Brain Rot!

Game theory is starting to make a frightening kind of sense. Or maybe my brain is rotting. Its still either trivial or inapplicable though.

Big books of philosophy are a waste of time. Small books of philiosophy however, are a different matter. I highly recommend John Raulston Saul‘s “On Equilibrium“. Its about hot to think, how to decide and how to know what’s right, in a gloriously human way.

Honestly, would you wear bondage pants on a motorbike? Its a basic health and saftey issue.

Economics lectures should be dusty and wizened. When they’re not, its hard to concentrate, especially when in the emotionally heighted state that game theory produces.

Virgo – “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, continue to run it’s life for it. If it doesn’t come back, chase down and kill with logic.”

Elementary Food Particles, a resturant review by Michel Houellebecq. Hilarious, but only if you’ve read enough Houellebecq. Enough, here, meaning more than about a page of the tedious, miserable, French waste of space.

The hedonic treadmill concept explains a lot about your state of mind, and mine. You will never be as happy as you think you should be, if you think you should be happy all the time.

13 thoughts on “Brain Rot!”

  1. Good effort!

    I want to read On Equilibrium and I can think of some other people who probably should too.

    The hedonic treadmill is such a negative name for such a great concept – I mean, if you look at it in reverse, it means that your happiness level overall is going to remain relatively stable regardless of what life throws at you, and I think that’s awesome.

    Finally this: “I am weary, I have no genuine passion, I am anything but “authentic” or “underground.” I drive a Mercedes S class and I enjoy it, though it embarrasses me when I stop at a light next to a tattooed 32-year-old renegade in a Porsche, and he looks at me, and says, “You are my favorite author! Keep telling it like it is, Michel!” And I am slightly aroused when I notice that his young, beautiful girlfriend in the passenger’s seat is masturbating while smiling at me. I masturbate too. We masturbate together, and we are both depressed after we come. We are so alone.” — cracked me the hell up. And I’ve never read any of his stuff before.

    (but i agree, what a miserable man. and if he were to read wikipedia, he may very well garrot himself before the day’s done)

    1. Re: Good effort!

      Yeah, he’s the darling of the literary crowd, for his “uncommon prescience in a tasteless age”. Which only goes to show that some people have too much time of their hands and really need to get out more.

      In other news, the Exile remains uncommonly prescient, possibly due to Russia’s weak libel laws. And long may it continue.

      1. Re: Good effort!

        Any ‘crowd’ that one can be the ‘darling’ of, is one I think I’d best stay away from (me having this perverse desire to take the piss out of those that I think are pretentious wankers)

        As for taste.. hmmm. I think taste might be one of those things there’s no accounting for, eh? However, I liked the “6 possible outcomes!” game. Suitably tasteless.

        (i don’t think america is that great or that progressive, but i would be interested to see any research done on happiness levels in various countries)

  2. the economist had a recent article also, pointing out that what made America great (in this specific area), wasn’t necessarily that they were happy, rather that it was their pursuit of happiness that pushed them along so far and so fast.

    Pretty interesting viewpoint, I thought.

    1. I’m not sure I agree at all.

      To quote this random discussion:
      “It is historical fact that you can take a ridiculous and crumbling imperium with serfs and horse-drawn carts managed by a tyrannical and squabbling aristocracy and boot strap it into being a technologically sophisticated global power that can win the space race and such in a single generation even while being invaded by an evil and genocidal empire. The people at the top don’t even need to be nice or sane, they just have to understand that economics is an entirely voodoo science, and the limits of production can be broken by thousands of percentage points by getting everyone to buy on credit, work on projects that people looking at the big picture tell them to work on, continuously invest in productive capital, and believe in the future.”

      And to quote the ever quotable John Ralston Saul:
      “Capitalism was reasonably content under Hitler, happy under Mussolini, very happy under Franco and delirious under General Pinochet.”

      But then again:
      “[Modern capitalism] is masterful at producing services people don’t need and in large part probably don’t want. It is brilliant at convincing people that they do need and want them. But it has difficulty turning itself to the production of those services which people really do need. Not only that, it often spends an enormous amount of time and effort convincing people that those services are either unrealistic, marginal or counterproductive.”

      So I dunno.

      We can have pursuits of pretty much anything, and US growth, in the long run, isn’t that much better than anyone else in the Western world, they just started earlier and missed out on a few wars.

      1. Well, it was a little more subtle than just “America is great” – to start with, I’m not sure many people believe that as a raw statement anymore anyway.

        I don’t have the article in question in front of me, so can’t quote it extensively – but perhaps it could be explained better by paraphrasing it as “the fact that they’re chasing happiness is more important than whether or not they actually achieve it.”

        capitalism = good/bad? Ahh, well, that in itself is a huge (and possibly unanswerable) discussion.

        ps. what an extremely odd forum to quote from 🙂

  3. One thing to remember about big books of philosophy: no one ever reads all of them.

    That’s why Rawls invented the Detailed Index (true story!): he had a 600 page monster of a book so he made sure the index was such that you could pinpoint the exact bits you wanted to read. Students outside of the hyper-geeky oxbridge world are forever in his debt, because now we know as much as the hyper-geeks do AND have free time to drink and dance and sing.

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