Magic. Part 2.

.. all work and no play equals more work and no play. Unless you add alcohol.

               There must be some reasonable explanation for what I’m seeing whenever I step outside my house, I just can’t find it. Every bloody time I get to mingle with the higher class I’m getting goose bumps. No, I don’t mean wealthy people or famous or nobility, when I say higher class I mean average individuals holding their heads up there, in the clouds, too high to see what they’re stepping on. It’s easy to think of myself as average but that’s actually a disadvantage. I have my own problems, insecurities, fears and defects – I know them, they know me, but we’re not on speaking terms. They don’t define me – I define them. My struggle with them is what defines me, the act of actively fighting to improve myself is my identity, the one I adopted anyway. I am what I do, I am how I behave, that’s my value to myself. My value to others is something else entirely, I know it goes up and down the way of the market. It’s not stable, it’s not fixed, it won’t stay the same even for one day. How many can say they know that much? Not many, in my own small, visible universe.

               Am I upset? No. I control the how and when. They control the how much, the why. But there’s a problem here – they, as in those I observe around me, are always subjective, everybody uses different ways of setting my value to them. There’s even a trend, look it up, and it has no connection to wealth, but with the type of education they received or the kind of job they have. Tyler was somehow, right.

               There’s an important distinction to be made between school and good education, between parenting and good education. Identity is not value, the same way a hamburger means different things for a hungry and a full individual. Identity is what I know of myself. Value is the importance of what others know of me. I may be a bloody Einstein for instance, but if you’d pass me by in a grocery store you’d never know. Identity is important. Too bad most people don’t have it.

               If I were to time-travel to 1600 and show my smartphone playing a video to one of them people who lived then it’d make them scream for the inquisition. It’s magic, black magic, the pox on you and your devil mirror. How are they any different from the average 16 year old teenager hearing of Schrodinger’s cat? He’d ask to pet it, probably. Any technology is like magic if you have no wish to understand it. Same thing with everything happening outside your window. Reality is real and all in all out of your control, no matter what you choose to believe or think. The only control you can have over your reality is by doing things, by deciding which your road you’ll walk. Life is what happens while you’re busy sleeping, eating or making holes in your couch that’s in front of the telly.

              I love water, boats and fishing, so the opening part of the film Ondine really gets to me, for instance. But what makes that movie great is how accurate they show you the way ignorance can make one believe the impossible. Watch it, then say it didn’t feel like a science fiction (or urban fantasy, can’t get these things straight for the life of me) drama up until the last moments. I actually loved it, which says tons about me.

               Make people believe in things, either real or not, and you’ll have an easy time manipulating them. They won’t ask how things work, they won’t ask why things are, or what makes them good or bad, they’ll only ask for good things for them and bad things for their enemies. And you’ll get to define which is good and which is bad. Yes, religion. No, not just religion. Magic is now marketing. Films. Epic proportions. Flash mobs. Hey, if somebody acts weird suddenly, why copy his behavior? Is it logical? No. Flash mobs to me is brainwashing done right – you won’t question their point, the media made it look like they’re natural. If I see some dude suddenly starting to break-dance, I’m taking the opposite direction – that’s freaky, man. But many think it’s hip. Yes, sure, here’s a valium. Nobody asks for a purpose, for a reason, for an explanation. They just gobble it up and smile.

               Magic now, to most people, is never questioning your powers, your self-appointed betters, means believing things happen as a direct result of their need and demand (think prayer, here). To me, magic is how they’re doing the brain-washing, how they’re getting you to never question what you’re being told. The more I look, the more confused I am. I’m used to working with numbers, with algorithms, with groups, with crypto or linguistic or mathematical constructs, I’m not scared to look at say quantum events and worry I won’t get it – but I’m worried I’m out of my depth here. I’ve used to use math to profile businesses. To create cash-flows. To estimate future values. This shit here shows chaotic connections, poof!-s and pop!-s and connections and vibrations you’d think exist only at Planck scale – this isn’t a conspiracy, nobody’s running things (which is a darn good picture of reality). It’s a snowball rolling down a snow-covered hill, picking up mass with every centimeter. It’s not only market pressure, it’s psychological pressure, peer pressure, group pressure, everything and everywhere. Where’s the psychiatrist when I need one?

               Let’s explain a bit. Supply and demand – I ask, you deliver, we both agree on price. Let’s add a bit of chaos here. I ask, we argue on price – but not because I don’t think that price is fair, but because I know I can pressure you to pay it, I googled you and found you’re having financial problems. You don’t deliver because the price is too low. I talk to your employees, bribe them, pressure them, manipulate them and they make a new company, I give them a higher quote than I’m giving you because they’re small and if they agree now, they can be pressured later. After all, I’m their biggest client. And the next time, I drop my bid a lot lower, even if they don’t make money – either they borrow money and deliver at below cost or they go under. You can’t understand all the reasons for this. I can’t. It’s not win-win, it’s me win screw you. And it’s the new way of doing things. Why would those employees make themselves more vulnerable – losing me as a client would make them bankrupt, I’m their only client – and why would I even be thinking of manipulating events this way? Bait, hook, kill, start over. I make more money, yes. Meanwhile both the original supplier and the new company his ex-employees made lost everything. Is this logical?

               Everything looks more and more like physics – you take a quick look and it seems logical, like classical physics. Everything behaves logically, on the surface. If you go deeper, way deeper, you’ll find your models don’t work, that they are worthless and with every answer you get more questions, more variables, more things behaving in strange ways – the laws you thought valid break down the deeper you get, and suddenly you need new theories, new physics, to explain what was once easy to understand. Hence, quantum physics. Any wonder why people give up thinking?

               I never sign things unless I understand what my signature makes me responsible for, what it means. I have a visceral need to understand, to control my own reality. I never give up that control. I don’t believe – I dig, I analyze, I disassemble. I decide, but the decision is mine because I make it mine. I’m the one to blame or to praise. Look around, how many do that? People feel entitled to ephemeral gains. They don’t use Sun Tzu’s view of decision makings. Time is short, I know – it’s also too short to make stupid choices.

               Education changed in the past 100 years. We now have tons of knowledge but no understanding of it. We look around and see magic – something to believe but not understand. It’s changed our core, our identity. We are emotion now, we are feeling, and it’s showing. For men, it’s fashionable now to have beards and dress like we’re going to chop trees. A few years back, it was fashionable to look like a girl – all feeling and no hair on your chest or legs. Go even further, and you’d think we’re all going to the opera – top hats and big sticks. Fashion is what we are – all the while fashion is designed by others. It’s not a conspiracy – math proves it. It’s a feedback loop. It’s the only problem democracy has – majority decides for minority, and minority creates majority. It’s easy. I dress to impress, some people are impressed. If the right people are impressed – the media picks up and builds an artificial construct – an identity – this is what cool people look like. Then more and more people who want to be included in the “cool” group assume that identity and voila!, you’re rejected, shamed, bullied, ostracized for not belonging in the said group. It’s a dictatorship of the media, of the loud. Quiet people either follow the herd or are rejected. Majority is created from a loud, vocal minority. Identity is created. The system defends itself, and the only way to break free is to become yourself a vocal minority creating a majority – in other words, to join the dance.

Think marketing – how would you market a neutrino detector? Is there a market for that? There is no way to evaluate progress or innovation – unless you’re successful and lucky. Don’t forget the luck part, think of Tesla. So what about that detector? No, they don’t market it, they invent it. They build it and use it themselves. Only the parts get publicity and marketing budgets and that’s just because you can use them to build other things. But research is still done, it’s still funded. Nobody but idiots would oppose that, because research also gave us the other everyday stuff we use, from toilet paper to Angry Birds. Who would bloody oppose toilet paper anyway? Now ask yourself, by way of analogy, why having money would be a huge sign you’re in a conspiracy to oppress the poor? It’s not, but most people still buy into the Rockefeller, Kennedy or Davos crap conspiracy theories. Most don’t understand the basic principles of balancing their bank account, how would they understand things like cost of capital and the influence country default risk premiums have on the cost of loans? Or how that leads to either poverty or affluence for an economy. They look to others and ask – is this right? Those others that get asked are the vocal minority, the influencers, the true masters of bullshit. The leaders. The deciders.

Unfortunately for them, they’re also a wee bit powerless – unless they say what is expected of them to say. Those folks are the tip of the iceberg. Under them it’s the majority, the true bullshit wielders. Let’s say you’re the government and you tell people they have to take a 10% cut on their salary because the country has problems with funds. Elections are coming. Now somebody else comes along telling them that’s not really necessary – elect them and the problems will go away. Hell, they’ll get a 10% increase of what they’re making now. They don’t say how they’ll pull it off, or when, or who’ll pay for it – or perhaps they just look in the dictionary and make up words to keep you confused.. Now who are the citizens going to believe? Who are they going to vote for? If they understand the workings of the economy, they’ll vote for you – assuming the problem is real. If they’re used to being told what to think, they’ll vote for the other guys – because they now have somebody to blame if things go south. They might not believe those other folks, but by voting with them they get to keep the system unchanged (they won’t accept the 10% cut) and put the blame on somebody else – they promised, they said they knew how to solve it, I don’t know much of the economy, I’m dumb so I believed them. The average Joe therefore uses magic to make two problems disappear – he assumed the other guys know what he didn’t and also he didn’t try to understand, didn’t ask them to explain how they’ll make things better. Ignorance is not an excuse here, what Joe should have done was to make them prove the validity of their claims, and didn’t push himself to understand. Voting therefore became a formality – Joe didn’t want to know or understand because he didn’t want it to become his responsibility. He made his wish come true – it’s the other fellow’s job now to think for him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what he thought – he was responsible for his choices, for the vote and for what followed. And as usual, the folks who lied to get voted into power will blame some other schmuck who’ll pick up the “villain of the day” mantle and will pass it on to somebody else. Everybody wins, nobody is to blame, things don’t change and all go congratulating each other. Until things go boom.

               Being brainwashed means sometimes believing the impossible, because there’s safety within the herd and everybody’s doing it. No personal responsibility, no brain-hurting truths, no reason to think. We are the herd. We demand because we deserve, and we deserve because we have power. And we have power because we’re a herd – there’s too many of us to ignore. We are entitled to this or that because we exist. The herd becomes our identity. All it takes is for the government to give in once and the stupid swarm the beaches. If it works for the average citizen, then why wouldn’t it work for the media?

               Ignorance, is now an identity. Cloning the behavior of others is the way to get that identity. It’s safe to be stupid, to be ignorant – others therefore have to protect me, after all I own then, I’m paying them with my taxes. Oh, they’re robbing me blind? Well now, I got a nice thing going on here – as long as I’m not forced to change or think or, heaven forbid, learn stuff, I don’t mind. Others have to think for me, because I choose not to. And because I don’t think, who am I picking for the task of thinking for me? Well, I don’t know and I refuse to try, so I’m going to go with whoever says he/she wants that job. No, not those competent or actually thinking – I’m picking those I can identify with. I’m picking those crazy enough to say they’re willing. And it’s either those who are corrupt or wanting to get corrupt because they’ll manipulate me into voting for them or those yelling loud enough to drown the voices of the other candidates and so giving me a visual of who’s the alpha dog, even if they’re dumber than my door knob. To be dumb is to be confident and to be smart is to be insecure because the more you learn the more you realize how much you still don’t know. Confidence plus good looks trumps wisdom anytime, anywhere – any local self-appointed Casanova can tell you that. Hell, pick up Vogue or Men’s something – they all say it.

Post scriptum:

               I’m getting too damn old for this shit. You know the difference between a thief and a politician? The thief chooses you, but you willingly choose to vote the politician. Same thing with marketing, apparently. Now I got to go buy a Bentley, I have this itch I have to scratch.

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