I don’t think I’ve covered everything yet…
So far, told the problem of man’s biological limitations. We are like trees.
But we’re not trees. We rank higher in the evolutionary chain, even if we’re just as much part of the evolutionary chain as trees.
There’s a balance to be walked. On the one hand, it is safe to be a cynic and say nothing will ever change: ‘humans and their societies are pretty inert and you have to repeatedly whack them with a stick to make them move.’
On the other hand the cynic is predictable, and most importantly, wrong in crucial intervals. Look at sports. The best moments are always those when an athlete (or gamer) does something everyone thought impossible. The four-minute mile comes to mind. A natural moment of flow. That’s what everybody cheers for. A cynic denies those moments exist and thereby cuts off his own upper end-tails.
But if we want to remain truthful, it is best not to overshoot into the other extreme, overconfidence. Thread below.
It is better to err on the side overconfidence than the side of cynicism. Overconfidence itself is a potent weapon. Think Jim’s game of chicken: he who blinks lasts, wins. No one taught me this aspect of game theory, but I find it very useful.
Let’s take Jim predicting a president-elect Trump coupe as a study case. If correct, he paces reality. If incorrect, he makes imaginable the previously unimaginable thought of a Trump coupe. Win-win.
Although, of course, failure to predict truth undermines reality pacing. Psychology books tell me that the failure of a doomsday only increases a cult’s dedication, but this to me seems bunkum. People on the edge of faith leave the cult, this decreases its power. Simple as that.
What then happens is that the remaining cult followers in fact correctly calculate that the value of the group has dropped, but they still calculate that total value of the group surpasses the value of dropping out of the group, into the cruel cold world. So cult followers become even more desperately devoted in response, which is also a very nice way to shit-test the bruised cult leader within the accepted rules of the game.
So the remaining cult followers escalate the holiness spiral. Which results in the leader resorting to mass suicide to maintain his moral leadership. A mass suicide is a flailing cult leader flipping off the world: ‘fuck you all, I hate life, but at least I left an impact.’ Charles Manson did the same thing with the Tate murders, which is to say, he had no clue what he was doing, but man was it groovy.
(This of course is different from soft torture which serves to increase cult loyalty. Soft torture does not undermine reality pacing, it is a measure to pace reality. ‘Only important people are allowed to hurt me and get away with it, therefore if these people hurt me they must be important.’)
But I mean, here I am saying failure to predict truth undermines reality pacing while I laud Jim for failing to predict a 6-month Trump coupe. I can explain. Which you might say is just a rationalization, but that would only tell me you’re just looking for a reason to disagree.
See, the cult leader has a lot of freedom in pacing reality. His most important asset: his crowd wants to believe him, wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. Observe Jesus bringing the dead back to life, which is one of those interesting situations where the cynic is factually right yet the overconfident miracle faker still wins.
But back to Jim’s prediction. I think I am being fair to Jim, in that it isn’t his best trick, but still a pretty good trick. I judge it as an act of calculated overconfidence, not blind overconfidence.
Blind overconfidence is not bravery. If in a game of chicken you don’t know your enemy and you don’t blink… Well you will be surprised with what you can get away with. But you lose in repeated iterations of the game, so you end up losing. (Which interestingly enough is not as big a problem for leftists as for rightists because it’s easier for leftists to disengage and retry elsewhere. Hence, leftists’ love for weak targets.)
But, seeing Gnon to my right, calculated overconfidence is what it takes to launch a successful religion. You need to be careful, cautious, meticulous, conscientious, but you also need to say fuck it, roll with it, and own it.