145 Comments
May 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

I don't know if this reinforces your thesis or dents it with a caveat, but my feeling is that modern academia selects first and foremost for conformity.

All the profs and other professionals I know or grew up with were always color-inside-the-lines rule followers who never skipped school, studied for every test, sweated every grade in every class, dedicated their last 2 years of high school to the SAT and college applications, were basically people who've followed every order, obeyed every authority figure and swallowed every lie since birth. And then you add in the facts of elite overproduction, the scarcity of tenure positions and the sterile, punitive and dogmatic monoculture of modern liberals, and you can see that (as William Deresiewicz put it) our academic institutions have been turned over to Excellent Sheep.

And I don't think "high intelligence" really tells you much about someone except that they have mastered some small corner of the world. I have known many uneducated people who have strong bullshit detectors, and many supposedly "highly intelligent" people who will parrot any talking point if it makes them sound cool and/or radical.

I think we learned all we need to know about the stupidity and conformity of our supposed thought leaders by studying the words, deeds and track records of the 20th-century "engaged intellectual." Of course it starts with Sartre and includes everyone from Sontag to Foucault to Chomsky and so many others, but there was not a single 20th-century Marxist mass murderer who didn't get fully fellated by some academic poser who sang their praises hoping to seem edgy and un-bourgeois. "Highly intelligent" professors can be just as stupid and blind as the rest of us, they just hide it behind institutional prestige, fancy credentials, and ritual incantations of whatever jargon is trendy at the moment.

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author

Extraordinarily well said. I agree with all of it. You're entirely correct that a compliant disposition is strongly selected for in academia, indeed greater weight is put on this than intellect.

But, why does one conform? Because ostracism hurts.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Conforming hurts more. I’ve always rebelled.

My spirit wouldn’t allow me to conform to lies and lockstep just to be in the in group.

Yes, being teased is bothersome, but it builds character and inner strength.

My Uni friends are all conformist.

First in line for shots and boosters

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author

For me, going along with a lie isn't painful exactly. More like it elicits a disgust reaction. Like being forced to consume a plate full of rotten offal.

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Jun 2, 2022Liked by John Carter

Lololol. I’d find that painful. I have a weak stomach

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May 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

Thanks! You've given me a lot to think about...is much appreciated.

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Yes, conformity plays a large role, but there's a fuller, more complex word that Kaczynski gave us: oversocialization. If you read his manifesto, he describes with clarity the sort of person who internalizes all the rules to the point that he's heavily burdened by the demands of being a good little person and not even thinking bad thoughts. It's exactly on point, and oversocialization goes a long way in explaining this mess.

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May 14, 2022·edited May 14, 2022Liked by John Carter

My whole early life was devoted to credentials. High SATs, GSAT or whatever it was called, LSAT. Princeton A.B. magna cum laude, Oxford B.A. with First Class Honours, Harvard Ph.D., Yale J.D. Years working at the Institute for Advanced Study. But eventually my hoped-for academic career did not pan out, despite my apparent conformism.

I can only call myself a physical coward. I avoided sports. I never learned to ride a bicycle. I only learned to swim when my college required it. All of this is no doubt connected with my being gay.

I tried to avoid military service, but the draft came calling. So I spent nearly four years in the Air Force active duty, and enough time in various branches of the reserves to qualify for a military pension. But this was all desk work. Military intelligence.

Having my deepest beliefs challenged does not pain me. I enjoy it. I enjoy having to think through the consequences of new information. I recall having doubts about the official story of Pearl Harbor as a teenager. In the 1970s I was reading books about the JFK assassination and later about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. I initially believed the official story of 9/11, so I supported the attack on Iraq in early 2003, but evidence that came out and books (first Andreas von Buelow's, then books by David Ray Griffin) shifted me to a conspiracy view of 9/11. By then, my faith in the U.S. government, media, and academia had been so shaken that my default presumption for a new matter now is a conspiracy explanation.

Until covid, I still believed in the medical establishment, but that faith is now gone too.

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May 15, 2022Liked by John Carter

I thought having a reading knowledge of German, French, and Spanish was enough to allow me to get beyond the censorship. But those languages are now also being censored. I guess I will have to better my knowledge of Russian and Chinese enough to be able to read those languages. Well, that's something for me to do in my retirement.

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I wish I had a language brain 😀

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May 15, 2022Liked by John Carter

Highly intelligent only means they can memorize things.

Ponder it.

What is one actually learning? Not much. But if you could memorize it, boom, instant A and called intelligent.

I know “intelligent “ people. High grades, zero critical thinking skills, clever but actually quite stupid.

I have pondered this for decades.

I saw exactly what the trajectory of PC was. Control and silencing of questions.

Obama pulled a great psychological coup w If you Criticize my policies , you’re racist.

Fauci, if you criticize me you are criticizing the science.

My brainwashed friends don’t want to know the truth, have said that straight up. He’s “intelligent “ high grades. Zero critical thinking skills.

It’s an unanswered question as to why so many are refusing the Red Pill.

Pain like you said?

Could very well be.

My “intelligent “ friend likes to go along to get along.

Ask him what restaurant he’d like to go to, it’s a journey through verbiage so he doesn’t have to answer.

Ask a yes or no question, again word salad . I lose patience, Yes or No!

I could go on.

I appreciate your posts

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author

The education system largely selects for memorization and compliance, yes. That isn't entirely the case - mathematics, physics, and engineering, for instance, rely on problem solving skills that have to be trained. You can't memorize your way through a physics class - there might be only four equations in the entire course, but you need to learn how to apply them in a variety of circumstances. But outside of that, particularly in the humanities, it's just - learn what the correct opinions are, and repeat them back to us.

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May 16, 2022Liked by John Carter

Ok. Never studied physics, but math never changes, except to progressives, math is racist.

But besides that.

If you memorize the math code as it were, the problem solving is still a fairly fixed route, yes?

So the problem solving in what you mentioned, doesn’t take critical thinking skills as it pertains to society.

Just the right coding to figure out the equation, which again gets back to memorizing the pathway.

I’m an unconventional Chef.

I might read a recipe, but duplicating a dish I made, almost impossible.

I cook by instinct , I can taste combinations in my head.

My clients would get a bit frustrated w me when they wanted that exact dish again. Sorry not happening.

My point. There are textbook chefs.

And there are creative chefs.

One memorizes the steps for that dish.

The other creates.

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author

We cook the same way lol. I won't claim to be a pro but I can count on one hand the number of times I've used a recipe.

When it comes to mathematics, memory really has very little to do with it. It isn't storing recipes away in a library (you can try to do that, but you'll fail the test); it's building living, animated models in your head, where you develop an intuition for what should happen or, ideally, what must happen.

Very similar to how you describe your creative process in the kitchen, really.

Now, whether someone can take the critical/logical analysis (lit. 'to take to pieces') skills learned in technical education and apply that mindset to other domains is a separate question. It can also get in the way: the instinct to try and build a simple model can blind one to the role played by overlooked factors. In my experience a lot of academic physicists fall prey to both of those.

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May 16, 2022Liked by John Carter

Ok. Not having a math mind, I was taught in such a way that it seemed like memorizing, and boring.

In fact I found most of school dreadful.

I love learning now.

Even pay for an app that teaches math, reading, English etc.

but I’m dyslexic, so my teachers never understood my difficulties.

I’m 61.

So it was memorize dates, math , why a sentence is structured in such a way.

Unless it made sense , it didn’t stick.

I still suffer from sentence structure 😬

I appreciate your input.

Thank you

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"Highly intelligent only means they can memorize things. "

I read your comment to my husband. After applauding, he picked up a 2GB memory stick and said, "See this? It has lots and lots of memory. But it can't do a damn thing until I stick it into a hole and get it to connect with a CPU."

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author

Well said.

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"sterile, punitive and dogmatic monoculture of modern liberals" Bullseye!

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Crichton wrote of “thintelligence”. We noticed how the more credentials people had, the more credulous they were in 2020/21. Not academia, but at NSA, where there are many PhD’s, and all the analysts have been trained to vet sources and think critically.

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Dec 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

How fortuitous that I should come upon both John Carter and your comment at this moment. John’s gift to be able to put into words the exact process I went through (for me it was the Russiagate hoax that I had fallen for). I’m currently ‘unlearning’, discovering who/what is really calling the shots - the false flags (9/11), the corporate/mafia/intelligence forces which conspire for ends which don’t make sense - meaning don't these people already have enough power and money? What do they really want? And the neutering of the challengers to the narrative or policy through censorship, smears, ‘suicides’.

As for academics, I was lucky to attend a small, highly competitive intellectual college in Minnesota in the 80s where most of the time I felt like the dumbest person in the room. The one professor who scared the living daylights our of me was a history prof who upon first meeting our small class of 12 recounted how he’s done everything including failing out of Stanford - essentially letting us know he’s not interested in lily-livered excuses - each research paper I submitted was returned with red ink and criticism. I persevered and tried to improve my quality of research and writing and managed a C in his class. Seven years later, while studying for my MBA in Boston, I submitted a paper and the prof awarded me an A and commented that it was one of the best written papers she’s had - whether that says anything about me or the quality of previous students I don’t know. But a classmate in my undergrad whose papers were also covered in red ink by the same aforementioned professor (he became a history major) went on to become a two time Pulitzer Prize winning historian.

Pain be it physical or mental - even emotional - makes us stronger when managed and mentored. Giving young people the gift to question the world - whether it be our leaders or the wonders of nature - is fundamental to a healthy society IMO.

Realising one has been lied to - which is different from making genuine misjudgements or the wrong conclusions - is one of the biggest challenges to overcome because it rocks our world. Learning that there is no Santa Claus is only the start of our journey.

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Great post (and clever posting handle!)

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May 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

This is an excellent explanation of what I saw in my circle; now former circle. Some of the most intelligent humans in society turned out to be utter fools.

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Re: People can’t handle the truth …

As Jack Nicholson’s Marine colonel character famously bellowed in the movie “A Few Good Men” - people “can’t handle the truth!”

Especially truths that might make them question something that became so important to their own psyche or self view. People don’t want to admit they were wrong or duped about any fundamental issue, and often aggressively lash out at people who try to make them consider a different “truth.”

BTW, if you think about it, it was really Jack Nicholson’s character who couldn’t handle the truth.

His “truth” - one that caused him to become a Marine in the first place - is that countries around the world are trying to “steal Americans’ freedoms” or were “national security threats” to America.

Remember, the movie is about a Marine colonel who was the commander at America’s Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba. He ordered those “Code Reds” (which got a character killed) to instill fighting discipline … to protect Americans like Tom Cruise’s character, who were enjoying cocktail parties in Georgetown … from, I guess, the threat of a Cuban invasion of Miami?

Anyway, it never occurred to the colonel that the U.S. government might pose the greatest threat to Americans’ freedoms and liberties. Or if he thought about this possibility (which he might today) … this “truth” might blow his mind. So he was really right. The real truth would have blown his mind. He couldn’t handle it.

Just like people can’t handle the truth that their fears of dying from Covid were preposterous. And that the people they venerate, celebrate and think are infallible (like Fauci), were really killers, liars and villains.

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founding

Any number of factors are at work in the feedback loop of ethical and intellectual failure that is contemporary academia.

To start, intellectual independence is not valued because it is not sought by governments, employers or managers. Hierarchically structured institutions select for conformity. Independent thinkers may be admired in theory, but only from a safe distance. Institutions infested with managers and HR types are actively hostile to those of independent mind. Higher education does not form an exception to this rule.

Secondly, autonomy can only exist when and where the material pre-conditions for it are present. Salary or wage-earning people are dependent by definition. Talk of intellectual independence is an affectation to hide the proletarianization of the academy.

Thirdly, serious education typically begins, if it begins at all, only in grad school. By the time most students are ready for grad school, it is simply too late to get them to think at all, let alone independently.

Fourthly, in the West intellectual rigour has typically been developed through analytic modes of thought and academic debate that derived their character from Socratic traditions of inquiry infused with the combative or agonistic aspect of the Greek city-states in the classical period.

Today this approach is widely perceived as obnoxiously male and aggressive: in the feminised world of academia disagreement is seen as a form of threat and active argumentation is confused with personal hostility.

Fifthly, the wider culture and general conditions of society are sending people mad. Most people today are immersed in audio-visual infotainment delivered by personal devices (especially laptops, mobile phones and videogames). Extended immersion in a simulacrum of dematerialised experience undermines any sense of reality.

This situation remains uncorrected by reality because of the socially and physically sheltered existence of practically everyone. And a couple of decades of exposure to the distraction of constant mass entertainment disrupts synaptic formation on a scale that makes concentration or learning both disagreeable and very difficult.

Finally, every negative or undesirable influence, example or tendency is vigorously encouraged by the wider society. There is no meaningful force or presence to challenge or counter any of the above.

Hope, if it exists at all, can only be found in the fact that declining rates of productivity growth, deindustrialisation and growing competition for energy and commodities guarantee that the expiry date for the Western model is fast approaching. Whatever happens, the use of higher education for child-minding on a mass scale is coming to a close.

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author

That was a thorough and accurate summary of the problem.

However, to me, hope is too be found in the growth of an ersatz, informal academia on the Internet. It was already nascent in the pre-covid era but the lockdowns and censorship of the scamdemic kicked things into high gear. The hive mind network has proved far more nimble than the institutions, and provides an arena for knowledge testing that can no longer be found in the feminized, controlled environs of the ivory tower.

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founding

I am cautiously optimistic myself, but only in the very long term. On the strength of my own experience, I'd say it unlikely that the system can be saved. The germs of hope are in home-schooling. Within a generation from now there will be a small number of kids who have had exposure to something akin to a serious education (maths and languages, both taught with a view to mastery) and they will revive things. Their experience will provide them with the basis for expecting more than the shams and scams being marketed as education. Most home-schooling is pretty ordinary, but over time more and more people will see the value of rigour.

Economic competition from China, Russia and India will help a very great deal too. There is going to be a good deal of embarrassment in the years ahead for the West as the newly rich in Asia and beyond seek quality education. Confucian cultures are not shy about grading/hierarchy. Interestingly, there is a surge of interest in classical Greek in the best Chinese universities because the Chinese elite perceive the practical value in the classics done rigorously (and they are done rigorously when those involved have done their basics without any soft options).

As for the post-schooling stage, I think the best approach will be a return to the 18th and 19th c. system in England: Oxford and Cambridge were finishing schools for the gentry and seminaries for priests and off-limits to non-Anglicans but the Protestant Dissenters had their own academies with pretty rigorous standards and these academies provided state of the art education in maths and sciences for the engineers etc. Something like that (small, focused, rigorous and unsentimental) will do well.

Re the internet, I remain to be convinced. Substack is a blessing, but I get the impression it is a legacy project for Boomers and Gen X, the last generations to see any utility in contrarians, diversity of opinions or the value of any alternative perspective. When I see/hear/meet younger people I am horrified about their allergy to the analytic approach. Can't help but feel that the barbarians are closing in. Still, while I can, I'll object.

FYI, Allan Savory, an ecologist, makes some super-brief but cutting observations about academic science and the younger generation.

https://twitter.com/DarlingPlease2/status/1486862509420154883

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author

To be clear, I don't see much hope for the system as it stands. If you haven't seen them, I have a series of essays (my DIEing academy series) that goes into this in some depth.

I fully agree that home-schooling is where it's at. Right now that infrastructure is fairly well developed through the secondary level, but there's very little providing equivalents to post-secondary or graduate education in terms of depth or rigour. The main obstacle I see there is accreditation, which could perhaps be solved with widely accepted standarized tests.

The 'ersatz academy' I refer to is of course much broader than Substack, which functions more for journalism than education. I'm more referring to the loose association of renegade academics (either because their interests lie outside the conventional, e.g. Graham Hancock, or because they were expelled for wrongthink, e.g. Brett Weinstein). They provide something like the equivalent of lectures to a broad audience. This confederation also includes online 'universities' providing more structured course material, albeit the focus is on topics more or less forbidden in conventional universities, e.g. rightist philosophy, human biodiversity, etc. With time that can be expanded into something more comprehensive that may be able to challenge the dominance of the existing system in precisely the fashion you described in the 19th century.

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May 16, 2022Liked by John Carter

Fourthly, in the West intellectual rigour has typically been developed through analytic modes of thought and academic debate that derived their character from Socratic traditions of inquiry infused with the combative or agonistic aspect of the Greek city-states in the classical period.

Today this approach is widely perceived as obnoxiously male and aggressive: in the feminised world of academia disagreement is seen as a form of threat and active argumentation is confused with personal hostility.”

Brilliant! My blue pilled friends see any conversation that has any debate of ideas to it as hostile.

They get mad at me, but I’m the evil doer .

I had a client who challenged my opinions with the Socratic questions.

Why did I believe that?

Base it on facts. Not feelings.

Emotionalism has destroyed conversations

I’m saving that piece you wrote. It’s so spot on.

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author

It really is so very tiresome and cloying, isn't it?

I think the part that grates on me the most of their assumption that they can state their silly opinions without challenge. It never seems to occur to them that some of us are as viscerally offended by nonsense as they are by 'hate'.

They have the minds of children.

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May 16, 2022Liked by John Carter

It’s dreadful.

Any exchange of ideas is off limits now.

Only superficial conversations allowed.

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author

It's very tedious.

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Jan 29, 2023Liked by John Carter

I couldn’t agree more; it’s unbelievable how far standards of analytic discussion (let alone debate) have fallen. People just don’t want to engage, don’t *want* to know anything that might challenge their worldview…and act offended by the mere suggestion of debate.

Besides being stultifying for human development, it’s SO boring. Sigh

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author

I've had people just shut down the conversation when they sensed I was about to tell them something they intuited would render a deeply held belief untenable. For example, a lot grad student, a dangerhair with pronouns naturally, got into it with me about the sex/gender thing. She'd(?) managed to convince her(?)self that everyone else was operating under the assumption that biological sex was just testosterone levels, and triumphantly informed me on this basis that, since hormonal levels are highly variable, this clearly meant there was no such thing as biological sex.

Well, no, I said, it has nothing to do with that, that's only relevant to mammals. The distinction is whether an organism has mobile or sessile gametes.

What does that mean? she(?) asked.

Then when I opened my mouth to explain, she said actually no, I don't want to talk about this anymore.

As an aside she had a tattoo of Satan on her arm, so yeah.

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This also describes religious opinions -- absurd and not even trying to be sensible, logical, practical or even just, but we're rude if we don't pretend that the conclusory idiocy is worthy of respect and serious discussion.

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May 20, 2022Liked by John Carter

That comment makes me really glad that I never went to college.

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Pain is information, nothing more. If we are animals, we let pain control us. If we are humans, we take action based upon this, including choosing to block out pain. This works for all type of pain, physical, intellectual, and emotional. Pain and suffering teach us and help us grow.

Jeremy Bentham, the Father of Utilitarianism, organized his system to avoid suffering to the most people. This has become the core of modernity and liberalism.

I don't want safety and protection from harm. I love engaging in a fierce discussion. Learning something new or changing my mind is a good thing. Many of my best days are those that I learned something new or changed my mind.

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author

The fact that harm avoidance is the sole essence of liberal morality does tend to support my thesis. Should have thought of that angle.

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That is an error I see economists make a lot, equating a cost avoided with value gained. On average, sure, it sort of works out to be the same, but only if you are above a certain level of value gain. It turns out that it is really cheap to not be in business, but avoiding all those costs doesn't put food on the table... It gets worse when you consider that a lot of the value we put on things depends on the effort we expend to get them.

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May 15, 2022Liked by John Carter

Yes!

Bring back Debate classes

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author

Debates presume more than one legitimate perspective. Can't have that.

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Wow, John, what an amazing article.

So much to touch on.

First, "they've dropped the ball something fierce," or they haven't, it was always supposed to be this way. They have been set up "six ways from Sunday" for this epic fail, and with proper leadership from the few that are in on "the game" here we are.

Second, "mass formation" and kabuki theater of "cult brainwashing" are all just parts of a "Stockholm syndrome" created by the same "elites" that fell into their own "techno bubble wrap" trap that makes them resistant to any orders of reality. While the rest of us are forced to live in this reality of "limited thinking" and "intense competition" whether it is for that great job you can't take the 2 weeks vacation at or you'll be replaced, or the "hot chick" that you know sucks at everything but exactly that.

Remember the Kobayashi Maru?

Well, I don't believe in a no-win scenario either, but I haven't yet figured out how to reprogram the gaming (crypto) computer, at least not without a lengthy jail sentence.

You are right about the thinking-pathways-pain thing. Probably a good thing that you didn't have access to essentially unlimited amounts of various painkillers like some of us. To say nothing of all the other psycho-active substances.

Personally, my moment came in the early 90s, right after George HW Bush uttered the words "New World Order" and I knew it was all a joke, my deflated Anti-Communist inner self got a real shot of nitrous oxide that day. And I haven't looked back since.

You see, being an Anti-Communist is the loneliest, poorest paying (why I dealt drugs with a license in 3 states), least respected, most criticized, labeled a fruitcake, patriotic position in our nation. Just ask "Tailgunner Joe." Oh wait, you can't, not at least since the early 50s.

As far as the excruciating pain, yep, broken bones, kidney stones, even a broken heart, well, not really, I knew she was a little slut, but it was great while the money, drugs, hot rods, lust, hate & jealousy from everyone else, held out!

Then I moved on to motorcycles, but not even they got me laid as much as my old '71 six-pack 'cuda. But you are right, I've been "red-pilling" myself since the end of the "Cold War," hint- it didn't end.

As far as returning to our "Academic Elite" or more accurately, "normalized retards."

Don't waste another thought or effort on them, they ain't never coming any of the ways back.

Simply not possible.

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One of the key variables when it comes to an admission that you may be wrong is wrapped up in a concept call 'the consistency principle' of neural functioning. And it's to do with a type of pain, so sort of fits your thesis.

The consistency principle is basically the neural flow of information travels along paths of least resistance - these are the established thoughts, the things you believe and accept as reality. When there is a challenge to such thoughts, an 'inconsistency', it requires a different neural flow - albeit a small change. The brain, ever looking to conserve energy, doesn't much like this and will always try to maintain the status quo. Nevertheless, given enough passes of the new neural flow, it becomes a path of least resistance itself - the new thought/reality is established and when the world is processed in agreement with this neural flow - voila, we have consistency once again... until a new idea challenges the established neural architecture.

Each change in thought costs energy, is uncomfortable, and feeds into higher cortical constructs (like embarrassment that I'd been sucked in to a falsehood, or that the new truth is going to cost me socially, politically, or commercially, etc.) that further provide resistance.

Anyway - thought I'd throw that in the mix.

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author

Thanks for that. I had something very like that in mind.

In essence, learning is to the brain what exercise is to the body. Both inflict a certain degree of biological damage, which hurts; and it is the repair of that damage, which also hurts, that strengthens the organ.

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Yes that would be a good metaphor.

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Thank you.

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May 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

There is a letter somewhere written by an Indian Chief declining an offer from Harvard or some other Eastern University to take some young men from the tribe and educate them. He says something like , “Thanks but no thanks, we already tried that, and when we got the young men back from you, they were useless. They couldn’t run, couldn’t hunt, basically they failed all our tests and are ruined as men.”

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author

Now that's wisdom.

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May 15, 2022Liked by John Carter

Dang. How true. Look at all those soft men in that picture. Did they all grow beards to look manly? Doubtful, they just copied some Social influencer ( I despise that term)

I also despise

Hoodie and Foodie. It sounds like baby talk.

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May 20, 2022Liked by John Carter

Jesus says: "The truth shall set you free."

I say: "Jesus didn't tell you it would also piss you off."

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May 14, 2022Liked by John Carter

> "But in all honesty I know a lot of highly intelligent people inside the academy, and with a tiny handful of notable exceptions they all fell for it, and they're all *continuing* to fall for it."

I find the "continuing" part to the most mind boggling. True story:

Just a couple of weeks ago I went back into the office for the first time in two years. Didn't wear a mask even though as a filthy, unvaxxed & unboosted American(TM) I'm supposed to. (Company policy is to wear a mask if you're unvaxxed/unboosted but in practice it's more of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Instead of a closet homo, I'm a closet unvaxxed.) Anyway, the subject of the vaxx / boosters came up. My highly intelligent colleagues are talking about when they're eligible to get the second booster. I'm dying inside but I can't say anything 'cause I'm "breakin' the law" / breaking company policy. Plus it would be awkward anyway to ask them why they think the jab even works when everybody's gotten covid. Oh well, can't teach old dogs new tricks, I guess. They'll keep getting their jabs and I'll keep evading company policy.

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May 14, 2022·edited May 14, 2022Liked by John Carter

nb4. So to state the painfully obvious: Part of the reason smart people are "falling for it" is because the institutions (companies, governments, media, twitter) ruthlessly suppressed all dissent so they don't get opposing views, esp. from people they know personally in real life. I mean, if my company wouldn't hold my unvaxxed status against me by forcing me to wear a mask, then I'd come out and say, "Yeah, I'm unvaxxed and I'm doing fine. And oh, by the way, coworker X and coworker Y and coworker Z were all vaxxed and they all got covid. So obviously the vaxx doesn't work."

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author

I've not bothered to hide my disdain for the jab from anyone who knows me, and that affords me the delightful freedom of cocking a knowing eyebrow every time one of my fully-boosted colleagues let slip that he caught the 'vid. I'm a jerk that way.

Seriously though if I had a dollar for every time I heard BuT iT wOuLD hAvE bEeN wOrSe WiThOuT tHe VaCciNe, I'd be vying with Elon Musk by now.

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May 20, 2022Liked by John Carter

The suppression of legitimate debate about the virus was what got me started down the skepticism path. And I agree that that's a big reason why otherwise intelligent people, who are "too busy" to pay close attention, are still buying the official story.

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They have the perfect scripted reason, it would have been a lot worse if I wasn’t vaxed.

Just like their messiah Obama said

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May 10, 2022Liked by John Carter

As soon as I started working with PhDs I lost all respect for the degree.

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If someone is interested in this topic I can recommend this book called Disciplined Minds. It digs very deep and I think it can provide a lot of meaning for what has happened. This book was also banned and the author fired from academia. https://archive.org/details/jeff_schmidt_disciplined_minds

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Your work is consistently so beautiful, so thoughtful.

Deep admiration.

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author

Thank you.

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May 21, 2022Liked by John Carter

I think one of the factors relating to this extreme intolerance for pain might be the way recent generations have been raised...their parents don’t want them to experience any type of problem, mental upset, unmet need or desire, mild trauma, physical pain, offense, physical risk, or difficulty of any kind. Thus they ‘grow up’ (so to speak) believing they aren’t supposed to experience anything unpleasant. Also they develop no problem-solving, compassion for others, work ethic, moral values, or coping skills. In other words, they believe they’re the center of the universe. I still haven’t quite figured out why parents began doing this over the past approximately 20 years. It’s quite disturbing.

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author

That's definitely a factor. It seems like an inevitable outcome of the combination of human psychology and modern technology. Easy living is easy; parents want their offspring to be safe; the result is a coddled generation that can't cope with hardship. Soft bodies, and soft minds.

I've often wondered if the only way to preserve the traits of character that make advanced civilization possible, is to raise our children as though it were the bronze age. Survive the Lycaeum and you can enjoy technology as an adult.

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May 19, 2022·edited May 19, 2022Liked by John Carter

The truth hurts those who invest too much energy in *beliefs* - for people who genuinely try to hold fact-based opinions where possible, then finding data that rejects a belief is actually a GOOD thing.

One of the best 'awful truth' bits that hit all my buttons comes from Irish-Aussie comedian Jimeoin -

>>> HR Karen: "And what is your greatest weakness?"

>>> Candidate: "Oh, that's easy. It's my honesty."

>>> HR Karen: "HONESTY? I wouldn't think anyone would call that a 'weakness'."

>>> Candidate: "I don't give a fuck what you think."

It's really informative to tell that joke and watch the reaction (perhaps toning it down to "I don't give a _shit_ what you think" or "I don't give a _toss_ what you think" if there are elderly Baptist spinsters within earshot).

The reaction sorts wheat from chaff almost as reliably as the Monty Hall paradox or the properties of

>>> X XOR Z ∀ X~U() and Z~A()

where

..... A() is an arbitrary distribution;

..... U() is a uniform distribution; and

..... X and Z are binary variables.

The behaviour during COVID of people who are assumed to be clever, really breaks two ways:

① high-Verbal innumerates get shown up for their inability to do any quantitative analysis; and

② high-Math numerates show the world whether they hold 'corn pone' opinions (e.g., numbskulls like Niel Ferguson, who has been catastrophising since the 90s).

It is my strong prior that high-Verbal people are not actually very smart - they are like the grade 9 kid who stays one chapter ahead of his Chess Club. The cognitive 'grunt' required to be top-percentile in V is significantly lower than the grunt required to be top-percentile in M. Most high-M people will be relatively-high V... the opposite is absolutely not true.

Seems to me that V is deliberately overweighted in SAT and IQ-type psychometrics because if it wasn't, the people doing the testing would be exposed as not-very-smart.

Take a look at any set of PIAAC results: outside of the top couple of (cognitive) percentiles, people are functionally innumerate AND illiterate. They can read words on a page... but they cannot parse a complex argument or determine truth values from content with deliberate rhetorical or persuasive content. (That's the OECD's own definition of Level IV: less than 10% achieve that).

So we're back to Bias of Priene: HOI PLEISTOI ANTROPOI KAKOI... Most people are shit.

That doesn't mean they ought to be deprived of the full measure of rights, by the way. It just means that they should not be permitted to be involved in group decision-making, because they are too-easily swayed by verbally-competent bullshit-artists.

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>It is my strong prior that high-Verbal people are not actually very smart - they are like the grade 9 kid who stays one chapter ahead of his Chess Club. The cognitive 'grunt' required to be top-percentile in V is significantly lower than the grunt required to be top-percentile in M. Most high-M people will be relatively-high V... the opposite is absolutely not true.

I've observed the same thing. There are plenty of physicists who are perfectly capable of appreciating and understanding the Iliad or Jane Austen at a high level. There are essentially zero professors of literature who are capable of parsing a physics paper.

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Interesting theory. Where I concur is with the lack of physicality among the intelligentsia, and the laptop latte lapping classes generally. Elsewhere on substack n.s.lyons’s ‘The Upheaval’ had posited that there are now two kinds of people in the world: the physicals and the virtuals (I massively simplify here). Academia is firmly in the hands of the virtuals and has been for at least the last decade.

The virtuals (those with enough digitalisation to work from home, teach via zoom, order everything online etc) are what made the lockdowns possible. Without the digitalised sphere having reached the extent it has to date, lockdowns and the other pandemic reactive measures would have crippled the economy too much for even any cabals bent on resetting us to cope with.

I saw the writing on the wall in my own university department a year before the pandemic, when my head of department passed on management’s message for us to develop more online and digital material. The lockdowns then were a godsend to these folk, as they could now ask for voluntary redundancies to cull the herd of digital refuseniks and old-skool academics still hell bent on teaching critical thinking … pardon the rant here on your page.

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And how many times have you heard them say, thank God for the Internet, without it the pandemic would have been hell!

Every time I hear that, I tell them: without it, there would have been no lockdown, and life would have continued as normal.

They never have an answer for that.

The Internet is a very useful tool but the virtuals have made an idol of it.

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founding

The internet offers relief from the physical world, the real world in which there are constant, concrete, limitations. The physical world is indifferent to us and provides nor reassurance for our banalities. It is a challenge and a tragedy. The internet, by contrast, provides a realm where wish-fulfillment can flourish, experiences can be managed without bodily risk and avatars substitute for the actual self.

Too much dematerialised experience destabilises perception and affect. Our brains were not adapted to deal with anything like it.

The internet is also the perfect medium/environment for the powers that be to sponsor their auxiliaries to create a quasi-Gnostic sense of inexhaustible menace and threat and has done a great deal to contribute to the mental health crisis that practically defines life in the West today.

The academic culture of today is increasingly uncomfortable with the age-old traditions of teaching: small group tuition, mentoring, in person dialogue, an emphasis on fluency and the entire social experience of learning. All of these are potentially 'triggering' or 'problematic' for people with impaired social skills; all have to be re-worked to make them 'safe'.

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Hear, hear!

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