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ȘȈǤƝȘ 83: The Imperceptible House

7 min

"Street angel, house devil." —German Proverb

You're invited here for the weekend of November 4-6
Welcome to Signs of Life, a periodic roundup letter from Other Life, the coolest newsletter in the world. If someone sent you this, subscribe for yourself here.

In this issue, you'll learn about:

The third cohort of IndieThinkers starts next Monday

We run a 6-week group program for writers, philosophers, scientists, artists, and engineers building independent intellectual lives on the internet. It's a mix of education, strategy, networking, and a ton of group co-working sessions (4-hour blocks, 3x/week) to make you move faster (or get started) on that book, or blog, or whatever.

You'll create or optimize your platform, design a research agenda, connect with peers, and—most importantly—get to work.

Announcing the Imperceptible Mansion 2022

This is the first official announcement of our third annual mansion meetup, which will be held on the California coast near San José on the weekend of November 4-6. The image shows the actual site.

The Imperceptible Mansion
The annual meetup of the Other Life community. November 4-6 in San José, CA.

This started as a small experiment in Los Angeles two years ago, it grew into a larger event last year in Austin, and now I guess it's officially an annual tradition.

This unique weekend getaway/conference/retreat is typically a combination of two types: Independent writers and creators interested in exiting institutions, and philosophically inclined software engineers interested in building exit technologies. Anyone is welcome to request a spot, as long as you're working on something interesting, but this summarizes the center of gravity.

This will certainly sell out because I'm actually giving advanced notice this time (the last two years I only announced about a month in advance, and those sold out).

Exit, Voice, and the Escalation to Extremes

One must read René Girard with Albert Hirschman to see that the debate between Exit and Voice involves an escalation to extremes.

The battle between the Free Man of the Outside and the Bureaucrat of the institutional Inside is a Total War with an apocalyptic destiny.

The anti-Cancelation or "pro free speech" position is, counter-intuitively, the dominant social consensus in America—after you control for institutional preference falsification. Pro-cancelation sentiment is overwhelmingly instrumental, not authentically believed. Thus the anti-Cancelation crowd is not dissident or subversive or beleaguered. It is the dominant high-status perspective in America.

From the outside, the Cancelers look like aggressors; bullies picking on innocent victims. But as Girard says, via Clausewitz, "the aggressor has always already been attacked."

Any institutional insider who even momentarily Exits to play with the outside is indeed harming their institution. Career cancelers like Lorenz and Sonmez are legitimately and rationally using Voice—in self-defense, on behalf of their institutions. As Girard says, "the attacker wants peace but the defender wants war."

So why this is a Total War with an apocalyptic destiny? Because the career cancelers cannot maintain their income and status unless surviving on the Outside is rendered impossible. So long as it's possible, some talent will escape, and so long as any talent escapes, it will show all the other talent that escape is possible and superior, until all talent escapes.

There remains only one final battle, at least within the Earthly City. As an increasing share of productivity issues from the Outside, and a decreasing number of Cancelers are left standing, cancelation via the financial system will become more common. It will become an increasingly necessary recourse for the last remaining insiders to maintain their own financial viability. This is why cryptography and cryptocurrency are so important, and must be understood apocalyptically.

There is an arms race between cryptographic Exit and fiat Voice. And it's a battle to the death.

The Bull Case for Milady: Evaluating NFTs and Debunking the Miya FUD with Vers la Lune

This is an important podcast because everything you've heard about Milady and Miya is basically wrong.

Vers la Lune is an NFT degen who hosts the podcast Version 4, which published the first interview with Miya the BPD God in 2020. As Crypto Twitter influencers try to cancel the Milady NFTs for association with Miya, this podcast provides a totally different narrative in the context of Vers' first-hand knowledge of the Miya/Milady nexus and his larger perspective on NFT valuation.

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast player.

The Bull Case for Milady on the Other Life podcast (Youtube version)

Death Athletic: A Speech

Cody Wilson on Sloterdijk, Girard, Jünger and more. Cody is underrated as a thinker. In this talk, he explains the philosophical reasons for why one might choose to actively court persecution and death. Cody is one of my favorite people in Austin and a good example of the real Texan gravity well: Texas as America's internalized Outside, or to channel Deleuze, America's "fold of the infinite... which curve[s] the outside and constitute[s] the inside."

Video, 36 minutes.

Jack Dorsey just invented an inferior Urbit

Jack Dorsey's new Web5 initiative is extremely bullish for Urbit. The greatest entrepreneurial minds in the world are capitulating to the need for an overhaul of the entire stack.

CleanShot 2022-06-17 at 08.52.45.png
Literally Urbit (pitch deck for "Web5")

Is this a threat to Urbit? I doubt it. There are a few reasons why Web5 is inferior to Urbit.

Dorsey's commitment to free and open standards is laudable, but the fact is that complex, decentralized, and free/non-profit systems cannot and do not emerge ex nihilo at the hand of small groups trying to generate them. Before the world wide web there was DARPA and strong instrumental motivations for building protocols, it was rational for certain actors to build those open protocols.

Today, the economic model of Urbit includes strong instrumental motivations of a different kind; it's rational to build open protocols on Urbit because it's possible to share in the upside of the underlying system. Web5 could have the most intelligent and compelling architecture ever conceived, and never come to fruition if there's no instrumental motivation for anyone to build it. Token models get a lot of flak, sometimes for good reason, but an under-engineered incentive architecture is not superior. Perhaps they'll come up with something, but judging from these slides, it seems to be one of many hard problems for which they do not have a solution.

The Imperceptible Country

Highlights from our private community of more than 500 writers, creators, post-academics, engineers, and investors.

Become a member

John Senior and the Integrated Humanities Program. "Had to share this incredible video I found of John Senior and Dennis Quinn, from the mid-80s. Integrated Humanities Program was a Great Books program that ran at University of Kansas in the late 70's/early 80's...  It's the best approach to Great Books I have seen, as it has actually born significant fruit towards restoration of culture in the US..." By Apollos Dionysios the Areopagite. Read more and reply in the town.

El Niño, La Niñe, or El Niñe: Neo-Feminism and Cultural Imperialism. "A critique of how the second and third wave of feminism were fused together and artificially imported by uncritical academics in Latin America." Some good discussion in the comments. By Arturo Desimone. Read more and reply in the town.

The Manly Saints Project. Self-explanatory! Quite interesting. Read this alongside the Other Life podcast on Chivalry and Christian Vitalism with Parker from Chivalry Guild. By Hugh Hunter. Read it here.

After Adam by Laurence Wieder. "After Adam is a prosimetrum, a story told in prose and verse. Mortality is its theme. Populated by rabbis, storytellers, mystics, poets, travelers and philosophers, this Abrahamic saga in 54 chapters begins with the creation of the human and closes with the death of Moses." Recommended by ~windev-todtyp in the city. Read and reply in the Urbit group at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/the-best-books-9661/

An Ear to the Ground. "I saw Ted Nelson guest lecture at my college in 2008. I was floored by his story, his philosophy, and his absolutely quixotic middle-finger to the emerald city of modern computational tyranny. Then, I totally forgot him...  I find a certain romance in the digital underground... I think the very spiritual disposition that nudged me into crypto, towards a project like urbit, was given its tenuous wind-up that night, by Ted Nelson... I've always had a subconscious 'ear to the ground' hoping to close that psychic loose end... Ted Nelson kinda gave me Urbit, and Urbit gave his name back to me. Very cool. Thanks y'all." By ~pilwyn-hinwer in the city. Read and reply in the Urbit group at web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life/graph/~hatryx-lastud/b-3929/

Escape to the Imperceptible House

High Noon by Edward Hopper (1949)
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from such things." —T.S. Eliot


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