Posted: 23rd December 2010 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
Infect Teh Interwebs

You seem have no idea what I just wrote and you replied to a ghost article you thought I wrote. You may not have understood my article.

Look at an earlier, highly sarcastic, post of mine.. In this post I argue that the world “can’t afford old people anymore”. You might agree that in fact I support in some part your analysis. I do however think your conclusion is spectacularly flawed.

Yes I do agree our western world economic foundations are built on proverbial quicksand. Yes I agree we are headed for the perfect storm of societal disaster. But I disagree with the components of this storm and the eventual outcome. Let me summarize:

Motivation and Education requirements
Our educational systems are a sham. How we educate our youg is short of a disaster. We don’t educate most kids – we ‘store’ them when parents are off working off debts. This in itself is the most spectacularly demotivational message when can send to our kids – look at your parents kids and ask yourself do you want to be just as unhappy and stressed as they are?

We have been training children for 30 years as factory workers or civil servants. School is an exploitative, outdated, alienating system that kills the human spirit and any sense of independent ambition. Our kids do no longer believe that school anything but marginalizing and humiliating. This is a cornerstone of the reason why we do no longer have motivation in people.

That and television. Or passive entertainment. We are a society saturated by authoritarian factory worker values while we long since drifted from that to an automation society and from that to an information society. People arte bred to “grow up” and be bored shitless. And as a result kids as a rule are untrained to deal with the society we are in. They do not have the aptitude to deal with our collective future, and do not feel affinity with it, and by far to big a degree do not trust in it. Everyone under 30 is in some degree tainted by it, especially anyone trained for a middle class and ‘lower’ job.

The younger they are the more likely the kids are to realize they get a shitty deal. Why make an effort when you will be paying you student debts for decades? Why even give a flying hoot about your employers when the whole career path feels like a suffocating obligation?

Haves and Owes

Capitalism in its current form is a sham. I am not saying it doesn’t work or that I make an ‘anti’-capitalist argument here. What I am saying is that capitalism, in the definition that a small corporate elite gets to impose their design on society, irregardless whether or not we as a society can trust them.… I say we cannot.

I say corporations are a people-hostile entity. I state ‘corporatism == kleptocratism‘.

And it isn’t just the dead cliches of environment or third world exploitation or producing weapons or dumping waste – the real problem with corporations is they they have become transnational and can use people as raw material. That’s right, our problem is that corporations can blackmail any government to provide them with the lowest tax regimen and in doing so benefit only their shareholders (and in some cases, scam their shareholders and only benefit their highest executives as well) . I think in ten years time this will have sunk in and all these people will literally go to prison.

It has been an international societal pyramid scheme and the whole corporate system has been a confidence scam.

Disinterest in everything falling apart

If you aren’t part of ‘society’ then give a damn about it? Too many people are actually closed to cheering for its collapse. Ask yourself – how many people feel they are essentially happy and living fulfilling lives? Lots of people simply do not and if you pay attention you’ll notice those people look forward to death.

We are as a modern society not merely slowly collapsing out of apathy, simply because most of us have lack of faith we can have it as easy or as rich as the generation before us – no we are also collapsing because of endemic short term vision.

We as a society are blind to resource depletion. Let’s not even start about biosphere extinction or dying bees or oil spills or pollution or ozone layer depletion or global warming.

Resource depletion is a catastrophe beyond words, and the worst depleting resource is the depletion of oil. I know, I know, both sides in the Peak Oil debate are happily accusing each other of cognitive dissonance and polarized arguments, but the evidence that before 2025 our diversified economies will be in effect collapsing is out there for all to see. It isn’t even a topic of debate anymore – even the big oil companies fully acknowledge it. And even then the average imbecile civilian keeps assuming we’ll have engines running on water ready to save us.

Implementing alternative energies at the maximum pace would only be a fragmentary solution – we can cover less than a third we need if we invest all we can invest. Implementing alternative energies would ratchet up prices of minerals and metals on the international markets by an order of magnitude greater than the already unsustainable prices we have today. And actual solutions – such as implementing SSPS are widely discredited or alleged to be ‘irrelevant’ or ‘incredible’ or ‘science fiction’.

On all fronts we are sailing into cliffs of unsustainable economical growth curves. We are headed for destitution and the end of democratic societies within my plausible lifetime. Sure I write this and I know that next week my pal transhumanists will be insisting “I am probably pessimistic because of SAD again”. But seriously, this is not the case. We cannot move into anything else than collapse because all this has been institutionalized by pathological, production oriented short term thinking. There are alternatives to this way of doing business or conduction democracy but they would decapacitate our leadership and corporate elite classes from their plush positions. I don’t see any revolutions happening until it simply is too late.

Too bad, Larry Niven warned us of this decades ago.

Consolidated up the eyeballs
However by far the worst lie crime enacted on the people by the currents geopolitical science is the lie perpetuated we have something like ‘economic growth’.

We do not have economic growth.

We have for the last half century have had massive increases in productivity, and only a small portion of even that ended up with the average shmoe like you and me. The fact of the matter is we don’t actually need all these people to do anything like “real work’, and the work done is either soul-deadening, exploitative, very dirty or dangerous. We could fire a third of all people and probably end up doing the remaining work even cheaper and more efficiently.

I dare to say we have had economic shrinkage in the last 2 decades, as the input energy price squared against human labor has been going up, the amounts of people competing for the share of available work and income has been going up sharply, the price of commodities and life in general has been going up, while the marie antoinettes of this world have cheated all of us out of an ever bigger slice of the proceedings.

The biggest lie crime perpetuated on you and me is that we can have a fair share.

We can not get a “fair share”. There isn’t enough work left to be done, squared against the appreciable reward we get for it. This is because corporations have intentionally and systemically been degrading the value of human labor against that of machines, computers and robots.

This is going to get far far worse. I predict you that from before 2000 effective unemployment has gone up and will continue to go up by at least a % per year. This is in effect predation by the corporate sector on people and free countries.

Now what do we do with old people?

I bet you, within a few decades the first politicians will start suggesting : euthanasia!

The fact of the matter is we have on the one hand an undermotivated work force (anyone under 30), and on the other end a demographic of people (most people over 55) that no employer will ever hire, while corporations outrace each other to replace jobs and automate and streamline and outsource. How much economic value do you think a generation of people forced to become diaper changers will do?

Because that is where we are setting ourselves up to become.

What we do is to offer these things to the old and the young:

offer a world, as quickly as possible, where the operating paradigm isn’t an atrocious cycle of birth, consumer, taxpayer, mortgage wage slave, pensioner, corpse.

This is not a way to live anymore.

I can’t believe in it and I’d rather be dead than become a wage slave. I happen to have severe mental issues that disqualify me from being implemented in the labor force, but even in the most rosy scenario you can bet the next decades of my life won’t be anything humane.

I will probably end in me being poor as a rat, toothless, slowly dying from neglect and utterly depressed and medicated up the eyeballs at age mid 70s in some half decaying and overcrowded old age home. You can bet your ass that before I am there I’ll walk in a corporate or govenment building with a jerrycan of kerosine, a gun and a phosporous torch and cause me some damage while saving me a shitload of pain. If they catch me while trying what will they do with an old woman in her 70s? Berate me?

So how do we do that – simple, by giving anyone a credible chance at extended life. We can do so now – aging is clearly a disease. Hence curing the damage wrought by age related societal decay is the biggest opportunity for liberating spectacular economic gains. And profit will be just the beginning.

At this stage aging is a personal disease, an existential disease, a philosophical disease and a societal disease.

Anyone with a bit of sense will realize that if we throw enough money at it we can halt – if not actually reverse – all human aging. We don’t need a generation of scientists or a manhattan project to research robust life extension.

A modest investment of money, a fraction of an average war these days, could easily create a series of treatments that could extend everyone’s life, at the very least in the rich nations, by decades. And those extra decades will be decades where even better treatments will emerge.

That’s why I say that – if we gave a damn and had any sense of perspective – the first human to live a thousands years has is already in her twenties.

This isn’t business as usual

We stumbled in this nightmare because of demographic shifts that allowed people to become far smarter in little over a century. Look at population education levels in 1910 when compared to 2010.

Now square that against population levels in 1910 squared against 2010. We went from 1.7 billion to over 7 billion in a single century. Look at cars energing tis century. Or industrialization. Or fighting disease. Or the internet – hell look at what we did 2 generations ago – we flew people top the moon for peace sake.

All the world’s people woke up in ways we haven’t seen ever before in this planet. We are now collectively not merely a biological force, we are an extinction event and a geological motor.

And what for? To get screwed over my those in charge? Because arguably that always seems to happen, irregardless whether or now we have enlightenment, industrialization, democratization, popularization, commercialization, emancipation, unionization, automation, capitalism or communism. We cannot trust our fellow humans anymore than we can trust ourselves. We are an unsanitary, unchaste, incontinent species of pathologically self-interested short term thinkers.

As soon as society extends the biological lifespan of humans this will signify a massive change in the thinking of everyone – we’ll have to deal with the shit we leave behind.

Someone who intellectually understands he or she may live to be centuries will not accept incompetence destroying his or her chances to live that long and live that long as anything other than a slave.

Right now we can all arguably say – what the fuck do I care, for as long as I live I am screwed over by ‘them’ and in a few decades I’ll be dead anyways, what the fuck do I care?

So – that was what my objection the the OP article was all about. It is a far more fundamental objection as you can see.

  1. Serendipity Seraph says:

    Or society, or people for that matter, did not decide dead is “meh”. It is simply a horrific given in all their experience to date. They make what peace with it that they can because, for now, there is no (to most of them) believable alternative.

    Aubrey has no way of stopping or even slowing aging yet and estimates effective treatment not much sooner than three decades from now and that only for slowing aging IIRC. Aubrey is not the only game in town. It can’t hurt but I don’t see how being Aubrey’s lover raises your chances by 50%. That seems a tad over-generous.

    On “fair share” – a concept with that name may exist but I challenge you to define what it actually means and show the validity of your claim. Any old “concept” can be made up without necessarily being well-grounded in anything real or realizable. Getting people to believe they have some nebulous “fair share” that may perhaps include indefinitely long healthy life spans, and a santa machine on every counter top is a formula for disaster. It is actually pretty damn crucial that we don’t set up BS expectations much less tell people they should just demand all these things right now.

    With less than 10% of my current affluence (laughs) I could not remotely do what I do. I would also have zero room to duck the hell that is likely coming. So if that is what you mean by “fair share” then it is a long long way from being a genteel debate over coffee. It is a death sentence and not just to me but to humanity’s chances to advance.

    Oooh a sexual NWO. Not bad.. 🙂

    • *
      I said ‘close personal friend’. Kim is now 22. Chances she will benefit from these treatments are now (her living in the Netherlands, having this ‘close personal relationship’) over the 50% range. That’s my estimate, yes. And as a result (and you have a habit of misreading) her having this benevolent increase in her personal odds (because she might have jumped the queue a little!!!) in effect I may jump the queue – NOT because aubrey will be there to swoop in with a flappering cape, but rather in half a century from now, say, Kim might do a series of things that might result, tow century from now, there being an appreciable recognizable (and deliriously happy) Khannea 2.0 hopping about as a result. She might be a contrived creature of all the historical data we all know off the 20 century (and I may be in that simulation right now, being rendered according to specifications, RIGHT NOW) and who is to tell she wouldn’t be the real thing? If it acts like a fuck..?

      So yes, that would (as I said) move my chances into the double digits, strongly suggesting that before buffing my spidernonkey Kim into celebrity sidekick status my chances to ‘live a few centuries or more’ were ‘a few measly percent at best’.

      NO I do not now what a ‘fair’ share is. I equally do not know what in any situation the fairest share is. However I can make a very nice assessment what in any situation would be an UNFAIR share and that is, my dearest serendipity, where we have clearly parted ways. I look at the world and I object to too many getting an UNfair share or shake. Too many people are faced with injustice. The problem is that I cannot appreciably go and then surgically make suggestions on fairness, and do so in a manner than would not sap the motivations of those doing the honest work, or open up this ‘fairyzation process’ to exploits or gaming – or that we can even agree on fair, fairest, unfair or just.

      But looking at the world I think that by now it has become frivolously easy to point at a LOT of glaring unfair, and suggest very most and scrooge-proof interventions that would make the world a substantially better place.

      But what is relevant and why you so arrogantly sidestep is the simple fact that YOU yourself consistently say that ‘taxation’ is unfair. If it is, then why? If you earn why is it fair to keep it? I might label hoardism unfair. You are by hoarding crowding away people that have less talents. You may be all high and might about ‘decent work’ and ‘personal sacrifice’ but the fact of the matter is that in this world if we do not collectively agree on whats fair, and let individuals decide for themselves who to help then the past is littered with evidence that vast underclasses will die in abject misery.

      Deny it and I will hold you in contempt.

      The world needs more affluences, yes. And yes I am still working from the theory that (and listen closely for a change)

      The further we get in the future, the more we will end up paying in indirect costs (prisons, police, locks, gates, cameras) for not caring for people than if we would if we did cared for them (free education, welfare, disability, basic income, free medical care).

      I know you disagree with this.

  2. 1… People right now accept death. This is because they calculate their chances of not struggling better than their chances if feeling bad about it. Our society has collectively decided that death is ‘meh’ and we might as well enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.

    Yes we won’t be able to save everyone for at least a century. Your SL wife however seemed to think at least several times there is a possibility that the cost of ‘saving everybody’ is might be well within the horizon of the lifetimes of most people in the western world we know. As you know my Fiance is a close personal fiend of Aubrey and as you may know I may have intentionally acted in a way that the close personal relationship with her and Aubrey was maximized. Surely you now appreciate her chances ti love centuries have (from being a former third world citizen) have gone up to well over 50%? So you understand that in me doing so in effect my chances have gone up a unto the double digits as well?

    Sure there is pushing at the confection stand. Sure there will be some people ‘the last people to die’. Sure there will be people saying ‘this can’t possible be real’ well after the first people have been treated and are in effect becoming younger. Surely you know that YMMV, on either side of the expectation curve. But what’s new in all that? I can still get terminal brain cancer at age 310 because ‘I took to long on an asteroid cruise’, right? If that happened I would be left authorizing, say, a mind clone that was 2 years out of date and the dead branch would still be left enduring the agony of dying and leaving little more than her memoires to her child.

    “Fair Share” as a concept exists and I have heard you insist quite often you think society and big government assholes is s cheating you out of it. So I consider debating you on that threads pointless. You and me just have ‘minor preference differences’ on what constitutes a fair share.

    We are both bickering at the dinner table over whether ‘cream in our coffee is fair to the cows’ while outside people stand in the cold watching us through the window. In other words – any debate about ‘fair share’ might (and I say MIGHT) mean you and me get less than 10% of our current affluence, since there is a billion babies living in destitution. I am not the one making that division, in large part because I agree with you that the ‘forced’ redistribution would dismantle our world.

    Instead as you see, I micro-equalize by inviting them one by one – but only the ones that are the best lays first, right?

    I am no saint either.

  3. Serendipity Seraph says:

    What if you cannot save everyone? Right now it certainly looks like we not only cannot save everyone but that we cannot dependably save so much as a single person from mandatory true death due to mere number of years they have been alive. Yes, we dream large and with great hopes for all. However, there is the reality of now and of many interim steps from here to there.

    “Someone who intellectually understands he or she may live to be centuries will not accept incompetence destroying his or her chances to live that long and live that long as anything other than a slave. ”

    We are not “far smarter”. A few hours with the classics reading will show that. We have much better tools and sharing of information and denser information flows. This is not the same thing as being smarter.

    This is making a great goal and dream an actual positive right right now and blaming the world if it does not materialize promptly and in time for oneself. This is a form of disassociative angst toward what actually is and people today because reality has not yet lived up to what one dreams of it being. It is not helpful and actually can lead to a lot of pain and bitterness. It is not that state of creative impatience we need to move well. Stop thinking like such a bloody victim if you want to be effective.

    “Fair share”? What the heck is that, exactly? Do you think all the wealth of the world today should be divided perfectly evenly with every single person? Do you think that would get us closer to the world you dream of or make it nearly impossible to actually achieve the major technological and social advances utterly required to do anything of the kind? Again you think the world owes you not only (or so it seems) an equal cut but to make your dreams of what might be real right now. Otherwise you seem to think you have ample reason for these negative and unhelpful out-pourings.

  4. Sedicious says:

    I mostly agree. But at the same time I have difficulty feeling sympathy for the Boomers, as a class, or wanting to save them from themselves. Would it really be unjust if the better world arrived just a little bit too late for them? Would it really be unjust for them to have their own retirement funds kicked out from underneath them? Yes, I know there are many individuals within that generation who are better than that, who don’t deserve to share that fate. But do the rest of us deserve to be stuck with the Boomers for the rest of eternity, either?

    • That is pretty horrible if you think about it more closely! You must take your own responsibility regarding what you think is good or evil, but we are not merely talking about societal sustainability – we are talking about life and death here. At one point we *will* research partial life extension. Human being will then live a bit longer knowing they will die. Thereafter people will live ‘indefinitely’ (centuries?) and they know they get the best possible deal. Assumedly. Allegedly. Plausibly.

      However by what measure of proper or improper, or right versus wrong do you reserve a say (or even feel the urgency to voice an opinion) about who should live and who should be spared? I am not saying – “who should we slay?” At least I think that is not what you say. It’s more like saying – “I loathe these people so much that I do not vote for spending to much effort on saving them“. I think that is not a commendable attitude. My vote would rather be to save anyone and everyone, inasmuch as we can. In my world I’d even extend treatments for life extension to people in psychiatric institutions or in prison for life. I have a very ‘pelagian’ view of humanity – I’d even say if we imprisoned Hitler, and he would be alive now at age 111 I’d vote for medically extending his life (in some prison) and eventually work to rehabilitate him. Maybe in a century or so. Just replace “boomers’ on your story but epithets such as “republicans” or “socialists” or .. “jews”. and your article would take on a very different tone.

      But at the same time I have difficulty feeling sympathy for the Jews, as a race, or wanting to save them from themselves. Would it really be unjust if the better world arrived just a little bit too late for them? Would it really be unjust for them to have their own retirement funds kicked out from underneath them? Yes, I know there are many individuals within that race who are better than that, who don’t deserve to share that fate. But do the rest of us deserve to be stuck with the Jews for the rest of eternity, either?

      Maybe I am exaggerating but seriously – you really think you said a very nice thing?

      • Sedicious says:

        No, I’m well aware it’s a very ugly thought. But I’m not proposing that we actively deny anybody access to life extension, I’m just saying that I can’t help feeling a certain righteous shadenfreude if the Boomers deny it to themselves.