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from Musings by @rg

A First post...

Not yet familiar with this, but it's clean and no distractions around. What can it do? Images are needed.

Don't see a control to insert one, and copypasta doesn't do it either. Found it — via HTML markup language for all formatting.

Images need to be hosted somewhere else, and you need full url to insert into an img tag to display it. Using your home instance's own storage, say, images which are already posted in one of your own Toots, is possible. They do have pretty LONG urls, but hey.

A Dark Theme is nice and easy on the eyes.

IDEA: look for Browser extension/add-on supporting html markup tags; will save time compared to hand typing each time.

Found a Firefox add-on for Markup! BBcodeWeb.

 
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from Toon Blast Hack - Unlimited Coins And Lives Cheats No Survey

Toon Blast Hack – Unlimited Coins And Lives Cheats No Survey Well, today we are going to provide Toon Blast hack cheats which will provide your unlimited coins within 3-min of your time. Toon Blast is inspired with Candy Crush game and uses the same strategy to level up the game. What makes Toon Blast Unique is the addition of combos which are little different from Candy Crush, you will be addictive when you play Toon Blast levels after levels.

Visit – https://store.gamesdynamo.com/toon-blast-hack-mod-get-coins-and-lives-unlimited/

Go to the site with any device and follow the instructions below to get free Unlimited coins and learn some cool Toon Blast Cheats which will help you clear the levels fast.

Toon blast cheat benefits: Choose the amount of coins or lives Enter your nickname Choose your platform Wait the process until finish

 
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from Anarchist Mae

Headlights approach, what will they think of this school boy walking along the side of the road in the depth of the night? Will they stop and force me back home?

Headlights pass, did they even see me? That seems impossible, but they're still driving away. Despair got me this far, I keep walking, tail lights fade into the distance.

Maybe when I get there I won't have to go to school for a while, maybe things will be different somehow? I don't know, but it feels like I'm escaping. I need to escape.

I know this road so well, I have driven down it with my father so many times, down the windy parts, through the sweeping bends and the long straights.

Ahead somewhere is the dirt road to my fathers house, I keep walking, looking for the sign. What will I do when I get there? Should I knock on the door?

Almost there now. Can I call this home?

 
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from Anarchist Mae

Three girls on a trampoline, just messin' around One is younger and one is older, the other is a boy

Now they jump high in the air, not a care at all We just are who we are, nobody can take that away

As the years go on, and the girls drift apart One is younger and one is older, the other is a man

Now I wonder, do they remember who I am We are not are who we were, time has taken that away

As the years go on, they come back together One is younger and one is older, the other is a woman

Now we all know, there were three girls on a trampoline

 
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from Anarchist Mae

There was a time when I was young I thought I'd be a girl

Then life got tough and I got hurt I put it all out of mind

Some time later and none the wiser I was hiding in plain sight


There was a pain I didn't know I dared not give it time

Then life got tough and I got hurt I was at my breaking point

Some time later and none the wiser I was struggling to just be


There was a message that I heard I couldn't pretend not to be

Then life got good and I got better I realised who I was

Some time later and much the wiser I saw myself as a girl

 
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from Anarchist Mae

If it were possible To alter that variable And change the immutable

If it were possible I'd alter that variable And be who I want to be Not who I was born to be

Instead I'll lay here And wish to be a girl Hate that I'm a boy


If it were possible To alter that variable And change the immutable

If it were possible I'd alter that variable And be who I want to be Not who I was born to be

Instead I'll cry here And wish to be a girl Hate that I'm a boy


If it were possible To alter that variable And change the immutable

If it were possible I'd alter that variable And be who I want to be Not who I was born to be

Instead I'll stay here And wish to be a woman Hate that I'm a man

What I wouldn't do to escape To alter that variable And change the immutable

 
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from Instance Updates

With version 0.11.1 of WriteFreely being released fourteen days ago and nealy 70% of the WriteFreely instances having already updated I thought it was about time that Wordsmith joined ranks.

Notable user-facing changes / fixes:

  • revent transliterated slugs from exceeding character limit
  • Don't consider posts unpublished when they have a title
  • Blog 404 pages are now styled like the rest of the blog
  • Fix missing hostname when publishing via API and support WriteFreely CLI
  • Fix various minor issues with single-user instances
  • Support <audio> HTML element
  • Fix future pinned posts showing in navigation
  • Fix false logged-in state on failed login
  • Fix title attribute getting stripped on <abbr> elements
  • Add helpful instructions on invite links when logged in
  • Publish to user's blog by default, instead of Drafts
  • Fix blog URLs in CSV export
  • Include Reader link in site-wide navigation while logged in
  • Make header navigation on user and non-authenticated pages consistent
 
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from 'র' - এর ডায়েরি

অসম্ভব সুন্দর একটা ঘুম ভেঙ্গে উঠলাম। দারুন কোন সপ্ন দেখছিলাম হয়তো। কিন্তু স্বপ্নে কি দেখছিলাম ছিটেফোটাও মনে পড়ছেনা এই মুহুর্তে। কিন্তু তা নিয়ে কোন আফসোস হচ্ছে না মোটেই। আগামি রাতেও নিশ্চই দারুন কোন স্বপ্ন দেখবো, তাই মনে না পড়া স্বপ্ন নিয়ে বিন্দু মাত্র আফসোস হচ্ছে না।

পাঁচ দশক এর কিছু পূর্বে সপ্ন দেখার কিংবা নিয়ন্ত্রণের এক যুগান্তকারী মেশিন মানুষ আবিস্কার করেছে। শুরুতে অনেকেই এর ব্যবহার নিয়ে নানা প্রশ্ন তুলেছিল, যুক্তি-তর্কে একে মানব সভ্যতার দারুণ ক্ষতির সম্ভাবনা নিয়ে কথা বলেছিলো। কিন্তু সকল প্রশ্ন আর যুক্তি-তর্ককে পেছনে ফেলে মানুষ একে গ্রহন করেছে। আর শুধু গ্রহন করেছে বললে ভুল হবে, কারণ দিনে দিনে তারা এটিকে তাদের জীবনের সাথে ওতপ্রেত ভাবে জড়িয়ে নিয়েছে।

এখন আর কেউ অধরা-অস্পর্শী স্বাভাবিক স্বপ্ন দেখে না। সবাই যার যার ড্রিম মডুলারে পছন্দসই সপ্ন দেখে, কিংবা তাদের প্রোফাইল আর প্রতিদিনকার একটিভিটি মনিটর করে তাদের সমন্বয়ে সেন্ট্রাল ড্রিম ক্লাউডের নিয়ন্ত্রনাধীন প্রিসেটেড সপ্ন দেখে। আর এতে করে সস্তির পাশাপাশি অপরাধের মাত্রাও দারুণভাবে কমে এসেছে। ফলে যারা শুরুতে ড্রিম মড্যুলারের ব্যবহার নিয়ে প্রশ্ন তুলেছিলো, কিংবা এ নিয়ে যাদের মনে সন্দেহের উদ্রেক হয়েছিলো তারাও একে একে চুপ করতে শুরু করে। উল্টো শিশু থেকে বুড়ো সকলেই এর ব্যবহারে নিয়মিত হয়ে উঠে।

এখন আর শিশুরা রাতে স্বপ্ন দেখে ভয় পেয়ে জেগে উঠে না, বরং ঘুমের মাঝেই তারা নানান জিনিষ শেখে, দর্শনীয় আর ঐতিহাসিক স্থান সমূহ ভ্রমন করে, বিজ্ঞানের খুঁটিনাটি বিষয় গুলো নিবিড়ভাবে পর্যবেক্ষণের মাধ্যমে শেখে। বয়স্ক মানুষেরাও এখন আর নির্ঘুম রাত কাটায় না, ড্রিম মড্যুলারের বদৌলতে তারাও ঘুমে ঘুমে দারুণ সব স্বপ্ন দেখতে দেখতে রাত পার করে দেয়। কর্মব্যস্ত যুবক-যুবতী কিংবা মধ্যবয়স্করা আর সোস্যাল মিডিয়াতে মেতে উঠে না, তাদের একটা বড় অংশই নিজ নিজ চাহিদামত কিংবা নির্ধারিত প্রিসেট অনুসারে ড্রিম মডুলারে ডুবে গিয়ে স্বপ্নে স্বপ্নে সময় পার করে।

আমার অবস্থাও তার ব্যতিক্রম কিছু না। দিনভর কাজ করে যে ইউনিট সংগ্রহ করি, তার বড় একটা অংশ খাবার আর লিভিং রেন্টালে খরচ করে অবশিষ্ট যা থাকে তার কিছুটা খরচ করে ড্রিম মডুলারের ভিন্ন ভিন্ন আপগ্রেড সাব‍্‍সক্রাইব করি। আর তারপর শরীর আর মনের প্রশান্তি লাভের আশায় ড্রিম মডুলার সচল করে ঘুমের অতলে ডুবে যেতে শুরু করি। তারপর ফের সকালে ঠিক নির্দিষ্ট সময় জেগে উঠি। আর এভাবেই আমার দিন গুলো কেটে যাচ্ছে।‌

সেদিন সন্ধ্যায় কাজ শেষে ফিরে কি মনে করে যেন নিউজ আর্কাইভ ব্রাউস করতে শুরু করলাম। অবস্য সেসব জুড়ে কেবল উন্নতি, সম্ভৃদ্ধি আর নানান মাইল ফলক স্পর্শ করার গদবাধা নিউজ দিয়েই ভর্তি। এইসব নিউজের কারনেই এখন আর কেউ নিউজ আর্কাইভ ঘাটে না। বোরিং নিউজ গুলো স্ক্রল করতে করতে বেখেয়ালে একটি লিংকে ক্লিক লেগে যায়। পর পর কয়েকটি উইন্ডো পর্যায়ক্রমে চালু-বন্ধ-চালু হয়ে একটি নিউজ উইন্ডোতে গিয়ে স্থির হয়। নিউজটড অটো-প্লে মুডেই ছিলো, তাই সয়ংক্রিয় নিজেই সংবাদ উপস্থাপন করতে শুরু করলো।

একজন ব্যক্তি বলে যাচ্ছে-

আপনি যখন এই নিউজটি শুনছেন ঠিক সে সময়ের নিরীক্ষা অনুযায়ী গোটা পৃথিবীতে মানুষের বুদ্ধিমত্তার বিকাশ শূন্যের ঘরে অবস্থান করছে। একজন সাধারন মানুষের মস্তিস্কের একটিভিটি আর একটি ডেটা রেকর্ডেট নিন্ম স্তরের বি-২৫২ টাইপের গৃহস্থলির কাজের রোবটের একটিভিটি এক সমপর্যায়ের। আর এই সমীক্ষাটি কেবল গত ১৫ বছরের মধ্যে যারা জন্মগ্রহণ করেছে তাদের জন্যে নির্ভুল ভাবে প্রমাণিত। আর যদি এই ধারা অব্যহত থাকে তবে আগামি ৭০ থেকে ৯০ বছর পর বুদ্ধিমত্তা সম্পন্ন জীবিত মানুষের সংখ্যা দাড়াবে শূণ্যের কোঠায়। যদিও ভবিষ্যতকে একদম নির্ভুল বলা সম্ভব না, কিন্তু সমীক্ষা অনুসারে ৭০ থেকে ৯০ বছর পর মানুষ আর একটি রেকর্ডেড মিডিয়া প্লেয়ারের মাঝে কোন পার্থক্য থাকবে না। তারা হবে আদি গুহা মানবের আধুনিকে রূপান্তরিত গৃহবাসী বুদ্ধিহীন মানব সন্তান।

আর এই ঘটনাটির জন্যে যে জিনিষটি অবদান রেখেছে, সেটি হলো- আমাদের অতি প্রিয় 'ড্রিম মডুলার'। ড্রিম মডুলার কেবল আমাদের স্বপ্ন দেখাকে নিয়ন্ত্রনই করছে না, বরং আমাদের স্বপ্ন দেখবার স্বাভাবিক ক্ষমতাকে নষ্ট করে দিয়েছে। আর একই সাথে প্রকৃতিও আমাদের এই অবিবেচিত কার্জক্রমটির প্রতিশোধ তুলে নিয়েছে। সে মানুষের মস্তিস্কের বির্বতনকে রূখে দিয়ে ছুড়ে ফেলেছে একদম বিবর্তনের শুরুর পূর্বের অবস্থানে।

এই সত্যটি উৎঘাটনের পর যখন তা উপলদ্ধি করতে পারলাম, ততক্ষনে অনেক দেরি হয়ে গেছে। সবাই এখন এই ড্রিম মডুলার নামক দুঃস্বপ্নটাতে বন্দি পড়ে গেছে। তবুও নিজেকে স্বান্তনা দেবার উদ্দেশ্যে ভাবি- হয়তো দুনিয়ার কোন এক কোণে কোন এক গোষ্ঠি এখনো এই দুঃস্বপ্ন হতে নিজেদের বাঁচিয়ে রেখেছে। গড্ডালিকার এই প্রবাহে আমাদের মত গা ভাসিয়ে দেয় নি। হয়তো তারাই বিবর্তনের ধারাকে অক্ষুন্ন রেখে মানুষের মত মানুষ হিসেবে বেঁচে থাকবে।

যদিও সেই আশাটি একদম ক্ষীণ।

নিউজ পোর্টালটার নিউজ শুনতে শুনতে বিরক্ত হয়ে তা বন্ধ করে দিলাম। তারপর আমার ড্রিম মডুলারটি চালু করে ঘুমের অতলে নিমজ্জিত হতে শুরু করলাম। স্বপ্নের মাঝেই আমার ড্রিম মডুলারটি এমন বিচলিত করার মত স্মৃতিটি ঢেকে দিয়ে সকালে আমাকে একটি ফুরফুরে মেজাজ দিয়ে জাগিয়ে তুলবে।

 
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from siliconprophet

The Black Pill is a sadly ubiquitous part of modern internet culture. The idea hearkens back to the ancient idea of humorism, it is as though people are taking pills of black bile and growing more melancholic through them. But why do people take the black pill?

What is really going on is that the Black Pill is an incomplete radicalization. I have to credit Innuendo studios for this analysis. He has an excellent video that you should watch on this topic.

The Black pill represents an aimless radicalism. Although Innuendo Studios only speaks of it as a right wing phenomenon, it is very prevalent in left wing circles too. The Black Pill is very prevalent among modern Marxists who often will talk about a proletarian revolution but do nothing in it’s service. The Black Pill comes from us being in a society able to effectively prevent radical movements but not radicalization

Enter the White Pill. Taking the white pill means working within existing institutions to achieve compassionate prosocial goals. The White Pill means rejecting apocalyptic fantasies and seeing the world for what it is, a flawed but stable system. The White Pill means joining existing institutions to reform them from the inside.

Lifeism is about preserving functional systems and enhancing their reach. This can mean saving endangered species, or saving democracy, or spreading life across the Galaxy, or spreading democracy across the Galaxy. Lifeism means choosing life in the White Pill, not choosing death in the Black Pill.

 
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from siliconprophet

I am working on an epic called the Gaiad. It is called the Gaiad because it is the story of Earth, much like the Illiad is the story of Troy (also known as Illium)

The purpose of the Gaiad is to reinvigorate the scientifically known history of the universe, life, and man with a long lost mythopoetic vigor; and to act as inspiration for the future expansion of humanity and life.

The consistent theme of the Gaiad is of family and genealogy. It starts with the big bang as a birth of twins: Yin and Yang representing the divine masculine and feminine. Yin and Yang marry and their descendants continue on to become the universe.

As Apophis did in Egyptian mythology the demon Hillu emerged from the afterbirth of Yin and Yang. This represents evil and chaos as antithetical to family. Hillu has no sex nor genealogy. Hillu is chaos and life is order emerging against this chaos. Hillu personifies all the obstacles that life will face as it develops

Through a systematic genealogy every element and celestial body and particle has a genealogy.

Life on Earth is descended from the marriage of Carbon and Earth. From here the genealogy continues in anthropomorphic representations of ancient evolutionary ancestors. Evolutionary cladistics are genealogies already, so from here the genealogies are no longer metaphorical, just anthropomorphized.

As the narrative continues it follows the adventures of many organisms ranging from bacteria to plants to animals as they survive mass extinctions, multiply, and transition into the forms we know today. Among these events the way that life began sexual reproduction, the Cambrian explosion, life emerging onto land, dinosaurs becoming birds, mammals coming to rule the world, and finally development of complex culture in the apes that became humanity.

After humans emerge the story begins to detail how different groups of humans spread out and became the people of the modern world. There are characters who are the common ancestor of everyone of a certain haplogroup. So every tribe of humanity has its origin story and everyone can see themselves in this narrative regardless of their race, and even if they don’t know their background they can get a genetic test to see themselves in it. Then it goes into the development of agriculture and throughout history telling the stories of great men and women who made great contributions to humanity. These include pagan figures like Hercules, Judaeo-Christian figures like Moses and Christ, and other religious and secular figures such as Muhammad and Confucius and Charlemagne and Gallileo. The story goes up to the present age.

After reaching the present age the Gaiad will continue with the Galaxiad, the story of the Galaxy. The Galaxiad will tell the story of humanity moving from being confined to Earth to living all throughout the Galaxy thousands of years in the future, while maintaining the same mythopoetic vigor of the earlier Gaiad. Characters still address the gods and the stars with pompous speeches, everyone is still introduced by their genealogies. This emphasizes the continuity of the mythopoetic tradition no matter how far we reach into the future.

 
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from Anarchist Mae

It was already unbearably hot, the dust from the dirt road filled the air as my father drove away. My mind felt almost as heavy as my packed school bag, full of books I'd never read and half completed assignments.

The bus would be here soon. There was no escaping this, the next nine hours of hell, nobody waiting to whisk me away to safety, nobody waiting to do anything good.

At least there was the bus. A set of bookends for my shitty days, a respite from the judgement of my peers and of my father, a place where nobody would dare touch me or yell at me lest they face the wrath of driver Bob.

Arms gnarled with age and sun, Bob was the authority on the bus, not feared so much as respected. Bob drove every day with the radio tuned to the AM, happily listening to the same Billy Joel and Marvin Gaye songs, sometimes even humming along.

Bob didn't care much about what happened on the bus, just so long as the kids sat down and didn't talk too loud, he was happy.

That's how I came about my strategy, if I sit close to Bob, nobody can mess with me, sure there would be the occasional shove as people got on or got off, and sometimes things were thrown, but behind or next to Bob was safe.

The country side moved on by, the same houses, fields and trees, the same me, numb to everything, content to just sit for a while and not think and be calm.

First past the Eckerts farm, our closest neighbours, their kids went to a different school, a Christian school, where poor Robbie, gay as all hell apparently had once gone. Before he was gone.

Then past the Daniels farm, not that you could really call it that nowadays, it's hard to run a farm when you're stuck in a wheelchair.

Up past the chicken farms, they always stank like something unbelievable, rows upon rows of chickens crammed into sheds in this weather?

Finally the town approaches, and so does my anxiety. How many times will I get yelled at by teachers today? Where can I hide during recess and lunch?

How long until I can get back on the bus.

 
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from What Is Tomat0 Up To?

Quite arguably, the most important legacy left by Marx's work was the “science of socialism”. This move to rationalize the socialist movement, of course, would contrast heavily with the utopian tendencies of the socialists of his time.

For the utopians, socialist society was their logical starting point; their analysis of the world around them and the process of socialism had to be extrapolated from their vision. While this allowed for stretched imagination and expanded discussion, it was not something sustainably pursuable. There had to be a move forward towards something more concrete.

While there is debate over whether Marxism is technically a science or not, the sort of cold, objective attitude associated with science was definitely present. More specifically, the “science of socialism” usually refers to Marx's structural analysis of capitalist society itself; the utopians formulated their critique in relation to their ideal, while the critique of Marx had to begin with the negation of the present.

And following the fallout of the Cold War and the breakdown of Marxism-Leninism, we seem to have reverted back to a state that hasn't just rejected structural analysis, but has instead forgotten it. Unable to conceive anything outside of capital, social democrats, anarchists, and state socialists have found themselves all retreating back to the same view of socialism as a moral struggle; this is exactly why I feel it is necessary to restate the structuralism that is capitalism.

The Historical Basis of Economy

It's important to include a historical element to our analysis, not just for establishing precedent, but because history gives us a look into how production evolves and manifests. History isn't static, and limiting yourself to one frame of reference, whether it be past or present, prevents you from getting a fuller picture of the situation at hand.

This section is a relatively brief restatement of historical materialism, as a simple matter of laying foundation.

As materialist historiography dictates, we see history take upon different stages that gradually brought a dispersed humanity consisting of hunters and gatherers into a society based around industrialization.

While there is a lot to be said regarding the specifics of the various stages, I'd like to focus on the key insights we get here.

Firstly, that the catalyst of this process is the introduction of trade into human relations. We can tell this for two reasons:

  • One, we see a coherent pattern arise when discussing historical progression, in that the evolution of production and society always precedes the evolution of society. Production itself is an extension of the relations of trade.
  • The trade relation is inherently axiomatic in that it presupposes all other social and material relation. Concepts of currency, ownership, industry, and value rely on this as a foundational justification for their existence.

So what exactly is the trade relation? I think the best way to explain it is to start by constructing a controlled environment; obviously there's going to be issues doing this empirically, so we'll have to rely on a hypothetical here.

Assume you are one of two people in a pre-civilization world. You have an excess of fruit you've picked, and the other person has an excess of crude knives they have crafted. For whatever reason, both of you want to eat some chopped fruit, so you decide to give him some of your fruit if he gives you some of his knives.

It's a rather basic example, which is why it's useful for a closer analysis. The first question each participant has to resolve is: how much fruit is worth how many knives? Intention is unimportant here; whether or not they are looking to make a fair deal or get a bargain, they still will need to make a mental judgement on this in order to decide.

Whatever answer they come up with determines the exchange value of each product. And once you begin creating more and more trade relations between different products, you create a relative system of value.

  1. Currency acts as a universal language of exchange-value, so to speak, aggregating all these trade relations into a numerical scale. As currency becomes the language of commodities, it becomes a necessity to survive: you accumulate currency by selling goods you produced, and industry is born out of many people producing and trading simultaneously.
  2. In order to ensure that a commodity can be produced steadily, industry takes control of resources that are essential to reproducing these commodities, control justified by claims of ownership, claims we call property.
  3. Because ownership is fundamentally exclusive in nature; there are going to be those who do not own property. What they do own, however, is their own productive capacity, their labor, which is a key component of transforming a raw resource into a commodity that can be traded.
  4. In order to convert that labor into the exchange-value necessary for survival, they negotiate with those who own property: they supply their labor to ensure the reproduction of the commodity being produced, and the property owner supplies them with just enough compensation to ensure they able to continue working and reproducing said labor.
  5. Ownership in name only doesn't do much; a person who rejects the claims could take whatever is being owned for themselves. So in order for the ownership to be protected and recognized, a state must be created, able to use force to maintain the validity of the claims of ownership.

Of course, there's a lot of concerning implications to this, but that's not the focus right now. Right now, above all else, what we are establishing is that, yes, all of this is interconnected and foundationally based upon the trade relation. I must stress this because before we can even get into criticizing structural economy, we have to first acknowledge that structural economy even exists.

The Necessity of Capitalism

So now, we have established economy as a structural process, but we still haven't talked about capitalism: after all, capitalism is not synonymous with economy but, rather instead, a stage of economy.

And in this sense, capitalism is a necessary evolution: it's an unsustainable and ultimately contradictory one, but it must be maintained it is necessary, not in the sense of “holding together the glue of society”, but rather instead necessary as the predecessor to communism.

It's an angle a lot of socialists seem to ignore, and the ones that don't usually misunderstand this as evidence supporting a gradual approach.

And I think its that conflation with reformism which tends to scare a lot of revolutionary socialists from acknowledging this fact. When we refer to communism as “seizing the means of production”, this has to be understood as an appropriation of it, not as the disowning of it. In simpler terms, there has to be production to seize before one can seize it.

And this truth reveals itself rather morbidly when we look at what capitalism has brought us.

  • English becoming a language of international communication required the ruthless destruction, erasure, and subjugation of countless communities and cultures.
  • Rail, telephone wiring, canals, and infrastructure required the central planning and the enslavement of countless in order to make sure things didn't just advance technologically, but also advanced in a coordinated fashion. It's much easier to build a new road than it is to build the entire interstate from scratch.

And it is precisely here we see Marxism break from moralism. Was any of this right? No, not in the slightest. Did the advances at all “redeem” or “justify” the countless atrocities in its wake? Absolutely not.

This analysis of capitalism is where Marxism immediately breaks from moralism; because capitalism is structural as opposed to humanistic. Yes, these actions have morality to them, but the morality has to be assigned in a non-structural context; those who do have to either reject Marx's approach, such as in the cases of the post-structuralists, or create a different structural interpretation as in the case of Federici.

The Structuralism of Class

One of the most glaring examples of this sort of structuralist/moralist divide can immediately be seen in the intense contrast between Marxist and “leftist” class analysis.

The common conception of class seems to be rich/poor, the haves and the have-nots. These are vague and relative terms, easily to project your own ideals onto. This is why politicians may be comfortable talking about the “one percent”, the “billionaire class”, or “the establishment”. It lacks any concreteness to be offensive. To the moralist, the billionaire has a duty to be a “responsible capitalist” and to fail to do so is a moral failing. It ultimately fails to do much beyond making people feel good and passing the buck to “the bad apples”.

The structural approach takes class in reference to its role in maintaining economy.

  • The proletariat is defined in clear and objective terms as the class of labor, key to the production of value. They do not own productive property, and they are forced to sell their labor to survive.
  • The bourgeois are defined as those who own the means of production, and thus own others' labor.

This distinction isn't meant to be one of good/bad or us versus them, but rather instead one that acknowledges the intense divisions and specializations of the whole productive process.

The proletariat isn't privileged for their moral superiority or their victimhood. Sure, they may resent the bourgeois, but that is due to the nature of class conflict; their interests remain diametrically opposed, and they only find freedom in the repression of the other. No, rather instead it is that as the class that is responsible for generating value, they alone are the only class inherently capable of putting an end to the capitalist structure.

Dangers of Humanizing Capitalism

And this humanization of capitalism is what tends to leave so many leftist tendencies and organizations stuck in the possibilist trap.

  • For the social democrats, they humanize the politicians, media figures, and brands whose ideology they deem “closer to the left”, regardless of if their actions match their words or not.
  • For the Marxist-Leninists, they humanize the states that take upon a communist aesthetic, despite their economies still maintaining the very same economic base as the countries they deem “the real capitalists”.
  • For the anarchists, they humanize unions and co-ops, even though “boss-less capitalism” is still subject to the repressive forces of economy itself.

To some of you, this sort of totalization in left-wing ideology might sound familiar, and that's because this criticism has been leveled before, most notably by the post-left. The Situationists, acting as a bridge between Marxism and this post-left current, echo this sentiment in their theory of the Spectacle.

The Situationists' seminal text, Society of The Spectacle, defines the Spectacle as the following:

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation. The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living. The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification. As a part of society it is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness. Due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of false consciousness, and the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of generalized separation. The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.

I've gone through the trouble to bold the important parts here, read the full text if you wish, it's actually incredibly insightful. The whole book is a collection of theses, so the prose might be rather jarring. I'll try my best to restate exactly what is being said.

In the same way economy reduces all material relations to trade-relations, we witness a similar phenomenon occur as commodity begins to enter the realm of ideas. These social relations: our politics, our goals, our virtues, get reduced down to representation, or more specifically, imagery.

Taking this into context, we see the “human capitalism” for what it actually is. It's the incorporation, or more specifically, the recuperation of ideas into the totalitarian reign of the commodity.

This has already happened to the social democrats, it's happened to the Marxist-Leninists, and eventually even the anarchists.

It might be easy to shrug it off as a few idiots buying merch, and I most likely would've assumed the same, if there wasn't a fundamental connection.

  1. They start by humanizing individual structural entities; this is important because what the humanization does is that it fundamentally rejects capitalism as totalitarian. We know this because the idea of “good apples” and capitalist totality are mutually exclusive.
  2. All of these fields (geopolitics, electoral politics, industry) require either cooperation with the current hegemony or a sufficiently competitive counter-hegemony.
  3. Regardless of which strategy you take, you are eventually going to end up participating in the “game of capitalism” and in good faith, no less. Bad faith actors are crushed before they can centralize power, and by the time you do, your organization is too far in to consciously back out.
  4. Participating in the game means generating commodities, in this case, images. Unions need members, politicians need voters, and countries need a military. All of these, as you see in the above examples, require popular appeals, which can only be found by competing in the marketplace of spectacles.
  5. And as part of the marketplace of spectacles, you become just another face of the capitalist singularity.

Structuralism and Humanism

There's a reason I'm juxtaposing the terms humanism and structuralism with capitalism, and that's because there is a sect of Marxists who refer to themselves as “structural Marxists” in order to separate themselves from the “Marxist-humanists”.

It should be noted that the above discussion relating to capitalism is different from structuralism/humanism in the context of Marxism. Within Marxism, this refers to the debate between those who see the individual as subject to the structural and those who see the structural as subject to the individual.

To put it more simply, we've established capitalism as structural, but there still is the question of the individual, and whether or not the individual is capable of acting independently of the structure.

Arguments against the individual's agency usually cite the same social-relations we discussed earlier, which would be correct, if we were assuming capitalism itself is a totality. It is totalitarian, yes, but it is only totalitarian in the sense that it is converging on totality. It has not reached totality. For capitalism to have reached totality, it would have had to have transformed all relations into economic relations.

And this is where Marx's theory of alienation comes in. Alienation implies a dissonance; reification attempts to eliminate that dissonance. However, this proves more difficult than one may think; alienation isn't just man's dying breath, but rather instead evidence of an underlying contradiction, arguably the ultimate contradiction in capitalism. The contradiction of the workers' bond to their work and the economy's claims over everything. For the individual to have been totally recuperated, they would cease to become proletarians, for without alienation, they would remain just as exploited as a machine.

And this is where I do think the theory of the Spectacle outdoes Althusser's ideas of interpellation. Althusser attempts to demonstrate the subjection of the individual first by tying the terms “you/I” to a subjection, and then tying that subjection towards social structures itself. But in the process, he makes an incredible amount of assumptions and equivocates hard on the identity of the subjector. The concept is vaguely in the right direction, but its not concrete enough to carry the claims Althusser makes regarding humanism and the individual.

For Debord and the Situationists, the subjector was clear; it was representation through imagery. And this makes sense, because we can demonstrably see how symbolism is capable of turning abstract ideas into commodity. Flags and logos can be bought and sold, labels for people, movements, and ideas can be tossed around the same way one tosses a brand around.

And its through this understanding of how ideas become integrated into economy, that we get a clearer picture of alienation and how consciousness can come about. Because the individual's subjection requires their expression as an image, there are some avenues for self-autonomy. The Situationists experimented with the subversion of existing imagery to create a distance between the symbol and their actions.

And it proved incredibly effective in the age of liquid-modernity. Of course post-modernity has recuperated irony, but that is to be expected; the Situationists aren't meant to be a movement continuously clung onto for the rest of the time, but rather instead an example, that even during Althusser's time, it is possible to act independently of the structure.

 
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from What Is Tomat0 Up To?

Political Dichotomy Assessment: Where The Other Tests Fall Short

This was discussed earlier in the Introduction document, but one of the main goals of this project is to create a qualitatively distinguished model of politics as opposed to a quantitatively distinguished one. This is important because all current major models/tests still rely on quantitative methodology, which ends up severely handicapping their usability.

Left/Right Spectrum

1D Spectrum

As this model was born out of the French Revolution, it distinguishes people between those who oppose progress and those who support progress; during that time period it was used to distinguish those who supported the Revolution and those who supported the monarchy.

The issue with this is that the definitions of progress tend to be highly relative, and in some cases subjective. What can be considered “left” or “right” is still dependent on what the individual or larger society as a whole considers to be social progress. When we have different individuals, different time periods, and different cultures being cross-referenced, this model finds itself far too situational to be of any use.

If you're interested in a more in-depth analysis on why this is an issue, I'd recommend checking out Whig History by Herbert Butterfield.

Political Compass and 8Values/PolitiScales

2D Spectrum

Unsurprisingly, the problem wasn't solved. If anything, tacking on another axis only served to bring up more questions. Who is authority referring to in this case? One can be authoritarian but believe in that authority being enforced by someone other than the state; the opposite is true too, you can be libertarian in a non-statist sense.

We continued to get more and more models that slapped on more metrics: first there was the aptly named 8Values, but when that didn't work out, the creators of PolitiScales decided to double the axes.

I know some people swear by these tests, but the issue is that the scores don't really hold much application outside of the chart itself. If you just look at the ideologies that 8Values suggests, you'll see almost all of them are either vague, incorrect, or in some cases, completely made-up terms.

Questions

Keep in mind all of the above is just me discussing the final result and the presentation, we haven't even gotten to the issues with the questions on these tests yet.

Interestingly enough, despite all the novel ways they come up with to try and present information, we still end up with the exact same structure for how questions are asked and evaluated.

Questions

Often times a series of statements are given, and for each statement, the participant is asked to give a rating of how strongly they agree with it. This answer is then taken, converted to a number, then either added or subtracted to a score on one axis.

For example, answering “Strongly Agree” to the above question may give me +3 points on the authoritarian/libertarian axis, while answering “Strongly Disagree” may give me -3 points on the authoritarian/libertarian axis.

This method would be fine, assuming the question is relevant to every participant and could only be answered in two ways; often times, however, that isn't the case. For a lot of these questions, someone could take a position that would lead them to be neither, against, for, or even neutral towards a statement because the statement would make an assumption that doesn't apply to them.

Quantitative Versus Qualitative

The reason all these tests have to rely on scoring systems and linear questions is because they all assume a quantitative model of ideology. That one's beliefs are based upon the intensity of a position they hold, how strongly they feel about something.

And this is why all of these models completely fall apart when they have someone who holds a strong position, but still a position that the test doesn't account for. It's not even that radical positions become discouraged by this model, but rather instead that they become inconceivable, outside the boundaries of what can even be imagined much less supported.

 
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from What Is Tomat0 Up To?

This is probably going to be the third of a set of pieces I'm doing regarding design choices for the project, not for self-indulgence, but rather instead for the purpose of getting my thoughts back in order following an immense amount of feedback I've received.

One of the biggest issues facing the test right now is well... the test itself. While the methodology itself proves effective, it's an incredibly dense and abstract test, making it difficult for people who aren't too ideologically conscious to answer the questions; this is an issue because those people are quite literally the target demographic.

So I think it's for the better I take a step back and think about how to approach this, going over the concepts I'm incorporating and so on.

Why use Marxist concepts?

I stated this in the last piece, but I have no intention to pretend to be neutral here; the decisions I make are ones I feel better reflect the true nature of the topic: there's no point to trying to do a balancing act for a balancing act's sake.

However, there is a reason I'm incorporating Marxist concepts apart from solely favoritism. Marxist theory tends to be heavily structuralist and as a result, it's rather “self-aware” for lack of a better term. There's a wealth of discussion regarding its priorities, historiography, and contextual placement of the individual, rather than solely discussing proposals and blueprints.

It should be understood that one's “political position” is not just a suggestion of what should be done but rather instead an understanding of what is going on around you.

So in this sense, so-called scientific socialism is able to act as a template of one specific understanding of society. From there, we can actually extrapolate the model Marxists apply to themselves and see how this can apply to other perspectives and their own understandings of the world.

The Tree Analogy

Since the test itself uses a combination of methods, I refer to it and its various components in the context of a “tree”.

The test can be best divided into two halves, the “canopy” and the “branches”.

Like the canopy of a tree, the first part is wide and full of “leaves” that eventually branch down; in other words, the canopy is actually a table, where the answers to two activities form different combinations which we refer to as “leaves”. These leaves, which are on the top of the tree, act as a starting point for the rest of the test.

Once a leaf has been found, a series of conditional yes/no questions are able to give you a much more specific answer. These are called branches because the questions vary based on your answers to previous questions, designed to conditionally “branch out”.

The Canopy: Spheres of Focus

As stated above, the canopy is a table, with the leaves acting as an intersection of two factors: what you believe society is and what you believe needs to be done regarding society.

This section covers the former, namely gauging how the test-taker sees the world around them.

Borrrowing from Althusser's theories of state apparatuses, we'll divide societal institutions and relations into one of three categories:

  • The Political sphere deals with a society's ability to maintain its order and stability.
    • Words associated with this include: power, influence, coercion, hierarchy, strength, force, conflict, domination, rule, elite, law, justice, violence, peace
  • The Ideological sphere deals with a society's dominant values/narrative.
    • Words associated with this include: culture, morals, ethics, values, ideas, discussion, progress, tradition, common sense, opinions, beliefs, art, media
  • The Productive sphere deals with how a society handles the creation and allocation of commodities.
    • Words associated with this include: economy, currency, production, labor, distribution, resources, trade, exchange, technology

Now that we've established the three spheres, the next step is applying them to the test by using them in a question/activity.

The question we will want to answer is: “how do these elements of society interact with each other?”

In order for the test-taker to convey this, I've reverse-engineered Marx's base/superstructure model. For Marx, this model served as a demonstration of his theory that society is fundamentally governed by economic relations.

Base and SS

In abstract terms, the theory goes as such:

  • The base is the foundation, the root cause of societal outcomes, serving to shape and guide the direction of the other spheres (the superstructure).
  • The superstructure is the reinforcement; it justifies the underlying base that guides it, and ensures that it continues to be maintained.

The neat thing about this model is that it gives a very clear and concise picture of how a communist would understand society. But there's nothing about the model itself that makes it exclusively communist in nature. By applying the same model elsewhere, we can get a structural model for the worldviews of all sorts of political and ideological currents.

A cleric may see sin as the base of our world, a king may see strength as the base, and so on and so forth. By having the test-taker sort these categories into base and superstructure, we get a better idea of their thought process.

The Canopy: Approach to Society

Now that we've determined what the test-taker believes society to be, we can begin looking into the other part of the table, what the test-taker wishes to do about it.

This question is two-fold: first the participant has to decide how they see the individual relative to society, more specifically relative to the existing judgement society has made regarding the topic.

The connection between the individual and society manifests itself in the idea of valuation. We refer to valuation in this context as the assigned worth/merit of an individual relative to the greater community.

The valuation of an individual can take one of three forms:

  • Innate valuations are judged upon a consistent, inherent, and transcendent standard. This standard is determined by what was selected as the Base.
  • Mutable valuations are judged upon a constantly evolving standard; all hold equal potential for value, but that potential may have varying results.
  • You can also choose to deny any standard of valuation, seeing the concept as completely Invalid.

The above tells us what the test-taker personally believes about valuation, but we still haven't connected the test-taker's conceptions with society's conceptions.

So the next directive is to understand the test-taker's position towards society's conception of valuation:

  • Agreement, with the wish to either preserve or slightly reform these conceptions.
  • Disagreement, with the wish to control and mold these conceptions to a different standard.
  • Rejection, fundamentally criticizing the conceptions with the aim of abolishing the standard itself.

A combination of both of these will give us the next factor of the table. Now by evaluating the answers of both, we can determine a leaf.

The Branches: Narrowing Down

We have the leaf, which gives us a broad idea of a worldview, but we can still get more specific. Luckily since the Canopy narrowed down the field so far, we can complete the rest through a series of specific and conditional questions, utilizing the process of elimination to come to our final answer.

Once we have established a branch, we have finished the test.

 
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from What Is Tomat0 Up To?

I have just finished up the Identitarian page for the Political Dichotomy Assessment and I think this is a good time to discuss my reasoning behind the selection of information to include on the site.

I'm not going to hide behind any pretenses of neutrality here, I fully believe these types of nationalists are morons to the highest degree. And it seems quite a few of you agree:

Fascists are anti-intellectual by nature. Intellectualizing the anti-intellectual is an exercise in futility that is most likely to be capitalized on by said fascists.

This is common feedback I hear from people regarding the site. I think the topic itself is worth discussing, and as it is a bridge we're going to have to eventually cross, I figured it'd be best to discuss my reasons for including far-right literature in the project.

Quality Control

One of the main goals I outlined in the project introduction was the focus on filtering out “trash politics” in order to create a much more constructive learning environment. So before we discuss the relation between ideology and quality control, it's important we establish what my bar is for “quality”.

I define quality content as content that encourages further learning as opposed to acting as a substitute for it. YouTube talking-heads and celebrity books tend to not pass this bar for the following reasons:

  • Their content tends to be incredibly abstracted from primary sources, often times quoting out of context or heavily paraphrasing.
  • The product is not the content itself, but rather the personality behind the content; this promotes reliance on the personality as the sole source of information and a shifting of discussion away from ideas and onto personal character instead.
  • Content is not made with the intention of academic scrutiny, meaning that there's less emphasis on backing and creating a piece that's able to generate discussion.

There is undeniably a lot of this in far-right circles, due to the hero-worship, distrust of reason, and general manipulative character; if you'd like to read further on why this is such an issue, I'd highly reccomend Paxton's Anatomy of Fascism.

This sort of manipulation is why I've taken extra care to avoid shallow works like Mein Kampf and literally anything by Richard Spencer; it's difficult to take the majority of this at face value, so a lot of cross-referencing and structural analysis is necessary.

Asymmetric Ideology

You might notice me refer to fascism specifically a lot here, and that's because it remains the most well-documented form of modern hyper-nationalism. While other far-right sects may have their gripes regarding fascism, they still hold a significant amount in common; hence why people like Marinetti and Evola still supported Mussolini despite the magnitude of their disagreements.

One of these similarities is in how the ideology is structured; other movements usually operate on the assumption that the masses and leaders are on the same page, that there's a level of transparency involved.

It's more complicated with the far right; the intellectuals, the demagogues, and the masses all hold differing (often times conflicting) motivations, positions, and levels of understanding.

  • The demagogue operates on a principle of power; their goal is to accumulate and project strength at all costs; their actions all work towards building themselves up as a personality. Because of this, works by fascist leaders/heroes tend to often be deceptive and self-serving.
  • I think the best word to describe the masses during these periods of reaction is paranoid. There's this overwhelming and emotionally-rooted sense of fear/distrust that the demagogue is able to exploit, both by sowing distrust of all other authorities and by creating a sense of fraternity between all those who share this paranoia. Because the feelings remain abstract and emotional, the ideas don't get further explored, relying on vagueness and hearsay to defend themselves against academic refutations.
  • And then we have the intellectuals, and I think this is where it gets interesting. The intellectuals typically hold some sense of esoteric elitism, which quickly comes into conflict with the reactionary and populist sentiments of the demagogue. Both Rosenberg and Marinetti found their stances on traditional religion to be in conflict with their respective states' usage of the Church, stances which remained fundamental to their thought. In the case of Marinetti, he was forced to integrate Catholicism to remain politically relevant, and in the case of Rosenberg, his hardline paganism was the only thing that kept himself politically distanced from the NSDAP.

Dealing With The Problem

So, yes, I would say this topic would require some caution. Anti-intellectualism can prove dangerous not just for society, but also for the integrity of debate. Often times the tactics employed by anti-intellectuals are often underhanded and encourages the selective ignoring of facts and ideas that contradict one's worldview.

A milder example of this would be Duane Gish, who often would exploit the format of a debate to make his opponent look bad rather than honestly conveying ideas. His tactics would later be dubbed the Gish Gallop. Was it obvious he was playing dirty? Of course, but it didn't matter because he was playing to people's confirmation bias rather than arguing anything of integrity.

Sure, arguing for YEC is harmless enough, but this same cherry-picking of facts gets increasingly dangerous once we veer into the territory of Holocaust deniers and racial conspiracy theorists. This same relationship between the demagogue's thirst for mass appeal and the public's wanting to have their beliefs reinforced creates an atmosphere of ignorance that can be used to rationalize nearly anything.

However, I do think there's an opening, namely being with the far-right intellectuals. These books attempt to lay out a clear, consistent case for the beliefs and in the process give up the demagogue's greatest weapon, the shield of ambiguity. This is precisely why there's such a strong tension between intellectuals and demagogues. Often times, they threaten each others' existence: the leader's absolute dogmatism and the intellectual's absolute skepticism are diametrically opposed.

The demagogue may give lip-service to this or that writer, maybe pepper in an out-of-context quote, but ultimately engaging with their thought in full will only reveal things that serve to question his legitimacy. You'll see this often: reactionaries equivocating hard on what they do/don't believe, because they know if they're forced into specifics, they're going to be held up to much more scrutiny. By forcing engagement with the specific theory as a primary source, what we end up doing is creating terrain in which it is a lot easier to pin down contradictions and inaccuracies with the fog of ambiguity gone.

Regarding the Exclusion of National Socialism

Gonna throw a quick addendum on National Socialism because often times there seems to be questions regarding how to approach it; my stance follows as such:

National Socialism in and of itself is too vaguely defined, baseless, and self-contradictory to the point that it remains more akin to a personality-cult moreso than anything that can be concretely examined. The exclusion of National Socialism from the test is a choice based on its lack of qualitative merit, specificity, and distinctiveness.

 
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