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Monday, August 1, 2022

Prometheus Rising reading and exercise group, Episode 92, Chapter 17

Photo of radios from the Chihuly Glass Museum. Photo by Rod Flores on Unsplash
  Like Eric a couple of weeks ago, I am attempting to carry out exercises for the chapter.

Here are my "ten areas in which your thinking-feeling is conservative." 

1. On Twitter, Eric Alper recently asked, "If you could add 10 productive years to the life of any deceased musician, who would you choose?" I agree with Julian Sanchez' answer, "Mozart. How is this remotely even a question?"

2. Aviation and the development of flight was a big technology in the last century and offers lessons for making space flight safer and more of an everyday thing. 

3. As Bryan Caplan says, perhaps the best few pages of philosophy is the "Letter to Menoeceus" by Epicurus. 

4. Children are best off when they are raised by two parents. (Not that I don't have sympathy for single parents -- I was one for many years.)

5. Music culture in this country has gotten worse for many years, for example as shown by the lack of interest by  younger people in jazz and classical music.

6. Radio is an underrated source of news, sports and music. It is the form of entertainment anyone can afford, as a radio from a garage sale costs almost nothing. 

7. Literature is the deepest form of art. Not that I don't like music, visual art and movies (in pretty much that order.)

8. As much as I like bands such as the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Roxy Music and so on, the conventional wisdom is correct: The Beatles were the best and most important rock music band.  

9. Open up the borders and make trade free.

10. I prefer paper books, all things considered, but digital books are a way to build a library cheaply. 

Here are ten ways where my thinking seems radical: 

1. The shift toward people choosing their genders is a natural outgrowth of the modern tend toward individualism and it seems unlikely to be reversed. People soon will be choosing their own race. 

2. All drugs should be legalized. People should have complete control over what they put in their body.

3. We would be better off if the statement in the First Amendment about Congress making "no law" restricting freedom of the press were interpreted by the courts to mean "no law." 

4. The Internet has been a wonderful improvement in life for many of us, giving access to entertainment and education that would have seemed Utopian within recent memory (or at least my memory.) Many of the problems with it are self-inflicted by people complaining about the net. 

5. While I think all drugs should be legalized, I think regulation should have some relationship to the actual dangers involved. Alcohol is really one of the most seriously abused drugs. I would keep it legal but would restrict advertising, enforce the ban on sales to minors very strictly, etc. 

6. Pro football is terrible, producing hundreds of cases of brain damage from CTE and many cases of early death. People should not support it. 

7. Taxpayer funding of stadiums for professional football teams and other pro sports teams should be banned. I don't see how that's a legitimate government expenditure. 

8. Robert Anton Wilson is an important writer who deserves Library of America volumes, large continuing sales, etc. I still think we may get there.

9. Chrissie Hynde is better than Bruce Springsteen.  The Pretenders are not as big as they should be, even in northern Ohio. 

10. Public library cards ought to be universal, i.e. you should be able to use your local card at any U.S. library. 


Oz Fritz said...

Ten areas of conservative thinking/feeling and how long before they become irrelevant:

1. Rule of law - anyone who breaks the law should be held accountable no matter who. Unless it's a stupid, victimless law. Two thousand years before all humanity evolves to the point of inner discipline.

2. Exercise is good for you. Never becomes irrelevant.

3. I prefer using physical media for music and literature - cds, vinyl, books, magazines. Never becomes irrelevant for everyone.

4. Humans performing music sounds better than when programmed electronically or when the performance gets radically processed and manipulated. Food falls under the same category - natural as opposed to processed. Never irrelevant to everyone

5. Not a fan of excessive tattoos or piercings of any kind except ears and some politician's brains. Some tattoos appear tasteful. Possibly already irrelevant.

6. Elvis is dead. The Mafia killed JFK. 200 years.

7. Some politicians want to make things better for their constituents and the world. Possibly irrelevant now because those few lack consensus to get things done. Maybe I'm being too cynical here?

8. Families are important. Raising children intelligently and compassionately is the best hope for the future. Never irrelevant.

9. Writing for most TV and film dramas sucks with some notable exceptions. Seems irrelevant now in that it's been that way for a long time and only seems to be getting worse. Perhaps I'm an artistic snob.

10. The Golden Rule - treat people with the same respect you'd like them to treat you. Kindness and politeness matters. Never irrelevant.

Ten areas of radical conceptualizing and how long until they "seem conservative."

1. Humans have potentials to develop functions and powers far beyond what the doxa, i.e common opinion allows. Things like telepathy, precognition, psychic healing, remote viewing, etc. 200 years

2. Instructions and methods for how to develop those powers and functions can be found, mostly coded, in some ancient, occult and post-modern literature and in some music. Some very few people have begun developing those functions to a greater or lesser degree.

3. A guaranteed minimum wage should be given to everyone. Artists should get subsidized. 50 years

4. Political campaigns should have caps on how much money they can spend far far lower than what they spend now. Star athletes should have caps on what they earn. Capitalism should be regulated to avoid extremely excessive wealth perhaps through taxation or incentivizing billionaires to invest in social programs that advantage all. 50 years.

5. Housing and food and clothing should be a basic guaranteed right for everyone on the planet or those off of it when Space Migration kicks in. The money from #4 should be used immediately to build inexpensive housing. See Fuller, R. Buckminster. 100 years

6. Wars should be made obsolete. Dicktators who want to fight should have a timeout and have their toys taken away. 100 years

7. All kinds of intelligent life exists that most humans have absolutely no idea about. Alternate dimensions exist. 1000 years.

8. Consciousness survives the death of the human body. This consciousness has the potential to become strong enough to retain memory and to choose its next incarnation. 600 years

9. The experience of death can be simulated before the physical body dies. 50 years

10.The sense of love can get produced and directed. Directed love has a healing effect. 600 years

Rarebit Fiend said...

I asked Eric about doing this for my post as well, but went on to pen my diatribe. Here's mine.

My ten conservative ways of thinking: (I did not mark times when they will become irrelevant, I guess in my mind conservative means irrelevant or unpopular to some degree.)

1. Students need discipline and should face consequences for misbehavior. We over-diagnose behavior in academics.

2. Many if not most Americans are spoiled and unaware of how hard life could truly be.

3. Parents should be concerned with their child's safety and feelings while also accustoming them to the fact that the world will not bend for them.

4. Everyone should be properly socialized enough to be polite and reasonably responsive to normal conversation.

5. It is important to be cultured according to traditional modes of thinking: you should be familiar with Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and other great authors.

6. It is important to be worldly and know about things that aren't presently pertinent to your interests and survival.

7. Hunting is a good thing; if you eat meat and are opposed to hunting, you are a hypocrite.

8. Unions are a good thing and necessary to keep employers from taking advantage of employees.

9. Some behaviors are absolutely not acceptable in public. Behavioral modesty in shared spaces is important.

10. Unless there is a threat of physical violence, you should mind your own business.

Ten radical ways of thinking:

1. Population control and resource distribution should be a paramount concern. (<50 years until widely accepted)

2. Contact with alien life should be a priority. (idk how long this will take, too many variables)

3. Contact with non-human intelligences on our own planet should be a priority. (too many variables)

4. Public religious expression is dangerous and should be heavily regulated. (100 years until widely accepted, if it doesn't end us first)

5. The United States should forfeit its nuclear weaponry and signal to the world that possession of such weapons is in itself an inherit act of war. (idk if this will be accepted before we end ourselves)

6. Some ideas are not acceptable to be broadcast in the information age. Platforms have to be regulated. (<50 years)

7. There should be some sort of office like Heinlein's Fair Witness to observe governmental and legal proceedings. (no idea)

8. Governments should have to honor the social contract in order to justify its existence. Economic freedom for lucrative private interests is not as important as the populace having the necessities for life. (soon, hopefully)

9. Magic and the Imagination are mankind's most precious resources. (a few more)

10. Mankind will evolve into something brighter and better if we are given enough time.

Spookah said...

Looking again at this chapter's opening quote from Nietzsche, I wonder if perhaps this conservative/radical dichotomy might be a way for us to try and envision how to best make it from the ape to the Superman.

Here are my 10 conservative points:

1. I enjoy better films when projected on a screen, books printed on paper, and music pressed on vinyl.

2. Films produced in France, Italy, and Hollywood really were better before.

3. Trade should not be unregulated, and taxation is necessary. It seems painfully obvious to me that neoliberalism only brought wealth to a few, and poverty to many.

4. I never adopted a social media platform. I am not against it, just never felt interested in it.

5. I also think that families are important, but I do not care much for the nuclear family. Recomposed ones can be great, with an extended network of adults providing stronger support.

6. We should go back to knowing more about plants, for a healthier diet and a more systematic use of herbal remedies for minor ailments.

7. We should do our best to protect endangered languages and culture, without falling into nationalism or small-town mentality.

8. Think local, act global (I guess this might be both conservative and progressive?)

9. Humans might have been better off when they were only surrounded by silence and the sounds of nature, rather than this constant noise pollution.

10. I like DJs best when they play actual records rather than files from their laptop.

Spookah said...


1. I think all geopolitical borders should be open. Anyone would still think borders matters has not heard of the internet, climate change, system theory, or that one worldwide pandemic thingy. We’re all humans inhabiting Spaceship Earth, and ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space.

2. Following from the previous point, I find the concept of nation-state terribly anachronistic. Those also tend to concentrate political power in a centralized fashion. Something like more or less independent and autonomous regions collaborating together seems better to me.

3. I do not believe in having political leaders. Representatives might be unavoidable, but those should be picked randomly as in a lottery, and always revocable.

4. Mosbunall cops are bastards. IF we cannot do without police units, then they should be unarmed, more like social workers, have a strong emphasis on conflict resolution and violence de-escalation. They might have to know close combat technique and self defense, as well as first aid, and should pass tests to ensure they’re not racist or prone to violence. Ideally, they should work in the neighborhood they live in, and would always be accountable for their deeds.

5. Universal income, along with a social security of sorts for healthcare, food, and lodging. For every human being anywhere, as a right of birth.

6. All drugs should be legal, period. How to regulate it should be discussed all together. For that matter, all important decisions should be taken through referendums and the details worked out by an assembly of people randomly selected. No one said democracy would be quick and easy.

7. Everyone should have free access to knowledge, art and culture. For instance, I prefer online catalogs to be run and fed by the people using them rather than being owned by profit-driven companies. I still do torrenting within invite-only communities rather than use a streaming platform because the users are putting up the content, and since it is decentralized, said content virtually cannot die. Peer-to-peer still is the future. (Artists should get something for their work, but with the Universal Income at least they wont have to take a day job to survive.)

8. All commercial advertising should be banned. Banners and spots should be replaced by art.

9. To me, identity politics show how backwards we are as a species. I wish alleged race, gender or sexual orientation would be as big a deal as someone’s hair color, height, or favorite dessert. SHe and hir for everyone. We have actual challenges facing us, this shouldn’t be one.

10. Sexual and romantic exclusivity should only be one possible choice out of many more, just as widely accepted. Even if monogamy would remain the most common form of romantic partnership, it shouldn’t be seen as the only ‘normal’ one, or the by-default one.

Hopefully, these will all be considered common sense and widely accepted within a century.