Mutually assured erections

The title has nothing to do with the post. I’m just immature.

Actually, I wanted to call it Mutually Assured Destruction, because I nuked a ten year friendship over the weekend. But I’m more or less fine. So it wasn’t my destruction. And I’m sure my friend is fine, or will be.

On friendship. On bullshit, onomatopoeia…uhhhhhh. So what the fuck happened?

Long story. The easiest starting point is that friendship is a loosey goosey term, and people throw it around because they are too embarrassed to be honest about their relationships.

I think a true friend is someone who wants the best for you, even at the expense of themselves. In other words, someone who loves you. Sometimes love leads to erections. mostly not tho, sadness.

But there are all these other people that don’t fit that definition, that we all call friend, guy. So lets try some categories. Key word: try.

1) People you share interests with:

This is easy, you like that person, in some limited fashion, largely because there are few truly individual pursuits, and a buddy that can share your passions is great…Do I need to say more? You know this.

2) People you have chemistry with:

Let me just struggle through this one. The personality is a real(ish) thing, and some personalities gel better with other personalities. Real competitive people like to compete with other real competitive people, and sometimes they like admirers, and sometimes people like to admire people. There are bazillions of combinatrixs of personalities. But sometimes its just easy to be around someone, and that works for a while. But it doesn’t get you to love.

3) People you just know, because you spend forever with them because of circumstance

Time has a funny way of revealing the nuances of someones’ character. I think we naturally just like familiarity. And nostalgia for past gives us warm glow. So people have a tendency to think this means friendship. It doesn’t.

4) People you don’t really like, but are usefull

This happens. I think we are really embarrassed to admit this one, and it is culturally punished to reveal this stance to another person. These are people we use. I of course don’t do this.

5) People we admire, want to emulate / People we feel we can teach

This one is maybe just people we share passions with, but it seems a little more specific.

There are easily more categories…but why keep categorizing?

The categories are situations, and all of them can be the foundation of a real true friendship, but none of the necessarily get you there.

It really is about love, dude, bro, man, girl, sweetie.

What’s love got to do, got to do with it? Ok. It ultimately is about whether you want that other person to be their most fulfilled person. And you really have to want it. Because you can sit there and posture all day on how you possibly might want this for everyone, hence everyone is yo fwiend. But you don’t want this, not at the expense of yo fwiend time with that other person, do you?

This is where is gets tough. Why did I nuke a friendship? Because I didn’t feel that anything mattered but form, substance was lacking. Pick one of the categories, or make up a new one. Ultimately, there is a lot of expectation that gets built up over time. You share a passion, and when those passions diverge…if you aren’t true friends, that feels like a huge loss, and you want to pull that other person towards you, even at some cost to that other persons’ passions, and so there is some damage done here to yo fwiend.

To be fair, you might do that, pull your friend in the wrong direction, if you love the person, people fuck up, but ultimately you hopefully correct that mistake. See the bird for the feathers.

And ultimately there is a whole dimension of depth. You can love people to varying degrees, but there is one fundamental truth that has to be maintained…you have to put the other person before yourself, in your own mind, to some degree. You have to enjoy seeing the other person flourishing. Despite your own sense of loss that you may not be the most central figure in that flourishing. You take joy in that shit. It’s like a mutually assured erection that way. They get a success boner, and you get a remote-success boner (I’m not aware of any women actually reading this, but you get lady versions of boners. What is that? Like really wet? Forgive me I’m clueless. Everyone is hot to trot, glory).

What you don’t get is resentment. Or the sadz. You sure as hell don’t interfere and try to make the other person feel guilt. People are responsible for their own happiness, and it takes a unique set of circumstances for a given person to be happy. Whatever the fuck happiness is. So friends help friends be happy.

Now in closing, it is a long life, and there is no need to waste one of those 5 categories…or whatever categories. If you have a relationship that can be a friendship…don’t be butthurt if it isn’t the case today. And be honest with yourself. If you want it. Great. If not. O well. If on second thought, you actually love somebody, and you be being a dinkus, you got time, just own the mistake and make it better.

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Some Politics

Something I thought about on the long drive is what I would do with power.

  1. I would structure every policy based on rigorous vetting, and if no data exists, we go to random assignment of policies to see which ones work. The metrics would perhaps not be traditional ones.
  2. The ideological guiding principle would be the enablement of people, not maximizing social welfare.
    1. Enablement of people would have to control for a multitude of factors, but it is ultimately expanding each individuals’ potential production frontier to some unknown limit — which we would hope correlates with satisfaction with life. Economic models fail against the data in this regard, and utility theory should be thrown out.
    2. failure to achieve this task is understood, it’s simply the ideal that drives micro-decisions, and the principle question that needs to be asked in all policy debates
  3. If people take on risk, they get to enjoy the benefit or eat the consequences. This means rich people can get wiped out, and if they use other peoples’ money or well being without properly communicating risk and obtaining consent, it is a criminal charge.
  4. SWF are messed up utilitarian garbage that force people to use shitty data to measure quality of life, but if measuring money, law makers would be biased away from concentrated losses for distributed gains, on one end, and biased away from distributed losses for concentrated gains at the other end. These two principles are foremost after individual enablement.
    1. We would not be biased towards maximizing social welfare, because Pareto efficiency is an amoral principle.
  5. Politicians would run in vocational races, ex) The minister of health is an election for health administrators.
  6. Taxation is shifted away from punishing desirable activities like earning an income, and more aligned with punishing anti-social behavior. Activities that have concentrated gains, and distributed losses, for example are taxed heavily.
  7. Subsidies more or less go away, unless there are distributed gains and concentrated losses. Subsidies must be Pareto neutral or as best as can be determined. Experimental treatments will determine more detailed policy decisions, not precedent.

This is a work in progress, but political camps such as libertarianism and collectivism are both elements somehow, capitalism w.r.t property rights still seems to work well, would not be abandoned, but property rights would be expanded to include nuanced and non-market goods. Let this serve as a spontaneous breakdown of my political biases. Is it a rightist or leftist position? How useless is our current political language and classification system?

Best Death

I thought about the best time to die. I concluded that it depends on whether you have given up on goals or not.

In the case of giving up, you would spend all of your resources on increasingly enjoyable experiences, and you would have a false tooth with a lethal poison or explosive to bite down on. You wait until the most thrilling experience is at hand, and just before you do it, with the highest level of anticipation, you bite the tooth. Because anticipation is at a better time to go than disappointment, the actual climax is the point just before doing something exciting.

In the case of not giving up, you die unexpectedly or as a martyr for the cause. Julius Caesar style.

Thus are the best deaths.

Worst death is WWI pointlessness, where your life was made obviously worthless to the people who control your death.

Another happy article I read

I read this.

It’s another work on happiness.

The big picture on this was that unhappiness is not the opposite of happiness. The article argues that they are separate brain functions, and that they can/do happen simultaneously.

This dichotomy is one I had never questioned. Surely, I thought, one is the absence of the other. They are related, no doubt. Though the exact relationship is probably not worth spending too much time trying to discover. It’s worth a read.

Quotes I remark today

“Give destiny a destination”

-Tomi Ungerer? (On his biography film)

“People are responsible for their own happiness”

-Steve Smith (Red Green)

Quotes are cheesy, and easily written off. The two above quotes are given from an obscure children’s author and a CBC comedian, but the sources of these quotes are irrelevant to what I am going to say.

I’m talking about these quotes today because I heard them recently and they are bouncing around in my head. The first one is a little bit of word play, and is probably more likely to inspire eye-rolling. In general, I think it is hack-ish to put much emphasis on precise way someone else has said something. But, but, but other people have thought about something they wanted to communicate, and sound-bit it for us to meme out over.

Anyway…the first one implies that you have power to choose your destiny. By using the word give, Ungerer (or whoever said it) places the ownership and authority of destiny in the hands of the listener. Isn’t that nice? It relates to goals and realization thereof. However, there is more to it than that, because it implies that goals are more or less arbitrary, which they are: nobody will tell you what to do or why, even though you were (if you are like me) raised expecting the great “They” to tell you what you should strive for. The truth for Ungerer is that, without something to work towards, you are likely to get distracted, and fail, or forget, or lose motivation.

The second quote puts us in charge of our own happiness, but also prevents us from getting caught up in other peoples’ problems. So why aren’t we/they responsible? Because we can’t know one another, not really. Trying to say/do the right thing at the right time all the time is impossible. Good intentions don’t belie results, and if anyone put in a sincere effort, it most certainly would come at the cost of her own happiness. This system wouldn’t aggregate if everyone looked out for everyone else all the time, so nobody does, not successfully. Nature abhors a vacuum / takes the path of least resistance / keep it simple stupid. AND people respond to incentives (ooo economics) / organisms respond to stimuli. How powerful is the sensation of helping someone when you are not sure you actually helped? I also just don’t believe that people are wired to feel true altruism, not in any significant way (but I don’t feel like justifying this point here, a future post perhaps).

How much time do you spend thinking about others’ happiness? Your own? Why would that mental pie be sliced different for the others out there…are they idiots? saints? are you and idiot or a saint? Probably not.

It makes us alone: freedom to choose, that is. Many fail, most may fail, even, maybe nobody does not not fail. Who knows if this is a realistic expectation, happiness? I like to believe pondering happiness holds some piece of the puzzle to happiness. I have John Stuart Mill to acknowledge for this idea. He supposedly argues in Utilitarianism that an enlightened individual, if given the choice for blissful ignorance and melancholic enlightenment, would choose enlightenment (I haven’t read the source material). The blissful idiot misses the comfort or excitement of knowledge, and suffers a blander life, and probably watches a lot of television (with the exception of The Wire), and is ultimately the slave to the clever culture hawks at HBO. I suppose my bias would be to believe that ignorance is a short run return in happiness at the expense of a long run deep satisfaction that comes from growing knowledge.

Finally, don’t be lazy. The active thought on this issue will benefit you. Language fails to bleed into other beliefs the way that thoughts do, because a brain works in many directions at once, not left to right. Ok, so you say to me: `Fuck you, you ““don`t be lazy““, and learn to write properly so we can figure out what you are talking about.`

Fair enough, but I`m not responsible for your happiness, and this writing was an exercise for my own purpose. You`re on your own. I don`t car.