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Nov 19, 2022Liked by Grant Smith

I did not realize how thirsty I was for meaningful intellectual challenge until I dove into the spring-fed reservoir fed by you, Mark, Jay and John. Thank you all!

I’m a 2/4 who chose to travel to levels 0-1, where I believe many practical solutions lie. I have benefited from an unusual but remarkably powerful alliance since I (a PhD) married an intuitively brilliant (but dyslexic) high school graduate. It’s been a decade of deepening love and mutual appreciation - especially once I agreed to be judged on his terms.

This essay is enormously helpful, thank you!

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Have a great break/holiday.

It would be interesting charting those levels of argument with an axis of usefulness. I suspect there is a diminishing arc of utility there, but it bears more thinking on.

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Thanks! I think the lower levels might be most useful in a one tailed distribution as the majority of the population is at level zero, but ultimately the level of the argument most appropriate will depend on the individual.

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I wonder how art / aesthetics fits in here. Bach, Euripides, Virgil, et al. were all extremely profound thinkers but seem to operate outside of this hierarchy. Anyone at any level can take away something valuable from them. At its best, art creates great leaps of intuition that might not be possible in a strict argumentative framework. Perhaps that's why all totalitarian movements try to destroy it.

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Nov 20, 2022·edited Nov 20, 2022Author

No doubt, most parts of human experience fall way outside this limited model. I'm only advancing it to try to show how there is likely a populist majority that will want the same policies for different reasons and that this recognition might be helpful to build more robust political coalitions to counteract the incompatible class interests of minority elitists. That said, I'm sure Bach, Euripides, and Virgil had particular philosophies and political opinions of some kind, and that if they were alive today they might even be on social media sharing those thoughts in a way that we might be able to characterize their level of argument using the model.

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I understand. I'm just thinking out loud about how we might actually accomplish this. Take a Bach fugue for example. At the basic level, we can appreciate it as "beautiful". We don't really know why it's beautiful, but it sounds nice. We can go up one level and learn the rules of counterpoint. We can go up another level and appreciate counterpoint as a structural principle not just in music but in many other parts of our universe. For example, we can interpret it as the prototypical emergent phenomenon -- order arising from the interplay of independent parts. And so on.

Logical arguments don't really convince people of anything anymore. I'm wondering if there's a way to bypass all of that. Art might be the answer.

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The appreciation of beauty is related. Level 3's will say that our perceptions of what is beautiful is a product of social conditioning. This is something that we can use to our advantage because it is self-evidently false to those employing common sense. I think this is a really great parallel, in fact, just the way you lay it out. Describing exactly why things are beautiful can be very challenging, appreciating beauty is far more simple. There is something to this for sure.

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Thank you for clearly and strongly crediting and linking sources and related material. One note about human nature and level three / five institutionalized psychopathy. We can look at the advances in neuroeconomics and neuromarketing -- and how they are being utilized. We can document how Big Food is designed to be addictive. We can likewise document how Big Data is being used not just to predict but shape and control outcomes.

Behind these various practices are highly skilled and educated people who very much do believe in something like human nature -- but with a Nietzschean-like twist. They are the licensed predators -- the enlightened Übermensch. Our biological traits, our neurological architecture, our need for social attachment: these are what they exploit. But to retain their status, they must actively prevent the human singularity.

In footnote 3 you remark on "how effective the Cathedral is at keeping The People divided." Exactly right, I think. So my quick comment: let's all be careful not to underestimate some of those who serve the Cathedral.

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Oh I don't underestimate them, they will certainly be difficult to defeat. The source of my optimism is that it is possible to defeat them, not that success is guaranteed or that it will be easy. I agree 100% that at the higher end they do believe in human nature and I also agree that the difference is they look at it as an obstacle to be overcome. The 0,2,4,6 crowd is not so much aligned by believing in human nature, but by valuing and respecting it. Seeing it as something to understand so that we can work with it, not against it. I think on the populist side we share a deep love and respect for humanity, we see it as having the capacity for great beauty and nobility. It seems to me that the 1,3,5 crowd looks at humanity like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5foZIKuEWQ

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Interesting and though provoking. Where do the "sheeple" come - the people who simply follow whatever they are told? I am guessing that the 1+3+5's would have disdain for imagination and intuition (Iain McGilchrist has some good podcasts which may inform your model https://www.youtube.com/c/DrIainMcGilchrist/videos - see the latest episodes of his "Understanding the Matter with Things Dialogues")

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I'm probably influenced a lot by McGilchrist second hand via Winston Smith and John Carter's synopses. I didn't know he had videos, thanks for sharing! I don't like the sheeple label because of the negative connotations, but I think that is more of a personality thing. Many people are innately inclined to defer to authority of any kind. This isn't a problem in a free and open society, but when perverse authoritarian policy backed by coercion begins elevating such individuals to positions of power and influence... well, to put it simply I think this dynamic is one of those things that contributes to the rise of pathocracy.

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This is somewhat off-topic, but tangentially related. It goes back to our discussion of the relevance of the Constitution and your oath to unhold it. By Yarvin:

https://graymirror.substack.com/p/a-new-theory-of-constitutional-cynicism

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Jan 9, 2023Liked by Grant Smith

It seems to me that one of the best analysis of our latent human potential and how it fits in with our world-view and the way that it manifests in our culture altogether was provided Ken Wilber in his first book The Spectrum of Consciousness and all of his subsequent writings too. Check out the Integral World website which features his work and that of many others too.

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Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check Ken Wilber out.

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I hope you realize your math above proves brilliantly if unintentionally what some have noticed:

Higher levels of IQ corresponds with rising insanity.

Of course in America given our vast geographical advantages over matchlessly rich lands America could afford to live in a fantasy world for the longest time, it cannot however even given our resilient Federated nature - which cushions enormous damage even if very slow to converge - we cannot afford this particular ruling class of maniacs longer.

And we know it.

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We can't afford these psychopaths.

We need if one insists a more grounded class of criminal as ruling class.

If you insist.

Your assumption of 'we know who gets power-psychopaths'' is very grounded in the now, not in history, certainly not before the lunatic bloodletting of the 20th century, itself caused by elite overproduction via higher education. There's simply too many ambitious young men of military age with dreams of glory but no military service. None more so than Lenin.

No madman of the 20th century conceived of the madness that rules us now, these were the people Stalin purged and rightly so.

Yes history has Chinghis Khan and Timur the lame in history, but they're coming from Steppe warfare, and critically they never GOVERNED as pyschopaths, or delusional psychotics.

Not even the maddest Roman Emperor behaved in this fashion.

The people have now proven to my satisfaction that while they would love to have sanity restored they will do nothing at all unless compelled, or perhaps led, really a combination.

That is normal history and normal humanity, Americans are no different.

There's one leadership class and group left with the courage to save the nation, I believe you know whom I refer to...but a terrible step must be taken.

As it happens they already pushed us into it by having Biden sworn in by...who...?

Sir we won't get a solution from the people, we can bring them one.

They don't have the fight in them Sir, they could be led there....if they saw it work.

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