The 2 Sigma Improvement
For some time I’ve been talking about upgrading human processes and behavior from a primate model – or, more properly from a hybrid model – to a post-primate model. I’m so deeply convinced of the importance of this that I’ve been devoting a good deal of time and effort to it. And recently I’ve found reasons to believe that a change from our hybrid primate model to a post-primate model would be in the range of a 2 sigma improvement… a very large improvement.
The Futility And Disaster of The Magic Fix
Humanity is afflicted with a desire for a magic fix to its problems. And that desire, if it’s allowed to fester, soon enough becomes a demand for a magic fix for their problems… and particularly to problems they fixate upon. That much was obvious in the rise of Hitler, in the sale of socialism to the oppressed people of Eastern Europe, and in other disasters. But it goes even further, afflicting nearly the whole of mankind on a continuing basis.
The Unmentionable Freedom
Back when Western civilization still had a foothold in the public square, people paid attention to the freedom of belief, the freedom to choose a career, and the freedom to speak one’s mind. All good and necessary things, of course, but there was one freedom that they dared not mention… dared not consider. And that’s the one I’ll cover today: Political freedom.
The Neutering of Our Passions And The Reclaiming of Our Passions
Passion, in our time, is badly misunderstood. And so I suppose I should start by saying that I’m not talking about the human sex drive, though the truth is that as you choke passion proper, sexual passion tends to be choked along with it. We express passion – real passion – when we make things sacred to ourselves; when we erect borders to protect things we care deeply about… when we say “This space is mine, and no one else is permitted in, unless I invite them in.”
Jesus’ Lost Philosophy
It would be hard to overstate how important I think this is, and not just for Christians… I think it’s applicable and essential for every human.
This concept is deeply radical – if it doesn’t jar you, you probably haven’t grasped it – and at the same time it’s deeply transformational. I know that once I wrapped my mind around it, one important understanding after another followed behind it.
And so I very much want you to grasp this. This philosophy that Jesus left us – not a theology, but a philosophy – stands ready to revolutionize human life. People just need to see it… to allow themselves to retain it… and then to face the terrifying prospect of taking it seriously.
“Shame,” wrote psychologist Silvan Tomkins, “strikes deepest into the heart of man… it is felt as a sickness of the soul which leaves man naked, defeated, alienated, and lacking in dignity.”
Shame is the great barrier that keeps people from acting as individuals and from expanding beyond a minimum-energy state. The expectation of shame is paralyzing to the vast majority of humans at some points of their life, and to some more frequently than others. Many people have spent their lives seeking shame-avoidance positions.
All of this is a horrific waste, and in this podcast, we take it on.
Why Dropping Out And Running Away Are Virtuous
The idea that running away is a virtue bothers a lot of people, but when you that find the greatest men and women of history have done precisely this, it’s time to re-evaluate, no matter how it makes you feel.
Compliance is how we shrivel and ultimately die to ourselves. Acting on your own decisions – with all the risk that implies – is the path of life and liberation.
Was There A Real Jesus? And If So, What Did He Really Say?
Due to the number of questions I’ve received about Jesus, I think a podcast devoted to him is in order.
People addressing this material, from whatever angle, tend to have fiercely held opinions, cherry-picking facts around them. That makes these discussions very difficult, and I’ll do my best to avoid that trap. This is a fascinating subject, and removing dogmatic opinions is what opens it to us.
The Serfdom State of Mind
Serfdom was… and is… a state of mind far more than an economic or social position.
The Serfdom State of Mind focuses on the desire for safety and security… of remaining clear of blame… to the detriment of self-reliance and living as a free and independent moral agent.
Everyone enjoys safety, of course, but to place placidity above life itself is a grave error, and lies at the root of serfdom.
Lèse-Majesté And The Necessity of Idolatry
Lèse-Majesté, an offense against the dignity of a ruler, is a little-used but very important concept. And it is the central crime that cannot be tolerated by the ruler.
Lèse-Majesté stands against the concept of free speech, of course, but when push comes to shove, necessities stand above the law, and lèse-Majesté is a necessity to rulers.
As we examine in this podcast, lèse-Majesté is crucial for the legitimacy of the ruler (without legitimacy the whole structure of rulership would fail), and is crucial to what I call “applied idolatry” in our world.
The World Is Wrong
Here is something that was thrown in my face at a relatively early age, as I began to think seriously and independently: So, the world is wrong and you’re right!?
But as it happened, I was more or less right. And very definitely the world was wrong.
The hierarchies of the world are trying to freeze everything and everyone in place. That means they will always be wrong. Even when they say the right things – like “murder is bad” – they’ll always be doing it for twisted reasons, with twisting effects…
Farber’s Second Essay
The second and final Farber essay, composed while both character and author were involved in dangerous cypherpunk projects, some twenty years ago.
Farber’s First Essay
This podcast (published originally in an appendix to A Lodging of Wayfaring Men) was composed twenty years ago, while working in a difficult and even dangerous cypherpunk project. It expresses the things that were on our minds as we stepped away from the status quo and dared to build afresh outside of it.
Men Are Idolaters
“Men,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “are idolaters, and want something to look at and kiss and hug, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don’t make it of wood, you must make it of words.”
Idolatry is a frame of mind. We’ve all experienced it, though we haven’t been clear on what it was. But once you do recognize it, you’ll be at least half immunized against it, and probably for life.
It’s up to us to improve the world. If obediently waiting for someone or something else could work, the dominating structures of the world would have improved long, long ago. But they haven’t, leaving the job to us.
To do this, however, we must first change the way we look at ourselves and experience ourselves.
Structured For Magnificence
This episode of the Parallel Society podcast explains something that’s tremendously simple and is great news for us, but is at the same time deeply radical, going against the structure of the world we live in. And that’s a simple phrase: We are structured for magnificence.
This concept offends people, of course, but however off-putting this little phrase may seem, it is true. And it opens a door to a magnificent future.
And we can demonstrate that mankind is structured for morality.
The Making of Production Versus Plunder
Production Versus Plunder, Paul’s highly regarded history book, came together in a fascinating and almost amazing way. He’s never told the story before, but in this podcast, he does.
The Dark Ages Weren’t Actually Dark
Most people still have the idea… the image… that the “Dark Ages” were filthy and grotesque, like a Monty Python film.
Not only is that false, but the people of the Dark Ages should be held in high regard. They’re the people who, for the first time in human history, killed slavery on a civilizational scale. They also created free market capitalism. And so, the prosperity that we enjoy to this day exists thanks to the people and ideas of the Dark Ages.
If that sounds crazy to you, you should probably listen.
Among the most important scientific findings of the 20th century were those of Dr. Robert Sapolsky. His work was becoming an interesting but fairly straightforward study, until a freak accident turned it into a human turning point. (Don’t stop listening half-way through or you’ll miss it!) Sapolsky’s findings show that the kind of progress we dream about is unquestionably possible. That puts the burden back on us, of course… and that scares a lot of people… but let there be no more question, we CAN step into a better age.
“It’s Only For Special People”
One objection to the cryptosphere… to free cyberspace… is that it’s only for super-smart people, and not for average people. And that’s flatly false.
Building the cryptosphere requires technical expertise, but populating it – filling it with people and commerce and human decency – is for all who will.
And by daring to enter, you make yourself functionally smarter!
We Can Succeed & We Will Succeed
It seems that right on the heels of a beautiful new vision, old fears come charging back to our minds, defending their positions. And so this episode explains why and how we will succeed. There’s really no doubt about the general outcome. The only uncertainty is the timing.
The Cryptography Revelation
Cryptography has changed the world over the past few decades. Without it there would be no Internet commerce, no VPNs, or Tor, or Bitcoin, or Wikileaks, or the Snowden revelations, or BitTorrent. But however impressive the results, it’s the power of the crypto vision that has driven them… and a revelation it is. Those who grasp it are often changed for life.
First Parallel Society Podcast
Buckminster Fuller’s advice for building a better world was to create a new model that makes the old model obsolete, and the Parallel Society podcast is dedicated to just that. We cover cryptocurrency, biohacking, private space flight, homeschooling and much more.