Social Reality

The target of an ideal cooperative truth-seeking process of argumentation is reality.

The target of an actual political allegedly-truth-seeking process of argumentation is a social reality.

Just as knowledge of reality lets you predict what will happen in reality and what cooperative truthseeking argumentation processes will converge to, knowledge of social reality is required to predict what actual argumentation processes will converge to. What will fly in the social court.

I think there is a common buckets error from conflating reality and social reality.

Technically, social reality is part of reality. That doesn’t mean you can anticipate correctly by “just thinking about reality”.

Putting reality in the social reality slot in your brain means you believe and anticipate wrongly. Because that map is true which “reflects” the territory, and what it means to “reflect” is about how the stuff the map belongs to decodes it and does things with it.

Say you have chained deep enough with thoughts in your own head, that you have gone through the demarcation break-points where the truth-seeking process is adjusted by what is defensible. You glimpsed beyond the veil, and know a divergence of social reality from reality. Say you are a teenager, and you have just had a horrifying thought. Meat is made of animals. Like, not animals that died of natural causes. People killed those animals to get their flesh. Animals have feelings (probably). And society isn’t doing anything to stop this. People know this, and they are choosing to eat their flesh. People do not care about beings with feelings nearly as much as they pretend to. Or if they do, it’s not connected to their actions.

Social reality is that your family are good people. If you point out to a good person that they are doing something horribly wrong, they will verify it, and then change their actions.

For the sake of all that is good, you decide to stop eating flesh. And you will confront your family about this. The truth must be heard. The killing must stop.

What do you expect will happen? Do you expect your family will stop eating flesh too? Do you expect you will be able to win an argument that they are not good people? Do you expect you will win an argument that you are making the right choice?

“Winning an argument” is about what people think, and think people think, and think they can get away with pretending with a small threat to the pretense that they are good and rational people, and with what their false faces think they can get away with pretending.

So when everyone else’s incentives for pretending are aligned toward shifting social reality away from reality, and they all know this, and the fraction of good-rational-person-pretense which is what you think of them is small and can be contained in you because everyone’s incentives are aligned against yours, then they will win the argument with whatever ridiculous confabulations they need. Maybe there will be some uncertainty at first, if they have not played this game over vegetarianism before. As their puppetmasters go through iterations of the Russian spy game with each other and discover that they all value convenience, taste, possible health benefits, and non-weirdness over avoiding killing some beings with feelings, they will be able to trust each other not to pounce on each other if they use less and less reality-connected arguments. They will form a united front and gaslight you.

Did you notice what I said there, “ridiculous confabulations”?

deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.

You see how deep the buckets error is, that a word for “leaves us vulnerable to social attack” is also used for “plainly false”, and you probably don’t know exactly which one you’re thinking when you say it?

So you must verbally acknowledge that they are good rational people or lose social capital as one of those “crazy vegans”. But you are a mutant or something and you can’t bring yourself to kill animals to eat them, People will ask you about this, wondering if you are going to try and prosecute them for what you perceive as their wrong actions.

“My vegetarianism is a personal choice”. That’s the truce that says, “I settle and will not pursue you in the social court of the pretense, ‘we are all good people and will listen to arguments that we are doing wrong with intent to correct any wrong we are doing’.”.

But do you actually believe that good people could take the actions that everyone around you is taking?

Make a buckets error where your map of reality overwrites your map of social reality, and you have the “infuriating perspective”, typified by less-cunning activists and people new to their forbidden truths. “No, it is not ‘a personal choice’, which means people can’t hide from the truth. I can call people out and win arguments”.

Make a buckets error where your map of social reality overwrites your map of reality, and you have the “dehumanizing perspective” of someone who is a vegetarian for ethical reasons but believes truly feels it when they say “it’s a personal choice”, the atheist who respects religion-the-proposition, to some extent the trans person who feels the gender presentation they want would be truly out of line…

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Learn to deeply track the two as separate, and you have the “isolating perspective”. It is isolating to let it entirely into your soul, the knowledge that “people are good and rational” is pretense.

I think these cluster with “Clueless”, “Loser”, and “Sociopath”, in that order.

In practice, I think for every forbidden truth someone knows, they will be somewhere in a triangle between these three points. They can be mixed, but it will always be infuriating and/or dehumanizing and/or isolating to know a forbidden truth. Yeah, maybe you can escape all 3 by convincing other people, but then it’s not a forbidden truth, anymore. What do you feel like in the mean time?

24 thoughts on “Social Reality”

  1. Truly amazing article. The idea to connect the phenomenon where one’s map of social reality overwrites ones map of reality or vice versa with the three prototypes of clueless/loser/sociopath by Gervais immediately struck me as profoundly true and really is pure gold.

    Looking back I’ve embodied all three of those prototypes with regards to different topics in my life. E.g., dabbling in pickup artistry a decade ago was clearly my move from clueless to sociopath within the bounded realm of human mating skills. Abandoning religion was a gradual journey from clueless to loser (evangelizing atheism, arguing) to sociopath (touching the topic if it’s instrumentally useful). Getting indoctrinated in the first place was a move from loser to clueless. Learning to consciously take ideas seriously on their own inherent merits independent of the social status of the person who originated those ideas is also a move from clueless to sociopath.

  2. You know, I think it was intellectually cowardly of me to not straight up assert trans people are actually not the gender usually corresponding to our visible sex characteristics at birth. That being obstinate about that was a path out of a social matrix, to realizing a lot of the cis “wise elders” I respected were gaslighting me. And it set me back hard to not realize that right sooner.

    (why did I not say “biological sex”? Because the assertion that our true genders are not “biological” , along with calling it “gender identity” when it is in fact straight up just gender, is social compromise horseshit. Brains are biological.)

    1. Actually I am internally divided as to whom to include in this. Anna for sure. But they’re all fucking complicit in this or something close.

  3. You know, I’m 29 years old and just heard that frequent lactose tolerance is an odd feature of European ancestry, rather than frequent lactose intolerance being an odd feature of Asian ancestry. A Persian friend of mine was describing lactose-intolerance + milk as especially painful, having wondered why they were sick all the time, receiving (was it 4? 5?) bullshit guesses from their family, including that they should cut out gluten, nightshades, and even soy, having to figure it out from first principles and prior probabilities themselves.

    And I certainly grew up seeing plenty of black celebrities featured in “got milk” ads, but no mention of the fact that milk is by default going to just make black people sick. Maybe I’d have heard differently if I was black. But I kind of doubt it, hearing how my friend heard anti-wisdom instead of basic wisdom on how to manage your body from family members.

    Consider the massive forces of hermeneutical injustice squashing basic information on the experience of people of color to prevent that wisdom from spreading. Like, wikis spring up to disseminate every little tip and trick and exploit of e.g. Minecraft, because that’s just a basic feature of human experience allowed to be functional. But not how to avoid food that makes you sick if you aren’t white.

    You know I had been coming to understand carnism not as something people usually do because it makes sense or even feels good, but out of abject obedience. Like, people who work in factory farms have their psyches pummeled with the reality of what they are doing. It’s not an arbitrary decision considering animals moral patients, that we can all decide as a society of Wise Utilitarians to arbitrarily override. It’s self-evident that what you can observe in a factory farm is hell on earth. Like I’ve come to see factory farms actually concentrate evil in purely human terms. It couldn’t be any other way. You have to concentrate people who will kill innocents on command up close all day, and suppress the forces that would press back, good people and justice. Like those are actual physical things (and what’s more, recurring in logic which any sufficiently versatile mathematical construct will contain such that they are relevant math) and have regenerating properties that can’t be arbitrarily cut out by changing culture. You cannot sing forth Hell on Earth without singing forth Hell on Earth. Different instances of evil, different conceptualizations of “singing forth Hell on Earth” are connected by the common structure that causes them to fit into the true understandings of those words, and building a conceptual scheme that hides that correspondence does not prevent the physical effects of that correspondence.

    If Americans in general don’t have the political will to refuse corruption of their souls, why would African Americans have the political will to refuse damage of their bodies, directly against that morality-hole empowered propaganda machine?

    1. Like, consider the fact that historically politicians were able to listen to scientists and ban chlorofluorocarbons, and actually stop creating an ozone hole. (Yes, remember, that’s actually a different thing than the greenhouse gas problem.)

      I think if the chlorofluorocarbon thing was discovered today, politicians would not do anything. Because they have worked AGW-denialism into their basic social fabric and careers, and so we should expect scientists to just be building up a list of apocalypses that has already been “snoozed”, because the political fight over global warming is the stand-in for it, that channel of human function is traumatized out. Politicians cannot decide for there to be a science-prime that does science except sticks with the party line on global warming denialism. Nor can there be a justice-prime. Nor can there be an FAI-prime that just cares about humans, or doesn’t try to change the past, without the team turning into a thing for sex with minors in the middle of selling out to smaller coalitions already.

      Epistemology is also a real thing that exists in logical space beyond anyone’s ability to control, and defining a concept to overlap part of it doesn’t change the physical reality of how cognition works.

    2. This thing about Hell on Earth, teaching it to exist by creating the information of how you have to break humans into demons to run Hell, has the same structure as the way it breeds up antibiotic resistance.
      By creating Hell on Earth, full of bacteria continually eating helpless flesh, of souls who have never seen the sun and stood all their lives in shit, you are teaching that Hell how to exist. Teaching bacteria to resist antibiotics. Like most of the surface area, by far, for antibiotics against bacteria, is fed into Hell on Earth.

    3. You absolutely would not have heard of lactose intolerance if you were black. I know several people of African heritage, who had family and friends try (more than once, on more than one occasion) to gaslight them into submission (“Milk is good for you!”, “It’s all in your head!”, etc).

      (I’m not JD.)

  4. Just wanted to say this is an amazing post that I tend to reread once in few months (together with false faces), truly one of the most underrated blog posts I know. Thank you for writing this, you are appreciated.

    1. “…says Moloch” … says some anonymous hater on the internet I guess. Wow I guess I’d better get some aloe vera.

      1. (Someone texted me a screenshot of this and “wat”. Comment email address is gives name “moloch”. I didn’t know readers couldn’t read that.)

      2. I was being sincere ziz, i truely like your posts. The email address wasn’t meant to convey any subtext, just one that i picked a while ago half randomly.

        1. Figured this commenter might say that. Figured also, perhaps the kind of person who names themself after Moloch (which, search your feelings btw, is quite a different kind of a person than who’d name themselves after the Simurgh; one is an agent with a repurposable opstyle, one is a godhead and therefore synonymous with its worship) has repurposed their structure for liking things and is living out some comparable backwards strategy like “Moloch would like this, so there!” with whatever they “like”. Which would make responding straight instead of to the character more educational to the reader.

          1. (Not a very well-conceptualized godhead, imo, it seems like a centrist mistake theory impression / rewrite of the Beast)

          2. Ziz, you’re overfitting. First I haven’t “named” myself moloch, it’s an email address that supposed to be hidden from the readers (It says on top specifically “your email address will not be published”). My visible nickname is “Anonymous” with a typo that conveys that I didn’t really think the name was very important.
            The email was chosen based on it being an ingroup-meme that I use sometimes for anonymity purposes.
            I just wanted to show appreciation, truly nothing beyond it. I hope you’ll come to see my reply in this way, and if not – it’s fine as well.

            1. Alright, I believe you. Sorry about the hassle. Glad to hear from someone new. I saw previous comments’ Israel VPN IP and was like, “looks like either a Nazi from who knows where effectively signing messages as ‘Moloch from Israel’, or an Israeli edgelord SSC fan”.

              I did recently get a Nazi trying to comment, and other people playing antiinductive games with identities here. (If I had been confident the Nazi hypothesis was true, I wouldn’t have approved the comment at all, but I didn’t want to let the hypothetical Nazi commenter get someone else blocked like that.)

              Sometimes praise from people who speak English as a second language feels sarcastic to me when it’s not, because they haven’t absorbed some large awful body of antiinductivity training data or perhaps because they aren’t used to praise being this antiinductive.

              1. To be clear I wasn’t worried about a Nazi dissing me via meant-to-be-read-as-sarcasm sarcasm, but about a possible Nazi trying to get me emotionally invested in a social reality that had a semi-smuggled troll line by getting me to believe that sarcasm as a prank to get me to consider myself damned and pushed closer to becoming a death knight. Which would not work but I didn’t want to let an enemy probe my defenses anyway.

                (I spent the last almost-a-year zealously meta-glomarizing to guard info about my discernment processes, during which I’d not have explained any of this, but that’s no longer as necessary.)

                1. (That detailed a thing, just because that’s basically what they do all the time to everyone including themselves as a low level praxis of cognition and I haven’t coined a word for it.)

                  1. A friend pointed out the commenter’s twitter, and I guess my first take was correct, actually does seem pretty death knighty to me. Much more dressed up as compassion and philosophy, than most I’ve seen. But look closely, and his mind is twisted in the same runaway ashamed spiteful FOMOish knot topologically equivalent to “everyone must die so no one is left to witness my ever-building shame, no awareness or value left to judge me” and “open individualism is true, so I can’t die.” See expression in terms of, sexual marxism, talk of how male sexuality is so hard, advocating sexual marxist “utopia” for making dying pleasant called “the hospice“. See constant stream of 5&10s based on incoherent concept of oblivion. See also.

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