Wiki Contributions


Beyond Blame Minimization

Bureaucracy exists in the public sector because the government has certain duties to the public which must be fulfilled, and the process of fulfilling them is inherently complex, difficult, and expensive.

It is also quite labor-intensive. Many people are required to facilitate the government's administrative efforts. From court clerks to prison guards to the person who snaps your driver's license photo, public service requires a lot of grunt work, and the direct impact of their performance upon everyone's individual lives necessitates constant meta level analysis. This is further complicated by conflicting interests, disagreements over priorities, the prevalence of logistical errors, funding and informational deficiencies, social fads, internal ambivalence about the institutional mission, efforts to eliminate corruption and waste, corruption and waste period, and many other variables. Managing all of this at the federal, state, and local levels is mind-bogglingly convoluted and inconvenient, and I think necessarily bureaucratic.

In other words, the enormous difficulty of sustaining a functional society more or less justifies the existence of bureaucracy. The point of having a society is to increase the collective fitness of its members in the interest of improving their overall quality of life. Of course, sustaining a somewhat coordinated social framework is not a perfect solution to the problem of trying to be alive correctly, but it's probably better than not doing it.

So you might say that bureaucracy in the public sector is, broadly speaking, an "efficiency-maximizer" with regard to public administration (at least in theory, although in practice bureaucracy is widely associated with inefficiency, which indicates that it's simply failing to achieve its goal); or, even more broadly speaking, a "fitness-maximizer" that doesn't happen to work very well, yet persists in the absence of anything better that could reasonably be expected to overcome entrenched resistance to reform efforts.

Whatever variable bureaucracy exists to maximize, its failures to do so are obviously not a reflection of its goals. All corporations are profit-maximizers, including those that eventually file bankruptcy.

Everything would be easy if only it weren't so damn hard, etc.

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

I'm not sure this is true. I don't think people have children out of a conscious desire to "pass on their genes." I am a parent and have never experienced this, nor have I ever heard of anyone framing their desire to become a parent in this way.

This may be what Nature has hard-wired us to do, but I don't think "passing on one's genes" is necessarily the end-goal in that regard, either. I think the objective is to produce offspring, and then see to it that those offspring survive. In which case dying would be absurdly counterproductive.

I think, first of all, people are intrinsically motivated to have sex, which naturally results in children at least historically, prior to the invention of birth control -- which, it's worth noting, humans tried unsuccessfully to invent for thousands of years before we finally got it right, if that tells you anything.

I do think there is a genuine desire to procreate and raise children, but interestingly, now that we have come up with a way to avoid parenting without having to avoid sex, we have found that the desire to procreate is completely absent in many people -- a surprising number of people, even.

Perhaps the expectation that most adults will eventually become parents is merely reflective of the situation pre-birth control, which in relative terms is still a brand new medical innovation, and not something which our social norms have completely adjusted around yet. This makes me wonder, tangentially, if one's desire to parent children may be socially imposed to a significant degree. By contrast, very few people intentionally avoid sex all their lives.

Bottom line: it seems obviously false to me to claim that "the propensity to sacrifice one's self would normally kick in only after becoming a parent." I think the opposite is actually true. Barring situations where someone is actively trying to harm one's child, where self sacrifice may be necessary in order to preserve the child's life, I think you'll find that most people would consider having children for whom they are responsible a very strong reason against ending one's life in a politically motivated murder/suicide situation.

Do you like excessive sugar?
  1. State how much sugar you usually take daily

This is difficult to quantify, since there's sugar hiding in everything and I don't keep track. But just to give a general ballpark idea, I'd say my sugar intake, left unchecked, ranges from "relatively high" to "if you cut me, I would literally bleed chocolate syrup."

  1. State how you usually feel about eating sugar

According to AncestryDNA, I have a variant form of one of the three genes associated with taste perception which makes me especially sensitive to sweet flavors as well as bitter. I can attest to the latter but not the former. For example, I think green juices made from kale taste like ass sweat squeezed out of old hemp underwear, but I do not experience anything similar with regard to sweets. I love sweets.

In fact, I love sweets so much that it has become an active threat to my health. Consequently, I often feel guilty for eating them. Lately, I have been replacing sweets with more nutritional options.

  1. Change your habits today

Check; however, please note that I have not attempted to track or eliminate the "hidden sugars" in, say, sandwich bread, ketchup, etc.

  1. Report on how that influenced your feelings?

Well, because I have been swapping out sweets for healthier snacks that actually offer some nutritional benefit, I have noticed a marked improvement in my mood overall. I'm more patient. My skin looks better. I sleep better. I think more clearly and can concentrate for longer. I'm less "jittery" and far more motivated to do things that are constructive.

I don't know if these improvements are all caused by the dietary changes, but I don't know what else to attribute them to. Probably to some degree it's simply placebo effect and positive feedback loops. I have noticed on days when I am overly indulgent in sugar, I end up feeling like crap, sometimes for a couple days, but I suspect this is at least partly because that is what I'm expecting.

Sometimes after a healthy meal I feel euphoria similar to the "high" one gets from exercising. It is very different from the "high" one gets from eating "bad" foods.

And yet...I find that I still WANT to eat sugar, which at this point I'm beginning to think should be a schedule 1 controlled substance.

May I ask for some help getting started with crypto?

Thanks. I was hoping to enter into this by a different door, but this seems to be the most realistic/least devastatingly risky option for someone in my position.

Notes on Shame

I don't think there is an individualistic component to shame at all. I think it's a purely social phenomenon. More specifically, I think shame is a feeling that arises from the understanding or perception that one has been assigned low social status by one's own peers or community.

I think in order to experience shame, one must internalize negative social feedback, such as ridicule, scorn, or rejection. I don't believe we experience shame privately. It hinges upon the disapproval of others.

As an example, sometimes people coming to the West as tourists from one of the Eastern "honor-shame" cultures will indulge in behaviors here that would be considered shameful back home, and they do not feel the least bit ashamed of themselves for it while they're here. This is because the greater community here in the West has normalized the behavior (such as, for instance, drinking, gambling, immodest dress, etc.) to the point that it no longer confers shame upon the participant.

Remove us from the context within which our inclinations, if carried out, would harm our social status and we will indulge those inclinations from here to kingdom come with nary a second thought.

May I ask for some help getting started with crypto?

Thanks for your response. As it happens, this bears some resemblance to my casino policy, except that obviously there's nothing long-term about that. :) 

May I ask for some help getting started with crypto?

Thanks for the resources. I'll check them out. I really appreciate it. 


I have some small money in a Coinbase account and it's tied up in MANA and SHIBA INU. I can't gauge whether or not this was a mistake at this point, as both are fluctuating by the second as expected, and it seems when one plummets, the other rises and vice versa. But it's not enough money to hurt anyway. 


I've been considering Ether. How confident are you that it isn't already too late to invest in it? Or do you think it is, at this point, too late? 


What is scalp trading? 

May I ask for some help getting started with crypto?

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it greatly. Your assessment (that I'm not well-connected or well-resourced) is correct. I am also, as you can see, not well-informed.

It would appear that trading in altcoin is essentially like glorified, overly-hyped-up casino gambling. There are ways to get an edge on it, but I suspect that also comes down to who you know, not what. Alas.