Concisely, precisely, this article will explain the anatomy of the rot that afflicts society as a whole. The source of this rot, how the rot manifests itself, and the conclusions of what the rot will bring upon us if it is to be tolerated in its festering will be discussed.
What is the rot
The rot is the self-accelerating, self-sustained, unprincipled breakdown of all extropic structures that are used as a means of navigating through, sorting out, and governing the logical and experienced world. The rot currently derives its energy from epiphenomenon produced by the systematic, incentive-based critique and dismantling of extropic structures set up by our society.
This all is a word salad with plenty of definitions necessary to understand the whole picture. For the next couple paragraphs, I will be breaking down each of the concepts, phrases, and definitions into easily digestible parts, for ease of understanding:
“self-accelerating, self-sustained” ; “systematic, incentive-based”
Systems that are self-accelerating are systems that, due to their own success, compound the extremities that lead to the success. Self-sustained systems are systems that are capable of living on their own without external assistance, self-sustained systemhood is necessary for self-accelerating behavior.
The behavior described is familiar to those with any knowledge of biology, as this function is a Darwinistic one, and thus life-like. Institutions don’t reproduce, but they can evolve. Internal operations, tactics, and alliances may shift through time in a form similar to genetic mutation. Mutations that are bad are discarded under pressure, as dead weight can be tolerated if the resources to run the institution are abundant, but not tolerated if there is ever a resource scare. Mutations that are good are ones that accrew more resources to do what the institution is driven to do, often times this means the acceleration of an institution’s own activities.
For example: a virology department in a university exists. This virology department is full of people that their research is important. Those in the virology department aren’t acting in a way that would create dead weight (i.e, extreme nepotism, siphoning funds, or otherwise doing punishable corrupt acts). This virology department is aligned towards the incentive of furthering virology. The virology department, however, must compete for funding with other various departments. Each of these departments all equally operated in a way that furthers their department’s research due to said research’s importance.
Given that resources are limited, and that there is competition for resources, all departments will be optimized for whatever activities increase the share of funding the department gets. in the United States, the group that issues the funding is the United States Government, which is heavily influenced by the political status-quo. The political status-quo seizes money from the public at large, and then redistributes it to researchers for whatever the politician believes to be valuable.
Politicians have to secure votes to stay in power and decide where money goes. To do that, they must make decisions that are popular to the public. Researchers are in the business of providing truth as a product. Politicians pay for this service, so they can use the truth that they buy to secure votes. This can either be by good or bad outcomes. A good outcome is that research funding provides research that can improve the lives of the public, which means the politician made the right call, and thus earns more of the public’s general votes (ideally, this doesn’t involve any media deception or truth-twisting). A bad outcome is that research funding provides research about impending danger due to the subject that was researched, which means that the politician made the right call and found a problem before it could get bad. This secures public vote as the politician is the one who helped figure out the problem that will afflict them.
This system works so long as the researchers are incentivized to produce truthful results. However, the researchers are not incentivized to do this, they’re incentivized to procure funding, which comes from the politician’s seizure of the public’s money. The public cannot refuse to fund something, and the politicians are playing with other people’s money and have an incentive to stay in power. This means that the researchers, if they are to stay funded, must produce results that keep the politician in power. This set of Darwinistic pressures corrupts the research from being truth-orientated to instead being funding orientated.
Funding-orientated research is research that is not mundane. Crises and Revolutions get attention from the public, and that gives politicians votes. Revolutions in science are hard to fudge as revolutions require positive outcome that can change the lives of people. If someone fudged results that stated there was a cure for cancer, then their research would fall apart when demands for practical applications started. These cause research scandals that increase scrutiny, and scrutiny means it’s harder to publish works (especially fudged works), and thus secure more funding.
Crises, on the other hand, are negative in nature, they’re threats that can take away from human experience, the research in itself is the proof of its existence. The threats of climate change are threats we must worry about and work around, once we have easy-to-verify proof climate change is catastrophic, we’re experiencing it and millions are dead. Normal people don’t want millions to die, and politicians look good for dealing with the issue, so they may put money in preventing a crisis with the hope that nothing will happen. So long as nothing is happening, then the crisis has been dealt with.
This creates a trifecta of power laundering where the politician is permitted to seize money from the public in exchange for research that keeps the politician in power. This Darwinistic pressure is not a formalized and shady deal, in the same way animals and plants never made a deal about the recycling of Oxygen and CO2. It’s merely the conclusion of Darwinistic pressures applied onto the world.
This phenomenon goes even past harder sciences like environment and virology. Economics, and social science have the same structure, as they must compete for funding too, where crises are incentivized for public funding. An important note is that the truth from the academics is not simply discarded after created, but instead adopted as the popular canon truth through media repetition and political action. Climate change policy must ocour for the politician to solve climate change and keep up his deal with the public. The knowledge, rather true or false, must be used.
In summary, To quote Moldbug: “there is no market for recessive ideas”. To paraphrase Moldbug: Ideas from academics that state that nothing should be done or that we should do less do not give academics funding and power. Fields that don’t get funding and power aren’t able to easily secure future funding and power to continue research, those who do, are able to secure themselves. Self-sustaining systems tend to do better. Acceleration of the traits that get funding and power are beneficial to the aforementioned system’s ability to survive, and thrive, when competing for the limited resources of funding, attention, and power.
There is no reason for a system like this to pick more mild, even if truthful, alternative positions unless truthfulness is easy to verify and there exists no hegemony mindset that dominates a field. Because of this, only opinions whose traits can lead to a field having a higher concentration of funding and power will succeed. The only way to do that is to become more radical and crisis-orientated.
The rot, in this way, is self-accelerating as the institutions that create it are self-accelerating. Our powerful cultural institutions, specifically those who do a lot of crisis creation and dismantling of systems, obtain more power and funding by being harsher and more extreme in their critique. This creates an exponential effect where the more invasive, and power-demanding positions will win out in the end due to its better ability to obtain funding, attention, and power.
So, given this is the case, why is the rot rotting rather than constructing? Clearly, there is a self-accelerating system that is capable of maintaining and expanding itself. That structure is a construct, even if it’s unintentional, and isn’t directly deconstructing anything. That is true, however, the rot itself isn’t the accelerating of the structure, but rather the phenomenon that comes from the structure’s self-acceleration.
The self-accelerating structure has its own reason for self-accelerating. It’s drove by a desire for power and resources, however, this drive for power and resources isn’t free. It must produce something. The academic complex produces one category of thing: information. This information can be in two categories: Truth and Untruth. Remember, the self-accelerating structure is not optimized for producing truth, and because it’s not, that means it can often produce untruth. Producing information in the untruth category is dangerous, as the untruth is then consumed by politicians to guide policy, which effects real people in the real world. The more untruthful the information is, the less sense the policy itself will make. Policy that doesn’t make sense generally has a higher probability of producing adverse effects than policy that does make sense. Adverse effects in policy decrease the quality of life by simply not matching the reality of the situation.
The average person can tell that sometimes untruths are produced due to the lack of our current system, guided by the policy of academia, to properly deal with the problems of the day. We can sense the failure in the status-quo as living standards collapse, policy becomes anti-natal, and generally things get harder for common people. However, we cannot tell the ratio of truth to untruth our policy-makers consume, and from where. Doing so would require a truth machine that is optimized for producing truth, which is something we currently do not have. Even in the few situations where people earnestly build truth machines that operate for the finding of truth, those machines are discredited for their lack of authority. Your average person is not permitted to do research and inform policy, as the average person is not deemed to be a truth producing institution. To become a truth producing institution, prestige is necessary, and the only way to get prestige is to have other truth producing institutions recognize you. That’s unlikely given the regulatory pains necessary to have that happen, and the monetary resources necessary as well.
Given that this system optimizes for funding, and thus crisis and extremity, it’s very likely that truthful assertions about the world devolve into untruth through hyperbole and exaggeration. Hyperbole and exaggeration create crisis scenarios, if the end of the world is tomorrow, you’ll get attention. Attention gets resources, and thus is optimized for under this system. Unfortunately, this means that moderates with good evidence of an issue being a real problem may have their platform overtaken by crisis manufacturers. The moderate climate change activist talking about drying rivers and crop failure will have his entire cause co-opted by lunatics who think every piece of ice on earth is going to melt tomorrow, and that we need to have radical policy change immediately to fix the problem. This politicizes important issues to the point of grid-lock as sensationalization breaks down otherwise what would have been sane cooperation with a slow recovery.
This breakdown so far has only effected harder sciences, but once you step into social sciences, resource-whoring behaviors become even easier due to the lack of hardness in these fields. The social sciences (econoimc science, political science, and educational science) all study society, which has no lab-manufactured, environmentally controlled equivalent. Meaning that the social sciences are comparing active, moving, and changing subjects when they do their research. Variable isolation is much more difficult in these areas, and the lee-way for fudging becomes much easier, and due to social sciences dealing with society as a whole, these sciences are able to directly interface with the political core of a society, meaning findings in these fields are political by nature (as opposed to the indirect political charge that comes from the natural sciences, which must become politicized by involving resources, laws, regulation, and money).
Social sciences are the most dangerous science due to both their Darwinistic pressure to obtain funding at all costs and direct political implications of any and all facts from the fields within. If an economist can come to a conclusion about how a tax on gasoline to pay for schools will raise GDP over the next 30 years by a high amount, there is direct justification for implementing that policy as, currently, the government is directly responsible for the economic well-being of its citizenry. This is opposed to something like climate change, where an increase in warmness on Earth over time is only of serious concern politically if it can be justified to the population that this is a concern worth funding.
These effects in the social sciences, through time, lets the social sciences ramp up their adherence to whatever belief system allows them to receive resources (and usually power as well) to further their goals in society. The results of this change is the breakdown in question, as usually these are deconstructive moves, as deconstruction is much easier to perform than construction. Crititism and teardown of currently known systems is easy, but replacing them with whatever pet project a social scientist would like is difficult, and thus these systems slowly are torn down, and not replaced (if a replacement for them is planned at all that is).
For example, policing as an institution gets a lot of scrutiny from social scientists, who wish to replace it with a form of reform-based justice in some areas. It’s easy for them to make enough of a rout to cause a police defunding and chilling effect against their activity, but never enough to actually implement the alternative solution on a large enough scale for most people to experience it. This, in turn, just leaves policing weaker with no alternative proposed.
Similarly, pushes for equality of outcome usually necessitates the deconstruction of “oppressive” institutions and replacement with more “equitable” institutions. Deconstructing and harming already existing institutions is easy, but replacing them with “equity” based ones is difficult. This leads to, over time, the rot simply taking away an institution and not providing another.
In cases where another institution is provided, the effects of the new institution must be measured. If the overall effect of a new, replacement institution work to breakdown other institutions (i.e a new, replacement institution doing harm to family-bonds, thus increasing the likelihood that collapses too), then the rot has still taken effect. If the new institution, on a large scale, does not do this then the rot has ceased and this should be considered a replacement. Of note, “rotting” is very perspective based when it comes to institutions causing decay. Familial bonds collapsing is a bad thing to some, and a good thing to others. Depending on your position, this rot could be actual rot, making life worse, or it could be a weakening of a bad institution that is to be replaced. The caveat is that replacement must happen to make the rot not just be rot. If there is no replacement with a stronger institution or system, then the move was actually just rotting by objective measurement.
Those who engage in self-accelerating and self-sustaining systems themselves are principled. There’s no reason to question this fact as, they themselves, say they are principled. People sincerely believe in harsh climate change, and that their effective altruistic ways will make society better. Virologists actually are concerned about the development of a new global pandemic, and do their research to prevent it. People sincerely believe that Russia is in the wrong with their war in Ukraine, and want to commit taxpayer money and blood to the cause to end the hostilities. These are sincere positions taken for sincere reasons ultimately. However, the rot itself is unprincipled.
The rot is epiphenomenon. It’s the conclusion of activity that is unaccounted for. The unintended by-product of a chemical reaction, or the smoke made from burning wood for heat. The rot cannot be principled as it is not human, nor is it made up of humans. The ideological bent it has is arbitrary. This is the reason why the rot can manifest itself in extreme Ukrainian and Native American nationalism, while also manifesting as harshness towards those critical of global governance organizations like Interpol or the UN.
As another example, the rot can manifest itself as the support of greater speech freedoms for taboo subjects, but also attempt to silence those who say things critical of racial groups. Moderates who are in support of the former, and merely tolerant of the latter, are principled on the subject, but given that speech control is directly related to power, and the rot is currently manifesting itself through self-accelerating structures that are optimized for the pursuit of power, the rot will eventually drift to granting the former, and suppressing the latter due to the extreme opinion being that the former is good, while the latter is problematic.
The rot is pluralistic and eclectic due to its inhumane nature. Neither side of the rot was selected for principled reasons, but rather Darwinistic ones. Society didn’t collectively agree on either policy of speech control being good or bad, but the one that happened to be the most powerful will win out in the end. That would be the latter one as talk of taboo subjects would be beneficial to the upper class, but saying something critical of a race would not.
The rot is also a breakdown rather than a construction of systems. The rot is purely the negation of something constructed in the same way that entropy is the negation of something constructed. However, given that the rot doesn’t exist in pure isolation, it often can be the deconstruction necessary for construction of new systems, however, that is not the doing of the rot, but rather the doing of those who have power (who also happen to be the same group that produces the rot at the time of rotting).
The rot itself is the collective epiphenomenon of the self-acceleration. As the powerful become more critical of structures as they are, and use their power to dismantle or change them, they, over time, destroy more systems due to the self-accelerating radicalism grabbing onto more systems for the sake of power, but in the name of a principled cause.
Change alone, specifically principled change, doesn’t cause the rot to exist. Sometimes systems must be updated or abandoned to get with the times. However, if these changes keep going for long periods of time in a fashion that’s not limited by ideology, religion, philosophy, physicality, or for the better perfection of the object for its intended purpose, then, like a cancer, the change itself will creep towards power at the benefit of the powerful, creating an ad-hoc oligarchy who controls the society. Without any form of limiting factor, this situation is bound to occur.
This oligarchy can be anyone, or anything, or any system that controls society. Our current system leans towards a strange alliance between techno-capital, minority groups, social progressives, academics, and authoritarian socialists. However, the structure of an acceleration towards power is not unique to this group and could even be automated using machinery if some madman desired to do so.
The principled people at the heart of the rot machine
The rot is ultimately an epiphenomenon caused by human systems. Those are human systems that are self-accelerated and optimized for power, However, the principles optimized for are sincerely believed to be true fact when their reality could be dubious. The current systems contain people who desire to make the world a better place by doing their research and advocating for their fields. Climate scientists want power and funding because they believe power and funding will make the world a better place; Climate science as a personified concept wants power and funding because power and funding will allow it to survive and thrive. Is it true if giving Climate Scientists power and funding will do good for society? I do not know, but I do know that this structure exists, and it makes climate science as a collective voice an unreliable narrator of their own importance.
Ironically, it is sincere conviction and desire for change that creates the rot’s effects. The desire for the power to create a new, better system is what makes us have to doubt the conviction of those who want power to make the world better. We have to ask questions about motivation due to the desire for extraordinary funding and power. Are these people merely grifters making a grab at power, or are they just trying to make the world better? An even better question to ask than this is if the intentions even matter at all as giving them power creates epiphenomenon that rots them out and makes them worse at pursuing truth.
The answer would be to put more people into the system so that they can critique and review the work of others, so we eventually know which theories and ways are good and bad, however, given the self-selection of these systems, being an outsider and against power within a group inherently makes you less desirable to choose. No government in their good conscious is going to throw money at the guy saying that we’re going to be fine or that we only need to adjust a little when a more radical position coming from a reputable authority states that it’s worse than expected. Repeat the “worse than expected” for years to come, and you will eventually will have to question if this is the truth or merely the result of self-acceleration.
Extropic structures are the systems, configurations, and structures that humans intentionally create for the purpose of weathering the world and surviving. Extropic structures are the buildings of the societal world, working as a foundational protection piece used to navigate the chaotic world. Without a home, you will quickly die of from weathering or animal attack; Without extropic structures, society would die to mismanagement and external invaders.
Examples of extropic structures would be businesses, nuclear families, academies, and friendships. Rather large or small, these extropic structures require upkeep, repair, and allegiance to their intended purpose. A road company that is incapable of laying down roads is about as useful as a home without walls or ceilings. Neither structure serves its intended purpose, even if it claims to in name.
Extropic structures can function on a gradient of efficiency. Highly efficient extropic structures are able to do the job they were built to do very well. Inefficient extropic structures do not do the job they were built to do very well. Extropic structures sometimes can be gutted for a different purpose similar to how a building can be gutted for a different purpose. A deli can have all of its deli aspects gutted out of it and replaced with jeweler’s tools, turning the structure of a deli into a jeweler’s store. Similarly, western academic schools were originally used for the purpose of reading and understanding Biblical and Christian works, but now have been gutted for the purpose of being the arbiter of logical, experienced, inductive, and cultural truth in society.
Extropic structures, as they break down, are less efficient. The rot generally attacks extropic structures that are against whatever is epiphenomenomally creating it, although, the rot can often infect the rot producers if the rot producers are not careful. For example, companies that support manifestations of rot may attract the types of people who are approving the rot to join them internally. Given that a company’s original purpose is to make profit and not to aid the rot in spreading, these rot spreaders will make the company less efficient given enough time and infection. This would only be a problem if the rot-infected system wasn’t self-sustaining due to power being in the mix. McDonalds wont fall tomorrow because it becomes infected with rot, if the rot comes with power, or if the internals manage the infection to protect the bottom line.
Extropic structures can also be limiting systems. Religions, philosophies, and other “ways of life” can become infected with the rot if they let it into their core. This infection of rot will allow a course correction to support for, or at the minimum mildness towards, the spread of the rot. This type of activity can peel away at the limiting structure’s society had before that prevented the rot from being able to further spread as certain sacred and core concepts can become easily trampled over by the rot and the power that comes along with it.
Extropic structures are phenomenon that civilized humans can easily create, especially on a small scale. Friendships can be made, food sharing organizations only require food and those to share it with, Churches only require believers to congregate, and Philosophers merely need to meet with each other to discuss and create. Extropic structures on a more complex level require much more effort to create, and often times require a significant amount of power too, but if the rot eventually rots itself away by destroying all the stable structures with its own power desires, then the vacuum left will discount the power required to increase complexity, leading to smaller organizations to easily expand.
The Rot’s manifestation, acceleration, and death
To reiterate: The rot is the self-accelerating, self-sustained, unprincipled breakdown of all extropic structures that are used as a means of navigating through, sorting out, and governing the logical and experienced world. The rot currently derives its energy from epiphenomenon produced by the systematic, incentive-based critique and dismantling of extropic structures set up by our society.
This rot is, in effect, an accelerated wave of entropy crashing against the structures and systems of society that are produced by our society. The rot breaks down our structures due to the structures that create it accelerating towards an unprincipled end goal of total power at the expense of humanity’s tools for safety. Tools for safety are not built for the acceleration of the rot, if the rot can get into them, then the rot can convert them into tools for power for rotten institutions. If it can’t make it into them, the rot will crush the tool once it gets in its way. This isn’t a conscious decision, this is merely the flow of power. More power is always better, especially for obtaining more power.
The rot is not sustainable as it is not constructive. It’s a process that feeds on human-centric institutions as only human-centric institutions are capable of creating power. A business only becomes wealthy because it is capable of servicing humans in the pursuit of product. Government is only powerful because that power is used to maintain peace between its subjects. Science is only respected because it is capable of servicing humans in their pursuit of understanding and for getting things done. If any of these extropic structures cease to do the job they were originally built to do, they will no longer be legitimate in the eyes of their customers. Who wants to shop at a store that doesn’t sell goods? Who wants to live under a government that doesn’t maintain order? Who wants to study in a field that doesn’t provide knowledge?
As it stands, humans are the center of power’s manifestations. You need someone to control a subject, and that someone needs incentives to control the subject. Rather “someone” is a janitor controlling the filth levels of a building or a king controlling the civility of his population, both need some form of incentive to do what they do. Therefore, only in situations where there is some human benefactor can power be found.
Rot benefits no one. Not even the most wild of progressives would support rot on its own. Rather, they support an ideology that has limits on where things start and end, although that ideology is quite permissive and can often align with rot. Even the greedy and psychopathic who would toss society under a bus if it meant receiving goods or services would only support the rot insofar as he received something. Given that the rot is ultimately an expression of systematic power creep, eventually the rot will betray those who brought it to its point of power in the pursuit of greater power. This ultimate, refined expression of rot is not something we’re experiencing and is only theoretical given that human collaboration is necessary for power.
Given that this is the case, the rot will kill its power-providing hosts eventually, terminating the infection along with it. Similar to disease or decomposition, once the productive nutrients of a host is gone, the disease will die.
In the earlier stages of rot, medicines and techniques can be used to remove it. This could be anti-corruption policy, gutting and dismantling systems infected with the rot, simply crushing it as it starts up, being structurally resistant to rot, or having a robust societal immune system that makes it counteract rot effectively. We are well beyond the point of this working at this point as the rot has overtaken key organizations in our society that, if gutted, would fundamentally change how society operates (if there’s anything powerful enough to gut it at all that is).
This leaves us only with the nuclear option: termination. To remove the rot, the host must be taken off life-support and terminated. Only then will the suffering end. This, of course, is catastrophic as the entire system, good and bad, will be wiped out with the host.
Thankfully, our host is more decentralized and distributed than biological organisms. Structures in the system that are healthy can break off, or at least build in support for breaking off when the time comes. Small business works pretty well, but our monetary system is rotten to the core due to pursuit of power, so if small businesses collectively accepts non-standard currency, it will be more resistant to the host dying. Of course, if the rot notices this and hates it, it could smash and kill small businesses, but, if the options are between guaranteed death with the host or a chance of not dying with the host, then the option is clear: it’s imperative to take the “risk” of action than the certainty of death with inaction.
Eventually, given enough time, the rot will consume the last bits of productive society and the whole weight of the rotten out system will cave in on itself, taking whatever didn’t escape with it. Akin to a market crash, this will make the price of power much cheaper and whatever is left after the fall will clamber to fill in the gaps. So long as there is enough left to jumpstart a reasonable and effective society again, humanity as a whole will be fine.
So, while things are falling, if you want your team to survive, it’s time to start building new extropic structures and defending ones currently under your control from the influence of the rot. The less dependent on rotten structures you can keep yourself and your kin, the safer you and your kin will be in the long run.