In this issue:
- The ultimate test of mental independence
- Announcing our special guest for the San Francisco meetup
- How smart communities will write smart contracts
- On Sam Kriss's The Internet is Already Over
- On Heartbreak and Ambition
Announcing our Special Guest for the Imperceptible Mansion
We pretty much sold out, but we went and secured a couple extra spots. We have one private room, and one couch left. We'll book these on a first-come-first-serve basis so they'll probably go today or tomorrow. So if you want to join, it's really now or never. Request to book here.
I'm also pleased to announce the special guest this year. We'll be joined by Luke Smith, a popular Youtuber and former PhD student in Linguistics. Luke is an underground king. He's known for his principled perspectives on technology, epistemology, Christianity, science, academia, and especially his strict commitment to only using free and open source software.
If you've never heard of Luke before, here is a representative example of his work. You'll Never Go Wrong Choosing Independence! (NEETs Rule, Wagies Drool!)
This will be our third annual mansion weekend, which will be held on the California coast near San Francisco on the weekend of November 4-6. The image at the link shows the actual site.
To learn more about our annual meetup, you can read my recent review.
And if you want one of the last two spots, request to book here.
The Ultimate Test of Mental Independence
Financial independence is overrated. Mental independence is underrated.
Mental Independence is very simple. Mental Independence is the state of fully thinking for yourself and expressing yourself accordingly.
The “Financial Independence, Retire Early” (FIRE) is great but you can be financially independent and mentally dependent.
The most common form of mental dependence is by omission—the state of not thinking about things. Everything not thought is a kind of mental dependence on whoever has thought it; everyone who has either made it like that, or left it alone like that.
The next most common form of mental dependence is rationalism. Whenever you’re optimizing for any criterion, your thinking is in a state of servility to that criterion.
The servility of rational philosophy was one of the most important ideas in the work of Georges Bataille.
"It is not noble to calculate, not even to reflect, and no philosopher has been able to incarnate the essence of nobility." —Georges Bataille
If optimizing for some criterion is servility to the criterion, the most independent frame of mind is inquiring about which ultimate ends to optimize for. Mental Independence means forming your best guess(es) about ultimate ends, with no external banister (there is none). But this is not even the hard part.
The final test of mental independence is expressing your own judgment about ultimate ends. It’s hard enough to form an independent judgment on such matters, but expressing it fully, against the pressures of social fashion and public opinion, is the hardest part.
Fully expressing an independent judgment about ultimate ends is so hard and rare that we almost automatically respect anyone who does it. The great saints as well as the great sinners have this in common; they make their own judgments about the ultimate nature of good and evil, in defiance of normality—and they go all in.
Smart Communities Write Smart Contracts
I don't think people fully understand what it will mean when programmable money comes to Urbit via Uqbar. (Uqbar is the zero-knowledge Ethereum rollup that makes money a primitive for all Urbit apps.)
One implication is that the relationship between creators and software engineers is going to change—at least that's one of my theories.
In light of that, since the testnet is now up and running, I'm hosting an open Zoom call today at 11am Central for anyone curious about my vision. I welcome any crypto developers, creators, and/or investors interested in what I'm up to.
We'll be joined by
~hodzod-walrus, lead developer of Uqbar. I'll share what I'm working on, we'll demo how to write smart contracts on Urbit, and Hodzod will field any technical questions.
Today, October 26 at 11am Central. Sign up here. (Yes I'm biased, yes I'm shilling my own bags, etc.)
Elsewhere from Other Life
📺 My thoughts on Sam Kriss's The Internet is Already Over
📺 How writers should think about GPT-3 and AI writing
🎧 Deregulation and the State Arms-Race Into Cyberspace (Nick Land's Meltdown)
Subdued to Fate
"The men and women who make the best boon companions seem to have given up hope of doing something else. They have, perhaps, tried to be poets and painters; they have tried to be actors, scientists, and musicians. But some defect of talent or opportunity has cut them off from their pet ambition and has thus left them with leisure to take an interest in the lives of others. Your ambitious man is selfish. No matter how secret his ambition may be, it makes him keep his thoughts at home. But the heartbroken people-if I may use the word in a mild benevolent sense-the people whose wills are subdued to fate, give us consolation, recognition, and welcome." —Chapman