The psychology of ‘Not’: Meet your (unexpected) inner conservative


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamIf conservatism is famous for anything, it’s famous for what it doesn’t do. Conservative platforms since Thatcher and Reagan have been all about ‘Not’:

  • Not regulating.
  • Not funding.
  • Not culture.
  • Not education.
  • Not public health.
  • Not social justice.
  • Not science.
  • Not environment.
  • Not modernizing.
  • Not listening.

These Nots are basics, monotonously droned out by conservatives in every Western country on Earth without exception. They’re therefore usually ignored, and therefore not at all understood, by progressives. This range of Nots are everything about conservatism that any progressive has ever claimed them to be, and devalued accordingly.

The problem is that’s a very simple, and shallow, way of looking at conservatism. It’s also a great way of totally misunderstanding what Not really means in practice.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

For example – The usual appeal to “tradition” is often based on a personal reward. It brings back to you things that barely exist anymore. Tradition, however, is also the incarnation of a range of Nots, too, if you spin it that way. These appeals to tradition are great for those lost in the modern world, modern thinking and modern initiatives.

Tradition can be a huge reward. It’s a return to the womb or the family home of childhood, a safe place in your mind. (You could call it a luxury, on that basis.) It’s also a well-known psychological manipulative process. It’s guaranteed to appeal to the insecure, the overstressed and the under-acknowledged. It’s particularly effective on the modern psychological plague, anxiety.

This is the major, classic version of ‘Not’. These pre-adult nostalgias are at their core all about things  that are ‘not’ the things now bothering you. It’s like watching an old TV show from when you were a kid; you’re back home, somehow, at least for a while.

Let’s be fair about this –

  • Everyone over 10 has an established ‘Not’ zone, and a range of experiences and preferences to back it up.
  • The ‘Nots’ are real, perfectly valid psychological buttons, and they work on anyone. People use their Nots as valid reasons.
  • There’s a natural, and reasonable, right to insist on your personal ‘Nots’.

The problems with ‘Not’ as a basis for anything start with the ultra-dangerous “Not real”. This is a double entendre in a whole new class:

  • It can mean your personal Nots are real.
  • It can mean that any reality which isn’t a Not, isn’t real.

The separation between reality and Not is based on deep Fight or Flight catalysts. Fear is always effective, delivering adrenalin to upgrade non-specific Nots to personal crusades or deeply held, sudden beliefs in anything and everything.

Case in point – Many people fear change, and by extension, progress. Others may fear ideas, which leave them lost and totally unprepared for the thinking that goes with new ideas and new things.  They feel insecure, and disadvantaged by these things, and, in fact, they are. Their Nots have excluded them.

This is another universal human experience. It can be a very honest experience.  Many are highly distrustful of the often fake, facile logic of business culture. They distrust it, both on the job and in general.  That distrust is usually backed up by truly lousy personal experiences, and the belief in Not, which is a natural defensive reaction to adversity, becomes entrenched.

It’s a type of logic, perhaps not very focused, but it can drive a drastic response to anything. It can also drive a demand for more Nots. Nots are both a combination of conflict evasion and a position for conflict. Any Not can be used as a stonewall reaction to any group. It can be a rallying point. Add some dopamine, and you can even use it as a basis for “friend or foe” relationships.

The reality or unreality of Nots in history

Put enough Nots together, and you have a society based on Nots. That would be all fine and ducky, but Nots have a 100% record of failure over time.

  • China had a policy of not introducing foreign goods, for decades; look at China now.
  • Tsarist Russia had a policy of two very separate economic classes, not connected in any way and a strict social hierarchy on that basis; look at Russia now.
  • The sun did not set on the British Empire; Not-style mindsets destroyed it with unpreparedness and mismanagement based on the Not mentality. Look at the UK now.

The moral of history is that it’s not about Nots. Nots are straws in a hurricane. Life isn’t, and can’t be, entirely about negativity. The question is this: Does everyone’s inner conservative, the usually self-serving Not-addict, recognize the risks? Probably, Not.

 

 

 

The Global Stupidity Plague


 

This is the Age of Dumb. Stupidity is now a force of human nature, if not the other kind of Nature, which seems unimpressed. Homo Sapiens, not famous for its intelligence, but not this dumb, is experiencing a true plague of stupidity.

 

Let’s get through the obvious manifestations of Stupidity Uber Alles  first:

 

  • Governments: Politics is obsolete. It’s about getting elected, creating conflicts, and making things worse. The whole idea of government needs to be about fully accountable, properly oversighted people doing things right, not this planetwide disorganized mess.
  • Culture: There is no culture. The banal, pointlessly trivial, endlessly obstructed lives most people live can’t fit culture in anywhere. There’s nowhere to put a culture in this boorish sewer of a world. How do you fit a culture in to poverty?
  • Society is non-existent. Thanks to governments and lack of culture, society is a word, not a fact. There’s no social cohesion at any level. Quite the opposite, hating other members of the society is now the norm, and highly socially destructive.
  • Crime: Generations of corrupt weaklings and idiots being “tough on crime” have produced the richest criminals in history, bankrolled by stupid, useless governments and pointless laws making everything illegal extremely profitable.
  • Progress: Progress ground to a halt decades ago. Forget gadgets using 1970s touch screen tech and binary code, which are ancient tech. Digitization did make a difference, but only to the technology, not the people. Apes using phones are still apes.
  • Sanity: Sanity is unmarketable in any form, for any reason, in any sector. The fabulously out of touch “meeting culture”, in which executive gargoyles can be away from their actual jobs for decades, has removed any need for rational thought at all levels of commerce and leadership.
  • Careers: Most careers will cease to exist soon enough, as expertise is taken over by Artificial intelligence, which couldn’t possibly be any dumber than human intelligence. A career will be like a successful game show contestant.
  • Pollution: Pollution was almost under control 30 years ago. Now it’s a religion among the truly unhygienic minds in charge. To pollute on principle, which is how it’s done now, is to say you’re a grovelling little sycophant peasant like everybody else in your septic tank of a life with no opinions of your own, and you want to network.
  • Health: Thanks to the above stresses and unsanitary ex-societies, a huge number of people are suffering from various medical conditions. In the past, the opposite was the case. The eternal hordes in hospital ERs and elsewhere are relatively recent.

So… Do you think there’s a problem?

Paul Wallis, Live Lazy and Love It, AmazonConsider this – All of these things are anti-survival. It’s like living for no other reason than to find a cliff to fall off. This is Applied Stupidity, in its most unambiguous form. Stupid things are said – And believed. Stupid things are done – And considered brilliant.

So what’s new, you ask, finding a new (inconsiderately empty) beer bottle in which to live? Humans aren’t that stupid, that’s what. Even for a species which built enough nukes to wipe out itself and everything else at least 7 times over, this is dumb.

 

The current manifestations of stupidity are:

  • Refusal to deal with any major issues on any level, however disastrous.
  • Obsession with trivia at the expense of major issues.
  • Prolonging and tolerating useless conflicts all over the world.
  • Failure to deal with basics, ranging from water to food, health education and housing.
  • Incomprehension of the obvious, with denials in the face of facts.
  • Ignoring experts.
  • Tolerating corruption.
  • Tolerating greed.
    Ignoring the public interest in EVERY area, all the time.
  • Paying freeloaders to run countries.
  • Electing freeloaders to run countries.
  • Wondering what went wrong afterwards.

The most primitive societies were survival-based. If you tried doing any of these things in a cave society, your chances of getting a woolly mammoth parked up your backside were excellent. In this society, you get cheers and applause based on how anti-survival you are.

Hierarchical societies are effectively hierarchies of stupidity. The more senior, more experienced idiots rule. In this society, which is made entirely of hierarchies, stupidity is a virtual law of physics. The more stupid the action, the more stupid the result, and the more stupid people are, the more they fail to see that.

Remember “normality? Thanks to stupidity, most people don’t.

The normality of the past in the West was based on:

  • Clean, safe, if not palatial, homes.
  • Just about everything was more or less affordable, except major luxuries.
  • Health care whenever you wanted.
  • Public sanitation and hygiene were pretty good.
  • Air was breathable.
  • Food was edible.
  • The sea didn’t make you sick when you swam in it.
  • Pollution levels were much lower.
  • Psychological conditions like depression were much rarer.
  • Reasonably good, if not dazzling, education.
  • Much fewer people, less crowding, less stress.
  • Workplace culture wasn’t psychotic.
  • People weren’t paid to make workplaces psychotic.
  • A good chance of a career, with considerable effort.
  • Almost no nutcases, anywhere.
  • Very low levels of crime, and mainly minor crime except for organized crime.
  • No hordes of fanatics, and the few there were, were despised.
  • To be a sycophant was to be a failure.
  • Talent wasn’t hated.
    Intellect wasn’t hated.
  • The people with the skills did the jobs, not people pretending to do them.
Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

Forge the exceptions for a minute; that’s not the point – These relatively modest, unpretentious, things were reasonable expectations. They weren’t called “welfare” or “entitlements” and certainly not the result of any ideology except the right to personal freedom.

They were also legitimate expectations after the worst war in human history. Politicians didn’t win that war. They caused it, and damn near lost it so often it’s amazing it turned out the way it did. The public certainly didn’t idolize politicians. JFK was the last modern politician to be truly admired.

Progress meant physical wellbeing, quality of life, scientific and social. That was “not stupid” in context with the way things are now.  An educated society made an educated choice.

The pathology of the global stupidity plague.

So up to about 1970 or so, humanity, if no collective genius, was survival oriented and doing pretty well. That date is important.

You need to be able to track a plague from its inception. The history of bad decisions dates from about then. The Nixon era, in which the last Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a dim memory, started a culture of bad decisions.

The dumb can lead the dumb. Bad decisions, of course, are a great way of creating opportunities for more bad decisions. Following global leaders may not have reached the abysmal depths of Nixon until now, but these were the symptoms after Nixon:

  • The USSR collapsed after massive mismanagement.
  • Japan destroyed its well-proven social system and replaced it with a stagnant nothing.
  • The USA, as the “world’s only superpower”, went backwards socially, technically, educationally, politically and morally from the 1980s onwards as a result of “conscious” political policies. The anti-intellect culture started then, too.
  • The Middle East, one of the most prosperous areas in the world, went in to meltdown.
  • Europe made many bad calls on the refugee and debt crises, compromising its own credibility and global image. Financial scandals like LIBOR added to the general malaise of maladministration.
  • Britain chose Brexit, without a plan to achieve it, or a model for existence outside the EU.
  • My own country, Australia, mismanaged everything and got everything backwards economically, technologically and socially. That’s not so new; it’s just that the current degree of mismanagement is unusually thorough, even for our very low standard idiots.
  • People with no scientific credentials at all, and obviously no basic knowledge of chemistry, became experts on global climate.

So – This is a plague of stupidity. These were all terrible decisions, affecting the entire world. The logic is delirious, unfocused, and farcically wrong. Babble is everywhere.  Nobodies are suddenly VIPs. Doing dumb things is now normal. Believing anything, however obviously false, is now normal.

This is a very sick world, and it’s not trying too hard to get better.  That’s a particularly damning statement. Nothing is really being done about anything important, on any level.

Plagues usually burn themselves out, sooner or later.  The current insanities will pass. Even the Black Death eventually ended. The damage, however, may not be so easy to undo this time.

Most of the problems above are fixable. It would be relatively easy to achieve a modern version of the old normal. It’s not happening, or even being considered. That, folks, is ultra-stupid, and it could be fatal.

“Make the world smart again” may not be much of a catchphrase, but it beats crap out of the alternatives.

 

America the self-pitying? Or just plain stupid?


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamTo us foreigners, America’s apparent total refusal to see the obvious from 2016 is baffling. Trump will come and Trump will go. He’s not the long term problem. The problem is America’s total failure to face any kind of tangible reality, or do anything about it, for decades.

It’s a horrible shame. Things could have been so much better. Ignorance and real, applied stupidity have done the damage.

America’s horrible list of failures

America has successfully failed to face:

  • Trashed generations which could have been so much more.
  • Lost, bungled wars of all kinds despite an effective military.
  • Its own deliberately generated hatreds and polarizations.
  • A culture of intellectually bankrupt financial management.
  • The plague-like spread of organized crime and corruption at all levels.
  • The culture of dishonesty which is now poisoning every single fact.
  • The industry of greed which perverts basic daily business at all levels.
  • A truly psychotic business management culture.
  • Ridiculous prices “because we can” for critical basics like health and education.
  • Unspeakable generational poverty and demonizing of the poor.
  • Stunningly talentless maladministration on every level of government.
  • Colossal waste of people and resources on a fantastic scale.
  • Chronic insularity at the expense of all known facts.
  • The institutionalization of the Rust Belt and the mentality of Failure Incarnate that it represents.
  • Serial corporate law breaking in all sectors.
  • Careerism and related life models based on a world which no longer exists, at great expense.

THE great American novel. Should be used as a political primer until 2020.

Arguably worse than all of the above is the unquestioning acceptance of failure in every possible form. Not one damn thing has ever been done about any of it, all the way back to Nixon.  It’s self-inflicted. Whole generations of weak, facile, astonishingly stupid and even more astonishingly untrustworthy people have made it happen.  Others have allowed it to happen. Guilt is shared.

Consider this little litany, which is just a sample:

  • McCarthyism, the All-American mechanism of oppression still used today
  • Vietnam
  • Watts riots
  • Watergate
  • Enron
  • Lehmann Bros.
  • Insolvent banks
  • GFC
  • Sub primes
  • Municipal bonds
  • Hurricane Katrina/FEMA
  • 911

You can’t have this level of constant, unmitigated, catastrophic national failure by accident. The reaction to decades of failure has been equally pathetic. The only visible reaction to 60 years of obsessive failure has been for someone to occasionally pop out like a cuckoo clock and say “O woe is us”, and disappear in a puff of utterly useless self-pity.

America vs its own success?

For a culture based on success, America has totally ignored the downsides of success. Past success spoiled America in a deadly way. The prosperity of the past was a good excuse to let things slide. They slid. Who cared about some war in a country they’d never heard of, or some riot somewhere? Everyone was comfortable, and comforted by the theory of trust in something called America. The future was going to be so much better, too. It isn’t, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Experts by the shipload from 1945 onwards warned of future problems and were unanimously ignored in all practical terms. From Silent Spring to global warming, ignorance is highly paid bliss.  Ignoring experts is now standard practice. (They’re still warning, but at least they’ve stopped expecting anyone to listen, let alone understand a word.)

The bottom line is that Americans wax lyrical about a vision of America and simultaneously bemoan the inglorious actual failures. Absolutely nothing is done, and more failures inevitably emerge. It’s no coincidence. Failure generates failure. Failure evolves, like a new disease. The next big financial crashes and the next political disasters will be created by failures happening right now. Face it and fix it, or fail again.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

SMJ is finally re-published in a sort of reduced form, still a lot to do.

 

 

Minimalism, a rebuttal


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamMinimalism is to me the epitome of this idea-less, loveless, lifeless society. Replace a life with an empty space. Decluttering is one thing; removing all aesthetics and life values is another.

What, nothing matters? No keepsakes, no beautiful things? Exactly what I’d expect from this rathole of a pseudo-civilization; a barren wasteland, with a brand name and a smug little rationale. Minimalism is the sort of aesthetic you’d expect from an underachieving termite.

What minimalism is and isn’t

Listen, phonebrains, while I explain a few things:

Minimalism is called “living with less”. That’s a death sentence if ever there was. Already living in overpriced antique pigeon coops, you want less?  Remember doing more with less, that farcical fraud foisted on business? Remember how it meant doing a lot more with a lot less and achieving nothing but stress?

This is a simulation of the known universe. Minimalism? None.

The universe. Minimalism? None. This single picture has more meaning than any empty damn barn will ever have. You wouldn’t be allowed to put it on your wall, because it’s not a minimalist value.

Minimalism means by definition fewer aesthetics. Can you exist without a likeable environment? Would you want to? Because that’s what this “interior desertification” means. How at home do you feel in a barren space like an airport? Do you go to a “nice” pub, with a friendly environment, or some damn laminated hell with nothing but lifeless spaces?

Minimalism means life without art. Ignore a few thousand years of aesthetics, why don’t you? You could be as pig-ignorant as anyone you’ve ever despised. “Well, how long can you look at the same painting?”, you ask? Answer; decades, if you know a damn thing about how to look at a painting. You’ll always see textures, colour combinations, etc. The painting will reflect differently with different moods, emotions, etc., too.

The lifestyle aspect of minimalism is one of its few valid features; it reflects a nothing of a lifestyle. Emptiness, not humanity, not even personality. The irony of using natural materials in “minimalist” environments is that you might as well be back in the caves, where you presumably belong, not living as some sort of allegedly advanced, evolved being.

To me, minimalism is subhuman. It’s a monument to nihilism, that great philosophical cop-out of humanity, in which everything is considered meaningless. It’s as pitiful as “prove existence” for first year philosophy hacks. How spiritually gutless can you get? Minimalism, like nihilism, means you have no skin in the game of being yourself. You can’t win, but you can’t lose, either, with no commitments. You can’t even play the game. That’s minimalism; a void in to which you can escape. You can have it; just don’t ask me to do anything with it but bury it.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

 

The Analects of Confucius, China’s Socrates


 

Confucius may well be one of the least pretentious people in history. He’s a good, interesting match with Socrates, in many ways. He’s also a very observant person. The West has largely overlooked Confucius. In the early days of Western contact, the Chinese habit of literary and colloquial references was totally misunderstood and even taken literally. The result was that Confucius, a very literary person, was classed among the “inscrutable” sayings.

I’ve long thought that referring to China as “inscrutable” simply meant that nobody was looking very hard. Reading Confucius as translated by DC Lau, that impression is confirmed. (I prefer to read native speaker translations of Chinese. The old Chinese idioms are tricky, and often misinterpreted by non-Chinese translators, simply because contexts are very dynamic in Chinese.)

The Analects of Confucius

Analects of Confucius

Inscrutable Chinese Art. See what I mean about not looking?

Confucius apparently had a rather turbulent, sometimes quite difficult, life. An avid student of everything, he was as absorbed in every facet of ideas as Socrates. Anyone with a brain will recognize the likely problems with being that intelligent in any society.

In old China, a land of quite incredible culture and incredible violence, Confucius stood out. He was famous for his mind in a country where famine, war, and corruption were ways of life. He was a “spiritual humanist” (based within the culture’s highest attainments to that time.

(“Spiritual humanist”. What an expression! Wish I could say I thought of it without the obvious inputs from a totally different perspective on life, but I didn’t. Read and learn, indeed.)

Earning respect in ancient China wasn’t easy for anyone, despite a great cultural respect for literacy and intelligence. To stand out in this environment was no minor achievement. A native of Lu, a minor Chinese state, his reputation spread within his lifetime, adding a burden of fame to frustration and what appears to be a constantly evolving knowledge and logic base.

The Analects are a series of notations about Confucius. It’s a pretty eclectic mix, but the man’s wit and compassion are more than obvious.  His status, ironically, has rather obscured his genuine insights and talent for observation. That status has also rather overstated the reverence and focused less on the highly intelligent person.

The Analects are arranged in 20 books in the DC Lau translation.

Central parts of the Analects:

  • The rites: Traditional practices, rituals, and values.
  • The gentleman: The ideal man.
  • Filial piety: Respect for one’s ancestors. (Confucius didn’t invent this. He made it a core value in his system of thinking to develop “society as a family’, perhaps one of the most genuinely civilized ideas of all time.)
  • The Way: Not quite the cosmic Way of the Tao, but the humanized version, with some relationships.
  • Character: The core issue of human conduct and values.
  • Ethics and correct behaviour are fundamental Confucian values.
  • Aphorisms: In the Analects, these statements become aphorisms as isolated  statements. Other text indicates that they originally had more qualifiers and that Confucius routinely explained his thoughts, but they’re extremely interesting even on their own.
  • Anecdotes: Interesting, and clearly intended to give some insights into Confucius’ real personality. (Pity more major historical figures weren’t given real personalities.)

Mysticism isn’t Confucius’ style. He works on practical principles, and tries to develop them.  That 2600 year old bit of good practice makes the Analects very readable and the meanings a lot clearer.

(For the record, Chinese “mysticism” is usually based on idioms and thick-headed Western literal translations. The Chinese sages didn’t go out of their way to be obscure. Add to this the fact that the spiritual side is a core element in Chinese philosophy, and you’re basically reading an alien culture. Western philosophy gave up on metaphysics a long time ago, and has been much poorer as a result.)

Confucius for modern readers

For modern readers, Confucius will come as a revelation or perhaps even a shock, if they fully understand some passages in the Analects. Confucius tries, hard, to take ideas out of the banal and show them as working things. His apparently endless efforts to make sense out of ideas are as interesting as Socratic debates, with a laconic style which is admirable.

For example:

“In his errors, a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.”

Love Chinese culture. I have Chinese immortals in my stories, including one guy who recited a poem. His friends asked, “Ancient?” He said, “Not very. I wrote it this morning.”

Think about that for a second. It’s an appeal to the individual, a principle, and a good expression of a practical option for those trying to deal with “errors” in all their myriad forms. Whole books and much turgid pondering of the obvious have been written on the same subject. He does it in 18 words, with a bit of advice.

In one passage, he’s asked how he compares with a man called Hui. Hui is a man “living on rice and a ladle of water” without complaint. Confucius asks how he could dare compare himself with Hui, whom he clearly admires.

Comparing himself to another man, he says that when this man learns one thing, he understands ten things, whereas Confucius claims only to understand two himself.

This very honest character shows up continually in the Analects. The voice is usually very consistent. Any variation of character would actually be suspect. Like Socrates, a real person is clearly visible.

Confucius is old China at its best and most thoughtful. Read this in company with the Tao Teh Ching, and you’ll encounter two key facets of a world of thought you may never have believed possible.

Suggestion: Read when you have no distractions and are in a frame of mind able to absorb this text. It will be worth it.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

History as psychosis?


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamThe definition of psychosis is: “ A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.” If you consider that as a description of humanity’s relationship with other people’s realities, psychosis covers it nicely.

Humanity is its own worst enemy, and worst friend, in some cases.  In this time of global disasters, it’s worth looking at how thought and emotions have basically lost the plot.

Psychotic is definitely a word which can be applied to the current mess.  This world is so bad now that losing contact with reality is probably a better option than facing it. Thought and emotions, however basic and delusional, paranoid and absurd, were the mechanisms which caused it.

The mere fact that a collection of brattish fools and criminals of various kinds are now in charge of a disgusting global dunghill should be proof enough.  Poverty, slavery, gigantic pandemics, you name it; it’s the Middle Ages with smart phones.

Psychosis in history

Psychosis, you say, Aarfy? Nah…

This has happened many times before. It’s a textbook case, in fact. The diagnostic pattern couldn’t be more obvious. The more out of touch and delusional a ruling clique, the more catastrophic the backlash. History is full of ruling cliques who were running empires one day and being executed or assassinated the next.

Yes, this type psychosis is stupid, as well as delusional. The bigger, more obvious targets are the first hit. One of the reasons that astonishingly untalented people become “leaders” is that everyone else isn’t quite stupid enough to make a target of themselves, particularly in dangerous times. In the corporate world, the least mentally agile or most trusting are the ones given responsibility for failures, etc.

Power does more than corrupt. It rules rulers. It makes them its slave. The most idiotic actions in human history can be traced to the incompetent being “given” power.  In practice, the “gift” is a trade off with those ruled. Real power exists in its exercise, not in titles like Emperor, President, etc.

Psychoses don’t need conspiracy theories. This book is history. Consider.

The Roman emperor Augustus, one of the smarter leaders of all time, basically disappeared from sight while ruling. It’s an almost unique achievement. He continued to actually rule, but from a safe distance, away from the poisonous and dangerous Roman Senate and the entrenched politics of his time. He became a god, in fact, rather than theory, because he could override the Senate and anyone else. That was a mix of personal and national survival, about as sane as any leader needs to be. He basically dodged the psychosis of power and the psychoses of history. His successors, with a few exceptions, did the exact opposite, and destroyed the empire.

The psychosis finds a home among the stupid, the greedy and the lazy. Those who perpetrate history’s horrors are never truly intelligent, but they are psychotic by any standards. The politics of the cave, the friends of the powerful and the corrupt, continue, and that really defines the problem.  The stupid, greedy and lazy always associate with the powerful. Even if the ruling clique isn’t psychotic by nature, it will become so, sooner or later, because of the corrupting influences on it.

Didn’t know that, eh?

The psychosis becomes the norm. Loss of contact with reality requires a particular type of logic. Some subjects are forbidden. Others are ignored, or ridiculed.  Facts are interpreted, rather than understood correctly. In a truly psychotic environment, there’s little point in understanding facts, anyway. There’s nobody there who’ll be prepared to do anything about them.

The loss of contact with reality, however, includes a fatal flaw in the psychosis; it also means denial of real dangers which can destroy it. The dangerous enemy is devalued. Even actual attacks are downgraded to nuisance value, not seen in their true light. The psychosis thrives on its achievements, whether they exist or not. Therefore, anything which contradicts those achievements is not accepted as fact.

The psychosis, like a disease, also has a weakness. It tends to kill its host. That’s long been argued by biologists as an own goal for diseases; it’s anti-survival. That a psychosis, the epitome in human history of anti-survivalism, acts against its own survival is rather reassuring.

Psychosis  as a living thing

Isaac Asimov wrote a story published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1951 called Hostess about a parasitic species which existed only in the minds of people and aliens. It was an intelligent species, but it didn’t have a particular form, just a mentality. The parasite can breed by mixing hosts, and then the hosts are no longer required. The parasitic species continues its existence at the expense of the host species. It actually is a typical parasite.

There’s nothing at all unlikely about this scenario. A psychosis, created by chemical actions, is alive by most definitions, if it acts consciously and reproduces in some form. It’s a bit strange, in fact, that humans, so obsessed with their own mentalities, don’t recognize the difference between parasitic behaviours and natural behaviours. The historical psychosis has a long list of examples of itself in genocidal maniacs, serial killers, tyrants, religious nuts, and megalomaniacs. About 10% of managers, in fact, are believed to be psychotic, and they sometimes show all the traits of true human-hating psychosis.

Do you see it?
I see a herd of beautiful wild ponies.
Thanks, Daria.

Much less reassuringly – There’s no credible, survival-based rationale at all for humanity’s seemingly endless psychotic social, military, religious, psychological and economic wars against itself. It’s as if an anti-human psychosis was a sort of plague, acting the way it does, for thousands of years. Whole civilizations have come and gone on the basis of psychotic behavior.

Being anti-human also  isn’t any kind natural human mental state. Humans are basically co-dependent, whether they like it or not. The only reason humanity survived prehistory was because people cooperated.

Humans survive a lot better when they’re not at war with each other in any form. Another friendly human is a major asset. Anything which promotes human conflict is anti-human, anti-survival, and therefore psychotic. Anything which poisons the social environment, like bullies, criminals, etc. is also anti-survival on the same basis, simply because they disrupt valuable natural cooperation.

So – The psychosis is anti-survival, but it’s also a historical fact. There’s a trail of disasters all the way back to the beginning of human history showing how useless this psychosis is and always has been. Did humanity defeat all its natural enemies and simply replace them with itself? Or is there some serious disease affecting people throughout history which is a real risk to future human survival?

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Still working on the upgrade, sorry, and working pretty much all the time otherwise. It happens when it happens. 

Want some youth culture, with sprinkles, cretins?


 

youth cultureYouth culture hasn’t done a damn thing since the 1980s. Everyone is a teenage gangster or a Valley Girl bimbo and always has been, according to this culture. Anyone who uses two syllables is a nerd. Conformity as far as the belch of media can go.

It’s bad enough that the “adult” culture (that collection of close ups and tantrums) is a virtual sewer. Now, every moron is a hero and every genius a leper. God knows individuality is a mystery to most at the best of times. It’s like nobody told them they’re supposed to be real people.

Youth culture/loser culture

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam youth cultureThe problem is that this youth culture is also a loser culture. Being a sort of backpack full of clichés is OK.  It’s OK to be a slum dwelling ape. It’s fine to shoot a few people. After all, everybody does it. It’s normal, like most diseases. “Rape culture”, for which you’d have been killed for even suggesting it a generation or so ago, is also OK. What a triumph of human achievement.

It’s also fine if you can’t read or write. You’re a severely handicapped person, financially, socially and legally, but hey, that’s OK. You can and will be ripped off by anyone who can read or write, but that’s fine, too.

This is what the highest level of civilization ever achieved by humanity does with culture on a routine basis – Absolute failure.

You peasant shit, tolerating this obscenity of a culture. The entire culture is created by vermin. It has nothing to offer but more crap and more failure. If you tolerate one second of this garbage, you don’t deserve to be called human.

Is it any wonder that a large number of supposedly human basket cases believe any damn thing they see on any kind of screen? They can’t argue. They have no idea how, or why. They belong in sheltered workshops.

Youth culture and Generation Retard

Gothic Black, Paul Wallis books AmazonGeneration Retard is going to fail, catastrophically. It won’t get up again afterwards. The rust has extended to the brain.

Who cares what delusional “elites” conspire to do anything anymore. The patient is dead and the maggots are cashing in. (These suburban scum are elites? You’re kidding.)

Youth culture goes to a few predictable destinations:

  • College, followed by middle age, followed by nothing much.
  • Blue collar stop/start employment followed by middle age, followed by absolutely nothing.
  • Hood Land, where you’re just a statistic or somewhere to put the bullets. No way out or back, either.
  • It all comes with a soundtrack, a few STDs, and of course marriage, the supposed happy ending which usually ends unhappily in more than 50% of cases.

Nothing new. The myth is alive, if nothing else is. The non-existent nuclear family is still bleating merrily, the “community” (like there is one) is still thriving away in delightful poverty.

What good old days of youth culture? You’re envying the image, not the fact

In the so-called good old days, people scraped a living out of office jobs, blue collar jobs, and other chickenfeed existences.  Things were cheaper and safer. Hippies didn’t kill people. That’s the main reason the not-very-good old days are considered good at all. That’s a lot better than current “youth” is likely to do, though. This generation is already screwed to death.

The 1-5% of people who succeed are the exceptions, not the norm, in this culture. The rest is a form of theft. Fortunately, the rich usually don’t stay rich for long, so that’s something to look forward to, but while they’re there, guess who’s paying for it all.

As for the drugs – What, you ran out of lemonade? Even the stimulants are substandard. The self-destruction is scripted, like a bad soap opera. Ice and coke, the bubbles on the champagne, are nothing. They are destructive, but as “stimulants” they’re just burnout food. DIY liver problems at best, and no more.  If you hate yourself, your money and your liver, they’re great. For all else, consider a gun; it’s cheaper, far less painful and quicker.

Youth culture? If it was a cockroach you’d tread on it. You have a nice soundtrack of nursery rhymes and corpses, so you’re covered for the rest of your life. Literally. You have dead or ex-people telling you how to behave, how to think, and how to react.

No think = No person – No life.

If you’re under the age of 20, one thing you need to know: Life doesn’t give refunds. You can learn that now, or 20 years from now. The choice is yours.

What about your sprinkles, you twitch intelligently? Sure. It’s also known as carnivorous bullshit. See if you can avoid it. Meanwhile – Any theories on how that definition was achieved?

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

 

17 reasons why non-writers need to understand writers


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam

Non-writers are as much of a curse to writers as non-artists and non-musicians are to those arts. They know staggeringly little about the actual facts of writing, the need for continuity and are usually 20 years behind the market. (Sorry for the text layout on this blog. Formatting issue.)

To explain:

  1. Nobody can be forced to read, let alone made to want to read, anything at all, online or anywhere else.
  2. “Engagement” is the key to any kind of content. Modern writing isn’t based on style guides, auditing practices, focus groups or anything but interesting content.
  3. The modern audience actively searches for information. It is therefore fussy about what it reads. Ignore that fact at your peril. Fizzy, featherweight copy can be a major non-lead generator.
  4. The commercial audience isn’t clueless when it’s looking to buy products. Many customers are as knowledgeable as, or more knowledgeable than, the sales people they deal with.
  5. Customers can take or leave sales spiel. In practice, they’ll ignore 90% of what they see, and be fussy about the other 10%. They need hard values in sales form, not sales form disguised, badly, as information.
  6. The “I should know everything I need to know in 30 seconds” thing is now at least 20 years out of date. Less can be better, but more provides, well, more. Lack of information, not too surprisingly, looks like lack of information. Worse, it looks suspicious, like obvious questions are being left unaddressed.
  7. Grammar, schmammar. Making sense is more important than archaic usage. Bad grammar may be inexcusable in some cases, but it’s not like lawsuits will result unless you louse up your sales terms. Grammar is not written under oath, and unless the usage and syntax are actually suicidal, it’s not worth nitpicking.
  8. Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, AmazonPomposity is not an asset in business writing or copywriting. You can be as “corporate” as you like, and the readers will simply edit it out. It’s useless to them. They need applicable, relevant information, far more than mere presentation. Friendly/casual works far better than “we’d like to patronize you to death, right now this minute,” as copy.
  9. You can’t pass off “useless” as a synonym for “professional”, either. Filler is filler, however overloaded with standard phrases. (It also uses up space which could be made much more productive.)
  10. Garbage is garbage. “This exciting, innovative, money-making product” doesn’t mean a damn thing until you get down to cases. A lot of long form direct marketing stuff is guilty of this, and it’s a major turnoff for anyone who’s survived puberty.
  11. Portfolios matter to writers. If your portfolio is full of crap, prospective clients will think you’re full of crap, and you’ll be able to prove it to them with substandard materials.
  12. Non-writers have their own problems. They need to work with clients, sometimes at kindergarten level, but failing to understand what better quality writing can do simply devalues their product. Most competent writers can contribute both subject knowledge and value-based writing options. That usually doesn’t happen. (Just look at what’s trying to pass itself off as copywriting online for infinite numbers of examples.)
  13. Writers, like marketers and advertisers, target They write to actual people in context with subject matter. Non-writers may or may not know the markets or the people. In some cases, they don’t know the products too well, either, where most experienced writers make a point of understanding specific markets. If you’re writing B2B, you have to write to business values, not some damn obsolete image. C level readers don’t need pretty pictures. They want dollar values to their businesses.
  14. Depth of information matters to readers. “Whiter and brighter” isn’t the criteria for buying anything any more. Superior product, better value, clear user/buyer information, and anything along those lines, goes a lot further. (Remember customers do check out competitors. So should agencies. You can learn a lot.)
  15. “We’re not experts”. This cliché, invented in the 90s, has a lot to answer for. Says who? Is the assumption that because you’re a writer/agency, you know nothing about your client’s products? Does it sound plausible?
  16. “Writing like a lawyer”. I’ve been accused of this, and it was in relation to stock market-based materials in Canada. What I was worried about was market disclosure, providing information which may or may not be accurate. Not writing dubious/debatable materials which can be used to discredit a corporate client seemed to me to be a good idea, and still does. Caution is advisable when your client’s image is at stake.
  17. Conformity is death. Writing like everyone else is a great way of being totally ignored. Unique writing is as important as any unique selling point, when you’re trying to get a message across.

The bottom line: If you want relevant, reader-friendly material, acknowledge the role of the writer and allow appropriate input.

Good copy can’t write itself.

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Is your business turning into a chicken whisperer?


 

Previously published on the old blog. Some cheap shots added to maintain my tradition of total intolerance of everything. 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamConsider this as a statement of business capabilities: “Our sales manager can talk to chickens. Sometimes they even condescend to reply and instruct us.”

Would you say this business has a problem?

Damn straight, it has a problem. The business has achieved total irrelevance, even to itself, and is being run by third party chickens.

We live in an era where any business operation, however important, can be turned into a Rube Goldberg exercise. It seems that everybody’s 5 cents is absolutely essential, even that of chicken-whisperers. Eternities are spent getting things done whether they need doing or not.

How much internal ritual could possibly be productive work? How many largely cosmetic processes are parts of production? How many people do you need to do creative direction or the other pro operational stuff?

OK, all businesses have a few pet executives and other novelty items. Some people do deliver value. The question, in effect, is how many micro managers could any business possibly need? Short answer, none. There are more than enough of these vermin in business to last forever.

Is your aspiring chicken business fossilizing?

Here’s a few symptoms of “business ritual sclerosis” in chicken business culture as they’re usually expressed in job ads:

“Eye for detail”: This is the standard excuse for progressing anything at the slowest, most irritating possible pace. Useful to a point, obviously, but also means the incumbents will insist on proving they know when a comma’s in the wrong place, etc. Unless you’re actually making money out of your grammar, how useful is that?

“Team player”: Gesundheit. Everyone is a team player- to the extent they understand teamwork. Everyone is also obliged to pull their weight in any team and deliver value as an individual. The fact is that teams can be as dysfunctional as their  chicken-brained members. This is a tautology which has become an extremely expensive oxymoron.  Replace this expression with “have a clue”, and you’ll get somewhere.

Qualifications: Qualifications in business tend to come in two forms: Theoretical and practical. The person with the practical qualifications is someone who can do the job, the theoretical person might be able to do the job. Practical people can always be taught theory. The problem with the theoretical person is that they’re likely to turn theory into operations, rather than practical business functions.

Qualifications also have a much shorter shelf life than they did a generation ago, and their relevance is highly questionable in some sectors of business. In context, do qualifications actually add up to delivered business product? If not, why not? Are qualified people being wasted, or just wrong for the work? Or do you just like hiring pluckwits?

Chickens aren’t great communicators, either

Communications: People are required to communicate, but look at how the range of additional operations blows out the frame of reference. The more steps there are in a process, the more “communication” is required, particularly in clucking form, therefore the more likely more misinterpretation will result.

Do you want to work for a chicken business?

Pecking orders: Let’s face it; turning business hiring into a popularity contest has been all bad. When hired, there’s a built-in structure in this sort of business to impair the performance of anyone from the start of their employment. Theses ritual based businesses tend to devalue and/or overvalue people according to social relationships, not talent or business priorities. Therefore the talent, given a chance, escapes, ASAP. Not good for businesses.

The result of all this brilliance is hiring chicken-whisperers, and creating a culture based on awe of the intellects of barnyard poultry. (” Manager-thing know how to use chair!”, etc.) If these symptoms are beginning to even vaguely resemble your business, deal with them now, before your business grows feathers and starts feeling insecure around KFC outlets.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Some good news – Lost a few files, but updated SMJ is under way and will be published shortly – Like 50-100 pages from now. 

How to beat fake news


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamThe fake news plague which hit pandemic levels during the US election is still going on, in slightly reduced, but equally nasty, ways. There are ways of beating this disgusting crap, and they’re pretty simple.

Fake news is based on:

  • Attacking other people or groups, directly or indirectly.
  • Appeals to sympathy, prejudice, and political perspectives.
  • Specific features of a “crime” or “event” which mirror hate speech.
  • “News” which just happens to coincide with a recent statement by some public figure.
  • Combinations of the above, in any form.

The immortal Celts in EnglandLet’s not get too cute about this. Bad things happen in this world. It’s just they don’t usually happen quite so conveniently, at all the right times, in conjunction with speeches or propaganda campaigns.

Real news also doesn’t come in cookie-cutter form. It has specific characteristics. Every story is different enough to be an actual event, not a made-up one.

The basic counter to fake news is “Don’t instantly believe anything without corroboration.” There’s usually a lot of collateral evidence to any real story. This is a fundamental principle of real journalism.

For example:

If an accident happened, there will be:

  • Actual victims
  • Ambulances
  • Police in attendance
  • Blocked roads and traffic backing up
  • Local coverage, and other coverage, will be around the story.
  • Witnesses saying pretty much the same thing but with different views based on where they were at the time.

A reporter would check with a local hospital to see how many people were admitted. Local police would make a statement, usually not much, but confirming some details.  All of this information is findable in about 15 minutes, if you know where to look.

Defining fake news

Fake news, however, comes with little or no corroboration and some “interesting” sources:

  • None, or barely any of the corroboration as happens with a real news story is present.
  • Fake news tends to be sensational, usually at a well-known person or group.
  • Usual themes are crimes, sex, or something “immoral” by community standards.
  • Allegations, usually baseless but damaging, are normal for fake news.
  • Whatever is reported will come out of the blue, with no real background.
  • It breaks from minor league sources, or sources affiliated with someone or something.
  • Nobody else covers it. It’s standalone, most of the time.
  • Sources are vague or badly defined, and tend to be similar publications in terms of what they publish and why they publish it.
  • A surge of copycat “anger” emerges, everyone using the same phrases and keywords. Trolls will emerge like a microwave timer, right on time to go viral with something that never happened at all.

Pretty damn simple, isn’t it?

Ads_Cover_for_KindleSo are the people who make fake news. These are the panel beaters of fake realities. They aim for the lowest common denominator, which means they can’t miss hitting someone. They’re the self-proclaimed good guys, defending the public from a non-existent threat.

If you check their other “work”, it will be a patchwork of similar sewer-grade “news”. They’re career fakes. Hit any link, with your anti-virus up to date, and you’ll see a sort of Diary of a Wannabe Journalist, big stories and everything, all fake news.

Most of them are paid fakes. Few people would do this if they weren’t paid to do it.

It’s so bizarre that even American media, that bus stop to pornography for morons, expects decent money for it.

Beating fake news

To beat fake news:

  • Don’t simply believe things. Check them out.
  • Who else is covering it? Nobody, or just the usual suspects? Probably fake.
  • How much of the story is real, and how much is pure ranting?
  • Hearsay isn’t news. How much of it comes from those actually involved?
  • Allegations are allegations, not news. Accusations aren’t law, either.
  • Are there other, consistent, bits of information which back up the story?

It’ll save you a lot of aggravation.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books