Investigate This Thoroughly

Despite having owned my current vehicle for over two years now, I didn’t bother to use the CD player until recently. Whenever confronted with a long drive I typically listen to music or simply conjure up new plans for content and research. Last week things changed when I randomly decided to checkout The Book of Five Rings in audiobook form. I usually don’t mess with that format because it is difficult to take notes while driving, but this departure from tradition proved worthwhile.

The book is written by Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai and poet active during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is a brief text, but one principle repeated incessantly across the pages in various forms is the phrase “You should investigate this thoroughly.” A casual reader might assume Musashi’s dogmatism is simply meant to convey the importance of his book or stature, while those more attune to his Buddhist persuasions could argue the phrase relates to some pursuit of truth or balance.

Neither assessment is essentially wrong, yet I believe there is a more universal lesson beyond the specific audience and context. As noted before, we have limited time to cultivate concrete understandings of particular perspectives or subjects. Many folks simply dally-fance around, spouting information they gleaned from someone else because the impetus to uncover and master on an individual basis proves too formidable. Thus the mind scarcely has a chance to reach its higher level potential, and emotional rage swiftly replaces comprehension. For normies such positions appear committed and admirable, largely because they do not see past the preliminary veil.

When Musashi instructs readers to have a thorough approach in their study and experience, he turns back this entire modernistic proposal. The more one reads and interacts with the world, the less is he able to embrace knee-jerk, talking-point reactions to every issue. It becomes clear to him that life is more complicated than simply a crude dualistic perspective, and in fact the manifestations we come to know are usually assembled by a chain of other events. Successfully exploring so as to forge those networks in the mind allows a person to truly appreciate the eternal query of why, rather than distracting with predictably public noise.

I encourage all of you to attempt the same method in life. As I think back to some of my “classic” YouTube content, I must concede that while it was entertaining, the drive to present an all-inclusive message on some matter was undermined by a hesitation to wait and learn. Nowadays, I will often make a new recording if a not-yet-published piece lacks information discovered only after it was put together. Yes, the process is tedious, however the outcome unquestionably superior.

Live long and be thorough.


Pick a Color

A news story crashed across the fragile sense of our reality recently, and I found myself feeling rather baffled. For those not aware of the specifics, a 65-year old Filipina woman was accosted and attacked by a male assailant while two security guards in a nearby building watched – but did not intervene. According to observers from the Internet dot com, the response of these guards was absolutely unacceptable. How exactly could they not step right up and help her?

Yes, how indeed? Putting aside questions of whether they, as unarmed guards, had any prerogative to get involved in accordance with corporate policy (almost certainly not), can we not agree their guilt was absolute and unimpeachable?  Does any doubt exist?

I reckon so. See, the story proposed a nasty conundrum for those intense believers in the race-based politics of now. The victim was of Asian extraction, while our villainous perpetrator hailed from the Afro-American community.  Since the paleskin could not be blamed for her plight , at least outside the usual appeal to Trumpism creating cultural violence, leftists scrambled to blame the security guards for their supposed cowardice and misogyny. Many comments on Huffington Post declared themselves as beings absolutely prepared to break up the confrontation, in stark contrast to those “weak men.”

Leaving aside the potentially sexist implications of men being compelled to intervene on behalf of the opposite sex simply because of “muh wahmen”, how would the image of intervention look if someone more racially  unacceptable took part? What if an oppressor-appearing phenotype like Goldberg dashed to the old Filipina’s rescue…would he be justified, or  condemned to horrendous assault in the public sphere? Let’s remember that videos can be clipped, and news agencies never apologize for their incessant destruction to the individual’s reputation. I cannot say for certain my actions would be interpreted as socially justified, especially when we consider that Asians are at times included in the ranks of the pseudo-Aryans, and otherwise with oppressed POC. The world is left to choose.

If nothing else, the scenario should go far to explain the ridiculous malleability of race and identity in the political field. People become what is useful to the elites based upon a given point in history. While America established clear delineations between whites and blacks during the slavery period, Brazil’s minority European population encouraged swirling to undermine the centrality of one black identity. Today, leftists want race to be a useful token for righteousness, but only to the extent that it fits their specific agendas. Other minorities who oppress blacks are white, and black people who target other POC are misogynists or rage pillers unable to overcome white supremacy. Soon enough, the darkest soul from Central America or India will be forced into the pale cultural corner, all for politics.

So the caravan moves on.


Age and Ideology

Someone asked me the other day to provide discourse about my own political ideology. For most people, at least those who follow politics, the answer is pretty simple. Democrat or Republican. Conservative or Liberal. Those simple designations wrap matters up, allowing life to go on, and the safe belonging in a electoral family to generate warmth. It’s OK, because I’m with the good guys, the affiliation assures.

But life is a tad more complicated. When you sit down and begin hashing things out, the talking points prototypically spewed by earnest partisans sound rather hypocritical and contradictory, even if they seem backed by absolute belief and conviction. I know because they used to be my own words. During the healthcare debate of 2009-2010, I proudly wrote discussion posts for my business class advocating against “socialized healthcare,” citing whatever source available (funded by insurance companies) that would indicate such a model was disastrous. I seldom looked at anything on the other aside, assuming it was made up of lazy leftists who wanted to control people’s lives.

Why? Because the GOP said so, and conservative talk radio chimed in agreement. Furthermore, I had been exposed to enough Ayn Rand to know that the private sector entailed everything good – while the State was pure evil. Just like a young liberal might blindly support the Democrats going to war as long as they are Democrats, I was passionately committed to my personal version of the truth, because I wanted to know it was true.

It is crucial to understand how the youthful mind of the ideologue works. During those first years of development, I was forming a wall of confirmation around myself that would help preserve the comfortable pod of experience I assume life should be. It was only when I started looking at sources of every different persuasion, including those previously dismissed as the byproduct of “loser liberalism,” that my perspective changed. I began to understand how complex issues happen to be, and the wisdom in examining them not from the standpoint of kneejerk and glib outrage, but a holistic, inquisitive approach.

Ideally, age will naturally bring about this change, but it is no hard guarantee. With our hectic work schedules and social commitments, the lull of stagnant thinking can be rather sultry, even as the greying nears. Find a quick explanation and be done is the standard, much as before. Thus we see the importance of aging bound inseparably to learning. To free your mind, you must be always curious, and consistently humble, not just now, but throughout life.

Go on, and explore.    

Culturalism · Relations and Dating

Masculine Emotions

I admit to being very skeptical of psychology. The field is colored by a veneer of liberalism, self-righteousness, and general “bleeding heart” proclivities. It is often weaponized against anyone with principles, which roughly translates to those figures who call out corruption or decay in the social state. Many of the historical figures associated with the field are of questionable moral standing, only heightening my general unease with its efficacy.

But that’s not the full story. As I listened to Brene Brown’s TEDTalk on vulnerability, I was struck by an overwhelming theme applicable to myself, and to men in general: we are not fully honest with ourselves. Present male social norms hearken back years, when warfare was closer to home and the worth of boys depended heavily on their usefulness in hunting or fighting. Free displays of sorrow or pain were cast as symbols of weakness, because “that’s what women do.” Remarkably, even as the world changes radically by each minute, men are yet held to the standards of past times, implored to “man up” and not reveal their genuine feelings. So instead we suppress, suck it up, and move on, without addressing the underlying problem.

Consequently, the only true acceptable outlet to burn emotional excess comes in the form of combat sports, or, more often than should be desired, internet rage. Society’s refusal to permit a listen, and demonization of sympathizers, leads many males to clamber aboard the internet steamship, finding explanations for their rage in politics, “the manosphere,” or hedonistic materialism. Every argument or contrast becomes drawn on the basis of scarcity and separation, where one is expected to take a position in order to not be like “those people.” Elect conservatives to get losers off welfare, take the Red Pill and avoid becoming a simp, or build up wealth and leave the drone culture. All well and good, but how are these jaded outlooks working to overcome individual struggle?

Simple, they aren’t. One can attain great wealth or control of others’ emotions (i.e. “Game”), but if the self is wrapped up in ropes of denial originating from childhood suppression of feeling, they will never escape and be at peace. There will always be the lingering insistence of pointing to the world for an ego-sating comparison, or vilifying the opposite sex based on its mere existence. And this practice is never properly exhausted, so the target of disdain must always be raised to a threshold higher in order to please anger’s flow. Hence we need more restrictions on welfare, and men should work to accrue increased wealth, so they can buy sex dolls and replace women. Because separation is not enough; the scapegoat must be hounded eternally to craft a sense of meaning.

For these reasons, I believe our entire conception of masculinity is inherently flawed. A man is not “alpha” or “masculine” because he shakes his fist and makes vicious threats on the internet. True courage and manliness would require him to be open about his personal struggles and, in front of men, show emotion. Such a suggestion seems like an anathema to the casual observer, but the reasoning remains critical. It’s not absolutely necessary to sit down with a professional counselor or psychologist, yet hashing things out as men is the only way that pain can be drawn out and dealt with, as opposed to hidden under piles of sheer fury.


Reality Gets Clowned

I personally have little investment in the underlying politics at this stage, but what sort of absolutes can Zoomers possibly raise their children to accept when these are the mainstay?

She was quite pretty at one time, to be honest.

As for the reverse:

Furthermore, a pronounced attempt to extent attention-drawing with colorful social media squares has been indicted for intolerance, even if the same practice was widespread last year.

Unsurprisingly, the privileged CC model (Ratajkowksi) is lecturing people on how to behave. What a marvelous planet.

Culturalism · Economic History

Lighting The Path

Every time Daylight Saving Time (DST) rolls around, you reliably hear complaints. The practice is antiquated, pointless, obnoxious, and can easily cause someone to oversleep. We might as well get rid of it, pursuing the objective of simplifying matters and eliminating all chance that someone forgets. After all, we have plenty of light.

Yet some would argue that happy glow remains under-appreciated. The bolstering principle behind DST is to conserve daylight hours during the winter, when the sun sets sooner than in warmer months. Back when people had to rely on meager lanterns or the hearth for light, they were severely limited in terms of what could be accomplished once those natural glows receded. Readers or writers had to “save it for later,” and farmers could not perform certain tasks in the dead of night. In other words, nature was a significant obstacle for everyday life.

Today we are blessed to think nothing of such inconveniences. All one must do is flip a switch, and crisp, if not as pleasing, artificial light floods the room. Productivity can continue, well past 5:30pm on a winter’s day, and long through the night.

But how many truly value or appreciate this dynamic? I routinely encounter folks who sleep 10-12 hours a day, spending the remaining time in preparation for work or consuming some byproduct of Hollyweird while immersed in almost pitch darkness, save for the television screen’s glow. These are the same organisms who bray and squeal over DST, because it is an inconvenience, albeit the sort that would seem immaterial to their waking and moving lives. Few among them even own a traditional watch or clock which must be reset, so the complaint is usually about not being mentally prepared to sleep longer.  

The species at-large, particularly those of us living in developed countries, seem to disregard the benefits of modernity, perhaps because we have so little stake in it. Wasting time, itself a complicated matter to explain, bears with it minimal consequence. Sure, you may be forced to slam the gas pedal and get into work with minutes to spare, but nothing fundamentally changes. There is no race against the harvest date for subsistence farming, or need to consolidate academic research under the sun before candles are the sole option. Just vapid floating on a pool of nondescript boredom.

Now then, go set those watches, if you have any.

Economic History · investing

Just Bumbling

Last month, the dating app Bumble debuted its IPO, which was meant to come in at a relatively impressive $43.00 per share. On the first day of public trading, the price skyrocketed by 70 percent, landing the girl power app at just under eighty dollars per share. The stock has since cooled off, but presently sits around sixty bucks, with a market cap of slightly below 7 billion dollars. So the swipers cheer.

Other (drowned out) voices are skeptical, perhaps because the stock movement leaves a very crucial question in limbo: What for? We get it, today’s market and drive for digital applications seems to know zero bounds. Anxious investors trade after whatever new flash has hit the water, and give hardly a second thought about it. Still, where is the argument in favor of Bumble emerging?

A cursory look at the company’s finances provide murky basis for this rise:

The company generated revenue of $416.6 million during the first nine months of 2020, up from $362.6 million during the comparable period a year earlier. Bumble also recorded a net loss of $118.5 million during the first nine months of 2020, versus net income of $54.0 million in the same period a year before.

Are those figures deserving of a share price far past many companies that have operated and delivered consistently for years? I understand something around $10.00 per share, but such grandeur seems almost entirely driven by religious belief. Bumble is after all a simple app that lets people date. It hardly has broken the standard in any regard, aside from letting women go first, resulting in most saying “Hey” rather than furthering the “meaningful conversation” they claim to desire.

Then we have the effectiveness issue. Countless men report (and are shown through social experiments) to be getting no results using Bumble or other dating apps. At best they are spending hours swiping on pretty pictures in a fruitless effort, or speaking with robot profiles which the company permits to enhance their numbers. Perhaps gay men are doing well, but otherwise the actual worthiness of the app is highly questionable.

And that may be precisely the wrong way to examine things. Maybe the focus on female empowerment is what makes Bumble a solid purchase. Men will continue to simp pointlessly, and females can count on the app to deliver a steady supply of eligible (attractive or rich) suitors. So instead of hindering their business model, the approach actually strengthens it.

What the hell. I’ll buy.


Does Hell Exist?

A bland notes post. I want to record here some of the ideas presented by the theologian Arthur Lunn, who is quoted frequently in William F. Buckley’s book, Nearer, My God. His argument on the nature of hell is as follows:

(1) I object to God being represented as a torturer. (2) I object to any form of punishment which is eternal. (3)I object to the fact that a man’s eternal destiny depends less on “striking a due balance between his virtues and his sins than on the pure accident of what takes place during the last moments of his life.”

Later on, Lunn is portrayed as being open to the concept of heaven as a place where few people go, but still establishes a divide between the idea of eternal punishment and soul annihilation. He further notes that man was not born to love God, and thus God cannot demand love of himself as a prerequisite to being redeemed. So God can insist on obedience, but not love, which is enjoyed by only a few. Hence Lunn is against the idea of hell because it is irrational in his outlook on the spiritual world. (pp. 68-72)