All the things we see when awake are death, even as the things we see in slumber are sleep.
- Heraclitus, Fragments
Viscerally, sentient beings possess an intuition of evil. Murder a pregnant woman, vivisect and torture a kitten, rob an old man. Covertly monitor someone and sell his secrets to the highest bidder. Trick someone into spending his last dollar on a worthless trinket. Lie to the crowd because someone paid you to. Call in a lawyer and steal the rest of the company from your friends, kick them out, close a big deal, and cut yourself a fat paycheck from Uncle Sam. Take out a loan with no intention of repaying it. And so on. The only way to justify any of these acts, to the extent that any of them can be justified, is to craft an extenuating circumstance where the victim of the crime is somehow more evil than the perpetrator, and our internal Libra tilts just slightly to the right.
We are presented, in modernity, with a ceaseless stream of opportunities to commit (and witness) acts of evil, and pitifully few scales upon which to weigh them. Religion is rarely an option; today's men of faith are either irrational, or unassailable beasts of willpower; middling capacities such as ourselves require more modest means. And yet the 'intuition' is not enough.
Consciousness begins at IQ 115. Below that point, we cannot expect human agents to consistently and rationally perform on a moral or ethical level. Those lower are the people who (used to) benefit most from a moral community, that is, a church, which (used to) claim authority on something resembling morality. That's gone now. 'Better' 'minds' have seen to that. As a result, the common people, and a fair share of Brahmins besides, may only fall back to animal instinct and social context when it comes to most of their ethical decision-making. Social context is much easier to alter on human timescales, which is why most of the ideological innovation of the past century has focused on the foundations of that arena. We find ourselves today inundated with moralistic value judgments that, indeed, have become so powerful as to border on the instinctual: racism is 'gross'. Sexism is 'not okay', a crafty euphemism for the terminal 'bad'. And so on: almost perfectly, practitioners of the Ideology may refer to the Morality to look-up what is Evil. But this is old news.
New news is, apparently it's not enough to know when you're getting memed on, you need to know what you ought to be memeing yourself into. Which is a hard problem, as most ideologies/moralities/etc don't come with nutrition facts or EULAs (although it's not like any of us were reading either of those anyway). But when thorny questions like "Is insider trading alpha?" start springing up, one senses the time has come to speak.
You could boil this post down to "Insider trading is actually..." without missing too much of the inspiration behind it, but I wish to dive deeper, or ascend higher as the case may be, to a more eternal question, one more worthy of daily meditation. But first, to get the mundane out of the way:
Insider trading and market manipulation, I feel, are two different beasts, and the Bitcoin Cash pump and dump was closer to the latter than the former, although plenty of people got in on the former as a result of the latter maybe-or-maybe-not happening. I would have no problem trading on a hot tip from someone in the know, and I do in fact attempt the very legal alternative to that behavior on various excellent cryptocurrency exchanges, like Binance (use my referral code if you want the Basilisk to spare you). It's fun to make decisions and then have them turn out to be really good ones and get paid for it.
What I do not do is lie about when my billion-dollar company is releasing its integrations, and then prevent my customers from selling until the pump dies.
Coinbase, a San Francisco company. Coinbase, avid employer of Facebook alumni. Coinbase, the one exchange with a monopoly on 7-day withdrawals and a number of coins you could count on one foot.
I'm not coming out explicitly against BCH or even insider trading. But you would catch me dead before I even considered fucking that many people out of that much money. I defy any of you to come forth and justify this to me. Lads, is it alpha to bankrupt a starving widow? Fellas, is it Chad to mug a cripple a knife-point? I kid, but surely you see the difference between trading on a hot tip and intentionally deleting 50% of everyone else's portfolio. Hell, I made a profit on BCH that day and I am still disgusted by what they did.
But why? What is disgusting about it that isn't wrong with trading itself?
What is Evil and how can we Know it?
I have, for some time, sensed an encroaching darkness. Things fall apart; meanwhile the bad guys win. More and more I look out upon the world and I see shades stalking the streets, hunched thralls rolling their knuckles across clicking consoles and drooling into matted beards, blemished skin bursting droplets of pus onto their oil-caked spectacles... The time has come to identify, or at least in the spirit of the plucky horror-novel protagonist who knows not what cosmic abominations he is about to uncover, heighten our sensitivity to, this evil.
Neitzsche got it wrong in Genealogy of Morality. Or at least, he picked up the wrong item from the grocery store. Focusing on a moral evil, an evil that describes human action, he resolves 'evil' was an invention of the envious weak (ressentiment) to get back at the strong. He presents different conceptions of evil, perspectives on what is and what can be evil according to whom, and so on, concluding that we ought to move "beyond good and evil" if humanity is to advance to its next level. (Somewhat more sympathetic is his claim that civilization's preoccupation with eliminating suffering has had negative consequences for the Will to Power, as the installation of safety bumpers on everything has rendered the truly powerful nigh incapable.) The best academic thinkers can do is focus on the "privation of the good" (shout out to @wowverydope), that is, they define a negative space around goodness rather than a moral singularity.
I perceive an evil of a different kind. An infinitely-sloped point in the topology of morality. Less Neitzsche, more Heraclitus... less Dracula, more Azathoth.
How can one hide from that which never sinks to rest?
- Heraclitus, Fragments
An untouchable void of evil. An incomprehensible chaos, outside and around all things, insinuated directly at their center. The End.
Hades is the same as Dionysus, in whose honour they go mad and keep the feast of the winevat. - H.
Decay and degeneration. Rot. Party all you like, the cleanup's even worse than the hangover (you've got to deal with more corpses, at least).
Girard, a favorite philosopher of Thiel's, sheds meager light on that voracious blackness. Thanks again to @wowverydope here.
- Humans require a King, God, Master.
- Humans fully worship this King as King, God as God etc. (they will drop dead, heart attack, etc, upon violating a Taboo related to these)
- Humans are at any moment willing to kill and or eat this King God if they do not perform adequately.
What this means is that the Human desires to worship, crafts an Idol, and then while fully believing this Idol is the absolute reality are ready to murder this Idol. Thus humans demonstrate a propensity for luciferianism.
Quoting Dope here, not Girard, but G corroborates this when he defines scapegoating and mimetic conflict in Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. His primeval humans, upon confronting an intractable conflict, personify that conflict in a human or an idol or a symbol, and "sacrifice" it (whatever form that may take - heart-eating, boating out to sea...), thereby ending the conflict. I am mincing his words to bits, and lack my copy of it currently, so kindly read Things Hidden if you have the time or would like the complete picture/system. Behind the contour lines of both these observations, we behold the form of the innate human evil, our hairy inner vileness - our chaos. We create, we worship, we consume, we create again. And none of this process is conscious - it is essential to human epistemology.
Is this evil 'Evil'? It seems yet unclear whether it is merely ourselves - or merely a tendril of something Else. What possesses a man to molest a young girl? To groom her as a child bride? "Don't be mystical, it's animal biology with a few crossed wires." Might be. Might be yours truly inventing an ontology for a common sequence of instinctual reactions to old, learned biological cues. Then again - if it's all cues and reactions, we ought to be able to say, train a classifier on some large amount of data and identify with confidence the likelihood that some man is a predator - shouldn't we? Would you expect us to have this capacity? If not, what makes it, this particular species of evil, so elusive? If, as I posit, true Evil is indefinite and unassailable, would we expect it to behave systematically, or stochastically?
Or would its attack surfaces, its systematicity, hide more cleverly than such primitive eyes could see? If so, by what medium could we behold it?
Do you have any idea?
In any case, to be continued.