All very true, but the paradox it seems to me is that it's really only social media that has given us a clear view of what's really going on in the world. There was no way that legacy media was ever going to do that.

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Dec 17, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

I think I get it. But I have to read it again. But yes, I think we are being socially engineered via MSM and Social Media and we definitely need to find out way back to real life. On the other hand, as much as I would like to find real world contacts that believe as I do in the Nuremberg Code, etc. I cannot, so online is my curremt support.

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Dec 17, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

This might be your most important essay. It at least resonates with me. Right now I’m turning over in my mind what I might be able to do to get people within my circle at least to read it.

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Dec 17, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

This essay made me a paid subscriber.

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I think the implications here are that there aren’t any answers to this problem on a mass-scale since it’s the mass-scale of civilization that causes this problem. What you’ve outlined are the bandaid attempts to keep it all afloat, by simulating the interpersonal dynamics of a smaller tribe. Ultimately, this facsimile will fail and the empire will fall, as they always do. And then smaller factional communities will form, independent and decentralized, eventually giving rise to loosely affiliated confederations, until we work our way back to a version of the current framework… if history is any indication.

That may sound defeatist, but it doesn’t have to be. Our technology has created the illusion that our world is a small place, that can be conceptualized and dealt with on a grand scale. It isn’t and approaching it in such a fashion is the delusion at the core of these mental health issues, I suspect. We’d likely all be better off producing our own food and shelter in small groups of people that we all personally know. We may have to keep up our sense of grandeur, but in return, we may find lives with actual meaning.

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Dec 17, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

Personally, I like to reflect on Tocqueville: He predicted 'mass formation' almost two hundred years ago.

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Dec 17, 2021Liked by Mathew Crawford

I'm sure you meant to say the signal to noise ratio is very low, or that the noise to signal ratio is high. Otherwise

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Dunbar’s number breaks down when it comes to autists. As an autistic myself, despite having a larger brain than the average human (at least according to the doctor who said I have a mild macrocephaly) the number of meaningful relationships I am capable of handling can be counted on one hand.

Because I lack an implicit theory of mind I psychologically view all people in my relationships, unless I consciously remind myself otherwise, as parasocial NPCs. On the other hand my mind is equipped for handling parasocial relationships in a way that the neurotypical mind isn’t, since they psychologically process them inappropriately as real relationships the same way I inappropriately process real relationships as parasocial.

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This hypothesis, summarized by these sentences, makes SO much sense. I 2nd what another commenter said, this is probably your most meaningful essay.

We see evidence of pushback to both the Prussian model (typical libertarians) and the 'don't appeal to the credentialed by default' being espoused by a number of folks across the spectrum. But this essay pulled these pieces together very well.

My sense is that if we look at the 'smarts' bell curve, there comes a point where the appeal to blindly be safe seems to overwhelm the capacity of folks to reason. So they default back to that appeal to authority (the corp news, gov officials ) as they cannot reason or unpack subjects in a 1st principles ish way. That will be your next challenge, looking at a population and identifying the persona(s) why cannot, or won't be able to unpack 'technology' and just plug in their "leader of choice" (votive candles for Mueller or Fauci , Trump or AOC idolatry anyone? ) and become fans just like "I've always been a Ford man" or "How bout them cowboys".

"The Pavlovian training of the Prussian educational model is just the priming. Once a subject accepts routine programming from the outside, the trick is to tell them who are and who aren't leaders and experts. In other words, the messages are sent from anywhere, but through a trusted network, and into the minds of the programmable humans, substituting a chosen leader/expert image into the appropriate Dunbar slot "

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Lol. Coming back to this article after a year, when I started it but got distracted by whatever else was happening at the time. Evidence of the veracity of the article I suspect!

Anyway, it strikes me that this is where lockdowns have been particularly effective: isolating individuals who then have nothing better to do that scroll through social media posts (guilty) and turn to the TV for their daily dose of “the one source of truth” emanating from our various governmental podiums of odium.

No doubt this observation is not new, but hey, I have too many ongoing distractions to be distracted once more by scrolling through EVERY comment!

Finally, is it really possible that it was as cynical as putting a “C” in front of “Ovid”? That really does seem beyond coincidence...

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For a control group on this, try using HFA's (High Functioning Autists, i.e. people with Asperger syndrome and no cignitive deficiency).

I have some twenty years experience with teaching young adults and adults with that condition (socially impaired but normal to highly intelligent otherwise) I have noticed that they on the one hand want and require social interaction same as anyone, but on the other hand also are very aware of all the different mechanism which to them seem random, unfair and arbitrary - such as why some kids at school are "cool" and others aren't, and that this seems to be a completely random and unknowable process, the HFA's having retarded intuitive capability regarding social hierarchies et c.

(By the way, please don't be offended if some words are outdated or such, I'm translating from my native tongue as I write, so all terms are intended as technical descriptors, nothing else.)

What it boils down to: HFA's can see all what you are describing as outsiders - as anthopologists really - and can also learn to manipulate the system. Their trouble is in experiencing it as real and true, not artifice. If you are friends with someone who fits my description, have a sit down. Ask them about the stuff in your article. Have them explain their perspective on human interactions. I can virtually guarantee that any HFA have at some point pondered exactly the musings you have above - unfortunately, most simply reejct them and limits themself as a coping mechanism, social interaction causing so much stress and anxiety by its perceived randomness.

Most of them are intuitively very good at pattern recognition/analysis. Frighteningly so, even. This ability can be trained, and can be transposed to other areas such as human behaviour.

Anyway, awesome article. Living in a country where media is either state owned or regime loyal, stuff like this is like air to a seal under the ice.

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Never, Mathew, have I found a single source that mirrors and expands on what I've been thinking about for a few years until now. Kudos for being able to see this pattern from within the U.S. It took decades of me being marginalized, even dehumanized, by Japanese in-groups for me to start connecting the dots.

Some other angles that have led me to similar conclusions include primatologist Frans de Waal on the roots of human morality. He includes empathy among some non-human social animals, along with reciprocity. But I think the two are different levels of abstraction, a bit like Russell's paradoxes ''the sentence within these quotes is false'.

Maybe overly simplistic and definitely solipsistic, but I have come to redefine what is 'moral' as any empathy-driven behavior, whereas once we are distanced from morality by number (Dunbar's), circumstance (the trolley car problem), or conflicting drives such as conformity or compliance to authority (Asch, Milgram, Zimbardo) ... we have to take faux-empathetic shortcuts through rationalization, what I call the 'rule-driven behavior' of habit, customs, rituals, traditions, laws, and algorithms.

My thinking is that while all families can have skeletons in their closet, and even small gangs can be led by bullies ... at least a smaller number of those in communities limits the degree to which those who can't or won't follow empathy-driven behavior ... the dark triads.

I've downloaded about 500 articles from the Academia website about those triads, and haven't even touched the surface of the dark psychology that drives them, but I know enough to realize that good parenting or education has little to no effect on most of them. It is so depressing, and I see no way for large populations to corral or control them. They are primed from birth to be quicker and more clever than the average empath ... and if I take it to one conclusion, I end up with the Morlocks and Eloi of H.G. Wells' 'The Time Machine'. Looking at history, we appear to be stuck in a forever war of mankind against its own worst nature.

By the way, about a year or so ago, I just about jumped out of my seat while watching the 6 hour long antimonopoly hearings against Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook, and Pichai when Congressman and Committee member Jamie Raskin (Democrat, Maryland) called out Zuckerberg for deliberately targeting dark-triads to hire and run Facebook's black ops.

But back to the problem of scale ... once we exceed Dunbar's number, all bets are off. There are just too many niches in large populations for dark-triads to hide, conspire, build, and game the Towers of Babel until they drain it to the point of collapse. This reminds me of an unforgettable passage from Jared Diamond ...

Thus, Norse society’s structure created a conflict between the short-term interests of those in power, and the long-term interests of the society as a whole. Much of what the chiefs and clergy valued proved eventually harmful to the society. Yet the society’s values were at the root of its strengths as well as of its weaknesses. The Greenland Norse did succeed in creating a unique form of European society, and in surviving for 450 years as Europe’s most remote outpost. We modern Americans should not be too quick to brand them as failures, when their society survived in Greenland for longer than our English-speaking society has survived so far in North America. Ultimately, though, the chiefs found themselves without followers. The last right that they obtained for themselves was the privilege of being the last to starve.

Diamond, Jared. Collapse (p. 276). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Will pause for now as it is getting bed-time for bonzo, but I have saved this tab for repeated readings, seeing where we dovetail, and how I can pro-socially 'exploit' your insights.

Great job, Mathew with the single T 😂!

Cheers from Japan,

— steve

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Cool info covering lots of subjects. In the 1990s and early 2000s I designed leadership, team building and "360" surveys and we noticed that regardless of the detail we tried to extract and how craftily we wrote the questions - all responses boiled down to one parameter - "Do you like the person?". We definitely needed to get more info than that so I came up with a survey that had a 1-10 scale with a very positively worded description on each end so that both sounded very good and now the rater had to tell the truth because neither description sounded bad. It worked great.

Mathew I think you have picked up on several observations and each may have several different causation factors. "Income disparity" is a terrible parameter because it makes such a difference how the higher income side got there. There is a huge difference between people who are third generation of a $20 million family trust and someone who just signed a $30 million contract to play some sport. Financial education is a huge part of income disparity issues because, as I taught my daughters, it is far easier to make money than it is to manage money. I know that I am teaching them and they, in turn will teach it to their kids. Most of what I learned I learned the hard way - trial and error. While that makes them the beneficiary of what I know we have to wonder that since they are not going through the same experiences to learn, how well will it stick with them.

So, that was just a tiny example of differences - same numbers - totally different experiences. I think the macro view reveals a problem and then subdividing it into many of its components and analyzing those relationships can provide the answer. I love reading these newsletters - I hope you keep enjoying the work.

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Brilliant, insightful, informative, educational... what don't you do, Mathew?

My jaded side, with two kids I did my best to educate alternatively, wrestles with the fact that the system is so intent on dumbing them down, and treating them with social rewards for being dumb, that I can barely get through any more. My friends agree, our kids want the jab, and prefer to remain ignorant of the consequence, The threat looms so large and the promise so great, and they have no knowledge of history or the theft of their birthrights that they think nothing of ceding it for candy-coated-popcorn, peanuts, and a prize.

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Dec 18, 2021·edited Dec 18, 2021

Altering perceptions and shaping worldviews has traditionally been the purview of the CIA and the various agencies they have their tentacles in, working on behalf of the elite. Their goal is to make the world seem threatening, destroy communities, trust in others, to destroy the relationships between the sexes, and now to destroy the family and the individual.

It ramped up in the 60's. Here's a horrifying "stranger-danger" PSA from the LA county Sheriff's office- https://youtu.be/EenEcnmBY9k

Their fingerprints are all over things like the Manson event- http://mileswmathis.com/tate.pdf

The murder of Kitty Genovese (where 38 witnesses supposedly heard the attack and did nothing)- http://mileswmathis.com/kitty.pdf

The University of Texas Tower Shooting- http://mileswmathis.com/chaswhit.pdf

The Larry Nasser gymnast abuse case- http://mileswmathis.com/gymnassar.pdf

And countless other false flags, school shootings, public trials, serial killers, etc.. Though the general public will likely never accept the facts, I think the most important thing is to identify the false realities and take pains to not reinforce the notion they are or were ever real.

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You've nailed it with the magician and metamorphosis allusions I think. There is some pre-Enlightenment magical thinking process subliminally going on here. Advertising, according to my most briliant ever professor, magnetizes the deeper evolutionarily earlier magical thinking aspects of ourselves. I get the sense these last few days that the reasonable idea that omicron may be the vaccine for the unvaccinated, may end the pandemic as it follows usual viral evolutionary strategy (more transmissable, less virulent), etc. is being countered with the pulsing of the idea of necromancy, the subliminal insinuation that a monstrous chimera, like Frankenstein, has arisen from nature. This began with the metronymic hammering about the number of mutations. (Numbers have become trance-inducing, like a swaying cobra) And now it continues in the insinuation that some predatory amalgamation of delta and omicron might rise via the incantations delivered silently by the unvaxxed. The subliminal transmissions are pumping everywhere. from CNN: We're really just about to experience a viral blizzard," Osterholm told CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday. "In the next three to eight weeks, we're going to see millions of Americans are going to be infected with this virus, and that will be overlaid on top of Delta, and we're not yet sure exactly how that's going to work out." Something super-natural is afoot. Time to burn pagan herbalist women for 300 years!!!

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