Meditations on the Stealth Stratagem

Trust is invaluable, and when a mind one trusts recommends something, one is well served to entertain the recommendation. This post is a strongly-advised evaluation of stealth as a philosophical concept.

Stealth conceals. Concealment preserves valuable information from losing its value to the party who holds it. In any ecosystem of competing agents, information is lifeblood, and stealth—that is, hiding information that confers you an advantage—is a preventative measure against murder. Lack of stealth, in this sense, is suicide.

The act of concealment may also signal to adversaries that you hold valuable information. In such cases where you cannot perfectly conceal stealth (think an imperfect chameleon), your opponents will presume you are being stealthy to conceal your private information, and may be able to derive the very thing you wish to conceal from the fact you have attempted to hide it. It is therefore best to maintain not only stealth, but a plainly visible dummy position so as to pass as a non-stealthy player in the game.


2 comments | 2016-12-09 20:17:04 +0000

Populism: Helvetican Mechanism

Nation-states are dying. They blame this on their citizens, who are defecting from the social contract promised by government. The citizens are not to blame for the instability that ensures; they're reacting to rapidly changing conditions, costs, and styles of living brought about by our old friend, TECHNOCOMMERCE.

The poor citizens, in typical style, blame "the system" (of industrial-era governance/the philosophy of nations, although they can't see it yet), and blame it they should: it sucks. For a while it was benign. But it's grown unwieldy: a tumor too greedy for blood vessels to satiate. Witness debt rising across the globe, borrowed money and borrowed time. But this was destined to happen, given the initial conditions of states and the economic dogma that's ruled since the New Deal.

And yet THEY—you know who—are calling this death rattle, this gasping gurgle from the throat of civilization, billions of voices crying out—THEY spew vomit on this canvas—THEY call it "populism"!


3 comments | 2016-12-06 22:23:03 +0000

The Order of Zen

This is a follow-up to The Zen of Order, which I eagerly posted before I got to the meat of the central concept. Inspired by this series, inspired in turn by a conversation with a kindred spirit.

The vast systems of market corporations and societies—the power-node network—are alike in that they are immaterial bodies with power footprints that human agents can enter, exit, amplify, weaken, and alter given enough time and intelligence. In a way, this type of system is exactly like a galaxy, with each individual node slowly but surely orbiting the central supermassive concentration of power. More powerful entities depress the fabric of the node network just like spacetime. Exactly like spacetime—the infogalaxy describes immaterial reality, not just a metaphor for it based on material reality. The node network is to information (power) as spacetime is to matter. Humans just happen to be matter that can interface with information.

How do you navigate a system where the only interesting option is advancement? (Remember, order is interesting.) Observe: most items in the information galaxy remain pretty much stable relative to the center. The Solar System isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the South African organic meat market, but how many people do you see settling down to sell artisanal jerky in Johannesburg? Not all power nodes are created equal. In order to advance, an agent—that is, a node that has attained consciousness—must escape its local power maximum and move in the direction of the power at the center. ...

0 comments | 2016-10-30 09:35:31 +0000

The Zen of Order


Startup culture is divisible into two categories: Startup culture, and “startup culture”. The first term is the set of experiences native to working in a seed-funded, fast-growing, or recently-exploded business. The second term is the mythology perpetuated by those who have an interest in a business environment full of entrepreneurs attempting to create such businesses. The difference between these terms is the difference between “effect” and “affect”: consequence of action, versus facade of action.


0 comments | 2016-10-18 07:03:36 +0000

Reflections on Kaczynski

Content warning: excessive quotation.

Within the context of a given society, technological progress can never be reversed. Once an innovation has been introduced, … not only do people become dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but the system becomes dependent on it.

- Theodore Kaczynski, Industrial Society and Its Future  (1995)

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

- Borg idiom meaning “Hello”



Kaczynski’s thesis is that industrial society trades individual agency for systems complexity. Like free-range livestock, modern humans are allowed to eat and sleep wherever they want as long as they follow society’s easy rules: accept debts in order to live, work in order to repay debts, and do what you’re told while you’re at work (Regulated bureaucracy falls under “accept debts”. Paperwork, registration fees, taxes: debts of time, money, etc). According to Ted, one of society’s most egregious sins is the disruption of the power process , in short: setting, striving for, and achieving goals, with an optional “autonomy” dimension describing one’s attitude toward authority. Without cycling through this process in our daily lives - that is, with all our survival needs seen to by technological society - we moderns are left listless, yearning for something more. As a result, we turn to vicarious pursuits to get our existential fix:

We use the term “surrogate activity” to designate an activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the sake of the “fulfillment” that they get from pursuing the goal.


2 comments | 2016-10-10 21:34:06 +0000

Goal-Oriented Beliefs


An elaboration on this.


The classic example of a bait-and-switch ideology is Marxism. You’re promised utopia, and you get the Great Famine. On the other hand, for a while there, the USSR had some excellent tanks, and they knocked out the Axis in Barbarossa for the modest fee of 4 million soldiers (over five times the casualties of the invading forces). And just look at Russia now!

Today’s memescape is populated by more insidious bait-and-switch ideologies, by nature of the media across which ideas are produced, consumed, and evaluated. Ideobait has evolved to be less obvious (contrast “let’s realize the kingdom of heaven” with ”this is our moral duty”) and the “switch” ideologies that are snuck in through the back door have developed advanced systems of self-sustenance: from the mundane shadowban to the jocular SWATting to Chuvian dark epistemology.


0 comments | 2016-10-03 19:59:51 +0000

Nooscopy 101

Recently, Vladimir Putin appointed a man named Anton Vayno* to his cabinet as Chief of Staff. The political movements of a man like Vladimir Putin are always richly rewarding to analyze, but Vayno sounds an alarm bell on an utterly different floor.

In 2012, Vayno published a paper titled "The Theory and History of Economics, Government, and Law". Naut Patrick Stanley was the first to have the paper translated into English.

Below is my attempt at a TL;DR. (A TL;DRTL;DR follows.) Forgive me if some of it is less than prosaic; there's a point at which one no longer bothers to ornament, simply tossing the siphoned nuggets onto the table.


4 comments | 2016-09-26 08:11:37 +0000