrum security state) capture of government, military, and Wall Street. And whose obfuscation of the arbitrary multi-generational sustainment of the aforesaid capture occurs through the massively obscurantist neoliberal ideology, which seeks to smother the dominated masses (left out majority) of society under endless layers of simulacra, and which uses the specific case of the simulacra of trans ideology to instill the wider subliminal mind control of anti-logic throughout all the principal strata and dimensions of mass society.