2019 October Links

This is a post of links to research, blogs, articles, videos, etc. on topics I find interesting. I do this because I remember things better when I use them, and then I can better integrate them into my worldview. It also creates a stock of citations I can look back on, instead of struggling forever on google while I attempt to retrieve some study I read one time but can't remember where I found it.

So here it goes...

When it's okay to feed the Dog Whistle Machine?

The Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine is a  cycle between reputation and dog whistles. Dog-whistles destroy one's reputation, but reputation justifies the claim that these are, in fact, dog whistles.

Looking for patterns is a great way to feed innocent people into the Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine. You're naturally going to find negative patterns in people you already don't like. Life is big enough that if you only zoom in on the right areas, you can build a case for a negative pattern in anybody.

But it's not like I don't want to throw anyone into the machine. Some people dog whistle and would never admit it. Some people deserve the terrible reputation that they have. So how do you make sure you only throw guilty people into the Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine?

The Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine

Let me tell you about a new technology. It was probably invented decades ago, but only in the last few years has social media optimized it. It's the Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine. When you feed someone into the Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine they're ground into a million pieces over and over and over again. It's kind of like a meat grinder that releases the meat back into itself to be ground again. Unlike a meat grinder, the Self-Reinforcing Dog Whistle Machine grinds reputations. 

If you cross me this is what will become of your reputation

Of course non-voters can Complain

My society tells me that if I don't vote I can't complain. As a pragmatic non-voter who loves to complain, I'm offended. Now you've made me an offended non-voter who loves to complain, so I'm gonna have to write about why non-voters like me totally can complain.

Why can't you complain if you don't vote? I feel like nobody asks this question. Maybe it's because the answer is so obvious that asking makes one look like a fool. Or maybe it's because the statement in question is a pithy logical-sounding response to anyone who would reject the sacred ritual of voting. If you ask the question then you'd have to come up with an actual argument, which can then be counter-argued, and the next thing you know your democratic fundamentalism is under scrutiny. That's uncomfortable. Best to say the line, nod your head, and get on with your day.

These Pictures aren't Real Life

Cheap digital media allows me to keep hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of me spending time with my children. My kids will have 100x more pictures and videos of their youth than I have of mine. Viewing them is an endless cascade of joy and smiles. Everywhere we go, everything we do, I have a camera in my pocket and near-infinite free storage space. And with it, I can construct a narrative that illustrates years of happy memories. 

Boy it's such a lie.

Symbol Vs. Reality

We can't do without symbols because they're how we communicate. Humans are first and foremost social creatures, and we socialize with one another by taking reality, turning it into symbol, and giving it to one another. It's a way of plopping an idea into another person's head. We use a red light to tell you to stop. We use a heart to indicate love. We say, "sad" to communicate a feeling. We wear suits to express conformity and class. We wear t-shirts to communicate leisure and uncaringness. etc.

That's why our society is covered in symbols. language, traditions, signs, written words, flags, holidays, rituals, clothing, gestures, advertisements, and facial expressions are all symbols. We're so immersed in symbols that we automatically translate symbols to reality without even thinking about it.

We transmit and read signals just fine most of the time, but we're prone to misread signals when they're given by our enemies.

Hate looks like Righteousness from the Inside

"Hate what is evil" -Romans 12:9

Most people agree that society has too much hate, but I don't think it exists where they think it does. They think it exists in other people, but I say if you want to see hate take an earnest look at yourself.

Swastikas aren't just for Nazis

A temple in Korea
The swastika has existed for 5,000 years in Asia as a symbol of good fortune. It's a very common religious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Placing the swastikas on the doorstep is a way of extending good wishes to all who come through our home.

In East Asia, the swastika is prevalent in Buddhist monasteries and communities. Many Chinese religions make use of the swastika symbol, including Guiyidao and Shanrendao. Among the predominantly Hindu population of Bali, in Indonesia, the swastika is common in temples, homes and public spaces. Similarly, the swastika is a common icon associated with Buddha's footprints in Theravada Buddhist communities of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. In Japan, the swastika is also used as a map symbol and is designated by the Survey Act and related Japanese governmental rules to denote a Buddhist temple.

What's the True Meaning of Christmas?

"and you will gift tacky sweaters, sing Jingle Bells, and drag a big
ugly tree into your home in remembrance of me"
We Americans cram our 4 favorite holidays into 2 months, and then we have 4 months of unbearable snow with nothing to do and nothing to look forward to except for stupid Valentine's Day. A smarter civilization may have spread out our Holiday consumption across the cold icy plains of Winter. But we're Americans! We want it now!

Anyway, it's almost Christmas. It's a time of year when we brainwash ourselves with the same songs over and over again. It's a time of year when we spend money on gifts other people don't want but will get offended if they don't receive. It's a time when we fight about the capital T True meaning of Christmas as if it's sitting out there in the Universe to be found.

The Upsidedown Cross and the Confederate Flag

What is this?

Some call it the Petrine Cross. The symbol originates from the Catholic tradition that when sentenced to death, Peter requested that his cross be upside down, as he felt unworthy of being crucified in the manner as Jesus.

But it's more modern usage is different. According to Wikipedia: "...it has in recent years been appropriated as an anti-Christian symbol and is often seen as such in popular culture."

It's kinda amusing that some Catholics use this as a Christian symbol, and some goths use it as an anti-Christian symbol. More amusing is that these groups fight over what the symbol really means. Some Catholics make fun of goth's historic ignorance in using a traditionally Christian symbol. Some goths make fun of Catholics because Goths took a historic Christian symbol and made it into something satanic.

And then some conspiracy theorists say the upside-down cross represents opposite of Jesus, which is the anti-Christ, which is a symbol the pope uses, so the pope is the anti-Christ and the inverted cross is the mark of the beast. Yeah okay.