WTF is going on? Sensemaking in hyper weird times

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/14/wtf-is-going-on-sensemaking-i.html

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All I know is, be wary of anything that has a pyramid in its logo

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Yeah, pyramids, sunbursts and gold, it can’t be good.

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hmm. Intellectual Dark Web, Western Civilization, Jordan Peterson, Political Correctness… I’m sensing a few philosophy red flags.

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But… think of all that endless grain.

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It seems to me this is pretty much how the majority of people decide to buy stuff, choose to vote, and make other consequential choices

Not majority, everyone. This is how ALL of us decide. Elites: academic, financial, political, aren’t somehow removed from this culture, and they are usually confined by VERY REMUNERATIVE ideological thinking. So, we’re all winging it, always have, always will.

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Yeah, “Rebel wisdom”, “glitch in the matrix”, it all sounds quite red-pilly.

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Yeahhhh…I tried to make sense of why the company that Daniel Schmachtenberger co-founded wouldn’t actually provide COAs (certificates of analysis) for any of its “science-backed” nootropic supplements.

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I was able to watch about half the Schmachtenberger piece before I gave up realizing he actually hadn’t said anything substantive yet 45 minutes in. Mostly I noted he uses big words! Sometimes several of them in the same sentence! He even made some big complicated sounding words up! Could work on his pronunciation of a few of those big words a little maybe. One of the downsides of being an autodidact I suppose.

But ya gotta know, anything that spends 90% or more of its time explaining how great and cool and wise it is and how badly you need it because you are none of those things, before it gets to what the great and cool and wise thing is, if it ever does…

usually there’s real-estate, bitcoins, or personal hygiene products involved in the end. Just sayin

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Yeah, same here. I started jumping around and he majorly lost me when he was trying to show how two sides of an argument can both have some truth to them (which is an actual fact), then proceeded to say that leftist ideas of a social construct for society creates dependent and shitty people, while rightist ideas of an individualistic construct for society creates people who take from the commons and wealth inequity… but he didn’t refer to THEM as “shitty people.” And that is some deep bias he doesn’t even seem to recognize in himself.

All in all, it feels like a way of gussying up some deeply disturbing intellectual views so they’re more marketable and palatable. Referring to Jordan Peterson pretty much gives away the game.

And note: yes, we live in deeply WTF times. Mostly because we became used to a society that SEEMED to want equality and a fair deal for all and it’s been tough watching our country walk that back hard in the last few years. You don’t need a lot of “sense making” to figure that out. Ever and always have the rich and conservative wanted to continue to be richer and do so by being more conservative. This is a backlash time following a period of relative expansion of democratic ideals and a wider distribution of wealth. We don’t need a tech bro new age Ron Swanson to guide us to the light.

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Yeah, I misread this as “Rebel Wilson”

And TBH I’d sooner go to her for “sensemaking”

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But what about Maron’s cats?

I’d perhaps consider starting here instead:

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So, is this a sponsored post or is BB just trying on the right wing, Jordan Peterson thing for size? Maybe funnel some readers into the pipeline that leads towards supporting MRAs and triggering the libs?

WTF is going on?, indeed.

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I was amused watching a few minutes of the Erik Price video where he does his best Dennis Hopper in Apocaplyse Now imitation, the handwaving is magnificent.

Schmachtenberger reminds me A LOT of that devastating critique of Jordan Peterson: “A dumb person’s idea of a smart person.”

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Some of that stuff really grinds my gears, because I have heard it all before. Long rant below:

Any proof for that statement? Because I don’t think this is true. We had massive global existential threats before, WW1, WW2, the Cold War, and the climate catastrophe has been on the horizon for over 4 decades (doesn’t matter if you chose to ignore it), also the idea of a global collapse of capitalism is not a new thing.

Personally I don’t even think the times are more weird today than they were a couple of years ago, most of the world felt pretty weird to me for most of my life. YMMV, of course.

“often”, you say? Which journalists and academics specifically? This is common trope from the populist playbook.

Propaganda: The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

Who is this “we”? And what news do you speak of? Because it is a common trope of the far right to call out media for being propaganda just because it happens to be not supportive of their message. That, however, doesn’t make it propaganda. And this is also not a phenomenon that affects both sides in the same way, as some people would have you believe.

Oh come on, that is just lazy and wishful thinking. In each and every generation this idea of an evolutionary shift comes up, because everyone wants to be part of the next level, and this can easily be exploited by prophets and gurus. Anyone remembers the Age of Aquarius? That stuff was not new then, and comes back in a new dress ever so often.

However, it’s called evolution because it happens slowly and in small increments, because if it happens fast, it’s called a revolution. :smile:

If it’s a revolution, well, that rarely goes well, because people’s minds can’t keep up with it, or it’s really an evolution, and we’re not so much pressed for time, and we will most likely witness that next level in our lifetime anyway.

Sustainable change comes in small increments. Deal with it.

Lazy metaphors trick people into thinking they understand something even though they still have no clue. Kind of like people talking about “operating systems for organisations” have no clue about either operating systems or organizations.

Here’s what bothers me

  • an operating manual lays out the steps how to operate a device or system, but it generally does not explain how the system is working, or why it was designed that way. We’d need a way of collective sense making, which is not a manual
  • we don’t need something that tells us about Earth, we need to deepen our understanding about humanity, interdependence, cooperation, co-existence
  • a space ship is a vehicle for space travel. Earth is nothing like that.

I doubt that this task is predominantly metaphysical. Complex challenges call for an iterative and empirical approach of sensemaking and experimentation. The understanding of the nature of things is a by-product, not the method.

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I watched the intro video. No women. No POCs. It’s a white 'bro party.

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I would still hold them to account for not making a serious attempt at not talking total crap. :smile:

Excellent rant.

Just to add to it:

Understanding of the nature of things is of course the realm of physics. Sensemaking or - more boringly - epistemology is also not usually considered to be metaphysics since it’s a perfectly respectable field of philosophy in it’s own right.

I think this is one of the things that is perhaps different in the modern world - this desire/need to ignore the thousands of years of previous human endeavour and to pretend that ‘right now!’ is somehow uniquely different and if we therefore make up our own words we can pretend to unique wisdom and insight.

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The problem with this new generation of Joe-Rogan-featured White Intellectual Men is that they start in a good place (scientific skepticism) but then continue off the deep end into a world of evo-psych, Noble Savage fallacies, fauxstalgia, libertarianism, and inevitably… misogyny and racism. That’s always the end game when white men try to get all thinky without a base of progressive values.

Come join us over in the skepticism movement and just take the good parts. Start by listening to the Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast, read Rebecca Watson and Carl Sagan, then we can talk.

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