What I Would Like to Know

We know that religions evolved all across the world in different cultures as a way to describe the things that could not be easily understood and as a way to codify morality among the people. We know that the races are biologically different. We also know that religions evolved to some extent along racial lines. We know that IQ has a biological component, although we do not fully understand what it is. What I want to know is to what degree genetics influences our cultures and our religions. Is religion an outward projection of our values based upon evolutionary pressures, is it an internal understanding of who we are as a race of people, is it some combination, or is it something else entirely?

We know that cultures are defined entirely by the people that inhabit them. Europe and the United States are very different from China and Japan, and different still from sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Christianity is different from Buddhism, which is different from Hinduism, which is different still from Islam. Christianity permeated Europe and subsequently the world from the proliferation of Western civilization across the globe, but when you look at pre-Christian religions in Europe, you find a different representation of the White man. Without getting into those specifics too much, I want to know to what degree are the Gods of these religions representations of the ideals of the specific races that created them. I also want to know to what degree the values of each of these religions reflect the innate or biological characteristics of the races that value them.

A recurring theme in all religions seems to be an idea of transcendence. Some religions describe it as the soul, and others describe it as a state of nothingness. While there are many different descriptions of this idea, its consistency across the races is indicative of our underlying unifying traits as humans. I want to know if there are biological underpinnings of this idea as they are so prevalent across the different races.

The last thing I want to know is the impact of IQ on religion and culture. We know there is a biological component to IQ, and given that the races have very distinct cultures and race is an effect of biology, to what extent does intellectual capacity impact the complexity, adherence to, and enforcement of religion. Take for instance that in Christian nations in the West there is large tolerance for other religions and even atheism, while in Muslim countries in the Middle East non-believers are put to death. How does intellectual capacity affect this, as well as if there is a biological component is something I find profoundly intriguing. We know the average IQ in the West is 100, while it is 85 in the Middle East. This clearly indicates that the intellectual capacity of citizens in the West on average is greater than it is in among the citizens of the Middle East. Is this entirely biological, cultural, religious, a combination, or something else entirely?

These are challenging and controversial questions, and I feel comfortable asking them because of the degree of freedom I have where I live. I know that if I am ever going to find the answers to these questions, I will have the easiest time in a society in which challenging ideas are not shunned or people that have them are not black listed. That is a society in which individual freedom and pursuit of the truth are the greatest ideals. That society is a state of anarchy. It is my hope in answering these questions I can understand what will be the most likely vehicles for bringing about a state of anarchy. Perhaps it is that anarchists are simply a different subspecies of people. It feels like it at times. Regardless, it is my hope that all of humanity can unite behind the ideal of human flourishing!

Better Lucky Than Good?

I first heard the expression, “better lucky than good” while golfing with my dad. I was so bad, and still am, that when I would hit a remarkably good shot, one of us would remark, “Better lucky than good!” For a long time I thought this was a good saying until someone else explained to me that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. That changed my outlook entirely. People that are successful are not lucky; they are well prepared and they sought out opportunities to succeed. If luck did exist, it would indicate that there are supernatural forces at work influencing our lives. In truth, anyone that is lucky has simply taken advantage of an opportunity that was presented to them.

Have you ever seen a guy with a beautiful woman on his arm? Did you remark to yourself about how lucky he was for being able to keep such company? What about someone like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs; do you think they were lucky? I would argue that none of these people are lucky. No one is lucky. All people that are successful in whatever regard, are so because they prepared and seized an opportunity when it arose. They were also not simply sitting idly by waiting for an opportunity; they were actively out searching for opportunities. How many girls do you think the aforementioned guy dated before found the beauty on his arm? Do you think he didn’t spend any time accumulating resources to intrigue such a woman? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t stumble into their success. They worked every day on it, and little by little they achieved greatness.

Successful people work harder, train longer, dream bigger, seek more opportunities, and sleep better because they know that as long as they keep working, their preparation will find the right opportunity. This is why I write every day. Writing helps me coalesce my thoughts, plus it is training for improved communication. As someone that loves communicating and teaching complex and challenging ideas, it is important that I am skilled at communicating in any medium available. I am confident that my writing will improve as I continue to prepare myself for the opportunity that I know is approaching. If more people shared this outlook, instead of believing that life is just going to happen, we would have a happier and more successful population. You are responsible for your life, your preparation, and how you respond to the opportunities you face. I hope you are prepared for the greatest opportunity of your life because it is not going to wait for you to be ready.

The Precarious Proposition of Procedures

Procedures, we deal with them on a daily basis. Anything from a four-way stop to ordering food at a restaurant to opening or closing a business for the day, procedures are designed to help individuals streamline their actions. When you know how someone else is going to act, it makes your decision making process easier and more streamlined. This is the purpose of having a procedure. It allows for you to anticipate the actions of other people without knowing them personally as well as transfer information without having to do it directly. Procedures can also stifle creativity and innovation. As with all things, there are pros and cons, so let’s have a look at the pros and cons of procedures.

First up, we will talk about the benefits of having a procedure or a standard operating procedure. I use traffic examples often as I will assume most people have driven a car in America, plus I have spent a great deal of time driving. If you approach a four way stop at the same time as three other cars all coming from the other three directions, how do you know who goes first? Procedure would indicate that the first person to arrive crosses the intersection first. If you all arrive at the exact same time, you then proceed in a clockwise direction around the intersection until all vehicles have cleared. This allows you the opportunity to get through the intersection quickly without any confusion. Likewise, traffic lights provide a valuable procedure; stop on red, go on green, and caution on yellow as vehicles in the intersection clear. If people thought the proper procedure was to go on red, while others only went on yellow, everyone that went on green would be in a world of hurt. Procedures clearly enhance our driving practice.

Likewise, if you work in a business that has multiple shifts, you undoubtedly have a procedure for the beginning and end of your shift so you are able to take over from the previous person easily and leave the station primed for the next person. The same is true for accounting and book keeping practices. Ledgers are kept consistent within the business and they meet a uniform standard so others outside of the business can understand the accounting process of the business in order to evaluate the assets of the company. If we really think about it, procedures surround us in every facet of our lives. Most are good, but what happens when procedures are bad?

The ill effects of bad procedures are pretty straight forward; anything from a loss of efficiency to a disservice of justice can result. Perpetuation of poor government programs, such as welfare that creates a permanent under-class, or excise taxes on cigarettes and booze that hurt most the poor, are a direct result of poor procedures. Taxation in all of its forms are procedures, and the entire United States Code is a system of procedures and how to implement them. By delegating powers to government agencies, Congress institutionalizes the procedures that make the laws that affect all of our lives without any legislative oversight whatsoever. As bad as these are, the worst part about procedures is not their direct effect on us.

It is the indirect impact of discouraging critical thinking that makes procedures so incipient in their degradation of our society. When you no longer have to think about whether or not what you are doing is right, you stop doing it. You rely on the procedure to tell you what to do, and you rely on the judgement of the procedure creator to determine if the procedure is in fact just. This separation of judgement from action that results from following procedures degrades our personal capacity to evaluate our own actions and the actions of others. You cannot hold the cashier responsible for not being able to credit your debit card instead of give you cash back; that’s the procedure. You cannot hold the cop responsible for giving you a ticket for following too closely, even though you didn’t cause an accident; that’s the procedure. You cannot hold the concentration camp guard responsible for beating the inmates; that is what the procedure dictates when the inmates demand freedom. This may be a slippery slope argument, but the point is valid. If we lose the capacity to evaluate our actions in the here and now, that degradation will perpetuate and permeate into larger and more significant facets of our lives.

Additionally, when we rely on procedures, we lose the capacity to adapt quickly to changing environments. If the procedure is to write up a report and send it to Stan in HR, have him review it, and then forward it to accounting, it makes it really difficult to get our addressed changed in the system. However, if the system is open source, and we can change our address on our own when it’s needed, the system constantly evolves and grows as we change and grow. This system of constant evolution and adaptation to the ever changing needs of humanity can only come from a state of total freedom, from a state of anarchy.

In order for us to flourish as individuals, we must live in a civilization that has the capacity to adapt to our ever changing needs and desires. A civilization is a group of people that have chosen to live together freely and only voluntary exchanges are permitted, but a civilization is not an abstract concept. A civilization is the people that comprise it. Those people will necessarily be able to adopt the procedures that work and adapt to situations in which the procedures do not apply. Those people will be capable of critically thinking and acting upon their own sound judgement. Those are the kinds of people I want to be around because that is the kind of person I am. I buck the trend of blind conformity to the norm as often as I believe it is necessary and just, and I do it because it is the right thing to do. I want to demonstrate a better way to live, and most importantly, I want individuals to think critically for themselves. Will you join me in my pursuit for anarchy so together we can all flourish?

Curiosity to Explain the World?

Are you curious? Curiosity is defined as the desire to learn or know about anything. It is also described as inquisitiveness. Do you have an interest in learning about anything? If someone presents an idea to you, do you wish to learn more? If you meet someone new, do you like learning about them? More importantly, do you have people in your life that are curious about you and are you curious about the people in your life? Curiosity is a lifelong pursuit, and it is a great virtue to seek in your friends and significant other.

You are going to grow and change, and so are the people in your life. If you want to have long lasting meaningful relationships with them, you are going to want to be curious about them, and vice versa. Let’s focus just on your significant other. If you think you know who they are without continuing to learn and understand them, then you are going to lose sight of who they become. Likewise, if your partner is not inquiring about you, your thoughts and feelings, your preferences and why you have them, then your relationship is not going to work out.

Curiosity is more than simply asking, “How are you doing today?” or “How are you feeling.” It is asking, “When you learned how to play guitar, what was the hardest chord for you to learn and why?” And then it is asking, perhaps at another time, “What is your favorite chord to play, why, and how has that changed as you have improved in skill?” These seem like college essay questions, and they are composed as such here for the sake of brevity. The idea is that the questions will be broken into parts as you have a dialogue with your partner or prospective partner.

The goal should not be simply to learn the answers to the questions, but to understand your partner’s preferences and how they arrived there. If you are having a conversation about a challenge your partner overcame, you learn not just about their struggles but how they deal with them. If you are discussing a time in which your partner was extremely happy, you learn about what makes them happy as well as why it does. If you discuss causes or pursuits that are important to your partner, you learn about what matters, why it matters, and you start to understand their values. From this, you can start to understand their virtues as you spend time with them and experience the choices they make and actions they take. This is what leads to a meaningful connection and relationship.

It is possible that you will learn things about your prospective partner that are a turn off to you, but that is OK. You are not obligated to marry, or even like the person once you start to understand who they are. Curiosity can save you from making big mistakes in the dating world as well as help you find deep, meaningful connection. If the person you are dating is not consistent with their answers and actions, curiosity will help you figure this out really quickly. Likewise, if the person is very consistent, and perhaps more insightful than you would have imagined, curiosity will bring this to light. Additionally, if your prospective partner lacks any curiosity about you, it is at the least an issue that needs addressed and at most, a reason to end the dating.

Curiosity will also help you navigate the rest of the world around you. We live in a big, complex place, and the more you think you know, the less you will learn. Curiosity will help you understand the systems that are in place and if they are the best possible solution to the problems we face. It will help you assert yourself and find success on your own terms. You will notice curiosity as a recurring theme in my writing as my inquisitiveness helps me understand the topics about which I write, and hopefully it will help you understand them as well. Curiosity will also help you understand anarchy, so I hope you pursue curiosity as a meaningful virtue. Then, together, we can help humanity flourish!

Freedom Isn’t Free

There are a number of misconceptions about anarchy, one of which is the idea that there are not consequences for your actions. This is false. Believing that government is the only arbiter of justice is an insult to the concept of justice. We have established that ethics can be derived rationally, so we can then rationally determine what constitutes a violation of those ethics and what might constitute a just resolution to the violation. As individuals capable of rational thought, we do not need one organization with a monopoly on force to tell us how to live or arbitrate disputes.

In our modern society, we are so conditioned to believe that the reasons people do not commit crime is because of the police that we lose our understanding of morality or our natural internalization of it. If police presence was really the reason for low crime, then in areas with the most police there would be the least crime. In fact the opposite is true. In white suburbia, there are maybe three cops that patrol localities of 30,000 plus people, and there is virtually no crime. There may be occasional property crime, but certainly no murders. However, if you look at inner city Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, there are hundreds, if not thousands of cops, and crime is rampant. Police presence is a symptom of criminality, not its remedy. So why then are the peaceful places peaceful and the violent places violent?

The answer lies within the people that live in the respective areas. The individuals that live in the suburbs are more capable and thus more apt to internalize morality. Earning money requires deferral of gratification, whereas stealing it results in immediate gratification. Earning money guarantees a steadier stream of consistent and potentially increasing income, whereas theft guarantees nothing. Earning money requires cooperation and respect of your fellow individuals, whereas theft requires only that your fellow individuals do not know you are the thief. If you have the capacity to rationally understand this, then you are far more likely to live in the suburbs, or a community of respectively low criminality.

In order for anarchy to succeed we need to live in a world where a plurality of people understand the aforementioned concepts and are willing to respect them. Thankfully, we do live in such a world. The majority of people, at least in America, do not commit crimes because they know they are wrong. Despite what your initial thoughts might be about your fellow citizens, if you put them to task, they will not steal from you, murder you, or rape you. In fact, they will most likely be as opposed to those ideas as you are. This is a good thing. It means we do not need to convince people of morality; we simply need them to recognize that most other people agree with and share their outlook on the topic. Recognizing this, all of the systems necessary to arbitrate disputes will arise organically. We have the power to thrive in a state of anarchy, all we need to do is have the courage to recognize it. Only then can we flourish!

Why Anarchy Gets a Bad Rep

What if I told you the Constitution is a non-binding document that has done nothing to stop the growth and power of the government? What if I told you police are not required to defend your life or property? What if I told you that taxation is theft, war is murder, and mainstream media is propaganda, all legally authorized by the government? What if I told you the word government means “mind control?” What if everything you have been taught to believe is a lie? What if it is not just a lie, but an intricate system of obfuscation designed to completely control you and extort from you your productivity? What if you are nothing but a free range slave within the confines of your tax farm, with nothing more than the opportunity to vote for a different face to your tax farmer every few years?

What if patriotism is an intentional form of deception designed to gin up support for a system that seeks only to control you and dominate the world? What if “fighting for your freedom” actually means oppressing and killing innocent people in foreign countries? What if soldiers aren’t heroes? What if cops aren’t there to serve and protect, but to brutalize and exploit? What if they are the enforcement arm of a system of complete tyranny over the individual? What if the system is so terrible, and yet good at obfuscation that the officers enforcing the laws honestly believe they are doing good and you respect them for it? What if politicians running for office actually have good intentions when they start out, but it is the nature of the system to corrupt anyone that touches it? What if power is more addictive than crack cocaine, and once you have had a small taste of it, you want only more?

What if everything I just said is absolutely true and you refuse to believe it? What if you are so conditioned to believe you are free that when actual freedom is presented to you, you reject it because you think it is evil? What if you have the capacity to be responsible for your own choices and control over your own property? What if you are better than anyone else at allocating your time and money? What if you are capable of resolving disputes without violence? What if you can see a violent coercive monopoly on the use of force for what it is; an elaborate extortion, racketeering, and murder organization that you have been conditioned to not only accept, but worship?

What if there was a better way and you knew what it was? Would you not seek it out and want to share it with as many people as possible? Would you not see the beauty possible when individuals are allowed to determine for themselves how best to live their lives? Would you believe me if I told you this system is anarchy? Would you believe me if I told you a world of exclusively voluntary interactions would allow humanity to truly flourish? Would you help me spread this message so one day our children can inhabit such a glorious world? Will you join me in my love affair with human flourishing?

Anarchy Is Everywhere

I write about a variety of topics, and I have not yet touched on all of them. I do this because I have a wide variety of interests and because there are so many interesting things in the world I wish to learn. I seek a somewhat high degree of competency in those things as well because I believe that is the only way to truly understand and appreciate them. I write about all of these things in the guise of anarchy because anarchy is everywhere.

Anarchy is defined as the absence of coercive control. In your life, almost every decision you make is made in a state of anarchy. From your choice in breakfast food to the house you live in to the car you drive to the place where you work, and to the person you love, these choices are all made in a state of anarchy. No one is threatening violence against you if you choose to eat cereal over a bagel for breakfast tomorrow. Likewise, no one is going to hang you if you marry the love of your life, even if your family disapproves. Now, you may say that all of these choices are freedoms, and if we are truly free, we have the freedom to make those choices. With that I would agree.

It is only within a state of anarchy that we are truly as free as possible to live our lives as we see fit. Think about all of the myriad of choices you are going to make today, tomorrow, Friday, next week, next month, next year, and ask yourself, am I making this choice free from violent coercion? If so, then you are making that choice in a state of anarchy. Through anarchy we achieve freedom, and through freedom we flourish. I hope you join me in my quest for anarchy so that all of humanity may flourish.

 

What Idols Do You Worship?

What is religion if not the worship of idols? Let’s have a look at two of the most prominent religions in the world, Christianity and Islam. In Christianity you idolize Jesus Christ, and in Islam, you Idolize Mohammad. These men are touted as the idealized version of what a man can become at his greatest. This will not be a critical analysis of the differences between the religions’ idols and therefore their differing outlooks on the world and how to live, although that would be an interesting topic. Instead, we are going to discuss the idea of idol worship.

Christianity and Islam forbid the worship of other gods, and they both claim the supremacy of their respective god over the dominion of man. They present their respective saviors as the idealized version of man, and all followers of the religions should seek to be just like this one man. I ask you, is this idea of just one ideal compatible with humanity? How many people have you met that are exactly like other people? Are most people even that similar, or do we all have unique personalities with different perspectives and perceptions of the world? You may argue that Jesus or Mohammad had attributes that their worshipers are seeking to portray, but that is not what the religion advocates. It says the traits of these men are the exact traits you should achieve, and if you do not you will not receive salvation/reach paradise. This leaves little variability in the actions of the faithful. They must do exactly what is written in their holy texts, or they will not be like their Idol.

Does this make sense for humans? Should we all seek to be the same? This is one of the reasons why I find the ancient pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans, or even the modern religion of Asatru to be more appealing. They have many gods, and you as the individual can choose to worship whichever god or gods suit your personality or interests. The gods were also not perfect, but they aspired to be better. This is very reflective of human beings. We are all flawed, but the degree to which we aspire to better ourselves speaks to our character as individuals. When you overcome your fears or you achieve goals in the face of adversity, you are improving as a person. You get stronger and better. You are not ever going to be perfect, but at the end of the day you will know you have gotten better.

I ask you, what idols do you worship? Who do you idolize? I idolize the best version of myself. This is not a conceited statement; it is a commitment to self-improvement. As I grow as a person, I aspire to be better every day. My understanding of what that means changes and improves daily because I am changing and improving daily. Who I am today is far better than I was ten years ago, and who I will be in ten years is a better man than I am now. I know this because I seek to achieve a virtuous life every day, and every day I deepen my understanding of what that means and how I am doing in my pursuit.

I know I am not as financially successful today as I thought I would be a decade ago, but I know I am a better man. I have more strength, both physical and mental, more courage, more empathy, more knowledge, a deeper understanding of the world around me and the people in it, I have far more hope for the future, and I have a far deeper understanding of who I am as a man. I also know that as long as I continue pursuing self-improvement, I will become a great man by my own standards, and that is all any of us can ask for.

Seek out your ideals, discover your idealized self, and start practicing at the altar of self-improvement every day. You will find happiness, love, meaning, and self-fulfillment, but if you do not understand what these ideas mean, you will be lost in the dark. Instead, find the light within yourself, discover what it is that makes you special, and seek to make yourself better!

What Is Economics?

Traditionally, economics is defined as the study of how individuals allocate scarce resources. While this is an accurate description, it is not adequate. Individuals do allocate scarce resources, but in order to do so they must act. Subsequently, if we are to completely understand economics, it is those actions we must endeavor to understand. This is why economics in actuality is the study of human action.

In economics, we take as a given that humans act. One cannot acquire bread without taking action to do so. If we could manifest matter out of nothing, not only would we be defying physics, but we would live in a fictional reality closer to that of Star Trek. Given that within our reality resources are scarce and humans must act in order to thrive, let alone survive, it is those actions with which we must concern ourselves. We discussed the three requirements for human action in Why We Do What We Do. Assuming those requirements are met, the individual will act.

We are not concerned with why they act, as in what are their internal motivations. Why someone values chocolate ice cream over vanilla is not within the realm of economics. The fact that they have a subjective value is. All values within economics are subjective relative to the individual. It does not matter why someone will choose chocolate over vanilla, however, the fact that nine times out of ten they will make that choice is something that falls within the realm of economics. It is an outcome that is quantifiable and it tells us valuable information about the subjective preferences of the individual. We can take these preferences and collectivize them with the preferences of hundreds or thousands of other people and conclude that all things being equal, more people prefer chocolate to vanilla. This is not a value judgement on chocolate or vanilla, however, if you are a grocery store owner, it will indicate that you should stock more chocolate ice cream than vanilla.

All voluntary exchanges necessarily leave both parties better off. This is also a given within economics. It is a given because it logically makes sense that the only way I am going to give you my apple for your orange is because I want your orange more than I do my apple and you want my apple more than you want your orange. There is no other logical conclusion. Could it be that my fruit preferences are indifferent between apples and oranges, but you hate oranges, and because I value your happiness over my own fruit consumption I make the exchange? Certainly, but we are still both better off because of the exchange. You are happier, and I am happier because you are happier.

Humans are funny with their subjective valuations, but they will always act in a way that will result in them increasing their perception of happiness. Will they always be right? Not necessarily, but happiness is the end goal. This is why self-knowledge is so important; the more you know yourself, the more likely you are to be happy. We will discuss economics more in future posts, but for now, this is a good place to start.

Avoid Presumptions When Dating and Meeting New People

Has this ever happened to you? You meet someone to whom you are attracted, they seem to be attracted to you, and so one of you asks the other out on a date? I’m hoping the answer is yes, otherwise what I am about to describe won’t be entirely relatable. How did you feel? Were you excited? A little nervous? Dreamy perhaps? Even overly critical? These emotions all come with the flood of hormones that douse your brain in the evolutionary response to the prospect of procreation. Let’s be honest, at the end of the day, all your DNA wants to do is replicate, so when you find someone that might want to replicate with you, your body is designed to tell you what you are doing is a good thing. What I want to talk about today is why biology is not always our best friend in these situations and how we can avoid mistakes.

When we meet a new potential love interest (we do this with potential new friends as well but to a lesser extent), we have a tendency to project our desires upon them. They may have a nice smile, so we hope they are kind. They may have soulful eyes, so we hope they are insightful or compassionate. They may have a great laugh, so we hope they are entertaining and funny. These are all attributes that we are projecting upon the person without knowing if they are attributes that they actually have. This is not a bad thing as it can give us valuable insight into what we are looking for, but it is important to be aware that we are doing it. What we do not want to do is presume the other person has these attributes without seeing them for ourselves.

If we presume the person is who we want them to be, two things happen. First, we make decisions and interact not with that person, but with the person we want them to be. This results in miscommunications at best, and horrible confrontations at worst. If you think Sally likes dogs because her smile reminds you of your aunt who loves dogs, and you take Sally to a dog park, you may be in for a world of hurt when she tells you that she is allergic or deathly afraid of the four legged furry creatures. This gets worse with personal preferences within the relationship regarding personal space and communication style. The second thing that happens is you miss out on the person as they actually are. When you spend so much time thinking the person you are dating is one thing, and they are something else entirely, you miss out on how your relationship could be different, even better, if you actually dated the person you need to discover and not the person you presume yourself to be with. This, of course, presumes the other person is not intentionally misleading you.

When you lie to yourself about the person you are in a relationship with, you are setting yourself up for failure. You are wasting your time as well as the other person’s, and you are missing out on the opportunity to appreciate another person for who they actually are. This happens because we want so badly to be happy and to find that person with whom we connect and truly appreciates us for who we are. This is an argument for authenticity within a relationship, but that is not where I am going with this. So, where am I going?

Do not place expectations on the person you are going on a date with. Instead, spend time getting to know them for who they are. Do not presume they are something they are not, and do not put the pressure on yourself of believing that the relationship has to work out, especially on the first date. It doesn’t matter if he is the cutest guy you have ever dated. If he cares more about his hair than why you cannot eat spaghetti because it makes you think of worms, chances are good it won’t work out in the long run. Certainly have standards, but don’t be too upset if those standards are not met. This is just one meal in which one stranger tries to get to know another for who they actually are while presenting their authentic self. If it works out, great! If not, you learned a little about yourself and about a perspective partner that you now know will not work out.