Monday, February 20, 2017

The Stupid, Crazy Problem-Child who Grew up to be an Unusually Sane Brainiac

            There is cursing and mature themes in this.

            Trigger warnings include abusive parents and typical religious mindfuckery

            Hi. This is the story of most of my life so far. Most of my life so far has been a painful, boring and pointless waste of two decades due to a broken education system and no one around me having any idea what the fuck they're fucking doing, sometimes semi-willfully so. This story will likely either make you angry at me, angry on my behalf, really sad, really confused, or just plain bored or uninterested. Some of the subjects I discuss are needlessly politicized and artificially made controversial, and I will likely get a lot of negative responses from the average reader if the average reader ever bothered to read this. If you do not want to feel negative emotions, then turn back now. If you feel that criticizing a belief is a criticism of any person who believes it, then turn back now. I mean it, this may only make you angry at me, or you'll just think I'm an idiot. You have been warned.

First (or second) episodic memory
It was such a long time ago. The earliest thing I remember at this point was a time when I was four years old. One of my sisters had left a slinky on the stairs, and my father had started shouting at me for it. I was very frightened. This memory used to be more vivid, its feelings more visceral. Now it's been so long that the feelings associated with things that happened later get mixed up with this memory. I'm no longer certain it's a real memory. Arguably this might only be my second episodic memory. The first, it seems, was of getting my finger caught in a baby gate when I tried to use my finger as a key to open it. I remember that hurting. I don't know if that was a real memory either, but if it was, it feels like it happened at some point before the slinky incident.

I'm not sure the following events up through first grade happened exactly as described either, but I think it is at least somewhat close to what really happened. What I remember most clearly is that I learned to read before I would actually admit to myself that I knew how to read, and that I was already demonstrating significant social deficits in 1st grade, though I hadn't yet been diagnosed with Aspergers yet. I think what happened might have gone something like this:

"I can read!" I said, proudly.
"No you can'," said the other kid. "Four-year-olds can' read."


"And he's already reading!" said my mother.
"Wha? I can' read. I'm only four!"
"But you were reading just last week!"
"Four year olds can' read," I insisted, stubbornly.

"Read this," said my mother, pushing a picture book in front of me.
"I can' read," I said exasperatedly. "I'm nah' ole denough."
"Just tell me what it says."
"Once upon a time, there was..."
"See? You can read!"
"No I can'!"
"But you just did!"
"Tha’ was reading!?"

1st grade
"We're nod allowed t' say i'." said one of the other kids.
"Why?" I asked.
"We just aren't."
"Whad is i' we're nod allowed t' say?"
"We're nod allowed t' say."
"Please tell me."
"We can'."
"Wai', then why d'you guys know wha' they are?"
"Just drop i', okay?"
"But whad if I say i' by accident! I can't know no' to say something I don't know." I whispered, with a pleading look.
"Alrigh'. A. S. S."
"Ass?" I asked. It was only two sounds. Barely a word at all. All the one syllable words I had heard previously were too simple to be offensive. "Wha' does tha' mean?"
"It's your, you know..."
"Know wha'?"
"Your butt," the other boy whispered.
"But we're allowed to say butt." I said, confused. "That's not a cuss word. If they mean the same thing, if they're cinnamons, then why aren't we allowed to say ass?"
I was completely oblivious to everyone staring at me.
"Go to the principal's office," the teacher commanded me.
"Wha'? Why?" I asked, shocked.
"You know why."
"No I don't," I said, confused.
"Don't argue with me," said the teacher.
I refused to go. I had another class to go to, and as far as I knew I hadn't done anything wrong!
I was an out-of-control sobbing wreck as I was escorted to the principal's office. Other students stared at me as I passed.

1st-4th grade
My behavior and emotional stability would drastically decline over the next few years after that, and I needed to be medicated for it. I went from medication to medication for many years after that, and all of them made me worse, but that didn't stop my parents and everyone else from constantly having me try new ones, and blaming me entirely for their less than optimal effects. Having to go to the principal's office was a fairly regular occurrence until the end of fourth grade, when I was locked up in the teacher's lounge against my will and kept under guard until my parents arrived. This was a huge overreaction, since I was not physically dangerous, only disruptive. My sisters, parents and I moved to Ohio shorty after that.

5th grade
I'm not sure it went exactly like this, but it's likely a pretty close approximation of what actually happened:

I sat at the table, staring at the sheet of paper.
"I can't do it."
"Yes you can," said the teacher.
"No I can't!"
"Do not shout at me.”
"This isn't fair!"
"Life's not fair. Now, are you going get your work done like a big boy, or do you want to go do the kindergarten activities with everyone else?"
"I don't wanna do the kindergarten activities," I said. "I already know all that stuff."
"Then prove it."

After only a month, my behavior and work ethic drastically improved, enough for me to be functional in a regular classroom. Even more than everyone else in the class was. It was a constant struggle for the fifth-grade teacher to keep classroom order, and I was possibly the only one who really tried to be quiet and pay attention most of the time. Often it was a struggle for me to hear him over the loud, obnoxious chatter of the other students, and I wondered why they hadn't been in the special classroom like I was.

6th and 7th grade
The following was a fairly typical experience throughout most of my childhood, but it got particularly bad at this point in time.


I cowered and lashed out like the caged animal I was. My attempts to please my master always failed, and my attempts to fight him off or free myself were equally fruitless.
To think he kept bullying me into following a ridiculous order like that out of concern for my safety! There were too many people who I was expected to believe and obey, contradicting each other, and if I failed to perfectly believe and obey every single one to the letter, or at least to perfectly believe and obey him, I would be punished. It drove me insane.

8th grade
With no hope for a future in reality, I descended into the world of my dreams and imagination. I believed that I was worthless in reality. In my dream world I was special. In reality almost no one if anyone respected or understood me, not even my friends. In my dream world, I had friends who respected and understood me. In reality I felt useless, unable to help anyone or do anything right. In my dream world I was a legendary hero. But then the suffering of my waking life began to bleed over into my dream world. The world of my dreams was now at war with itself, and the tone became rather religious as I descended deeper into my madness. I no longer knew who I was in this world. I felt like I was being severely and cosmically punished for crimes I could not remember. I went from half-reluncantly thinking that maybe I was Christ to being almost convinced that I was the Devil or perhaps both.
And then with some intervention and another change in my psychiatric meds, I started to wake up. I had a bit of a relapse at some point in 9th or 10th grade, but it was much shorter and far less extreme.
At some point I came up with the following mantra to repeat in my head whenever I was tempted to descend back into that madness.
If the voices say they're real, don't believe them. If the voices say they'll punish you if you don't believe them, then they don't deserve your belief.

9th grade
I realized I am homosexual. And since everyone around me believed that was somehow important, I believed it too. I started to embrace the more effeminate and less masculine aspects of myself. It didn't quite fit. Now I recognize that I'm only mostly homosexual. I'm barely attracted to the opposite sex at all, but barely at all is not the same as not at all. I have a much stronger preference for men, though.
             Nowadays I usually avoid talking to people about my sexual preferences. And when I do talk about my sexual preferences, I just say that I prefer men, rather than saying “I am homosexual”. Most of the time when I talk about my sexual preferences, people will either flat out reject me or perhaps worse, they'll be all like "IT'S WHO YOU ARE!" and "YOU SHOULD BE PROUD!" I wish I could say the same thing back to those who say that sort of thing to me, about their sexual preferences, and see how it makes them feel, but I don't because that would probably offend them and they have the best of intentions when they're spouting this prejudicial nonsense.
Although, it often seems like most people who are open about their sexual preferences agree with said prejudicial nonsense, which doesn’t help at all.

10th grade
I was just starting to seriously question the religious beliefs I had grown up with as well as the ones other people surrounded me with, when I watched Julia Sweeney's autobiographical stage monologue, "Letting Go of God". After that I found out for the first time that my parents, who are devout, practicing reform Jews, and who had taught me about God and the Torah and other stories as if they were true, completely neglecting and even hindering the development of my critical thinking skills...are nontheistic. They pray to a God that they do not believe exists and had done so even before I was born. And they had forced me to go to religious school where I was indoctrinated with bad fairytales for most of my childhood.
I remembered a time when I was younger, when I had first found out that the tooth fairy didn't exist. It was not long after they had sworn that they would never lie to me because they were my parents and that I could trust them. Then when I started making the most reasonable justifications I could for the tooth fairy's existence, my mother finally revealed that the tooth fairy didn't exist. They had lied to me. They had lied to me all along, and they kept punishing me for lying regardless of whether I was actually telling the truth or not.
They pretended to themselves that they cared about intelligence and reasonableness, but that was all just a badge of honor they wore to signify their allegiance to their ethnic and religious community and their political party.
My mind has always been who I am. For most of my life it was the only thing I was remotely good at, and even then it wasn’t very much. And in spite of this, they deliberately used anti-epistemology to interfere with the development of my cognitive skills in order to keep me trapped in their culture, because they cared more about the preservation of their heritage than about my own mental health. Both of my parents were fucking hypocrites! On top of all that, I had become the family scapegoat. It was the punchline of the extended joke my life had been up to that point.

11th grade
With help from some of my teachers and healthcare providers, I started to break free from my programming, and began learning to trust and rely on my own intelligence more, instead of just believing what I was told to believe and doing what everyone else wanted or expected me to do. That was probably a relief to a lot of other people, because by constantly deferring to the judgement and permission of others to do basically anything, I had become an annoying suck-up.
I resolved to never let that happen again. I decided to think for myself from then on.

12th grade
This was the period in my life where I started experiencing gender confusion. Needless to say I was seriously overthinking things. Although to be fair I never felt like I quite fit in with other guys I knew, but that was probably more because it was high school and my values, interests, and likely a lot of my internal mental life differed from most of my classmates in ways that had little or nothing to do with gender. I would eventually start meeting real transgender people in college, and then I would eventually start to realize that I really was cisgender male.

13th grade
Now you're probably wondering, what the hell is 13th grade? I can explain, I swear! You see, I had completed all of the standard high school curriculum and passed my graduation test, but I needed to stay behind for disability services, since I totally wasn't ready to go out into the world, and I needed extra remedial education in communication and independent living skills or the world was going to chew me up and spit me back out, and who knew what condition that would leave me in. I had somewhat of a relapse in my psychological health caused by issues at home and at school. Throughout much of 13th grade, I also worked as a volunteer on the Floor Faculty of the local science museum. I finally recieved my real high school diploma near the end of the school year. Afterwards I continued to attend a community college that summer, before transferring to a university as a freshman in the fall.

University: First Year
Up to this point, I had already developed a history of sleep problems. Since it was football season, people were screaming at the top of their lungs and running down the halls banging on doors, including mine, in the early hours of the morning, on school nights while I was trying to sleep. On top of that, I had a new life coach, and she was very impatient and mean. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and stress, and that's an understatement.
In fact, saying that it was an understatement is also an understatement. Pretty much every time I got lost on campus I would have a full-blown angry, screaming panic attack, and people would stare at me like I was a fucking lunatic or a scary madman.
They weren't completely wrong, either. Deep, chronic anxiety really messes with your head. I also had a lot of leftover baggage from my childhood that was messing with me, including feelings of helplessness and anger at myself and at my situation. It didn't help that when I was a kid if I made even the slightest mistake there would be severe consequences for it.
Whenever I got lost or couldn't find something in my room that I needed, or slipped up in any other number of minor ways, it would feel catastrophic. Then I started taking a new anxiety medication. Things started getting better for me after that, although it was still a rough climb out of the hole I was in.

University: Second Year
In some ways better and some ways worse than the first year. My anxiety wasn't quite as bad once I was more used to campus, but I was still significantly chronically stressed and anxious. I had trouble keeping up with my course-load, and at some point it became a struggle to motivate myself. It didn’t help that the life coach I had at the time had gone from abrasive to verbally abusive.
By this point I had long since discovered the joys of quality derivative literature. While looking for something to read, I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, an excellent Harry Potter fan novel by Eliezer Yudkowsky. After I started reading it I made what was perhaps the most mortifyingly embarrassing mistake I ever made.
While reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, I thought it made perfect sense. All my life I had wanted things to make sense, and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality seemed to be the most rational thing I had ever read or heard. Suffice to say, I succumbed to the Halo Effect and underwent a Happy Death Spiral about rationality, demonstrating that it is possible to be dogmatic about absolutely anything, regardless of what it is.
Looking back at that phase, it seems both frightening and humiliating. I mean, I start learning about rationality and what was my immediate reaction? To be dogmatic about it. I had almost become the exact kind of unreasonable person that I really didn’t want to be. Talk about embarrassing.
I realized that the resolution I had made in 11th grade wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to just say that I would think for myself and not believe things just because other people did. I hadn’t ever really known how to evaluate evidence before. Before I read HPMOR, I would just find out whatever self-consistent, sensible-sounding things subject-relevant experts said, and I would just believe them. But self-consistent, sensible-sounding things subject-relevant experts said weren’t always right. And I couldn’t rely on them to entirely replace my own thinking because they weren’t with me to form judgements and make decisions for me 24/7. I needed to learn how to think better.

University: Third Year
So I learned. I started reading a lot more about critical thinking and rationality and pretty much everything else that caught my interest. As my anxiety went down it became easier to think more clearly and logically more often.
However, the more I learned, the more commonly-held convictions turned out to be bullshit, and the stranger and darker the real world appeared.
The nonexistence of deities was just the tip of the iceberg.
The human mind and soul weren’t something mysterious and ephemeral. They were patterns of brain functioning. When a brain stops working, it can no longer store those patterns, and so that person ceases to exist. Therefore, there probably wasn’t an afterlife. And that was not a good thing.
Global Climate change wasn’t the only global catastrophic risk. It was just the only one most people were talking about or doing anything about. There were plenty of others such as nuclear war, meteor impact, misuse of or accidents with nanotechnology, global pandemics, and unaligned general artificial intelligence, just to name a few.
Everyone was at least a little crazy unless they learnt how not to be. Not just crazy, but predictably crazy. There was an entire subfield of psychology devoted to studying exactly how people were crazy, “Heuristics and Biases”.
Millions of people all over the world, many of whom hadn’t done anything to harm anyone else, were frequently abducted from their homes, stripped of their property and their livelihoods and stuck in cages. And most people considered this to be perfectly normal, acceptable, and ethically justifiable as “criminal justice”.
The majority of people in the world were living in poverty.
A human being died about every one or two seconds.
Most people who donated to charity just donated to those which made them feel good, rather than donating to charities that actually did more good.
I learned that real life is terrible for most people, and that I’m one of the very lucky few who it isn’t so terrible for.

And that’s how I went from being a stupid, crazy moron to being a relatively sane and smart person—a little effort, a lot of money and resources spent on me, and a fuckton of luck.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Strange Computer

This is a second person narrative essay that I wrote for my creative nonfiction class. It isn't actually nonfiction but the teacher let it pass for reasons that had to do with the ending, which I won't explain here because that would spoil it. This piece was heavily inspired by a scene from "Homestuck", an interactive webcomic by Andrew Hussie. Enjoy!

A Strange Computer
At the end of everything, when all civilization has ceased and the Sun is soon to burn out, you will stumble upon a mysterious and derelict underground base. In this base you will find a strange computer. On this strange computer there will be depicted a scene from your childhood. In the scene, your younger self will be doing or saying something stupid and crazy. Below the computer there will be a keyboard.
Realizing the remarkable similarities between this situation and a scene from Homestuck, one of your favorite interactive webcomics written by Andrew Hussie, you will begin typing on the keyboard, in the hopes that you will be able to guide your younger self to a better future if it is real, and not seeing the harm in trying if it is just a dream.
This will be a mistake. I will tell you that it will be a mistake. But you will not listen to me. You never have.
You will try to give your younger self helpful advice. He will not listen. He won’t even understand what you are trying to tell him. If you fill his mind with too much helpful advice, he will not know how to apply it and will just think that he is wise and profound.
Eventually you will turn on CAPS LOCK and start shouting into his mind as he sleeps, hoping desperately that he’ll get it. But while one sleeps, so does their capacity for reason. You could instead try shouting into his mind while he was awake, but you will choose not to because doing so would get him hauled off to the mental hospital.
He will not understand your pleas for him to listen to you, to be reasonable, to do what he must do to reach his future. He will be blind to all the obvious solutions you try to offer to him. He will have an excuse in advance for why they won’t work, and he will not even try them. And he will interpret your anger and frustration at his stupidity and irrationality as his own low opinion of himself. This will begin to tear his mind apart.
Finally, you will realize that you are taking entirely the wrong approach here. You will remember, guiltily, that when others have gotten angry and frustrated and started shouting at your younger self for being so foolish it would only make things worse. You will have made the same mistake that you promised yourself that you would never make.
And yet despite this promise, even your younger self castigated himself for his own foolish thoughts and acts for many years after the fact and continued to do so even as he continued to be foolish.
You have been shouting at and beating yourself up inside all your life. The only difference is that before you were mentally abusing yourself in person, but here you will be doing so through a computer keyboard.
Once you’ve managed to finally forgive yourself, you will begin to wonder about the nature of this strange computer. How does it work? Why does it show you your past in more visceral detail than you could possibly remember it? Perhaps, like the universe of Homestuck, you live in a simulated universe that contains itself? Perhaps you could change the focus of the computer monitor to view someone else’s past? Other people who you could subtly direct towards helping your younger self?
After trying that for a while, it occurs to you that maybe you could do this for other people to. You will soon find that this strange computer allows you to view anyone who has ever lived. You will wonder if perhaps you could try viewing anything in the past rather than just people, for there is no true distinction between living and nonliving material at the deepest “level” of reality. Everything was just quarks after all—or perhaps just a computer program, just a mathematical object.
And if you could view anything in the past, perhaps you can fast forward, see what your future holds? Perhaps this computer stores the whole Universe, or perhaps it is one of many servers storing part of the Universe on a network. But then, if you could locate all the computers on the network, does that mean that you could back-up the whole Universe onto external hard drives? That way you could recover any lost or corrupted data.
You will realize that it was foolish and irresponsible of you to randomly start typing on the keyboard of a strange computer in a derelict underground base in the middle of nowhere without actually knowing what you’re doing. You will be very glad that you did not accidentally destroy the Universe.
 You will then decide that your first priority is to assemble a team of competent and ethical computer programmers and other specialists. You will copy and paste the mind of the computer programmer you most admire into a separate file on your external hard drives, and he will advise you on what to do next, including what other minds to copy and paste into external hard drives and in what order.
The minds you copy and paste into your external hard drives will all be experts in their fields who will work together and come up with plans for you to follow. You will act as their hands, typing exactly what they tell you to type, and in doing so you will prevent the heat death of the Universe and bring everyone back to life.
And all humankind will live happily ever after.

And then you will wake up from the dream, remembering that real life isn’t that easy or fair. There will never be a random computer terminal lying around that would just happen to contain a perfect simulation of the Universe you live in. In real life, lost data is not always recoverable. There are no second chances. You cannot change the past. You have to get it right the first time, or not at all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review of "Rationality: From AI to Zombies", Some Introspecting on my Childhood, and a Cool Poem I Wrote

So I've been listening to the audio version of "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" by Eliezer Yudkowsky. It's a really good book and I highly recommend it. The information in it is organized much better than it was in the original rationality sequences on, and the examples it uses are more applicable to everyday life.

If you're looking to improve your own critical thinking and decision-making skills and to apply them to solving problems, or if you just notice that everyone around you is being ridiculous and stupid in predictable ways and you want to be better than that, then "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" will be right up your alley.

Also, I would like to note that if everyone around you is being ridiculous and stupid in predictable ways without realizing it, then the cognitive mistakes they are making are likely common and easy to make, in which case you could very well also be making those same mistakes without realizing it.

After learning about how to improve my own sanity for the past couple years, I have become suspicious that maybe sanity is never an inborn attribute, but rather a skill or set of skills that some people have an easier time learning than others. At the very least, everyone is at least a little crazy unless they learn how not to be.

And lest anyone think that I am being condescending and saying that I am oh so sane and that you all are crazy idiots or something, I will point out how crazy and stupid I have been for the vast majority of my life, and how even now I'm still not perfectly sane.

It might not seem like it now, but I was functionally quite dumb as a kid. Not just in the sense of being immature or inexperienced, but rather I suspect that I may have had a genuine case of mild mental retardation. And even if I didn't, my psychological issues made me so functionally stupid and crazy that there was no practical difference. Whether the underlying mechanism for that was an undersized cerebral cortex or merely a bunch of maladaptive neural networks that were sucking up most of my cognitive energy or something else entirely... I don't know for sure.

Nevertheless, I was the problem child, the moron, the idiot. People only said I was smart because I had glasses, liked to read and actually made an effort in class. So when I talk about rationality and how most people are crazy unless they learn how not to be, and how I've been learning to be saner than most other people are, I mean no offense and would strongly prefer that you do not take it as an insult.

Also while we're on the subject of how human beings in general are at least a little crazy unless they learn how not to be, I wrote a poem about exactly that. Hope you like it!

Look Again

Look! Out of the corner of your eye!

You just missed it

Look again! It’s right there!

You saw it, I know you did

Look! Why don’t you look?

You don’t believe me?

You don’t believe your own eyes, either

You ignore it

Hey, look! It’s still here! It’s not going away

“There’s nothing there,” you say.

For the love of crap, can’t you see? It is!

You look again

Your eyes rest briefly on it

They widen in horrified comprehension

And then they close.

“You’re crazy,” you say to me

You know you are lying

And yet you don’t know that you know

You ignore it

You don’t think of it

You don’t look

You don’t realize

If it were really important, you would have noticed it by now, right?

But you already have

If it were really important, you would remember it, right?

But you do remember

You say that I’m crazy

Take a deep, long look at yourself

If you think this poem isn’t about you

Look again.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Literary Trailer for an idea I had for a novel/movie/tv show

Darkness covers the world and the people flee in terror for their lives.

N: humans want heroes to be viable
heroes are useless
IV: Now I'm imagining real-world people drinking gasoline and shooting fireballs and flying.
NM: that would be a fun story
SV: Lol

A sickly old woman breathes her last, knowing there was nothing she could do.

SV: But anyways what would the mcguffins be?
NM: the nuke
IV: Refineries?
SV: Well maybe
But I mean, things of great power which can achieve great good or great evil depending on who is using them?

The suffering and demise of countless living kinds
Covers the ground where armies clash.
Tyrant mother nature cries out in pain
As she looks upon their bloodlust with smug satisfaction.

IV: I can see hypnotic artifacts being the mcguffin, if they'd work in such a way that'd let the holder dominate global politics.
SV: Nah
Hmm then again maybe nukes would be the mcguffins
"Unlimited destructive power!!!"
SV: That and the threat of it gives great bargaining power

The people cry out for help, for someone to save them.

SV: So yeah, nukes are the magical mcguffins
IV: I mean, they were developed by a secret, dedicated group of scientists in an attempt to gain an unstoppable weapon. That has shonen cult written all over it.
SV: I know right
KB: the nuclear bomb has a lot of interesting stories

But no one is coming.

SV: Oil is the mystical and very valuable magical substance that flows through the land and powers our constructs and our magic
IV: Yeah, but if oil is the magic of the world, radiation would be the 'magic of the heavens' which is incredibly useful but equally hard to harness.
SV: Wow. Real life really would make for a good shonen anime if you just changed the names of everything to sound more dramatic huh

So we’ll just have to save ourselves, then!

IV: The only question left is power scaling.
How are our shounen protagonists going to get super-powerful?
Martial art research grants?
That is, the ancient kung-fu of being scientific and getting funded for research.
SV: They go into the army and come back as veterans then go into politics
You know, the whole warrior comes back to lead his people thing
Although it also depends on the type of shonen protagonist

It won’t be easy. Human coordination is abysmal.
The only way to overcome that is by binding contracts and enforcing them.

IV: "Real life, but shounen, but like real-life!"
I find it amusing to think that a rational shounen-Earth would approximate real life.
NM: rat fics are very shonen
SV: I've actually kind of already been writing this
Although without other people's perspectives it's very hard to do
Its called "Earthlings: People of the Dawn"

But who could bind us who would enforce our own will upon ourselves
Rather than their own to which they are bound?
To do such a thing would require one to sacrifice their own feelings and desires
And to be wise enough to trick all of humanity into permanent submission to their rule.

KB: @IV but the Japanese were like shonen more than the American, AND that didn't help them win the war.
IV: Their islands weren't invaded, I don't belive they truly lost. Just surrendered after about two little bombs. (jk)
O: Yeah the Japanese lost because we dumped eldritch horrors on two of their cities
and not even to fight them, it was to impress the other guy
NM: japan
had their spirit broken
the emperor surrendered
the generals were ready
to keep fighting

A human could not accomplish such a thing.
It would require something truly selfless—the mind of an automaton.

IV: To be fair, America was already capable of destroying cities, especially with firebombing (making walls out of paper is particularly relevant here). It's just that they lost two cities to two bombs.
O: It was dick-waving
We didn't need to use the atomic bombs. We could've just
firebombed a couple more cities and had done with it. But nooooo, we had to
wave the damn things in Russia's face
"Ah yes, we alone have the secret of the weapon that will literally melt people to death from the inside out"
"This will end well"
But then again I am not the kind of person who would invent such weapons in the first place, and I am not the kind of person who would do well in international politics.

SV: Yeah neither am i
Still it does look like Dick waving so it probably was. But maybe there was more going on behind the scenes?
Maybe it was complicated Dick-waving

IV: It's more like Pandora's Box was opened because someone tripped over it.

But how can you trust it to enforce the will of humanity if it lacks a human heart?

KB: IIRC, we use the nuke because it was available
not about waving dicks
it wasn't like "well, what is the implication of inventing nukes..."
it was more like "save American lives. End the war faster."

didn't we have a president swap right before we used nukes?

KB: Truman replaced Roosevelt

If we can truly know and understand ourselves
Then any mind that’s wiser than we are could too
Even the mind of an automaton.

SV: Anyways speaking of shonen anime but real life!

NM: so ya
nukes are cthulhu
or close enough to it

SV: No they're just the magical mcguffins

IV: Can't they be both?

Cthulhu is either evolution or moloch

Who says that the seven stones that when put together summon a second Eldritch horror don't count as mcguffins?
I say "second" because Moloch would be the first, probably.

SV: If the nukes are all put together they summon an eldritch horror called "nuclear war"

But beware! The automaton doesn’t have desires of its own.
Upon its creation, it will only do what you commanded
NOT what you intended to command.

IV: I find nukes more fitting for Cthulhu because Moloch and Evolution aren't things that can be invoked, but are rather byproducts of the nature of life and humanity.
And besides, Moloch is already a divine-tier-ish demon from Carthage.
No need to have Cthulhu as a middle manager.

SV: Moloch is shorthand for "bad coordination problems between humans and the terrible consequences thereof" and is derived from an SSC article

IV: I've read the article, and it talks about how the name Moloch refers to a Carthaginean demon.
Which the author chose to represent the phenomenon because of a loose connection that he seemed to like.

Well it's faster to say moloch then waiting for someone to read the SSC article

But what other choice do we have? We have to try!

PV: hey ya'll

ME: 'lo again.

PV: everybody having a nice night?

ME: We're starting a new vote soon, so no, not really.

US: I'm having a nice night, at least.

PV: another one?
jeez, lots of votes

Probably I'm, like, full of vindictive glee at the thought of the server suffering through another vote.

Anytime something comes up the mods have a bad night of it.


imma sleep okay
lemme know if we voted on a ritual sacrifice or some shit

O' People of the Dawn
Will you rise to the morning Sun?
Or will you fall back to the mud whence you came?

People of the Dawn

(Coming soon)