As amply discussed in that much older article, the costs of genre savvy come straight out of the quality of living. Actual people living their lives would care about hits to their quality of living first and foremost, but imaginary entities living imagined roles on an imaginary stage in an imaginary play emphatically do not – what difference does it make to the actor if the feast his role visits is catered with rubber chicken ?ii Not like he eats it anyway. Not like he eats it. Another eats it. Another. Feed it to another, not me. Julia!
As oft observed here, the insanity of “universal literacy” is a contributing factor to the problem in its current manifestationiii, but imagining anything may be resolved by shooting that messenger is not unlike keeping the flood at bay through judiciously choosing the wallpaper. So what is the solution then ?
There isn’t a solution. There can’t be a solution. People too “smart” for their breeches will ruin themselves and everything they can touch, being too smart by half is still the hardest failure mode to guard against, there just… isn’t a solution.
Now far be it for me to propose a solution where he (as yet) has not, but this passage from Darwin’s Origin of Speciesiv seems to me to be relevant at the very least, and perhaps even applicable :
We shall best understand the probable course of natural selectionv by taking the case of a country undergoing some slight physical change, for instance, of climate. The proportional numbers of its inhabitants will almost immediately undergo a change, and some species will probably become extinct. We may conclude, from what we have seen of the intimate and complex manner in which the inhabitants of each country are bound together, that any change in the numerical proportions of the inhabitants, independently of the change of climate itself, would seriously affect the others.
If the country were open on its borders, new forms would certainly immigrate, and this would likewise seriously disturb the relations of some of the former inhabitants. Let it be remembered how powerful the influence of a single introduced tree or mammal has been shown to be. But in the case of an island, or of a country partly surrounded by barriers, into which new and better adapted forms could not freely enter, we should then have places in the economy of nature which would assuredly be better filled up if some of the original inhabitants were in some manner modified ; for, had the area been open to immigration, these same places would have been seized on by intruders. In such cases, slight modifications, which in any way favoured the individuals of any species, by better adapting them to their altered conditions, would tend to be preserved ; and natural selection would have free scope for the work of improvement.
No country can be named in which all the native inhabitants are now so perfectly adapted to each other and to the physical conditions under which they live, that none of them could be still better adapted or improved; for in all countries, the natives have been so far conquered by naturalised productions that they have allowed some foreigners to take firm possession of the land. And as foreigners have thus in every country beaten some of the natives, we may safely conclude that the natives might have been modified with advantage, so as to have better resisted the intruders.
Which just so happens to tie in to my earlier article about pro-immigration tech companies :
As if the “only explanation” for the pro-immigration stance of tech companies is the lack of “great programmers.” I mean, of course tech companies don’t want to drive down salaries. What, and be globally competitive and anti-fair and shit? What kind of business model is that when they could be rent-seeking scumsuckers instead?
So yes, Afsheen, being the son of a diplomat that he is, will work harder for half the salary, one quarter the living expenses and with less backtalk? Great! Let’s hire him instead of mouthy Ms. Pin(trest)head! Makes total sense to me.
Inventiveness isn’t what tech companies want in abundance, it’s low-priced competency they want. They want lower barriers to entry for the competent workerbees, not the exceptionalism of would-be ex-employees.
This would seem to point to a solution whereby true workerbees, not just warm-blooded flotsam!, are shipped into the western world by the boatload, where they can then outcompete those metatards so divorced from reality, while hopefully navigating the swampy waters and side-stepping the trappings around every corner. Like alf has. Like so many others but clearly not enough have.
This solution, however, is entirely dependent on the west maintaining its appearance as an attractive place to relocate to. To my eye, this veneer is fading, but then again, I’m really not in the position to say how the whole socialist shebang looks to someone coming from China, Morocco, Poland or wherever.
Here’s hoping it looks sweeter than honey.
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- Which I’ve also previously discussed in Meta-metastasis, or how a dancing shark jumped the shark. [↩]
- For more on the subject of quality, see Deflation isn’t Bitcoin’s problem, it’s Bitcoin’s solution. [↩]
- Original footnote: “How did you think Athens failed ?”
I’ll add that the golden age of Greek philosophy began after Athens failed. Oh History, how we yearn to repeat you ! [↩]
- Sixth Edition, January 1872. [↩]
- A term Darwin explains, like a true Spinozan, a page earlier :
Several writers have misapprehended or objected to the term Natural Selection. Some have even imagined that natural selection induces variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations as arise and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life.
No one objects to agriculturists speaking of the potent effects of man’s selection; and in this case the individual differences given by nature, which man for some object selects, must of necessity first occur. Others have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that, as plants have no volition, natural selection is not applicable to them!
In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a false term; but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the various elements ? — and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect the base with which it in preference combines. It has been said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets? Every one knows what is meant and is implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for brevity.
So again it is difficult to avoid personifying the word Nature; but I mean by nature, only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by us. With a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten.
Given the wealth of superficial objections one still sees against Natural Selection, I can only conclude that 150 years is inadequate time to develop familiarity. [↩]