Hail Hydra

humon

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I came across this video from the Anadromist today, posing the problem of trying to identify the nature of the great multi-headed beast that is trying to infect and destroy western civilization, with various heads such as wokeness, feminazism, trans-activism, CRT, environmentalist anti-humanism (watermelonism?), and so on. He calls it the Hydra, as a placeholder for now, while we speculate on what it really is.

I'm going to put it here as a hyperlink instead of embedding it, because the comment thread underneath the video was even more interesting than the video itself. When they say "never read the comments", that only applies to big channels that attract dozens of internet fuckwads who heckle everything to death. Small channels like the Anadromist are full of vibrant independent thinking, and worth reading into.

My personal thoughts on the matter are the ones I already described in the clown world thread, which is that the hydra is some combination of the Beast from Revelations and the duality of Cain and Abel. It's like Dark Link... an Anti-West that has emerged in response to the hegemony of the west (ie. the Enlightenment, ie. liberal democracy and Fukuyama's End of History), and evolved to exploit all of the west's weaknesses... one main weakness being that we only rely on one of the four 'P's of knowing (Propositional, as opposed to the other three: Perspectival, Procedural, Participatory). The beast has evolved to be impossible to define using only propositional knowledge. It's a case of, "I know it when I see it", which is a statement that simply does not compute within the framework of any bureaucracy. The other main weakness being that we've devalued the role of family and community to elevate the individual, as if any man is an island. Rather, the individual so disconnected from his community simply becomes a cog for the machine; an LRU (line-replaceable unit). This is where the corporations come into play...
 

humon

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A continuation of the discussion:


It's quite long and rambly, but there are some cool points and counterpoints that come up here and there. So I thought I'd put it up here for the record (for all the twenty people who care).
 

humon

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Thought I'd share this commentary by PVK, which is somewhat related, covering a video by a guy named Keith Woods that makes the argument that wokism is at its core a project in transcending the constraints of the physical world.


It's a bit rambly at first, but it gets good around the 53 minute mark, and again around 1:05:00, when the source video lays out how the trans-humanist project dovetails perfectly into the globalist agenda to turn every person on earth into an interchangeable consumer.
 

humon

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So recently there was a big conversation on Jordan Peterson's channel between him, John Vervaeke, Jonathan Pageau, and Bishop Barron, which had some interesting parts to it (particularly in the second half, with regards to the failure of modern Christianity to inspire anyone, and how in Vervaeke's case the church downright alienated him as a critical thinker).


Then Pageau did some follow-up conversations on his own channel with Barron, and then with Vervaeke. It's the latter video that got me thinking about the Hydra again, and made me want to dust off this old thread.



Specifically I thought of the Hydra when they started getting into talking about the Internet as the One Ring, and about sacrifice (roughly 9:00 to 24:00), which also ties into some things that Bishop Barron said in his chat with Pageau about evil coming about when people worship the wrong things.

Later on, Vervaeke and Pageau talk about transpersonal beings (ie angels and demons and pagan gods) as an abstract conception that people use for the identity of a group, a shared purpose, etc, so that they can interact with the abstraction rather than concrete individuals. The interesting question is whether these "hyper-things", as a result of following old evolutionary patterns, can have a consciousness of their own (around timestamp 1:05:00). I just heard that and immediately thought "Hydra".
 

humon

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This guy. This guy right here. His name is BJ Blazkowicz Campbell and he has a damn good hypothesis for what's going on, using a French term, Egregore (which sounds like one of the fat club-wielding ogres in Diablo 2), to describe the sort of higher patterns that emerge out of social media groupthink (hive minds as he likens them to, or Powers and Principalities as Pageau might call them). Well isn't that just exactly the Hydra that Byrne was trying to feel up in a pitch black brothel?

BJ makes a predictions about the Woke Egregore based on his observations, and mentions how it's more mature than the other Egregores that have developed to challenge it. And then there's a whole discussion about the complexity that the pandemic introduced.

Someone in the comments called this an artifact of the two-party system (presumably in the States), but I would actually call it a two-schelling-point system. That is to say, when a society gets so large, Dunbar-wise, that it must split into two.... well, two schelling points are going to emerge, aren't they? Are you with us, or with the terrorists?

For convenience, I suggest skipping the preamble and starting at 9:36, when BJ claims he can summarize things in 2-3 minutes (David Fuller: "Okay, Go!"). All that follows is elaboration that found me doing nothing but giving my screen a thumbs up and (as Dave Rubin would do) a-guh-reeing with that.

 

humon

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This next video isn't necessarily Hydra-related, but I thought I'd just put it here rather than make a new thread:


I always enjoy listening to Iain McGilchrist, maybe it's just his plummy accent ("There are no theeengs" - "What are there?" - "Yes, well, there are processes..."). This lecture or whatever you want to call it (a sermon? heh) was rather abstract but there were points in it where I felt very engaged as things seemed to just click together. There's a poem he shares at the beginning (starting at the 7 minute mark), describing the spirit as a metaphorical ocean wave that rises so high in the air only because it has struck the rocky cliff of destiny, and that flows right into all of the stuff I'd been thinking earlier about anti-fragility and hormesis, which he mentions after a nice spiel about paradoxes starting at 27:45.

You might of course also say that the Hydra is the necessary opposite that makes it possible to define the force for good that drives the world forward, which some people call God.

As the quote went in Jurassic Park: God creates dinosaurs; God destroys dinosaurs; God creates man; Man destroys God; Man creates dinosaurs; Dinosaurs eat man; Wammen inherit the internet.

Hydra-wise, there is an interesting question towards the end (1:44:16) that Iain gives an interesting answer to, that seems to diagnose some of the cultural malaise, and this led me to recall something I'd heard on another podcast a while back, about how if you are a company (or conglomerate, or industry, or Corporate Egregore) that's trying to maximize profits, one very effective way of doing that is to separate people from all their wisdom traditions. As the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted. A Corporate Egregore that seeks to maximize the parting of money (like an AI that maximizes paperclips) would in so doing try to maximize the number of fools in the market base... which is exactly what advertising and pop culture end up doing. Eventually a ship of fools will sink, but the Corporate Egregore can't see far enough into the future to care about any of that.

This flows into what I'm putting together as my secular case for choosing good over evil, which is largely based on Bret Weinstein's views on "lineage selection". The objective of all living things is to get their genetic instructions as far into the future as possible. In the short term you can take direct action to improve the survival of yourself and your offspring and close kin. In the short term, the most effective way to do this is through the genocide of rival lineages. But if you extend your view enough generations into the future, you can't know what walk of life your distant descendants will occupy within society, and if you support a world where the strong destroy the weak, it's likely that in some distant future your descendants will be the ones who are subject to a genocide.

The best chance you have, therefore, for your genes to survive into the far future is to build the sort of society (and the moral principles that sustain it) where everyone has a viable shot at success, regardless of where in the hierarchy they were born into. That optimal future society ends up looking a lot like a liberal democracy based on the wisdom traditions inherited from ancient Greek, Jewish, and Christian philosophy that the Hydra seems so intent on destroying.

In short, loving thy neighbour means recognizing the humanity of your neighbour, and your enemy, and everyone else in the world, which the core principle of the concept of human rights (which are so easily ignored by those who choose not to recognize the humanity of their neighbours and enemies). It is worth doing this because when the world stops doing it, the result is a Russian Roulette sort of future for your genes.
 

humon

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It's amazing how creative the internet can be. While I enjoyed PVK's commentary on the Rebel Wisdom Egregore video, I originally wasn't going to bother posting it because it's long and rambly, as his stuff usually is. But then someone came along and condensed it down into a 7 minute remix track. After about 2 minutes of making my 'wtf' face, I sat back and concluded that this was something I had to share... like a neuron in a fucking brain...

 

humon

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I should bump this thread before it locks. I didn't have much else to say about the Hydra after that egregore video seemed to solve it for me. But today PVK's draft sermon caught my attention, because it had the Great Reset in the title of it, connecting it to Judas.


This one gave me something to chew on, where Paul brings up that the gospel of John talks about Judas having been possessed by Satan to betray Jesus, but doesn't give any detail about that possession, and what Judas was really thinking. So Paul went back to the three temptations of Christ in search of clues.


To summarize, the three temptations are:

1. While Jesus is starving in the desert, Satan says, "Why don't you use your godly powers to turn rocks into bread?". In other words, why not create something out of nothing? Why not "conquer bread"? It's what communism does. It's what debt-financing does. The response from Jesus, "man does not live by bread alone, but by the word of god", can be paraphrased as: There's more to life than progress indicators. You can game that shit all you want, and your system will still collapse in the end, because you'll be ignoring things that actually matter.

Satan: "Why not create something out of nothing?"
Jesus: "Fuck off Satan, goods are only worth what it costs to produce them"

2. Satan takes Jesus to the top of the temple and says, "Why not jump off? God won't let his son die, he'll send an angel to catch you". The response, "one does not tempt god", can be paraphrased to mean that even though we build safety nets and social programs into our societies, they're not meant to be abused. When you abuse the system, it gets overloaded and stops working. When you create emergencies to test the systems that respond to it... one day they might not respond the way you expect. One day the forest fire you started is too big for the fire department to put out, and ends up destroying your whole city. One day Russia might actually invade your corrupt proxy-state piggybank.

Satan: "Why not force a miracle?"
Jesus: "Fuck off Satan, the system isn't meant to be abused"

3. Satan takes Jesus up onto a mountain and shows him the city below, and says, "All this is yours if you bow down and worship me". In other words, if you play the game of power and be ruthless and manipulative you can rise to the top and have everything. If you are one of the WEF's young leaders, you have a program you can execute to gain complete control over your country. As long as you don't mind your cabinet being... penetrated. The response, "I only worship God", can be paraphrased to mean that material power means nothing if you abandon your principles. Because when you sell your soul, you won't be able to buy it back.

Satan: "If only you knew the power of the dark side"
Jesus: "Fuck off Satan, I'm not your monkey"


With that in mind, Paul raised an interesting point about how Jesus also called Peter "Satan" when Peter wanted to stop Jesus from going to his death. So which was it? Did Satan want, through Peter, to stop Jesus from dying, or did he want, through Judas, to get Jesus killed? I think what's being described here is two failure modes of a revolutionary movement.

Peter's failure mode is that he wants to fight to the bitter end, and Jesus must remind him that there are principles more important than victory. Should the Canadian truckers have fought back when the police pushed them off the streets? Well then they really would have been the violent domestic terrorists that Trudeau was trying to paint them as. Instead they stuck to their principles and let the world see for themselves who Trudeau really is.

Judas' failure mode, in PVK's interpretation, is not that he was a sellout and wanted money (because later he tried to return the money). What PVK is saying in his sermon is that Judas' failure mode was that he wanted to roll with temptation #2 and force a miracle. He thought if Jesus was cornered, then he would have to break out the big guns, summon fire and fury from the heavens, Hulk out and break the cross into pieces like in that meme.

hulk-jesus-angry.jpg


Instead, Judas is left with a surprised pikachu face like so many globalist intellectuals.


The people who wanted to fight to the end like Peter, at least they were honest about where they stand, and they can build their church upon that, even if they end up nailed upside down as a result. But the people who think they can predict the world and manipulate the outcomes they want? Straight to hell, on the road paved by their good intentions.
 

humon

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Here's a video from a channel called The Stoa, that brings people together to talk about heady shit. I'm linking this one because they got the egregore guy on there, along with some others who've been describing similar ideas by different names.


Some timestamps:

(2:30) John Robb's intro: He talks about how we used to have nuclear (NUKE-U-LAR!) ground rules, but now the "swarm" (by which he seems to mean the blue church or the media blob, but can also be any human hive mind ie. swarm intelligence) has taken over the game and doesn't care about mutually assured destruction, being an immortal super-organism and all

...nuke-u-lar...

(8:10) BJ Campbell's intro: He clears up the meaning of the egregore term, talks about how we outsource our morality to our phones, and how on top of that, this morality updates in real time, which includes the memory-holing of last fall's morality. Also at 17:20 - can we at least predict egregores well enough to know when to stockpile ammo?

(17:54) Patrick Ryan's intro: Talking about Dunbar's number as what forces communities to develop hive minds; about people who can direct swarms (this is pretty much what marketing does). His idea of "autocults" is: an AI with a human substrate, using emotion as communication protocol, using symbols and memes as a compression mechanism for communication efficiency, and defining morality as set of common symbols that a group can use. He talks about framing the problem in economics, and how the entity that controls the price of access to the network will control everything else; also how economic realities can predict the appearance of new swarms

(24:36) Jordan Hall's intro: talking about game A / game B stuff, how the common concepts we use are also part of the same arms race, and some stuff about free will. Then at 29:20 he spills his drink and you can watch him cleaning his keyboard off 😅

After the discussion opens up, some interesting points:
(35:48) - John talks about how 'empathy triggers' are the means of quickest spread (like pictures of human suffering)
(38:35) - BJ talks about creating reality, where the created reality doesn't have to answer to material reality, as long as it works in phone-space
(41:27) - Jordan's summary of the discussion in a few short points
(44:35) - Patrick talks about price discovery, which he will get back to again later at the end (in other words, when the rubber hits the road on these startup moralities)
(52:02) - John talking about systems for constraining groupthink, and these startup moralities defining themselves in 'via negativa' terms (anti-this and anti-that)
(57:32) - Someone mentioned China, and BJ is saying why this is worse than China
(1:03:18) - Patrick talking about how when language loses meaning, moralities become infinite, because of a lack of cost to generating them

After that it gets into Q&A

Looking back over it, I think what I liked most was the 2nd summary point that Jordan made at 41 minutes and change, which is an analogy of stages of organism development to potential stages of egregore development; that we may be in a "limbic" stage right now, but this could evolve in time to something more sophisticated and less dangerous to world stability, if we can survive that long.
 

humon

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Was Enoch Right?

Rivers of blood may indeed be part and parcel of living in a big city, but in this case I'm talking about a different Enoch.


To summarize, he's drawing together a narrative thread about technology as a double-edged sword. Starting with the wearing of animal skins after ejection from the garden of Eden (a metaphor for humanity's transition from animal ignorance into sapience), this represents the initial development of technology as a way of protecting ourselves from the way that nature is always trying to kill us. But by extending our phenotype like this, we also create tools for ambitious people to enhance their power. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so it will always play out this way.

The most powerful people can thus be thought of as being enslaved by spirits of earthly desire, where they have no choice but to keep acquiring more power to protect themselves from their rivals. But this is of course unsustainable, and when the bubble finally pops, the higher spirits (ie. those patterns that are infinitely sustainable) will come down to judge everyone. An important revelation here is that the punishment handed down by god for those who have been captured by the lower spirits (ie. greed, lust, pride, and all the rest of the deadly ones) is that they will be driven to fight each other.

And so it seems that's the boom and bust cycle of civilization in a nutshell. Or 'Game A', as some people call it.
 
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I've seen excerpts from this, apparently, watching his videos over the last few months. He makes some good points, but the constant "professor voice", and over-analyzing things like "Why do IRL animals have tails?", is a bit too much for me at times. I liked his video on 666.

A few years ago, I was thinking about why would religion impose the rules that it does, like dietary restrictions, the various hierarchies, body policing, etc. Ancient people didn't have the resources or spare time to do things for no good reason (unless they were rich and were trying to flex that the had the luxury of wasting time and resources). By modern standards, the rules are very arbitrary, but they make sense in a pre-legal society without much law enforcement or good medicine. Some more intelligent people decided what was the safest way to live under those conditions and, likewise being intelligent, told people that a god said it had to be that way so they wouldn't be continually trying to re-invent the wheel, causing them to have famine, get sick, have constant feuding, get wiped out by syphilis, etc.

The epiphany is that life would probably fall into conformity with some form of that - with some flexibility for the environment and character of the people - if modernity would be taken away.

The purpose of virginity is so men and women don't enter into marriage with incurable STIs and bastards, modern medicine has solved the problems created by premarital sex (for the most part). So, if you play your cards right and avoid both of those things, you could say you were a virgin and there would be no way to prove you aren't. If modern medicine goes away and nobody can get pills or condoms, then pre-marital abstinence becomes the only reliable way to avoid STIs and bastardy.

A more obscure example would be that Jews avoided shellfish because Yahweh said so they can develop fatal toxins without adequate refrigeration -- a big deal then, not so much now. They avoided pork and meat from predatory animals due to trichinosis, which can be abated by thorough cooking; and commercially-prepared meat is inspected and thrown out if it's found to be visibly contaminated. Rabbits, reptiles, waterfowl, raptors and carrion birds, insects other than locusts, etc. are probably due to disease or parasites, again less of a concern if the meat is prepared correctly.

So, when you have traditional rules in a modern society, what is the important part: the ends or the means? Some people say adjust the rules for the time, others say follow the rules so you won't have culture shock if you need to follow them. I guess others say you gotta follow rules for the sake of them being rules, but as far as I'm concerned, that's circular logic and not valid.

A question for you: I don't know if you're literally-Christian or just appreciate Christian aesthetics and philosophy, but how do you reconcile that with smut-writing? Is there a naturally-occurring, background level of sin that everyone is accepted to have and has no expectation of getting rid of, so is it like "Well I could be harassing women IRL or watching porn, so writing fictional stories about people who don't actually exist is harm-reduction"?
 
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humon

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I'm not really Christian, I just got hooked on the philosophy from watching Jordan Peterson basically. My approach would be what they call Gnostic, which is trying to extract the wisdom of an ancient tradition while discarding the pointless superstition. Gnosticism is of course a form of heresy because it has its own pitfalls associated with it, mainly that the amount of information in the world is infinite and human brains are finite, and so there's always a danger of thinking you have things figured out when you actually don't. You think you know why Chesterton's fence was put there and you feel safe to remove it now, but then you find out you misread the situation and removed it in error. So there's always going to be that tension between, "don't follow stupid rules", and, "that rule is there for a reason, but you won't find out until you fuck about". That's also the essence of progressive vs. conservative politics. Nobody has the right answer all the time, but if there is a continuous healthy debate, the truth will emerge somewhere during that process.

Pageau believes in literal angels and spirits, but I don't go that far. I don't believe that you can commune with a higher spirit and change the world to suit your wishes, but I do believe you can commune with your subconscious and change what you're capable of, by repeatedly affirming your own priorities. And I also believe that groups of people can manifest something like a swarm intelligence that behaves in mysterious ways, and that the oldest and most universal of these collective intelligences might be called God (or YHWH or Allah or Ahura Mazda or whatever your preferred name is). But there's an infinite amount of things that I don't know and that nobody knows, so I always have to stay humble about it and take new ideas from wherever I find them, and try to integrate them with what I already know to see if they still make sense.

One thing I would say is that to be a good Christian should require curiosity and constant questioning of things, just like in science. When churches and preachers stick to rigid dogma and shut down questions and debate, they are being lazy Christians, no better than the lazy Muslims who throw gays off of buildings because it was written somewhere that they should do so. Likewise when scientists disallow debate around climate change or vaccine safety, they are being lazy scientists. My concept of god is as an abstraction of human consciousness, and this god should not be afraid of the truth, whatever that may turn out to be. But cleverly-told lies are a whole different story.

When it comes to writing smut, I look at it in practical terms, in the sense of what behaviours are healthy for yourself and your community, and what's unhealthy. Looking at it this way, if smut-writing is a sin, it would be so in the sense of occupying too much of my time that I should be spending on more productive things, or in warping my conception of how men and women should interact. I answer the time-wasting concern first by doing it in moderation so that my work life doesn't suffer, and secondly by treating it as a hobby that is in some sense productive, because I'm always improving my writing skills (I don't get involved in writing RP that doesn't challenge me in some way). For the concern about desensitizing myself to weird kinks, I'd say I've already been desensitized from porn, so that ship has already sailed. At least when I'm writing about weird kinks (though I don't often do that) I can come to better understand how they work and what their appeal is, and then put them in their proper place in life, so they don't interfere with real world behaviour. I wouldn't call it harm reduction, but it's more like the Jungian thing of integrating the shadow, so that the ego always remains in control.
 
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> One thing I would say is that to be a good Christian should require curiosity and constant questioning of things, just like in science.

Curiously, the oldest branches - Eastern Orthodoxy and Judaism - are the most capable of self-critique in a way that's like "What God said hasn't changed, we're just trying to understand it better." It seems most Christian denominations consider everything settled and final, and their interpretation is the correct one (until it would portray them in an unflattering light or create inconvenience, such as how Mormonism changed their stance on polygamy; or the "The Bible is to be taken literally, ALSO this really sketchy passage is just a metaphor/only applicable to its time/only addressing that specific person or tribe in that particular context/actually means something else if you translate these words differently."). However, in denominations where things are being constantly refined, that's the exclusive domain of priests and rabbis, and laypeople shouldn't be doing it.


> Likewise when scientists disallow debate around climate change or vaccine safety, they are being lazy scientists.

Perhaps less "lazy scientists" and more "hard-working ideologues".


> occupying too much of my time that I should be spending on more productive things

Oof.


> warping my conception of how men and women should interact...like the Jungian thing of integrating the shadow

This one is interesting to me. I've been through a variety of abuse and went through a phase of struggling with stories that are "interesting" from a RP perspective because the things that make an interesting RP are extremely not okay. On the flip-side, however, it's hard to make a smut story about a healthy relationship. Even "happily-ever-after", fairytale-like, non-sexual stories aren't like "...and then, once they got therapy to learn to manage their toxic behavior, they discussed their long-term plans and expectations to make sure they were compatible before committing." No: pick that bitch up, fling her onto the horse, and ride into the sunset. The tedious but necessary stuff is what wish fulfillment seeks to provide an escape from.

I recently started doing more RPs that deal with abuse over the past few years, and it's surprisingly helped me view my issues with more objectivity and have way less of a victim complex. It's not about changing my perspective of what is right or wrong, but probably the demystification. A rapist or whatnot is less of a monster and more of an idiot. The pirates in the RP I'm doing now were all taken into the gang young, so they're dudes in their 30s-60s who have a part of them that's perpetually regressed to 18-21. If they're not sociopaths/psychopaths, they're operating in a low-empathy, hyper-sexual, narcissistic headspace. It's kind of like a funhouse mirror, too...

Gee maybe I'm a little bit fucked up too and need to be careful because it's surprisingly easy and disturbingly fun to portray this? Maybe what I'm portraying is a legit part of me, turned up to 11?
 

humon

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Every good story needs a struggle. It's why I don't like slice-of-life. Stories can have a lot of value, if they're done right, in that they show examples of what kinds of things people can do to solve the problems that life throws at them (or in the case of a tragedy, what can happen when they fail to do what's necessary). This is why power fantasies are so widely despised, because they don't show realistic reactions to realistic problems, but instead it's a world where the problems are contrived and the reactions to them are meaningless. But when you're writing from experience about how dark people can truly be, then the question it forces you to ask yourself is: What would I do if I was stuck in this situation? What skills would I need to develop? How does this story end in a way that is neither a tragedy nor a power fantasy?
 

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Another video from Pageau: an interview with a guy named Paul Kingsnorth which almost seems like a follow-up to the Book of Enoch video, but also covering recent current events like the trucker protest and covid and the Ukraine war in the context of systems of control. I'm 20 minutes in and already I felt I had to add this one to my Hydra thread.

 

humon

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I had allowed this thread to lock because I thought there was nothing left to add to the topic, but then another video dropped from Pageau, talking to a couple guys, Hall and Vervaeke, on the subject of egregores and whether or not they have agency.

I normally don't care for Jordan Hall, because he always sounds like he's full of shit, but in this conversation he makes some good points that stuck with me.


The best part of the conversation takes place during the first hour, although the clip at the beginning about AI is from around 1:35:00-ish, and I actually like something Vervaeke points out regarding "sentient" AI that appears to pass the Turing test, which is that humans project their own desires onto these things, but if you have AI systems only talk to each other you'll see them get into a reciprocal narrowing that ends up in weird places that actual humans wouldn't reach (not unless they're ideologically possessed, anyways).

From the first hour, I took the following notes:

There's an important distinction between processes that are autocatalytic and ones that are autopoietic. Autocatalytic means the process is self-sustaining or self-replicating, like fire, but not necessarily alive, while autopoietic means self-creating, growing and evolving, as life does. So an artificial intelligence or swarm intelligence (as egregores can be thought of) might be autocatalytic in the sense that it builds on a positive feedback loop, but this is not necessarily evidence of sentience or agency, any more than a flock of birds has agency as it darts from one place to the next.

There's a point where they talk about how the folly of top-down systems is that a given part of the system can mistake itself for the whole and act as if the other parts don't exist. Immediately I thought of Iain McGilchrist's notes about the left and right hemispheres of the brain, where the left does exactly this, breaking down the whole into its parts and then ignoring everything outside of its chosen focus. When top-down systems fail it is precisely because of this blindness to the whole that the left-brain so often falls into.

At some point they conceptualize demons as self-terminating patterns, in the sense that they are extractive processes that run until they've exhausted all the built-up resources. It could be said then that we think of thought/behaviour patterns as good or virtuous or heavenly/angelic when they are capable of being repeated infinitely without the system crashing. And we think of patterns as evil or vicious or demonic when they are not self-sustaining and are therefore doomed to terminate when the resources run out. Such demonic patterns are necessarily extractive; short term gain for long term pain. That is exactly the essence of a devil's bargain.

There's a point where they talk about viruses as the borderline between living and not living, and someone makes a cool analogy of ideology being to religion like a virus is to life: It has some of the trappings of the latter, but is not quite there, because it relies on the mechanisms of other organisms to replicate itself. I recall Richard Dawkins famously referred to religion as a mind virus, but really that term would have been more appropriately applied to ideologies. Religions are stable over a long period of time, perhaps infinitely, while ideologies tend to collapse like a virus that has killed its host. Social justice, for example, is like a virus that relies on a sense of compassion and self-sacrifice that Christianity instilled into western cultures. Taken out of this western context, social justice as an ideology could not survive.

John Vervaeke mentioned that the language for describing these phenomena has been lost since ancient times, and Jordan Hall made a neat quip about how if you're an intelligence trying to monopolize the game, a good way to do it would be by impoverishing the language. Orwell's newspeak came to my mind immediately.

At 51:47, Jonathan Pageau brings up the concept of anti-christ in a way that I thought perfectly dovetails into the Hydra concept that this thread is all about; that when Christianity dies what is left behind are these strange parasitic versions of it that fill in the vacuum and devour people's attention. When I heard that I was determined to unlock this thread and add this video to it.
 
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humon

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Location
Canada
This video is a conversation between John Vervaeke and Jonathan Pageau that continues the theme of demons as self-sustaining parasitic behaviour patterns that come to possess people in what appears to be an institutional way (the Machine). They get into some interesting stuff in the first half of the conversation where Vervaeke suggests that what they're really trying to do is understand the nature of evil, not as the moral failings of individual people, but as a pattern that transcends individuals and causes people in large numbers to act horribly. Essentially, the Hydra.


They are at times referencing a prior conversation between Paul Kingsnorth and Mary Harrington, which I'll include here for completeness. I didn't post about that conversation at the time because I didn't think it was adding anything especially new that I hadn't already talked about. But in the context of the Vervaeke-Pageau conversation, it's helpful.

 
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