Quotable (#159)

The conclusion to a little tangled esoteric amusement:

… And so, in the book itself, like one of the horror protagonists he discusses, Sandifer continually, compulsively – and less and less convincingly – says no, asserts that nothing is wrong, that he’s in control, that he’s not unhealthi[l]y interested in his subjects, that he knows they’re wrong and evil (did you know he thinks they’re wrong and evil? let’s say it again to make sure), that he may be gazing into the abyss but – rest easy – it’s not gazing into him, that nothing is off here, dear reader, oh no, that the trio is just as dismissible as you thought when you began reading, let me just reiterate that once again for clarity, no there is not anything going on over there in the shadows –

He’s of the Devil’s party, but he doesn’t know it.

(If you’ve no idea at all what’s going on here, that’s almost certainly for the best.)

Quotable (#153)

There a lot of excitable feedback circuits to be discovered on the way down the slope. This looks like one:

Analyzing data from a large, worldwide sample, two Chinese psychologists report people whose countries are more involved with wars and similar conflicts experience higher levels of existential fear, which drive them to greater religiosity. […] Previous surveys have found highly religious Americans tend to be more supportive of war, as well as of torturing one’s opponents. This raises a profound and troubling question: Could it be that armed conflict and intense religiosity are in a mutually reinforcing relationship? […] “The relationship between war and religiousness may be bidirectional,” write Hongfei Du and Peilian Chi of the University of Macau. “War strengthens individuals’ religiousness (due to) their worries about war, while fundamental religious beliefs result in violent conflicts and war.”

The Du and Chi paper is here.

Musk on Mars

UPI (among others) reports:

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he plans to send humans to Mars by 2025. … […] “Mars is the next natural step. In fact, it’s the only planet we have a shot at establishing a self-sustaining city on,” he said. “Once we do establish such a city, there will be strong forcing function for the improvement of space flight technology that will then enable us to establish colonies elsewhere in the solar system and ultimately extend beyond our solar system.”

‘Forcing functions’ play a critical role in Musk’s thinking. Beginning to do something is catalytic. It activates the positive cybernetics required to carry the process forward. That’s why Musk likes to get started with things he wants to see done, at the earliest opportunity, and certainly before there’s any basis for a confident forecast — in the absence of forcing functions — that they’re ultimately doable at all.

Every significant business leader of recent times has had a cybernetic heuristic of some kind. They function as entrepreneurial propellant. Musk’s might well be the most dynamic we’ve seen yet.

ADDED: On-topic Reddit meanderings.